History

A Strong Flexible Body, A Focussed Mind, The Art Of Conscious Movement.

The regular practice of Pilates delivers many benefits, giving gradual and positive changes to the body’s strength and flexibility. Pilates exercises require a ‘core stability’ of the deep muscles, which takes time and concentration to develop. These deep postural muscles support and stabilise our skeletons and don’t need repetitive overloading to strengthen them, they just need to be switched on. The Pilates student learns how to sense and activate these muscles which form the basis to good posture, and then to remain aware of posture and alignment throughout the performance of the flowing sequences of movement which form the practice of Pilates.

You will find that your hour long class will fly by, as the time spent listening, sensing and responding to your body is both relaxing and energising. Making changes to the postural system will help you to stand taller, as you become aware of how to align your spine and the muscles which support it. After just a few weeks, when someone asks you if you have lost weight, you will realise that you feel taller, more mobile, a little leaner and more positive about your body.

A Lifetime’s Work Isn’t Learned In A Weekend

Joseph Pilates first published his booklet ‘Your Health’ in 1934, “a corrective system of exercising which revolutionises the entire field of physical education”.(ISBN 0-9614937-8-X) Ten years later his work ‘Return to Life Through Contrology’ was published, (ISBN 0-9614937-9-8) a systematic progressive exercise regime which has evolved into the movement method we now know as ‘Pilates’.

Part of the beauty of the original repertoire of exercises is the routine way in which they are performed. The sequence of the exercises delivers a balance of strength and flexibility with minimal repetitions which avoid undue fatigue in muscles and joints. The method focused on continuous flowing movements performed with thought and precision. The results of regular practice are obvious to see: besides the improvements in strength and tone, Joseph Pilates’ exercises improved posture and body alignment.

Although the “system of corrective exercises” was intended for all, to begin with many of the visitors to ‘Joe’s Gym’ were dancers and athletes. They found the work helped heal the  injuries caused by habitual imbalanced movements that plague physical performers. Until the 1990’s, Pilates exercises were still mostly used by the dance community, a clientele who already had a high degree of physical ability. Alan Herdman, a teacher with London Contemporary Dance was sent to new York to learn the method and bring it back to London to help dancers improve their strength and performance. Several of the dancers who trained with Alan at London Contemporary went on to start their own studios and then to train teachers. Michael King was one of these teachers, along with Gordon Thompson and  Julian Littlewood amongst  others. Alan continues to teach all around the world, as does Michael King, the founder of MK Pilates International.