Kicking off our ‘Wellbeing’ series we asked one of our Pilates tutors to run through the basics
The secret is out. Pilates is the exercise of choice among some well known celebrities and they have been swearing by Pilates and its health benefits for years.
We asked our instructor Diane Parrilla about her 3 favourite exercises for Pilates beginners – perfect for those who are new to Pilates and want to find out more.
The Relaxation Position
The Relaxation position is an integral part of any Pilates routine, as it is the basic starting position for other movements. Not only is it relaxing, but it connects mind and body, helping your thoracic breathing, and making you feel more relaxed.
As you need to engage your pelvic floor, it’s also a great way for beginners to find their centre.
Lie on your back on a mat. Lengthen and release your neck whilst maintaining your natural curves in the neck. Bend your knees and place the soles firmly on the mat. Keep your legs parallel and hip-width apart.
1. Allow your entire spine to widen and lengthen.
2. Focus on your pelvis, back of your ribcage and head (three areas of body weight).
3. Feel lengthened in your neck and relax the area.
This Pilates exercise focuses on controlling your movements from a strong centre. It mobilises the hip joints and challenges the stability of your pelvis and spine. This way you will learn how to move your limbs whilst keeping your spine still.
Align yourself correctly in the Relaxation Position.
1. Breath in and maintain the connection to your centre.
2. Breath out and open one knee slowly to the side.
3. Keep the foot down but allowing it to roll to its outer border. Try and move as far as you can without moving your pelvis!
Again, a wonderful exercise to mobilise your spine and hip joints. It also works the lower body and strengthens your back, core, buttocks and back of your thighs.
Start in the Relaxation Position. Try to maintain a connection to your centre throughout.
1. Breath in and prepare your body to move.
2. Breath out and bring your pelvis up by engaging your abdominal muscles. Pull your bellybutton down towards your spine.
3. Breath in and hold that position, focusing on the length in your spine.
4. Breath out as you roll your spine down again.
5. Breath in as you release pelvis back to neutral position.
You can repeat this exercise up to ten times.
Diane Parrilla formally trained with the Royal Ballet School in London. She trained to become a qualified Body Control Pilates instructor in 2002 and since then has continuously developed her knowledge. Diane will be teaching on our Pilates retreat this year.
For more information on our Pilates retreats click here. And did you know that we have also listed 41 benefits of Pilates on a separate post. You’d be surprised at what amazing things Pilates can do for your health and wellbeings.