Do you MAT? Celebrating March MATness with Morgan Refakis

Posted on March 5, 2024

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Every year, FLEX Studio celebrates the Pilates mat throughout March together with the global Pilates community

It’s March once again, and that means the Pilates community turns its gaze on the versatile mat. MarchMATness founder Benjamin Degenhardt kicked off the global movement in 2013, inspired by the original photography from Joseph Pilates’ book Return to Life through Contrology. The campaign involves daily social media posts to inspire conversations around classical mat work. 

“We historically post a video mat exercise every day for March Matness,” says Heather Thomas Shalabi, Director of Flex Studio. “It was started by a friend of mine Benjamin Degenhardt several years ago, and has totally taken off in the Global Pilates community!” 

This year, we speak with lifelong dancer and movement specialist Morgan Refakis about celebrating the Pilates Mat.

Tell us something about yourself

Eh. I’m not that interesting. I just love Pilates, food, and Asia! [laughs]

To you, what is March MATness all about? 

March MATness is about celebration, which is why I love this event. It’s about remembering where we all started… on the mat, on the floor. Mat work gets pushed to the side because it’s not as “fancy” looking or it’s “too hard”… which is not true at all. March MATness is about bringing the purest form of Pilates to the forefront and celebrating it! 

The mat deserves to be celebrated. We wouldn’t have the Pilates system without the mat. Joseph Pilates invented the apparatus to inform mat work. The pinnacle of Pilates is not a reformer exercise… It’s Control Balance or Push-Up on the mat.

I also enjoy following March MATness to learn about the global footprint of Pilates.

When did you learn about March MATness?

A few years ago – when you’re a Pilates instructor, you know about it. It may be more popular among Pilates people than the actual March Madness sports event that it spun off from.

Is that why it’s called March MATness?

Yes, March MATness is a play on ‘March Madness’ which is the NCAA (College) Basketball Tournament that happens in the States.

How do you participate in March MATness?

There are so many ways to participate in March MATness! I’ve seen content striving for perfection or super silly and creative. I tend to go for a bit more creative and think outside the box. We live in a hyper-branded and hyper-visual world… sometimes I just want to break out of that mold and do something different.

What are you doing this year? 

I’m shooting videos of the poses at fun and unconventional places all over Hong Kong, since this is the first time I’m doing March MATness in this city. You can check out my posts on Instagram @morefakis. Feel free to tag me and @flexstudiohk on any you might want to do! 

This March, get 2-for-1 Mat Classes at Flex Studio all month! Click here for more information. View the full schedule for Flex’s 10 Pilates Mat classes a month including Classical Pilates Mat Flow and Pilates Mat Flow with Props. 

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