The Five Elements of the Mind Part 3 of a series of Five ;)
**Originally posted on June 2020**
“Intelligence guided by the will using memory and imagination assisted by intuition.”
Romana Kryzanowska (June 30, 1923 – August 30, 2013)
Welcome Back, Pilates peeps!
Hope you're safe, healthy and hopefully, keeping an optimistic mindset.
Today I welcome you to dig into the third element of the mind - MEMORY. Memory - the mental capacity or faculty of retaining and reviving facts, events, impressions, etc., or of recalling or recognizing previous experiences.
Human memory involves the ability to both preserve and recover information we have learned or experienced - however, this is not a flawless process. Sometimes we forget or misremember things. Sometimes things are not properly encoded in memory in the first place.
The ability to access and retrieve information from long-term memory allows us to actually use these memories to make decisions, interact with others, and solve problems. But how is information organized in memory?
One way of thinking about memory organization is known as the semantic network model. This model suggests that certain triggers activate associated memories. A memory of a specific place might activate memories about related things that have occurred in that location. For example, thinking about a particular campus building might trigger memories of attending classes, studying, and socializing with peers.
Learning to ride a bike is an exercise in episodic memory: you can know how to ride a bike without being able to explain how you're doing it. Biking is an unusual case because there seems to be a moment in which you finally understand it, but learning to do anything physical involves this kind of memory. It feels to us as if that memory is stored in our muscles as if they're remembering how to perform an action without our really being aware of it.
But the reality is that the activity is happening in our brains.
Although certain skills, like cycling or perfecting a tennis serve, might require the strengthening of certain muscles, the processes that are important for learning and memory of new skills occur mainly in the brain.
The parts of your brain responsible for that movement, mainly the motor cortex, develop stronger connections between neurons that serve as the representation for the motion, and it's these connections that make the memory better and easier to access. People who play stringed instruments, for example, have stored muscle memories related to their left hands, which are pressing on strings in particular patterns to play certain notes. Accordingly, studies show that their motor cortices have unusually large representative areas for their left hands.
The same is true when you learn to do anything else physical, whether it be a squat or a strum on the guitar. Neurons inside your muscles play a strong role too, of course, but the pattern of activity that helps you perform the same action over and over happens inside your brain. It only feels like something your muscles are doing on their own.
Did you know that as we age our brains decreases quite significantly in size?
This actually affects a lot of things like our memory, and increases our chances of stroke or developing dementia at some stage. The best chance to prevent these are to eat a healthy diet, reduce your alcohol intake, and reduce cardiovascular risk through regular exercise.
In Pilates, both the cardio and strength elements are proven to help brain function. They strengthen the part of the brain responsible for memory, planning, and cognitive function.
Pilates helps increase your memorization process by perfecting the controlling of body movement, increasing memory-processing speed while encouraging the brain and body to memorize all movements, nuances and transitions - from one exercise to the next there is a connection that helps you recall the next move! (Oh makes total sense now!)...
For a quick and cool way to understand how this process works, click HERE!
The whole Classical Pilates studio setting - no music, mostly private sessions, the layout...all encourage the mind to recall and organize information with the least amount of distraction possible to facilitate our learning process. For studies on Effect of Pilates Training on Alpha Rhythm, CLICK HERE.
Learning something new that requires the amount of focus Pilates does changes your brain, and makes it more flexible to take in additional new information.
Even if you’ve been doing Pilates for a while, the movement, and the way the body responds to it, is not the same every time, so you’ll constantly be challenging your brain to be flexible and ready for a new routine, verbal cueing, tactile cueing, and ultimately, your body and brain response to those stimulus.
Pilates exercises can help improve your holistic health, especially when it comes to your mental balance. If you'd like further inspiration on your Pilates journey, check out the links below for a taste of the method to help you feel good, and keep you motivated to continue, and of course, please follow me on Instagram and Facebook for some movement inspiration!
With Love 💕
Pilatesology FREE workouts...
Brett Howard - Intermediate Mat Workout
Alisa Wyatt - Beginner Mat Workout
The Original 34 Pilates Mat with Kala Fletcher