When you think of a Pilates class, do you think of what your body will be doing, how you will be moving, how you will breathe? Of course, all of these are very important and part of the Pilates main principles, however, what can often be overlooked is the importance of what it does for the mind and its role in during the class.
Concentration and mind/body awareness are vital to correctly perform Pilates movements. These things take practice, just like any other skill. Your mind/body awareness increased proprioception (putting your foot where you want to put it, ensuring posture is correct etc..). When you focus on your breathing you must concentrate on what you feel when you are engaging your core muscles, otherwise other muscles that may have been compensating before will still take over to have the easy route to completing an exercise.
Sometimes it is good to close your eyes when doing an exercise (providing it is safe to do so - would NOT recommend if balancing... that's next level!). This really helps calm the mind and focus the concentration. If you find your mind wandering, just gently steer it back to the task in hand.
Usually, but not always, an instructor may do a little relaxation at the end of a class. This is a time to reflect on what you have achieved during the session and takes the mind back to whatever you need it to do next. By being completely present with mind and body in your class you will get the best results and ultimately enjoy it even more.
Try using your mind next time in a class to go deep inside yourself to really feel and experience everything that you are doing with each movement. Take a moment to reflect how you are feeling, you should be relaxed but in control, no worries or bad thoughts in your mind. By doing this you will leave your class feeling refreshed and reinvigorated.
Have fun connecting the mind, body and soul!