It's only fair to share…

By Guest Contributor Susan Sommers  a Pilates instructor specializing in those 50 and over in NYC

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” Buddha

Pilates teaches you the connection between Body & Mind, which in turn can help you attain a better body awareness for everyday living.  Sounds good, but what does all this actually mean? Let’s start at the beginning…

What constitutes a mind, body exercise?

It is not the name of the exercise, but rather how an exercise is performed, that determines whether or not it qualifies. A mind-body exercise is a physical exercise that is performed with an intense focus.  An exerciser does not need to be entertained while they exercise. They never workout oblivious to the exercises they are performing. The exercise is their focus.  While performing a mind body exercise you do not read, watch television or videos, wear headphones, or listen to music.

The exercise and exerciser utilize the four principles of Pilates:

Breathing, Precision, Control and Concentration.

Breathing – A mind-body exercise is performed with controlled breathing that utilizes full inhalations and exhalations that follow a specific number of counts or rhythm.

Precision – A mind-body exercise is performed with precision and in proper form. Quality of movement counts more than quantity in a mind-body exercise. Precision requires mental control.

Control – A mind-body exercise always involves the control and balance of your own body-weight. But, body-weight exercises are not necessarily a mind-body exercise unless they are performed along with the three other principles. Controlling your own body-weight, forces you to focus on what you are doing.

Concentration – A mind-body exercise is performed with intense concentration on yourself, being in the present moment. The mind-body exerciser is focusing on their body rather than on the instructor, a mirror, a video, or on other participants. While exercising you should never be daydreaming. The point-of-focus in a mind-body exercise will differ from most other forms of physical exercise. You should be thinking about stabilizing, or anchoring the area of the body that is NOT in motion.

Now that we have a better understanding of what constitutes a Mind Body exercise how can this help you in your everyday living? Well,

– mind and body exercises can be calming and empowering

– they decrease anxiety and pain

– strengthen the immune system and enhance the ability to heal

– and increase a sense of control and well-being

When we have an awareness of how we use our bodies we can then change our habits in order to use our bodies in the most efficient way possible for everyday living.

Pilates is more than an exercise!

“Our limitations and success will be based, most often, on your own expectations for ourselves. What the mind dwells upon, the body acts upon.” ~ Denis Waitley


Certified by Pilates Academy International in all populations Mat, Susan continually takes workshops to keep both her knowledge and ability to teach current.  Her company, Pilates Body NYC, brings Pilates right to the clients home or their building’s gym.  All they need do is provide their body. Susan supplies the rest, inspiration and motivation included!  Susan’s philosophy: “Age is nothing—attitude is everything.”

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