Mari Winsor was a fitness visionary, Pilates pioneer, and a welcoming face of wellness on our TV screens. "Powerhouse: The Mari Winsor Story" is the latest addition to the Pilates Legacy Project, the most extensive online resource library for Pilates history. Mari is widely known for making Pilates a household name and inspiring millions of people to get up and move. She moved us first with Pilates, then again as she bravely faced her devastating diagnosis of ALS beginning in 2014. Her well lived life definitely deserves a feature length movie.
In making "Powerhouse: The Mari Winsor Story" my co-director Jeff Mizushima and I drew from interviews we conducted with Mari's friends, colleagues, and family, as well as rich archival footage from her many television appearances and, of course, the iconic DVDs that were sold via infomercials starting in the early 2000s. There are moving testimonials from her celebrity clients and her studio teachers, many of whom have gone on to have powerhouse careers in the Pilates industry themselves.
Mari's goal was always to get people moving and make Pilates accessible. She was a trailblazer, making Pilates available via video decades before teachers had to do the same to stay in business. According to Mari's teacher Romana Kryzanowska, Joe Pilates' greatest wish was to get the whole world doing Pilates. Mari was a perfect conduit for this message.
Mari received criticism for her bold thinking at times. Still, few would debate that Mari's innate people skills and ability to think outside the box helped preserve the Pilates method and even made it a household name. Mari's list of celebrity clients was impressive! What's more, so many of them became her good friends. It was terrific to have their support when making this tribute documentary in her honor.
Mari visited Pilates Anytime for the first time shortly after her ALS diagnosis in 2014. Beyond the classes, tutorials, and discussions planned, we decided to include a video about neurological diseases to help raise awareness of the need for more research. Mari also donated her portion of the teacher revenue share to Augie's Quest, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for ALS and offering a better experience for those living with it.
On April 28, 2020, Mari Winsor made her transition back to her natural, able-bodied state of spirit, free from the bondage of ALS. Though Mari is free from the confines of her body, her influence on the Pilates community and the deep friendships she made are everlasting.
On a personal note: This project was a labor of love for me. I was one of the many Mari made feel incredibly special by calling me her friend. Her family and friends were instrumental in making this documentary possible. So it is with great pride that I share it with you. I hope you enjoy it!
"Powerhouse: The Mari Winsor Story" is available to all. No subscription is necessary.
For more information on the ALS Association Golden West Chapter, the ALS fundraising association with which Winsor was closely associated, see here.Have you been impacted or inspired by Mari Winsor's work and life? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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