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The Importance Of The Mind-Body Connection In Pilates 

By Lucy Webb

Pilates and Barre Instructor

When you arrive at La Barre, the first thing you will notice is the bright, open space - with its serene atmosphere, minimalist decor, and the beautiful natural light coming in through the windows, our studio is the perfect place where the mind-body connection can take centre stage. And that’s because we know it’s not the reformers, the chairs, or any of the other amazing equipment we have at our studio that will shape your body and get you the results you want. There is a simple truth to unlocking the true intensity of Pilates exercises, and it's definitely not about increasing the resistance by adding more springs to your machine - it's about tapping into the power of the mind to amplify and focus the efforts of the body. 

Pilates, known for its emphasis on core strength, flexibility, and whole-body health, has another lesser-known feature, which is that it can only be practised fully and properly when the mind is one hundred percent engaged. When we consciously connect with our muscles, movements become so much more than just simple repetitions. And it is only when we focus on our bodies in this way that the reformer can become a true tool for transformation. 

If we think of a simple footwork exercise, a lighter spring setting could make the movement seem ‘easy’ if you simply go through the motions of pushing your legs to make the carriage move out and in. But add the power of focused intention, where you are aware of your shoulders and neck remaining relaxed, your hips and knees flexing and extending, your thighs sinking down towards the springs… suddenly, the entire dynamic shifts. As you press away from the footbar, draw your ribcage down into the mat, and use a long exhale, now you are engaging not just the legs, but the entire powerhouse - those deep core muscles that serve as the foundation of Pilates. 

After all, a successful Pilates practice is about more than just going through the motions; it's about being present in every aspect of the movement. That is why you are encouraged to slow down your repetitions and be truly aware of what your body is doing - we’re not there just to move the machine around. As Joseph Pilates himself famously said, "It is the mind itself which builds the body.” That means it is within your reach to make even exercises which seem ‘easy’ a lot more challenging, leading to greater toning and shaping benefits. 

The great news is, whether you are a seasoned Pilates practitioner or a newcomer to the reformer, the mind-body connection is within reach for you. It requires no special equipment, no advanced techniques - just a willingness to delve deeper into the experience, and to commit to being completely focused during your class.

So, the next time you step onto the reformer at La Barre, remember: the true intensity lies not in the springs or the settings, or even the level of class you have booked into. It is in the power of your mind. Leave your phone outside, engage with purpose, focus with intent, and watch as your Pilates practice significantly improves and you start to see the results you want in your body. We’ll see you at the studio soon!

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