When people start Pilates, the exercises can be really challenging. There is a lot to think about–you need to engage your abs and your Kegel while your arms move one way and your legs move another, and you’re supposed to be breathing in a controlled fashion the whole time!

It doesn’t all come at once and sometimes you have to let go and just feel the movement instead of thinking about it so hard. There is a fine balance. You need to focus without over thinking.

Since it has been a while since I was new to Pilates, I’ve been rediscovering this with the Dragon Boat–the paddling team in Hartford that I joined this June. There are so many things to remember, and if I start to focus on any of them, I lose time. But if I let my mind wander completely, I find I’m in the wrong position and out of time. To all movement there is a rhythm and the body needs to be allowed to find it.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 05:  A 'Dragon Boat' crew competes in the annual 'Great River Race', a 22 mile rowing race on the River Thames from the Docklands to Richmond, on September 5, 2009 in London, England. Over 300 crews, of varying ability and type of boat, competed in the event which has been running since 1988. Entrants are handicapped according to the calculated potential performance of their boat, with the fastest boats leaving last.  (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

I need to learn to take some of my own advice. I often tell my clients not to think about it so hard. One day it will just work. I need to do the same thing on the Dragon Boat. I need to stop trying to force myself to be perfect and just try and feel my body find the right rhythm on its own. Once I get the rhythm it will be easier to hone my paddling skills. It’s the same with Pilates.
Sometimes we all need to stop trying to make the mind control the body and just let the body feel what it needs to do.