Breathing for beginners x 8
Start by lying on your back, with your knees bent and your arms down by your sides (in neutral spine position). Focus on relaxing your body into the mat and releasing any tension, especially in the neck and back areas. Inhale, and then exhale to gently engage your pelvic floor and also sink your navel down, while still maintaining a relaxed neck and back.
Bridging x 6
Start by lying on your back, with your knees bent and your arms down by your sides (in neutral spine position). Inhale. As you exhale, sink your navel & curl your spine off the floor, keeping a curled position at the top of the movement. Inhale and reach through your knees to open up your hips. Exhale as you articulate your spine back to the floor (think of melting your spine back down to the neutral spine position).
Chest Lift x 6
Lying on your back with your legs lifted and relaxed, so your feet relax down towards your butt and your knees are in past the hips. Inhale. Exhale as you sink your navel and slide your ribs downwards toward your pubic bone, letting your ribs lift your head & shoulders in the air. Only bring your body up as far as your ribs will let you, without your pelvis moving (keep your tailbone weighted). Hold your lifted position as you inhale, then exhale to lower your upper body back to the floor.
Dead Bug (Leg Lift) x 5 each
Start by lying on your back, with your knees bent and your arms down by your sides (in neutral spine position). Inhale to prepare. Exhale as you sink your navel, relax your back as much as possible and float one leg up. Keep your foot relaxed. Inhale to hold your position and then exhale to lower your leg back down. Repeat on the other side.
Book openings x 5 each side
Lying on your side with knees bent, up level with hips. Top arm extended in line with your chest. Inhale to float the top arm up towards the ceiling. Exhale to take the arm behind you, rolling your ribs back with your arm. Inhale to hold. Exhale and float the arm up towards the ceiling rolling through the torso to return to your start position. Focus on engaging the muscles at the bottom of the shoulder blade throughout. Then do other side.
Side Lie Bent Leg Swing, x 7 each leg
Lie on your side with knees bent. Lift the top leg so it is in line with the hip and try to get the leg to feel heavy in its position (like it weighs a ton). Take the leg forward in its heavy state, stopping before you move your pelvis. Then exhale to take the leg back as far as you can keeping the pelvis still and the thigh very heavy.
Prone Breathing, x 8
Lie on your stomach, with your tailbone gently long. Inhale, then exhale and draw your tummy in & up towards your spine. Inhale to hold as much of the tummy connection as you can and exhale to pull the tummy in a little further.
Diamond Press, x 6
Lying on your stomach, with your hands on the floor you’re your thumbs and pointer fingers together creating a diamond shape, and your head on your hands. Exhale to press into your hands and lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor. Inhale to lower back down.
To gain the maximum benefits from practicing Pilates, it is important to understand the six principles which define the Pilates method. These six principles are:
- Breath: above all learn to breathe deeply and fully, as this facilitates and intensifies your movement
- Concentration: focus your mind on the task at hand, as the mind controls the body
- Control: the best results come through control in each movement
- Centering: Pilates is often described as “movement flowing out from a strong centre”
- Precision: focus on performing each exercise with the correct technique to achieve the best results
- Flow: Pilates is best done in a flowing style, with continuous movement