by Heather Burgoyne, Owner, Soar Pilates
One of the top questions I get as a Pilates instructor is: “What can I do at home to help me with my practice in the studio?”
My enthusiastic response: “Oh, you can do so many of the mat exercises! Like the series of five to get your core strengthened, some pelvic lifts and bridging; don’t forget to work on your roll down … .” Then, I always see the glaze.
I know how easy it is to say to practice these things at home, but when it comes to doing it, who wants to? I’m just as guilty. I’ll start, but I get distracted and take a phone call, or I get tired and find myself resting more than I would if I was in the studio taking a class.
So now, I tell them instead to go on a hike or a walk and sprinkle in your Pilates movement principles.
Think of your alignment when walking. Are you hunched over and rounded in your shoulders because you’re fatiguing? Can you engage navel to spine and draw your shoulder blades together to help pull your body upright? This helps your posture and opens your rib cage, which in turn leads to deeper breaths.
When hiking up that hill, instead of leaning into your toes and relying on your quads, put your body weight into your heels as you step to activate the backside of your body; just as you would in a lunge.
They are so powerful, and because they often are overlooked, we end up leaning forward, which in turn leads to tight hip flexors and low back pain.
Once you get to the top of the hill, find a rock or a log, take a forward fold and stretch your back body, then bring your shoulders over wrist and step your legs back and find that plank. Maybe add a single leg lift with some pulses to get that booty up!
Find your plank again and add a few pushups before switching to the other side. And if you tire, pike your hips up and back and you’re in a downward dog.
There are so many things we can do every day if we are conscious of our own body; it’s talking to you, take a moment to listen and give it what it needs.