by Heather Burgoyne, Owner, Soar Pilates
In the last issue I discussed two different types of balance — static and dynamic — and how finding balance is such an integral part of movement and aging.
In Pilates, you are directly working on dynamic balance when performing an exercise such as a lunge and moving your body from an upright posture to extending one leg behind you while lowering your center of gravity and reaching your arms overhead.
Static balance is when you might be low in a lunge pose and just holding, working on the smaller stabilizing muscle groups.
During a class you often are working on finding both dynamic and static balance together when your arms are in motion but your torso and lower half of the body remain completely still, which is very challenging and great work for the core.
I thought I would share these tips with readers as these are simple tactics you can integrate into any workout routine you may take part in during class or even at home.
Touch — Balance is a sensory experience, so when you add light touch or some gentle tactile feedback while performing an exercise it in turn gives you the confidence that you have a grounding point and allows your sensory nerves to settle.
Focus — Again, going back to your senses, keeping your eyes focused on something stable allows you to settle nerves and concentrate on the movement.
Breath — Something that seems so natural and intuitive often gets forgotten, and we see clients instead holding their breath, which is sending signals to your body that you are in danger.
It might seem silly, but if you allow yourself to breathe through the movement it allows your mind and nervous system to calm down so you can focus on what you are doing. It also helps you to connect to your powerhouse (your core), which will then engage and stabilize your center of gravity.
Tension — Finding gentle tension by pressing your palms together in a prayer-like posture will stimulate the core to engage and contract, which also contracts your fascial tension (a web of connective tissues that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place).
Try to remember these simple tactics the next time you are performing movement and see how you do!