How to Do Pilates Using the Six Secrets For Success
Whilst the desire for health and fitness shows no sign of abating, there is a plethora of exercise techniques available and it is often tempting to choose one that will require great physical exertion in order to feel that you are working the body. Yet an equally effective technique is learning how to do Pilates, which does not include sweat inducing exercise but does require guidelines that should be followed for success.
The first secret to Pilates success that must be acknowledged and undertaken is the requirement for relaxation. Whilst you should be in a relaxed state, the exercises will in effect train the body to use only the muscles needed for the actual activity How to Be Guided in the Present Moment. The remaining muscles will be left in a relaxed state and thus the body, when called upon to perform any task will work to its optimum efficiency.
The ability to maintain concentration is vital when seeking to achieve fitness success using Pilates. And through concentration you will learn about muscle awareness by contracting and relaxing different muscle groups which is achieved using specific patterns of exercises. It will not be long before this muscle awareness becomes a subconscious reaction.
The third secret is to ensure your breathing technique and patterns are correct. Diaphragmatic breathing, where the whole diaphragm is engaged in the breathing process is encouraged and enhanced and each Pilates exercise that is undertaken requires a specific method and timing of inhaling and exhaling. By adhering to this, you will then become much more aware of your body’s movement and how exactly it is achieved.
In addition to this, there is the concept of heightened body awareness as an integral facet of Pilates and can be attained through the principles of precision, control and centering. This is where you will require being very precise in undertaking physical movement and the control used to achieve such movement. You will be be surprised how quickly you become aware of how the body achieves this and the economical effort that is required.
The last two secrets of how to do Pilates successfully are concentrated on the requirement for a reduction in any stress that maybe present. Guided imagery is a successful method of stress reduction that teaches the art of relaxation through using your imagination to see yourself in a calm and peaceful place. To compliment this, mindfulness is developed with the goal of enhancing your quality of life with the requirement to live in the present moment which will have the effect of reducing any current problems of negative stress. Where someone is mindful, their full attention will be in the present rather than having their thoughts drifting off to some stressful problem that requires to be faced sometime in the future.
What can be deduced is that Pilates techniques are not just another routine exercise methods where the body is pushed and tested in the quest for better health and fitness. Whilst the outcome will be a healthier you with better fitness, inner strength, flexibility and better posture, by discovering how to do Pilates you will be far more in touch with your body, how it works and how to better protect and care for it.
The sweat drips from my body onto the mat, already wet from 70 minutes of Hot Bikram Yoga. Yuk!! And now the teacher is imploring me and every other student in the session to ‘let go’ of the attachment we’ve made to the last posture. “Just let it go. It’s over! Relax in savasana”.
Savasana is a yoga position where you lie on your back on your mat completely still – still mind, still body. This in itself is really difficult – one wants to scratch, wipe the sweat away, and sense a muscle, the mind full of ‘stuff’- random thoughts such as – “what’s for supper?” “I must look at that… ” “How’s that presentation coming on?” “I wonder how my daughter is?”
But the greater temptation is to attach value and judgement to my efforts in the last posture! “Was it better than last time?” “Had I taken on board comments from the teacher and improved?” “Was I having a good/bad day?” “I wish I had made more effort at… “. So ‘letting go’ is the last thing I really want to do; I want to look back and indulge my emotions and not be in the present moment. Letting go of what has happened is such a difficult exercise. We hang on to thoughts, good and bad, as if our life depended on it. But once something is over, it’s over – there is nothing you can do about it, it’s over. You can understand the things you’ve learned from the experience and move on. Dwelling in a negative sense on something which is past has no merit. Understanding the importance of ‘letting go’… and actually doing it… creates space and calm.
Many years ago I came across a poem attached to the wall of a café in Tasmania, a remote and sparsely populated island state in Australia. It was a list of such lovely exhortations with a positive spin, found in such a bizarre place, it begged to be copied and studied. There are many examples of ‘letting go’ that come to mind and those who read this column may begin to reflect on their own circumstances, their own experiences.