Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Pilates called his method Contrology, because he believed his method uses the mind to control the muscles. The program focuses on the core postural muscles which help keep the body balanced and which are essential to providing support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath and alignment of the spine, and aim to strengthen the deep torso muscles. He created "The Pilates Principles" to condition the entire body: proper alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement.
As of 2005 there are 11 million people who practice the discipline regularly and 14,000 instructors in the United States.
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