Pilates is a form of exercise that incorporates mind and body. Pilates promotes long, lean muscles, a clear mind and a refreshed sense of accomplishment. The exercises combine elements from yoga, breathing techniques, dancing, gymnastics and boxing. Joseph Pilates founded the principles of Pilates over 80 years ago. Basic Pilates exercises do not require any fitness equipment. Many exercises can be done on the floor, using your own body weight for resistance. More advanced exercisers may perform Pilates movements on exercise equipment called reformers.