Three tips to incorporate principles of Pilates into your daily routine.
Pilates is more than just an exercise routine; it can be part of a lifestyle that promotes holistic well-being. While many people associate Pilates with studio sessions, wearing the right kit and using specific equipment, the principles can be seamlessly integrated into your daily life. By doing so, you'll not only improve your physical fitness but also enhance your mental and emotional well-being too.
In class, we prioritise the proper alignment of joints in all positions - sitting, standing, lying. This doesn't have to end when you step off the mat. In fact, many clients have told me how much more aware they are of how they're standing in daily life. It's worth stopping every once in a while to see how you're sitting or standing - have you started slouching, slumping, letting that errant right foot turn off to the side while standing? This is also a great mindfulness practice, bringing your mind back to the present. Soon you'll check-in with your posture and notice how aligned you are!
Moving out of the ordinary
We spend a lot of time on what we professionals call the 'sagittal plane' which is all forward motion, arms and legs lifting straight up and down. What you might have noticed in class is that I try to incorporate lots of different types of movement in your joints - e.g. arm circles and windows for your shoulders, side bending for your spine, rotation for your spine, knee circles for your hips. Why not start to incorporate these into your daily routine - adding a side reach and spine rotation between meetings or long periods of sitting; doing some side-step lunges or squats with taps forward back and side while you're waiting for the kettle to boil or warm up on a winter's morning. The main thing is to add variety to your movement and keep the body guessing.
Why not end your day with a Pilates-inspired breathing exercise. When you're in bed, close your eyes, and take slow, deep breaths. Inhale for a count of five and exhale for a five counts. As you breathe, visualise stress and tension leaving your body. Perhaps doing a scan from your toes to the crown of your head, directing breath to areas of tension to help them release. This bedtime routine promotes relaxation and a restful night's sleep.
You don't have to be on the mat to be 'practicing' Pilates, many elements can be woven into your daily life. In fact, most of my own 'practicing' isn't necessarily done in a studio at a specific time. While rehabbing my left 'clicky' ankle, I've been balancing while waiting for the kettle to boil or even balancing on unsteady objects when I'm out and about. Who's to say that I wasn't actually balancing in the photo above!
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