HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY FAB STUDENTS
I’m sure you’re more than ready to have a fantastic time and ‘chill out’ with friends and family.
Having said that, most of us (including me) usually over-indulge and spend a bit too much time on the settee!
Here are 4 little exercises which may keep the ‘guilts’ and aches and pain at bay!
RELAXATION POSITION and BREATHING
(an exercise in itself)
- Lie on your back with knees bent, feet hip width apart on the floor and knees in alignment (no knock knees!). Weight being taken evenly big toe, little toe and heel.
- Back of the pelvis needs to feel heavy, bottom down. The pelvis should not be too tucked under or lifted away, in the right position the small of the back won’t be touching the floor but allow the back of the ribs to feel heavy, supported by the floor.
- Chest is open and the shoulder blades will be in gentle contact with the floor. Arms resting heavy into the floor a few inches away from the body.
- Head supported on a folded towel or cushion if necessary so that the vision is guided towards the ceiling, chin not too tucked in or too lifted. Think length through the spine allowing your natural curves to feel supported. (Relaxation position)
- From here practice your breathing. As you breathe in allow the ribs to lift and widen 360 degrees. With a small amount of core engagement allow your tummy to rise whilst feeling the expansion into your sides and back too. Try to keep the top of the chest relaxed aiming to get the air flowing right into the base of the lungs.
- As you breathe out, pull up gently underneath from the pelvic floor without using your glutes (buttocks) and allow your core muscles to more actively help push the air out, making sure that this is not a forced movement.
- Try to sink a bit heavier into the floor with each breath, slowing it down, aiming to get each in breathe and then out breathe to last for a count of 7.
(do the Bridge (as below) instead if you have osteoporosis)
- In the Relaxation position breathe in to prepare.
- As you breathe out scoop your pelvis making contact with the small of the back, and keeping the weight even on the 3 points of each foot consciously pick 1 vertebra up at a time until your hips have opened, ribs are stacked back in line with them and you’re resting in-between your shoulder blades. Glutes and thighs will feel engaged.
- Take a conscious in breathe.
- Breathing out soften your breast bone rolling off your shoulders, allow the last bone to have lifted to be the first one to touch down enabling sequential return of your vertebrae. Keep the pelvis scooped until the small of the back makes contact finally rolling the pelvis back to its neutral position.
- Try to keep the pelvis level, placing cushions in between the knees can help. If you want a bit more challenge do it with the arms lengthened above the shoulders in the shoulder drop position, palms facing in.
- As above but instead of flexing the spine, keep the spine in the neutral position.
- As you breathe out lift the hip bones toward the ceiling keeping the small of your back with its neutral curve.
- On your next out breathe as you return think about slowly taking your tail bone down without making contact with the small of the back. If you’ve returned with a neutral undisturbed spine, you’ll notice you’re in a true relaxation position ready to go again, and again…….
- Lie on your side with knees folded up as if you were sitting in a chair. Hip over hip, shoulder over shoulder.
- Keep a neutral spine – make sure you’ve got a small curve at the base of your spine, your ribs are tucked down and push your top hip away slightly offloading your waist from the ground so your spine isn’t slumping down.
- Arms lengthening out in front of your chest palms touching, head on enough cushions to keep your neck in alignment. Keep your head at the front of the cushions because it will roll off!
- Breathe in as you turn your head to follow your top hand as you lift it out to the side fingers eventually pointing to the ceiling staying firmly up on your supporting shoulder at this point.
- Breathe out, continuing to watch your hand as you roll off your shoulder and across your shoulder blade rotating your spine. Keep the pelvis still or you’ll unravel!
- Remember you can lengthen the lower part of the top leg at the knee to help anchor the pelvis, which may help the lower ribs rotate around – as we’ve done in class.
- Breathe in as you rotate your spine back returning the arm above and restacking onto your shoulder and folding the lower leg back in.
- As you breathe out the head and arm return to the start.
- Try not to over extend and lead with the arm, the arm’s moving because the spine’s rotating and will stop moving when your rotation has reached your individual range.
- Try to keep the shoulder down and away from your ear so the shoulder blade can track around the ribcage.
- Do 6-ish and don’t forget to do both sides.
(we’re going to be bending down to pick up wrapping paper anyway, so we may as well do it right and get the benefit)
- Standing correctly – feet pointing forwards, weight evenly on the 3 points of each foot and hip width apart (middle of your hip).
- Keep knees soft.
- Think of length at the back of the pelvis, you should feel you core muscles engage.
- Ribs stacked over your hips, remembering imaginary sellotape (if you’ve got any left) attaching bottom rib to hip.This is to prevent the ribs flaring and moving the spine out of alignment.
- Chest is open ensuring you don’t push your shoulders back and out of alignment. Think of melting blocks of butter on your shoulder blades, to drop the shoulders away from your ears. Arms will be lengthened by your sides thumbs pointing forward.
- Finally balloons floating your ears upwards lengthening the neck with chin horizontal so you’re comfortably looking forward.
- Keeping your spine in neutral, breathe in and flex at your hips, knees and ankles as if you were sitting back on a high stool. Allow your arms to float up to just below shoulder height as a counter balance. Try not to lead with the arms, it might pull you out of alignment. Try not to let the chin lift, if your head stays in neutral your eye line will change as you slightly tip forward.
- Whilst you’re in your squat look at your knees to make sure they’re in alignment, check that you’re balanced through your feet and your glutes, thighs and back feel engaged and your shoulders are still down..
- Breathe out and push up through the feet, activating your glutes a bit more taking you back to your start position. Try not to overshoot, over-extending the hips.
- Variations include: 1. With a wider stance to go deeper but keeping the pelvis above the knee line. 2. Taking the leg out to the side to do a side squat (alternating). 3. Add in holds for 5 seconds raising arms slightly to add more load. 4. Do it on 1 leg (alternating) before Sherry !!!
“Be in control of your body and not at its mercy”
– Joseph Pilates
Ho Ho Ho
Looking forward to progressing you in 2018