Introduction #2022

Mindful Movement

5 min - Introduction


Tom McCook gives an explanation of how you can become more aware of your thoughts to develop the skill of selective focus. This skill will help you stay present while you are moving which will help you have a better movement experience.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Jan 25, 2015
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What I mean by the body is always trying to do what your thinking is, is that it's influencing how you move and the experience you're having of moving. So your body is always trying to follow what your mind is thinking. This, this tends to be overlooked because in a class you go to a class, [inaudible] class, whatever type of class you go to, you go to be led. But there's nothing being highlighted about what's going on inside your own mind. So in my classes, what I do is I start by getting people to drop in and feel themselves, which gives you the opportunity to notice what you're thinking, which could be about your lunch. You just had a meeting you just had at work. The pain in your shoulder, um, or relationship, whatever is going on in your life is going to be, you have a moment to check in with yourself. And then hopefully you have the opportunity to bring yourself present with your body to notice is what I'm thinking. Supporting a desired outcome.

And a lot of times, no it's not. That's why, you know, in polarities if you want to get the most out of it, you want to have a link between what you're thinking, what you're doing and what's the desired outcome of the exercise. And to add to that would be to say, um, you know, statistically it's proven through science is 60 to 80% of the time our thoughts are negative. We're judging ourself, the environment, the weather, our job, the economy all the time. So this is kind of the elephant in the room when we, you're teaching a class or when you're doing your own personal practice. So to notice that that's a tendency, you have to redirect your attention to something that's more present to what you're desiring is an outcome. Well, I don't know what I want as an outcome. So you need to develop that as a skill. First thing you got to notice yourself.

So in my class, I'll start by becoming still and then just bringing your attention more in your body just to feel your body less thinking in words more about sensation. Sensation is, is something that you can tap into. It's what, it's the feedback your body's giving you. If you're not tapping into your feedback of what your body's given you, it's hard to self-correct. It's hard to know if what you're doing is actually benefiting you or not. So that's actually a starting point. And then when your mind calms down, you can self-direct a little better. And think of in terms of moving better, everything comes down to self correction or in your life becoming better.

If I notice them, if I'm trying to develop a skill in my job or I want to be better in my relationship with my partner, I have to notice is what I'm doing optimal or not. And I've been meditating for a long time and this is one of the things that you learn in meditation is the mind has its tendencies. If you to cultivate mastery over yourself, you have to know what the tendencies are and by noticing the tendencies and you can go, oh, there's that self critical part of me again and then you can redirect your attention back to the present moment. So your movement practice is a great opportunity to cultivate selective focus. Another way of saying concentration, selective focus means I'm putting my attention at a particular place and I'm going to hold it there.

And then I'm using my breath posture and movement of Palladio's exercise to cultivate that skill of selective focus. And then again, I'll be in the movement. My attention will go over to the person over there that's doing it better than me or to something in my life and then I'm out of my body for a moment, then I'm back. So that's an ongoing process. In the beginning of a class, what I do is I help people drop in, feel themselves to some type appropriate set of exercise that's going to lower their tension level, especially around the neck and shoulders where we hold a lot there, relates to how the mind holds tension and then take that progressively into warming up all the joints, which also gives you more appropriate receptive feedback. So all these tools of movement actually should feel good. If movement feels good, you're going to move more. So think of the hard part. When we talk about hard in terms of politeness or any exercise format, what I feel is really the hard part that's not mentioned as much is your attention how to hold your attention on what you're doing.

So you're in the process of self-correcting noticing your tendencies and what are you working on that you want to expand? I want to expand my ability to feel more joy when I move. I want to be kinder to myself. I want to have better mechanics, I wanna improve my posture. I noticed the middle of my back is weak. You're only going to notice those things if you're present when you come to my classes. The things you're going to get from me and in my experience of my classes is to learn how to sense yourself, how to heighten your appropriate reception, how to direct your attention in your mind so you can have a great move and experience that feels good.

And then you can take that into any type of exercise that you do and learn how to enjoy exercise more for the rest of your life. And my intention is that you really in-body yourself with kindness and you look forward to every time you move opposed to, oh my God, I got to do that exercise session again. That you can really see that you have more, you have more say in your own experience.


Love Tom McCook!!
Jeffrey R
3 people like this.
Such an important message!
2 people like this.
So true !! Thanks
3 people like this.
Love it, rings so true just 2 minutes into the video; thank you Tom and Pilates Anytime.
5 people like this.
At last I have found an instructor that I can identify with :)
6 people like this.
An instructor who truly uses the mind to benefit the body!
5 people like this.
I just adore this man! Thinking-feeling-sensing philosopher!
5 people like this.
Tom! You are so articulate. And you make enormous sense. Again sharing your beliefs w/us makes such a difference in my outlook, how I want to teach and share my craft. Why is this only 5 mins? I don't want it to end!
3 people like this.
The hardest part of Pilates is maintaining your attention so you can move with intention. Great point!
Thank you for sharing . This what I'm trying to share with my clients. Being present and tapping effortlessly in to the mind and body. The journey matters :)
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