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Pilates exercises strengthen muscles and enhance flexibility and mobility. Pilates can improve your awareness of the relationship between your thoughts, feelings, and physical state. Explore four ways Pilates supports mind-body awareness.
1. Mindful Movement
Mindful movement is a fundamental principle of Pilates. Every move you make is intentional and purposeful.
Practicing Pilates encourages you to be present in the moment and notice physical sensations. You can use wooden stall bars for Pilates training for moves like the swan or jackknife. Or you can do Pilates on just about any flat surface with a mat.
2. Breath Awareness
Another way Pilates supports mind-body awareness is through conscious breathing. Pilates movements purposefully correspond with breathing in and out, and Pilates teaches a specific breathing technique that enhances the exercises.
By highlighting the connection between movement and breath, Pilates can make you more mindful about breathing in general. This is a useful skill because deep breathing is an effective way to combat stress and foster inner peace.
3. Enhance Your Body and Mind
Exercise benefits your physical and mental health. Engaging in physical activity is an easy way to improve cognitive functions, such as perception and reasoning.
Pilates exercises focus on strengthening the core muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and stomach. Strengthening the core improves your stability—your body’s ability to maintain and control different positions.
4. Tension Release
As you move through each Pilates exercise, you must relax and release tension in your body. Like conscientious breathing, releasing tension can help you be more present in the moment.
Pilates movements are slow, and the exercises can encourage a meditative state. As you exercise, notice where you’re holding tension in your body, and let go. Physically relaxing makes it easier to relax mentally.
With Pilates, you’ll reap benefits such as mindful movement, breath awareness, physical and mental strengthening, and a release of physical tension. Whatever your level of physical fitness, Pilates can help you enhance your physical health and mental well-being in tandem.