Moving in the Right Direction  
Intention connects the mind and the body.  (Photo: Flickr user, 8209088)
Intention connects the mind and the body. (Photo: Flickr user, 8209088)

Start with intention

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To initiate thoughtful, intelligent movements like Pilates and yoga, intention is the key for action. Intention precedes action. Right intention precedes right action and wrong intention precedes wrong action. Intention is dependent on knowing the context within which an action is to occur. A good instructor will make you aware of the intention of the exercise so that you know where to direct your intention so that you can work towards the right action. Developing your intention for thoughtful movement requires an aspect of meditation.

The primary and foundational meditation that Pilates and yoga offers is providing you with an intention. Intention connects the mind and the body. An intention starts at the brain’s neuron. Science has become aware of the state of the neuron which faithfully reflects mental processes such as intentions. Neurons are the atoms of info-processing in the brain.

Information flow across a neuron is directed, flowing from input to output. The receptor sites on the neurons have been found to be highly influenced by conscious intention, which has been found to effect change within the body (Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel The Way You Feel by Candace Pert, PhD). This has been proven through biofeedback training where a person can learn, for example, to slow or speed his/her heart rate. However, findings show us the chemistry behind this information exchange is not only the patient learning to control his/her state of mind, it is also the neurons being influenced by the intention of consciousness which create a change throughout the body.

When your mind is on the muscle, the muscle works 30% more than if you mindlessly performed that movement. The intention that you place on a muscle awakens that muscle and makes it available for action. Studies are showing that when a person is able to feel subtle feelings related to inner sensations of functionality, this actually stimulates the free flow of information at the cellular level. On the other hand, blockages presented by past trauma or stress decrease the reception of information to the cell and make the muscle less available for action. If a muscle is not available for action, other muscles will move into action which can cause injury to the overworked muscle and atrophy and weakness to the under worked muscle.

In Molecules of Emotion, Dr. Pert writes that we must expand our awareness of inner feelings in order to manifest our human potential. If we don't intentionally seek inner awareness,

  • we obstruct our ability to feel emotionally and physically well.
  • we lose faith in the innate intelligence of the body to know what it needs to be in balance and we look to outer authorities for that information.
  • we lose touch with that intelligence we call our "gut feel," our intuition...the guiding star of our life's journey.

    Movements like Pilates and yoga open up a whole new awareness of body intuition. Staying in touch with our body’s intuition starts with the conscious intention for self-discovery. By simply stepping into a Pilates or yoga class, your intentions will be directed towards developing the intuition specifically for your health, happiness and wellness.

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    About the Author

    Lori Rockl graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Political Science. After working with the Federal Government through two elections, she escaped back into her gifted life of fitness training and now owns a successful Pilates & Yoga studio. Although her clientel tell her often how much they learn from her, Lori would tell you that she is the one that learns the most from her clients. For Lori, the study of the mind-body connection is an infinitely fascinating study. She has found that Pilates and yoga are excellent tools for healthy living and incorporate those tools into her marathon and triathalon training. Please contact lori at [email protected]

    The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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