The Making of March MATness

What do you do when you are on vacation, want to work out, but have no one around to correct your form? Well, you could just pull out your smartphone and film your practice.

By Benjamin Degenhardt

What do you do when you are on vacation, want to work out, but have no one around to correct your form? Well, you could just pull out your smartphone and film your practice.

That’s exactly what I did in 2013. When I realized the video I shot was quite photogenic, I began extracting screenshots for each exercise and ended up with great pictures of nearly all of the traditional mat exercises. I knew I had to do something unique with them, but I had no idea they would lead to a global social media campaign.

In 2013.
Image from the original camapaign in 2013.

But that is exactly how March MATness was born. Every day in March 2013, I would post one of the traditional Pilates mat exercises in their original order, and begin a conversation about the form, logic and intent behind each. The pictures ended up on a poster that is now decorating hundreds of studio walls around the world. And more importantly, March MATness has now grown into an annual social media campaign with thousands of followers and contributors.

March MATness has since seen different formats: In 2014, I ran a curated pop-up blog with daily content, and since 2015, the campaign is moved completely into the hands of the fans that March MATness has amassed since the very beginning. Using the hashtag #MarchMATness, everyone is invited to contribute their stories, pictures, videos, and any tidbits of education and inspiration they want to share across all social media channels.

What is unique about the campaign is that for one month, the community pays respect to the traditional mat exercises. It’s heartwarming to see the community come a little closer together and examine the roots of this astonishing work in a collective, mutually supportive and positive manner, and perhaps inspire a new person or two to embark on a regular practice.

Current #MarchMATness2016.
Current #MarchMATness2016.

How to join the movement?

It’s pretty straightforward—the campaign is synchronized so that every day in March there’s a designated movement. Dust off your mat, pick up your copy of Return to Life, and fall in love with your practice. Then document it any way you see fit on any or all social media channels using #MarchMATness2016 to connect with Pilates lovers around the world.

Additional information and a live feed can be found at www.marchmatness.com.