PLEASE PARDON THE INTERRUPTIONby Kerry De Vivo
When I began teaching Pilates over 20 years ago, the studio policy, “In consideration of others, please turn off cell phones”, did not exist. That is because we did not all have cell phones. Then, for awhile we all did not retrieve emails on our cell phones. And for awhile, we did not receive text messages on our cell phones. And then once upon a time, we did not have Facebook, snapchat and Instagram on our phones.
Welcome to 2016!
We live in a moment where there is a lot of “interruption” potential in our day. Between all of the new resources I noted and then the in person conversations, commutes, phone calls, etc., our days can be spent with continuous interruption causing us to have shorter moments to focus on the task at hand.
We then become less rehearsed for extended periods of time for activities that require concentration, such as in a 50 minute Pilates session.
Personally, I find it very important to practice periods of time with fully concentrated mental effort on a task. It is rather refreshing in this world with many interruption potentials. Joe Pilates knew his work would be very powerful if we incorporated mental focus. He referred to his work as a method of physical and mental conditioning. The mental aspect is a high value aspect of his work. It does require discipline, practice and deliberate focus.
Before arriving to a Pilates session, take a moment to realize your are stepping into an opportunity to train your body and your mind.
Realize that you will not be able to accomplish any other task during your 50 minute session. Cherish this time to train your body and your mind. In a Pilates session, the mind should be so invested in concentrating on how to do the exercises, there should be no availability for distraction or interruption. Keeping track of how to move through an exercise, how to use muscles, incorporate refinements or corrections from teachers, and control the apparatus, requires abundant concentration. I recall a quote from Joseph Pilates,
“NO MAN - NO MACHINE can correct or create vitality, power or health for you; everything comes from within, you have to unfold it.”
Along with physical and mental effort, you will proudly be able to unfold and own physical fitness for yourself. Physical fitness in the words of Joesph Pilates
“… is the first requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical fitness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.”
Who wouldn’t want that?!
As a teacher of The Pilates Method, I can say with certainty that you will gain a lot more out of sessions by incorporating mental focus. There is a reason why the studio slogan is,
EMPOWER YOUR BODY - EMPOWER YOUR MIND®.
We are here to assist you in obtaining the full benefits of Pilates. Let us know if you need specific tips on making mental connections during your session or during home practice. Here are a few quotes from Joseph Pilates that reflect the importance of mental focus in his work-