Dipl. Pilates Master Trainer
+41 78 888 03 01 Phone / mail@mercedes-villanueva.ch


Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1880-1967), the founder after whom the method is named, was born near Düsseldorf. Since he was a sickly a child, Pilates started exercising early in life. He practiced gymnastics, skied, but also studied far Eastern methods such as yoga and Zen meditation. After relocating to England, he earned his living as a boxer and an acrobat, as well as teaching Scotland Yard officers self defense. While in detention, during World War I, he became an orderly, designing the foundation of his methods for practical reasons. Patients were to be able to effect movement exercises, and to gain strength and flexibility. Pilates developed the corresponding machines with he simplest means, first by attaching springs to hospital beds. He studied movement, honed his machines and worked relentlessly at refining his method.

In the US of the 1920ies, in tune with the spirit of the times, success finally came, leading to the opening of a first Pilates Studio as early as 1926. World famous dancers and choreographers such as George Balanchine and Martha Graham began to exercise according to Pilates' new method – one of the most complex systems of physical education ever devised. Pilates has been followed by several generations ever since.

Joseph H. Pilates