The mind, when housed within a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power.” ~ Joseph Pilates
Body and mind are ‘one’. Two sides of the same thing. One supports the other.
Pilates is an exercise practice that helps to teach you the integrated connection between Body & Mind, it is mindful movement which in turn can help you attain a better body awareness for everyday living. Sounds good, but what does all this actually mean? Let’s start at the beginning.
What constitutes a mind-body exercise?
It is not the name of the exercise, but rather how an exercise is performed, that determines whether or not it qualifies. A mind-body exercise is a physical exercise that is performed with an intense focus. An exerciser does not need to be entertained while they exercise. They never workout oblivious to the exercises they are performing. The exercise and movement is their focus. While performing a mind-body exercise you do not read, watch television, videos, wear headphones, or listen to music. Perhaps soft music is in the background but once you’re lost in the exercise I bet you won’t even hear it.
The exercise and exerciser utilizes four of the Pilates principals: Breathing, Precision, Control and Concentration.
Breathing – A mind-body exercise is performed with controlled breathing that utilizes full inhalations and exhalations that follow a specific number of counts or rhythm.
Precision – A mind-body exercise is performed with precision and in proper form. Quality of movement counts more than quantity in a mind-body exercise. Precision requires mental control.
Control – A mind-body exercise always involves the control and balance of your own body-weight. But, body-weight exercises are not necessarily a mind-body exercise unless they are performed along with the three other principles. Controlling your own body-weight forces you to focus on what you are doing.
Concentration – A mind-body exercise is performed with intense concentration on yourself, being in the present moment. The mind-body exerciser is focusing on their body rather than on the instructor, a mirror, a video, or on other participants. While exercising you should never be day dreaming about other things. The point-of-focus in a mind-body exercise will differ from most other forms of physical exercise. You should be thinking about stabilizing, or anchoring, the area of the body that is NOT in motion.
Now that we have a better understanding of what constitutes a Mind Body exercise how can this help you in your everyday living?
When we have an awareness of how we use our bodies we can then change our habits in order to use our bodies in the most efficient way possible for everyday living.
Mind body exercises can be calming & empowering.
• Decrease anxiety
• Decrease pain
• Strengthen the immune system and enhance the ability to heal
• Increase sense of control and well-being
Hopefully you now see why I say that Pilates is more than an exercise.
“The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning is gaining the mastery of your mind over the complete control over your body.” ~ Joseph Pilates
Pilates Body NYC is the Upper West Side Pilates Studio that comes to ‘you’ wherever you are and works around your schedule. Together we can discover the connection of Body & Mind.
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