I have practiced both Pilates and yoga for some time now. In the first couple years of my practice, these two disciplines were separate worlds that didn’t much overlap. I saw Pilates as a brilliant system of movements that built a strong, balanced, and flexible body, and physically worked me in a different way than yoga.
Yoga, on the other hand, was “special,” so much so that I didn’t want to try to verbalize why it felt so profound. Yoga was a gateway to the inner world, the meditative mind, and thereby an entrance into spirituality. Ultimately, I loved both Pilates and yoga, but in different ways. I loved Pilates intellectually and physically, and I loved yoga with my heart.
Then, somewhere along the way, something shifted in my Pilates practice. I began to enter that same meditative state as in yoga. I swam further into its depths, and discovered that I could make this practice just as soulful. My two, once separate worlds began to come together.
With this, came another realization. I saw outside the Pilates and yoga box, and understood that this meditative state—a place of fluidity, peace and bliss—can be achieved through many types of movement practices that incorporate a few key elements—a deep sense of body and mind awareness, mental focus, and full, strong breath.
Mindful movement, in whatever form you choose, has the potential to be special, exquisite, and divine.
The creator of Pilates, Joseph Pilates, believed in the absolute unification of mind, body, and spirit. Joseph studied many different movement forms, including those from the East, and then created his own method. He meant for Pilates to be holistic, meaning that the mind, body, and spirit are all part of and benefit from the practice. This is evidenced in his words:
“Through (Pilates), this unique trinity of a balanced body, mind and spirit can ever be attained. Self confidence follows.”
"The mind, when housed within a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power."
“(Pilates) invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit.”
Pilates has the power to be mentally profound, deeply personal, and even a spiritual practice. Of course, you don’t have to make it this. Pilates is, in its most simple and exterior form, an outstanding physical conditioning system. But if you do want to enter into its greatest possibilities, then:
*bring awareness to your every movement
*focus on each moment
*breathe to your fullest potential.
There, you are able to discover the transformative power and beauty of mindful movement.