This is the companion website for the book:
"Introduction to the work of Joseph H. Pilates"
Here you will find:
- A big chunk of the book for free.
- Including the pictures and the videos of the available chapters.
- An errata page to correct mistakes in the text (few I hope)
- All videos that didn't get published with the book.
- Extra texts to clarify any requests.
14 years ago I decided to both review and organize what I had learned about the Pilates method over the previous two decades. My aim was also to collect everything else I could regarding any other exercises I might have previously missed. I was eager to get my hands on any detail of the methodology or equipment specifications that I could.
I then began to formulate the idea of investigating whether it would be possible to train with just the ‘original set’ of exercises from Joseph H. Pilates. Is Pilates just as Joseph created it practicable? Is it even possible to recreate most of the method including the original equipment? Does it have the benefits it claimed to have? (And so on)
It turned out to be a huge undertaking. But it delivered some really interesting results. As a result of my research, I have been teaching the method -to the best of my ability- as close as to the original as developed by Joseph for quite some years.
Lately, there has been an increasing interest in the erroneously labeled "archival" or "historical" part of the method, so I decided to put together a compilation of the material that I use to teach regularly, and share it. All of it is part of the original method, and many of the people working in my studio are familiar with it, and are fluent with most, if not all, of it. I regularly teach it around the world, and so far I have done 25 workshops in the studio sharing the knowledge with everyone that wants to join, regardless of their background.
Many have asked me for a more thorough education. I don't believe in ‘courses’ or at least I can't come up with a system that doesn't involve many hours of working out and many months of study. I would, however, like to share the information since I think it is very useful. Some have also asked me to write it down since they are not able to visit the studio in person.
"Introduction to the Work of Joseph H. Pilates" is a work about the creations, ideas, and product of J. H. Pilates. It doesn't cover later interpretations of the method (be it the "classical" or the "contemporary" ones), since they appear at a much later date (more about that in the "Foreword" of the book) Anything created or changed after his death in 1967 is not his, so it has not been included.
Well over a decade of research and practice has been condensed into various volumes, including methodology, exercises, and equipment. I have also tried to show what he changed over time, what he discarded and what he kept.
However, without the help of Pilates himself, it is not possible to recreate the method exactly as practised by him; yet, I have tried to collect the biggest portion of the method to date. Not only is there 'fresh' material, but his lists and orders of exercises. Orders for the Mat, Reformer, Wunda, Table, Arms, Workouts on 12,… are included as they were set up by Joseph.
There is more material included in the book than any official course out there. Yet, it is not a manual nor does it try to comply with any present view of Pilates. None of the current Pilates courses teach his body of work as he set it, if anything else because they lack the information to do so and/or decided to deliver a different flavour of the method. This book deals with all the output from Joseph as a unit in an independent, uncoloured, unbranded, unnamed manner. It is not about a type of Pilates. I won't choose a word to define it. There is no word left to describe it. They have all been used: original, authentic, real, true…
I have tried to create a book that encourages both the individual and the trainer to work out using the original method and to explore what it can offer that is of value for them. After all, that is the best research anyone can do.
I think his version of the method is pretty 'airtight'. It makes sense and is more consistent than current versions of the method. However, it is way more lively and it offers more freedom in its execution, without losing the goal of attaining control. It offers a safe way to reach the highest level of achievement when practised, as instructed by Pilates himself, and not mixed up with other styles.
Everyone keeps adding, deleting, changing, re-defining the method without actually really knowing its content or deliberately hiding portions of it. To conclude, I would like to ask/pose the question: how would people add to the method if they had more information about the original? The aim is not to revive as it was, but how would the method evolve if people had more sources?
"Introduction to the work of Joseph H. Pilates" is unique in the quantity and quality of its
contents. A unique approach and a wide scope. While there are many books and educations
out there, to date, no one has attempted such a compilation.
We don't belong to any system of Pilates, nor we represent any brands or 'ideologies'. We don't have to confirm or go against any approach. Of course, for the research we don't follow the modern versions, neither the 'comtemporary approach' nor the 'classical' style just because they don't represent his work as created.
The principles of the method appear as laid out by Joseph himself. Rather than a quick or clumsy description, the concepts of the method are related to the person, so we see why they define how the exercises are done and how the equipment is used.
The equipment used for the book was built using Josephs measurements, which took quite a bit of effort to assemble. No brands involved. Some exercises only work -or need- the originals and many, suddenly, make sense when performed in them.
Lists and orders
The book includes the lists of the most 'universal' exercises for each apparatus. We also add the more 'personal' exercises and the orders from Joseph. We follow the orders set by Joseph, including his 'replacement' exercises for those who can't perform the orders as set.
Because the method is very broad we took our time -well over a decade. No rush. The result is such, that a natural consistency appears across his whole work that maybe doesn't need new modern rules. It is more than a collection of exercises.
Perhaps the main goal of the book is to inspire people to actually do the exercises. Working out is the only way to really learn Pilates, and the only way to learn it positively. There is no substitute. Training people means sharing an acquired experience. If the experience is joyful and the goals are accomplished, then sharing is rewarding. With the book, we are trying to show that the original method is not only viable as a method, but the most encouraging version of the method.
We could go on for ever. Just head to the sample chapters (quite a few) and see if it interests you at all. If it makes you think and question our job is done...