Want to feel happier? Move. Move often.
By Dominic Pereira
So what is Pilates? A simple internet search will answer that. There are many definitions and explanations; so rather than regurgitate Google, this is how I define it.
Pilates is about movement. Bones, joints, soft tissues, organs, thoughts, mind, perceptions. It’s about creating a shift in the body and consciousness. And then introducing the two to one another:
““Body, meet mind. Mind, meet body. Now become lifelong friends.” “
Why do I say this? Because our modern legacy is one of complete disconnect from our bodies. We live in our heads and operate mostly sedentary lives, peeking out from behind laptop screens, spines hunched into submission. We no longer know our bodies, what good movement is, what the integrity of the skeleton is when in balance with our soft tissues. How does that even feel?
So for me, Pilates is a tool. But it’s not the only tool. It’s one of many options I have learnt over the years, and which I call upon in my teaching to fulfil a specific need or goal.
Movement is ultimately what it’s about. Good movement. And Pilates teaches you that. Moving your joints through their full range (because we all know about the #useitorloseit principle right?). Honouring the spine by moving it through flexion, extension, lateral flexion and delicious, detoxing rotation. Hmmmm.
It’s about proprioception – that sense of knowing where your body is in space, and how you can move it in ways you didn’t think of before. Isolating one area while the other moves. Moving two parts in different ways. The options are endless.
My box of tricks is filled with modalities like yoga, dance, primal movement, many types of pilates, and maybe a touch of Tai Chi, plus many invented moves and lots of playful fun. But all are grounded in sound principles which underpin Pilates too – breathing, balance, flow, coordination, mindfulness & concentration.
And then the fun starts.
Once these are in place, we can play with improvisation, balance and different breathwork. And this makes you a strong, resilient, flexible, earthed, invigorated and more grounded individual.
If you want to feel happier, move. Move often. And that’s the full nutshell.