Before Joseph Pilates passed away in 1967, he said his work was fifty years ahead of its time, and the whole world will be doing his method one day. October 9, 2017 officially marked that fiftieth year, and we think he was right.
In honor of the fifty-year anniversary of Mr. Pilates' death and his extraordinary vision, we are making the two books Mr. Pilates wrote in his lifetime - Your Health, published in 1934, and Return To Life Through Contrology, published in 1945, available for the first time ever in audio form. The books are brief. You can listen to them in your car on your way to work or during your morning jog. Click the videos below to listen to them anywhere, anytime.
Why should you read these books, or listen to them? The republished version of Mr. Pilates' books have been available for decades, but many Pilates professionals and enthusiasts have not read them. Some don’t know they existed. These books are often left out of Teacher Training Programs as required reading and some may not feel the books are relevant due to the original publishing dates and sometimes politically incorrect language more reflective of the times than the method itself.
Each book, however, offers historical reference and insight into Mr. Pilates’ understanding of a holistic approach to health. Each book reminds us that a balance between work, rest, and play allows us to live more fully, to live into our birthright of zest and vitality, and to do anything we want with more ease and joy. Each book offers the philosophy and vision behind the method Mr. Pilates called Contrology.
When Mr. Pilates wrote Your Health in 1934, he was around 50 years old and had already developed much of his method and equipment. This short book contains his principles and philosophies, which can come across as more of a manifesto or rant, as Mr. Pilates’ frustrations on the public view of health and fitness were strongly critical. The contents of Mr. Pilates’ ideas in this book also reflect early 20th century viewpoints, many of which are not politically correct today. His core principles and philosophies, however, are still relevant and likely will be for generations to come.
When Return To Life Through Contrology was published in 1945, Mr. Pilates was 62. We do not have much information on his co-author, William John Miller, but Mr. Miller's assistance explains why the language and grammar were an improvement from Your Health, which Mr. Pilates authored himself. Return To Life Through Contrology is divided into two sections. The first section contains Mr. Pilates’ continuing worldview, promotion, and philosophies of his method. The second section is a breakdown of his Mat Exercises with detailed photos. The photos were taken by George Hoyningen-Huene, who was a famous fashion photographer in New York during the 1920s and 1930s. We don’t have much backstory about his relationship with Mr. Pilates, whether they had a pre-existing friendship, or if the photographer was just hired for the book. The audio version of Return To Life Through Contrology only contains the first section, because the second section is so heavily devoted to photographs.
The audio versions of Mr. Pilates' books are read from versions republished by Presentation Dynamics LLC, our partner on this project. You can purchase copies of the books in print form here.
We hope you enjoy the audio presentations of Mr. Pilates’ books and encourage a healthy conversation about it in the comments below.