Pilates relieves stress. The mindful movement helps calm my overthinking mind and bring me to a better state of relaxation. The ability to do Pilates anywhere- home, in a hotel, studio, online, helps me remain consistent with my practice. It truly is a practice with no stopping point to maintain strength and flexibility just like meditation and mindfulness is a practice.
Last week I took the Enneagram test just for fun. I read some of the descriptions for each type (1-9) and felt pretty positive I was #1. A #1 is termed a ‘reformer’ which I think is pretty cool teaching Pilates and a reformer being one of the pieces of equipment. The downside of being a Reformer is that perfectionism is associated with it. Perfectionism is something I struggle to let go of and not let overcome my thinking and feelings.
I’ve always felt the need to be perfect growing up. I felt the stress to get good grades and be really good at dance. The Olympian skier Allison Forsyth said she was good at skiing because she was so afraid to fail. I have felt the same.
Perfectionism isn’t real and I know it. It’s something to remind myself daily otherwise it feels like I’m being held back and restrained. When practicing Pilates on my own I focus on my breath and how the movement feels instead of doing the exercises perfectly. Telling myself it’s ok to not be perfect helps and feels like a weight is lifted. Even when teaching online I can see when the effort is too much and the desire to be perfect creeps in. I remind my clients it’s ok, don’t be perfect, just move.
The top recommendation for Enneagram Reformer type is to learn to relax which makes me laugh. I’m terrible at relaxing. Being home often during the pandemic gives me an opportunity to relax or in reality: try to relax. I’ve begun to learn the difference between being busy and being productive. When I worked in an office I was the queen of looking busy or finding work to be busy. Instead I ask myself what I enjoy doing and practice sitting still and accepting boredom. If I begin to feel restless I ask myself why and even if I don’t know the reason I feel better.
Here are some examples of how I relax. Pilates is at the top of the list. The breathing throughout the movement relaxes the nervous system. The breathing is diaphragmatic (in the nose and out the mouth) which is the same type of breathing used in stressful situations. After Pilates I feel awake, calm, and ready to move with ease and a lightness in my step.
Top Ways to Relax:
- Do Pilates/workout
- Listen to music: sing playlist, dance playlist, writing playlist
- Go for a walk
- Talk to a friend who will understand
- Drink a cup of hot tea (yes hot even in Texas!)
- Be outdoors
- Go for a drive with Mike
- Read a book
- Watch a movie I love
- Cook comfort food, mac n cheese comes to mind first or bake
- Knit or crochet
- Skype with knitting friends
- Turn off the news/TV
- Focus on the things I can control
- Rake leaves in the backyard/yard work/manual labor
What do you do to relax? Are you interested in learning how Pilates can help you relax? Sign up for a Pilates session today, online or in person.
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