Whether you’ve been doing Pilates for a few weeks or for years, you may be feeling stuck or ready for a change. Being intentional in your mindset and routine can make a big difference in both your practice and your results. Here are five easy ways to get more from your Pilates work:
1. Invest in a high-quality mat.
A good mat made specifically for Pilates can be a game-changer, whether you’re a beginner or a pro. Different from a yoga mat, a Pilates mat is thicker and helps to cushion and support the boney areas of your body against the floor. This one on Amazon is a great option for home use, so you can create a consistent experience whether you’re at home or in the studio.
2. Practice mindful breathing.
Before you begin, take a few moments to breathe. Stretch and lengthen your body on the mat as much as you can, breathe in deeply, and press your spine into the mat when you exhale. Repeat this a few times until you are present in that moment, anchoring your spine and feeling the support of the mat. Then, dive into your exercise mindfully.
3. Be in tune with your body.
Learn to listen to what your body is saying and to honor what it needs. Do you feel strong today? Maybe you’re up for a strong and challenging workout. Not feeling well? Consider giving yourself a break. Be kind to your body and remember your best may look different from day to day. A good and fulfilling workout doesn’t always mean advanced exercises.
4. Stay connected.
In Pilates, your abdominals are your powerhouse. It’s easy to get caught up in what your arms and legs are doing and forget what your abdominals need to be doing at the same time. When you power your exercises from your core instead of just going through the motions, you’ll really feel the full benefits of your workout.
Focus on what you’re doing. The benefit is twofold – you can set aside the other things on your mind, and you’ll work on a deeper level when you are concentrating. Pilates can be a great stress reliever and a way to clear your mind by reconnecting with your body.
These simple adjustments to your mindset and approach can help you realize the benefits and enjoy the experience of Pilates more fully, by starting with yourself.