The training method of Joseph Pilates
In 1883 a young boy named Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born in Monchengladbach, Germany.
Self-described as a “sickly” child, Joe had asthma and other ailments and turned to exercise and athletics to battle the body he was born in. He was always studying various exercise regimens to expand his knowledge base. He was fascinated by the classical Greek ideal of a man balanced in body, mind, and spirit, and he began to develop his own exercise system based on this concept.
As an adult, Joe matured and became an avid skier, diver, gymnast, and boxer. In 1912 Joe went to England, where he worked as a self-defense instructor for detectives at Scotland Yard. At the outbreak of World War I, Joe was interned as an “enemy alien” with other German nationals. During his confinement, Joe refined his ideas and trained other internees in his system of exercise. He rigged springs to hospital beds, enabling bedridden patients to exercise with support, an innovation that led to his later equipment designs. An influenza epidemic struck England in 1918, killing thousands of people, but not a single one of Joe’s trainees died. Joe credited their overall health because of his training for their survival.
After being released, Joe returned to his native Germany where his exercise method gained popularity among dancers. With its rise in popularity, German officials asked Joe to teach his method to the army, which prompted his decision to leave Germany for good. Joe introduced his method to the US in 1920.
Choosing a Pilates studio that suits your philosophy on fitness and your personal needs is critical to your success in pursuit of your mind, body connection.
With multiple options and multiple class styles available, a little information can go a long way in aligning your thought process with what your body needs. While Pilates has been popular for quite some time, often the classes you see on your gym schedule can actually be fusion classes, utilizing elements of classical Pilates in modern fitness and cardio classes.
“Classical Pilates” follows, as closely as possible, the repertoire and sequence as Joseph Pilates originally designed it. Classical Pilates is the truest, most authentic form of Pilates and instructors are rigorously trained, requiring over 600 hours of training before becoming certified. Classic Pilates movements are performed in a sequence which moves the body through a full range of motion, in all directions. Foundational exercises are built as a base for more complex exercises as you gain strength and control. Classical Pilates utilizes all of the equipment Joseph Pilates designed, unaltered. This equipment includes reformers, mat, springboard, exo chair, reformer Cadillac, Pilates chair and ladder barrel. Another key feature of classical Pilates is the position of the pelvis in mat work. Classical Pilates generally teaches ab exercises in a “posterior tilt” or “navel to spine” tucked pelvis position.
Contemporary Pilates, or fusion classes, incorporates more techniques. In most contemporary Pilates, the original Pilates exercises still exist, but new exercises as well as modifications have been added. It’s sometimes easier to define as everything that came after classical. Fusion classes often focus more on a cardio style of exercise.
While we see the benefit of all movement, Pure Pilates is a classical Pilates studio focusing on the mind-body connection designed by Joseph Pilates. We believe that movement and strength come from your core and that focus will create a stronger, healthier body, mind, and spirit!
Owner, Certified Instructor, & Instructor Trainer
Michelle Berger’s career as a professional singer spanned more than a decade and led to her living in Europe for over 20 yrs.
During her singing career, which continues today, she performed in both the US and Europe. While living in Switzerland, she discovered the benefits of the Pilates training method. After her fourth private session, it became clear to her that she should become a certified Pilates instructor. Next to singing and her kids, she had never felt as passionate about anything as she did, and still does, about Pilates.
Michelle completed her Pilates certification in 2007 after completing more than 750 hours of training. She received her certification from Jules Pure Pilates in Zurich Switzerland and went on to become a licensed affiliate trainer of Michael Miller Pilates. Since then she has taught more than 17,000 hours as a certified Pilates instructor. While in Switzerland Michelle was an instructor for Jules Pure Pilates of Zurich, and a guest instructor at Absolut Balance in Zug. While singing and teaching Pilates in Europe, Michelle discovered the value of the Pilates method as it pertains to singers. She became the Pilates instructor for the Zurich Opera House where she was on staff for two years until she returned to the US.
In the fall of 2009 Michelle gave her first “Pilates for Singers” master class for the University of Montana vocal department. In August 2010 Michelle opened Pure Pilates, a “Pilates only” studio now located in Billings, Montana.