Pilates and the Spirit

Hello.  Here it is.  My first blog submission.  When thinking about the Pilates Method of Body Conditioning, one thing that I see everywhere (including my own logo) is a mind, body and spirit form of exercise.  I’ve been wanting to write about the spirit part for a long time.  I feel that for the most part, the majority of teacher’s and clients have the mind and body part.    Where is the spirit part?  I’ve often struggled recently on how to fit this into my own teachings.  I find that most clients just want to work out and have a hard enough time connecting the mind and body together, how can I get the spirit involved?  Will they be open to it?

It can be argued that the spirit is involved once you start connecting the mind and body together that they are connecting through the spirit.  I am not too sure.  On a daily basis I teach beautiful men and women who constantly criticize their bodies.  Even when their bodies start to change and they look amazing, they do not see it.  Their spirit has been broken.  How do I help them get that part of themselves back?  Is it something that can be spoken about within a private lesson or a group class?  

Recently, my health has been challenged with the flu.  Possible swine flu.  This took me by surprise as I am someone who thinks they take really good care of themselves.  I take all my vitamins, eat well, exercise a lot and in general am a very happy person.  Over a decade ago I began my journey into self discovery.  I started working with a healer/life coach and began reading a lot of books by authors such as Wayne Dyer, Julia Cameron, Eckart Tolle, Gary Zukav, Louise L. Hay,  etc.  I began taking responsibility for my life and the outcome of the choices I’ve made and I started to see my life change instantly.  Do not be fooled, it has not been an easy road.  This has been hard work and I constantly have to work at it.

A book that has been very important in my own self discovery has been “You Can Heal Your LIfe”, by Louise L. Hay, she speaks a lot of disease being a dis-ease in the body.  I began to think, what is my     dis-ease?  After a few days of the flu,  it began to be very clear to me as to what my dis-ease is.  In looking back over the last 6 months, I have not been taking care of myself on a regular basis.  I was working extra hours, eating bad food (foods I know my body doesn’t do well with), not sleeping enough and saying yes to every invitation that came my way.  At first I could argue every one of those previous statements.  I had a reason of why I was doing each one, but when it came down to it, I realized that none of the explanations had to do with me.  I was putting everything and everyone else before myself.  I have done this many times in the past and know that when I do this for a long period of time, I get sick.  I shouldn’t be surprised.  I have been down this road before.

This lesson makes an appearance a lot.  It clearly is one of my major life lessons.  I do believe the Universe will continue to show me this lesson until I finally make the choices to change.  I go through phases where I’m really good about taking care of myself and then I don’t even know what happens, but I loose it and before I know it, I’m sick.  It is clear to me that I must pay attention to this lesson as it is a serious one.  

Here are some things that help me get my spirit back:

  1. I recognize all the beautiful things that surround me on a daily basis.
  2. I acknowledge the love and support that friends and family are giving.
  3. I take time for myself, whether it is a walk along the east river, reading a book or sitting at my favorite coffee shop, time alone is important.
  4. I recognize my limitations and do not judge them.
  5. Breathing- I often will sit in a quiet space and do the breathing of the 100 exercise, no movement, just breath. Inhale for 5, exhale for 5.  This will quiet my mind and center me.

So, how can and where does the spirit fit into the teachings of Joseph H. Pilates?  I am going to start to include this part of the teachings into my sessions and classes.  Joseph Pilates did write about the spirit in his books and I plan on exploring how to teach this within my sessions or at least how to supply this information to my clients.  

Jennifer RuggieroPilates and the Spirit
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