Morning Pilates Flow
In an ideal world, we would wake up naturally as sun pours through the windows, feeling refreshed, revitalised and ready to tackle another day. In reality, alarms ring through our dreamscapes bringing us crashing back to a frantic rush of 'shower, eat and race out the door' to beat the clock to work.
Moving, stretching and aligning in the morning can set you up for a day of success. By connecting into the body you can tune into your intuition and set your intentions for the day. By breathing and focusing on movement, you can quieten the mind and replace any feelings of overwhelm or stress with positive light filled thoughts, further enhanced by the endorphins that you will create.
So, instead of hitting snooze one more time, roll out of bed and take this 5 minute stretch routine to awaken your body, mind and soul!
Starting on your back (so you can simply roll out of bed onto the floor) with your knees bent and gently squeezing together, feet flat on the floor and arms stretched out to T position. Keeping the toes grounded to the floor, drop the knees to one side as you inhale, then using an exhale draw back to the start position by focusing on engaging your opposite side obliques and ribcage to find neutral.
Repeat alternating sides 6 times.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Extending the legs long and in parallel alignment to open and stretch the front body, you then pull one knee in towards your chest, hugging the thigh close to the body & feeling a reach out through the opposite toes. Focusing on opposition length and pull, aiming to keep the extended leg and spine connecting to the floor. Hold for 2 breaths.
Alternate 4 times.
With both legs long and extended, the spine and pelvis in neutral and the arms reaching long overhead so the biceps are in line with the ears, a deep inhale draws the arms over the line of the shoulders as the chin gently nods. The following exhalation draws the ribs closer to the hip bones as the upper body flexes off the ground and you slowly roll up, one vertebrae at a time until the arms are reaching long towards the toes, the spine is in flexion and you are rounding up and over the pelvis. An inhalation begins the descent back down, feeling the movement initiating from the lumbar spine, returning each vertebrae to the mat with the arms remaining in line with the head. As you hit imprint, exhale and return the entire spine to the ground.
Repeat 3 times.
Rolling like a ball
If you're not yet awake, this will sort you out! Focus on keeping the abdominal wall engaged and drawing back to your spine as you create a big c-curve, the toes are slightly hovering off the ground and you are holding onto the legs. As you inhale, roll back, keeping the flexion in the spine until you find a balance point in the space between your shoulderblades (not your neck), using the exhale roll back up until you are balancing just behind the sit bones, core strong, neck relaxed and spine rounded!
Repeat 8 times.
Cat & Cow
Simple flexion and extension for the spine and waking up full body integration. In a 4 point kneeling neutral alignment, exhaling to round the spine leading from the tail bone and rolling through the length of the spinal column. Inhaling to again lead from the tailbone, rippling through to find extension, being careful to not drop the ribs to the floor or over extend in the neck, the gaze should be low and long. The movement should feel supported, controlled and lengthening!
Repeat 3 times.
To get the core fired up to help support you through the day. Starting in a neutral 4 point kneeling position, aim to keep a long spine and active shoulder girdle, with an exhale squeeze your pelvic floor and lift up, hovering the knees 2 inches off the ground. Inhaling to slowly lower back down.
Repeat 4 times.
Roll down to plank hold
To keep this flowing, from a 4 point kneel, extend one leg at a time to find a strong supported plank position (squeeze those glutes and draw the belly button back towards the spinal column!). From here, thinking of the hips shooting high and heels drawing to the floor as you walk the hands back, one at a time, towards the feet. The aim is to keep the legs long but soften the knees as you need. Once your hips are aligned over the feet and hands are close towards the leg, exhale to slowly roll up, one vertebrae at a time to a tall standing position - the first time you are standing today! From here, big inhalation filling the lungs up with oxygen, and exhaling to roll back down, nice and slow until your hands reach the feet. Inhale to stretch, exhale to walk out, one hand at a time to plank. Take an inhale to hold and then repeat walking back in and rolling up.
Repeat 3 times.
Once you reach standing, take a second to feel yourself, grounded through the feet, light through the head, with length and space throughout the body. you should feel warmer, open and connected. Take a few deep breaths, set an intention or reflect on something you are grateful for, and then float into your day!