By Erica Blasso
I’m a therapist who incorporates the mind-body connection in my treatment with clients. I take a whole-person approach to mental health, believing individuals benefit from connecting the mind, body, and spirit. Joseph Pilates believed physical and mental health went hand in hand, which is why Pilates is both a physical and mental workout. I’ve personally experienced how developing a deep core activation quite literally allowed me to feel more stable and grounded, helping immensely with my own struggles with anxiety. Let’s discuss some of the current research regarding the various ways your mental health can benefit from developing a Pilates practice.
- Release of endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals which help boost mood. Individuals who work out regularly have more resilience to stress.
- Breath is one of the most powerful tools to calm the mind and is an essential component of Pilates. Practicing coming back to the breath during a pilates session trains your brain to be present helping to quiet our “monkey mind”.
- Mindfulness is another important component of Pilates. Linking breath to movement helps individuals arrive in the here and now. Pilates can help bring clarity and focus in one’s life even off the mat.
- Sleep is a major factor in one’s mental health. Pilates helps relax both the mind and body, promoting quality deep sleep. Quality sleep allows for less mental fatigue and better focus the next day. It’s a win-win.
- Pilates helps individuals disconnect from a busy day and connect deeper with themselves. Engaging in positive behaviors for self is a buffer against depression.
- Attending Pilates classes can help build connection and socialization with a community.
- Pilates is also a workout for the mind as it takes time to learn and develop the principles. Practicing a new skill has been shown to be good for our brain health and increasing motivation.
Pilates is both a work out for the body and mind with a multitude of benefits to help support your mental health journey. As Joseph Pilates once said, “Pilates is a complete coordination of the body, mind, and spirit”.
Erica Basso is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT #114828) practicing statewide in California. In her private practice she provides individual psychotherapy for the modern woman who’s struggling with anxiety, perfectionism, and relationship challenges. To learn more about working with her, visit www.ericabassotherapy.com. You can also connect with Erica on Instagram @ericabassotherapy.