How can concentration help your Pilates practice?
In these stressful times, taking time out for some mindful exercise can help to bring some calm to our day and reduce anxiety. Find out how bringing the Pilates principle of concentration to your practice will help to improve your mind-body connection and increase your body awareness helping you to reduce injury and get the most from your workout.
Not for nothing, did Joseph Pilates called his method ‘the thinking man’s workout’!
When applying the Pilates principle of concentration, we become more mindful of our body and its movements. This increases our ‘body awareness’ (the ability to recognise where our body is in space). On an everyday level, we need ‘body awareness’ to help us physically relate to the objects and people in the world around us. In Pilates, it helps us to be aware of how we move and to recognise any tightness, misalignment or weakness in our body that we might have due to lifestyle, injury, or congenital issues.
When we have muscles that are weak, they are unable to do the movements required of them effectively. However, the job still needs to be done so another muscle(s) has to help or even take over. Because this muscle is having to compensate for the weaker muscle and doing more work, it can become over-developed and tight, which can lead to postural imbalances and injury. By applying the twin skills of awareness and concentration, you will a) be aware of weakness in your body and know whether you are using the correct muscles for each exercise and b) be able to focus on the muscles that you should be working, to help those muscles fire (contract) and pull their weight! Engaging a weak muscle is hard to do even with concentration but it is almost impossible to do with it!
Working the mind as well as the body within a Pilates session will help us to have good muscular balance, keep the body in alignment throughout the movement, prevent injury and help us to get the most from our workout.
“Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit.”