Written By Jan Waters
Simply stated, mind-body exercise is a form of exercise that
combines body movement with mental focus. Pilates,
yoga, gyrotonics and martial arts (Tai Chi) are all great
forms of mind-body exercises. Although some practices have
been around for centuries they did not begin to achieve popular
recognition in the United States until the early 21st Century.
Pilates is an exercise system developed by Joseph Pilates. Throughout his lifetime Joe Pilates taught
and promoted his method, which he called “Contrology.” He believed that mental and physical health
were interrelated and were both necessary to create a balanced, centered human being. Pilates creates
a body awareness that most people don’t have. Pilates focuses on whole-body movements (the way
we move in real life) instead of targeting on a specific muscle or body part in an isolated way. Pilates
involves engaging the mind and body together to strengthen muscles, increase flexibility and improve
overall health and balance.
Exercises are performed on a mat and on specially designed equipment. The exercises are relatively
safe, low impact and appropriate for anyone from 10 to 100. The key principals to pilates include
breathing, concentration, control, centering, precision, balanced muscle development, rhythm/flow,
whole body movement and relaxation.