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  • Writer's pictureNicki Thiel

The mind is a terrible thing to waste...

Don't settle for less than your full height.

I watched it for years... hot mommas who could get sweaty and look like a million bucks...I swear they looked better working out than dressed to the nines at the theater. When I would talk to them about how Pilates would improve their workout, they would respond with... “It moves too slow.” or “I just don’t get it.”

Invariably one would show up with a brace on their knee or moving slowly because of back or hip pain. I’ve listened to stories of torn meniscus and labrums, herniated discs and sprained ankles, plantar fasciitis and rotator cuffs. On occasion these were from freak accidents, but more often than not the aches, pain, and injuries were a result of mindlessly moving and over use.

The mind is a terrible thing to waste when you are exercising or playing a sport. It is soooo much easier to learn mindful movement when you are young and have not solidified into movement patterns, but not impossible if you are older. Trust me, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Seldom do I see someone who is not over using some muscles and under utilizing others creating a lack of balance.

No matter how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise...

Balance is created by mindfully paying attention to what YOU are doing.

Most gym enthusiasts are great at planning their work out:

...a push for a pull…

...leg day or upper body day...

I sometimes envy their dedication to the burn and sweat. But, just as I need to find balance between aerobic movement and Pilates, ....(confession, I don't enjoy cardio)...most gym enthusiasts could greatly benefit from slowing down and learning what it means to “get it” as in get the Mind-Body-Soul connection to exercise.

Somatic awareness is a powerful tool to effect change. Lack of awareness almost always leads to dysfunction. I see two choices. We continue to beat the hell out of our bodies or we can take the time to learn the inner workings to create a body that will last us a lifetime.

For example:

One of my clients had practiced yoga for years. Her body could bend, twist, and hold like a pipe cleaner. She complained of low back pain, her hips hurt, and she was starting to worry about her shoulders. As I worked with her, we found she had no idea how to access her deep core muscles. This left her back and joints exposed to hyperextension with no support. She was resting into her joints and was shrinking in height.

It took time.

Re-patterning movement doesn’t happen overnight.

We celebrated the first time she felt her abs instead of her back and hip flexors.

We rejoiced when at her next physical she had restored an inch to her height.

The difference was slowing down and paying attention to what was tense and what was relaxed, where the movement started and how it ended and focusing on the breath as a support system.

Don’t believe you can do this, chew gum, and think about what you have to do after class…YOU CAN’T! Your brain is not designed to do so! At least it can’t AND get the quality of movement that is life changing.

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