How Mari Winsor Made Pilates a Household Name

Winsor Pilates is one of the most recognizable names in the Pilates world. Developed by professional Pilates instructor Mari Winsor, Winsor Pilates is known for its line of DVD's on weight loss, body sculpting, and abdominal workouts and also for a host of infomercials that literally skyrocketed Pilates into a household name when they hit TV's nationwide. Before the release of this brand, Pilates existed in relative obscurity.

Who Was Mari Winsor?

Mari Winsor was one of the most celebrated and renown Pilates teachers worldwide. She was well known for her Winsor Pilates infomercials, her extensive line of videos, her books, and also as one of the foremost Pilates trainers for Hollywood celebrities.

Professional Accomplishments

Mari was among the many former professional dancers who went on to become Pilates teachers. A certified Pilates instructor, Mari studied with Romana Kryzanowska, one of the Pilates elders.

Into her later life, Mari taught in Los Angeles where she had two studios and, of produced numerous DVDs for Winsor Pilates. Mari Winsor was a spokesperson for ALS which she was diagnosed with in 2013. Despite her illness, she continued to teach and present Pilates to studios and teachers worldwide. Mari Winsor passed away on April 28, 2020.

The Winsor Pilates Formula

Among the many benefits of Pilates, weight loss and body toning are among the most popular. This is the arena in which Winsor Pilates line has excelled.

Although she was classically trained in Pilates, Mari Winsor pushed the Pilates envelope to ensure that the Winsor Pilates workouts focus on trimming and shaping the body.

To that end, she developed a formula she calls "dynamic sequencing." The Winsor Pilates website says dynamic sequencing is a "combination of exercises done in a specific order and rhythm to produce maximum results."

Winsor Pilates Videos

Winsor Pilates created more than 30 Pilates videos and DVDs. Among them are Pilates mat work videos, Pilates workouts with equipment (such as the magic circle), and many targeted titles, such as "Weight Loss," "Ab Sculpting, "Upper Body Sculpting," and "Bun & Thigh Sculpting." Winsor Pilates videos are often promoted as DVD/equipment packages. Some of the packages offer as many as 5 DVDs and a Winsor Pilates sculpting circle (magic circle).

The benefits and applications of the Pilates method are extensive. If you are a beginner who is interested in careful Pilates technique, or if you are working with Pilates as a rehabilitative tool, Winsor Pilates may not be for you.

These are Pilates-inspired videos. They do offer some guidance as to alignment and exercise modifications. However, if you are looking for traditional Pilates mat work or extra support, you might be better served to get your fundamentals through a class or one on one session first.

At the 2006 Yoga Journal conference, Mari spoke about Pilates and her approach. What she said was to just have fun, and that one should feel energized from a workout. She said: “If after your classes you're just tired and want to lay down, do something else!”.

Edited by Alycea Ungaro of Real Pilates

By Marguerite Ogle MS, RYT
Marguerite Ogle is a freelance writer and experienced natural wellness and life coach, who has been teaching Pilates for more than 35 years.