Pilates for the Body and Brain

“Contrology is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. Through Contrology you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your mental and subconscious activities.” (Pilates 1945)

Above is a direct quote from Joseph Pilates explaining what he expected from the method that was later named after him, Pilates. Everyone agrees that we grow concerned about our physical limitations as the body ages. With age and decreased activity our neuromuscular connectivity becomes altered. By neuromuscular connectivity, we mean the brain to muscle connection which helps us coordinate movement and function.  We develop altered and ineffective movement patterns, which often lead to pain and dysfunction. Pilates is a method of training that, through it’s focus on postural stability and alignment, can stimulate and re-program our system to improve quality of movement.

By connecting the brain to the body as we move it, conscious movement gradually becomes automatic or subconscious. This is sometimes referred to as motor learning. For example, a slumped posture might feel normal due to the years and years of poor sitting habits. As we initially correct the slump by bringing an awareness to it, it feels awkward and requires repeated reminders.  Over time however, the brain inputs the sit and stand TALL reminders into the body as a constant, and the body realizes the change. The culmination of this process results in the slumped posture beginning to feel abnormal, and the sit and stand TALL posture normal. It becomes no longer a conscious effort but a subconscious one, much like blinking the eye.

In a typical hour long Pilates session clients are continuously directed to focus and connect the brain to the body. The result of increased conscious and subconscious brain work facilitates a natural shift towards the desired effect.  At Baudry Therapy Center, we use a holistic approach to wellness, including comprehensive Pilates methods to improve  form and function for active movement.

By Kathy Koehl

Pilates Instructor at Baudry Therapy Center

strength, balance, motion…for fitness, for life