The Women's Journal

Five Quotes From Joseph Pilates That Will Powerfully Influence Your Life!

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By Nancy Hawkins Rigg,
Founder and Owner, Forever Fit Foundation


Joseph Pilates was the author of many great quotes.  We’ve chosen five to help you to understand how the Pilates method, also referred to as Contrology, can help improve your life.

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

Joseph Pilates was adamant that Pilates, or Contrology which he called it, was about the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. This is one of the secrets of Pilates exercise: we practice each movement with total attention. When we exercise in this way the body and mind unite to bring forth the most benefit possible from each exercise. The Pilates principles: centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow are key concepts that we use to integrate body and mind.

“Contrology is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace, and skill that will unmistakably reflect in the way you walk, in the way you play, and in the way you work.” 

– Joseph Pilates

More conventional or traditional workouts are weight bearing and tend to build short, bulky muscles-the type most prone to injury. Pilates elongates and strengthens, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility. A body with balance, strength, and flexibility is less likely to be injured. It may seem like a paradox, but the more you exercise, the more energy you have and the more you feel like doing. Pilates gets the breath and circulation moving, stimulates the spine and muscles, and floods the body with good feelings.  You will move with ease and grace. All of these things will make you look and feel very fit to do anything.

“A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balance sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.” 

– Joseph Pilates

A lot of conventional workouts tend to work the same muscles. This leads weak muscles to get weaker and strong muscles to get stronger. The result is muscular imbalance and inflexibility – a primary cause of injury and chronic back pain.  When you’re tight you shorten your muscles and limit your body’s range of motion. At best, that can hurt your exercise performance. At worse, it can cause injury. Pilates conditions the whole body and no muscle group is over trained or under trained. That’s why so many professional sports teams and elite athletes now use Pilates as a critical part of their training program.

“If your spine is inflexibility stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.” 

– Joseph Pilates

Good posture is a reflection of good alignment supported by a strong core.  The core muscles of the body are the deep muscles of the back, abdomen, and pelvic floor; these are the muscles we rely on to support a strong, supple back, good posture, and efficient movement patterns. When the core is strong, the frame of the body is supported. This means the neck and shoulders can relax, and the rest of the muscles and joints are freed to do their jobs and not more. A nice side benefit is that core training promotes the flat abs we all covet.

“Every moment of our life can be the beginning of great things.”  

– Joseph Pilates

By practicing Pilates regularly you can achieve a number of health benefits without taking a toll on your body. Joseph Pilates most well know quote is, “You will feel better in ten sessions, look better in twenty sessions, and have a completely new body in thirty sessions”. That is such a great and powerful gift we can give to ourselves.


Nancy Hawkins Riggs is the founder and owner of Forever Fit Foundation, a personal training business specializing in Pilates, Gyrotonic, Gyrokinesis, Yamuna Body Rolling and sport specific training. Forever Fit Foundation accepts clients at three sites: Dover and Lewes, Del., and Mendenhall Station, Pa., just over the Delaware line. A certified athletic trainer, she earned her bachelors degree fro the University of Delaware and her master’s degree in exercise science and sports medicine from Miami University in Ohio. Please call (302) 423-1816 or (302) 698-5201 to schedule an appointment for more information.