Practicing physical fitness requires a certain amount of self- control. We must resist the snooze button in order to make it out for that morning jog, and push past the aching muscles as we squat, lift, and crunch. Self- control is our conscious decision we make every day in the actions of fitness and in life, the daily moderation of our activity to achieve our desired result. Joseph Pilates believed that our control of the muscles of our bodies is necessary to avoid injury, flow through life, with strong, functional, effective and efficient movements. “Contrology”, as he called his technique is a conscious process of learning to control the muscles of the body by becoming aware, aligning ourselves properly, focusing on proper muscle activation, and using the breath to support and protect the body as it engages the core—the center of our being. Daily practice and integration of these principles produces positive results, the complete control over the muscles of our body.
Complete control- if only I could translate that from the muscles of the body to my mind, my heart, my tongue! Self-control of this nature requires the conscious decision to engage our core in Christ with the breath of the Holy Spirit, producing this fruit in our lives.
Romans 8:9 states that we are controlled by the spirit if the spirit lives in us. We have to make a conscious effort NOT to be controlled by our sinful nature, but to allow the Spirit to direct and instruct our movements.
In order for us to maintain this self-control we must practice the virtue of temperance, moderation, restraint. The Greek word for temperance evokes the idea of an awakening from a metaphorical sleep or state of inactivity. It is through this awakening, this awareness, we begin to align ourselves to God’s will for us and engage our core in Christ with the breath of the Holy Spirit. It is with His Breath that we achieve moderation, temperance through self-control. Interestingly, the Greek word for self-control comes from two words meaning a) to protect, to heal, to become whole and b) the midriff portion of the body, the center, the mind, the feelings. Just as our physical breath helps us to engage the core to protect our body, practicing temperance allows us to become aware of our current state, align ourselves to God’s will, as the breath of the Holy Spirit engages the core. With this center on Christ activated by the Breath, our movements are controlled, protected as we seek to be made whole.
In our vigilant practice of temperance through life, we awaken from spiritual inactivity and move as God has intended…glorifying Him as we build our bodies, the temple for His Holy Spirit.