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Pilates guru Vesna Jacob shares why you must intuitively train your body while exercising

Published on:30 September 2020, 14:48pm IST
Adopting a new fitness regimen or listening to your trainer is a good thing. But what you need to do more than anything else while working out, is listen to your body.
Vesna Peričević Jacob
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Pay heed to your body… it might be giving you warning signs. Image courtesy: Vesna Jacob

Over the years of experimenting on my own body following different systems and regimens, while trying to recover from injury and overstrain, I have realized that my inner guidance gives me much better results than following any prescribed schedule. This is how my concept of intuitive fitness was born out of my desire to keep practicing and honing my skills without injuring and over-stressing my body.

How many times has it happened to you that while working out with a coach or trainer you don’t feel connected to, you get a sense that something doesn’t feel right. It is only once you got injured that perhaps realize you weren’t getting any warning signs.

The entire fitness world seems to be based on mottos and mantras like “pushing your limits”, “going beyond”, “getting it done”, and “no pain no gain”. It doesn’t talk about how much is too much. How to distinguish between a challenge and warning signs of an injury in making. How pushing your limits when your body is already stressed can have negative results.

Mind you, I am all for challenge—I do not subscribe to cutting corners or ‘going easy on yourself’. However, I do believe in a larger picture: most of us are not professional athletes; for a majority of the people, fitness is something they do in addition to coping with everything else–pressures at work, challenges in relationships, and family-related issues.

If you listen to your body, everything else will fall into place
The way I look at the fitness that it is a central point–the balancing agent which can help you get your life back on track. Through movement I meditate, I de-stress, re-energize, strengthen, and release. To me movement has a much greater purpose which is far beyond the physical benefits.

intuitive fitness
Though meditation isn’t hard, starting out can be. So, take guidance and nurture your mind, body, and soul. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

But the only way I can allow movement to benefit me so profoundly is to take feedback form my body and giving my body the kind of movement, it needs at the time.

For instance if I am going through a stressful situation or an incident that really got to me—the best way to balance it out is through doing something of great intensity because we want to deplete the emotional upheaval with powerful and intense physical movement. But, if I am going through prolonged stress, doing something intensive will be counterproductive as my cortisol levels are already high, something of medium and light intensity would be more productive

As you can see, I don’t talk about looking good as I believe if you keep giving your body what it needs when it is needed and approach at your physical self mindfully through rest and food–being pain free, and looking good will happen as a consequence.

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I am sure this as a concept sounds simple enough and it is for as long as you are able to see through your own mind games—how at times feeling low and not energetic is nothing but sheer laziness. And while there is nothing wrong with occasionally feeling lazy, it is very important to seeing and recognising the difference between the two and this also is a part of increasing your own awareness.

Vesna Peričević Jacob Vesna Peričević Jacob

Vesna is a physiotherapist, author, accomplished Pilates teacher, and functional applied science specialist. She is also a lifestyle coach, motivational speaker, clinical hypnotherapist and healer.