As we are approaching the hectic, stressful holiday season (Yes! It’s coming!), I’d like you to take time to pause and reflect on how important mindful movement is. The foundation of Joseph Pilate’s fitness regimen was built on this principle.
Move with mindful intention. This is the at the core of the BeyondBarre fitness method and critical to any workout.
Going back to my fitness roots, first in gymnastics and then in pilates, I was reminded of how important mindfulness is in these disciplines. Focusing on the bodies’ connections and preparing mentally for movement makes all the difference in your workout and overall wellness outcome. Preparing the body for an exercise can play a major role in how safely, effectively and efficiently the exercise is carried out.
As a gymnast, I would play my routines over and over in my head imagining every movement. I would imagine even the smallest details from the feel of the chalk on my hands, to the point in my toes, to the intensity of my muscle engaging. This visualization technique helped train my body and mind to perform the routines with enhanced ease, grace and fluidity. Mental rehearsal helps the mind and body to become trained to actually improve the performance of the skills imagined.
Now, I am not expecting everyone to lie in bed at night visualizing their BeyondBarre plies and releves, but there is definitely a place for mental preparedness and visualization. What I have learned from gymnastics, pilates, and my barre method, is to take a pause before moving. During that pause, I mindfully prepare my body for what it is about to do. I check in with all of the body connections and make sure I understand what is being asked of me.
Think of it as a mindfulness body-connection checklist. Take Mountain Climber for example, while in plank position – ask yourself:
- Are you in the correct position?
- Are the wrists under the shoulders?
- Are the legs lengthened long?
- Is there a long line from the crown of the head through the tailbone to the toes?
- Are the abdominals and shoulder girdle engaged to your maximum ability?
Next take a breath and move maintaining the proper position.
In a BeyondBarre a class there is a flow, and the exercises are choreographed to move seamlessly from one to another. The pause you take to mentally prepare yourself should be brief. As you practice this exercise preparation you will soon be able to seamlessly incorporate the focus into your workouts.
Making sure your body is positioned properly and your connections are connected you will not only work safely but your workout effectiveness and efficiency will improve. You will find you will be able to increase your repetitions and work more deeply into the muscles, which will of course give your body an even better BeyondBarre sculpted shape!
Don’t let the coming weeks of holiday-madness take your mind and fitness routine off-track.
Commit the time to yourself to be fit and healthy. When you are exercising – be connected to your body in the moment and practice mindful movement for the most effective workout.
Setting the barre high,