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Pilates Basics

by Jillian Hessel

Excerpt from Part One: Pilates Primer

"The Body-Mind Connection"

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Pilates Primer

Unless you're familiar with yoga, meditation, or the martial arts, the body-mind connection may be a completely new concept to you. What is it? The body-mind connection is simply a way of becoming more aware, or mindful, of your actions. The goal is to fully experience what is going on in the present moment — nothing more and nothing less. When you're practicing Pilates, this means you're aware of not only the movements that you're doing, but also the quality of those movements and how they're timed with the rhythm of your breath.

The body-mind connection is the key to reducing stress in our lives. The "fight or flight" reaction to danger in the wild that pumped our ancestors full of adrenaline to ensure their survival still works the same for us. However, when you become frustrated sitting in a traffic jam or have a tough day at the office or with the kids, you usually can't fight or run away. If a safe, acceptable physical outlet for your frustration isn't available, the hormones from the adrenaline rush stay in your system. Your blood pressure rises, your heart rate speeds up, your immune system is depressed, and you become more stressed out.

The body-mind connection helps you gain control of your nervous system. Learning to calm down and work from your core can help you to find a safe and healthy way to get rid of everyday stress and tension. And since Pilates is a form of body-mind exercise, you'll reap mental benefits as well as physical ones from it.

The body-mind connection begins with breath, which you can learn all about in "Setting the Foundation: B.E.A.M. Fundamentals," beginning on page 48.

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Additional Excerpts

Read more of the book here!

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Jillian Hessel Pilates

Los Angeles, California
Phone 310.246.0082

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