Somewhere between rehab and rockstar: Pilates part 1
Updated: Feb 15
This is the way I describe pilates to someone who has never heard of it– somewhere between rehab and rockstar.
But it is true! When Joseph Pilates started working with people in his ill-equipped rehab unit during World War II, he just started inventing machines by taking apart the beds and using the springs. Necessity is the mother of all invention, and he was as smart as he was strong.
Joseph Pilates developed a system of working with people’s bodies that strengthens them from their inner core, not just the superficial core.
So, when Angelina Jolie or Tiger Woods say they do pilates, they really are doing pilates. But you don’t have to already be famous or beautiful or strong to start it. I doubt the first clients of Joseph Pilates were either.
In fact, most people who need pilates will neither read this, try it or ever spend any more money than the fee for an overdue library book to improve their health or strength. No, it’s the people who are already in motion, who already are half way to rock star who will pick up pilates–probably because they got injured. Yes, injured. from running. or biking. or ballet or some other form of extreme sports.
So, when Pilates planted his first operation right next to the New York City Ballet Company he was stocked full of clients–injured ones! And when one injured dancer gets a few more years of her career back, then the place is packed with all sorts of dancers. And then the direction of pilates completely changes. Now the clientele is completely beautiful, thin, and strong–but injured, nonetheless.
But here’s the kicker that a lot of people realized eventually– just by doing Joseph Pilate’s system, which he called “contrology” now referred to just as “pilates”, one will get closer and closer to a rock star body, without really doing anything differently.
In other words, going from rehab to rockstar really is possible, given enough time and commitment to personal progress within the system. Yes, pilates works. And it’s fun. And it’s hard. And it takes a long time.
Unlike other fitness trends, pilates makes no claims about instant success. You may not even feel anything after your first class, although that is unlikely. You probably will feel “something”but it may just be your muscle groups waking up after years of lying dormant or used incorrectly. Or maybe all the muscles you are so used to using will lay quiet, and the other muscles may find they have a personality also.
The only problem with pilates is this: it requires the one thing all Americans seem to lack.
Patience and time.
If they could go through the McDonalds drivethru and order pilates for a million dollars, they would do it. But just slowing down and taking time for one’s health seems to be a greater deterrent than anything else.
So, I plan to do a few writings on pilates here on the blog. In the next post, I will write about my own pilates experience.