Joseph Pilates' original sequence of 34 mat exercises are still going strong today... The hundred, the roll-up, single-leg stretch, double-leg stretch…I sometimes feel like I could recite these in my sleep! Trends like Yogalates and Cardiolates, whilst a refreshing change, can be short-lived and we are seeing a return to authentic Pilates, the 34 original mat exercises that were taught from beginning to end...
Pilates began developing his exercise system in Germany in the early 1900's. Plagued by asthma and rickets as a child, Pilates' method sprang from his determination to strengthen his frail body. He called his method "The Art of Contrology," or muscle control, to highlight his unique approach of using the mind to master the muscles. Interned during the First World War, he taught his method to fellow internees and successfully maintained their health through the deadly influenza epidemic of 1918. During the latter part of the war Pilates served as an orderly in a hospital on the Isle of Man, where he began working with patients on crutches or in wheelchairs. He attached springs to the hospital beds to support the patients' ailing limbs while he worked with them, and he and the doctors noticed that the patients were improving faster.
These spring-based exercises became the basis for the equipment Pilates would later design, to be used in conjunction with the mat work. That is why the Pilates name is often associated with rather tortuous looking machines, however the mat work is the original movement system that Mr Pilates created.
At Flow Pilates, the authentic mat exercises are incorporated with equipment work and barre work, so clients feel the therapeutic benefit of all these modalities.