Hope you are having a Pil-easant Week!
In my blogs, you will often notice that I highlight the importance of having body awareness as being one of the key benefits of Pilates. What does that mean and how is it one of the crucial benefits of Pilates?
What is Body Awareness?
As the term states, Body Awareness is basically just having a clear awareness of your body. It’s not as easy as it sounds! When you are truly aware of your body, you begin to have a conceptualized understanding, sense and feeling of what happens to your body during each and every movement as well as the environment around you. As we grow older, our body awareness increases; our body movements become more controlled as we begin to understand movement experiences in our lives.
For example, when you drive a car, you eventually become unconsciously aware on when and how much to press the brakes; it becomes a natural action. At the beginning, when you are learning how to drive, you are conscious of pressing the brakes, stirring the wheel, checking the side mirrors…etc. What used to be conscious actions eventually become unconscious actions with time and experience and whether you are driving a car, flying a plane, walking to the supermarket, reaching out for a pen, it all happens naturally without even thinking!
This is because your brain sends sensory messages to your muscles and joints on how to move; i.e.; what distance to move, in what direction, in what speed, in what force…etc. When things happen unconsciously, your brain already programs the muscles and joints to perform or move in some sort of ‘autopilot mode’ that results from repeated movement experiences over a period of time. That’s why you don’t even need to think when your back feels itchy; you just reach out to scratch it without even knowing.
I’m not going to get in to the nitty gritty biological side of things, however, what’s important is to understand why do you need to have good body awareness?
Having a good awareness of the body impacts your lifestyle; i.e., having the precise understanding of the right way to sit, the right way to stand, the right way to walk, the right way to carry heavy objects…etc. will avoid any muscular pain, imbalances or any painful injuries as a result of ‘not knowing the correct way to do so”. The correct way stems down to how you manage your posture as well as tensions in the muscles. Having an awareness of how your daily activities influence your posture and spinal alignment is critical. Moreover, if you are suffering from an injury, having a good awareness of your body helps you to recover much quicker since the body will tell you which parts are weak so that you are driven to figure out ways to heal.
How does Pilates Increase Body Awareness?
When you practice Pilates on a regular basis or if you take up the International Pilates Certifications at The Swiss Pilates Institute, you are taught how to breathe as well as how each exercise should be performed. Everything is taught with Precision, Skill and Care, i.e., you are given theory that is backed up with practical and observational education to enable you to increase your awareness of how Pilates impacts your body as well as your daily lives. This is where you are consciously understanding how each Pilates exercise should be performed, how your muscles should move, how you should breathe, how you should feel and look at the same time…etc. As you can see, there is a lot to think, feel and do at the same time.
However, over a period of time, consistency and precision in Pilates will unconsciously prompt you to sit up when you slouch (if you slouch) or to correct your Pilates pose during a class or to bend correctly to pick up a heavy object…etc. You will also be able to recognize any stress or tensions that may be building on your muscles at an earlier stage so that you can help address it before it affects your system in a negative way.
The Swiss Pilates Institute is a lifestyle driven Pilates education platform whereby, the knowledge you gain is not only for you to become a professional instructor in Pilates; it is also for you to help yourself adopt a healthy way of leading your life as well as to commit yourself to educating others to so.
For more information on our certifications, please click on www.sanamotion.com