Mind Over Matter

by Risa Sheppard

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” —The Buddha

“To learn how to think is to learn how to live.” —Ernest Holmes

We start from where we are—we cannot start anywhere else. Whether you have been working out your whole life, or just beginning a fitness regimen, you cannot lament the past or worry about where you are going to be. Our task in life is to stay centered in mind and body, and to remain focused on our goals and not let anyone or anything deter us from moving forward.

We can apply principles of positive living to Pilates, or any fitness regimen we may subscribe to; what is true for one is true for the other. We get discouraged when something does not go as planned in life. We give up, we get depressed and we stop moving forward. This happens to us all, but it is the ones who pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start all over again who are most successful. So it is with Pilates. Our task, if you will, is to move through space and time in a vehicle that is coordinated, efficient and powerful.

For instance: Ever notice if your hips are stiff or hurting? Many times it is not the physical act of tight hips that bother us (although that may be the case), but (keep an open mind if you will) the hips metaphysically stand for “moving forward with life.” When we feel “stuck” or are unhappy with the “forward movement of life,” our body reflects what we are thinking. As Joe Pilates often said, “it is the mind itself that shapes the body.” Oftentimes when my hip flexors feel out of balance, I ask myself: Where am I feeling stuck? Where is my life out of balance with nature? The answer may be a relationship, job situation or just feeling “out of sorts.”

Ahh! A light bulb goes off. Perhaps I was not even aware! Admitting to ourselves we have a problem is half the solution. Since we know that thoughts are things, and we attract to us what we give off, we know we must change our thinking. Easier said than done? Of course! It takes discipline, control and dedication. The same that it takes to build our bodies into the fine piece of machinery it is.

Repetition of a new thought pattern, just as the repetition of an exercise, is the only way to achieve results. We all want the quick fix, but we know that is only an illusion. We must work diligently to achieve mastery of body and mind. We must stay with the program and continue—no matter how hard it appears. For when we let go of the resistance, the exercise, whether mental or physical, becomes a part of our inner-most being.

Louise Hay, in her book, Heal Your Body, offers a new thought pattern to replace the negative thoughts and emotions. You may want to come up with your own, or use her affirmations as a mantra until it becomes second nature. In the case of hip problems, say to yourself, I am in perfect balance. I move forward in life with peace and joy at any age. It may be difficult at first, but keep practicing, and you just might see your body, mind and emotions change for the better.

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