How to incorporate Pilates into everyday. A few days ago we spoke about Pilates and covered what it’s all about. While I firmly believe that Pilates should be done in a dedicated studio with highly trained instructors, life isn’t always ideal and sometimes you just have to make do. The good news is that you can absolutely take the basic principles you’ve learned in class an apply them every day.
HOW TO INCORPORATE PILATES INTO EVERYDAY
Breath. Exhale on exertion is going to be your mantra. If you are performing a difficult move, whether it’s at the gym or just lifting a heavy box, take a second to inhale while you position your body and give a long, slow exhale as your muscles contract to perform the movement.
Pelvic placement and Rib cage placement. For the purposes of this example, I am joining these two principles together as they make up the front half of your core. Take a look at yourself in the mirror and draw an imaginary line around your shoulders and hips. Notice that this makes a rectangular shape. On a level of 1-10 (10 being the strongest), gently pull your abdominals in at a level 3. It should feel like you can hold this position all day. Now take a deep breath and on your exhale feel your ribs knitting together. I like to think of it as a brick in the center of your body. It’s your place of strength and you’ll get a lot of power from it whenever you are doing any 3 dimensional movements. Just remember, you never want to jam your muscles or hold them for dear life.
Scapular movement & stabilization. This is the back side of your brick. The best way I’ve found to explain it is to feel like your shoulder blades are gently pressing down on your bra strap (if you don’t wear one then just imagine it). Don’t squeeze your shoulders together. Find and learn that feeling of your back muscles engaging.
Okay great, so now you’ve created that brick in the center of your body. This is where (almost) all of your power derives from. Think of it when you are running for the bus, brushing your teeth, every time you look at your watch (or phone), when you are cooking or just waiting in line at the store. It should go without saying that you need to feel these muscles whenever you are working out as well.
Head and cervical placement. With the proliferation of smartphone, tablet and computer use, it seems as if everyone’s shoulders are starting to round forward. The first thing you need to do is go stand in front of a mirror and see where your head lies between your shoulders, then try to center it. Now you’ll need someone’s help for the second part. Stand sideways to your partner with your feet hip distance apart, toes pointing forward. Let them direct you so that your ears are in line with your shoulders.
You might feel kind of strange in this position at first, maybe even kind of stiff like a robot, but as you as you start to feel more comfortable it will start to feel more natural, your posture will quickly improve and you’ll give off an air of confidence.
Is this something that you think you can incorporate into your day?