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Pilates' Return to Life Through Contrology Paperback – Dec 31 1998
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From the Back Cover
This book represents the first major publication in 1945 by Joseph H. Pilates and William J. Miller detailing the exercises, poses, and instructions fundamental to the matwork developed by Joseph and Clara Pilates. Based on his concepts of a balanced Body and Mind, drawn from the approach espoused by the early Greeks, these are the exercises that currently sustain a worldwide revolution in fitness strategies and exercise techniques.
Joseph Pilates has been nothing short of revolutionary in his impact on the world of fitness and exercise. You will learn in this book the original 34 exercises that he taught to his students, many of whom have become exercise gurus in their own right. These carefully designed exercises constitute the results of decades of scientific study, experimentation and research into the variety of physical ills that upset the balance of body and mind.
Pilates makes extraordinary claims about the benefits of his defined science of "Contrology". The exercises shown in this book constitute the breadth of his original definition of Contrology, and are basic to the growing army of worldwide trainers whose teachings rely on the instructions contained in this book. Living testimony to the validity of his own teachings, the photographs of this book are of Joseph Pilates himself at age sixty!
In this book, you will learn the exercises that Joseph Pilates recommended to accompany the basic advice (offered separately in his book, Your Health - see below) regarding posture, body mechanics, correct breathing, spinal flexibility, and physical education. It is fascinating to study these exercises and to discover the origins of what is being taught by fitness enthusiasts, health educators, and exercise trainers around the world.
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This is a simple, short manual. It's surprising that a system that has ended up being shrouded in so many mysteries and rules, particularly by those who are in his direct "lineage", started out relatively humbly. Many, many Pilates instructors will tell you that if you can't take a class in Pilates (and usually in an expensive studio), you're probably doing it wrong (and then maybe it's not worth doing). Also, many instructors have argued that most people aren't ready to do the matwork and that they should almost always begin with sessions on the equipment (again, under the watchful and expensive eye of an instructor). Pilates, however, writes that his system should help you "Return to Life" at a minimum of cost and time. The tone of his writing is inclusive- his system should be readily available to everyone. While he does insist that the instructions he sets out should be followed and that one shouldn't move on until all previous exercises are mastered, I'm not sure that the man who wrote this book in 1945 would approve of the elitist tone that some of his modern-day disciples have adopted.
It's interesting to note some of the exercises that are not included in the book. For example, the five-part Stomach Series is one of the most famous sequences in the modern Pilates matwork. Here, however, Pilates only includes the first two exercises (the One Leg Stretch and the Double Leg Stretch). Also, the matwork system is also well-known for the Side Kick Series.Read more ›
While it is good that this information is out there, readers should be aware that Pilates is not revolutionary in any way. Time and motion photographic studies of the human body date to the 1880's and Taylor's principles of optimal body movement were evident in early 20th century physical culture exercise training found all over the Western world.
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