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Posted by on Jun 5, 2013 in Body & Mind, Featured, Health | 0 comments

Pilates and Mental Health – Part 5

Pilates and Mental Health – Part 5

“Pilates teaches me what’s wrong with my body”

The more I work with this small group of male addicts the more I learn from them.  Whereas ‘mindful Pilates’ previously had just been my ideal way to work, simply a concept, since working with these men I feel I now have proof.

In these classes, we don’t always do ‘classical’ Pilates exercises, we justmove the body.  Simply, with ease and most importantly without too much thought.  This does not mean, I hasten to add carelessly.  Quite the opposite.  When you work with such awareness, you can do the simplest of exercises and have the most profound effects.

I’ve noticed two key posture patterns of these men.  In some, a puffing of the chest, jutting of the chin and pinching of the shoulder girdle at the back of the body, according to Stanley Keleman in his book called Emotional Anatomy, this can be viewed as “the inflation response to stress”.  In others there is a shrinking, a collapse of the shoulders and a sagging of the stomach; “the deflation response to stress”.

This can also be taken into a much broader realm in terms of the general public, sometimes it’s environmental factors causing these posture habits, but due consideration can also be paid to emotional factors, stress of course being the key culprit.

Because the group I work with is small it enables me to personalise some of the exercises again working with the tangible form, one’s body- not doing anything to control mind nor breathe but letting the awareness seep in.

The parting comment I had after last week’s class was “Pilates is really good isn’t it? It really teaches you what’s wrong with your body!”.  Now, one could argue that there is no right or wrong,  just room for development but still.  Awareness is the key.

For further reading on the inflation and deflation response to stress please see Stanley Keleman’s Emotional Anatomy pages 92-102.

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