Let It Flow
Top reasons to let flow be your guiding principle:
Kick up the cardio: You will burn more calories and increase stamina if your workout flows seamlessly from one exercise to the next, with limited rest and set-up time.
I love this quote from my Real Pilates trainer, Alycea Ungaro, who would encourage trainees to pick up the pace of set-ups with these wise words.
Reduce injury: Fluidity in movement decreases clumsiness, stumbles and falls making you less prone to injury.
Move gracefully: The control and grace your body learns from Pilates exercises and the transitions, will be carried over into your daily activities, allowing you to navigate your daily tasks with comfort, ease... and you'll look better doing it!
Guiding Pilates Principles: Control, Concentration, Centering, Precision, Breath and Flow
It is hard to put your finger on exactly what it is that is so special about Pilates.
Sure, you become stronger, more flexible, and maybe even find relief from pain.
But that special something is so much bigger than a greater range of motion or restored alignment.
People describe feeling calmer, happier, and more comfortable in their own skin.
I have heard people say that there life has become better, easier.
We are not teaching coping skills, or even meditation to calm an anxious mind. We are teaching movement.
Your body is with you every moment of every day and it is one of the only things you simply cannot escape from.
When you go through life with awkward posture and choppy movement patters, everything becomes harder and uncomfortable, from putting your shoes on in the morning to getting out of the car.
But when you seamlessly flow through life with grace and balance, you can approach your tasks and activities with comfort, confidence and ease.
This indescribable, overarching comfort in our own skin, that comes from a dedicated Pilates practice is a result of the flow of movement that the Pilates system teaches, and it affects every aspect of our being.
Joseph Pilates says, “Contrology is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace, and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, in the way you play, and in the way you work."1
This natural grace is accomplished through flow of movement.
It positively impacts that quality of each and every move we make in our daily lives, from the moment we roll ourselves over to get out of bed in the morning, to when we crawl back at night.
It is this ease of movement that gives us so much comfort and peace.
Pilates goes on to say, “Correctly executed and mastered to the point of subconscious reaction, these exercises will reflect grace and balance in your routine activities.
Contrology exercises build a sturdy body and sound mind fitted to perform every daily task with ease and perfection, as well as to provide tremendous reserve energy for sports, recreation, emergencies.” 1
Basically, if you can do PIlates, you can do anything. And that, is living.
Flow is present in every aspect of the Pilates practice.
It is not only accomplished through the exercises themselves, but even in the way we transition from exercise to exercise.
In Pilates, the transitions flow from one exercise to the next, so that the entire sequence becomes not a group of separate exercises, but a seamless single exercise from the beginning of the session to the end.
And while this flow and ease of movement helps one to move gracefully through life and improve athletic and physical performance, it can also have major impact on injury prevention.
Falls are one of the biggest threats to the health of the elderly, and the ability to go from sit to stand has been shown in several studies to have a direct impact on life expectancy, longevity.2, 3
Studies, such as the Effects of Pilates on The Elderly, have shown time and time again that Pilates practice improves balance and reduces risk of falls among the elderly.3
Alycea Ungaro, PT MS, believes that Pilates transitions play a major role in keeping people healthy and young.
“For the everyday person, injuries happen when we transition from one activity to another. Often without us even being aware,” Ungaro notes in the online article, “5 Ways Pilates Keeps You Young” on Verywell.com.
“Pilates training focuses in on transitions between moves and within moves, training the body and the mind to control your movements no matter what. With less haphazard moves, you'll avoid unwanted incidents and injuries. Less medical intervention will most certainly keep you youthful.” 4
While all of the Pilates Principles are important and when combined present a uniquely holistic approach to health and wellness, flow is that secret ingredient that makes the Pilates system so different from everything else out there.
Joseph Pilates uses a car as a metaphor for the body.
Wouldn't you rather ride, he says, in a "perfect-running automobile with a good driver at the wheel, knowing that his gradual acceleration and deceleration and his skillful negotiation of even sharp curves and abrupt turns are all accompanied so smoothly that we never give a conscious thought to his fine driving but rather concentrate on enjoying the passing scenery."
Compare this, he says, to a “neglected car driven by a bad driver whose jerky starts, sudden stops, and dangerous turns not only upset our balance constantly but also rob us of the pleasure of the trip..."
Do Pilates. Enjoy the ride.
Pilates, Joseph H et al. Pilates' Return To Life Through Contrology. [Place of publication not identified]: Presentation Dynamics, 2012. Print.
de Brito, Leonardo Barbosa Barreto et al. "Ability To Sit And Rise From The Floor As A Predictor Of All-Cause Mortality". European Journal of Preventive Cardiology 21.7 (2014): 892-898. Web.
Costa, Letícia Miranda Resende da et al. "The Effects Of Pilates On The Elderly: An Integrative Review". Revista Brasileira de Geriatria e Gerontologia 19.4 (2016): 695-702. Web.
Ungaro, PT, MS, Alycea. "5 Ways Pilates Keeps You Young". Very Well. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 June 2017.