Pilates reformer

How the Pilates Mind-Body Connection Works for You

People often overlook the impact of the mind-body connection that Pilates builds. While Pilates offers an excellent strength-building, mobility-increasing fitness practice, the mind-body connection empowers you to influence your body awareness, impact your posture, increase your balance, and more. When you work out with your Pilates reformer, don’t discount the benefits of incorporating mindful movement, rather than just going through the motions.

Mindful movement may sound abstract and difficult to grasp, but we break down the relationship Pilates has with uniting your mind and body so that you can make the most of your workouts on your Pilates reformer. Building your mind-body connection through Pilates ensures that you build the strength, balance, and mobility necessary to impact your daily life for the better.

Pilates reformer

What Is the Mind-Body Connection?

Working out on a Pilates reformer already offers an intense full-body strength and stability workout, but you can boost those benefits further by practicing mind-body connection—moving while being mindful about how you make those movements. The mental clarity you bring to each movement empowers you to have a more impactful, powerful workout.

The mind-body connection isn’t a new way of thinking. Being mindful of your movements is something you do anytime you’re trying to develop a new skill. In fact, you have been mindful of your movements since you were an infant. Trying to roll, grasp items, walk, and more, as a baby and toddler you used your mind-body connection to test boundaries, outcomes, and their limits while developing and practicing new skills.

This mindset doesn’t stop in early childhood. Whether you’re learning skills in sports, how to drive a car, or perform skills on the job, you utilize a mind-body connection, thinking through each movement and what outcome it produces. To boost your conscious-movement connection further, practicing Pilates makes a specific effort to increase your mental focus and body awareness.

Think of your mind-body connection as another muscle that needs strengthening. Because the best way to strengthen muscles is by exercising, you can visualize the positive results of working to strengthen your mind-body connection. Many people start their first Pilates class and realize quickly how much focus they need for their workout.

Athletes who compete in and train for specific sports come to the gym or competitions with plenty of mental preparation and focus, but they don’t come by it automatically. Everyone, from a seasoned athlete to a beginner using a Pilates reformer for the first time, needs to consistently practice this focused mentality. Each Pilates workout offers an all-in-one package of building physical and mental strength and focus, and the more you practice, the more you can tune in to the connection between your mind and body.

Pilates reformer

Pilates uses six principles, each of which needs mental focus and the mind-body connection:

  • Breath: Coordinating movement with your breath
  • Concentration: Being aware of your body and using your full attention through every movement
  • Centering: Bringing focus to the powerhouse and sourcing all movements from this area
  • Control: Using total muscle control so that all movements are deliberate, purposeful
  • Precision: Knowing each movement’s purpose for your alignment and flow of supporting body parts
  • Flow: Making smooth, graceful movements, reflective of the other principles, such as control and precision

You can see that’s a lot of mental commitment, but you can continue to achieve deeper levels of awareness as you gain experience in Pilates. Using a Pilates reformer allows you to see a mirror of your movements. If your flow is graceful and precise, you can expect the reformer to counter your movements in the same way.

The more you practice your mind-body connection, the stronger it will become, and you’re not alone in that journey. By streaming workouts to your Frame Reformer, you can have a one-on-one studio experience with expert Pilates instructors. These instructors offer cues to walk you through the mental aspects of Pilates so that you can gain the mental focus you need.

Knowing how mentally focused you need to be for Pilates may feel intimidating. So working out on Pilates equipment at home offers a stress-free environment where you can focus on your fitness. Using a Pilates reformer by Frame Fitness gives you the freedom you need to practice Pilates at home in your own unique, custom environment, and using the streaming workouts allows you to get the one-on-one training that helps you get the most of your Pilates experience.

Why Do I Need the Mind-Body Connection?

Maybe after seeing how you need to be mentally sharp to get the most out of a Pilates workout you feel apprehensive about trying it or your chances of being successful with it. However, Pilates is not an exclusive workout. Regardless of age, fitness experience, and ability, anyone can get a great workout with Pilates.

Especially when you use the resistance of a Pilates reformer, Pilates gives you an exciting workout because it combines intensive mind-body focus with a full-body workout—a workout that meets you where you are mentally and physically.

Pilates reformer

The mind-body connection offers many benefits for everyone, from the beginner to the well-trained athlete:

  • Increased body awareness: As you focus on the instructor’s cues and process the information, you get better and better at understanding your body position, alignment, and posture. This body awareness has benefits in both Pilates and everyday life. The better you get at reading your body awareness, the better you can detect and correct when you’re out of alignment or using bad posture.

    As you increase body awareness, you’ll see changes in your posture, balance, and stability, making everyday tasks simpler and easier. As the connection between your mind and body awareness grows, you’ll notice more automation in your movements, including when you correct your posture or alignment, all resulting from the practice you put into thinking and focusing on your movement while using your Pilates reformer.

  • Increased mental sharpness: Science has shown us that when you repeat an action while learning a new skill, you activate neurons that create a neural pathway commonly referred to as muscle memory. This accounts for the more automated movements as you gain better body awareness.

    In addition, the more you learn new skills on your Pilates reformer, the more you exercise your brain. The great thing about challenging yourself mentally in Pilates is that you increase your cognitive ability as well, no matter what age you are. Our brains are constantly working and ready to learn new skills, and the more you exercise them, the sharper you’ll be mentally.

    When you use your Pilates equipment at home, you can comfortably learn new movements on your Pilates reformer and challenge your cognitive abilities to increase your mental sharpness. Using the Frame reformer, you can easily adjust the tension by the push of a button and stream a variety of workouts to your Pilates reformer, enabling you to constantly challenge yourself.

  • Increased positive focus: If moving easier on a daily basis and increasing mental sharpness isn’t enough, consider how practicing the mind-body connection in Pilates can make you more positive throughout the day. Whenever you need to change something, it starts with your mindset. You can’t change anything unless you want to make the change.

    Increasing your mind-body connection increases your mindfulness both in and outside of your Pilates practice. Just like body awareness, mindfulness can become more automatic. You begin to think more deliberately rather than just react. As you strengthen your mindfulness, you will find it easier to ignore the white noise that distracts you and discourages you so that you deliberately focus on positive messaging that strengthens you from the inside out.
  • Reduced stress: Most people carry stress in their necks, shoulders, and back, but Pilates can counteract these physical symptoms. Your deliberate focus on how you move, carry your body, align your spine, and adjust your posture can all help alleviate stress-related movements and postures.

    As you feel yourself slump, your neck crane forward, or your shoulders tense up, you can use your increased body awareness to not only help you make adjustments but also to release unconscious tensions that result in bad posture and alignment. Because Pilates helps you become more efficient with your movements and learn how to use your muscles properly, you can minimize the physical symptoms of stress.

The mind-body connection goes hand in hand with the practice of Pilates. The more you challenge your body on a Pilates reformer, the more you need to turn up your mental focus. As you increase your deep concentration, you also increase the benefits of a strong mind-body connection, benefits that can be felt daily, not just while practicing Pilates.

Back to blog

Leave a comment