So you’ve done it – you’ve managed to carve out an hour for yourself to get to class. To take a bit of time just for you. You walk into the studio, determined to block out the outside world. You can worry about those work deadlines, that oil change, and that hydro bill later. But in class, you shift all that Type A energy into agonizing about your practice. Are your pubic bones and hip bones level? Are you holding belly button to spin? Are your shoulders creeping up? You’re obsessing.

I’m willing to bet that every Pilates class you’ve ever taken starts with the instructor telling you to “center yourself.” This is the part where you quiet your mind and come into your body. You want to be in the moment.

Centering is another one of the Body Mason’s ten principals or building blocks.

You can’t make profound changes without being present and in the moment.

In class, you need to connect with you and listen to what your body is telling you and what you’re feeling. Notice how different a movement feels at the beginning of class versus at the end. Notice how you’ve changed.

Don’t get me wrong. Focus is good. Following direction is good. Executing movement properly is obviously the goal. It’s just more effective – and frankly, enjoyable – if you’re working with yourself, not against it.

And you won’t be able to tell if you’re working with yourself if you haven’t found your center.

So take a breath. Feel your lungs fill with air, notice the sensation when you exhale. Be aware of the blood rushing through your veins. Feel the power you have inside.