Pilates and Mindfulness

By On November 15, 2015 · Leave a Comment

How does Pilates relate to mindfulness? A client recently asked me to address this in one of my blogs. A buzz termMindfulness and Pilates of sorts these days, mindfulness pulls up all sorts of definitions from Google.  A basic definition that serves as an umbrella to include the many definitions available states that mindfulness is being aware from moment to moment. It is active attention to the present. With that in mind, how does Pilates not relate to mindfulness?!

Pilates is a mindful movement.

The goal of a Pilates session is, not simply to complete a series of exercises, but rather to mindfully engage specific muscles, to direct the movement. Such focus and control requires complete attention and presence—mindfulness!

One of those specific muscles that need direction while we move in Pilates is the diaphragm. Thus the constant direction to inhale or exhale at a specific point in the movement. The mental and physical benefits of good breathing practices cannot be contained in one blog. In fact, they have been previously discussed in few blogs linked below. With good breathing, we’ll engage the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing ourselves to remain calm and present.Control your breath mindfully with Pilates.

Breath: The Key to Longevity and Ease.

Breathing—The Internal Shower of the Body

Consciously moving through space, as we do in Pilates, also challenges and engages the nervous system to improve our balance and proprioception, the sense of where we are in space.  Both these senses, like muscles, are improved when they are used and challenged. Unfortunately, that is why they suffer as we age and move less and less. Not so with the mindful movement of Pilates! Our conscious movement will awaken and sustain our nervous system and build usable neuromuscular strength.

Undoubtedly there is a moment for each of my new clients when they realize how much concentration Pilates requires. Sometimes it is verbalized; sometimes I can simply see it in their face. I always reassure my clients that it will become easier, but they will always need to pay close attention to how they move with two great results:
1) They cannot pay attention to anything else while they are doing Pilates, be it an ever-growing to-do list, stress at work, bills, etc. What a gift!
2) They will develop a better, constant subconscious connection to their body, even when they are not in the studio—an invaluable tool and benefit in our day-to-day life.

So continue to enjoy and improve your mindful movement at Pilates Studio City. Please share your positive mindful experiences below, and/or request a topic or question for one of my future blogs!

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