By: Renee Gladilen, Pilates Instructor
You have set aside valuable time to practice, so why not get the most out of your matwork? Here are some useful tips to help you attain outstanding results!
i.) Concentrate. In order to work your body, you must be present with your mind. Concentration is the key element making this connection. The next time you exercise, pay close attention to your movements and note how your muscles respond to the attention. Realize that it is your mind that wills your body into action: when you focus on an area, notice how much more you can feel that area working. Embrace the power of your mind!
ii.) Do not tense your muscles. We have become conditioned to tense up, hold our breath and push to the point of strain in order to achieve our exercise goals. While movements require strength and concentration, there should always be a natural flow of rhythm that serves to relax the muscles without disengaging them from their task. Don’t forget to listen to our body! It’s something that we rarely do. It is vital to trust what feels right and what doesn’t – do not take the power of your natural intuition for granted. If something hurts, stop!!
iii.) Relaxation needs to begin in the mind & spread throughout the entire body. Disengage from all of the concerns clouding your mind. Focus on the Now. Eckhart Tolle’s words of wisdom illustrate this point well –“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.”
iv.) Control. Mat work must be performed with utmost control in order to reap the most benefits from your practice and avoid injury. Joseph Pilates built his method on the idea of muscle control. No Pilates exercise is done just for the sake of getting through it. Each movement serves a function. Therefore, it is critical to perform each exercise step by step, paying close attention to how your body responds to every movement. When you feel the urge to rush through an exercise – restrain yourself – concentrate on the task at hand to promote better control.
v.) Breath is an effective tool to achieve this state. Try not to hold your breath if the exertion is too great. Breathing patterns should feel natural – inhaling at the beginning of movement and exhaling throughout its completion.
Keep in mind: performing a sequence of movements slowly, with awareness and control, is far more effective than mindlessly rushing through your practice.
Concentrate in the present moment. Maintain a natural sense of control without rigidity. Breath. Take it slowww. In time you will obtain the results you are looking for :)
Posts inspired by the team at Platinum Health & Wellness.