Top 5 Pilates Moves for Better Posture
Poor posture is a problem that almost every person can relate to at some point. Whether it’s from slumping on the couch or sitting at a desk, most people have poor posture at some point in their day. A once in awhile occurrence might not make huge dents in your health, but over time, continued poor posture can cause back pain, neck pain, headaches, and even lead to poor circulation and spinal health.
As the instructors and students at the Pilates Empowerment Summit know, exercises that strengthen your core while opening the shoulders and chest, can help alleviate these symptoms and help you stand a little taller.
Seated Twist for a Tall Spine Sit with a straight spine and your legs stretched out in front of you, hip distance apart. Reach your arms out to a “T” as you lift your chest, drop your shoulders, and draw your navel to your spine. Inhale in this position. As you exhale, keep your spine long and your arm in a “T” while you twist to the right. Inhale back to the center and exhale to the left. Repeat 10 times.
Double Leg Kicks to Open the Chest Lie flat on your stomach with your legs together. Rest your forehead or chin on your mat. Clasp your hand together, resting on your back. As you inhale, bend your knees and kick your heels to your glutes. Exhale as you lower your legs lift your chest and stretch your hands, still clasped, up and away form your tailbone. Repeat 10 times.
Swimming for a Strong Back Lie on your stomach with your legs together and your arms stretched out in front. Draw your belly button to your spine as you lift your legs, squeezing your glutes, and lift your arms off the mat. Lift your right leg and left arm slightly higher, lower them as you lift the other side. Repeat 10 times.
Side Bends to Lengthen the Sides of Your Waist Lie on your right side with your feet stacked or staggered. Bend your right arm and place your elbow in line with your shoulder. Slowly lift off the ground. If you need extra support, drop your bottom knee to the mat. Reach left arm overhead as you press your hips higher off the ground, exhale as you bring your left arm back to your side and lower your hips an inch. Repeat 5 times and switch sides.
Reverse Plank to Lengthen the Front Body Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bring your hands on the ground beside your hips, with your fingers pointing towards your toes. Slowly lift your hips off the ground, pressing them towards the ceiling. Point your toes towards the ground. Draw your navel into your spin for support and tuck your chin slightly. Lift your right leg to hip height as you inhale. Lower as you exhale. Repeat 10 times and lower to the ground. Repeat the entire sequence on the left.
Even the best never stop learning. At the Pilates Empowerment Summit you will access knowledge and insight from top Pilates professionals including our team of Peak Pilates Master Instructors to heighten your Pilates practice and amplify your expertise.
Yoga at Home: the Intimate Experience of Self-Practice
There are a lot of reasons to begin a home practice, but one of the most rewarding is the way a dedicated sadhana, or practice, can make anywhere you unroll your mat feel like home. And while nothing quite compares to the live transmission of a living, breathing teacher, there is an unparalleled intimacy that grows out of self-guided practice. Not to mention the opportunity to drop into a personal connection with the divine while eluding the modern obstacles of schedule, cost, convenience, availability, travel time, etc. But before we get into the details of how to practice yoga at home, let us consider for a moment what yoga is.
Yoga is not something you do, it is something you are.
With a more practical explanation, Leslie Kaminoff says any time your body, your breath and your mind are doing the same thing at the same time, you are in a state of yoga. Please don’t get me wrong, the clarity of this message need not take away from the infinite depth of what is a lifelong practice. However, yoga can be plainly understood as a state of union where all the fragmented parts of ourselves — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual — coalesce into a singular experience of the present moment. With that understanding, it is possible (and important) to feel the freedom of being yoga anywhere, especially at home.
When you can experience yoga at home, you have the potential to live your yoga every single day — whether you’re a seasoned practitioner with memberships to studios all over town or someone nurturing the initial seeds of curiosity. My humble intention here is to share what I’ve learned in my personal, sometimes messy, exploration of the art of home practice.