Introduction to Pilates – Workout 5 | NHS

Hi welcome to InstructorLive! My name is Sam, and this is Introduction to Pilates We've been doing a few sessions, so if you're not familiar, just something you need to know – you need something comfortable to lie on so you can see your screen quite easily

Okay, let's get into a little bit of a warm-up So, we're going to open our legs a little bit wider than hip distance apart One hand is going to reach up to the ceiling and we're going to open up the side of the body Breathing into the ribcage and then reaching back up Other side, and big breath in and big breath out

Opening out the side of the body and then once more each side Lengthening up to the ceiling and then lengthening over to stretch from the hip, and last one on the other side Breathing in and breathing out, and then reaching up nice and tall So today we're going to focus on a principle a Pilates which is breathing It's different to yoga, if some of you do yoga

So we're gonna explore a little bit about breathing and movement together So we're just gonna warm up this area because obviously your ribs expand each time you breathe in Okay, so let's start off with a little bit of a stretch between the shoulder blades So you're going to cross your elbows and bring your hands together If you can't reach your hands together, don't worry as long as you've got your elbows crossed

I'll give you the side version You're going to drop your shoulders from your ears and then reach the hands up to the ceiling Breathing into that stretch and then breathing out and then changing over Cross the other way You might find one side's a bit tighter than the other

Shoulders down, hands reach up Big breath in and breathing out and then just releasing through So there's different types of breathing and breathing has different purposes as well Obviously to keep us alive, that's a primary function of breathing, but when we talking about movement and breathing they do very different things So if you pop your hand on your chest over here and you take a deep breath in and just try as you breath in, to lift the hand up a little bit so that it kind of rises when you breathe in and then lowers when you breathe out

So this is what we call 'apical breathing' People who tend to hold a lot of stress and who tend to get quite anxious, you'll find tend to breathe very shallowly – is that an English word? I'm not too sure, but they don't breathe into their full capacity of the lungs and that's when you'll find that you'll get tired a lot quicker, your blood circulation isn't as good So you want to try avoid not breathing just in your chest We're going to go a little bit deeper We'll place our hand onto our tummies now

So if you've done yoga before, often they'll talk about breathing into your stomach, really deep down So we're going to take a deep breath in, and when you breathe in, I want you to have a feeling of pushing your hand out and when you breathe out, drawing the hand back in So let's do a few like that Breathing in and breathing out Now it might feel a little bit uncomfortable trying to breathe like that so we're gonna reverse it now and I want you to breathe in and when you breathe in, I want you to have a sensation of pulling your navel, your belly button, towards your spine

So we're going to breathe in, tummy subsides Breathing out, tummy rises So we're going to do a few more like that Often when you're sleeping, this is what we call a rested breathing, okay? You tend to breathe quite softly and all the way down into your tummy Okay? So now we're in Pilates and it's really important to understand this concept of lateral breathing

We breathe into the sides of the ribcage So if you pop your hands quite high up – for ladies up to about bra strap level, otherwise up to that kind of area Hands come, fingertips come over the front of the ribcage and I want you to really kind of push down with your hand So you're applying pressure, so that when you breathe in you feel that the ribs push your hands out to the side So it's like one of those things that you use, the bellow that lights the fire

So you want to imagine as you breathe in, you're expanding and everything's opening and as you breathe out, everything contracts back to your centre line, and two more Big breath in, and breathing out Big breath in, and breathing out So one of the reasons why we breathe laterally in Pilates is because if you imagine you're in an abdominal exercise and you're trying to breathe into your chest or into your abs, it's gonna keep messing with that contraction of your abdominal muscles, So if you breathe sideways, there's no interference and you get a lot more out of your movement Okay? So we're going to now do a roll down

We're gonna warm up the spine a little bit and I'm gonna talk to you about breathing quite a lot during the session, but again this is a Pilates session so we will cover other areas of the body We're going to have our feet in a parallel alignment So we always take a deep breath in to prepare, so it gives us the oxygen to prepare ourselves for the exercise, and as you breathe out you're going to nod the head, roll the shoulders So again, you're emptying the lungs So as you roll down, you've got a nice connection of the abs, supporting the spine

Then at the bottom, take a big breath in Breathe in to the back inside of the ribcage Then breathing out, we're going to start to roll back up using your abs to guide each vertebra back in place and lengthening up nice and tall, and let's do two more like that Breathing in to prepare, and then breathing out to roll back down one vertebra at a time Stretching the back of the legs at the bottom

You can even roll the shoulders a little bit Breathing however you feel feels good and then slowly breathing out, you're going to roll back up Squeeze your glutes, draw your abs in, start to bring the pelvis forward, and then lengthening up tall Last one! We're going to roll down, breathing out as you go down Then you're going to bend one leg

If don't have the flexibility to reach the floor, you can just rest your hand onto your bent leg instead So you're going to open the other hand up to the ceiling Now we're going to now take a big breath in So when you're doing stretches, breathing in is a really good way of releasing, okay, because it brings oxygen to the muscles which creates a bit of movement and a deeper stretch, and then we're going to go over to the other side So you, again, you can be on the floor or on your knee, whatever you feel you can best manage

Rotating through Now we're in position We want to stretch a little bit further so we're going to take a big breath in and then breathing out release that stretch Once more each side Big breath in, opening out and then breathing out

Last one on the other side Big breath in and big breath out Take another breath in and then breathing out, re-stacking the spine, rolling back up into standing Now the breathing can be quite confusing Don't get too caught up in it

I'm just giving you a little bit of information for during this session, just to start getting a little bit of awareness Okay, but as long as you're breathing and keeping the flow of oxygen, that's what's most important Never hold your breath when doing an exercise Now we're going to roll down and we're going to go into four-point kneeling So we're going to breathe out as we roll down, one vertebra at a time

Then walk your hands forward, bend your knees and rest them onto your mat Hands underneath the shoulders, knees underneath the hips Now we want to stretch up the spine So we're going to stretch which means we're going to take a deep breath in As we breathe in, we curve the spine up into a cat stretch, and then breathing out, just releasing that stretch, and two more! Big breath in and big breath out

Last one! We're going to scoop up and now go into a threading the needle So we bend one elbow, take the other arm, thread it through Resting the shoulder onto the floor So we're in position now, so take a deep breath in Lengthen the hand a little bit further away if you can, just intensifying the stretch

Then coming up, hand to the ceiling and release back down Other side So, breathing in to scoop up, breathing out to thread through Breathe into the stretch as you hold yourself in place and then coming back up Hands to the ceiling and release back down

So as a formula in Pilates, I generally say you want to breathe out on the effort of an exercise and breathe in on the release of an exercise So, for that purpose, we're going to do a lovely exercise which is really good for strengthening up the back You're going to curl your toes underneath you If you struggle on your wrists, you're more than welcome to do this one down on the forearms, or even into a tight fist I'll leave it up to you

Otherwise, lift up through the chest, set your abs up so they're drawing into the spine Now we're going to load the muscles, the abdominal muscles, which help to strengthen up the back We're going to breathe out as we lift the knees off the floor So we're carrying the weight of the legs with the abdominal muscles and the back muscles and then breathing in, release back down So are we going to do another four like that

So Breathe in to prepare Breathing out to do the efforts of the exercise as you lift the knees, and then breathing in to release back down Okay let's do another five like that Breathing out to lift and breathing in to release back, and four! Back

Three! Abs draw into the spine, off your t-shirt, and back down Two more! One, and release back Last one! We're going to hold it there Now remember I said don't hold your breath Whenever you do an exercise, breathe however feels most comfortable and try to think about breathing into the sides of your ribcage and into the back

So just keep a nice steady flow of breath What this does is, it keeps the oxygen supplied to the working muscles which is really important It helps with stopping all the stiffness after a workout, and then release back down Release the toes, sit back off the wrists and get a lovely little stretch there Breathing into the stretch and as you breathe out, just feel yourself deepen into that stretch

Take another deep breath in and breathing out So besides the actual purpose of circulating oxygen, the actual act of breathing is very, very relaxing So if you tend to have a bit of a stressful day, one of the quickest ways to relax is just to actually do really deep breaths in You know there's a saying 'take ten breaths before, you know if you're angry,' take a breath in and just, there's a lot of reason behind that, it actually helps to calm the body So let's come up into a nice sitting position now

Big breath in to prepare and now we're using our abdominal muscles to guide ourselves into a pelvic tilt So we're going to breathe out because we want to get that connection into the abs as we scoop back, tucking the tailbone underneath Going just as low as you feel those abs switch on Then breathing in, lift up to the ceiling and let's do four more like that Breathing out as you scoop back

Relax your shoulders and breathing in to lengthen tall So again you want to expand, it's like a balloon lifting you up to the ceiling, and two more Breathing out to scoop back, breathing in to lengthen tall, and last one! Scooping back and then lengthening tall, and then release the arms Now we're going to do a holding position again If you, and sometimes just with the breathing, if you feel a little bit lightheaded, especially if you're not used to really deep breathing, and all that excess oxygen

Just take a moment, just breathe comfortably, however you feel If you need a drink of water during the session you can because sometimes the breathing can, because you're getting so much oxygen going in the body, it can make you feel a little bit lightheaded if you're not used to it So! Breathing out, we're going to scoop back So we're sitting on to our sitting bones Then we're going to lift one leg up into tabletop

Pick the other leg up to meet it So this is good for working in your core muscles, okay? You want to hold this position Now obviously if you've had any back issues and you prefer to do one leg at a time rather than the full weight, that's fine too Otherwise try some of the other back rehab classes that we've got in the Pilates series

You're going to think about, as you're in this position, keeping the flow of oxygen but also thinking about drawing your abs in and trying to breathe into the sides of the ribcage rather than into your tummy Another three seconds Holding it there Should feel those abs working quite nicely Relax your shoulders

Then lower one leg down, then the other Diving over those legs and then just sitting up tall Let's go into the ab work because it's a really good way to practice the breathing As well as Pilates, we talk a lot about our centre which we've covered in previous Introduction to Pilates sessions So you can incorporate that too

So Hug the legs into the chest so we're doing a nice stretch for the lower back So we want to breathe in as we draw the legs in and then breathing out to release back and breathing in, and breathing out Okay placing your feet down onto the floor Remember we've talked about neutral pelvis in previous sessions

So it's that nice relaxed position of the pelvis Natural gap under the lower back, nothing is forced in this position but your ribs are still locked to the floor So remember, Pilates we breathe laterally to the sides of the rib cage Hands come underneath the head, shoulders away from the ears, elbows come up into your side line view Now we're going to breathe in as we hover the head just an inch off the floor and once you get, sorry I'm just adjusting my wire here so I've got more room to come up on to my abs, you're going to just hover your head in the hands

Just getting a sensation of relaxing the weight of the head heavy into the hands Now we're going to breathe out as we slide up onto our abdominal platform Then, we're going to do a breath in as we lower the shoulders back down to the mat and then breathing out, curling back up So breathing in on the release, breathing out as you come back up So if you think about trying to breathe into your abdominal muscles as you doing an abdominal curl, you're gonna find a lot of restriction in that movement

So that's why in Pilates we breathe sideways, and breathing in and breathing out Just warming up those abdominal muscles Let's do another four more, and one! Keep the shoulders relaxed, keep a little gap underneath the chin so you're not pulling on the neck, and a nice neutral pelvis As you can see, Pilates is all about all these little elements that work together for the most, and most beneficial result of your movements Curling up, now you're going to hold it there

We're going to pick one leg up to tabletop, pick the other leg up to meet it Then we're going to hold the top half off the mat As we do a little toe tap to the floor and pick it back up Breathe out on the toe tap, breathe in on the bring up, and toe tap! Lift! Breathing out, breathing in So you breathe out as your leg toe taps because you want to keep that weight of the leg supported in the abs, and then breathing in, and let's do once more each side

You should be feeling those abs working, and back! Breathing out Breathing in, and release back down to that mat Take a big breath in You're in a nice rested position, you want to stretch out the abs a bit So just feel how you relax after a nice deep breath in

So Let's go a little bit more now into our oblique muscles okay? So these are the muscles that wrap around the ribcage and actually are really important in the whole breathing process because they're actually the muscles that help to open the ribcage to allow the lungs to expand So it's really important that you have nice strong oblique muscles, especially in Pilates with the lateral breathing So keeping your feet on the floor, take a deep breath in to prepare Then breathing out, you're going to lift up and twist across

Now holding that position Keep your shoulder off the floor if you can and then on the in-breath, you're going to lower back just an inch Come back up to the same side for another five Breathing in to go back Four! Coming back up

Three! Two! Keep that neutral pelvis if you can, and then lower all the way back down Now other side Hover the head Curling up, twist to one side, and bring it back Make sure when you're doing the twist, you're not lifting the opposite pelvis side off the mat

Keep it anchored into the centre, and another three and back Breathing out Breathing in, and two! One, and release back down Okay now we're going to add a little bit more on to that So picking one leg up to tabletop, pick the other leg up to meet it

Take a big breath in to prepare and then breathing out, curling up onto your abdominal platform Now we're going to combine a leg movement with the twist, so it's called 'Crisscross' You're going to breathe out as you twist to your bent leg and then bring it back in Breathing out Breathing in, and another three each side

Keeping a neutral pelvis, make sure you're not twisting it off the floor, and breathe out Breathing in Breathe out Breathing in once more and last one, and release back down Stretch your arms and legs out

Take a big breath in Feel that lovely stretch across those abdominal muscles, and then bring the arms down, and then we're going to lie on to our tummies now Okay So Obviously now we're going to be lying onto our tummy

So if you imagine trying to breathe into your abs with the floor restricting the movement, you're gonna find you won't be able to breathe properly okay? So again, think about side and back of the ribcage Lying on to your tummy, you want to set your pelvis up So remember we've spoken about this in previous sessions You want to tilt your pelvis, so that you flatten your lower back, and you lift your abdominals into the spine, so they're supporting the lower back in this movement Hands come underneath the head, shoulders are relaxed away from the ears, and we're going to take a big breath in to prepare

As we breathe out, we slide the shoulders down the back and push up onto our forearms So, in this position, you want to think about breathing laterally and keeping your abdominal support for your lower back Then we're going to breathe out as we add load by saluting one hand to the eyebrow, and then release back down Other side and, breathing out to lift Breathing in to lower, and lift, and lower

Alternating the arms, keeping the stability through the pelvis So we're working into our back muscles just by trying to keep them off the mat, and once more each side Breathing out Breathing in Breathing out

Breathing in and release back down Now we're going to add a little bit more load onto that movement So again, make sure your pelvis is set up, glutes are activated, abs are drawing in, and then pushing up onto your ribcage So, breathing in this time because we're going to lift one arm up Then add more load by breathing out

Then we're going to do a little side bend So it's called 'Hammer Head' We're going to side bend to one side, bring it back to centre Side bend to the other side Back to centre and release back down

So when you do that side bend, again you're working into those muscles that wrap around the rib cage, strengthening them, but you're also working into your back muscles, which is important for posture, and when you're actually just holding yourself off the floor So Let's do another four each side Hands glued to the head Lift up the whole shape and then we're going to breathe out as we do the bend

Breathe in on the release Breathe out to the other side Breathe in on the release and another two more each side If you need a break between each set, make sure that you do to focus on your technique and then once you've done your last one each side, release back down Get your breath back

Just wriggle the pelvis from side to side and then coming up, sit back off the chest and onto those legs Take another big breath in, and just feel how your whole body just relaxes nice and heavy into that mat Okay right, because we've got a few minutes left and we're focusing on breathing, I want to do some nice deep stretches, okay? Breathing is really important when you're stretching as I've mentioned before Gets the oxygen flowing to the muscles that you're trying to release, and that flow of blood and oxygen helps to get rid of all the things that you can imagine, and them as little balls of toxins like lactic acid, which you get from working your body, and it just flashes them out of the system So you want to get nice deep breaths in

So, we're going to bring one leg forward of the body Hip-knee-ankle alignment We spoke about alignments again in a previous session Lift up through the chest, and then take a deep breath in as you fold over your legs and then don't worry if you can't reach your toes, if you can only do the sides of the floor or onto the leg, that's fine Just go as low as you feel comfortable and supported, and then I want you just to take deep breaths in, and as you breathe out just feel the whole body just relax more

With each breath in, the body and the muscles that are fighting into that stiffness will slowly start to ease up a little bit It takes a little bit of effort, it takes a bit of breath to really fully relax and make those muscles nice and flexible, and then slowly walking up Change your legs Other side Lift up through the chest, and then walking forward

Breathing into the stretch, and breathing out, relaxing deeper into the stretch So in practices like yoga, they tend to always breathe in and this is one of the reasons why, is because they're really trying to promote a lot more flexibility through their muscles okay? So this is one of the reasons Take a deep breath in, and just relaxing there Slowly walking up and then coming into this position You're now going to go a little bit, stretching those inner thighs, you're going to hold with your feet closed together

Holding your feet there, try get up into a nice straight posture So you might find you've already got a nice stretch there If you want a deeper one, you're going to take a deep breath in and then just folding over as far as you feel comfortable If you're still not feeling a stretch, you can let go of your feet and then push a little bit down onto the knees Okay, so take a deep breath in and then sighing deeper into the stretch as you breathe out, and then slowly close those legs and just give them a little bit of a shake

Now just to finish up okay, and this is a really good technique to do for those of you who can get quite anxious or stressed out, is I want you to practice learning how to relax So take a note of how you feel at the moment, Lying on to your back, close your eyes and take a really big breath in As you breathe out, I want you to feel that your whole head is relaxing heavy into the mat, your shoulders are relaxing into the floor Take another deep breath in Feeling the oxygen coming through the limbs and then breathing out, softening the chest, softening the ribs onto the back of that floor

Take another deep breath in and as you breathe out, feel how heavy the arms are feeling, how open the pelvis is feeling Take another deep breath in and as you breathe out, I want you to feel the legs relax, the muscles start to settle into whatever position they're lying in there Take one last big breath in, and then breathing out, feel the whole body relaxed and rested into that floor Take one last big breath in, and then breathing out, and just take note of how your body feels now You should feel a lot more relaxed than you did when you first got onto the floor, when you first came into the session, and then in your own time, wiggle your toes and fingers

Open your eyes and start to make your way up into standing So there's many healing effects of breathing and we use that to help relax the body, okay? It's good for for those of you with high blood pressure issues because it helps just calm the body down and get the blood circulating correctly through the body Also with low blood pressure, if you found you're a little bit lightheaded when you came up, sometimes people who suffer from lower blood pressure to go up a little bit slowly, especially if you've had a big boost of oxygen through the body, it can make you feel a bit lightheaded but the breathing will help to flush out the toxins as well Okay, so we've done a little bit more into Pilates What another principle of Pilates is: the breathing

So I hope it's useful, I hope you feel a little bit more refreshed Let's finish up with a roll down Take a deep breath in and breathing out Rolling down Taking notes of any changes in the body

Hopefully feel a little bit lighter, a little bit looser and then at the bottom take another big breath in, and then breathing out Re-stacking the spine, one vertebra at a time and lengthening tall Thank you very much for joining me for this session and I'll see you all next time

Chris Lindstrom Jersey