“The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit”.
So, do you reallyknow how awesome Pilates is for our mental wellbeing?? I do! I love all things mental health and Pilates is top of my list. Have you noticed the times when you started a class feeling stressed, emotionally exhausted, down or cranky only to smash out that final ab set to be left feeling like you were floating on a buzzing soft cloud of mental tranquillity? YES! ….But WHY?
Pilates is a form of mindfulness meditation using controlled movement of the body. Through each transverse abdominal (pelvic floor) engagement, glute activation and burning inner thigh pain (super ouchies!), our minds completely focus on our bodies in that present moment. Our minds find peace and serenity away from the chaos of work and home life with every deep inhale and long audible exhale for 45mins.
Not only do we feel in control (when maybe we are feeling mentally out of control), our bodies pump ‘feel good’ endorphins triggering positive emotions. This calms our parasympathetic nervous system reducing cortisol (the stress hormone) allowing the body to relax and reset.
But those are just some of the instant benefits – what about long term? Complex Pilates movements requiring the use of co-ordination and deep concentration (think helicopter abs) have also been proven to protect existing and create new brain neurons responsible for our cognitive function, memory, concentration and critical thinking – it has also showed evidence of protecting the brain against the early onset of Alzheimer’s -how good is that??
And just in case you still not convinced of the super fabulous mental benefits of Pilates – check some of these out:-
- improved sleep
- increased mental clarity
- uncovers creative thinking
- reduction in blood pressure
- increased ability to deal with stressful situations
- helps regulate our ‘flight or fight’ response
- aids the fight of addictions and instils healthy habits
- helps with chronic pain management
So please enjoy your next Pilates class knowing you are treating your mind as an equal to your body. Everyone deserves a smiling mind!
By Sharnah Ristovski
Body Reformers Pilates & Barre Instructor