Balance is one of the BASI (Body Arts and Science International) Principles which can be observed throughout a typical Pilates class. What makes it quite exciting to learn about is the very many different ways balance can be seen within a Pilates class.
Balance can be defined as the even distribution of weight enabling someone to remain upright and steady or where different body parts are equally strong or in the correct muscular proportions. The neuromuscular skill, of course, is only one aspect. In Pilates we address the whole individual not just the physical - the mind-body-spirit. Knowing that a person is striving for this type of mental balance is equally as important. This mental component comes with the gift of awareness of the body and mind so that we are able to be in better balance in a Pilates class as well as after a class.
Every individual’s bodily imbalances and mental imbalances are somewhat different and addressing and acknowledging this is what makes the work so intrinsically unique.
Muscular imbalances can be for a number of different reasons. Postural adaptations are among the greatest reasons that we suffer from imbalances in the body. Our bodies are masters of compensation and adapt and change for the tasks we need to achieve. Long hours of sitting or standing for work can do harm and our lifestyles play a role in our posture. Our central nervous system can be re-trained to fire correct movement patterns if given the opportunity to do so through Pilates. Our bodies do not like feeling any discomfort or pain so we adapt to move around this pain. This can cause further deviations from the ideal posture. As humans, we are creatures of habit and moving in repetitive motions or habitual patterns can create negative movement patterns in our body. Lastly, muscular imbalances can be from psychological influences - from the way we are nurtured to protecting injuries to being fearful and holding this within the body. Our bodies talk to us and give us messages as to what is happening, often all we need to do is listen.
Thankfully, we can retrain the muscular and emotional imbalances to prevent undesired movement patterns. Just like negative movements have been created so positive movements and mindfulness can also be created. This gives a better quality of life and movement. Pilates archives functional, healthy and safe movement which can allow the body to work optimally! Restoring balance in the mind and body offers total health.