The positive effects of pilates on the body, mind, and soul have been proven for centuries. Sometimes, however, we all know that it can be hard to dedicate the time and energy necessary to perform it, especially when attempting to juggle the demands of busy London life.
Natalie Ziegler, the pilates instructor at Core The Studio, is here to help. She understands that our busy lives can get in the way of the best of intentions, and has learned a few things over her years of being an instructor to help.
Natalie told us ‘My clients spends their working day sitting down, which can be extremely detrimental to their health. Sitting down for prolonged periods of time has been related to both high blood pressure and obesity.’ Over the course of the working day, sitting in front of a screen can lead our bodies to tighten and our backs to ache. Natalie continued, ‘To remedy this, I try to give my clients as many pointers as possible to help them throughout the working day. Dubbed office pilates, I teach my clients a range of helpful moves that can be practiced at their desk, secretly and without disturbing co-workers.’.
This short sequence of invaluable pilates moves can help with back pain and as every move is easily achievable at the desk it’s perfect for releasing tension in the body whilst at work.
1. Core Breathing
Pilates always starts with your core. To find your core form a triangle with your hands, placing your thumbs on your belly button. The area within the triangle is your core. Whilst sitting, work on finding your best posture. Inhale and let your torso expand with air, like a balloon. As you exhale, press the air out of your stomach and torso, concentrating on pulling your stomach in towards your spine.
2. Neck Flexing
Sit up tall in your chair and place your head in your hands, Curl your head backwards into your arms, exhale and twist gently towards the right side. Pause at a depth of your twist where you can still breath deep and full and gaze over the right shoulder. After 2 minutes repeat on the left hand side.
3. Back Bend
Move your body towards the front end of your chair. Ground the soles of your feet on the floor, which will help prepare the lengthening of your spine. Inhale deeply and place both hands, palms facing down, behind your back. Now gently begin to push your body forward. Lower the shoulders and softly relax your head towards the back of the chair. This is an adaption of the bridge pose, it is renowned for stimulating abdominal organs to regulate metabolism and improve digestion.
4. Shoulder Circles
Sit upright in your chair. Circle the shoulders back and forth for 5 reps. The slower you go the more tension you will release.
5. Chin Tilt
Sit with as much space between your ears and shoulders as possible. Gently nod your chin down towards your chest, as if you are trying to hold an orange between your chin and chest.
Repeat several times without curling your shoulders or upper-back.
6. Ankle Flexers
Sit in your chair with one leg crossed over the other. Begin to point the toes of the top leg as far away from you as possible, then flex the toes back.
Repeat for 10 reps and change legs.
7. Calf Stretches
This time stand up and give yourself a stretch break. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Your feet should be parallel, facing forwards and your core should be engaged. Now bend your knees to your toes and straighten them again. Rise up onto the balls of your feet and slowly come back down to the floor.
Repeat for 20 reps.
8. Hip Opener
Keep one foot firmly on the floor and place your other foot across to your right thigh. Take your right hand and very gently push on the raised thigh. Now twist towards the opposite shoulder and breath deeply.
Aim for about a 2 minute stretch and change legs.
9. Leg Extension and Ankle Stretch
Bring yourself to the edge of your chair. Lift your knee in the air and rest it on your desk. Lift the kneecap and thigh muscle slightly upwards to engage the abdominal muscles. Flex the foot and activate your toes.
Sit up as straight as possible and inhale deeply. Stay for 10 breaths and change legs.
10. Reverse Arm Stretch
Take your arms to the back of your chair and press your palms together, with your fingers pointing towards the ceiling. Inhale and exhale until your body feels grounded.
For more pilates tips and to book a class with Natalie at Core The Studio visit http://www.corethestudio.com!