At The Body Lab, we don’t just love Pilates for what it does for our bodies, but also for what it can do for our minds. We don’t believe in moving just to move – we want to engage in intentional, thoughtful exercise that steadies and strengthens us from the inside out.
Sometimes during cardio workouts, it can be easy to zone out and let thoughts wander outside your physical space. You may find yourself thinking about what you will make for dinner, what you need to do at work tomorrow, or even deciding to listen to a podcast or audiobook as a distraction.
During our sessions at The Body Lab it’s completely different. We want our clients to be focused and present in our classes to get the most out of their workouts. There is a strong mind-body connection between thinking about the moves you’re doing and actually getting better at them. We think you will feel more connected to the space, the community, your muscles, and yourself if you make a conscious effort to not only show up but stay present throughout your workout.
In some of our more challenging classes like Athletic Reformer Pilates and Athletic Reformer 2, losing focus can also increase your chance of strain or injury during the workout. It’s important for everyone to stay fully immersed as you balance on the moving Pilates reformer! Especially in these advanced classes at The Body Lab, being distracted or mentally absent could quickly lead to a rather painful tumble. To maximize and optimize your workout and stay safe doing it, your mind needs to be present at the studio with your body.
Ready to feel out that mind-body connection? Here are some tips for maintaining concentration and focus during your Pilates practice:
Ground yourself at the start of your session
Take a minute to center yourself and set your intentions when you arrive at The Body Lab, whether in your car before class or after you get to your reformer in the studio. What are you hoping to get out of your workout today? How do you want to feel afterward? What energy are you bringing in with you? Try to drop the stresses of the day and use your Pilates practice as a meditative, grounding exercise to realign with your mind and body. Workouts can be a major self-care practice, and setting yourself up to stay present will help you feel restored and rejuvenated walking out of the studio.
Focus on targeted muscle groups
Throughout class, each exercise will lend itself to specific muscle groups that your instructor will call out to help you stay engaged and harness the power of your mind-body connection. For example, if we’re working on a hamstring exercise, they might say, “Put all of your energy into the back of your leg; you should feel this exercise in your hamstrings, and that’s where I want you to focus all the work.” Following these cues will keep you mentally and physically present; try to hone in on that muscle group and feel the burn exactly where you’re supposed to for a more effective and mindful workout.
Practice zen in your daily life
Just like exercising any other muscle, the more your brain practices being meditative and “in the moment,” the easier it will get. Try taking a few minutes each day to close your eyes, clear your mind, and focus on your breath. You may be surprised how much peace can enter your life when you start taking time to center yourself and connect with the present. If you have trouble getting started, try downloading a meditation app like Headspace or Calm to guide you. Next time you visit The Body Lab, try to incorporate the skills you’ve learned from these meditations into your workouts and see how powerful Pilates can be as both a mind and body exercise.
When you embrace the connection between your mind and your body, you will get the most out of your workouts and your life. The two deeply rely on each other, and when you can sync their energies, that’s when the magic happens. Trust us.