When you think of fitness, mindfulness may not be your first thought. When you think of mindfulness, you’re probably not thinking of a workout. But the truth is, there are mindful fitness routines, and Pilates is one of the most effective.
Movement with control is one of the six principals that sets Pilates apart from other exercise practices. I should state right from the start that Joseph Pilates did not name what is now known as the Pilates Principals. They were derived from his concepts and named later.
I cannot always control what goes on outside. But I can always control what goes on inside.
Why Pilates is a Mindful Fitness Routine
Movement with control and awareness is powerful. Have you ever seen an athlete exhibit breathtaking control over his or her body? I know I have. I watch in awe, as I bet you do.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to go to the same lengths to control your own movements in Pilates. But working towards increasing your control while engaged in an exercise should always be in the forefront of your mind. Pilates is a mindful fitness routine in the sense that awareness of your body helps you master control of your movement. Control of your movement allows you to get the most out of your Pilates workout.
Control in a Pilates exercise is less about the intensity or multiple reps you are doing and more about using proper form to achieve safe, effective results. Here, moving with control means using your muscles to stabilize your body as you lift and lower your limbs rather than flinging them through the air like wet noodles. It means drawing your deepest abdominal muscles towards your spine as you roll up from the mat, one vertebra at a time, as opposed to the jerking motion of old style sit-ups and crunches. This is mindful fitness. You remain aware of how your body should move in each exercise and work towards mastering that movement.
Mastering Control in Pilates
When you engage in Pilates exercises mindfully, you commit fully to each exercise and move deliberately and intentionally. Control of movement is not something you can achieve overnight. However, you can work towards control in each movement of your workout. Pilates is a practice, and each time you practice, you get a little bit better. Your teacher will give you modifications to help you keep control of your movement. Use these modifications; they are meant to help you. When you feel like you’ve lost control of the movement, it’s time to stop.
Control takes concentration. Your mind and body must work together. Make a commitment to mindful fitness—to working on gaining better control of your body—not just when you exercise but in all activities throughout your day. Pilates is more than exercise; it is a practice for life.
Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is the only moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Workplace exercise program the Pilates way!
Work is tough. Sitting all day, working at the computer, reading emails is very hard on the body. A day at the desk can translate into low energy, fatigue and often minor to severe back pain. The sad thing is that even with 8 or more hours a day at work, all that sitting makes employees less productive. People need to move! Movement is what keeps employees not only more productive, but happier and more energetic. A workplace exercise program if handled correctly can mean a huge boost to employee productivity.
There are many benefits to offering a workplace exercise program. Here are a few:
1) Employees who don’t have time to workout are now able to do so.
2) Produces a healthier and fitter workplace
3) Fewer sick days for employees (because of number 2)
4) Increased productivity
5) A competitive benefit to offer to new hires and to keep current employees engaged.
Pilates mat work lends itself well to an in office fitness program. First of all, to teach a group mat class all one needs is a large enough space and a mat. That’s it. Another great benefit of teaching a Pilates mat class is that even though it is a thorough and intense work-out, employees can go right back to work. Some work-outs are so intense and so sweaty that employees need to shower and clean up making it difficult to squeeze the session in on a lunch break.
The mat class can be done in less than 50 minutes giving the employees enough time to get back to their desks. It can be offered at lunch time or, with time and commutes permitting, at the end of the work day.
A colleague of mine teaches two mat Pilates classes at a medium size company. The classes are held in a conference room and each student is responsible for bringing his or her own mat. Management discovered even after a short time that the students came back from class refreshed, eager to get back to work and in a better mood. She offers her classes around the lunch hour so that employees get a nice break from work and don’t have to come in early or leave late. She tells me that management loves the way everyone comes back feeling so much more energized. Even the management pops in from time to time and they too feel great.
There are two monetary ways to offer Pilates classes to employees: One is to let the employees pay for the class and the second way is to have the company cover the cost of the class. Different session packages are available as well.
A Pilates mat class is the perfect program for employees. It works the entire body and makes everyone feel like they just had their internal batteries recharged. It’s a great way to keep everyone fit, healthy and happy.
For further information on how you can bring Pilates to your workplace please contact Susan Sommers at 646-382-7911.
Pilates Body NYC is the Upper West Side Pilates studio that come to you. We make Pilates convenient!
What makes Pilates Different?
Exercise is all the rage these days and there are more types of fitness fads than cable TV programs how does one know which one to choose? Which program works best for me? My personal pick is Pilates and the five reasons highlighted below explain why:
Pilates Mat Class
1) Body Awareness: Having body awareness is crucial in any fitness program. So many fitness classes have people jumping around with poor form and the mind is completely tuned out. Pilates is different because when you have to focus on any given movement the form improves immensely. Without this key component, it is virtually impossible to improve your fitness level.
2) Control: Before Pilates was called Pilates it was called Contrology or the science of control. For example, when doing a typical crunch the abdominal muscles need to contract. The student needs to learn how to control this movement and not just overwork the neck or hip flexors. Pilates is all about learning control so that what needs to move moves and what needs to remain stable remains stable. This allows for great results in both strength and flexibility training.
3) Safety: Pilates when done the right way is a very safe exercise. By working with a well trained instructor who knows what to do and what not to do the student can progress to higher levels without getting injured. Too many vigorous exercise programs lack control and safety. Students often get injured and then lose several weeks if not more of training. How many times do you hear how someone hurt their shoulder or knee or lower back in a big group class? When an injury occurs the student is set back a long time. Pilates prevents this from happening because it is such a focused and controlled exercise method.
4) Balance: Pilates is a wonderful exercise program to maintain balance. When a body is out of balance, it is far more prone to injury. For example, many times people complain that one leg is longer than another and that is why they have trouble doing certain exercises. Most of the time, one leg really isn’t longer, but one hip is tighter and hiked up giving the appearance of a leg length discrepancy. Over time, this can become a serious problem. Pilates allows the body to return to a balanced state. As the student becomes more aware of his or her body, he or she can correct certain movement patterns that lead to this imbalance.
5) Fountain of Youth: Nothing changes the body like Pilates. Nothing. Not only does it make the body look longer and leaner but it also allows for a more youthful gait. When someone can stand up tall and move with grace and control, it takes years off their appearance. Pilates can be a real fountain of youth.
Pilates is a fantastic base for all forms of movement in addition to being a perfect standalone exercise program. Once you understand how to move and how to remain in control not only do you look and feel better, but all forms of exercise and movement become easier.
Pilates Body NYC is the Upper West Side Pilates studio that comes to you. We make Pilates convenient!
MOVE YOUR BODY
Do you feel you’re too old to get started on fitness goals? Well, I’m here to tell you you’re not. Regardless of your age you can start taking steps this very day. Start slowly and with time you will form a stronger relationship with fitness and make it part of your life.
Perhaps your first step is to take a morning walk with a friend or park further from your destination rather than closer. Just by doing these small simple steps you have started on the road to fitness.
There is a difference between Physical Activity & Exercise. Although both get your body moving physical activity relates more to walking your dog, gardening, or taking the stairs vs the elevator whereas Exercise is a form of physical activity that is planned with more structure. Pilates, Yoga Tai Chi, Zumba classes and such. It is important to include ‘Both’ in your life.
- Improve balance & prevent falls
- Increase your energy level
- Creates an overall feeling of wellness
Find your fitness passion & make it a part of your life! Start today & Move Your Body!
Pilates Body NYC located on the Upper West Side specializes in people who are 50+
Pilates is a practice that is for you and all about you.
New to Pilates, what is the best way to start?
Pilates Body NYC recommends that you take private sessions first. This will allow you to learn how the exercises should be performed as well as any modifications that might be needed for your body. Remember that a Pilates practice is for you and all about you and your body. If you choose to do group classes later, you will receive greater benefits from the exercises by knowing and applying the proper technique as well as any personal modifications needed to prevent possible injury. Please click here to see our New Client Specials.
How often should I do Pilates?
We recommend two to three times a week, but even once a week will be beneficial. Keep in mind that Pilates is a practice and the more you practice the more you will benefit. The most important thing is consistency.
How soon can I expect to see results?
I get asked this question all the time! Joseph Pilates said, “In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body”. Exact results may vary by individuals, but with a consistent Pilates practice you will see & feel a difference. Practice will make perfect.
Pilates Body NYC welcomes your questions after all a Pilates practice is all about you!
Pilates Body NYC is the Upper West Side Pilates Studio that comes to you wherever you are. We make Pilates convenient!