Sonje Mayo Interview Part 3

Sonjé Mayo on Joe Pilates – Part 3

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In Part 3 of our interview (here's Part 1 & Part 2), Sonjé Mayo tells what she remembers of the equipment in Joe's studio and who made it for him. You'll hear about how he created specific apparatus just for the needs of certain clients and her impressions of Clara as a gentle, sympathetic teacher in a frumpy nurse's uniform as well as verbal cues that Joe used when teaching including the German term for Powerhouse 'Krafthaus' and the 'house for the mouse' in the Side Kicks Series. Sonjé demonstrates some of the differences she noticed in the way Pilates was taught in Joe's studio compared to how she sees it taught today, what she learned about breathing in the studio, how she had to rein in her tendency toward performance during her Pilates sessions, the similarities between the Martha Graham contraction and Spine Stretch Forward and more! Please leave your questions and comments for Sonjé below, we look forward to spending more time with her. Sonjé now lives in Memphis, Tennessee where she teaches Pilates to a lucky group of clients. Visit her website at:

What Others Are Saying


  1. ScotPilates 9 months ago

    So lovely to listen to all three videos. I wonder about the piano player though. I feel that it was Joe, is this the exercise mentioned?

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 9 months ago

      Thank you for listening to me droning on and trying to pull the facts out of the dark recesses of my mind…….52 years later!
      I think you are referring to ‘The Piano Lesson’ which is ‘Frog Facing Front , Hands on Peddle’ .
      None of the images you included show that exercise.

  2. newaida

    this was so great.. was able to watch the 3 videos with no problems and it felt like listening to your grandmother’s story.. leaving you with that grounding feel.. BIG thank you to all of you for sharing so much ❤️

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 3 years ago

      Thank you! I was rather long-winded but I am so passionate about my short time with Joe Pilates.
      However since that interview I have realized that I confused Mary Pilates with Hannah and I will be correcting that with another short interview soon.

  3. Stephmuir 3 years ago

    Ahhh it did and then the video continued on 🙂 I am so enjoying hearing all about JP from someone who trained directly with him! MIND BLOWN! Thank you for sharing Sonje and greetings from Douglasdale in Johannesburg!

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 3 years ago

      Oh wow China… good to hear from you in Josie. I had no idea that Pilatesology had such a tremendous reach!
      We can thank Alisa for that.

  4. Stephmuir 3 years ago

    This so amazing and fascinating. Is it just me or does video 3 suddenly turn into video 2 from: “people off the street…”?

  5. Lannette
    Lannette 3 years ago

    I found it! Her link is broken under the teachers area but the one under classes works. Thanks again for such interesting content.

    • Alisa Wyatt

      Hi Lannette!
      Thank You for your comment- I fixed the link issue this morning : )


      DIrector of Customer Happiness

  6. Lannette
    Lannette 3 years ago

    Thank you! This series is fascinating! I tried to find the online sessions with Sonja Mayo and the links all come up as errors. I even tried clicking on her name under the “Teachers” area. I guess these sessions are no longer available?

  7. Allegri 3 years ago


  8. vlada_kor 4 years ago

    More please! 🙂

  9. Alisa Wyatt

    Hi Everyone, I wanted to let you all know that we have booked a date for Sonje to visit us and film a workshop and mat classes! The dates are Thurs June 15 & Fri June 16th at our studio in Hermosa Beach. If you’re interested in attending the workshop, please send an email to: with Sonje Workshop in the subject. Thank you for your wonderful comments, we are thrilled to be able to bring you more Sonje!

    • joesmat 4 years ago

      Looking forward to seeing Sonje Mayo’s Mat class. It would be wonderful to see her participate.
      Great Stuff.

  10. Susan George 4 years ago

    Question for Sonje regarding her own workout….is she able to do a workout each day for herself? She is in such beautiful shape!

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 3 years ago

      Hi Susan,
      Pilates has been my lifesaver, especially when I retired from professional dance.
      As I have scoliosis, I do a modified version of Pilates so that my curves do not get worse.
      Normally I do one strong advanced equipment session and one or two Mat classes per week. Joe felt that Pilates done conscientiously 3 times a week was adequate.
      However, I am mindful about my posture in daily living and when I teach……always have my ‘navel in and up’ and work for elongation of the spine.

  11. Susan George 4 years ago

    I would love to take a session with her!! Does she ever come to L.A?

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 3 years ago

      I will be in LA again in February 2018. You can arrange a session with me through Alisa. I would love to meet you!

  12. Claudia 4 years ago

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!! It’s just so interesting and delightfull to watch and listen to you two! This is addictive!!
    I would like to see more and like “the pilateshere” I would be delighted to see Sonje teaching!

  13. Thepilatesphere 4 years ago

    Thank you Alisa for interviewing Sonje! I am so blessed to have been trained by her and continue to have her as my mentor. She is so disciplined in everything she does and she demands the best from all her students. My friends and I love every time Sonje tells a story about Joe and Clara & always say that we need to have these all on film. We also have an ongoing list of “Sonjeisms”. I do wish that there will be a video of Sonje teaching a class. Her voice, the rhythm, her energy and presence all create this flow like no other teacher! THANK YOU!!!

  14. Holly Quaglia Wells 4 years ago

    Love! Love! Love! Okay, after watching all three of these videos and loving the little Pearls of Wisdom that have been shared, I have to know, where did Sonje get her leggings! Totally unrelated but I love them!

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 3 years ago

      The leggings are from Vimmia. Sorry about my late response.

  15. Kerry 4 years ago

    What fun! Thank you Alisa for introducing us to such a lovely lady with such fun memories and stories, and tips for doing some excercises. Yes it would be great to find Christina and Patricia….

  16. Martin 4 years ago

    Cue the international search for Christina and Patricia!

  17. Ynowak 4 years ago

    Great interview series! Thank you for sharing your memories.

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