Pilates and Meditation

Pilates is a movement practice that emphasizes the mind-body connection, as it brings awareness to the present moment and meets your body where it is. Making meditation a regular part of your routine will help your mind and body stay grounded, awake, and focused.

What are the benefits of meditation?

“Meditation is good medicine,” remarks Pilates Anytime teacher, Tom McCook in his Embodied Presence Meditation class. He's right. A regular meditation practice can help lower blood pressure, improve mood, and relieve stress.

Taking time to meditate also offers us a chase to look inward and reflect. McCook notes, “In a busy world, cultivating the ability to collect ourselves and be present is an amazing tool... When we’re grounded and present, we have the ability to be our best selves.”

We can always make more time for self-care. Even if you meditate for just five minutes a day, you will begin to feel its benefits.

How can meditation benefit my Pilates practice?

Both Pilates and meditation are practices that emphasize the mind-body connection, as they require control, focus, and attention to breath.

In Pilates, your breath coincides with movement. Similarly with meditation, you learn how to be still and in control your breath. Meditation also improves body awareness, which can influence how you move in your Pilates practice. The discipline required in meditation can be applied when pushing through a tough Pilates class.

Furthermore, you will feel inspired to set goals for yourself in these mind-body practices. At the start of a meditation session, we often reflect on our intentions for sitting down and taking this moment for ourselves. Ask yourself at the beginning of a Pilates class, what are my movement goals? In her Reflective, Alert Mind class, Regina Santos begins an active, Intermediate Mat class with a grounding practice to get you in-tune with your body.

Additionally, in McCook's Introduction to Pilates Anytime’s Mindful Movement program, he states, “Your body is always trying to follow what your mind is thinking.” By redirecting your attention to your goals and the present moment, you will get the most out of Pilates and meditation.

How can I begin my meditation practice?

If you are new to meditation, following the below steps will guide you toward a successful practice:

  • Begin by sitting in a comfortable position, either in a chair or on the floor. For more support, try sitting on a Mat, cushion, or blanket. Make sure that your spine is upright and relatively straight.
  • Close your eyes and begin to bring your attention to your breath. Deepening your inhale and exhale, allow your muscles to soften and mind to relax.
  • Easing into a calm state, reflect upon your intention for meditating. Common goals of meditation are to relieve stress, take time for self-care, and find mental clarity. Since meditation grants an opportunity to check in, your intention can be as personal as you see fit.
  • A great way to notice how your body is feeling is to conduct a body scan. Beginning from the top of your head and ending at your toes, assess each part of your body to reveal where you are holding tension. Still in control of your breath, you will begin to feel settled and relaxed.
  • If your mind is racing or you find yourself distracted, gently guide yourself back to your breath and remember your intention. Count your breath and notice the rise and fall of your belly with each inhale and exhale. “Meditation isn't about trying to control your mind or stop it from thinking,” McCook notes. “That's actually not possible. Your goal is just to bring your attention repeatedly back to the present moment by focusing on your breath.”

Your first meditation session does not need to be long. We suggest beginning with five minutes of meditation a day and then building up to longer sessions. With gentle practice, you can easily integrate meditation into your daily routine to supplement your Pilates goals.

Has your Pilates practice benefited from meditation? Let us know in the comments below.

Heather McPherson
About the Author

Heather McPherson

Heather McPherson is the Social Media Coordinator for Pilates Anytime. She is an avid musician, writer, and traveler, who resides in Los Angeles, CA.


Wonderful article Kristi. I too started a meditation practice the beginning of this year and decided that no matter what I encountered, I would commit for the entire year and evaluate the experience and the value this practice brought to my life at the end of 2011. Now we are at the end of the year and I can say that the benefits are quietly present in my life on a daily level. My meditation practitioners taught me that it is in the fabric of one's daily round that the benefits are truly felt; not in the "sit" itself. This has been true for me. Any exploration deepening our awareness of our body and it's immense capabilities eventually extends and touches those that we touch through our work.
Thank you, this has been an approval of my present exploration that meditation enhances the quality of life, including the practice of pilates... synchronized with my questioning period again:) thank you, you are mentoring from miles away without even being asked... this is just too good...I agree with everything that is said on meditation and pilates, and I can't wait to watch the interview
Nooooooooooo please bring this video back. I just started 4 days ago and it's gone today. I am so bummed as the site didn't give me the option to save it as a favorite :(
Angela I'm not sure which video of Bobbee's you are speaking of, but here are both of her meditations that are on the site so far...

Gratitude Meditation
Ted Johnson
1 person likes this.
You can now save the meditations classes to your favorites.

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