Since Covid marked the abrupt closure of gyms and studios in 2020, there has been a surge in online fitness videos, platforms, and subscription services, aimed at getting and keeping us in shape at home. While these workouts and programs might get followers moving, many simply target the body, ignoring the importance and benefits of body and mind health. Certified Pilates instructor and Life Coach, Faith Shannon reveals in an interview that Pilates, an exercise method that embraces core strength, stability, postural alignment, muscle strength, balance, and endurance (para.1), equally trains the mind and the body.
“I found that with traditional gym workouts I struggled to shut out ‘the noise’. I’d be checking emails, switching songs, and sending texts,” she said. “But Pilates is time away from that. It’s about centering oneself, learning to quiet and calm your mind, developing proper breathing techniques, and ultimately building your mind-body awareness and connection. Not only does Pilates have incredible physical benefits but it is equally beneficial to our mental health -relieving and managing stress and anxiety, and improving mental concentration, clarity and purpose.” After completing her degree at The University of Toronto in Women and Gender studies, Shannon turned her interest in fitness and mental health into The Faith Shannon Company, a safe, positive space to practice Pilates and seek Life Coaching. Shannon believes that “loving yourself and loving your body is connected” and the two rely on one another to flourish. “My Pilates sessions involve the mind and the body equally with a focus on breath work,” Shannon said. “And really allow you to deepen your mind to body connection.”
Pilates was originally developed to rehabilitate soldiers with substantial injuries after World War 1 and concentrates on “functional inadequacies” in the body (Pelelas, 2001, para. 1). In an article that compared Pilates to traditional weightlifting (Pelelas, 2001), “Moshe Feldenkrais, a movement practitioner, said that creating better awareness through movement improves both self-image and self-esteem. Pilates is one program that provides that” (para 5). Oliveira et al.’s (2017) study into the quality of life of women who practice Pilates also reveals that “the score of the emotional aspects were statistically better in the Pilates group than [those] in the bodybuilding group” (p. 3). Shannon’s contagious glow and feminine confidence support both of these results. On her wellness blog, she posts recipes, tips for meditation, information on hormone health, and other advice for a healthy living.
Faith Shannon’s company combines the theories of Women and Gender studies with mindful movement, establishing the perfect space for mental and physical transformations. While Shannon aims to grow her studio into a community of women, she believes that everyone should integrate Pilates into their exercise routine.
“I think 90% of my community is women, which I’m not mad about. But I think men’s bodies, especially how they are traditionally trained and taught to work out, can really benefit from Pilates,” said Shannon. “People are always surprised that Pilates is challenging. It’s so good for your mobility and joints.” In an article called From a Toned Body to Mental Health, The Benefits of Pilates (Weekend Post, 2021), Pilates instructor Alex Zehmke remarks that “through all the years of doing sports competitively you think you know your body and then when you are introduced to Pilates, you realize you are still learning” (para. 13).
With Shannon’s method, explore focused, challenging, gradual workouts under her meditative guidance, as well as meditation practices in her peaceful, bright studio right from your own living room. To give you a taste of Faith’s classes, Here2Help is hosting a free zoom event where she will guide us through a stress-relieving and strengthening Pilates class in the near future. For everything wellness, visit Faith Shannon’s website at www.thefaithshannoncompany.com
Shannon, Faith. (2019). What is Pilates? The Faith Shannon Company. Pilates.
Pelelas, Ray. (2001). Pilates Benefits Different than Weightlifting. ProQuest. 6th edition, para. 1-5. https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.viu.ca/docview/312542780?pq-origsite=summon
Weekend Post (2021). From Toned Body to Mental Health, the Benefits of Pilates are Obvious. ProQuest. https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.viu.ca/docview/2487139209?pq-origsite=summon
Oliviera, Francineide Rocha de Aguiar et al. (2017) Quality of Life and Self Esteem of Women Who Practice Pilates. Manual Therapy, Posturology, and Rehabilitation Journal, 75(4), p.3. https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.viu.ca/docview/1984368611?pq-origsite=summon