Pilates As a Body-Mind Medicine

Pilates has been recognized as a core exercise that requires precision, and its popularity is increasing along with yoga. Observing different Pilates and yoga styles, one thing that is obvious is that the teachers’ perspectives reflect the quality and the meanings of the modality.In the field of Pilates, as long as my observation, most of the trainers’ views are the brain-centered mechanistic perspective, in which the mind that is in the brain controls the body. In this view, “thinking” is what the mind does and body is what follows that “thinking”. The goal of this view is to control the body using the brain- mind to achieve mind-body-spirit.Pilates can be an effective body-mind medicine modality if we create an appropriate intention. In order to do that, first, we need to shift from brain-centered perspective to body-mind perspective. Then we need to shift our focuses from “thinking” to “feeling”. Finally, experiencing “Being” allows us to connect our body,mind, and spirit to heal our-Self.In holistic view, mind is not in the brain. Mind is not the center of “thinking” but what feels the feelings. Body is not separated from the mind. Mind and body are not a one way structure but both way. This understanding is the first step for Pilates as a body-mind medicine.In order to explore our health through Pilates, we need to focus on “feeling’ not “thinking”. Feelings are what tell us the truth of what is going on in our body-mind. Thinking is the reflection of the illusion that are reflected through our beliefs. Eliminating the thoughts and focusing on the feelings is the second step to make Pilates a body-mind medicine.According to Rael Isacowitz, the founder of Body Arts Science International, there are ten principles in Pilates-awareness, breath, balance, concentration, control, center, efficiency, flow, precision, and harmony. In my experience, these ten principles are the same thing but only different nuance. I believe when I achieve one of the ten principles, the rest of nine exist at the same moment. The intention of experiencing the principles are nothing but being in the higher state of consciousness. As we get to this state of consciousness the ten principles are present and the time disappear. We are at the present moment. This is the third step to Pilates as a body-mind medicine.Exercise is an excellent way to engage wellbeing. Yet without the deeper understanding of the body and the co-relation with the mind, it becomes less meaningful. Only a slight shift from thinking to feeling enables us to open the door for the next step. Feelings are what represent the present moment and allow us to take to the healing process. Pilates already has the ingredients to change our health from deep inside it is a matter of how we approach with an appropriate intention.

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