- Slow Down
Pilates is a mind/body exercise meant to be practiced mindfully. It’s not the type of exercise you’d do, say, while watching TV or flipping through Facebook on your phone. It’s also not characterized by instructors yelling out moves and next steps through headset microphones while techno music blares in the background. Pilates is mindful, and it’s slow. Slow in the sense that every move is calculated. It takes concentration to make those tiny–but so important–muscles all work together to support your movements, and my best Pilates sessions are those where I take the time to slow down, tune in, and focus.
It’s important that we slow down sometimes in life as well. We’re often so busy running from one errand to the next, checking off the next To Do List item, organizing that next party, serving our family, that we rarely take the time to slow down, to savor, to truly just enjoy the moment. Slowing down can take some discipline but the benefits are worth it.
The breath is SO important in Pilates. It’s not just a way to rid your body of CO2 and get more oxygen. The breath is used to time movements, to support you during transitions, and to help activate certain muscles. When I’m struggling in a Pilates class, I always return to my breath. Not only does it help me refocus on what’s happening inside my body, it calm me down and reduces stress levels.
In the chaos of everyday life, we can always return again and again to the breath. Women are especially guilty of holding their breath during times of stress. Not only does this prevent our bodies from getting the oxygen we need, it tenses the body and puts the brain on high alert. When you begin to notice that you’re struggling in your day- whether it be because you’re stuck in traffic or late for an important meeting or can’t find your car keys- try to take a moment to just breathe. You might be surprised to find how quickly your mind and body responds!
- Consistency is Key
Joseph Pilates himself 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.” A strong Pilates practice is all about consistency. Like anything that you want to last, Pilates thrives on consistency.
I see this in other areas of my life as well. Whether it's being kind, or practicing forgiveness, or trying to start a new healthful habit, success is all about consistency. Doing something consistently makes it almost automatic- we no longer have to “try.”
What about you? What life lessons have you gleaned from YOUR Pilates practice?