With every year that comes to an end almost all of us, all around the world will start reflecting on the year that we’ve had. We want to see how far we’ve come, but we also use it as a marker to start setting resolutions and goals for the year ahead.

 

The New Year is a greatly important time to refocus. A clear and positive mind set will allow our brain to see more possibilities, make us open to new challenges and help us to embrace all the great things that can sometimes be taken for granted.

Fortunately, focus is a lot like a mental muscle – the more you work on building it up the stronger it gets. So what’s this got to do with Pilates, we hear you ask? Here at Contour Pilates we firmly believe that Pilates can do wonders for both the body and mind, and here’s just a few of the fabulous reasons why:

IMPROVES SLEEP

Practicing Pilates makes you more relaxed when it’s time to go to bed. Pilates releases toxins through exhalation and oxygenates your skin, muscles, and organs through inhalation. It’s an amazing natural remedy, and more often than not effective enough to keep you from a restless night.

Not only will the practice help you to sleep better, it’ll also help reduce your stress levels, improve concentration and eliminate negative thoughts.

MASTER THE ART OF BREATHING

 Breathing also plays a hugely important role in Pilates and has strong links to re-balancing the mind. Our breathing can be affected by stress and anxiety, becoming faster and shallower as part of the fight or flight response. Over time, changes in our breathing can become automatic as we deal with the constant stresses of daily life.

The good news is that Pilates can help us to focus on our breathing and encourages us to breath into our rib cage and use our diaphragm. Gentle, slow breathing using the diaphragm has been shown to activate the parasympathetic nervous system – the part of our nervous system is responsible for calming everything down – it acts to lower the blood pressure, dilate blood vessels and relax the muscles.

We know that breathing isn’t something we usually really think about, but it can play a vitally important role in how we feel and our overall mind-set.

 

LIVE IN THE MOMENT

It’s tough to stay mentally focused when you are contemplating the past, worrying about the future, or tuned out of the present moment. Pilates is a perfect time to close off distractions, put away your smartphone and truly engage in the moment.  The notion of being present is essential for recapturing your mental focus. Staying engaged in the here and now keeps attention sharp and your mental resources honed in on the details that really matter at a specific point in time. Always remember that you can’t change the past and the future hasn’t happened yet, but what you do today can help you avoid repeating past mistakes and pave a path for a more successful future.

 

And finally, practice makes perfect!

Building your mental focus is not something that will happen overnight. Even professional athletes require plenty of time and practice in order to strengthen their concentration skills. One of the first steps is to recognise the impact that being distracted is having on your life, and if you’re struggling to accomplish your goals and find yourself getting side-tracked by unimportant details, it’s most definitely time to start placing a higher value on your time.

By working on your mental focus, we’re certain that you will find that you are able to accomplish more and concentrate on the things in life that truly bring you success, joy, and satisfaction.

For more advice on how to refocus for the year ahead join us on the evening of 18th January for a Wellfullness Workshop Led by wellfullness expert Michaela Bereiu. We will cover several topics around mind, body and soul that will help you change your status quo to create a more happy everyday. All those attending the 90 minute workshop will also receive a free membership to the Spark Your Bloom site – a subscription based mindfulness hub full of articles, advice, personal stories. To register your interest for the event please email amy@reformerpilatesbrentwood.co.uk