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Pilates' Return to Life Through Contrology Paperback – December 31, 1998


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Pilates' Return to Life Through Contrology + Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising that Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education + Pilates Anatomy
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 93 pages
  • Publisher: Presentation Dynamics (December 31, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0961493798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0961493790
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

About the Author

At the beginning of the First World War, Joseph Pilates was imprisoned in England along with many Germans who happened to be living at the time in and around Lancaster, England. He was a German national who had been boxing and performing in England prior to 1914. While living in the Camp, he taught other residents the series of exercises that he had developed for personal use over the preceding decades both in Germany and in England. His own exercise sets drew strongly from his studies of yoga and Zen, as well as ancient Roman and Greek exercise regimens.

More About the Author

At the beginning of the First World War, Joseph Pilates was imprisoned in England along with many Germans who happened to be living at the time in and around Lancaster, England. He was a German national who had been boxing and performing in England prior to 1914. While living in the Camp, he taught other residents the series of exercises that he had developed for personal use over the preceding decades both in Germany and in England. His own exercise sets drew strongly from his studies of yoga and Zen, as well as ancient Roman and Greek exercise regimens.

Customer Reviews

If you practice or teach Pilates this is a MUST.
Tracy Maurstad
Great Book for Learning the Basic Pilates Exercises and the history of the Pilates Method, written by Joseph Pilates himself.
Bruno Zuniga
The instructions for each exercise are simple and (for the most part) easy to understand.
Deb Nam-Krane

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

164 of 170 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Having studied Pilates(R) for some time and gone through many of the phases of body change and self discovery that the system provides. The book is a reproduction of a relic originally published in 45 under the title "Return to Life Through Contrology." Contrology was the original name that Joseph Pilates gave to his system of exercise. The (R) marks and the PILATES name spattered everywhere is a result of the recent surge and push to mass market the system for profit. This book takes the reader, who simply must be a Pilates student to benefit, back to a more pure time, where Joseph Pilates' ideals grew, not out of a need for copyright symbols, but by a simple desire to understand the human body and to perfect it (beginners should seek out one of the more recently published books to get a better idea of its modern application). This book takes many reads to fully absorb. After reading this book, I discussed it with my instructor, Atasha Avery in Seattle. I understand how she works better because of the book. I now understand her subtle corrections and statements more (whereas before I knew they worked seemingly by magic as she and Pilates(R) transformed my body from flabby and inflexible to somebody who for the first time in my life is free of back pain and comfortable enough with my body to show it off more) and am more able to help her help me. I would definitely not replace Atasha with this book, or with any other instructor for that matter (in my opinion she is a model of the ideals that Joseph Pilates expounds on in his book and is by far the most qualified instructor I have ever worked with. For inspiration, however it is great. The pictures in this book are originals of Joseph Pilates.Read more ›
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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Deb Nam-Krane VINE VOICE on June 3, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the original Pilates (or Contrology) "manual". In succint (if not always fluid) text, Joseph Pilates outlines the intentions of the legendary exercise system he designed as well as how each exercise should be performed.
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 ›
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am a Pilates instructor so I found the book immensely helpful in understanding the origins of the Method. I would, however, only recommend this book for an instructor or a serious student of Pilates as it is not an easy read. If someone is looking for a glossy, modern guide to Pilates, this is not the book. It amazed me that so many of the techniques he advocated so many years ago are so effective today. Both the vintage pictures and the text fascinated me! Again, this is an excellent book for people who really want to know and understand pure, unadultered Pilates.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Raylene Hallman on October 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
I find this book very informative, not only historically but medically. As a nurse it's interesting to see what techniques are applicable to today and which we now know may not be safe. It's also interesting to see how Joe's original descriptions of his exercises have changed over the years, according to who is doing the teaching. I feel it was really overpriced for it's size, but for me worth it.
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44 of 55 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
I've been doing Pilates sessions now for a year and bought this because it is written by Joseph H. Pilates who developed the system. I've enjoyed the other one or two books on Pilates around at the moment but thought this might give a new insight. I just could not get into this book and, strange to say, found it not to be at all relevant for someone like myself who enjoys Pilates as a form of exercise. It is not an easy read and this is not helped by the surprisingly poor quality of the book as a whole - poor b&w reproduction. I can see that this might give some useful background for Pilates teachers but don't believe it adds anything for the 'layperson'. Have I missed the plot or does anyone else out there share this view?
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