I’ve seemed to have a flurry of issues with Pilates clients lately who are dealing with neck pain. And with the Optic Neuritis that I’ve been dealing with for the past 6 months, the tension in my neck has been an issue too! Whether we end up with increased neck pain from an accident, injury, or just how we use and move our body for work and daily life, chronic neck pain, is no fun and literally a pain in the neck!
Pilates exercises done correctly are excellent for strengthening core muscles for support, which over time helps to reduce neck tension. However, sometimes getting started – newer Pilates participants can aggravate a neck problem, by not understanding, or having the strength and flexibility needed to support the body well and keep the stress out of the neck. If you’re doing any exercise and you begin to feel stress or strain in your neck –Stop! Better to take a break, then start to use muscles that shouldn’t be doing the work and continue to aggravate neck issues. There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of exercises that can be done without neck pain. The challenge is finding the right exercises for your body to start with, and continue to progress.
Continue Reading ‘Six Easy Ways to Reduce Neck Tension during Pilates Exercise with Better Breathing Habits
Breathing well is the first step in developing strength with length. If you have a hard time maintaining the length of your spine when you’re standing still, how the heck are you going to make it happen when you’re bending forwards, backwards, sideways, and twisting?
One of the things that keeps Pilates exercises so challenging, regardless of how long you’ve been doing them, is the concept of developing strength with length. The muscles of our abdominals and back are the ones that help provide the lift, length, and space between the ribcage and hip bones.
Here’s a video with a few thoughts on practicing better breathing habits to help improve your ability to be long and strong. Start practicing this, and then learn how to apply it to all of your Pilates exercises (and other fitness exercises) to get maximum health benefits from your workout program.
I recently started taking a Yoga meditation class to deepen my connection to center!
While Pilates exercises are excellent as a form of moving meditation to focus on feeling and activating the energy flow throughout the body, it’s also important to find that still, quiet place for rest, rejuvenation, and contemplation on well – absolutely nothing, but altogether everything!
One of the biggest challenges with a meditation practice is learning how to quiet the mind and just be in stillness without the distraction of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of different ways to meditate and probably just as many techniques to assist in centering one’s focus.
This week I learned the benefits of the words Soham, and using So Ham as a mantra for Yoga meditation.
Back Pain is something that affects way too many people these days! According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the fifth most common reason for all physician visits in the US, and the most frequent cause of activity limitation in people younger than 45 years old.
In fact according to the AMA, 70 to 85 percent of all people have back pain at some time in their life. Yikes, what a staggeringly high number of people, and I suspect that unfortunately, these numbers are probably going up rather than down!
As one of those in this majority, who suffers with congenital back issues, I have spent most of my life actively doing things to help keep my body strong, fit, and flexible. I have discovered over the years, that there are some things my body loves to do, and other things that are guaranteed to cause me grief. And what I have learned is that the more I exercise and stay active, generally, the better my back feels, and the happier and healthier my whole-body is.
Let’s face it, when your body hurts, it’s under stress. While some muscle tension is good and appropriate to maintain posture and help us move around, overly tight muscles create unnecessary stress and too much tension which unfortunately can lead to back pain. When any of the bones in our body are held too tightly together by muscle contraction, or misalignment, freedom of movement will be restricted and over time, with the inability to enjoy free and easy movement, poor posture and pain can be the result. It’s no secret that stress causes tension…
Discover how to reduce neck pain, and back pain with Pilates breathing techniques.
Continue Reading ‘Reduce Back Pain: The Benefits of Breathing as Taught in Pilates
I’m always looking for good new visual imagery to use with my clients that will help them better relate to their body, movement, AND better understand how to improve their technique.(I can’t take credit for this one, came from one of my teachers newer clients this week.)
Breathing is a very important part of being alive! How we breathe can make a difference in our good or poor posture, how much oxygen we get to our brain to think clearly, and better breathing habits can make a significant difference in how well we move to reduce the risk of injury, and eliminate aches and pain. If you’re interested in discovering easy ways you can start improving your breathing habits, keep reading for simple breathing basics exercises you can practice at home, and incorporate into your Pilates program and other fitness workouts.
Here’s what I’m hoping to share with you in this Breathing Basics article:
The Benefits of Breathing Better.
How Pilates Helps Facilitate Good Breathing Habits.
Ways to Improve Breathing Techniques.
Exercises to Practice Better Breathing.
(As defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)
Main Entry: in·spi·ra·tion Pronunciation: "in(t)-sp&-'rA-sh&n,
Function: noun The act of drawing in; specifically: the
drawing of air into the lungs
Since Breathing is one of the very first concepts to teach a new Pilates student – what better topic to pay attention to, to help improve your health! There are many ways to help new and experienced students find a deeper meaning to the breath work required for Pilates, improved posture, and a healthier life.
Joseph Pilates in Return to Life calls breathing the “shower of life.” Breathing is the first and last thing we do in life. It’s a good thing that we don’t have to think about taking each breath to stay alive, but a little practice with more efficient breathing habits contributes greatly to maintaining our good health.
Continue Reading ‘Breathing Basics to Improve Health, Fitness, and Your Pilates Workouts