The Pilates Mat Challenge

"How can we have world peace? No one is happy. No one is healthy. Not one man in the United Nations can do my first five exercises!"

- Joe Pilates

The exercises

“Return to Life” is the title of a health and fitness handbook written and modeled by fitness legend Joe Pilates. It is a simple manual of 34 body-weight exercises that develop in intensity from the floor, to standing, to balances. In the manual he explains the philosophical and functional principles that he used to train himself and his clients to great success.

Pilates designed exercises to increase functional fitness, balance strength and flexibility, and develop a healthy mind-body connection. His philosophy encourages outdoor sports and physical play, which does tend to make people happier.

The original mat is composed of dynamic movement sequences that are meant to flow from one to the next without pause. Most of the exercises require hours of focused practice to master. Not every exercise is for everybody every time, but there is something for everyone to aspire to!

Lifestyle Activism

In Pilates lifetime there were two world wars. As a German citizen living in England he was detained in an internment camp on the Isle of Man during WW1. This where he started experimenting with adding springs to his body-weight exercises to help strengthen under-developed and injured muscles. He immigrated to America before WW2 where he continued his lifework. He thought a lot about the causes of war and promoted a plan for global peace through mindful exercise.

The Pilates Mat Challenge

The entire sequence of 34 exercises is meant to be done in 45 minutes with dynamic, fluid control, and focused precision.

March Matness Challenge

In March the Pilates community joins together in a global online fitness challenge and celebration of Pilates Mat! March Matness is a fun event where participants can connect with each other on social media using the power of the hashtag. Each day is dedicated to one exercise in the sequence from “Return to Life”, and participants show their creative expression of a specific Pilates exercises. Click here for a downloadable list of the exercises.

To participate search  #marchmatness to see how people around the world personalize the movements to help them gain strength, flexibility and agility.  Want to see how “The Jackknife” can look? Search #jackknife. Show your personal favorite with the world, post it on facebook, instagram, or twitter with the corresponding title.