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Pilates Princple: Concentration

life matwork philosophy pilates principle

Do you have a hard time concentrating?

In this day and age let me assure you you’re not alone. There are so many things that distract us - yes indeedy.

So. Much. Information. (and the compulsion to consume it all)

So. Much. FOMO! (what's the latest trend? what am I missing out on? what's current? OMG!)

 

With so much to distract us it’s amazing that we ever concentrate on any one thing and feel productive.

I know that I feel a bit like a hummingbird by only alighting on things (projects, plans, relationships) for short bursts of time.

I even must confess that sometimes when I'm practicing my Pilates, gasp! My mind wanders!

photo by Sonia Nadales 


 

Hey, hey, but here's some good news if we're trying to get better at concentrating:

Concentration is actually embedded into the very practice of Pilates.

Matter of fact, CONCENTRATION is considered one of the Pilates principles (see if you can concentrate for the next couple of minutes on what I'm going to share - okay?🤣 )

 

Click >> HERE << for my in depth blog post on another Pilates principle: PRECISION 

Click >> HERE << for my in depth blog post on: FLOW

 

As you might be aware, Joseph Pilates did not design his method of Contrology as just a set of exercises but really as a way of living for optimum health.

He was all about the mind body connection and here’s one of my fave Joe quotes to explain why:

“With body, mind, and spirit functioning perfectly as a coordinated whole, what else could reasonably be expected other than an active, alert, disciplined person.”

Ooh, who doesn’t want that?

Active?

Alert?

Disciplined?

Yes, please!

 

Okay, so groovy quote aside how do we make the jump and practically apply the principle of concentration to achieve our active, alert, and disciplined self?

How do we actually use concentration in Pilates?

photo by Alonso Reyes

 

Here's what I'm thinking - and just like the picture above, it's a bit circular...

Having a fully realised Pilates practice demands intense focus and concentration which helps us coordinate body, mind, and spirit. This leads to better health.

I feel like I need to write that again or at least read it several more times for the circularity to become clear so...

Having a fully realised Pilates practice demands intense focus and concentration which helps us coordinate body, mind, and spirit. This leads to better health.

 

If we practice concentration on our mat, we'll have strengthened that particular skill so we can find it more easily in the rest of our life.

 

So, without further ado, I present to you

4 practical ways to incorporate CONCENTRATION into our Pilates practice:

 

1. Pay full attention to each movement.

In every exercise we should concentrate on what each part of the body is doing and then how those parts work in harmony to smoothly complete the exercise. (easier said than done especially if it’s an exercise we don’t happen to like or find a challenge)

Here’s what Mr. Pilates had to say about paying attention:

“Concentrate on the correct movements each time you exercise, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all the vital benefits of their value”.

 OK, got it...

 

2. Approach Pilates as a moving meditation. (stay with me here, c'mon keep concentrating 🙏 )

Concentration opens up the chance to go inward and really feel what’s going on with our bodies.

Full concentration allows us to shut out the extraneous monkey mind noise and by mindfully moving and breathing creates a meditative space. 

 Yes, Pilates as Zen. 

 

Here is another really, really, important reason to concentrate:

3. We can give ourselves feedback.

Concentration allows us to rely on our innate knowledge of where our bodies should be in space and how to better accomplish the exercise at hand. 

We can concentrate and focus on our less uniformly developed or activated body parts to further even out and deepen our practice.

We become our own best teacher!! 

The instructor is really just there as a guide leading us on a path of self discovery.

All power to the art of self correction!!

 

And finally, have you ever wondered why you don't smash out 20-30 reps of a Pilates exercise? 

Well, concentration is one reason why.

Here's the last reason why concentration is key: 

4. By fully concentrating we’re so invested in each repetition we only need to do 5-8 in each exercise. 

I mean have you ever done just a couple of repetitions of an exercise and been totally exhausted? I bet it's because of the deep level of concentration you applied.

 

In closing I'll leave you with this thought:

CONCENTRATION allows us to make small changes that over time can make big differences in our Pilates practice.

Oh, yay, how good is that?

 

Be Well,

xBec

  

 

The information contained above is provided for informational purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and Rebecca Forde disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this post

 

 cover & social photo by Artur Voznenko   

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