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What is Pilates?


Maybe you haven’t heard about Pilates, or perhaps you have heard of Pilates but don’t exactly know what Pilates is. Well, don’t worry, you have come to the right blog! When someone asks me what Pilates is, I have an answer ready. Nothing is worse than someone asking what you do for a living, and you can’t compose an answer fast enough. It has happened before to me, and it was so embarrassing since there was so much I could say about it, but couldn’t get it laid all out in my head fast enough.

“Pilates is resistance strength building. You will turn on muscles that have not been worked or don’t work enough and turn off the overworked muscle. We are lengthening and strengthen your body” - Erica Oshona’s definition.

Now for a little background about Pilates… sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Joseph Pilates is the creator behind all the Pilates work, which quite frankly was a GENIUS. It might be a Pilates Nerd thing, but if you look at his work and all the apparatus he created, he is a genius. Pilates was initially called Contrology-the art of control. Makes total sense since one of the six principles of Pilates is control (another blog will be written on the principles of Pilates stay tuned). After his death, the method became known as Pilates.

Joe Pilates studied boxing, gymnastic, martial arts, and yoga. Natural movements in animals also helped shape all the work he taught. During World War I, Joe Pilates went into an internment camp, he began to develop the mat exercises and explained the exercises to his fellow inmates. Ever wonder why some of the equipment looks like a bed? Joe got transferred to another camp where he helped patients in the infirmary and continued to teach his work. During that time, bed rest was considered the best treatment for an illness. This was when he invented other exercises as well as some of the apparatuses that we now work on today. People would be lying down in bed, and he would be attaching springs to the bed. Ah, now we understand why the equipment looks like a bed! So fascinating!

Legend has it that during the Spanish flu epidemic, no one in Joe’s care died. Like I said before, his work is seriously amazing!


After returning to Germany, Joe trained Police officers and members of the German army. Eventually moved to New York with his wife Clara, where they opened up a studio. Although Joe created the work, his wife Clara became the real teacher and passed along the method on to other apprentices. Thank you, Clara!

If you never read about Joseph Pilates, I would highly recommend looking him up and reading about him. He is truly a fascinating man, and this blog post could go on for hours if I keep writing about him.

Why do Pilates? Pilates is different from the body to body, and everyone will go on their own journey. From my experience, I will tell you Pilates can transform your body and your mind. When I started doing Pilates classes, I already was working out a lot, but Pilates helped me with my other workouts. It helped me with my alignment and learning to work from my center. Pilates makes you focus on the movement you are doing and what muscles you are working.

You might be asking yourself right now should I try Pilates? The answer is YES!!

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Erica's Pilates Studio

Niles, IL 60714

847.224.6574