Audiobook #3234

Return to Life

55 min - Audiobook


Return to Life is the second book written by Joseph Pilates. We are thrilled to partner with Presentation Dynamics to present the first section of this book as an audio version. Listen to Kristi's brief introduction to find out more about the books and how you can see the second section of his book with the Mat exercises.

Return to Life Through Contrology
Originally published in 1945 by Joseph H. Pilates and William John Miller
Republished, updated and edited by Presentation Dynamics LLC
Text Copyright 1998 by Presentation Dynamics
Production Copyright 2017 by Timeshift Media, Inc.
Read by Dominic Keating
Visit Presentation Dynamics to purchase the book in print form.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Oct 24, 2017
(Log In to track)


Read Full Transcript


Kristi Cooper introduces the book.

Return to Life through Contrology was Joseph Pilates' second book, published in 1945 when he was about 62 years old. He had a co-author named William John Miller, who we haven't found much information on, but it may explain why language and grammar were an improvement from Joseph Pilates' first book, which he authored himself. Return to Life is divided into two sections. The first section contains Joseph Pilates' world view per motion and philosophy of his method. The second section is a breakdown of his mat exercises and detailed photos.

The photos were taken by George Hornigan Wayne, who was a famous fashion photographer in New York City during the 1920s and 30s. We don't know if Hornigan Wayne and Pilates had a pre-existing friendship or if the photographer was just hired for the book. This audio version of Return to Life only contains that first section, since the second one requires you to see the photographs. If you'd like a copy of the book, we've included the link in the description section of this video. The republished version comes from Presentation Dynamics, which we partnered with on his project.

I hope you'll enjoy this audio presentation of Joseph Pilates' Return to Life Through Contrology.


Pilates Anytime presents Return to Life Through Contrology, originally published in 1945 by Joseph H. Pilates and William John Miller. Republished, updated and edited by Presentation Dynamics. Read by Dominick Keating. Introduction.

Mortal perfection is achievable only through bodily perfections and therefore the development of physique to high levels of strength and beauty under control of the mind. This is the first requisite of human achievement. Also, the maintenance of a superior standard of physical fitness is increasingly necessary to the maintenance of life and liberty in any complex civilization. It is supremely so in times of social strife. Therefore, the discovery and use of the most efficient programs of physical improvement are now vital to the very presentation of the race.

In my judgment, contrology is an ideal system to transform the body into a perfect instrument of the will. It is kinesiologically proper, physiologically sound, psychologically correct. I have personal knowledge of its success in effecting astonishing results, not only for normal adults, but also those suffering from supposedly incurable physical defects and organic deficiencies. For 20 years, I have studied professionally the leading systems of body development proposed and used in schools, colleges, private gymnasia and other institutions and have no hesitation in saying that the Pilates system is not merely 20 or 50 or 80% more efficient, but must be several times as effective as any practicable combination of other systems. To appreciate the truth of this statement, the listener must himself have experimented with other systems.

And then must have actually used contrology. For it develops not only the muscles of the body, suppleness of the limbs and functioning of vital organs and endocrine glands. It also clarifies the mind and develops the will, so it is with great pleasure that I endorse Joseph H. Pilates' work and hope it will spread throughout country, bringing increased physical fitness to all. Frederick Rand Rogers, President North American Physical Fitness Institute. The basic fundamentals of a natural physical education.

Basic Fundamentals

Civilization impairs physical fitness. Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical fitness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure. To achieve the highest accomplishments within the scope of our capabilities in all walks of life, we must constantly strive to acquire strong, healthy bodies and develop our minds to the limit of our ability. This very rapidly progressing world with it's ever increasing faster tempo of living demands that we be physically fit and alert in order that we may succeed in the unceasing race with keen competition which rewards the go getter, but bypasses the no getter.

Physical fitness can neither be acquired by wishful thinking, nor by outright purchase. However, it can be gained through performing the daily exercises conceived for this purpose by the founder of contrology, whose unique methods accomplish this desirable result by successfully counteracting the harmful inherent conditions associated with modern civilization. In the stone age and onward, man lived mostly outdoors with practically little shelter from the elements. He has not yet lived long enough indoors with protection against the elements to be able to successfully withstand the daily strains and stresses imposed upon him by our present mode of fast living. This explains why both you and I and all the rest of us are compelled in our own interest to give constant thought to the improvement of our bodies and to spend more time in acquiring and maintaining that all important goal of physical fitness.

All in all, we do not give our bodies the care that our well being deserves. True, we do stroll in the fresh air whenever our whimsical spirit moves us or whenever necessity compels us to do so, with the result that on these occasions, we do in spite of ourselves exercise our legs to this limited extent, accomplished, however at the sacrifice of the rest of our body, which after all is much more important to us from the viewpoint of our general health. Is it any wonder then that this haphazard and wholly inadequate bodybuilding technique of the average person fails so miserably in the acquirement of physical fitness. Admittedly, it is rather difficult to gain ideal physical fitness under the handicap of daily breathing, the soot saturated air of our crowded and noisy cities. On the other hand, we can more quickly realize this ambition if we are privileged to breathe the pure fresh air of the country and forests without the accompaniment of the traffic roar of the city which constantly tends to keep our nerves strung taught.

Even those of us who work in the city and are fortunate enough to live in the country must counteract the unnatural physical fatigue and mental strain experienced in our daily activities. Telephones, automobiles and economic pressure all combine to create physical letdown and mental stress. So great that today practically no home is entirely free from sufferers of some form of nervous tension. Because of the intense concentration demanded by our work, and despite the real enjoyment our work may bring some of us, we nevertheless gladly welcome any additional relief in the form of diversified and pleasant recreational activities, preferably outdoors and our constant attempts to offset the effects of increasing cares and burdens so common today. To ease mental strain and relieve physical fatigue, we must acquire a reserved stockpile of nervous energy in order that we may really be able to enjoy ourselves at night.

Hobbies and all forms of play tend materially to renew our vitality with accompanying moral uplift. Play is not necessarily confined to only indulging in conventional games. Rather, the term play as we use it here, embraces every possible form of pleasurable living. For example, simply spending a quiet and pleasant evening at home with our family chatting with congenial friends is according to our interpretation, a form of play that is delightful. Pleasant social entertainment is distinguished from our daily work.

This finds us cheerful, contented and relaxed. However, many of us at the end of our daily work lack sufficient energy at night for recreation. How many of us simply spend the night routinely reading the evening newspaper. How many of us are entirely too exhausted to read, even occasionally, an interesting book, visit our friends or see one of the latest motion pictures. When some of us occasionally spend a weekend away from our usual city haunts and environments, instead of receiving the immediate benefits of that desirable change in the way of complete revitalization without fatigue, as the result of our experience outdoors in the bright sunshine, we are more often than not likely to find ourselves only recovering from the shock of our disappointment about the middle of the following week.

Why? Because our previous mode of living and the consequent neglect of our bodies has not prepared us for reaping the beneficial results of this diversion. We lacked the necessary reserve energy to draw upon for this purpose and the fault lies only with us and not with nature as most of us like to think. All that any normal body should require is a change from whatever it has previously been subjected to. Accordingly, since we are living in this modern age, we must of necessity devote more time and more thought to the important matters of acquiring physical fitness.

This does not necessarily imply that we must devote ourselves only to the mere development of any particular pet set of muscles, but rather more rationally to the uniform development of our bodies as a whole, keeping all our organs as nearly as possible in their naturally normal condition so that we may not only be in a better position to earn our daily bread, but also so that we may have sufficient vitality in reserve at night for the enjoyment of compensating pleasure and relaxation. Perhaps with some feeling of doubt, you ask, how can I realize such a utopian condition. At night, I am much too tired to go to a gymnasium or isn't it too costly to enroll for a conditioning course in some good gymnasium or club. Return to Life fully explains how you can successfully achieve your worthy ambition to attain physical fitness right in your own home and at only nominal cost.

Contrology Restores

Contrology restores physical fitness.

Contrology is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. Through contrology, you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises, you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities. This true rhythm and control is observed both in domestic pets and wild animals, without known exceptions. Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit. In childhood, with rare exceptions we all enjoy the benefits of natural and normal physical development.

However, as we mature, we find ourselves living in bodies not always complimentary to our ego. Our bodies are slumped, our shoulders are stooped, our eyes are hollow, our muscles are flabby and our vitality extremely lowered, if not vanished. This is but the natural result of not having uniformly developed all the muscles of our spine, trunk, arms and legs in the course of pursuing our daily labors and office activities. If you will faithfully perform your contrology exercises regularly only four times a week for just three months as outlined in Return to Life, you will find your body development approaching the ideal, accompanied by renewed mental vigor and spiritual enhancement. Contrology is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, in the way you play and in the way you work.

You will develop muscular power with corresponding endurance, ability to perform arduous duties, to play strenuous games, to walk, run or travel for long distances without undue body fatigue or mental strain and this by no means is the end. One of the major results of contrology is gaining the mastery of your mind over the complete control of your body. How many beginners are amazed and chagrined, even trained athletes in the public eye to discover how few, if any contrology exercises they are able to execute properly. Their previous failure to exercise regularly and properly or their method of training has not helped them. There is unmistakable evidence, too, that the functioning of the brain has correspondingly deteriorated.

The brain itself is actually a sort of natural telephone switchboard exchange incorporated in our bodies as a means of communication through the sympathetic nervous system to all our muscles. Unfortunately, pure reason plays only a minor part in the lives of most of us. And practically every instance, the daily acts we perform are governed by what we think we see, hear or touch. Without stopping first to analyze or think of the possibly results of our actions, good or bad. As the result of habit or reflex action, we wink, dodge and operate machines more or less automatically.

Ideally, our muscles should obey our will. Reasonably, our will should not be dominated by the reflex actions of our muscles. When brain cells are developed, the mind, too is developed. Teachers start with sense organs. Contrology begins with mind control over muscles.

By reawakening thousands and thousands of otherwise ordinarily dormant muscle cells, contrology correspondingly reawakens thousands and thousands of dormant brain cells, thus activating new areas and stimulating further the functioning of the mind. No wonder then that so many persons express such great surprise following their initial experience with contrology exercises caused by their realization of the resulting sensation of uplift. For the first time in many years, their minds have been truly awakened. Continued use of contrology steadily increases the normal and natural supply or pure rich blood to flow to and circulate throughout the brain with corresponding stimulation to new brain areas previously dormant. More significantly, it actually develops more brain cells.

G. Stanley Hall, the great American psychologist, observed a culture of muscles is brain building. Guiding principles of contrology.

Guiding Principles

Contrology is not a fatiguing system of dull, boring, appalled exercises repeated daily ad nauseum. Neither does it demand your joining a gymnasium nor the purchasing of expensive apparatus. You may derive all the benefits of contrology in your own home.

The only unchanging rules you must conscientiously obey are that you must always faithfully and without deviation follow the instructions accompanying the exercises and always keep your mind wholly concentrated on the purpose of the exercises as you perform them. This is vitally important in order for you to gain the results sought. Otherwise, there would be no valid reason for your interest in contrology. Moreover, you must accept all collateral advice with equal fidelity. Remember that you are teaching yourself, right?

The benefits of contrology depend solely upon your performing the exercises exactly according to instructions and not otherwise. Remember, too, that Rome was not built in a day. And that patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor. Practice your exercises diligently with the fixed and unalterable determination that you will permit nothing else to sway you from keeping faith with yourself. At times, you may feel tempted to take a night off.

Don't succumb to this momentary weakness of indecision, or rather wrong decision. Decide to remain true to yourself. Think of what would happen if the stokers fire in the boilers of a giant ocean liner were to decide to take a night off. You know the answer. If they were to repeat this action, you know the result.

The human body fortunately can withstand more neglect successfully than can the complicated machinery of a modern steamship. However, that is no good reason why we should unnecessarily and unreasonably tax our bodies beyond bounds of endurance, especially since doing so results only in hurting ourselves. Schopenhaur, the philosopher, said to neglect one's body for any other advantage in life is the greatest of follies. Make up your mind that you will perform your contrology exercise 10 minutes without fail. Amazingly enough, once you travel on this contrology road to health, you will subconsciously lengthen your trips on it from 10 to 20 or more minutes before you even realize it.

Why? The answer is simple. The exercises have stirred your sluggish circulation into action and to performing it's duty more effectively in the matter of discharging through the bloodstream, the accumulation of fatigue. Products created by muscular and mental activities. You brain clears and your willpower functions.

Bodily House Cleaning

Bodily housecleaning with blood circulation. This is the equivalent of an internal shower. As the spring fresh spawn of the heavy rains and vast masses of melting shows on mountains in the Hentalins cause rivers to swell and rush turbulently onward to the sea, so, too will your blood flow with renewed vigor as the direct result of your faithfully performing the contrology exercises. These exercises induce the heart to pump strong and steadily with the result that the blood stream is forced to carry and discharge more and more of the accumulated debris created by debris. Contrology exercises drive the pure fresh blood to every muscle fiber of our bodies, particularly to the very important capillaries which ordinarily are rarely ever fully stimulated once we have reached adulthood.

As a heavy rainstorm freshens the water of a sluggish or stagnant stream and whips it into immediate action, so contrology exercises purify the blood in the bloodstream and whip it into instant action with the result that the organs of the body including the important sweat glands receive the benefit of clean fresh blood carried to them by the rejuvenated blood stream. Observe the beneficial effects that contrology exercises have on your heart action. Contrology exercises guard against unnecessary pounding or throbbing of your heart. Study carefully the poses illustrated by the photographs and note that all the exercises are performed while you are in a sitting or reclining position. This is done to relieve your heart from undue strain as well as to take advantage of the more normal original position of the visceral organs of your body when in such positions.

Contrary to exercises performed in an upright position, those performed while you are in a recumbent position do not aggravate any possible undetected organic weakness. True heart control follows correct breathing which simultaneously reduces heart strain, purifies the blood and develops the lungs. To breathe correctly, you must completely exhale and inhale, always trying very hard to squeeze every atom of impure air from your lungs in much the same matter that you would wring every drop of water from a wet cloth. When you stand erect again, the lungs will automatically completely refill themselves with fresh air. This in turn supplies the blood stream with vitally necessary life giving oxygen.

Also the complete exhalation and inhalation of air stimulates all muscles into greater activity. Soon the entire body is abundantly charged with fresh oxygen, a fact which makes itself instantly known as the revitalized blood reaches the tips of your fingers and toes similarly as the heat generated by a good head of steam in your boiler and properly distributed by your radiators is felt in every room of your house. Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it. Since we cannot live without breathing, it is tragically deplorable to contemplate the millions and millions who have never learned to master the art of correct breathing.

Once often wonders how so many millions continue to live as long as they do under this tremendous handicap to longevity. Lazy breathing converts the lungs, figuratively speaking, into a cemetery for the deposition of diseased, dying and dead germs as well as supplying an ideal haven for the multiplication of other harmful germs. Therefore, above all, learn how to breathe correctly. Squeeze every atom of air from your lungs until they are almost as free of air as is a vacuum. Stand erect again and observe how your lungs will automatically completely refill themselves with fresh air.

The impact of so much oxygen upon your bloodstream may at first quite naturally and normally result in your experiencing a slight sensation of lightheadedness, similar to the effect you might experience were you for the first time to find yourself actively engaged in the rarefied atmosphere high up in the mountains. However, after a few days, this feeling will entirely disappear. Whenever you hear the word rolling in the exercises, be sure to hold your chin pressed tightly against your chest and when you lie down or when you rise, roll and unroll your spine exactly in imitation of a wheel, rolling forward and backward. Vertebra by vertebra, try to roll and unroll as suggested. It is this very action of rolling and unrolling that cleanses your lungs so effectively by driving out the impure air and forcing in the pure air as you roll and unroll.

Indefatigably and conscientiously practice breathing the art of correct breathing becomes habitual, automatic and subconscious, which accomplishment will result in the bloodstream receiving its full quota of oxygen and thus ward off undue fatigue. Study carefully. Do not sacrifice knowledge to speed in building your solid exercise regime on the foundation of contrololgy. Follow instructions exactly as indicated down to the very smallest detail. There is a reason.

Contrology is not a system of haphazard exercises designed to produce only bulging muscles. Just to the contrary, it was conceived and tested for over 43 years with the idea of properly and scientifically exercising every muscle in your body in order to improve the circulation of the blood so that the bloodstream can and will carry more and better blood to feed every fiber and tissue of your body. Nor does contrology air either by over developing a few muscles at the expense of all others with resulting loss of grace and suppleness, or the sacrifice of the heart or lungs. Rather, it was conceived to limber and stretch muscles and ligaments so that your body will be as supple as that of a cat and not muscular like that of a body of a briery truck horse or the muscle bound body of the professional weightlifter you so much admire in the circus. Concentrate on the correct movements.

Each time you exercise, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all the vital benefits of their value. Correctly executed and mastered to the point of subconscious reaction, these exercises will reflect grace and balance in your routine activities. Contrology exercises build a sturdy body and sound mind fitting to perform every daily task with ease and perfection as well as to provide tremendous reserve energy for sports, recreation, emergencies. Very interesting, but quite obvious when you come to think of it is the indisputable fact that no one modern activity employs all our muscles. The nearest approach to this ideal is found in all round swimming and fancy diving.

Walking, the only exercise over activity common to most of us employs only a limited number of muscles. With repetition, the art of walking becomes a subconscious habit, not infrequently a bad one. And only too often, accompanied by poor posture. Note our letter carriers. However, there is another important reason for consistently exercising all our muscles, namely that each muscle may cooperatively and loyally aid in the uniform development of all our muscles.

Developing minor muscles naturally helps to strengthen major muscles. As small bricks are employed to build large buildings, so will the development of small muscles help develop large muscles. Therefore when all your muscles are properly developed, you will as a matter of cause, perform your work with minimum effort and maximum pleasure. On a pleasant sunshiny morning, how we all naturally thrill in anticipation of accompanying congenial friends on a trip over modern highways to the country in a perfect running automobile with a good driver at the wheel knowing that his gradual acceleration and deceleration and his skill for negotiation of even sharp curves and abrupt turns are all accomplished so smoothly that we never give a conscious thought to his fine driving, but rather concentrate on enjoying the passing scenery. How different however our reactions when taking a similar ride in a neglected car driven by a bad driver who's jerky starts, sudden stops and dangerous turns not only upset our balance constantly, but also rob us of the pleasure of the trip, especially after we realize that luckily for us he just missed capsizing the car, although he did not succeed in avoiding dumping us into the ditch.

With the foregoing examples to guide us, we should wisely select as our pattern of life in this modern age that which excludes constant pushing, shoving, rushing, crowding and wild scrambling also characteristic of our day, this too fast pace is plainly reflected in our manner of standing, walking, sitting, eating and even talking. And results in our nerves being on edge from morning to night and actually depriving us of our needed sleep. Constantly keep in the mind the fact that you are not interested in merely developing bulging muscles, but rather flexible ones. Bulging muscles hinder the attainment of flexibility because the overdeveloped muscles interfere with the proper development of the underdeveloped muscles. True flexibility can be achieved only when all muscles are uniformly developed.

Normal muscles should function naturally in much the same manner as do the muscles of animals. For instance, at the very next opportunity, watch a cat as it lazily opens its eyes, slowly looks around and gradually prepares to rise after a nap. First, it gradually rises on its hind quarters and then gradually lowers itself again at the same time sprawling out on the floor, leisurely stretching its forepaws with extended claws and legs. Observe closely how all its back muscles actually ripple as it stretches and relaxes itself. Cats, as well as other animals acquire this ideal rhythm of motion because they are constantly stretching and relaxing themselves, sharpening their claws, twisting, squirming, turning, climbing, wrestling and fighting.

Also observe, too, how cats sleep, utterly relaxed whether they happen to be lying on their back, side or belly. Contrology exercises emphasize the need for this constant stretching and relaxing. Before proceeding, we must speak of the spinal column with which are associated practically all of the major activities of our body. The spine is composed of 26 vertebrae. Each vertebra is separated from the other by intervertebral cartilage.

This cartilage acts as a cushion to absorb the shock of sudden jars, reduces friction to a minimum and gives the spine its characteristic flexibility, thus permitting it to function even more freely. The science of contrology disproves that prevalent and all too trite saying you're only as old as you feel. The art of contrology proves that the only real guide to your true age lies not in age or now you think you feel, but as you actually are as infallibly indicated by the degree of natural and normal flexibility enjoyed by your spine throughout your life. If your spine is in inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.

Because of poor posture, practically 95% of our population suffers from varying degrees of spinal curvature, not to mention more serious ailments. In a newly born infant, the back is flat because the spine is straight. Of course, we all know that this is exactly as intended by nature. Not only then, but also throughout life. However, this ideal condition rarely obtains an adult life.

When the spine curves, the entire body is thrown out of its natural alignment, off balance. Note daily the thousands of persons with round stooped shoulders and protruding abdomens. The back would be flat if the spine were kept as straight as a plum line and its flexibility would be comparable to that of the finest watch spring steel. Fortunately, the spine lends itself quite readily to correction. Therefore, in the reclining exercises, be sure wherever indicated to keep your back full length, always pressed firmly against the mat or floor.

When rising from the floor or lowering yourself to the floor, always do so with a rolling or unrolling motion exactly in imitation of wheel equipped with imaginary vertebrae rolling forward or backward. Vertebra by vertebra, try to roll and unroll. These rolling and unrolling movements tend to gradually but surely restore the spine to its normal at birth position with its correspondingly increased flexibility. At the same time you are completely emptying and refilling your lungs to their full capacity. This admittedly requires persistence and earnest effort, but it is worth it.

It would be a grave error to assume that even contrology exercises alone will remake a man or a woman into an entirely physically fit person. To understand this statement better, just remember that exercises as such with relation to physical fitness are somewhat similar to the relationship a grindstone or hone bears to an ax or razor. For example, how obvious is the answer to the foolish question as to which to two equally expert wood choppers would cry timber first. The one with the dull ax or soar or the one who habitually sharpens his tools nightly in preparation for his work the next day. Correspondingly proper diet and sufficient sleep must supplement our exercise in our question for physical fitness.

Another important factor in this connection is that of relaxation at stated fixed intervals throughout our work day, wherever it is possible to do so since this practice keeps us physically fit after we have obtained physical fitness. The man who uses intelligence with respect to his diet, his sleeping habits and who exercises properly is beyond any question of doubt taking the very best preventative medicines provided so freely and abundantly by nature. By all means, never fail to get all the sunshine and fresh air that you can. Remember, too, that your body also breathes through the pores of your skin, as well as through your mouth, nose and lungs. Clean open skin pores permit perspiration to uninterruptedly eliminate the poisons of your body.

Moreover, unless you are really chilly, do not exercise in sweat shirts or even in lighter clothing. Whenever and wherever possible, wear shorts or sunsuits outdoors and let the life giving ultraviolet rays reach and penetrate into every skin pore of your body. Do not fear the cold of winter. When you are outdoors, wear rather loose fitting clothes in preference to tight fitting garments. Not overlooking, of course, the importance of stout, comfortable shoes.

Breathe properly, walk correctly and swing along briskly. If you follow this sound advice, you will find yourself feeling comfortable and invigorated. The principle point to remember with regard to diet is to eat only enough food to restore the fuel consumed by the body and to keep enough of it on hand at all times to furnish the extra energy required on occasions beyond our normal needs and to meet unexpected emergencies. Merely eating to satisfy one's lust for good food is both foolish and dangerous to one's health. Such a person cannot ever be truly physically fit.

No wonder. Youth and growing children quite naturally require a greater intake of food than do adults and the aged. The former are maturing, the latter have matured. Not only the amount of food, but also the kind is largely dependent upon one's occupation and sometimes lack of it. Is it not reasonable to conclude that the sedentary indoor worker requires proportionately less food and of a different kind than the laborer who is engaged in hard manual toil outdoors.

Heavy eating followed immediately by sitting or even lying down awake or asleep is comparable to overloading the fire box with coal and then closing the drafts of the furnace. The former instance is ideal for generating poisons that eventually find their way into your bloodstream. The latter instance is ideal if your aim is to maintain a smoldering fire without adequate heat instead of a bright glowing fire to radiate its comforting warmth throughout your house. You have the choice either case. Common sense dictates that you will make the right one.

A man eating a heavy meal and indulging in vigorous activity will react there, too, comparably to the way that a furnace with drafts open will react to a fire in a well filled fire box. Accordingly, it is earnestly suggested that you guide your eating habits with all due respect to the required amount of food and kind you need to keep yourself physically fit, always as indicated by your occupation or lack of it. Often, men who have been accustomed to work hard on a farm or play hard in school athletics or labor hard in a factor continue eating the hearty meals they then ate even though now they're engaged only in sedentary indoor occupations where moderate meals are indicated. This practice is very unwise since it unnecessarily adds excess weight to their bodies. Much of it in the form of undesirable fat, which if man were a hibernator, he could draw on in much the same manner that hibernating animals do in the winter when they draw against the stockpile of reserved energy with which the instinct of nature has provided them over the long period of their enforced inactivity and sleep.

Since man is not a hibernating creature, such excess of fat is a real detriment to him in posing an unnecessarily burden on his heart, liver, bladder and other vitally important organs of his digestive system. Still worse for him is the unnatural formation and accumulation of fat directly around the heart itself. The carrying of this extra poundage produces needless fatigue. Imagine yourself for instance carrying a well filled traveling bag weighing 20 pounds. For one or two blocks, all goes comparatively well, but with each additional block it is carried, the urge to rest is proportionately increased until at length the resulting fatigue compels you to do so.

How relieved you feel after you have reached your final destination. You are doing exactly the very same thing when you persist in carrying 20 needless pounds of excess weight on your body, only you are not so keenly aware of it because the weight is carried by the entire body instead of by your carrying arm alone as in the case of the bag. However, fatigue is created thereby in either case. Why not relieve yourself of this truly excess baggage. Once acquired, it is unfortunately not so easy to rid yourself of excess weight.

Nevertheless, it can be done. Consult your family physician for regular physical checkups and then follow his sound advice and instructions implicitly. Every adult over 40 years of age should not deny himself the benefits of a medical examination every three months. Once a year should suffice for younger persons, unless some condition indicates to the contrary. Even in their case, consulting their physician twice a year would be wise.

If this sound suggestion is followed, latent ailments can be discovered in their early development stage and the growth of a long and perhaps serious illness may thus be nipped in the bud. If any particular part of your body is underdeveloped or shows an accumulation of excess fat, select contrology exercises specifically to correct the respective conditions, repeating the exercises at stated intervals throughout the work day whenever it is possible to do so. However, be sure never to repeat the selected exercise or exercises more than the prescribed number of times, since more harm will result than good by your unwittingly or intentionally disregarding this most important advice and direction. Why? Because this infraction creates muscular fatigue, poison.

There is really no need for tired muscles. Judicious selection of special contrology exercises will accomplish more for your health and bodily condition in conjunction with the foregoing advice that all else combined. Now let us consider the important question of good sleep at night. A quiet, cool, well-ventilated room is best. Do not use a soft mattress.

Firm, but not soft is a good rule to follow. Use the lightest possible bed covering consistent with warmth. Do not use large bulky pillows or as some do, two stacked pillows. Better still, use none at all. Most important in the matter of enjoying good recuperative sleep are quiet, darkness, fresh air and mental calm.

Nervousness is usually aggravated by a lack of proper exercise, especially in the case of one with a troubled mind. The best alleviate for this condition is exercise, so if your sleep is disturbed, rise immediately and perform your exercises. It is far better to be tired from physical exertion, than to be fatigued by the poisons generated by nervousness while lying awake. Particularly beneficial in this regard are the spinal rolling and unrolling massage exercises which relax the nerves and induce sound restful sleep. While conceding the fact that nowadays practically every one of us routinely indulges in daily baths, experience has nevertheless taught us that only a small minority really achieve thorough cleanliness thereby from our point of view.

In our opinion, the correct technique to use in accomplishing this highly desirable result, is to use only a good stiff brush, no handle, since this type of brush forces us to twist, squirm and contort ourselves in every conceivable way in our attempts to reach every portion of our body, which is otherwise comparatively easy to reach with a handle brush. The use of a good stiff brush as described stimulates circulation, thoroughly cleans out the pores of the skin and removes dead skin, too. The pores of your skin must breathe. They cannot do so unless they are kept open and freed from clogging. You skin will soon respond most gratifyingly to this perhaps seemingly spartan like treatment and acquire in the process a new fresh glowing appearance and develop a texture smooth and soft to the touch.

So brush away merrily and heartily, too. Finally, beginning with the introductory lesson, each succeeding exercise should be mastered before proceeding progressively with the following exercises. Make a close study of each exercise and do not attempt any other exercise until you first have mastered the current one and know its routine down to the last detail without any reference to the text. Be certain that you have your entire body under complete mental control.

Results of Contrology

Results of contrology.

Good posture can be successfully acquired only when the entire mechanism of the body is under perfect control. Graceful carriage follows as a matter of course. Just as a good smooth running automobile engine is the result of proper parts correctly assembled, so that it operates with a minimum consumption of gasoline and oil with comparatively little wear, so, too, is the proper functioning of your own body, a direct result of the assembled contrology exercises that produce a harmonious structure we term physical fitness, reflecting itself in a coordinated and balanced tri-part unity of body, mind and spirit. This, in turn, results in perfect posture when sitting, standing or walking with a utilization of approximately only 25% of your energy while the approximately remaining 75% in the form of surplus energy reserve is on call to meet the needs of any possible emergency. The art of correct walking consists principally and simply in a slight tilting forward of the proper standing posture, alternately placing one foot before the other with the weight of the body poised and balanced on the balls of the feet.

Be careful not to lock your knees as doing so will jar the spine and interrupt the rhythmic walking motion. Standing also is very important and should be practiced at all times until it is mastered. First, assume the correct posture. Then when tired, shift the weight of the body from one side to the other, while resting on the idle side. Do not push your hips out or lock your knees.

Progress forward with a slightly swaying graceful motion comparable to the effect created by a gentle breeze blowing over a field of growing wheat ready for harvest, causing it to gracefully sway in ways from its roots to its tips. Never slouch, as doing so compresses the lungs overcrowds other vital organs, rounds the back and throws you off the balance created by poising the weight of your body on the balls of your feet. If you will faithfully follow the instructions beginning with the introductory lesson, you will without doubt acquire correct physical fitness with proper mental control. You will truly be building upon the solid foundation of contrology which itself is built upon scientific principles so true, sound and unique that the science and art of contrology will live forever. As you progress in your self instruction, you never have anything to unlearn.

These exercises will actually become a part of your very self, securely stored away forever in your subconscious mind. You who have learned correctly how to ride a bicycle, how to swim or how to drive an automobile need never worry with respect to the possibility of your failing to use the right technique in these skills on all occasions because of the confidence born of that fact that you realize you received your instructions from the best available source and authority. So, too, the requirement and practice of the art and science of contrology will instill that confidence in you that will remain forever for future use as occasions therefore may indicate. Then, it is simply only a question of retoning the muscles that have in the meantime become soft as the result of disuse. With body, mind and spirit functioning perfectly as a coordinated whole, what else could reasonably be expected other than an active, alert, disciplined person.

Moreover, such a body freed from nervous tension and over fatigue is the ideal shelter provided by nature for housing a well balanced mind that is always fully capable of successfully meeting all the complex problems of modern living. Personal problems are clearly thought out and calmly met. The requirement and enjoyment of physical well being, mental calm and spiritual peace are priceless to their possessors if there be any such so fortunate living among us today. However, it is the ideal to strive for and in our opinion, it is only through contrology that this unique trinity of a balanced body, mind and spirit can ever be attained. Self confidence follows.

The ancient Athenians wisely adopted as their own the Roman motto, mens sonna en capore sonno, a sane mind and a sound body. And the Greeks as a people displayed even greater wisdom when they practiced what they preached and thus came nearest to achieving its actual accomplishment. Self confidence, poise, consciousness of possessing the power to accomplish our desires with renewed lively interest in life are the natural results of the practice of contrology. Thus we achieve happiness, for is not real happiness truly born of the realization of worthwhile work well done with the gratification of enjoying the other pleasures flowing from successful accomplishment with it's compensating measure of play and resulting relaxation. So in your very commendable pursuit of all that is implied in the trinity of God-like attributes that only contrology can offer you, we bid you not goodbye, but au revoir, firmly linked with the sincere wish that your efforts will result in well merited success, chained to everlasting happiness for you and yours.


This is Dominick Keating. We hope you have enjoyed this abridged production of Return to Life Through Contrology, originally published in 1945 by Joseph H. Pilates and William John Miller, republished, updated and edited by Presentation Dynamics. This program was produced by Dion Audio Services, text copyright 1998 by Presentation Dynamics. Production copyright 2017 by Time Shift Media. All rights reserved.

Thank you for listening.

Related Content


1 person likes this.
Thank You 💕
You're welcome Ewa. Thank you for listening.
1 person likes this.
Great! Thank you.
1 person likes this.
Such a great idea. Thank you so much.
1 person likes this.
That was INCREDIBLY informative Kristi
I totally enjoyed every chapter ...
I am truly grateful
1 person likes this.
wonderful idea
Much better will be if you put English subtitles
Any way Thank you very much
Can we get this as downloads? I can then listen on headphones while walking my dog √√√√
1 person likes this.
Bunny ~ If you have an iPhone, you can download each chapter through our app. I hope this helps!
Enrique ~ Thank you for your feedback. We partnered with Presentation Dynamics to produce the audio version of this book. We actually don't have the rights to the written text of the book, so we are not able to add subtitles. I recommend purchasing the book from Presentation Dynamics to follow along with the audio. I hope this helps!
Thanks for telling me about the downloads. Great idea. Any chance it can be the whole book in one download as it won't let me download all the chapters as says it's too many.
1-10 of 15

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Pilates Anytime Logo

Move With Us

Experience Pilates. Experience life.

Let's Begin