Meditation is merely the ability to quiet the mind long enough to listen to messages from our higher self and to be able to ignore the judgmental chatter that fills our brain much of the time. The most accessible way to achieve this state is to concentrate on the breath. By focusing on cool air filling your body and warm air leaving your body, you automatically relax every muscle and turn off your conscious mind.
Interestingly, in 1920, Joseph Pilates preached about Concentration, Focus and Breath, stating that they were essential in attaining total health and well-being.
In the late 1900's, the very famous body builder Eugen Sandow also spoke about the importance of the Will or Mind in performing movement. Without mental awareness and concentration you are unable to perform any movement properly. You must pay attention to every part of your body and every motion. It is the mind that wills your muscles to move. A mechanical movement done without concentration will not develop strength and may increase the risk of injury. It is proven that muscles receive more blood and oxygen when the mind is focused. The more attention paid to your whole body, the more complex you will realize each movement is. Since every muscle and bone is uniquely related to every other one, there is a lot to think about as you move, but with focus and concentration it is a skill that once acquired will lead to the mind/body fusion everyone is wishing for. As you practice, the process becomes easier. If you stay focused your nervous system will begin to choose the right combination of muscles, your body will move more effortlessly and you will find that the nervous system and brain are able to relax.
So now you may ask how does this Mind/Body fusion affect the Spirit?
Unblocking channels and relaxing is the key to spiritual connection. Doing Pilates requires concentration. Concentration removes the stress and memory of the day, breathing relaxes the body and correct movement unblocking the channels. If done regularly people notice many benefits from Pilates other than just feeling stronger and looking better. Improved circulation, an increase in oxygen, and the retraining of the body to employ the correct muscles. This makes the work expended much more efficient and the body much more relaxed. Chi is the Chinese term for our life force or energy that moves through the body up and down five meridians on each side. Unblocking these meridians allows Chi to flow more freely. A healthy spine is the key to free flowing Chi and regular Pilates is so corrective in nature that proper use of muscles allows proper alignment which in turn allows free flow and more connection to Spirit. And more connection to Spirit enhances happiness and manifestation of good.