Wouldn’t it be great to have a healthy body for life? Imagine feeling strong and confident no matter what your chronological age. Think about this: Whether you’re healthy or not, you only have one body. It’s your body for life. It is my hope that you will feel empowered to build and maintain well-being!
“The body is a sacred garment. It’s your first and last garment; it is what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honor.” ~Martha Graham.
Are you aware of your body? What do you think of it, and do you know how to speak its language? Let’s start this exploration of our body and its health with some questions and some simple, straightforward answers.
What is Body Awareness?
Body awareness is a term that refers to knowledge and attention to what the human body can do. When we practice body awareness, we think about things like transferring weight, flight, and balance.
“The mind’s first step to self-awareness must be through the body.” ~ George Sheehan
What is Body Image?
Body image is the perception we have of our own body. Do you love your body or hate it? Or do you have feelings somewhere in the middle of these two extremes? Body image can be positive or negative and is often influenced by the standards society sets about how we should look.
“Research suggests that in general, women have slightly lower self-esteem overall when compared to men. But when it comes to body image, there is an enormous gender gap, with women reporting an overwhelmingly greater body dissatisfaction when compared to men,” says Denise Martz, PhD, a clinical health psychologist, and professor at Appalachian State University in North Carolina.
When you consider your knowledge and feelings about your body, is there room for improvement?
What is Body Language?
Your body is always sending signals about you to others. Take a look at yourself in a mirror or a window reflection. How do you think another person would perceive you right now? Are you slouching and trying to hide, or are you standing tall?
Look at your facial expression. Are you smiling? As Martha Graham said, “The body never lies.”
Fall in Love With Your Body for Life
“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” ~ Buddha
If you want to have a strong and healthy body for life, practice Pilates or yoga. Pilates and yoga both work to unite the mind, body, and spirit. With commitment and dedication to either of these practices, you will eventually discover better physical awareness.
Feeling healthy and fit can improve your body awareness, which can improve your body image. With these improvements, your body language may change as well. Instead of hiding or showing the world that you are not feeling secure, your body may begin to say I am confident and beautiful!
The first step toward better health and fitness is always the hardest. With desire and dedication, it can be done. It’s your body for life. Self-confidence is the best outfit. Wear it. Own it. Rock it!
It’s hard being a woman these days. Maybe it has always been hard, but it seems to me that things are getting a lot more difficult. Despite many of the advances made by the feminist movement and by a better educated collective group of women, the pressure to look a certain way is stronger than ever. Thanks to photo shop, cosmetic surgery, injections and weight loss diets, women feel an even greater need to look –well- – perfect. Having a destructive body image with an ever growing desire to look better and thinner is a side effect of this pressure. Some women have the confidence to ignore the images while others become victims of it. Which one are you?
Everyone knows that sex sells and using beautiful women to sell a product or service has been around forever. That may never change. Yet how do we deal with the negative feelings that occur because of this high bar and because so many women cannot possibly look that good? Recently I posted the following on Facebook “You will never look like the girl in the magazine. The girl in the magazine doesn’t even look like the girl in the magazine”!! Is it possible to keep this in mind?
A friend of mine who is also a Pilates teacher once told me that she suffered for many years with a body image problem. “Everyone told me I was ugly and that if I didn’t do something about it I’d never have a boyfriend or get married” she confided in me. “Yet when I discovered Pilates and then became a teacher,” she continued, “I felt so good about my body that I completely forgot about what people used to say. “I found her words to be very informative on many levels. First of all, how did Pilates help her come to terms with these issues and how can I help others to overcome similar issues?
Women have to ask themselves questions regarding the pressure to look a certain way. Should they buy into all the hype of using the right skin cream or shampoo? Should they spend several month’s income on plastic surgery? Or, should they look to Pilates as one way to improve on their body image? My vote is for Pilates.
Pilates is so much more than a series of exercises that gives one a bikini ready body or flat abs. It can do that too, but the benefits of Pilates go much deeper than 6-pack abs. Pilates is what we call ‘intelligent’ exercise in that it is not fast moving, sloppy out of control movement. Yes, it can be fast moving but always with control. I always tell my clients ‘you’ are in control of the exercise the exercise is not in control of you. Pilates is helping you to create a conscious awareness of your body. Body & mind unite. This is empowerment!
It takes a little while to understand the method, but once you do it changes everything. What you learn in your Pilates class you take with you to your day to day life. Not only does one feel more energized after a Pilates class, but with a consistent practice posture improves, gait is more graceful, nagging back pain disappears and the body just feels so good that it’s impossible to not like yourself. Pilates changes everything for the better.
The ads, the pressure, the endless beauty products may never go away. Yet if women can learn to embrace their beauty by learning to move better and to feel better, we can finally say we’ve made progress in this constant battle. Now that’s truly beautiful.
We have a choice: Let the endless media pressure to look a certain way affect us or, find a method like Pilates to not only make us look better, but to also give us the confidence to ignore all the noise. What would you choose?
This article was a joint effort between Devra Swiger of Ab~Solutely Pilates and myself as we both feel passionately about this topic.
Do you have lower back pain? Suffer from sciatica? Perhaps you’re in a job where you’re sitting a good part of the day? Is your head forward, ears not over your shoulders? If you just answered yes to any of these questions than you have the first reason why ‘Posture Matters’.
At Pilates Body NYC learning what constitutes good posture is your first lesson. Anterior tilt, Posterior tilt or are you in a natural neutral spine? What does it all mean and why you should care? What muscles are tight, what muscles are weak? You will learn all about ‘your’ body and how Pilates will help you restore a natural neutral spine and bring your body back to balance. Yes, good posture can be a remedy to your pain. A Pilates program will be designed for you.
Benefits of Good Posture:
- Pain relief throughout your body, including back and neck pain, hip pain, leg & foot pain.
- Move more efficiently with greater ease
- Improve your muscle function
- Increases your range of motion
- Takes pressure off of compressed organs
- Improves your circulation
- Creates a trimmer appearance
- Radiates confidence
Are you convinced that attention to posture is important? Give us a call 646-382-7911 and schedule an appointment. Your body will thank you.
Pilates Body NYC specializes in Private Pilates Sessions. We are the Upper West Side Studio that comes to you wherever you are. Pilates made convenient!
Do you have a ‘computer head’?
This is another way of asking if you have forward head posture. Take a look in the mirror. Are your ears directly over your shoulders or are they forward of them? If they are forward you are officially a ‘computer head’. Not a club you want to be in.
How did you become a ‘computer head’?
No longer are we moving like our ancestors, we’re sitting on our asses A LOT, guess where, yep in front of a computer.
Computer head syndrome – hunched rounded shoulders, forward head posture, tucked under tailbone. Back pain just waiting to happen.
We weren’t meant to sit so much but yet a majority of us spend at least 5 or more hours a day doing it. This new ‘posture’ can result in many aches and pains due to muscles shortening and becoming ‘tight’.
Here’s a simple tip – stand up, do some light stretches at your work station better yet get up and go outside for some fresh air. No lunches sitting at your desk. These tips could be your saving grace. Your body will thank you!
For posture concerns or general functional fitness call Pilates Body NYC the Upper West Side Pilates studio that comes to you. Pilates made convenient!
Off the Pilates mat and into the world you go…..
Perhaps you’ve heard it said that Pilates is more than just exercise. I know that I have said it many times.
A Pilates practice has the power to make every activity you do in your everyday life better. Think of your Pilates mat session not only as a workout, but a body lab. Take the sensations of the movements, body awareness, and postural cues you learned in your session out into the world. Incorporate it into your daily life. The lessons learned on the mat can help you with something as simple as walking taller with correct posture, sitting without slouching, to your golf game, tennis, skiing, biking, and even running. Whatever your sport Pilates will be your friend. Your practice will also help you avoid back pain on long car trips and neck pain from spending too much time at a computer.
These are some of the reasons we say that Pilates is more than exercise it is a practice for life! Give Pilates on the mat a try and see for yourself.
Pilates Body NYC is the Upper West Side Pilates Studio that comes to you wherever you are. Pilates made convenient!