By: Stephanie Ruopp
Managing Stress with Pilates and GYROTONIC®
Are you feeling more stressed than usual?
It’s not uncommon for stress to rear its not-so-pretty head around late September and early October.
Heading back to school or just returning to a routine can be tough. And it doesn’t take long for stress to seep into your everyday life.
While it might sound appealing to crash in front of the TV and load up on comfort food, this is only going to provide temporary relief. And then you’ll feel worse.
Managing stress with Pilates and GYROTONIC® is a far more effective solution. And much longer-lasting too.
How Stress Shows up in the Body
Stress compromises your immune system, disrupts sleep cycles and can lead to changes in weight.
It shows up in other ways too. Stomach aches and digestive issues are common complaints. So too are headaches and muscle tension.
But stress can manifest in a myriad other ways including dizziness, rashes and skin disorders and even back pain. The double whammy with back pain is that it can ultimately lead to poor posture too.
And that’s another can of worms.
Managing Stress with Pilates and GYROTONIC®
Obviously, stress needs to be addressed before it takes a serious toll on the body.
Both Pilates and GYROTONIC® are excellent for strengthening the core muscles. Plus, they not only improve spinal mobility, but they relieve back pain by treating the underlying causes.
A strong core and mobile spine lead to improved posture. And when you have pristine posture, you’ll breathe better and digest your food more efficiently.
But beyond those benefits, both Pilates and GYROTONIC® can also be incredibly powerful in giving the body permission to relax, rejuvenate and release tension.
It starts with the breath.
The Power of Breath
A study that was published in Psychology Today showed that specific emotional states are associated with distinct breathing patterns.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s no secret that our emotions and breathing are closely related. The breath gets shorter when we’re stressed and fuller when we’re relaxed.
But it works the other way too.
In other words, different breathing patterns can evoke certain emotions. Take a few short breaths on purpose and see how it affects you.
So learning how to breathe more intentionally can help you manage stress.
The truth is, most of us have become lazy breathers. We don’t pay much attention to how we breathe and this often results in shorter breaths that trigger anxiety and stress in the body.
Then outside events such as job issues or a big test in school can compound that stress.
But breath is one of the six fundamental Pilates principles. And the breathing techniques that you learn in a Pilates class can help you calm your mind and get through those stressful situations.
This is also true of GYROTONIC®. But in a different way.
GYROTONIC® is a system of movement that articulates your joints and improves the flow of energy through your body.
While on the surface it resembles Pilates, it’s more like yoga in its origin and breathing techniques. The breathing is specific to each particular movement pattern and getting it right is crucial to getting the most out of GYROTONIC®.
But once you do, it will pay off in so many ways.
The focus required to get the full benefits from both Pilates and GYROTONIC® means you have to leave the stresses of life at the door.
With GYROTONIC®, there is a machine that facilitates your movements. But YOU have to do the work. This is part of what makes it so unique. And it requires a lot of concentration.
Having such a focused and single point of attention naturally lends itself to mindfulness. And mindfulness is an effective method for melting stress.
Similar to GYROTONIC®, Pilates utilizes breathing exercises to improve blood circulation and encourage relaxation. But they also require you to clear your mind of any distractions.
Pilates essentially allows you to reap all the benefits of meditation without actually sitting still. This doesn’t mean, of course, that you can’t add seated meditation to your GYROTONIC® and Pilates regimen.
You just may not need to.
Lower Your Stress
Your core is not just a “six pack.”
It’s comprised of 29 muscles. And learning to use them effectively is like a cleansing rinse for your nervous system.
That’s ultimately what makes managing stress with Pilates and GYROTONIC® so effective.
Contact us today to start working with a highly trained Pilates/GYROTONIC® instructor who can tailor a program to meet your specific needs and lessen your stress.