What Is Pilates
Pilates movers working out.

What Is

The History Of Joseph Pilates

Joseph H. Pilates, born 30th Nov 1880 in Germany suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever as a child. From then on, his interest in improving is health and physical condition grew to a passion which he wanted to share with others. To overcome the many medical problems he suffered with he stayed away from typical exercise regimes of the time and instead experimented by practicing many forms of exercise such as Yoga, dance, weight training and skiing all of which he took aspects from to develop a perfect balance between strength and flexibility. He eventually created ‘Contrology’ or Pilates as we now know it.


In 1912 he moved to England to train detectives in the Scotland Yard. World War 1 broke out whilst he was still in England and because of his nationality he was sent to a prison camp in the UK. Undeterred, he helped the camps infirmary and began rehabilitating the sick and wounded. When an influenza epidemic broke out killing thousands, those trained by Joseph weren’t affected.

In 1926, Joseph immigrated to the USA and on the boat he met his future wife Clara. When they realised they shared the same views about health and fitness they decided to open a studio in New York. His first clients were mainly boxers but that gradually changed to the majority of his clients being professional ballet dancers followed closely by actors, actresses, gymnasts and athletes all of whom were intrigued to learn from Joseph Pilates.

The Elders

The Pilates movement was carried forward by his earliest students fondly known as the ‘Pilates Elders’ The main training providers of Pilates have direct connections with at least one of the Elders. This means that the work passed on remains with the same ethos Joseph wanted to instil in all of his students.

About Body Control Pilates

Body Control Pilates was founded by Lynne Robinson and Gordon Thomson and established in London in 1995. It was designed so that there was greater emphasis on Pilates Matwork, by doing this and creating a programme that trained teachers in matwork it opened Pilates up to everyone rather than just dancers or athletes.

The Benefits

They felt the benefits of Pilates should be and still is available to all through safe, effective and good quality teaching.

The Body Control Pilates Method has broken down each exercise so that they can be taught step by step and layered so that a client can start with the basics and then progress to potentially the full classical mat routine created by Joseph Pilates.

By breaking down the exercises, the client is encouraged to learn awareness of their body in space and how it moves, which will also help them to improve their posture as well as their strength and flexibility.

Body Control Pilates
Pilates movers working out.
The Society Of Pilates Method

Red Bay Pilates is also a part of The Society of the Pilates Method. The words below are from their website, hit the link below for information.

The SPM is an alliance of the UK’s leading Pilates training providers. Formed in 2020 as a not for profit organisation, it is founded upon many decades of Pilates experience.

Skills and Passion

It will work to protect the reputation and integrity of the Pilates Method through the knowledge, skills, and passion of its registered teachers and through the comprehensive educational programmes that are offered to them.

We aim to be an open, supportive and inclusive organisation – whether that is for our member training providers; for those teachers on the SPM Register; or for any teacher who wants to join the Register by taking a ‘bridging course’ with an SPM member.

We will also work to ensure that clear career pathways and development opportunities are in place for any teacher who understands that the teaching of Pilates is a professional vocation that requires continued learning and dedicated self-practice.

The Society Of Pilates Method