The Vertical Pelvis...
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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://Sonjé .

20 Answers

Amazing work and cues! Thank you!!!

Sonjé Mayo Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 16/08/2017 6:23 am

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


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

Sonjé Mayo Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 21/08/2017 8:22 am

Great! I am looking forward to it too!


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 Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 21/08/2017 6:44 pm

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


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 Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 22/08/2017 5:20 am

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


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

Sonjé Mayo Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 29/08/2017 5:05 am

Ciao bella!


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


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


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 Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 03/10/2017 6:50 am

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.


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 Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 22/01/2018 8:26 am

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


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

Sonjé Mayo Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 20/05/2018 5:32 am

Great to hear from a Pilates enthusiast across the pond!


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

Sonjé Mayo Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 15/09/2018 12:08 pm

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


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 Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 01/02/2019 5:31 am

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


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 Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 14/01/2020 3:00 pm

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.


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 Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 19/05/2019 10:12 am

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?

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