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 .


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?


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 🙂

Avatar erinmohr 29/09/2019 7:48 am

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

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

Sonjé Mayo Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 14/01/2020 3:02 pm

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


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 Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 14/01/2020 2:52 pm

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.

Avatar Edita 14/01/2020 3:26 pm

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 Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 14/01/2020 3:42 pm

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.


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

Sonjé Mayo Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 29/04/2020 4:59 am

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


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

Sonjé Mayo Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 29/04/2020 11:04 am

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


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

Sonjé Mayo Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 29/04/2020 12:44 pm

Thank Joe said: "It is NEVER enough", meaning that one can always elicit greater effort with the right words!


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

Sonjé Mayo Sonjé Mayo Topic starter 30/04/2020 4:51 am

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

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