The Spirit of the Pilates Method with Ray Kurshals

"THE CORE IS THE ESSENCE OF THE PERSON, you can analyse the musculature but every exercises you use every muscle, you use everything".

- Ray Kurshals

Raymond Kurshals is the Director of Pilates Santa Fe.

He was a first dancer the three main dance companies in NYC: Twyla Tharp, Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor.

He is a founding member of the Pilates Method Alliance. And was Senior Vicepresident and Media Director of the Pilates Institute.

His first teachers were direct disciples of Joseph Pilates: Romana Kryzanowska, Bruce King, Carola Trier and Kathy Grant. He work closely with Eve Gentry creating some of the first Pilates Videos. And was greatly influenced by his long friendship with Ron Fletcher.

His studio has won 15 times in a row the first place on Santa Fe studios.

¡Enjoy this unique interview with one of the most admirable figures in Movement Research worldwide!



What´s your take on how Pilates has evolved.


Everybody can do Pilates. From cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis to the military, and super athletes.


Keep the phyilosophy intact because there is no only one way to do the exercises. Name the style after the name of the teacher.


Wanted the people to move in a good way from the neurological view. Medicine, kinesiology, osteopathy, emotional, psychological level, we are not just exercise teachers. The spirit ultimately moves the body.


If you change your body your mind changes. The body is the mind and also the spirit.


Joe said:

Body, mind, spirit.

Sad contract. Happy expand. Like circulation.

Like a heart beat. The elders said that he said that spirit is not about spirituality, is not about religion. Is about the individual soul.

If you love to be an atlhete that´s your spirit, if you love to be a father that´s your spirit, if you love fishing that´s your spirit.

Spirit is the act of the self realization, is spirit in action.

Spark of divinity in the individual.

How individuality evolves your spirit in action, infuse movement with that power.

This is the spirit of our method.


If you take the hundred, and break it down because it´s such a fundamental iconic exercises. Thats an abdominal, coming from the center of the body, coming from the center of expression.

The umbilicus is connected to the universe.

No one used to say core until we made it popular at the Pilates Institute in the 90s. Now is core, core, core. It makes me crazy people say the core is the Transversus Abdominis, the pelvic floor, the multifidi…


You can analyse the musculature but every exercises you use every muscle, you use everything. To move the arms in the hundred you use the Latissimus Dorsi that connects to your sacrum, you´re stabilizing from the core down there. Joe knew this, and thats what he wanted to do, you get the core working, the breath working, and getting to the core of who you are as an individual.

Stay in that comfort zone so you can express yourself the best possible way you can. The hundred would be that. Getting to the core of your self and expressing that.

You can reach Ray at: