The idea of “keeping your eyes on the prize” is a familiar one in the world of fitness. Whether we plan to exercise 30 minutes every day, take that spinning class at the gym, or finish a half-marathon, visualizing ourselves doing the thing we wish to do helps us achieve our goals. We visualize things yet to be, hoping for things yet to come.
Using our innate creative ability in our imaginations; we can engage the mind and present the body with a challenge, a goal–this is the Pilates principle of VISUALIZATION.
By forming mental images for ourselves during exercises like “pull the navel to spine” we subconsciously call upon the appropriate muscles to enable us to do the work even without having technical knowledge of the muscular system. We are connecting the mind with the body, triggering the innate signaling system we all have to control the actions of our bodies. In doing so, we engage our core muscles to strengthen, protect, stabilize, and direct our movements.
If we think of ourselves as ‘anchored to the mat’, for example, our core muscles will activate stabilizing and protecting our movement. The core muscles engage and then direct the movement of the body.
But what does visualization have to do with strengthening our spiritual core? Once we have become aware of our faith, the state of our spiritual core, we can visualize our lives centered on Christ. We can hope for our future with a strong CORE in CHRIST. We do this even before we have experience or ‘technical knowledge’ of our life in Christ- we hope for what we do not see and patiently seek it. (see Romans 8:23-25)
By hoping for this strong CORE in CHRIST we will be given strength, according to Isaiah 40, “those who hope in the Lord, will renew their strength.”
Hope brings about protection. In Psalm 25, “may integrity and uprightness protect me because my hope is in the Lord.”
I John tells us, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” If we visualize our lives with Christ as our strong CORE, this serves to stabilize our movements.
And finally, in Hebrews 6, we are told, “we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters through the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.”
As we visualize our goals for our daily lives, we also can visualize ourselves anchored by our core. This hope anchoring us to the inner most part of our souls- the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Our visualization and hope making us firm, secure, protected and strengthened.