25 Joseph Pilates Quotes From the Founder of The Popular Fitness Class

These Joseph Pilates quotes about the spine, breathing, and overall wellbeing prove just how passionate he was about people’s health.

Pilates is a group exercise class offered at many gyms, and it might seem like everyone you know is a Pilates addict, or at the very least, has tried a class.

However, it’s much more than just the latest fitness craze.

In fact, it isn’t even a new trend!

It has been around since the 1920s when Joseph and Clara Pilates opened their ‘Body Conditioning Gym’ in New York City.

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1883.

We know little about his early life, except that he appears to have been a sickly child.

He suffered from asthma attacks, rickets, and rheumatic fever.

His drive and determination to overcome these ailments fed his passion for physical health and he became a skilled gymnast, diver, and skier.

Before he became the father of Pilates, he worked as an English circus performer, boxer, and self-defense instructor.

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Best Joseph Pilates quotes about the spine, posture, and wellbeing

1. “Civilization impairs physical fitness.” — Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates quotes about civilization impairs physical fitness

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2. “A man is as young as his spinal column.” — Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates quotes about a man is as young as his spinal column

3. “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.” — Joseph Pilates

Best Joseph Pilates quotes about the spine, posture, and wellbeing

4. “You are only as young as you as your spine is flexible.” — Joseph Pilates

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5. “Physical fitness can neither be achieved by wishful thinking nor outright purchase.” — Joseph Pilates

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6. “Man should develop his physical condition simultaneously with that of his mind.” — Joseph Pilates

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7. “If your spring is inflexibly stiff at 30, you’re old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.” — Joseph Pilates

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8. “Good posture can be successfully acquired only when the entire mechanism of the body is under perfect control.” — Joseph Pilates

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9. “The acquirement and enjoyment of physical well-being, mental calm, and spiritual peace are priceless to their possessors.” — Joseph Pilates

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10. “Never slouch, as doing so compresses the lungs, overcrowds other vital organs, rounds the back, and throws you off balance.” — Joseph Pilates

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11. “Because of poor posture, practically 95% of our population suffers from varying degrees of spinal curvature, not to mention more serious ailments.” — Joseph Pilates

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12. “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.” — Joseph Pilates

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Famous Joseph Pilates quotes on breathing and the lungs

13. “Above all, learn how to breathe correctly.” — Joseph Pilates

Famous Joseph Pilates quotes on breathing and the lungs

14. “Breathing is the first act of life and the last.” — Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates quotes about breathing is the first act of life and the last

15. “By all means, never fail to get all the sunshine and fresh air you can.” — Joseph Pilates

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16. “You must squeeze every atom of impure air from the lungs until they are almost as free of air as a vacuum.” — Joseph Pilates

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17. “Before any real benefit can be derived from physical exercises, one must first learn how to breathe properly. Our very life depends on it.” — Joseph Pilates

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18. “Lazy breathing converts the lungs, literally and 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.” — Joseph Pilates

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19. “The lungs cannot be completely deflated at first without considerable effort. With perseverance, however, the desired results can be accomplished and with increasing power, gradually and progressively develop the lungs to their maximum capacity.” — Joseph Pilates

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Joseph Pilates quotes about muscles and the mind

20. “It’s the mind itself which shapes the body.” — Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates quotes about it’s the mind itself which shapes the body

21. “The Pilates Method teaches you to be in control of your body and not at its mercy.” — Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates quotes about muscles and the mind

22. “The mind, when housed within a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power.” — Joseph Pilates

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23. “When all your muscles are properly developed, you will, as a matter of course, perform your work with minimum effort and maximum pleasure.” — Joseph Pilates

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24. “With body, mind, and spirit functioning perfectly as a coordinated whole, what else could reasonably be expected other than an active, alert, disciplined person?” — Joseph Pilates

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25. “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 preventive medicines provided so freely and abundantly by nature.” — Joseph Pilates

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What did you learn from these Joseph Pilates quotes?

During the First World War, he was interned with other German nationals where he developed his technique of physical fitness further, teaching his techniques to other internees.

Later in the War, he was an orderly in a hospital on the Isle of Man.

He worked with many patients who could not walk.

He began attaching bed springs to the hospital beds, providing support for their limbs.

This was the early design that led to him developing his infamous piece of equipment known as the ‘Cadillac’.

His design has undergone some slight adaptations but is still in use today!

The original studio, opened by the Pilates, became very popular, especially with the dance community.

Because of the focus on stretching and flexibility, it helped improve the dancer’s technique and reduced injuries.

Interestingly, 60% of the clientele were men, whereas if you go to a Pilates class now, there are often more females than males present.

In 1932 Pilates published a booklet called ‘Your Health.’

He soon wrote another called “Return to Life Through Contrology” (the original name of the method) in 1945.

Through these writings and his students, his method was passed on after his death in 1967, when it became known as Pilates.

What did you learn from these Joseph Pilates quotes and sayings?

Do you have any other favorite quotes to add?

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