At Mind and Body, naturally, we continually strive to ‘put your brain in your body’. Joseph Pilates’ famous quote is of course – “It is the mind that builds the body.” This is more than an abstract concept. It really is at the very heart of a. getting the most out of every exercise, b. feeling and understanding what your body is doing and c. becoming your own teacher as you dialogue between body and mind to improve your body.
When I am taking a class or doing my own workout, I strive to see what I am doing by watching my alignment either for myself (why mirrors in a workout space are so valuable) or by what my teachers may observe. But I also ask myself. “What am I feeling? Am I feeling what the teacher is saying and if not why not?” and “How could I improve this exercise for me (and in turn, for my clients)?” I have had many experiences where what the teacher was saying was not what I was feeling. In many cases, it is because the teacher themselves had not asked that question of themselves when they were being taught.
And I have learned from it. Exercises that I had previously dismissed as being counter productive or even contra-indicated for many clients have come back into my repertoire because I found a new understanding of the exercise because of what I started feeling on my own body and not what any teacher had said about it (unfortunately). It is hard when you have been taught that an exercise is bad or dangerous to try the exercise with an open mind. And fitness trainers of all ilks are guilty of dismissing exercises out of hand.
One of my clients yesterday used the phrase ‘using a Zen/Yoga mind to do an exercise’:
- What do I feel
- Where do I feel it
- Is my alignment correct
- Does it make sense
- Does it fit with my understanding of the body
Maybe this is too much to think about when all you want to do is get a good workout.
BUT THIS IS HOW YOU WILL GET A GOOD WORKOUT. If you can put your brain in your body, your workouts will be more efficient because you will get more out of every exercise. When you put your brain in your body, the movement pattern in the exercise can then translate more easily to your other activities athletic or just in daily living. When you put your brain in your body, you body will work harder, more efficiently and get injured less because you are bringing awareness to real, actual functional training. And putting your brain in your body is the only way to truly transform your body.