Writing on the mat

Can writing and Pilates help each other?

Can writing and Pilates help each other?

“Writing on the mat” was an initial exploration of the ways in which creative writing could be used to enhance the benefits of Pilates – or vice versa.

I have studied literature for many years, but until recently my experience of Pilates was as a client.  When I began attending regular classes, I felt the benefits to my body and mind almost immediately (if you live in Edinburgh, I highly recommend the personal, friendly and caring service at Leith Pilates).  Since then, I have moved home, changed career, and been through enormous upheaval in my personal life.  Throughout this time, I practiced Pilates almost daily; my mat became a little island – a calm, private space, wherever I rolled it out.

It struck me that this emotional connection to Pilates was about more than just personal space. The key words that we hear in Pilates – strength, balance, control, release – are just as important for emotional self-care.  Furthermore, focussing on my body – or moving mindfully – came as a welcome break from day-to-day thoughts, and disrupted repetitive thought patterns. I also noticed that during classes, other clients often spoke about personal issues – things that you wouldn’t normally disclose to a roomful of strangers.  It seemed to me that other people were experiencing the same emotional release through Pilates that I had noticed in myself.  As a Writing for Wellbeing practitioner, this led me to ask two questions:

– Could a writing facilitator support a Pilates class, by helping clients to channel their emotional release in a therapeutic way?

– Could writing about the body increase clients’ mindfulness during a Pilates class, thereby increasing the physical benefits of movement?

I worked with several Pilates instructors to gather their perspectives on these questions – thank you to all those who took part in my survey.

Self confessed mat addict

Selfie-confessed mat addict

I also used journalling alongside my daily Pilates practice to further explore my ideas. I posted my daily learning via my blog, which is still available to read.

I am now using my learning to develop a program of writing and movement for wellbeing, which I hope to be able to offer in the near future – please check back for updates or follow me on instagram – @trueleaves_pilates_edinburgh


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