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  • Mariska Breland

    brelandIn 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.

    Her studio and its teachers also use both classical and contemporary Pilates in private training for students ranging from children to the elderly, from professional athletes to those recovering from (or trying to avoid) major surgeries, as well as people rehabbing from injuries or chronic conditions.

    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 for MS, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and other 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 was a member of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Wellness Committee. Additionally, Mariska’s Pilates for MS course is 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!

    Meghann Koppele

    Meghann headshotMeghann Koppele is a Kane School, Pilates Method Alliance, and iM=X certified instructor as well as a Certified Strength and Condition Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She has also completed the Functional Anatomy for Movement & Injuries Workshop at Mt. Sinai Medical Center.

    Meghann received her undergraduate degree in exercise science from the University of Scranton and a Master’s degree in Applied Physiology from Columbia University. After completing her Master’s degree, Meghann opened a Pilates studio in Hoboken, New Jersey, where she worked with clients with a variety of conditions including severe back pain, sports injuries, pre- and postnatal, and multiple sclerosis. She also worked with clients who simply wanted better fitness or to achieve their weight loss goals.

    After five years running a studio, Meghann decided to sell her business to refocus on her first love – teaching and helping others. Over the past twelve years, Meghann has had the privilege of working closely with many clients with multiple sclerosis (from early stage to advanced), as well as their doctors. After compiling medical research and anecdotal evidence, she created her own Pilates-based protocol to help her MS clients. Realizing that teachers were ill-equipped to work with this population, she joined forces with Kelly Kane and Matt McCulloch via the Kinected Mentor Program to help her further develop her work into a workshop for other teachers, personal trainers, physical therapists, and other rehab specialists.

    When she learned of Mariska’s work with MS, Meghann contacted her and suggested they talk. After an auspicious meeting in 2014, the two decided to combine forces. They realized that their programs were entirely complementary (down to the way each teacher believes a session should begin). Meghann met with Mariska over the course of several days in order to come on board as a teacher trainer for the larger (3-day) Pilates for MS course. She also teaches her half-day overview workshop based on her original program design.

    Meghann offers home visits for clients in New York City and New Jersey, or you can visit her in Manasquan, NJ or at Kinected in NYC.  To schedule a session or consultation with Meghann please visit The Koppele Method or email Meghann directly.

    All material on this website and in the accompanying textbook is copyrighted. If you would like to host a course, contact us. If you would like to use portions of the book in a course of your own, contact us to discuss.

    Note that Pilates for MS is not a substitute for care or treatment by a medical professional or physical therapist. If you are a patient, please consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise.