Q & A

27 Things You Never Knew About Me with Mariska Breland

Pilates Anytime teacher Mariska Breland answers our burning questions on life, Pilates, and why a movie starring her would have a four-letter word in the title.

1. Where are you from, and where do you live now?

I grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia, spent many summers in my mom’s home country of the Netherlands, and have lived in Washington, DC, since 2002.

2. When did you first start practicing Pilates?

I took my first class in 1999, and I started practicing regularly in 2002.

3. What’s the most valuable life lesson you’ve learned through your practice?

I’ve actually lost huge parts of my practice more than once from MS flare-ups and major abdominal surgeries and because of where I am physically as I type this (non-weight bearing from a broken leg). But I’ve found that you can always do Pilates. It’s always there for you, able to meet you where you are, and ready to take you where you want to/hope to go in the future. Really, how many things can you say that about?

Mariska on the Reformer.

4. What’s the most valuable life lesson you’ve learned through your teaching?

Ok, I’m going to throw a curveball to my last answer. I’ve found that Pilates isn’t enough for everyone. And that it’s perfectly ok to refer out and admit that you (or Pilates.. or maybe you teaching Pilates) isn’t going to be the fix for someone’s issues. On that note, the best thing you can do as a teacher is to empower others to believe they can fix their own issues.

5. If you could be doing anything else besides Pilates, what would you be doing?

Can I be a restaurant critic?

6. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

In the ocean, snorkelling.

7. What’s the most distant/exotic place Pilates has ever taken you?

My favorite place is Italy. One of my big workshops was translated into Italian, so I’ve been lucky to teach it there several times.

8. What would you say to your younger self in 10 words or less?

That thing you’re worried about… it doesn’t matter.

9. If you could do one Pilates move for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Short Spine Massage!

Mariska doing Short Spine Massage.

10. Who is your favorite person to practice with?

The teachers who work with me.

11. What’s your favorite Pilates quote?

“Not only is health a normal condition, but it is our duty to not only to attain it but to maintain it.”

12. Who would you dedicate your first book to and what would you say?

To my mom: I’m sorry you didn’t get to meet the person I became.

13. Pilates with Music or No Music?


14. What’s on your Spotify or Pilates workout playlist?

It’s all over the place! You can find me on Spotify and see some of the crazy things I play in my group classes. And though it’s not for everyone, I love teaching my classes to music.

15. If you could meet Joseph Pilates in person, what would you say?

Let’s make a new apparatus together!

16. When was the last time you attended a Pilates class or had a session?

The day before I broke my leg. But I’ve managed to do Teaser on the Reformer with my leg in an immobilizer, which is probably not advised by my surgeon. I also did a pretty fun Long Spine with no straps variation with trainer.

17. What advice do you have for the first time Pilates teacher?

Be curious, and try everything out on yourself. What speaks to you as a mover will be the easiest things to translate to your students.

18. How do you define success?

Being content in all aspects of your life.

19. What do you fear most?

Losing my ability to walk permanently.

Mariska's Fear Workshop on Pilates Anytime

20. If there were a movie about your life, what would it be entitled and who would play you?

People have told me I look like Alison Brie... The movie should be called “No F*cks Left to Give,” which might be a little inappropriate, but people who really know me would find it funny.

21. What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

I’m a HUGE introvert.

22. If life gives you lemons, what do you do with them?

Find someone to make you a lemon tart because I always say, "Yes," to dessert, especially French desserts.

23. Where or how do you like to spend most of your time?

I am so boring. Other than work, the majority of the time, I do three things: I like to work out, I like to go out to dinner, and I like to read or watch Netflix while hanging out with my dogs (and my husband).

24. What’s your favorite journey?

Into a great book…

25. Favorite book?

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.
Have some tissues handy – I have never fully recovered.

26. Favorite movie?

"The Shawshank Redemption." It’s literally always on TV, and I still love it.

27. What’s your hidden talent? Will you show us?

I’m pretty good at art...

About the Author

Mariska Breland

Mariska is the founder of Washington, D.C.-based Fuse Pilates®, an award-winning creative director and writer, and a self-proclaimed “casual student” of medical neuroscience. A frequent guest writer for fitness and lifestyle blogs, Mariska is currently writing a book on exercise for neurological conditions, developing additional training manuals for the Fuse method, teaching internationally, running a studio, and spending rare time off with her husband and their dog-child – a Basenji named Zoe.


Good read! Thank you!
Mooi verhaal Mariska. Veel succes in je carrière!
Groet, Marjolein
Thanks! That was great. I have been appreciating #3 the last week or so. I have a knee injury, so for my past few private Pilates sessions, I've said "no legs today" and it's been just fine. There's still plenty of Pilates to do!
1 person likes this.
Numbers 8 and 17 really speak to me. You are an AMAZING artist and a fabulous Pilates teacher!

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