Do You Mind?

The breakneck pace of the average American’s professional and personal life is doing potentially irreparable damage to every facet of our health. Most of our days are filled with things we must do, things we should do, and things we’ll never have the time to accomplish (and subsequently end up feeling bad about). The tasks we get around to, we usually perform on autopilot. Our lifestyle has taken the life out of living, but fortunately, there’s a fix for that. It’s called mindfulness.

Mindfulness has become a buzzword in recent years, and is defined as, “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.” Ideally, with practice, we can infuse mindfulness into every activity of our day—in our eating, in our conversations, and fitness practices.

Pilates has six core principles, each of which helps us understand the spirit behind the practice. Let’s take a look at them together and explore how mindfulness is inherent to this activity.

Concentration

Pilates is not a passive activity designed to take your mind somewhere else. In order to learn and execute the core-strengthening movements involved, you must turn your full attention to what your body is doing. It’s a wonderful way to strengthen the mind-body connection.

Centering

Centering is getting your emotions in check. It is concerning yourself only with the present moment and releasing any negative thoughts, which is precisely the headspace you want to be in during your practice.

Control

While many fitness programs emphasize strength, numbers, or speed, Pilates is all about control. Your mind must be fully engaged in the movement of the moment, if your goal is to see your efforts reap the most benefits.

Precision

Correct form and movement in your practice is essential to progress and growth. In order to perform the exercises with precision, you must concentrate on how each part of your body feels when you’re doing them right, so you can correct yourself when your form is incorrect. Precision requires focus.

Breathing

In Pilates, your breathing is just as important as your movements. In fact, one way that you can invite mindfulness into your everyday life is to acknowledge your breathing, trading shallow ones for deep ones.

Flow

Flow is the beauty of Pilates. Participating in each movement’s leading to the next, whether painful or peaceful, helps us employ the same technique in life.

Pilates is the ideal way to implement mindfulness into your hectic world. Make practicing a priority, and watch how awareness begins to trickle into every area of your life