Boulder residents pride themselves on being at the forefront of most health, wellness, and exercise trends. Trail running? The sport was nearly born here. Green smoothies? We had that years before Los Angeles. Living “mindfully”? It’s called living in moderation, and yes, we do that, too. Boulder has also played host to the development of many mental and emotional health trends, from the development of several specific types of yoga to meditation. Meditation in particular has gained a lot of interest in recent years, as endurance athletes and casual hikers alike can reap the benefits of just a few moments of silence and deliberate breathing.
If you’re thinking about taking up a meditation practice, Pilates might be an excellent entry point. Similarly, if you have a well-established meditation practice but are looking for ways to switch it up, Pilates is the answer. More than a method of staying agile and flexible, Pilates is a mind-body method which focuses on challenging and relaxing your mind. You learn to breath intentionally, control movement, and remain fully present—three essential tenets of meditation.
What the Research Says
Studies show that an increased sense of mindfulness can boost optimism and decrease both stress and anxiety. It enhances mental and physical wellbeing and, in some cases, can help to alleviate some chronic pain. Pilates forces practitioners to focus inward to execute each movement. It centers you, puts you in touch with your body, and provides relief from muscle tension. If this sounds a lot like meditation, you’re right—it does.
If you’re unsure if Pilates is the entry point or furthering strategy you want to employ in your meditation practice, try it at home. Hold a Pilates position for several minutes while breathing deeply, focusing on how your body feels in that particular position. Pilates is moving meditation and an absolutely essential part of leading a mindful lifestyle.