In Pilates class, you’ll often hear me talk about the mind body connection. I thought it would be good today to take a moment to look at just what that means.
When we talk about mind body connection what this simply means is having your body respond how you want it to, when you want it – getting the right signals from your brain to your various body parts and muscles. At a deeper level – mind body connection deals with how well connected you are to what your body is doing, feeling, responding and what muscles are causing this to occur.
So let’s look next at how this could be helpful in athletic pursuits and everyday activities.
In Pilates, the more you can feel how your body is working the more you can engage and utilize the proper muscles. When students are new or maybe not very strong, there is a tendency to compensate with the stronger muscles. For example – with legs in straps if you are not strong in your core, you may power through with your legs while your pelvis rocks and rolls all over. Once you gain strength and feel how the core can assist with this work, you will see better results.
Some years ago I took a snow skiing lesson while out west. I mentioned to my instructor that my quads were always so sore after skiing. Her response, “Then you are not skiing properly!” She observed that I was sitting back too far in my boots and riding the back of my skis too much. As a result I was holding on with my quads. Once I adjust my posture, where I felt the work changed too! Being aware of what muscles were working helped me to correct my form and function.
Over a year ago, I started to experience issues with my left hamstring. All of my efforts to stretch or rest the hamstring seemed futile. I began seeing a muscle activation specialist/chiropractor. It took some visits and questions on his part before we figured out the root of the problem was actually an unstable low back. My back never bothered me but because it was not strong enough my hamstring was working over time. Because I was able to assess and respond to how I felt during various activities, the Doctor was able to find the problem. Strengthening my back alleviated my hamstring issues!
These are just a few examples of how being in tune with our bodies can help us out in more than just Pilates class. We live in our bodies so we should take the time to get to know them!