Joseph Pilates, an Example of Mental Overcoming

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

Who would imagine that with all the physical and mental difficulties that Joseph Pilates had, he would create a training method were the control of the mind over the body, fused with strength and flexibility [1] , and would generate fantastic results for people?

Pilates was the great invention of this self-defense instructor, who was far from fulfilling the physical stereotypes that we consider these professionals have. Joseph Pilates was a very thin young man, who from childhood suffered from various health problems: Asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. His musculature was so weak that it ended up leading to joint ankyloses, but what made him strong, was working on his mind control [2].

To summarize the philosophy of the Pilates method, let us see the six principles [3]:

  1. Centering: All Pilates movements are based on the center of our body. Therefore, in this principle, we look for the central area between the lower ribs and the pubic bone. 
  2. Concentration: This is one of the most important principles, because the success of each exercise will depend on it.
  3. Control: It refers to the muscular control that we must have, with the help of our mind.
  4. Precision: It means performing every movement and step in a deliberate manner with specific shapes and cues for each exercise.
  5. Breath: The lungs play a fundamental role here, the control of breathing and the way in which we oxygenate our body throughout the exercise will depend on them.  
  6. Flow: The energy of an exercise connects all body parts and flows through the body in an even way.

According to the portal Mental Health Connecticut [4] , practicing Pilates improves mental health because it improves your concentration, “helping individuals to appreciate here and now”; helps cope with depression and anxiety because it “gives individuals the chance to disconnect from a hectic or stressful life and unwind for a short period” and, follow better sleep habits, because Pilates can help to relax both the mind and the body “making it easier to fall asleep at night”.

For this reason, we invite you to carry out the practice that not only requires physical preparation, but also mental concentration for the integral wellbeing of your body. It is important to mention that to do it, you do not need to go to an academy, you can start with a mat from the comfort of your home or, in a public park, alone or with your friends.






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