Today is National Hugging Day! So how does this relate to Pilates? Well for me there are two ways;
The first is a practical element. The exercise 'Hug a Tree'. I love this exercise both on and off the reformer. Originally from the reformer work, I often include this in matwork when using small weights. This is great for the shoulders but also provides strength and mobility to the chest. Added with the 'Salute' and overhead tricep extension it can provide a challenging upper body and arm workout!
A little arm series you can undertake at home either on the reformer or with small hand weights.
Repeat ten repetitions of these three exercises 10 times x 2/3 sets.
Sit/kneel in a position how you feel comfortable and you are able to maintain an upright back position.
1. Hug a Tree. Start with the arms directly out to the sides with your hands in your peripheral vision. As you exhale close the gap between the hands keeping the shape of a tree trunk in front of you (hence the name 'hug a tree'). Maintain a lift in the upper arms, think about bending the elbows, then inhale and bring the hands back out to the sides.
2. Salute. Bring the hands in to the shoulders and bring the elbows behind you. As you exhale press the arms out in front on a diagonal line to about eyeline, then in hale and return.
3. Tricep Extension. Take both arms up to the ceiling, and join the hands together if possible. As you exhale, bend the elbows and bring the hands behind the head, trying to keep elbows lifted to the ceiling and arms close to the ears. As you exhale, extend the elbows and the arms back towards the ceiling.
Please only undertake exercises such as these if you have clearance from your doctor. If you are unsure, please seek advice before undertaking any physical activity.
Another element is support. This is the metaphorical hug that attending a Pilates class can bring. If you’re held accountable for your goals, you’re much more likely to achieve them. So what does it mean to be accountable? Well it is more motivating to have someone else aware of our goals and helping us achieve them. Attending classes can also add to the benefits of exercise; working out with others can be uplifting, sociable, supportive and can give you more energy to push that little bit harder!
If ‘knowing what I need to do but having a hard time actually doing it’ sounds like you, maybe all you need is a little bit of uplifting, energetic community support.
So here are some steps to finding support, community & accountability.
Stating your goals & plan out loud to someone – even just on social media or to a friend/family member
Book classes you enjoy and look forward to! My personal opinion is joining a class is a far more beneficial way of working than trying to find a YouTube video etc, as usually by the time you've set it all up and chosen/found what you are looking for you have taken longer than you planned, and also its easier to talk yourself out of.
Scheduling the week ahead with time slots clearly booked so you consider what else you need to do to make happen in your week
Going to a workout class with a friend, partner or family member
Ask someone to check-in with me to see if you are doing what you said you wanted to!
If any of these mean you would like my help, just drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Absolutely happy to support you on your way to hitting those goals, and when you hit them providing that metaphorical hug!