Joseph Pilates & The Spanish Influenza

DID YOU KNOW:  Joseph Pilates was a Prisoner of War on the Isle of Mann during World War I?  YUP – Joseph was part of a traveling circus company and performed a duet with his brother in a gymnastic Greek statue act with a martial arts flare added in. The circus did a show in England during World War I, and since he was a German Citizen, he was considered an “enemy alien” and sent to a detainment camp on the Isle of Man as a POW.  Joseph was placed in charge of rehabilitating injured soldiers to increase their strength and flexibility by using the bed and springs for resistance – the forerunner to the Pilates Reformer, Cadillac and Stability chair that we know today.  He also worked daily with other detainees teaching his exercises regime (i.e. MAT Pilates at the time he had named it Contrology). The Spanish Influenza pandemic eventually made its way to the Isle of Mann, and…Joseph Pilates’ groups were the only ones who did not succumb.   The only reason touted was that their immune systems aka their LYMPHATIC SYSTEM was robust enough to ward off the disease due to Joseph Pilates exercise program.



The Spanish Influenza was to date the worst flu pandemic in recorded history (1918–19) According to CDC.gov it affected 500 million people worldwide contributing to over 50-100 million deaths or 3-5% of the world’s population. And interesting TIDBIT here:  it was called “The Spanish Influenza” because the rest of the countries due to wartime censored much of the reporting to keep morale up, so Germany US, UK and France etc.  – did not report accurate numbers and it appeared on paper that only Spain was affected the most.


Today the pandemic COVID-19 virus it is paramount to stay proactive about our health. When our immune system and body is healthy and strong, we are able to fight off infection.  Exercises programs that utilize and train muscles involved with pump our Lymphatic system help!


BE LIKE JOSEPH PILATES – Keep moving daily!  AND… during this quarantine time – Move with me – for a little bit of “Cynshine” in your life on my YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjOu2Y9LUDywXeLiKTt8QXw  (Cynshine Yoga Pilates & More)  anytime you want! Invite your friends to do the same!


If anyone needs home equipment to use please text or email me and I will be happy to share the studio stuff!


There are many schools of Joseph Pilates work and most of them are an offshoot of his original program.  The “Elders” or First-generation Pilates Teachers that he taught along the way:

  • Clara Pilates (1883–1977) age 95 Classical Pilates and Joseph’s wife

  • Romana Kryzanowska (1923–2013) Joseph Pilates studio director and in many of his vintage videos. Romana is one of the most well-known and highly regarded keepers of the classical Pilates tradition. Moira Stott a Canadian Ballerina studied under Romana and my trainer studied directly under Moira.

  • Kathy Grant (1921–2010) (one of only 2 teachers Joseph certified) started the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University

  • Mary Bowen (1930–) a Jungian Analyst “Pilates Plus Psyche.”

  • Ron Fletcher (1921–2011): Ron Fletcher a former dancer with the Martha Graham dance company developed his own Pilates style called Fletcher Work studio in LA.

  • Eve Gentry (1909–1994) also a dancer and in 1991 she became a founder of the Institute for the Pilates Method.

  • Lolita San Miguel (1934–) the other certified teacher by Joseph she founded Pilates y Mas Inc.

  • Carola Trier (1913–2000) who Joseph gave his blessing to open up her own studio in NYC.

  • Jay Grimes studied with Joseph, Clara and Romana.

  • Bruce King from the Merce Cunningham dance company owns a studio in NYC.

  • Robert Fitzgerald also a dancer and owns a studio in NYC.

The reason I chose the STOTT® method was due to the fact that it follows Joseph’s original program and added in the biomechanics of today’s research and the rigor that it puts its instructors through in order to be certified.  There are many great programs out there I happen to endorse the STOTT® method for reasons stated above plus the fact that all instructors have close if not more than 1000 hours of training after completing the comprehensive STOTT® Teacher program and then are required additional CEU’s each year to maintain status.  I am proud to share that I have just surpassed the 4000-hour mark of hours in the field of functional movement and physical education which includes my BS and MS studies at Indiana University in Physical Education along with years of Continuing Education Classes in anatomy, kinesiology, Special Populations & Injuries, Advanced Pilates for Neurological Disorders, Yoga and kinesiology CEU’s as of March 2020.  Like I stated earlier, there are some really good Pilates and movement exercise programs and instructors out there and I encourage you all to do your own research and choose the method and equipment and instructor that is the most qualified for your individual needs.   If you do not live near me please drop me a line or call me and I can help you find a qualified instructor to assist you!


MORE importantly – BE LIKE JOSEPH PILATES – Keep moving daily!  TAKE IN AS Much Oxygen as you can every day

AND… during this quarantine time – Move with me – for a little bit of “Cynshine” in your life on my YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjOu2Y9LUDywXeLiKTt8QXw  (Cynshine Yoga Pilates & More)  anytime you want! Invite your friends to do the same! #InThisTogether!  If anyone needs home equipment to use please text or email me and I will be happy to share the studio stuff!

Breathe Deeply ~ Feel Movement ~ Play Nice

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