Be Happy

Q. Can doing Pilates boost my mood—and beat the winter blues?

A. Dr. Claudia Luiz, founder of and advice columnist for, responds: Pilates is one of the best forms of physical exercise for beating the winter blues, because it’s based on core strength, which is like a metaphor for emotional stability and resilience—exactly what you need to fight any kind of negative force. But as good as that sounds in theory, you’re human, which means that you have the unfortunate capability to turn anything positive into something negative, without even trying. Here’s what could happen:

1. You start your workout and realize that you have no core strength. This discourages you, and you walk away from the mat feeling even more depressed.

2. You have a routine that’s way too difficult for you, so you injure yourself. This results in feeling not only winter doldrums, but also, actual pain.

3. You watch a Pilates video and the instructor is so nice and thin, strong and flexible, and you think, she’s probably got a hot boyfriend she’s having great sex with, and they both probably make lots of money. Bingo—your Pilates workout has officially become a form of self-torture.

I know what you’re thinking now: I have to get rid of those negative voices. But forget it—that takes too much time! And anyway, those negative voices are the ones that usually help us get and be better. Instead, hold this as your intention: I will listen to my body and to the chatter of my mind. I will evaluate what my mind and my body do, and deal with what gets in the way of getting stronger. And if you hold as your intention that you will evolve though your Pilates practice, by the time spring comes, you will be stronger in every way.

Get more articles like this in our Jan/Feb 2015 issue, available in the Pilates Style Shop!

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