Pilates and Body Awareness – New Research

Taught as the founder intended, Pilates is a very mindful form of exercise. Throughout my classes I encourage you to feel what is happening to your body as you perform the exercises and in the pauses between the movements.  You will hear me drawing your attention to your heart beat, postural tone, how and where you are breathing, the temperature of your body, the sensation of tissues lengthening, contracting and releasing, gurglings in the gut when you perform the navel to spine core engagement.  It is this aspect of our Pilates practice that helps us be more present in the body as we go about our day-to-day life and be more mindful of how well we’re moving.  Are we sitting, standing, walking with good posture?  Do we feel well-balanced?

New research from Anglia Ruskin University highlights another important benefit of being tuned into our body and the sensations we can feel happening inside us. In an interview with cognitive neuroscientist, Dr Jane Aspell on a recent edition of BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind, developing this ability to detect physical sensations going on inside the body – or interoceptive awareness as it’s called – can have a positive effect on how we view our body, how we feel about our appearance.  The study showed that people who have stronger brain responses i.e. greater awareness of signals from inside the body (heart beat, rumblings in the gut) have a more positive body image.

Pilates is therefore a useful way of training ourselves to be more aware of what we can feel happening inside the body, which in turn helps us be more comfortable in our own skin and more in tune with our body’s physical and emotional needs.  Fascinating stuff.

The images in this post are of Peter Jansen’s Human Motions Sculptures. Another new discovery this week. Thank you!

To close, Bjork beautifully being herself…

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