Complementary Therapists > Pilates > Relaxation & Concentration
Pilates Principles - Relaxation & Concentration
All Pilates movements are underpinned by eight basic principles. We deal with two below - relaxation and concentration.
Taking time out to relax and to release unwanted tension from your body is the entry point for any Pilates programme. This does not mean going for a snooze before the Pilates session.
What it does mean is that you should prepare your body and mind by letting go of the day to day stresses and releasing tension. This means that your body will only use the muscles that you want it to use. In Pilates muscle balance is very important so short tight muscles must be lengthened before any attempt is made to strengthen the weak long muscles.
A good example is when we sometimes hold our neck and upper shoulders hunched up and tight. It is not possible to exercise properly like this. Such tension must be released thereby allowing you to concentrate on the correct movement patterns. One of the best positions to help promote tension release is the relaxation position below:
While it is not essential it is highly recommended to spend some time in this position at the beginning and end of every Pilates session. If you choose to leave out the relaxation position then you should begin with gentle stretching such as Studio Stretches with the intention of releasing tension from the mind and the body.
Mind/body exercise should train both elements and Pilates is foremost in mind/body exercise. Pilates requires that you are always conscious of how you are moving.
It is mental training as well as physical conditioning and you must focus your mind on every movement that you make. By working on the neurological pathways you encourage and develop your body's sensory feedback - your kinaesthetic sense.
It means that you know what you are doing with every part of your body. The movements may become automatic you must always concentrate as there is always a further level of awareness to achieve thus building incrementally.
It is sometimes referred to as a form of movement meditation without the spiritual connotations.
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