Ever arrived at your workout with seconds to spare, raced into the room already sweating and still full of the stress of your day? How was that workout?
Compare that to arriving with time to swap a few quiet words with others before class, enjoying a focused session, with your mind concentrating only on the actions of your body and your breath.
We are at our very best when our minds and bodies are in sync and we can experience flow. Positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi has describes flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost."
Mindful exercise is nothing new, with practices like Tai Chi and Yoga already thousands of years old. Now the mindful fitness movement is spreading worldwide, with increasing numbers of people learning the benefits of training with intent. Athletes and sportspeople intentionally place their complete awareness on the present moment when they workout, and this practice helps anyone get the most out of their chosen exercise. Mindful exercise helps postures feel easier and more natural; and helps us avoid injury.
Mind body and soul – holistic wellness with pilates
A Suna Pilates class takes aerobic fitness, mental strength and concentration. Ideally your body is in a state of controlled exertion while your mind is calm and focused on the present moment.
At Suna Pilates we have incorporated mindfulness into the heart of our proprietary Pilates classes. Our exercises take the traditional Pilates forms and add a modern twist, along with a deep focus on correct posture and breathing correctly.
"When we breathe correctly and focus on postural perfection, our minds are stilled and we are present in each moment – this is mindful exercise at its best."
Pilates is the ideal mindful exercise because it requires a strong mind-body connection to do each exercise in the right posture. You need to be thinking about the posture and your breath while working out - and the intensity of this makes it impossible to think about anything else! Unlike most exercise, a Suna Pilates class will clear your busy mind of all the other things it is desperately trying to think about, and leave you mentally refreshed.
Suna Pilates’ top 4 tips for mindful fitness
A Pilates class at Suna will naturally help you practice mindfulness during your workout, but here are some tips to help fine tune your mind:
Breath is immediate and focusing on the correct Suna Pilates breathing keeps your mind quiet and focused. Stress is forgotten and the to do list is irrelevant. Just breathe.
2. Acknowledge your goals with intention.
Know why you are in the studio. Remind yourself that you are here because you value your body and you want to get fitter or stronger or rehabilitate an injury or get slimmer and more toned. What you are doing is valuable.
3. Listen to your body.
Before you begin, take stock of your body and notice how you feel today. As you progress through the Pilates class, feel the burn, acknowledge it - and let it be. Pay attention to the tensions in your body and the balance of your muscles.
4. Let yourself just be.
Feel present, focus on the fitness challenges and let go of busy thoughts. Appreciate the effort you have made.
Practicing mindfulness in each Pilates class will mean you get a better workout, feel more in tune with your body, and have a more peaceful mind. Stressful thoughts can be left behind, leaving you with a post workout state of calm and balance.We hope you enjoy our Pilates classes, and feel peaceful, resilient and strong!