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The Pilates Coach

About Joe

Joseph Hubertus Pilates 1880 - 1967


Joseph Pilates was born in 1880 near Dusseldorf Germany. A rachitic child, suffering from asthma and from acute rheumatoid arthritis, he devoted his life to improving his physical resistance. During his youth, he succesfully practiced gymnastics, body building, diving and skiing.


In 1912 Pilates settled in England, where he became a boxer then a cirus artist and taught self defence to English detectives. When World War 1 began two years later, he was considered a "foreign enemy" and interned with other Germans in a camp where he taught the other prisoners the exercises he had developped. None of the prisoners in the camp died from the flu epidemic that killed thousands of people in 1918 in England. The merit was attributed to Pilates.


After the war, Pilates pursued his programme of training in Hamburg, and refined his methods with the police forces of the city. In 1926, dissappointed by collaboration with the German army, he emigrated to the United States. It was on the ship that brought him to America where Pilates met his future wife, Clara. The couple opened a studio in New York, in which Pilates' exercises continue to be taught today.  Pilates and his wife personally  managed the training of their customers in the studio for four decades.



joseph-pilates romana_kryzanowska

Joseph Pilates - Romana Krysanowska - Sari Mejia Santo / Philippe Taupin


Romana Krysanowska was a student of, and a teacher for, Joseph Pilates for over 30 years. She continued to teach the same exercises that Joe taught her for her whole life until 2013 when she passed away. Romana trained many teachers through the Romana's Pilates teacher training programme and I am delighted to have had the opportunity to have studied with her during my training.


Romana's daughter, Sari, who was also taught by Joseph Pilates, is now responsible for the teacher training programme. I have had the benefit of her personal knowledge of Joe's work on numerous occasions both during my training and at continuing education seminars.


Philippe Taupin spent many years studying under Romana in New York and it is through his studio in Paris that I accessed the training programme.