There are many different layers and elements of any Pilates or Yoga practice. Each time we show up on the mat we have the opportunity to discover something new and often find that there is so much more to our practice than just movement itself. Over the next couple of months on the blog I'd like to dive deeper into several different Pilates principles and how they can be applied both on and off the mat.
This week we'll start with Breathing, Concentration, and Control.
The breath creates a fundamental connection between the mind and body. As we focus on our breath and begin to breathe deeply we are forced to become more present. Many of us are only using about half of our lung capacity, and as we increase deep breathing, we exercise the lungs, increase our lung capacity, and relax the nervous system.
Utilizing the power of the breath also allows us to become more aware of the body and to experience a more centered practice. The breath is a powerful and essential tool!
Joe Pilates said, "It's better to do five repetitions correctly, than 20 without paying attention." Often throughout our lives we find ourselves simply going through the motions. Concentration gives our movement form and purpose. By utilizing concentration you can become present and create the most optimal results in your practice. Developing deeper concentration in class can also help you to become more present throughout the rest of your day.
Joseph Pilates originally called his method "Contrology". When we control our movements throughout class we force the body to employ not only our bigger muscles but our smaller, helper muscles as well. Through controlled movements we develop long, flexible muscles, and the body begins to work as one improving balance and coordination. Using control allows us to maintain proper alignment creating awesome results!