Pilates and the Mind-Body Connection
Pilates is a well-rounded workout. Anyone who has been practicing pilates for longer than a few months can testify to the fact that it is much, much more than a means to obtaining sculpted abs. Pilates is an expressway to achieving both a fit body and mind. Not many other workouts can claim this title. Many people come to a Pilates class in the hopes of gaining a taut tummy, easing joint pain or just improving all around physical performance, but what so many end up coming away with is all of this plus a sense of inner peace and serenity. So what exactly is it about Pilates that makes it a one stop health shop and it's benefit of mind-body connection?Multiple studies have been published about the positive link between exercise and brain function. Engaging in a regular exercise regimen is healthy. Period. However, some studies chose to dig a little deeper and see which exercises in particular were better for increasing brain function. A group of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health that people have significantly superior brain function after a mindful movement practice like Pilates or Yoga compared to aerobic exercise. We can only speculate as to why this is, but our guess has something to do with lengthening and controlling the breath and moving mindfully, as we do in these exercises.In addition to increasing brain health, pilates calms the mind and controls anxious thoughts through something we like to call, moving meditation. Pilates mimics the traditional sit cross legged on the floor meditation by allowing the mind to focus on one thing in particular-the body. Your mind is focused on visualizing your body moving in synch with your breath and finding new edges. Through this movement, the brain is tricked into calming down and reaps all of the benefits of a still meditation.If you’re looking for a well rounded workout, we suggest giving pilates a try. Your mind and abs will thank you! Also, if you are interested in learning more about the mind body connection, hang out after class one day and we would be happy to discuss the connection in greater detail!