Not long ago, my husband was driving my car and immediately noticed that it was out of alignment…I had not even realized it! Once he showed me how the car pulled to one side every time he let go of the wheel, I couldn’t believe I had driven around like that for so long. Maintaining the car’s alignment is crucial for the car to function properly and operate safely. The same is true for the alignment of our spine, it needs to be properly centered in order for our bodies to function properly and operate safely.
One of the goals of Pilates is building strength in the core muscles in order to maintain the right spinal alignment. When we make right the misalignments of our spines not only do we improve our posture, but our daily movements are protected, supported and are more productive and efficient. If we want to receive the full benefits of Pilates, righting the misalignments of our spine is necessary. In order to do this, we must become aware of our current alignment (like when my husband pointed out my car’s poor state!), understand the muscles needed to support the correct posture, and use the breath to engage these core muscles to stabilize the spine in its right position. When we are not able to maintain spinal alignment while “driving” through our lives, we place stress on our joints which causes pain. Our bodies improperly operating with inefficient and ineffective movements.
Although the benefits of spinal alignment are far-reaching, another type of alignment is critical for protection, support, and effectiveness as we navigate our lives—Spiritual alignment. Using God’s Word as our plumb line in order to align ourselves to His Will allows us to practice the virtue of Justice. This virtue is described as one of will, requiring constant practice of doing right toward others in order to train our will towards God’s Will-thereby being in alignment with Him. When we have this proper alignment, when we “let go of the wheel” and allow God’s will to steer us, we stay on the right course.
Getting my car back in alignment took some work, awareness of it’s need to be fixed and finding people with the appropriate knowledge to fix it. But it also takes practice on my part to keep it in alignment. (No more cutting short when I turn- hopping the curb!) I have to diligently practice “right driving” in order to stay in alignment.
In order to achieve spinal alignment one must diligently practice body awareness, know the right steps to take in order to improve alignment, and follow through with the appropriate action using the breath to engage the core. Likewise, diligently practicing Justice will bring our lives into Spiritual alignment with God’s will resulting in protection, support, and His equipping of us to move through life effectively and efficiently.
Practicing Justice also requires a type of awareness, knowledge, and engaging of our SPIRITUAL CORE. Proverbs 2 illustrates this in verses 6-11:
For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.
First, we must become AWARE of His will through His Word. With that KNOWLEDGE and UNDERSTANDING of what is right and just, we ENGAGE our CORE- the heart focused on God- in order to walk blamelessly down every good path in our lives. Practicing with discretion this virtue of justice holds us upright, in alignment with the Lord, protected, supported, shielded and guarded-as we effectively and efficiently seek to walk in His will.