My final two sessions with Lucille Noggle at Wellbridge Health Center have been completed; I was delighted to find that while the workouts grew more intense, my concentration and focus grew as well.
My husband says I have a “soundtrack mind” – I’m always thinking about several things at once. Like most women, I am the consummate multi-tasker: to limit my thoughts to just the task at hand would be doing a disservice to my time and energy, right? Not so in Pilates. With six key principles (centering, concentration, control, precision, breath & flowing movements) I had a principle for each “soundtrack” of my mind…and for the very first time, everything came together.
I could focus on just one thing.
The peace that came with that was compelling. I knew that in just one Pilates session I was achieving more than just a workout. I was resting my mind, and feeling a peace that soothed my weary soul. Quests are hard; though on a Quest by choice, it was more than just a good workout I sought. Lucille and I sat down afterwards to discuss her “fitness philosophy.”
“This question takes me back to the importance of the Mind, Body, Spirit connection and how a fitness program needs to focus on the whole person,” Lucille shared. “The mind-body connection enhances the functionality of how you perform your day-to-day tasks and activities. By focusing the mind on what and how the body is moving, it becomes mindful movement and raises our self-awareness. It becomes a centering exercise and can help to release tension and stress.” I nodded, affirming that I had experienced this in my last two sessions. She continued:
“And, to be most effective, a fitness program needs to not only engage the body and mind but also be comprised of meaningful movement that feeds the deeper aspects of the person. The exercise that helps you achieve correct alignment and posture will also affect how you feel about yourself and how you interface with life. As well, having great posture will affect how others respond to you.”
“By strengthening and focusing on engaging your “powerhouse” or your core muscles (the pelvic floor, abdominal and gluteal muscles) during movement - you train yourself to move in a more effective and instinctual way. You develop the strength and power to move from your center – your powerhouse. It gives you an inner confidence, can increase self-esteem and improve how you move through life.”
My final session we worked for sometime on my poor posture; I had struggled for sometime to tuck my pelvis under as I had been instructed by so many. My recent weight loss helped as I tried to find the right position; you see, the extra ten pounds I had put on over the last year had tipped my pelvis, creating a tremendous amount of stress and pain in my lower back. Pulling my shoulders back was not natural for me; as a tall woman I naturally slouch out of habit (I like to look people in the eye to be polite. Not easy when you are Amazonian in height.) As Lucille corrected, she suddenly looked at me and said two magic words: “Kegel up!” As I pulled in my pelvic floor and aligned my sternum over my pubic bone, I felt the most wondrous thing happen: my shoulders dropped back, down and my lats turned on. Lucille beamed as I now stood with perfect posture (except for pulling back my chin!) for probably the first time in my life. I laughed with pure joy as I studied my reflection in the mirror. Thiswas how I should always look, and classical Pilates had brought me there.
“The emotional component of exercise also needs consideration,” Lucille shared as I smiled, my joy easily readable. “Emotions connect the mind-body aspect into the psyche and the deeper aspects of the person. We store a lot of emotion and past trauma in our gut and most people want to avoid connecting with. It could be unpleasant! This causes many individuals to avoid exercise in which they have to focus on using their core muscles.”
I asked if she had anything she wanted to share in the column. “I invite our readers to observe any resistance that comes up when they think of strengthening their abdominals – breaking through that resistance just might mean a lot more than strengthening the muscles themselves.”
“Over the years of working in the fitness industry, I have frequently seen how dysfunctional movement and the emotional component are linked together. This aspect would sometimes come up in the Pilates session because Pilates works deeply in the body. Because of this I decided to pursue a Life Coach Certification so that I could more effectively assist my clients when emotions came up.” I nodded in agreement, knowing how Lucille seemed to pick up on my mood when I entered the studio, and knowingly seemed to address it through the workout and by asking me questions.
“Finally, a good fitness program needs to have the “joy factor” – it needs to have some fun aspects. Joy helps to connect us to the higher aspects of our self and life itself,” Lucille explained. “People spend a lot of time, money and effort trying to achieve better fitness and health. I hope that the fitness program they chose will incorporate some aspects of the Pilates Principles: Concentration; Centering; Control; Precision; Breathing and Flow. And add in that additionalprinciple of fun!”
I left the last session confident I had found the exercise for me. My active mind was completely engaged in classical Pilates, and my core (my powerhouse!) had never been stronger. I could not wait to explore it more.
Lucille Noggle, CPCC, CHTpractices at Wellbridge Health Center, 1055 Ruth Street Suite 9B in Prescott, Arizona. http://www.wellbridgehealthcenter.com Phone: (602)418-8969