Every certified Pilates instructor begins their journey into this marvelous mind/body system of movement by first learning about the principles behind the thought process.
Even if,in the very beginning,the complete understanding of these principles is not clear, the beauty of this work lies in the ability of the instructor to apply the principles to this or any other form of exercise and reap the benefits of Pilates without really having a deep “feel” of the exercise itself. This is not a criticism but a fact. We all have to start somewhere. If we then truly understand the genius behind the Pilates method, we will realise that the exercises or the principles do not necessarily have to change.We do. We then begin the deeper journey of the feel and thought and emotion behind each exercise, finding more and going deeper.No fancy choreography needed.
After a while the Pilates Principles begin to take on new meaning. You find that they are not just words that you learned. Not just a number of viewpoints of a single exercise but a true evaluation of our phyche at our physical,mental,emotional and soul levels.
Let’s revisit the Principles of Pilates and look at them differently.
Breath- breathing is not only useful for muscle activation but is the ultimate connection of the mind to the body . We can use the breath to sharpen our focus, reset our physiology from “flight or fight” to “rest and digest”,detoxify our bodies by activating the lymph system and more importantly, transport us into an altered state of conciousness. And from there access our primal brain with all of our (collective) stored memories of evolution.From this vantage point,we may be able to reevaluate our lives,seeing it from a new perspective (balance).
Awareness-as this is an exercise method first and foremost, we tend to think about being aware of just our physical body. As we incorporate and understand the principle of breathing- we can take our awareness to another level, accessing the subconcious mind as we focus and concentrate (one more principle)on the breath.We become aware of far more than the “outer” body and much more of our “inner” selves.
Balance- as we increase our awareness through our breath,we develop the tools to create a balance in our lives.We are able to “see” where we need to do less,think more,feel the most.
Center- not just the muscular powerhouse or our core but the center of our being where the soul resides. The grounding of our “self” in the physical body.Connected to our breath and awareness.
Control-as we center ourselves, align our bodies with our souls and become more concious beings, our ability to seize control over our lives becomes stronger. As we learn to release, realign,strengthen all our “subtle” bodies, we begin to be able to exert more control over how we deal with our issues. Do they consume us or are we able to see the bigger picture?
Strength-along with developing our inner core muscle strength,we strengthen our ability to cope with our lives and tackle what it brings forth from a deeper more concious level.
Flow- breathing allows us to release tension and stress which in turn,allows for more freedom and flow not just in movement but in life itself.
And the ultimate- Total Body Integration-by using the Principles of Pilates- breathing,awareness,balance,centering,control,strength and flow,we have the complete integration of our “subtle” bodies- physical,mental,emotional and spiritual.
All of this for the price of a Pilates class.
Thank you Joe.