Pilates is an exercise system that focuses on stretching and strengthening the whole body to improve balance, muscle-strength, flexibility and posture. It was created in the early 1900s and incorporates elements of yoga, martial arts and Western forms of exercise. Initially adopted by professional dancers in the US as an effective form of recovery after injury, pilates has steadily grown in popularity around the world, and includes celebrity fans such as Madonna and Jennifer Aniston. This accessible new book focuses on a series of exercises, body motions and self-disciplines that offer the benefits of pilates to everyone. Featuring specially commissioned practical photography, step-by-step instruction, and an introduction to the entire scope of the system of pilates.