We all need to feel that we have a degree of control over our lives, including our health. Without this feeling of control, we can have the sense that life is something that is happening to us and we are just accepting whatever comes our way. This is a very disempowering way to live especially if you are dealing with health issues or are currently in pain. If you feel you are powerless to change your situation, your mental health is also at risk. Lack of control leads to depression and anxiety and feelings of despair. Pilates is all about control. Joseph Pilates originally called his method of exercise "Contrology" and "Control" is one of the original six Pilates principles:
"Contrology (Pilates) is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. Through Contrology, you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises, you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities."
How is Control incorporated into Pilates?
Joseph Pilates states in the quote above that the first step is to "purposefully acquire complete control of your own body." The way to achieve this is by using your mind to consciously control every movement and all parts of the body during your session. It all comes back to the mind-body connection or mindful movement. The more aware you are of your physical movements, the more finely tuned you become to how your body moves and functions. The more finely tuned you become, the easier it is to make positive changes to your movement patterns and take control of your own body. In Pilates, most of the exercises require us to keep still or stabilise one part of our bodies, while we move another part. This requires control to achieve this and is something that is challenging for beginners. Once you have mastered this you are developing the "control" you need to be in complete control of your body both mentally and physically. The fact that practicing Pilates allows us to take control of our mind and body is such a fascinating concept for me that I have incorporated it into JS Mind Body Pilates, my online Pilates Studio. The aim is to empower people to take control of their own health & fitness through Pilates which allows them to move with ease and live a pain-free, high-quality life.
Why do we need to take control of our own health & fitness?
Taking responsibility for your own and fitness is a very empowering feeling and no one knows your body as you do. The more body awareness you can develop the more you will be able to maintain your body in peak physical condition. This same awareness will also alert you if something changes or develops unexpectedly in your body and you require medical attention. The more educated you are about your body the easier it will be for you to make informed decisions. Don't be afraid to ask questions, research the treatment options and seek multiple opinions if you are unsure about the advice you have been given. After all, it's your body and you have to be100% satisfied that the treatment options that are presented to you are going to be in your best interests for improving your health and your quality of life. If you make the decisions about your health and fitness you are in control, but if let others make these decisions for you, without doing your research you have given your power away, so stay in control.
How do we take control of our own health & fitness with Pilates?
This is Sarah's story and her Pilates journey shows how it's possible to take control of your own health and fitness through Pilates. Like many of my clients who come to Pilates in pain, Sarah started Pilates due to debilitating back pain, more than 10 years ago now. At 33 years old she described the sense of hopelessness she felt as her pain was severely impacting her life. She wasn't enjoying life anymore and as is typical for people in pain was understandably tired and irritable. She was bedridden when the pain was severe meaning she couldn't work and she worried about the long-term effects of this on her career. She felt she had lost control of her life with no idea of what the future held for her. Sarah's feelings of disempowerment have been a common theme amongst my clients who come to Pilates looking for a solution for their pain. Sarah was committed to her Pilates training as the desire to become pain-free is usually a powerful motivator to regain control. She began to see results around the 5 week mark as her pain began to decrease. She continued to progress until around the 3 month mark of her Pilates training when she realised she was largely pain-free. Pilates became a way of life for her and to this day, she still does Pilates with me on Skype and uses JS Mind Body Pilates my online studio to fine-tune between sessions. Sarah now enjoys the security of being in complete control of her back condition. She understands what is likely to trigger her pain and knows how to avoid these triggers. She also has all the Pilates tools she needs to get back on track if she does have a flare-up. Her back condition is something she will always have to manage, but it no longer rules her life and as long as she maintains it with Pilates, it's a minor consideration. On average I would say she usually has a minor flare-up about once a year that lasts a few days and doesn't interfere with her daily life. As Sarah discovered, Pilates provides the tools needed to not only become pain-free but also to manage any future flare-ups. It also provides a new sense of body awareness which enables you to regain control of your health and fitness and ultimately your quality of life.
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Learn more about what sort of people benefit from Pilates and how it can help you too. I separate the myths from the facts and share actual case studies of my clients who have achieved life-changing results from my unique Pilates program.