Pilates: Build Strength Increase Awareness and Gain Energy

I’ve been working out at our local Pilates studio for about 3 months. (Thanks to Mark Joyner for recommending Pilates in Simpleology 103 as one of the best ways to increase core strength and personal energy).

One of the things that I enjoy about Pilates is that it is far more than just a “pushing weights” type of exercise. With Pilates you have to be fully present with your workout. The machines don’t do the work for you. Each exercise and every movement requires your full awareness.

There have been times when my trainer literally asks me to be aware of 5 or more different things all at once: Contract your abs, neutral spine, relax your shoulders and neck, breath into the back of your ribs…

Not only do I get an incredible workout but the entire process is helping me to achieve a much higher level of physical body awareness than I had before.

Perhaps the most immediately beneficial new awareness I have gained is noticing when I am contracting my neck and shoulders when I don’t need to be.

During my workouts I’m amazed at how often I catch myself (my trainer catches me even more!) with contracted neck and shoulder muscles while performing a low-body exercise. My neck and shoulders are not actively participating, so there is no reason for them to be tight.

By tensing muscles that are not involved in the activity I am expending (wasting) the energy that it takes to contract those muscles.

This awareness has transferred to the rest of my life. Now, when I am typing, I usually notice pretty quickly if I am tensing my neck and shoulders. I notice when my head is shifting forward. I notice when my core has gone soft and I’m slouching down.

All of these contribute to a more energy efficient body. And as I conserve more energy through the use of the powerful core muscles, proper body alignment and relaxing unused muscle groups, I notice that I have more energy available throughout the day.

If you’re looking for a workout that enhances your awareness and increases your energy along with strengthening your body, consider Pilates.