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Pilates, mindfulness and somatic education

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The Pilates Method is a form of somatic education with the potential to cultivate mindfulness – a mental quality associated with overall well-being. However, controlled studies are needed to determine whether changes in mindfulness are specific to the Pilates Method or also result from other forms of exercise. This quasi-experimental study compared Pilates Method mat classes and recreational exercise classes on measures of mindfulness and well-being at the beginning, middle and end of a fifteen-week semester. Total mindfulness scores increased overall for the Pilates Method group but not for the exercise control group, and these increases were directly related to end of semester ratings of self-regulatory self-efficacy, perceived stress and mood. Findings suggest that the Pilates Method specifically enhances mindfulness, and these increases are associated with other measures of wellness. The changes in mindfulness identified in this study support the role of the Pilates Method in the mental well-being of its practitioners and its potential to support dancers’ overall well-being.
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Keywords: mindfulness; mood; self-efficacy; somatic education; stress; the Pilates Method

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Appalachian State University 2: Duke University Medical Center

Publication date: 01 December 2013

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  • This journal focuses on the relationship between dance and somatic practices, and the influence of this body of practice on the wider performing arts. The journal will be aimed at scholars and artists, providing a space for practitioners and theorists to debate the work, to consider the impact and influence of the work on performance, the interventions that somatic practices can have on other disciplines and the implications for research and teaching.
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