Updated: Mar 21, 2022
There is purpose in precision. To some, the placement of your thumbs or the focus of your eyes might seem insignificant but to the experienced practitioner, these cues can change the body. I’ve always thought of Pilates as a sort of ‘user’s manual’ for the body, and I believe the principle of ‘Precision’ is exactly how most of us learn more about our own bodies. Have you ever found yourself saying, “Oh, I’ve never felt that muscle before!”? Precision. Or, after receiving a new cue from your instructor during an exercise you’ve done 1,000 times, “Oh, that feels different”. Precision.
These precise cues such as turning out the legs in Pilates stance or keeping them in parallel not only have a big impact on the muscles we use but they are exactly what gets our minds working a little bit harder. Suddenly, after imagining each vertebra stacking one on top of the other, our bodies are moving in a new way. At the same time, our minds have brought a greater awareness that keeps us curious not only about our own bodies but also about these tried and true exercises which make up The Pilates Method.
Precision: Pilates Body Awareness
By connecting us deeper to our own bodies, Pilates keeps us coming back for more, year after year after year. But it also helps the brand-new practitioner to learn proper form. Precision in movement keeps us safe, it’s the reason why we don’t lower the legs farther than we can keep the ribs connected to the mat. It’s the reason why we work with proper alignment of the legs on the reformer. It’s the reason why we learn how to walk properly and move through our daily lives with better body mechanics.
What Is Body Awareness
Practicing Pilates will increase your body self awareness and in doing so, it will can improve your life in so many different ways. Many of us are stuck in front of a screen all day, taking only shallow, short breaths, and are so overcome by stress we are self medicating in order to numb ourselves from feeling all. the. things.
In today’s world, our lives move so quickly that a lot of us rarely have the opportunity to simply check in with ourselves and take 5 minutes to sit, breathe and do a mental scan of the body from head to toe. What does your body feel like today? Notice what hurts. Notice what doesn’t hurt. Now, let’s move.
This month, we’ve designed 8 new videos focused around Precision in order to give you a greater understanding of how your body moves and what feels good to you. Nothing in life is black and white, including how our bodies move, feel and function. Neither should be your Pilates workout. Take the opportunity this month to try a few new techniques and at the end, keep what you like and let go of the rest. Your body will be your guide.
Benefits of Body Awareness
By increasing our body awareness, we give ourselves the opportunity to correct imbalances, relieve back pain, prevent injuries, and improve our moods.
The body affects the mind in ways that we are only just beginning to understand. Body awareness allows you to stop in the moment, understand what you're feeling, and recognize how your emotions are affecting your body. When our bodies feel good, our minds are usually doing pretty good too. And when our mood is less than ideal, by moving our bodies we can start to improve our mood. But sometimes, when we are moving, exercising, or engaging deep core muscles, our emotions explode to the surface. Have you ever just started crying in the middle of a Pilates session? Totally normal. We hold onto emotions deep within us and sometimes it just takes a little sweating to bring them to the surface and let them loose. A Pilates client of mine once described The Cadillac as a therapist couch, massage table, and exercise equipment all rolled up into one. If you’ve ever had a cathartic private session on the Cadillac, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Whenever I’m feeling slouchy or down, I stop what I’m doing - put my back up against the wall and do a few roll downs through my spine. I focus on peeling my back off the wall like you would peel a banana. And then coming back up onto the wall I think about stretching my spine like taffy, from my head through my tailbone.
The next time you’re feeling sub-par try this simple exercise, seen in this video, and let us know if it allows you to use your body awareness to improve your physical and/or mental state. Enjoy!