4 Things Pilates can Teach You as a Spiritual Practice
What Has My Career As a Pilates Instructor Taught Me about Spiritual Practices?
My 10th year in business was a big deal for me! It was a big day for me and it feels huge.
10 years is nearly a third of my life. Up until pre-breakthrough in my own spiritual journey, nearly three years ago, I didn’t feel like I could stick to anything. I used to get a 3.5 year-itch with careers. When I used to work within the Builders Merchants before I became fully self-employed in my own holistic health and wellness business, I used to leave a company every 3.5 years to get a fresh start.
I never believed I could stick to anything. It’s only when I look back that I realise these 10 years have flown by and I have lost that belief about the 3.5-year itch. 10 years later, I’m still here and still doing this thing that is at the core of me, which is helping other people.
I absolutely love that!
It’s kind of blown me away when I’ve reflected back on it. There’s now a whole new belief or a whole new thought process happening in my mind that’s rewiring some of this old stuff that I used to believe wasn’t a sticker - that I couldn’t stick to anything and I couldn’t do anything consistently.
While I was reflecting, I was trying to think what my favourite thing was, and to be fair that’s pretty difficult to do because over the years, I have pretty much refined and honed everything that I do that means that I only do the things that I absolutely love doing and that I’m really passionate about, so in terms of what my favourite things are it was really hard to identify ONE thing.
Of all the things; Hypnotherapy, Massage, Personal Training, Meditation, Pilates, Reiki, Akashic Records, Nutrition (see why it's difficult to choose?!), what I did really resonate with as I was thinking back, of all the things that taught me the most about myself, about my career, about life in general and our relationship with ourselves. Hypnotherapy is well and truly up there because it literally opened the door to accessing the true potential we all have as individuals, but one of the most significant times in my life was becoming a Pilates instructor.
This was about 8 years ago. Pilates has taught me so much over the years about myself, about my body, and about watching what happens within my clients as they move through transformational mind, body and spirit processes.
And I feel you can relate this to absolutely anything in life.
The first thing Pilates taught me was patience, because when I first looked at the course it was actually as part of a personal trainer intensive immersion course. It just came as part and parcel of it. To be honest it wasn’t going to be the thing I really connected with; I knew that right from the word go (apparently Universe had other plans!).
It wasn’t until I was on that course that I realised that every single thing about Pilates, about movement, about control, about slowing everything down, about the breathing and the relaxation and meditation, was for me. It was incredibly powerful and I took to it like a duck to water and I’ve never stopped doing it since in all of those eight years. That was a really beautiful thing to learn about Pilates.
Pilates taught me patience because it is a journey and aside from being a fitness instructor as well, what I found was that you get people who love to feel the burn; a really masculine, Yang energy. If they’re not leaving a class aching, sweaty, dripping, soaking wet, and completely exhilarated in that respect, then they don’t feel like they’ve had a workout. Pilates kind of sneaks in through the backdoor because it’s very subtle, very slow, and controlled. The feminine, Yin energy that Pilates brings into your body is a powerful balancer in a chaotic 'doing' worlds. You could almost be thinking, “Where’s the workout coming here?” But actually what happens is the day after and over time as well, your body just becomes so strong, so supple, and so flexible. And you don’t see those differences until you’ve been able to show consistency and patience and respect for your body in stretching it as well as challenging it. It really taught me that patience of consistency of being able to continually gently challenge your body.
Pilates also taught me self-kindness and I teach this to my clients as well. A true intermediate/advanced participant in Pilates knows when to bring the levels down as well as when to take them up.
If they’re not feeling so good, if they’re tuning into their bodies and they’re doing Pilates but they’ve spotted that there is an ache or pain or they did something the day before that left them feeling a bit tired, then a true intermediate in Pilates knows and respects their body enough to know that it’s okay to take it down. That isn’t a sign of failure or letting yourself down; it’s actually all about knowing your body - knowing what you feel you’re capable of doing in that moment. That was one of the biggest and most powerful things I think I have learnt in Pilates. Hence the reason I coach that to every single one of my Pilates clients as well as my health and life coaching clients. I just think it’s so important for ourselves as a person as it is for life, exercise, and everything that goes with that.
3: Body Awareness:
Pilates taught me body awareness - tuning in to what feels physical, what feels emotional, what feels energetic, but also seeing physical imbalances in the body that allow you to understand just how incredibly our bodies cope to keep us moving and to keep us functioning - to keep us doing our thing every day. As we start to tune in to our body we can recognise that there may just be day-to-day things that we can adjust and tweak that allow you to transform your body on a physical level, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally as well.
4: Slowing down is when you speed up:
Pilates also taught me the incredible power in slowing things down to bring your energy up. You would think it’s sort of counterproductive in that if you slow yourself down you think you’ll get more relaxed or more tired. Sometimes that can happen.
What most people do find is in that relaxation is where they find the energising potential. They find the clarity of deciding what their next steps might be. They find the strength to decide that they’re going to do something challenging that may be out of their comfort zone. They find the opportunity in that relaxation to recharge the batteries, to rejuvenate, to realise that they can leave that class completely and utterly ready to go and ready to face the world.
That’s something I say, “Are you ready to face the world now?!”
It’s such an incredible connection with your mind, body, and spirit. It gives you that opportunity to just kind of take of stock of how incredible you are, ready to move forwards and take that 'incredibleness' into the world around you.
Pilates has taught me a lot! Here's hoping it can teach you a lot too, even if you never actually have the privilege to try Pilates!
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