Levitate Off Your Mat

Show Me...
Workout Tempo
Observe & Learn
Other Languages

Watch the preview

Michael is known for his ability to get you to work so deeply, you finish a class feeling as though you could levitate off your mat if he talked you through it. Get ready to find a set of muscles you never knew you had through his fabulously direct ways of putting you into position and helping you understand how to make the movement more effective. Nothing on your body will feel soggy or soft when your 30 minutes are up (well, except maybe your clothes)! Filmed at Pilates Challenge on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

What Others Are Saying


  1. Bouncyweee 2 months ago

    I had never known to imprint the outside of my shoulders and arms on the mat to keep my shoulders and lats activated and flat. My shoulders ride up my back like crazy.
    Great video!

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 2 months ago

      Thank you so much I am happy you found more awareness to that area of your body!


  2. Arabella 5 months ago

    Hi Michael,
    Thanks to Lockdown I know have the time to dig deeper into my Pilates Practice . You have the ability to reverse-engineer each exercise. I think this is how Joe, himself, would have done it. I have realized how “asleep” my glutes are. Joe uses the analogy of an old switchboard system in Return to Life. BTW isn’t the title of the book so appropriate for our current situation? We will, Return to Life, again. I digress. Will the brain – Glute connection happen with practice? I almost feel like I can’t get the connection or when I do, it’s fleeting.
    Looking forward to your next Lesson or Tutorial. I’m from South Africa where we don’t have a lot of exposure to Classical Pilates. Thanks to technology and the generosity of the Teachers on Pilatesology we can, at least, learn a little bit of this amazing Method.

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 5 months ago

      Thanks so much that was the nicest message of my career

      All my best


  3. Maryyarnall 1 year ago

    Michael is one of the most brilliant Pilates teachers I have encountered. His body kinesthetic knowledge is so impressive. His ability to translate this understanding into words is awesome. He shares his insight with the client by giving her various prompts that provide direct feedback about the muscular action.

    What happened? He hasn’t produced a video in a long time. When will Pilatesology get him back on camera to teach contrology on the other equipment. Please bring him back. What a gem!

  4. Pilatessummer79
    Pilatessummer79 2 years ago

    This was very enlightening. I cannot wait to teach my class your upright criss cross this week. So much more space in my body than I knew was available.
    Can’t wait to share.

  5. Kpatallas 6 years ago

    I will watch this many times to get the detail! Great cues and great way that you assist clients and help them turn on connections. Thank you!

  6. Pilatesconnects 6 years ago

    Michael – loving this class. feel I can really get my clients (and myself) deeper into the work with these cues.

  7. aubergine22 6 years ago

    Hi Michael, I love your workouts and cues. I especially loved the one which prepped folks for the ski season. Where is it!??! I would love to have it available again. Thank you.

  8. Liaann 6 years ago

    The cues in this are fantastic!!! Thank you so much!

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 6 years ago

      Thanks so much I am glad you found my teaching helpful, please feel free to take a look at my other videos in this website. Enjoy your workouts!


  9. Mary j Hanlon 7 years ago

    Had spinal fusion on lL4/L5 Dec 12 and started Pilates in Oct. have had flu 6 weeks so been in & out of be. Did this workout the other morning a little modified and couldn’t believe the sweat I work up and the soreness in part of my body that I didn’t realised worked any more. Is there anything specific I shouldn’t be doing in Pilates because of fusion. Thanks so much for being me back to life..
    Mary J

    • Alisa Wyatt

      Hi Mary,
      What a fantastic testament to Pilates you are, and did you know that Joe Pilates titled one of his books ‘Return to Life’?! It’s great to hear that you felt so good coming back to Pilates after your surgery and without working with you in person it’s impossible for me to say what you might need to avoid after your fusion because every body is different. Two things for you to keep in mind would be: 1) what does your doctor or Physical Therapist say that you should avoid while healing and in the future (if anything); 2) how does your body feel when you’re exercising and after?
      Always err on the side of caution when coming back to exercise after surgery and pay close attention to how your body responds–pain on the side of ‘this isn’t just my muscles’ is a warning to back off or leave a movement out for the time being or to drastically reduce the range of motion in that movement.
      If you were able to do this class without any pain you should be good to go for any of our beginner level classes. Don’t progress to the next level too soon–make sure the beginner level classes feel ‘easy’ before you move on. And finally, it would be great for you to find an instructor to take even just a few private sessions from. I’m happy to help if you’d like a recommendation in your area–email me directly at: alisa@pilatesology.com.

      • Mary Hanlon 6 years ago

        Thanks so much Alisa.
        I live in Dublin. Ireland and go to a local class which I believe is a Stotts Pilates discipline.
        My teacher is very good and varies the movements weekly.
        My physiotherapist said to avoid sit-up and thread-mills but that was probably 8 mints ago.
        Again thanks for you help and making Pilates available to all. Levels.

        • Alisa Wyatt

          It sounds like you are in great hands with your teacher Mary, keep up the good work and feel free to write with any further questions.

  10. Iris Levi 7 years ago

    I’ve been practicing Pilates 25 years, instructing 15 years and you gave me with this video the best tutorial experience i have ever had.
    THANK U !!!!!

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 7 years ago

      It’s always special to have comments like this. To know I have influenced your practice in a meaningful way. So glad you liked it


  11. joesmat 7 years ago

    It was interesting the point made about the SINGLE STRAIGHT LEG STRETCH, and how the muscles of the tummy tend to switch off because you are holding onto the leg to pull, pull. Also, the point made about the difficulty of continuously asking the so called power house to stay engaged in the mat work.

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 7 years ago

      Thanks for your observations!!!


      • joesmat 7 years ago

        It was intended as more than an observation, I should have explained that what you described, is what I feel in my practice. Thank you for sharing.

        • Michael Johnson Author
          Michael Johnson 7 years ago

          Great, eventually you try to stay connected to everything and the nervous system to have control over the body! Mind, body connection. Thanks again, for sharing and your continued support.


    SALLY DOR 7 years ago

    Absolutely love your cues !!

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 7 years ago

      Thanks for taking the time to watch.


  13. May
    May 7 years ago

    My posture is better because of this routine. The cues make it so clear for me. Thank you.

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 7 years ago

      I always strive to have clarity in my instruction. I am happy you found this helpful and your posture benefitted from this class. Keep up the good work and try all the fantastic classes that this site has to offer. Good luck


  14. tempodono 7 years ago

    Oooh this was way harder than I expected – probably due to all your specific instructions that make sure you are doing everything correctly. Thankyou!

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 7 years ago

      Every Pilates exercise is hard if you stay connected. So glad you watched. Thanks


  15. Reb 7 years ago

    Great class, Michael!

  16. susandoespilates 7 years ago

    How did you ever develop all these sensational cues?? Magnificent!!!!

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 7 years ago

      All these techniques I have developed myself over the last 30 years of practice and teaching. Thanks for your comments


  17. pkandaj 7 years ago

    Ouch! Thank goodness muscles have memories – wish I hadn’t left intense exercise for so long. Thanks Michael (& Maggi) – this was an awesome reintroduction. Loved it! Amanda J (Aus) xo

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 7 years ago


      • Michael Johnson Author
        Michael Johnson 7 years ago

        Amanda I didn’t make the connection till mom told me that I made the comment LOL. Means to me “Love and Light”. I am so happy you enjoyed this video. Keep practicing. It’s a life long program. The best in the world!!!!! Just so you know, Maggie our mom was the person who influenced me to want to learn more about Pilates. Say hello to everyone down under!!!!

        LoL. ( Love and Light)


  18. soul_eil

    Love this from the very 1st frame of the video! Thank you;))

  19. joesmat 7 years ago

    This is very special.

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 7 years ago

      Thanks joesmat !! I wish you could come to the Pilates conference in NYC this June 7-9. This summer!


  20. pilatesangel 7 years ago

    I agree with other comments….I think I broke a sweat from the starting “modification”. Feels great. This is why Pilates is the ultimate workout! Love you Michael!!!

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 7 years ago

      I agree Pilates is a great workout!! Thanks so much!!

  21. Ynowak 7 years ago

    Really appreciated the modifications for teaching these exercises for the first time. The seated twist is brilliant.

  22. lghammerle

    Thanks Michael! There are some great building blocks in this video.

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 7 years ago

      Thanks for your continued support. Mj

Leave a reply