EiffelGlassesIn honor of March Matness, Pilates Nerd asked folks to write a short essay explaining ‘why you are a Pilates MAT Nerd’.  In other words, why do you love the mat and how has it changed you?
After receiving several inspiring entries, we were torn over who the winner should be.  So we decided to award a winner and a runner up!  The winner will receive a t-shirt of choice and the runner up will receive a tote!
Thank you to all who took the time to share their experience and love of Pilates mat work.  Your words truly lifted our spirit.  Joseph’s work helps so many people feel better, but the heartwarming essay submissions reminded us what a wonderful gift and privilege it is teach and have a hand in helping people return to life.

When you read the entries below, we think you’ll feel the inspiration too!

Congratulations to our winner, Daniela Davis and our runner up,  Eliza Twist.  Beautifully written, ladies!

By Daniela Davis

In Love with the Mat

I began a life of Pilates with 15 private sessions on the equipment before I progressed to mat work. For those who don’t practice, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of effort required to work through a great mat class. I often think of mat work as a spinning top. On the outside the movements can look beautiful and effortless, on the inside you’re working very hard to develop strength, stabilization, balance, and coordination. When people tell me it looks easy, I simply smile and suggest a class. I love the flow of a mat class. I love the fact that I can sit, stand, kneel, or drop to the floor (almost anywhere) and practice. Mat work provides body awareness in a different way than apparatus training provides, especially because of my scoliosis. I’m forced to bring more awareness to my pelvis and back extensors in order to maintain balance. Not an easy feat! As a Pilates instructor and a nurse, I’ve been able to teach some bed bound patients to be more aware of their core and breath in order to temporarily take the focus off their pain. I’m grateful that I can share what I know and love with others.

By Eliza Twist

How Pilates Has Shaped Not Just My Body But My Entire Life

You could say that my heart led me to Pilates but that my mind kept me here. I followed a beloved dance teacher when she undertook an apprenticeship at a local studio. Within months of taking lessons with her, I realized that Pilates could be an excellent complement to the education in physical education that I was engaged in at the time. So I enrolled in another local program and began studying in earnest. I read Joe Pilates’ books, I studied everything that I could get my hands on. Within a couple years, I realized that despite all my study, I still knew next to nothing. Many years later, with a more complete understanding I can say that I did in fact know plenty, but it wasn’t the meat of the method, it was more like all the fixin’s. At the time, I persevered until I completed a second certification under Romana Kryzanowska. I fell in love with Pilates over and over again during my apprenticeship. My body changed, I learned many life lessons, and the entire landscape of my life fell into place thanks to Pilates. It seemed that I had arrived. And then it was time to dig even deeper into the work to integrate all the various pieces of my body of knowledge. I’m still there, slowly moving toward a true sense of wholeness with Pilates as my primary framework. Should my dreams come true, I will move through the cycles of learning with other teachers many more times before my life is done. With each revolution I will achieve a little more knowing in every sense of the word, slowly and steadily weaving heart and mind into an inextricable whole.