“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.
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