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Joseph Pilates: Quotations #1

Quick Introduction to "Joe's Quotes"

Here is the First Instalment of quotations from Joseph Pilates.  But first, please read the credits and permission (thank you Cathy Strack) at the bottom of the page!

I love reading through the three publications of Joseph Pilates:

  • Your Health (1934)
  • Return to Life Through Contrology (1945)
  • The Pilates Pamphlet: Return to Life Through Contrology (1957)


The first thing that you might notice is that Joe Pilates called his Method “Contrology”, not Pilates.  I personally think it’s the perfect name: it does what it says on the tin!

And while many Pilates teachers and training organisations stress that Joseph Pilates’ ideas are out of date and have been proven wrong by science (there is very little real scientific evidence – but lots of opinion), I think that there is a great deal we can discover by reading his short, but dense writings.

A quick Google around will unearth many other, but here are some of the less well known ones.

Who is Pilates for?

“It’s for those desiring to drink longest (...) at the fountain of youth"

“artists and others desiring most keenly to sharpen the primary tools of whatever art, from fighting to music making”

What does Pilates do?

“All are made amazingly supple, accurate and strong in movements. Unattractive bodies are either slimmed or filled-out, depending. Dancers and athletes of every kind are provided new powers and their lingering injuries almost completely overcome.”

Pilates keeps you young both in mind & body

“This system is ready-made for those who desire to drink longest as well as most deeply at the fountain of youth.

“... it’s practice simultaneously reforms the body and re-vivifies the mind, yields glowing and vibrant spirits ...”

“Contrology is specifically designed (...) to arouse blood, d-i-s-t-e-n-d every capillary, force lymph through every interstice: by s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g every muscle and sinew and wringing out the body. All under the strict control of the awakened brain (...)”

Is this the first ever use of "mindstream" in English?

“(...) the alluring thesis persists for most of us: happiness can be bought without that regular disciplined effort required to render our bodies fully mobile, strong and enduring, our bloodstreams pure and our mindstreams continuously refreshed.”

What are the Costs of Pilates?

“The costs (...) (once learned) in apparatus: a simple semi-rigid-frame-and-mat properly equipped; in time: ten to fifteen minutes per day.”

Like this content?

Then, why not get in touch? 🙂

If you’ve been inspired by these little known quotes and wish to know more about Pilates / Contrology, feel free to call, use the contact page (click here) or just pop into the studio for a chat!

Credits & Permissions

These quotes are taken from the “Pilates Pamphlet: Return to Life Through Contrology” (1957).  The pamphlet is compiled by Cathy Strack and reproduced with permission from Marion Lane Rogers, Sr. and Marion Lane Rogers, Jr.

I would like to express my whole-hearted gratitude to Cathy Strack for giving me permission to reproduce these quotes. If you love these virtually unknown quotes from Joseph Pilates, why not buy the pamphlet?  It’s incredibly affordable at just $15: click here.

The header photograph was taken by I. C. Rapoport. I understand that it is in the public domain.

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