Education Team Tips

Pilates and Mindfulness. 

Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress. 

So what constitutes a “mindful” activity? 

According to Ralph La Forge of Duke University, such an activity should include: 

  1. A self-reflective, present moment and non-judgmental sensory 

awareness. 2. A perception of movement and spatial orientation. 3. Focus on breathing. 4. Attention to anatomical alignment. 5. Awareness of intrinsic energy. 

How familiar does that sound? 

“Contrology is the complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. Through Contrology you first purposefully acquire com- plete control of your own body and then, through proper rep- etition of its exercises, you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your mental and subconscious activities. ...Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit.” J.H.Pilates; Return to Life 1934. 

The 6 core principles of Pilates feature systematically in this mind-body connection and the use of breath: 

  1. Centring: the mind creates focus and initiation of energy to the centre 

of the body. 2. Concentration: the mind must be present. 3. Control: the mind connects with the body to create control in 

movement. 4. Precision: the mind signals to the body to create precision in 

movement. 5. Breath: the body and mind connect through the breath to create 

rhythm and intention. 6. Flow: the mind and body must work together in coordination, to 

enhance the flow of movement. 

The beauty of Pilates is that these skills translate seamlessly into other areas of life. Joseph Pilates said it best; “A body free from nervous tension and fatigue is the ideal shelter provided by nature for housing a well-balanced mind, fully capable of successfully meeting all the complex problems of modern living.” 

Wendy Larsen 

Reference; Adams, Marianne & Caldwell, Karen & Atkins, Laurie & Quin, Rebecca. (2012). Pilates and Mindfulness: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Dance Education. 12. 123-130. 10.1080/15290824.2012.636222.