Awareness and direction of energy flow in every Pilates movement will bring you the following results:
- Increased vitality in every move.
- Opening spinal constriction
- Reach beyond external movement
- New lightness in both your body and spirit
- Increased feelings of ease in your own body.
- Leaving Pilates class energized, not drained.
Energy Influencing Movement
Martial Art, Dancing:
Have you ever seen a martial artist or a dancer move? The movement seems gentle and smooth. From the outside they look so effortless, that you say, “It’s easy, I can do this.”
How does one movement from a martial artist enable them to defeat the most violent street fighter?
How do martial artists and dancers heal illnesses, boost athletic performance and slow down the aging process?
The answer is in their awareness and utilization of energy — and most of all, their feeling of energy.
Chi – Energy Force
Chi is like an electric current flowing thru the body. You already have it!
But having Chi is not the same as directing and benefiting from Chi.
You can only benefit from the energy force of Chi by first being aware of it and then learning how to use your mind to direct Chi energy in your body.
Those experienced in the direction of Chi energy can direct it without even moving!
You can teach yourself to direct Chi energy!
How to Teach Yourself to Direct Chi Energy
The ability to direct Chi energy begins with Awareness:
Begin your Pilates movement with a relaxed body and focused mind.
Sharpen your ability to recognize energy constrictions in your body and mind. Until you become aware of the presence of energy constrictions, you will be unable to release them. For example, until you are aware of constriction in your breathing you will be unable to improve your breathing.
Do not ignore constrictions. They will not naturally go away.
Constrictions must be worked through!
Your Initial Pilates Stance is Key to Directing Chi Energy and Dissolving Constrictions
- Begin with a feeling of ease when you lay or stand: Place your joints in the most relaxed position (alignment).
- Scan your body, whether in a lying or standing position. Observe any imbalanced feeling, any blockages to flow. Starting from the head down to your feet. Take your time allow yourself to feel from the inside.
- Visualize melting away an energy block: Use your mind’s eye first, but in order to completely get rid of the block, you want to let it move out of your body. This opens you to new possibilities of healing through FEELING. It might take 15 minutes or a couple days. Do not force it. If it doesn’t happen, move to the rest of the body.
How to Implement Energy Flow into Your Pilates Movements
Your body loves space, and it loves to be expanded.
We allow that expansion by elongating from the joints.
“Longer muscles mean longer life.”
Ancient Daoist Saying
The 5 Energetic Practices in the Pilates Hundred
The Pilates Hundred is the first move in the Pilates practice. It is meant to warm up the whole body with your breath by activating the life force energy that is generated from the navel area.
Although natural breathing is healthiest way to breathe (expanding the abdominals on the inhale, baby breath), practicing Reverse Breathing in Pilates is safe.
5 Steps to Directing Chi Energy Through the Practice of Reverse Breathing in The Pilates Hundred
Reverse breathing is basically when you inhale, the navel sinks in towards the spine and on the exhale the navel protrudes up away from the spine.
- You start the exercise by laying on the ground with your legs straight.
- Your upper body and legs lift off the ground.
- Your arms lift 7 inches above the ground and they pump up and down as you breath in for 5 counts and out for 5 counts. That at is one set.
- You continue to pump and breath for 10 sets for a total of 100 pumps.
Adding the energetic Mind body energetic connection:
- Lengthen: As you inhale, lengthen through the crown of your head. Feel like electric “energy” current moving from your crown down through your spine and finally, exiting thru your tailbone.
- Open: On the exhale, experience your chest softening. Your head nods gently as when you are saying, “Yes”. Your shoulder blades glide downward and, like an eagle’s wings, open wide. Your head is lifted off the ground.
- Extend: Visualize your fingers and toes energetically reaching 6 inches beyond their physical extent. Visualize that space 6 inches past your fingers and toes.
- Expand: As your hands are pumping up and down like two sticks flapping on top of water, you inhale and feel your abdomen being drawn down, towards your spine, (Reverse breathing) upon exhalation your abdomen protrudes as your energy is pushed towards your navel.
- Direct: On inhalation the flow of energy clings to your sacrum, the triangular bone just below your lumbar vertebrae. In Eastern philosophy, this area is called “the gate of life”. On exhalation push and distribute the energy up towards your navel.
These 5 steps are perhaps the most powerful way to use your breath to stimulate and strengthen your power house energy center increasing your lower abdomen’s ability to pump Chi through your body.
You are now teaching yourself to direct Chi energy!
At the beginning you might not be able to implement all 5 of the energy practices at one time, and that is perfectly okay. Just pick one. Or, you might do one set of pumping your arms up and down beside your body as you breathe in for 5 inhalations and out for 5 exhalations.
Then, the next day get back on the math and add another set and so on until you can do 10 X 10 repetitions for a grand total of 100 repetitions (pumps).