Centering

Now I want to talk a bit about a second principle in Pilates, Centering.  

Centering can mean a multiple of things in Pilates and in life.  There is centering the body on the mat or equipment.  You can also center your mind into your body, which I talk about below.  The center in our bodies would be considered from the lowest rib to the hips, it also includes the lower and upper back muscles… Also we pull all our strength from the center in Pilates.  

Before performing an exercise, I do my best to do a body scan, breathe, center myself on the mat and within my body.  If there is tension in my body, then I try to reset some more, rid as much as I can of that tension.. by taking deep breaths..

Focus, is centered from the mind and into the body through deep breathing.  Shallow breathing indicates that you are in your headspace... Get out of your head!  What we aim to find in pilates is that balance of the mind and body.  By taking that deep breath you feel more centered, or grounded.  Calm.  Try it.  Stop what you are doing and take a deep breath...That is the state you want to be in so you can pull from the center.  Movement in Pilates exercises should not carry tension. Each movement, with concentration, should be carefully executed so as not to create tension.  You want your body and all its systems to work in a uniform way.  And one way this can be done is by doing Pilates, incorporating all 6 principles, consistently.  10 minutes a day is enough, really. 

And I can tie this to life by saying that Centering yourself before a movement in Pilates is like thinking before responding in a conversation.  Also, in Pilates, you can choose to focus and center yourself before an exercise, instead of being fidgety, to get better results.  Which I feel is similar to choosing to focus inward (Centering yourself) and responding to things, instead of just aimlessly reacting, so as to better direct your life.  How powerful, right? 

Stay centered and enjoy the Journey!

 

Think before you move, wait what? Concentration...

Do you notice that, when you do Pilates, when you focus on what is actually working, that action becomes more efficient.  In my training, I overheard someone say, Joseph Pilates called his work "the thinking man's" workout, and it so is!  So, every muscle is actually working, whether it is mobile or stable, when you work out.  But the point is to get the body moving in a uniform way.  In the beginning we see and notice how over compensated our muscles actually are.  So how do we choose what muscle group to focus on?

1) Listen to your instructor!  They should be able to see your weakness and tell you where to apply your focus during your movement.  In a class setting, the instructor should set an intention for the movement at that moment.  We don't just count reps in Pilates.  So, Listen..

2) Increase your awareness on how you physically feel.  Our muscles and joints have proprioceptors that help us know where we are in space and what our range of motion is for any given movement.  Overtime we do train them to be correct of our bodies full potential.  We can all improve our potential.  We must increase that awareness of how we feel to change or retrain those patterns.

If you find your self over thinking, let it go, just stop.  To much tension in the brain will keep you in your head and not in your body, or as i like to call your heart space :)  The Instructor, as well may just see that and change the exercise.  Another point in Pilates is to keep moving cause movement heals!  And one more thing, if you find yourself thinking of that evenings dinner or a conversation with a friend, then the next thing you can do is a quick body scan.  From the feet up to the heads.. and well ill leave that subject for a future post..

hurt less, play more!