Pilates, initially called Contrology, was developed by German-born Joseph Pilates during WWI to enable soldiers to maintain their flexibility and strength while in the hospital. Born a sickly child, he studied yoga, martial arts, and anatomy, and later became a model for anatomy charts. He moved to the United States in the 1930's and opened a studio in New York city with his wife, Clara. His unique method quickly became a staple among professional dancers including George Balanchine and Martha Graham.
Joseph's method works as an excellent conditioning program for people recovering from neck, back, and knee injuries, or for those people who are looking for a tough mind-body workout. Pilates works the core muscles: abdominals, back, shoulders, pelvis, and buttocks to strengthen and lengthen the body while achieveing greater flexibility.