Pilates is more than just a workout. Any person who’s been doing it for at least a couple of months knows that Pilates doesn’t only sculpt your body but it also clears your mind and gives you energy and inner serenity.
What Is So Special About Pilates?
Most people come to a class to get a flat tummy, ease joint pains and discomforts, rehabilitate after a surgery or improve their athletic performance. And Pilates can do all of that!
But the most amazing part happens when participants start seeing changes not only in their bodies but also in their minds, in their emotions and in their lives altogether.
Modern world is full of distractions, stresses and chaos. Each one of us is looking for a personal state of peace and tranquility that would help us make sense of everything that is going on in our lives. When searching for that inner balance we usually consider popular self improvement techniques like meditation, simplifying, affirmations etc., but we rarely consider any form of exercise as a viable tool to help us balance our lives.
How Pilates Brings You Peace Of Mind?
Improves Your Memory And Makes You Smarter
Beginning in our late 20s most of us start losing about 1% of the volume of our hippo campus, a portion of the brain responsible for memory and cognitive function. Our brains are literally shrinking.
For a long time scientists thought that we were born with a certain number of brain cells but recently they discovered that our brains could create new cells thus slowing down or reversing brain shrinkage. What will it mean to you? It means better memory, lower risks of Alzheimer’s disease, better learning and problem solving, a higher IQ and more.
Several recent studies have proved that exercise improves neurogenesis-creation of new brain cells.
It Trains Your Brain
Learning new activities increases the density of white matter in the brain (the fibers that let neurons communicate.) If the neurons are formed but they don’t connect then eventually they die without any benefit to brain health so this white matter is extremely important.
Learning a new activity is an important part of brain fitness. But most of us don’t have an extra several hours a week to learn how to juggle or take on a new hobby. An exercise program however can be just the right way to multitask – benefit our body and our mind at the same time.
Better Function Of The Nervous System
Every time we move we use several specific areas of our brain. The brain then sends an impulse through the spinal cord to muscle fibers (the process is more complicated than that and requires a bunch or words that my spell checker doesn’t even know.)
A healthy nervous system means better communication between your brain and other parts of your body as well as the release of stress-fighting and mood-boosting hormones.
You have probably heard a lot about the benefits of mindfulness meditation for your mind and body. To sum them up, meditation:
- Relieve anxiety and depression
- helps treat insomnia
- sharpens the mind
- uncovers creative thinking
- relieves stress
- helps with chronic pin management
- reduces negative emotions
- helps fight addictions and instill positive habits
- lowers blood pressure and improve cardio vascular health
Pilates lets you concentrate your attention on one thing – your body. You can gain mindfulness benefits only if you are comfortable with what you are doing. Some enjoy the peacefulness of a traditional meditation while others get better results from a mindful movement that cleanses the mind while exercising the body.
Pilates relieves tension built up in the muscles through gentle stretching and gradual conditioning. An energetic jump board workout will let you metabolize stress hormones built up in your muscles.
Also, facial release techniques that many Pilates instructors use in their classes today will help you loosen tight muscles that are not responsive to passive stretching. When you get stress out of your body, you also get it out of your mind.
It Makes You Happier And More Creative
When our body is positively stressed, like when you go through a favorite workout, endorphins are released into the body that make us feel good. If you enjoy your workout and stay focused on it instead of letting your mind wander somewhere else you will feel happy and calm at the end.
And a creative and open mind lets us experience life fully and come up with inventive ways to deal with life’s challenges.
Control Of Emotions
Think of how your breathing changes when you face something frightening as opposed to something pleasant. There is no major breakthrough in this finding, just common sense.
Breath is one of the six fundamental Pilates principles. Learning to control your breath is probably the biggest benefit, since many of us are “lazy-breathers”. The techniques that you learn in the class can also be used in different life situations to calm your mind or get through a stressful situation.
At The End
Pilates teaches us to respect our body and be content with it. It is a practice focused on working within your range of motion and building up your strength and flexibility gradually.
Once we become confident in what we are doing, we find strength and motivation to move to the next level.
However, our progress is not propelled by comparing ourselves to someone else but rather by setting our personal standards and priorities that are meaningful to us.
When we learn to respect our bodies this way, we also learn to do the same with everything else in our lives.Then,we start living according to our priorities and desires.