Pilatesology Advanced Pilates Mat Workout Sonje Mayo

The Vertical Pelvis Workout

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Find out what it was like to take class with Joe Pilates as a young dancer. Your teacher Sonjé Mayo was exactly that, and in this workout she shares the key detail that Joe insisted upon. Sonjé calls it the 'Vertical Pelvis' and if you’ve never practiced this way you’re in for a humbling and body changing experience. Learn what true stability feels like, why your body might have different needs than your neighbor's and how much it adds to the advanced moves you already know. For teacher training, lessons and Scroth work, visit Sonjé Mayo at http://Sonjémayo.com/.

What Others Are Saying


  1. loremiller
    loremiller 4 months ago

    Wonderful deep work mat class. Loved the cuing for ‘Vertical Pelvis’. It added a whole new dimention. Bravo Sonja, great workout!

  2. Jennifer Allen

    Amazing!! I enjoyed this so much, especially after doing Pilates every day for the Pilatesologychallenge…feeling strong enough to actually achieve a vertical pelvis. Thanks so much Sonje and Pilatesology! :))

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonjé Mayo 6 months ago

      You are so welcome! We thank you for being such a loyal follower!

  3. SabrinaHorak 6 months ago

    Thank you Sonje, a wonderful class indeed. And it really opened my mind on the purpose of each exercise. The equal lenght front and back and the vertical pelvis was a revelation. That make sthe exercise and brings out the power needed to accomplish it perfectly. I am amazed that you did meet Herr Josef Hubertus Pilates and that you had the experience to train with him. I wish I could meet you sometimes maybe here in Italy on the border with Austria, in the beautiful dolomites!! Thank you so much!!

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonjé Mayo 6 months ago

      Dear Sabrina, it is good to hear from you in the beautiful dolomites! I am delighted that you found this class informative…..we have Herr Pilates to thank for that!
      Hopefully our paths will cross somewhere… sometime.

  4. Molly Niles Renshaw
    Molly Niles Renshaw 6 months ago

    Day 7 of the Pilatesology Challenge in the bag. Thanks for a great workout! I learned a lot! xx Molly

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonjé Mayo 6 months ago

      Well done! Keep it up! Learning while participating is the best.

  5. Sheckie71 6 months ago

    Love Sonje’s attention to detail and energizing teaching style. Always a favorite ❤️

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonjé Mayo 6 months ago

      Thank you……as Joe said: “It is NEVER enough”, meaning that one can always elicit greater effort with the right words!

  6. Pfplus 6 months ago

    Thank you for the wonderful class and for sharing your knowledge!! I truly enjoyed it! 🙂

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonjé Mayo 6 months ago

      Thank you for participating and being so receptive to learn and grow!

  7. Prafferty5
    Prafferty5 6 months ago

    Wonderful workout 💜one of strength , stamina & sweetness ! The warmth of your voice & your constant encouragement kept me going ! Thank you 🙏

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonjé Mayo 6 months ago

      Thank you! I hope that stays with you in whatever you do!

  8. Edita 9 months ago

    Dear Sonje,

    This was great, thank you…I love the energy and when you are saying Jo’s words!
    The reason you brought your students’ legs higher during the Hundred is because you don’t want too much arch in their lower back?

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 9 months ago

      Quite correct! It does depend on leg length and core strength but one can never put the lower back at risk! Rather focus on the core even if it means lifting the legs a little.

      • Edita 9 months ago

        Thank you…You are amazing! Also, what did Jo call the mermaid? Is that the name he used or Romana used that name? It is kind of a feminine name, so I was just wondering. 🙂

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 9 months ago

      Thank you!
      Jo called it ‘Side Bend’. ‘Mermaid’ came from Romana’s seated side bend and somehow that morphed into ‘Full Mermaid’ for the high lift.

  9. Monica_Aslan 1 year ago

    Dear Sonje, thank you for this class. I went a couple of times to your studio in Nashville (commuting from Louisville) always leaving inspired . I miss your teaching a lot. I moved overseas. I did this class today and it made me think of those times to taught me in your studio.
    You are always a great teacher who shares knowledge. thank you for this great class! . I am hope to go to Palermo in 2020 to learn from you again 🙂

    • erinmohr 1 year ago

      I just signed up for Palermo 2020 too! Loved this class, Sonje. I’m stalking you after meeting you for the first time in FL with KRN last March. Your vertical pelvis classes has completely changed the way I work and teach!!

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 9 months ago

      Looking forward to seeing you in Palermo in June!!!

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 9 months ago

      This is going to be a great reunion in Palermo! Looking forward to seeing you!

  10. pilenthuses 1 year ago

    Dear Sonje:

    For the Spine Twist you cued arms/hand within the peripheral vision always – I believe. In the old archival video pieces we see on the internet, Joe Pilates it seems had his arms well behind, and out of the peripheral vision. Why therefore, must it always been with the peripheral vision? Also, the Mermaid/Sidebend, you shared with us that Joe Pilates taught this exercise with the top leg bent foot flat on the mat in the set-up. I was always under the impression that this version came from the so called Contemporary School of Pilates. Did Romana teach it like this?
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 1 year ago

      You are quite correct but remember that by the time I met Joe, he was 85 years old and he had changed his thinking a lot.
      Joe noticed that dancers in particular had protruding ribs due to their extreme spinal flexibility, so he focused on the ‘sandwich’ effect, whereby we dancers could achieve an elongated spine with equal length front and back. Most people have to keep the arms in the peripheral vision to achieve the perfect plumb line, but if a client can do this with the arms further back, then that would be ideal.
      Joe also ‘modified’ the Mermaid for dancers with very long limbs, placing the front foot flat so that they could press up in one unit despite the leverage. Clients with shorter limbs ( notably Joe and Romana) can do the ideal Mermaid with no help, but most clients struggle. I tend to keep the foot flat for young and older clients until they have the strength to press up from the powerhouse without hurting their shoulder joints.
      I specifically used the modification due to safety because it worries me when students try and keep up with the people demonstrating on the video, who are very strong.
      Hope that helps?

  11. darien
    darien 2 years ago

    Sonje, your focus on the rib cage has been a revelation for me on the mat work. My focus has usually been the TA connection into the low back. But as I’ve observed and practiced with some of your other videos, the ribcage focus has opened my breathing in a new and fantastic way! Thank you so much for your insights and for sharing Joe’s original intentions. I wonder why Romana made the decision to change certain exercises like Side Bend (you refer to it as Full Mermaid?) and Seal.
    I’m grateful to Alisa and Jack for presenting these amazing and helpful lesson????

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 9 months ago

      Sorry Darien…..I don’t know how I missed your comment!
      I am delighted that you are learning constantly. Even though some exercises change by focusing differently, the main aim is the same.

  12. AHORRY 2 years ago

    Guten Tag Sonje! You are such an amazing teacher…. I felt as though I was having a class with Joe! I love the enthusiasm you bring to the workout…. I totally respect your work! Missed taking class with you in Las Vegas but will make sure to make it very very soon! My Pilates brother Robert told me what an brilliant teacher you are… now I really know!!

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 2 years ago

      Vielen Dank for your wonderful feedback. I hope to meet you some day!

  13. Mudrapilates 2 years ago

    I loved this class. Thank you. You are such an incredible teacher.

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 2 years ago

      Thank you for your praise……I strive to continue improving!

  14. Katie 2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing so much knowledge. A fantastic class.

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 2 years ago

      Great to hear from a Pilates enthusiast across the pond!

  15. KathyJanke 3 years ago

    Great advanced class! Loved the “cactus” cue vs. the “beach ball” cue. It drives the point home about pulling navel to spine. Thank you!

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 3 years ago

      I am delighted that you found these cues helpful…..I am all about working with imagery!.

  16. BrendaKorb 3 years ago

    Sonje I am sooo happy to have found you again! Great class with tremendous insight. Danced with you many years ago with Debbie and Tracy in SA. Look forward to following you and continue learning from you xxxx

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 3 years ago

      Oh wow China…..so good to hear a voice from the past! It appears that many dancing gypsies have pursued Pilates!!
      I am so happy that you have found me!

  17. Gina Jackson 3 years ago

    Delicious! Thank you. Look forward to more from you.

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 3 years ago

      Thank you! I look forward to giving you more….

  18. Jyc268 3 years ago

    Question about the cue to crack a walnut between blades during the control balance front. Can you please explain why? I always learned to keep shoulder blades wide and flat across back to keep serratus engaged. Thanks!

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 3 years ago

      You are quite correct.
      I only use ‘cracking the walnut’ if I see a rounded thoracic area, which is common.
      If they go to the other extreme and ‘hang’ through, I will use “broaden the back, spread your wings” to achieve the required flatness.
      It is all about attaining equal length front and back.

  19. Tracy Sue Du Plessis 3 years ago

    Brilliant, loved the cactus analogy and all the other cues, thank you!!!!

  20. Victoria Sommer 3 years ago

    Wow what a wonderful class, loved the cues. .thank you!

  21. Thank you! Very interesting and challenging class. . Greatimgs from Italy!

  22. Andrea
    Andrea 3 years ago

    What a great class! Thank you so much! It reminded me of my very first matclass as a client. I was told to find a house for the mouse in side kicks! Greetings from Austria!

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 3 years ago

      Guten Tag Andrea! I am delighted that you enjoyed the class.

  23. Cheryl Maher
    Cheryl Maher 3 years ago

    Sonje! Thank you for your awesome workshop at The Pilates Method! Over the past couple days, I have been getting positive feedback from the instructors who attended. The verticle pelivs makes sense! I started right away with the clients who could not do a roll up or had a hard time. Like magic! They are doing a roll up! We added the nice D foam positioning pillow, got their tailbone long and they can do a roll up. Thank you!!!
    Cheryl Maher

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 3 years ago

      Thanks Cheryl It is truly Joe’s magic and I was so happy to pass it on at The Pilates Method studio workshop.

  24. Soulbodyworks 3 years ago

    Absolutely loved the depth of this class, Sonje. Really looking forward to your workshops in Dallas next month!

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 3 years ago

      Great! I am looking forward to it too!

  25. robertapilates 3 years ago

    Amazing work and cues! Thank you!!!

    • Sonjé Mayo Author
      Sonje Mayo 3 years ago

      Thanks Robert. Hopefully the cues will give your clients new insight.

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