Category Archives: General

Continuing Education the Fast Track or Transformational Track?

Continuing Education: The Fast Track or Transformational Track?

Every year, we all participate in workshops to elevate our work to better serve our clients, to be inspired, and hopefully increase our value. Continuing our education brings us up to date on new research, and provides expansion of our repertory tools. Education is costly in terms of our time and money. And it is important to receive the value of the investment by actually having the ability to implement well with confidence what was taught.

I raise the question about the amount of time spent in workshops and weighing the benefits. The benefits are relative to what a teacher wishes to learn. Is it choreography only? Or is it learning a script for cueing? As Eve Gentry said “ Are you a conveyor belt or a teacher?” In a two to three hour workshop format, it is not likely the experience provides enough practice time, nor allow for the teacher to embody the work. I am not speaking about a workout session. I am speaking about education that brings the teacher into a different place in their work. This only comes from more time spent with the continuing education provider, practicing with guidance, asking questions, exchanging ideas and a supportive experience.

To be a teacher, one must be able to see the vast number of possible strategies people perform when moving. It is being able to identify the preference versus non-preference movement patterns. Then use this information to verbally cue, use hands-on to direct the movement and facilitate change in the client’s body. Choosing a sequence that best serves the client in the moment because you can see how the body’s tissue tension is inhibiting their movement potential. The movement may appear the same, such as footwork, however, is the sequencing from the feet to the spine a functional one? No two people move the same way. If they do not move the same way, then the musculature is not engaging in the same pattern. Strengthening poor patterns does not serve to improve the person’s movement potential. Guiding the client to make a conscious shift in the patterning will strengthen a healthier functional pattern. This will actualize their movement potential in life, sports and activities they enjoy. This is the depth of the physical work in Pilates and the magic that transforms people.

Teachers, who are aligned with my message, know that a deeper experience helps them improve their teaching and thereby increases the impact on their clients. It is a dedicated teacher that searches for a learning environment to enhance their own well-being as well as acquiring new skills. I am reaching out to teachers that tend to either have little to no continuing education or perhaps are not aware of the possibility of receiving more from an educational experience. My advice is to begin the journey of exploration in discovering the endless possibilities of how to powerfully work with the body. This will set you apart from other teachers who are conveyor belts. Stretch and expand your field around you with a different way of learning. Measure what are you receiving from the workshop or intensive with your needs and goals. Expect to receive plentitude!

If you are a teacher seeking to guide, teach, offer the depth and true function that Pilates offers, the fast track of education is limited. We all start where we are in our lives and passion. I am not one to say any continuing education is better than none. Find a committed, responsible and highly recommended teacher that resonates with you. Spend time, practice and read current movement-based information. Begin to formulate your own perspective and beliefs based on sound knowledge and science.

Walking out of a workshop, my sense needs to be that I am able to understand with my brain, feel it in my body and know I can translate it to my clients through my body, voice and hands. Walking away with only one “take away” is not a good use of my time or money spent on a workshop. Be clear if you choose to attend an event for camaraderie and networking, or are you are spending your time and money where you receive a return for your work.

I advocate for longer intensives on an annual or biennial basis to fully be transformed by your continuing education. Imagine participating in one full experience, biennially versus many shorter courses annually. Take the time to immerse yourself in order to grow your practice with abundance.

I offer five and three day intensives annually. Upcoming is in London, September 1-5th at the Garuda Studio and in San Francisco, CA, January 2018. Please go to the calendar section on this website.


To watch and hear how I work with teachers go to the 5:20 minute mark. At the 7:20 minute mark, I speak about why intensive study is beneficial.

Teach, Learn and Inspire

Starting in 2017, I will be offering “Intensives” for continued study of the body in motion based on my book “Centered”. In this video, you will hear why I chose to develop this learning experience rather than the half day or one day workshop formats. An intensive is thorough, focused and goes beyond the mental and mechanical way of learning. My philosophy has always been to help people improve their movement potential meeting the desire to move well for a lifetime. My work combines the manual skills, and specific movements that addresses a person’s non-preferred way of moving, which brings balance to their body. This optimizes their ability to excel in their sport, life movements and relieves pain. See the calendar for intensives in New York, London and Sonoma, CA.

Madeline Black has distinguished herself as an international leader in Pilates Instruction and movement education. Learn more about what Madeline loves about teaching teachers!

Posted by Pilates Anytime on Friday, March 31, 2017



Contemplations by Madeline

Excited to see my poetry published in Pilates Style Magazine.  Watch for it in every issue.  Here is the first in the March/April issue.


Desire to feel myself
Contracting and releasing
Rolling through the spine
The center of me
Moving off center
Pulling together
Balancing and falling
Catching the breath
Out of control
Tossing around
Finding the pause
Poised for the next movement
Moving me

Sequencing Your Exercises For Better Results


The sequence of a movement class, whether it is Pilates, Yoga, Dance or the variety of fusion style classes, is important to the training effect, flow and challenge of the class.  Experienced teachers/trainers know the value of intelligent sequencing. A class may have a theme targeting a body area or strengthening effect to meet the goals of the clients.  Easing into a sequence brings the clients into a mindset, drawing them into their body to focus on the exercise and feeling their bodies. Build upon the movements so that near the end the clients are performing a more difficult movement. Save ten minutes at the end to bring the energy down, balancing the body’s nervous system for their exit into the outside world. It has been studied that challenging the class with a variety of movements from session to session increases physical and mental benefits more then repetition style classes. The dual task nature of the sequencing and unexpected movement changes has shown to improve cognitive abilities.

Daily Doable New Year Resolutions

Happy New Years to you all! A new year is a wonderful opportunity to look at what you have experienced in the past, and look forward to new life potentials and make shifts for positive living. Change takes time, awareness and positive intentions for oneself. New year resolutions are abundant on the first of the year. Many gyms increase their sales of memberships in the first quarter. I also know many people do not follow through on their resolution  when it is made quickly without measuring one’s ability to physically maintain a sound program and the mental/emotional relationship toward one’s body. We all wish to feel lighter, stronger and have more energy. One’s feelings about how good enough, thin enough or fit enough negate the intentions of positive change. Acknowledge where you are in the moment without judgement. You are starting at this place. Write out these three words: Durability, Utility and Beauty.*

Durability is to remain in good condition for a lifetime. Write your defintition of “good condition”.

Utility is to train the body so that it is suitable for the purpose for which it is intended. Write what your purpose is for your body.

Beauty is to move with grace and ease for any body type or age. Move everyday in a way that feels graceful to you. Write down what movements make you feel ease with strength.

Each day is an opportunity to fulfill a resolution. Choose to eat differently, more greens less or no sugar. Choose to walk rather than ride in the car or take the stairs rather than the elevator. Simply choosing in the moment over time will result in positive body changes such as feeling more energetic which makes you want to move your body more. Feeling lighter in the body both emotionally and your physical weight.

I would love to hear your comments on the choices that define what your healthy and strong functioning body feels like and how you manifest it for yourself.

All the best in 2017!

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
― Rumi, Essential Rumi
Madeline Black
*From “Centered” Introduction page xv-xvii


Joe Talk with Madeline Black

Touch is an integral part of Pilates instruction that has become minimized or lost over the years. In this Joe Talk video on Pilates Anytime, I explore the power of touch and urge us to explore, study, and embody trusted touch. By learning how to integrate touch through educating our hands, we can enhance movement and go deeper inward. When we can take someone inward during movement, we will find change.

Click Image to Watch This Talk Now
Click Image to Watch This Talk Now

This second series of JOE Talks by Pilates Anytime was filmed at the 2014 Pilates Method Alliance Conference in San Diego, California.


Madeline Bali1Bali, the beautiful island in Indonesia, for me holds a special place in my heart. I traveled to Bali about five years ago with my family. I had been reading the Bhagavad Gita and was in a small study group. To see the story and life philosophy of the “Gita” come to life in Bali was so inspiring. The experience of the feeling, seeing and understanding the traditions and practices of their spirituality moved me.

I am so happy to have the opportunity to return to Bali and begin a tradition of mine own in the Balinese energetic field. Robyn Schonell, a Pilates teacher and studio owner is organizing the special 5 day retreat. This is not an ordinary retreat. This is a retreat for teachers who need to take care of themselves through working on their bodies, mind and spirit.

Body: a daily class plus time to “research” what their body needs to bring more balance.
Mind: three workshops learning new movement science, manual techniques and movement for fine tuning the body.
Spirit is the environment of Bali, meals together, surfing, swimming, reading, visiting temples and sleeping!

rice fields Madeline and Cooper

I am also open to people who practice Pilates, or any movement form as clients to attend. I always encourage clients to take a workshop to learn more about their body, receive body work (clients tend to be used as examples to solve some issues) and to be with teachers from all different styles of movement. If you are a client and interested in attending, please email me and we will discuss to see if it is appropriate to attend.

See you in Bali!

Plank Bali Retreat Information and Registration:Contact Robyn at
68 Jl Drupadi, Seminyak
Bali, IndonesiaBali+62 (0)81338585261Perth +61(0)415149560

More information about the retreat here: Bali Retreat

Improve Your Balance and Prevent Falling Tips

At any age, poor balance can cause disabling falls. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You can take steps toward eliminating the risks of falling. Maintaining your physical practice will keep you strong and grounded. Madeline offers a simple movement sequence for improving your balance.

Sign-up TODAY for more tips from Madeline

Personal Safety Checklist

  1. Good posture centers your body for better balance, be aware of how you stand, sit and lie down
  2. Muscle strength and function particularly in the lower body, increase reflexes and flexibility
  3. Healthy feet allow you feel the surface you are walking on and is your base of support
  4. Eyesight less than 20/60, cataracts, decrease in depth perception and eye disorders, have annual eye exams
  5. Wear sturdy shoes, high heels, slip-on shoes, loose slippers, smooth and slippery soles may promote falls
  6. Health problems such as blood pressure fluctuations, heart problems, inner ear disorders and nerve damage contribute to falls, see your doctor and be aware
  7. Medications cause dizziness or drowsiness
  8. Alcohol use impairs judgment and slows reaction time

Home Hazards Checklist

  1. Bedroom: keep a phone and lamp close to your bed; a firm mattress and a low bed height so that you can place your feet flat on the floor when you’re sitting in the edge helps balance as you rise from the bed
  2. Bathrooms: Install night lights; grab bars, nonslip mats, textured tiles so it is not slipper when wet; a low threshold shower
  3. Kitchen: store often-used items where you can easily reach them; a sturdy step stool to reach items in high cabinets
  4. Entrances and Hallways: light all outside doors; walkways free of cracks, holes and clutter; repair any rotted or crumbling steps; non-skid backing on mats inside the door; Hallways well lit
  5. Stairways: Place a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairway; install a handrail that runs the full length of the stairs; keep stairs in good repair and clear of clutter; tack carpeting on the stairs tightly
  6. Keep floors clutter free, wires tucked away, turn on lights when walking into rooms; lighting needs to be even with no shadows or glares; all carpeting needs to lie flat and have non skid backing;
  7. Door thresholds create tripping hazards, replace them with lower thresholds
  8. Program emergency numbers into phones