Pilates: Year in Review

By Denise Vidal

This time of year is filled with family, friends, good food, and lots of laughter. However, with all of the goodness that the holidays bring, there can also be a lot of stress and anxiety that come with the season.  To combat these stressors, take a moment for yourself to review some of the Pilates exercises that we have done thus far. Whether you choose to focus on your breath, mobilize your spine, or stabilize your pelvis, these exercises can work as meditations to calm you during the stress of the holidays and new year.

In this blog we’ll review one of my earlier entries. As always, if your experiencing any back or pelvic pain, consult your doctor or PT before attempting any of these exercises.

You can do this exercise either lying down (preferable with knees bent), sitting or standing.

We’ll start by focusing on your breath.

Believe it or not, there are different ways to breathe. You can breathe into your belly, or you can breathe into your ribcage. The Pilates method focuses predominantly on ribcage breathing, however, for a healthy core one should be able to access both types of breath.

Put your hands around your waist and inhale through your nose. Imagine your breath swirling down to the base of your pelvis, and as you exhale imagine your breath floating up into your ribcage.

Do this 5 or 6 times to slowly open and extend your breath.

Once you have made this connection, use the following visualization to engage your core:
Imagine a soft, squishy ball inside you abdomen. Inhale as described above, then, as you exhale imagine both your navel and your spine moving towards each other to squeeze the ball.

On your next exhale, imagine that the sides of your waste are narrowing to squeeze the ball.
Progress your abdominal engagement by imaging both visuals at once: the navel and spine narrowing towards the ball as well as the sides of the waist narrowing towards the ball.

Do this exercise once a day to lessen your stress and increase your strength.
Have a Happy New Year!

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