The mindful characteristics of Pilates make it an ideal way to remain calm, peaceful and in control as the day light decreases and we head into these busy winter months.
Pilates can be a successful tool for the self management of stress.
Principles that are remarkably similar to today proven methods of managing stress.
• Focusing on only the muscles needed for that activity, while other muscles remain relaxed.
• Exercise example: Double leg stretch level 1: working at the shoulder but not the neck a flowing movement.
• Diaphragmatic breathing is a vital part of every stress management program and a primary principle of Pilates.
• Diaphragmatic breathing allows “moment awareness” in our busy lives.
• It forms part of the preparation for many Pilates exercises.
• Through the development of muscle awareness and concentration on the ability to contract and relax different muscle groups we promote control, focus and relaxation.
• Exercise example: Corkscrew: focuses on the contract / relax of muscles around the neck and shoulder prone to carrying tension
4. Guided imagery
• The verbal cues and descriptors given by the instructor create a series of exercises and breathing patterns allowing you to concentrate in the moment focusing on pure movement and calm.
• Exercise example: shoulder bridge: visualizing spine as string of pearls peeling away from the mat.
5. Heightened body awareness
• Becoming more body aware allows you to be more precise in your movements, making each come from the right place and controlling each without momentum.
• This practice can directly affect your ability to manage physical stress; allowing you to feel calm and re-energized.
• Exercise example: One leg circle: focus on isolating mobility at hip.
• All the factors above are good examples of practicing mindfulness.
• They encourage us to focus in the present on the activity you are doing; reducing effects of negative stress enhancing quality of life.
• Pilates can be incredibly powerful in providing a place for the body to relax, rejuvenate and release tension
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