Return to Life

Pilates makes me feel alive. It reminds me of all that I am and it pushes me to totally rely on it. Everyone can do Pilates because Pilates is only for you. It is all about your body and your life… And life, we easily forget, is breathing. The moment our breath goes out and there is no more breath coming in that is when life is over. Life is breath. Well, some might say, if life is all about breathing, life must be easy. That is the moment when I would suggest them to try the hundreds.

The hundreds is a Pilates exercise that follows a fast and rhythmic breathing pattern while challenging the body by holding a specific position. There is little movement in the hundreds compared to other Pilates exercises, yet it is one of the most challenging.

Now everyone can breathe, but when doing the hundreds you are consciously leading, controlling, and concentrating on your breath. Eventually, you will realize how difficult it is to breathe and you might even realize how fast one gets out of breath… no breath, no life.

Life is in us and all around us, so is the air in our lungs. Air is the engagement between us and the world. It is when we concentrate on our breathing that we find the moments of dependence, exchange, and reliance that bound our existence to this world. Unsurprisingly, most meditation methods focus on breathing.

Joseph Pilates is told to have been fighting with illness during his childhood and when he initially started developing and practicing his method, which he named Contrology, it was used for rehabilitation purposes on soldiers who had been injured during the Second World War. Indeed, one of Joseph Pilates´books holds the title Return to Life through Contrology.

Whenever I do the hundreds I fully come alive. Whenever I do the hundreds I am so much aware of my body and what keeps this body alive and I realize there is an essential something I can do to control my life: control my breath.

Sadly, it also reminds me of the many times I am not fully alive and in control during my every day because I am not filling myself with all that I am.


Pilates, Jospeh H. & Miller, William J. (1945). Return to Life Through Contrology. New York: J. J. Augustin.