Mariska Breland, PMA®-CPT
Fuse Pilates® Founder, Creative Director In 1999, Mariska took her first Pilates class. After a 2002 diagnosis of MS, she became a devoted yoga and Pilates practitioner and taught her first class a year later. Today, Mariska is the lead instructor for Fuse Pilates, a contemporary Pilates method based in Washington, D.C., for which she developed all of the group classes and training programs. As part of Mariska’s comprehensive Pilates certification through Body Arts and Science, International (BASI Pilates), she completed a research project on Pilates for multiple sclerosis patients, which she expanded into an in-depth multi-day Pilates for Neurological Conditions advanced teacher training, incorporating the latest research in neuroplasticity and neurorehabilitation into a Pilates program design neurological conditions. A student of medical neuroscience, Mariska has also designed additional workshops focusing on how to integrate brain science into exercise programs to enhance performance and improve neurological function. Her workshops and classes have been featured on the popular online website, Pilates Anytime. She is also the author of the upcoming book, MS: A Memoir. In addition to experience directly working with students with MS, spinal cord injury, neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral scelrosis (ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease), and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Mariska regularly consults with Pilates teachers around the world as well as neurologists, physical therapists, and physiatrists for their clients with MS. Mariska’ has taught over 250 teachers around the world techniques to successfully work with clients using brain-body techniques. Her Pilates for MS course is also generously grant-assisted by the UK MS Society. Mariska’s education in the movement arts is vast, including mat certification through Power Pilates, additional apparatus, mat, and anatomy training through Balanced Body Pilates, Peak Pilates, and a certification in PureBarre. From 2010 until his death in 2013, Mariska studied in a one-on-one mentorship with renowned Pilates Master Julian Littleford, founding member of the Physical Mind Institute and one of the world’s most innovative and creative Pilates instructors. She also studies regularly with Jennifer Kries, 2nd Generation Master Instructor, who is credited with bringing Pilates to the masses, as well as other 2nd Generation classical teachers Lesa McLaughlin, Chris Robinson, and Andrea Maida. Mariska is a PMA® (Pilates Method Alliance) Certified Pilates Teacher and Continuing Education Provider. The PMA is the only third party professional certification in the Pilates field. In terms of advanced trainings, she is a Pre and Postnatal Pilates Specialist, trained through the Center for Women’s Fitness directly with its founder, Carolyne Anthony, who invited her to join the organization as faculty. She is also a Post Rehabilitative Breast Cancer Exercise Specialist, trained through the Pink Ribbon Program. In 2013, she completed Pilates Studio Techniques in support of Heroes in Motion, overviewing skills to work with amputees and persons with traumatic brain injury. Additionally, she has advanced certificate training in Pilates for Injuries and Pathologies, the Pathokinesiology of Neurodegenerative Diseases, and specialized training in Pilates for athletes and for men. Still, Mariska’s heart (and most of her time) remains in the group fitness setting, inspiring the masses to learn to love to work out, and work out hard. Outside of fitness, Mariska received a 2006 holistic health coaching certification through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (at that time – part of Columbia University’s continuing education curriculum) where she studied with Drs. Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra, Barry Sears, and dozens of other leaders in the alternative health field. A former award-winning writer, video producer, and creative director, Mariska puts those skills to good use as a frequent guest on fitness and lifestyle blogs, as well as the occasional television appearance. She also creative directs Fuse Pilates’s website, marketing materials, and photos. To learn more about Mariska, visit Pilates Anytime. New to that site? Use discount code 6443QAJ for a 30-day free trial, and take a class or tutorial with Mariska today!