A Chat with Joan Breibart

Welcome to our first video installment of Opinion, our newest blog series on pilatesstyle.com. Opinion is a platform that’s—you guessed it—all opinion, in which we invite industry leaders to share their thoughts freely and openly on the state of the Pilates industry and what we can all do it make it an even better place.

In this video, Pilates Style Managing Editor Amanda Altman sits down with Joan Breibart, the founder and president of PhysicalMind Institute. “I’ve known Joan for more than a decade,” Amanda says. “Not only is she one of the most forward-thinkers I know, she always (and I mean always) gives it to me straight. Don’t expect any sugar-coating here!”

Although Amanda had sent Joan four points of discussion, there was only one that ended up making the cut: How do we get to a place in the Pilates industry that’s less fear-based—and more unified and accepting?

Watch and learn…

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  1. Emma Bray Reply

    Great discussion! I think that Cathy, Ron,Eve etc started to evolve Joe & Clara’s work. I use your standing hundred & have evolved it to suit the clients who come into our studio. Evolution of movement based upon the lifestyle changes that have happened over the last 50 years. I think that is what we are missing in our industry. We could be teaching extension bias classes instead of classical Mat!

  2. Lynn Pringle Reply

    I love that Joan always gives the straight goods. I for one, do not hold reverance for much, so I teach however I want to, with each client. It means letting go of ego, and be willing, to look outside of this very contained box. If you can do that, it’s actually really freeing and interesting.

  3. Mara Sievers Reply

    I second Joan’s opinion that there is no one right way to perform a Pilates exercise, only the appropriate way for each person. Have you heard the recommendation “Teach the person, not the exercise.”? That’s what that means.
    When we ask the Elders, many of them contradict each other, because they were taught differently by Joe. That’s the proof right there, no?

    I modify – very successfully – up the wazoo. Pilates Encyclopedia wants to show all of the many many ways to adapt each exercise to the person in front of you.

  4. Frances Zappella Severance Reply

    Good Job, Joan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Good Job, Amanda!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Mary Beth Langlinais Reply

    So true Joan. The Pilates clientele has changed dramatically over the years. In the beginning, Pilates was predominantly for ballerinas with perfect form and perfect physiques. Now, we want it to be for all demographics. Many Americans are overweight. Most live in a flexed spinal position (texting, computers, sitting) most of the day, so spines are compressed, shoulders are rounded forward, etc. Therefore, although we can continue with the traditional exercises in which our spines are flexed, it is even MORE important to incorporate spinal extension, rotation, and side flexion. Exercises such as swan, swan dive, double knee stretch, mermaid, simple twist, etc. will counter balance the forward flexion, strengthen muscles that support the spine, and over time will result in youthful postures with restored balance (length and strength). It is rewarding to see clients who could not get up off the floor, or could not tie his/her shoes, (and certainly could not do a roll up), begin a Pilates practice and enhance the quality of life. This is life-changing fitness! Joe would want this.