How Pilates benefits your Mental Health
The first and one of the most important things that we do in Pilates, is breathing. Our breath is one of the most powerful tools we can use to calm our bodies and minds, clear our heads and it is utilised in a wide range of mental health practices. In Pilates, our 3-dimensional breath not only helps the effectiveness of each exercise, but also helps to supply oxygen to the muscles. By focusing on your breath, your brain is less likely to wander off to the ‘to-do list’ sitting in your head. Pilates directs your focus to exactly what you are doing, the whole class. You’ve got to focus on the present, feeling the muscles work and re-connecting with your body.
Just like any other form of exercise, Pilates is also used widely to help reduce and cope with stress. Pilates gives you a moment to calm down, a moment to listen to someone else and ‘get out of your head’. Because Pilates isn’t overly strenuous, you aren’t putting any more stress on your body in any way. You are deepening your mind body connection, tuning out of life and tuning into your class. It’s all you need to think about for an hour (or however long your class is).
Although we recommend ‘switching off’- don’t switch off completely! During Pilates, your brain is actively engaged. You have to think about a lot! What one is my left again? Is this my heel or is this the ball of my foot? What the heck does she mean by that? (an example of a few things that might be running through your head during a class). As well as the general confusion of our left and rights, Pilates requires you to recruit both your body and your mind simultaneously. You will constantly be learning new exercises or modifications of exercises, which challenges the brain keeping the mind engaged at all times.
Lastly and most importantly (we believe anyway) you are surrounded by people! We all know that socialisation is so important for our mental health, and something that we often don’t feel we have time for. The stories and the laughs shared with your Pilates group are immeasurable, you start to form a bond with everyone in your class. This is where Pilates really starts to transform into something you can’t live without.
It becomes more than just a workout, it becomes therapy!
“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness”- Joseph Pilates
- Sonia & Braidy