Pilates came into existence during the First World War when Joseph H. Pilates developed the technique that bears his name.
Joseph H. Pilates
As a child he was sickly, but he was determined to improve his physical health. He took up body-building and sport activities as well as yoga and gymnastics.
In 1912 he left Germany for England where he became a professional boxer and also taught self-defense at police training schools.
When the war started he was interned with other German citizens in a camp and worked as a nurse. It was here that he started to develop his technique to improve body strength and health.
With his inventive mind he concocted various contraptions and springs, which he would attach to patients beds so they could do resistance work on their muscles and improve their mobility.
After the war he returned to Germany, but later became disillusioned with the direction Germany was heading and he immigrated to the US, settling in New York.
Here he set-up a studio and developed his Pilates technique further, working with the top dancers and actors of the time including such dance luminaries as Martha Graham and George Balanchine.
For decades, his technique was only known and practiced by the dancing and acting professions.
Pilates has since gained a reputation with athletes and sports stars who have come to benefit from the discipline.
Today healthcare professionals recommend it as part of their treatment programme and it has gained a large following from the general public since it has been known that stars, such as Madonna, practice Pilates.
Many now see Pilates as an important part of their fitness regime and classes are regularly held in Pilates studios and most gyms.
In Hong Kong one of the leading exponents of Pilates is Ruth Hogg who established her own studio, RH+STUDIO, in 2004.
Hong Kong Pilates Mat Classes by RH+STUDIO
Ruth is a classically trained dancer from the Royal Academy of Dance in London and came across Pilates during her dance training.
She found that it gave her confidence and made her more aware of her body posture and how she moved. She knew it also improved her dance technique and prevented injury.
She believes Pilates, which she describes as precise intelligent exercise, has many benefits in life, as it teaches better body awareness and contributes to ones overall health and fitness.
Ruth says, although Pilates is seen as something that only women do it is becoming more popular with men who understand the benefits this form of exercise brings to their overall flexibility and fitness level.
Pete Samprass, Tiger Woods, Hugh Grant, John Cleese and Orlando Bloom to name but a few sport and film celebrities are devotees.
Ruth regularly runs Pilates Mat Classes on Hong Kong Island in venues in Central, Wanchai, Mid-Levels and Pokfulam and accepts all ability levels.
Her classes are never over crowded as can be the case at some gyms and they are well planned and structured to give all her clients a good and comprehensive body workout.
She also gives private instruction on a one-to-one basis and can travel to a clients home if necessary.
For further information about classes and the benefits of Pilates call Pilates Studio in Hong Kong :
Tel: (852) 28550051.
E-mail: pilates ( at ) rhplus-studio ( dot ) com