How your thoughts can make you feel good with Pilates

 

I put off writing my blog this week as I couldn’t decide what to write about, but today, finally the inspiration came. Its really useful to know what’s going on with our bodies, however it equally useful to notice what’s going on with your language in your mind and the thoughts you think in relation to your body.

For example, yes I did receive a diagnosis about my back of a moderate spinal stenosis (narrowing of the nerve root) and past prolapsed discs which is useful for me to know, as this means Pilates exercises wise, I know exactly which exercises do help me and also I know of many exercises that are best for me to avoid (such as the more advanced bending pilates exercises). I have shared this with you as I have written it in the past tense which helps me detach from this so that I can focus on what positive things I can constantly do to improve and help my back and entire body. You can too.

 

I said to a class today, it’s not necessarily about curing something in particular, it’s about doing the best exercises and Pilates for you and making the most of what you’ve got to have the best quality of life possible, and it isn’t always about doing things we used to love, but about enjoying and benefiting from the ones that you can. Once again with the gratitude coming in.

 

It’s really useful to look at what language you use in relation to past and present aches, pains, stiffness, past operations or stress and look at what you’re saying to yourself in your thoughts. 

Of course clients have to fill out a health questionnaire in my private work and let me know all past injuries, aches and pains & let me know any of this prior to a session. I get countless clients saying things like:

 

‘I have a bad back’, 

‘I have a weak back’

‘My back is vulnerable’

‘My back ‘goes’ two to three times a year.’

‘I have a delicate body & back’

 

Now I probably could write a whole book on this subject and how it can help you feel better and how it can build your confidence in your back, body and mind. Yes it’s useful as I said to have a diagnosis. Yes it’s useful to know what’s weak and needs more work in Pilates.

For example my left leg, buttock, feet and toes did become weaker on the left side of my body due to sciatica, nerve pain and the muscles not working as efficiently on this side. However I use this information to my advantage by practicing more on this side to gradually help build up more strength on this side of my body. So for example I will do a few extra repetitions on this side to help build up more strength. Mentally this helps build confidence that I’m doing something about it. It makes a difference but by bit, day by day.

 

Practice really is key.

Do you practice your Pilates exercises inbetween your classes or one to ones? This can make such a difference. Treat yourself

 

Do you incorporate your Pilates into your daily lifestyle?

For example, you can think about how you sit, stand, walk, move and get out of bed in the morning.

 

Have you ever set an alarm when you’re on the computer and done a few neck stretches and gone for a little walk and made a cup of tea, then we’ll done!

A few shoulder circles and a little 30 second neck stretch can really make a difference. We aren’t designed to just be stuck in one position.

 

Something that’s really great about going to regular pilates classes or one to ones is that you really can confidently start to change your language and what you’re saying to yourself about your back and body in general. If you’re saying you’re delicate or vulnerable then more than likely things will continue to be delicate and problematical, if things keep re-curring and you keep pulling muscles as you sneeze and cough then you really might want to think about doing more for yourself than you’re doing at the moment. Your body is literally screaming, look after me more. Often it’s about simply doing that little bit more for you & luckily that’s a really enjoyable thing.

When you’re doing your back exercises, you might like to say to yourself: 

 

‘my back muscles are getting stronger’

When you’re doing a core stability exercise, you might say to yourself:

My core stability is improving

 

When you achieve a whole hours class or 5 minute practice at home, say to yourself:

Well done, I’ve strengthened and toned my whole body. My posture has improved, my alignment has improved, I’ve stretched and feel better, I feel happier and am able to relax more easily.’

In 2015 I created some positive affirmation cards for children called Happy Kids Cards ®. At that time I’d become very ill as half my vocal cords had paralysed and I’d experienced a large growth on my thyroid, fatigue & feeling low had crept in.

luckily I healed after several months off work and I’d created something amazing for both children, families, schools, Pilates clients and my little family (I’m a completely single parent to my 13 year old son, yet we still use the cards most days). They really encourage both children and adults to pick one of the 52 cards and think about what it means to you, talk about it and absorb it’s positivity and allow your language, thoughts and happiness to naturally improve. (ideal during the good, challenging and sad times of life). They are positive & worth a try!!

 

Once better,  I taught quite a lot of Pilates in primary schools combining positive affirmations in the actual exercises. Children loved it.  I naturally incorporate this into my classes for adults in a subtle but powerful way, you might like to also incorporate this into your lifestyle too. A Pilates class for most people is just one hour a week. There are 23 other hours in a day and another 6 days in a week, so you might like to treat yourself to some regular daily practice and relaxation (even 5 minutes is amazing) plus watch your language in relation to your body, keep remembering that practice makes improvement.

Be kind to you.

 

Here’s one of the messages from the happy kids cards that you too can apply to your daily life. Have posted the affirmation below to help you say it to yourself during the week to help you improve your posture

 

Really hope this weeks blog helps you in some way. Comment if it does help or inspire you in any way that would be lovely.

 

Love from Bev

 

Bev

 

Beverley Densham

Pilates to feel good

www.pilatestofeelgood.com

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How to have more Body awareness & less tension

I noticed lately a bad habit that creates even more tension which I’m going to share with you in a minute. When I’m teaching & doing Pilates I’m one hundred percent mindful & aware of what I’m doing with my body, that’s what you want to do too. Easy when you’re in a lesson and being corrected by a good teacher.

But then what what happens for the other, 7 days a week?

What happens to the 24 hours in a day?

Well to get the most benefits from Pilates it’s best to incorporate it into your lifestyle. Apparently footballer David Beckman does Pilates an hour a day which is great to hear! But you don’t have to do a whole hour a day to get great results.

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How to reduce tension when you’re driving?

I may have been doing Pilates a very long time, over 23 years but there’s still SO much to learn, especially squashing bad habits. I used to be a very tense & stressed driver, feeling much better about driving now. I’ve noticed though that when my hands are on the steering wheel that my right hand is much higher up the steering wheel, working my right side of my body much more & tensing my neck.

So I’ve been addressing this bit by bit, sometimes it takes a bit of time to address habits that may be causing tension & pain.

Also I’ve noticed at times driving I start to lean forward rather than keeping a relaxed upright posture with my back supported by the seat.

What’s your posture like when you’re driving? At the computer? Or when you’re on your iPhone?!!! (Well that’s a whole other blog isn’t it!!?

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If you’re inspired give yourself permission to improve your posture. You’re muscles will thank you for it, there will be less tension & you’ll be able to relax your muscles more easily.

How to sit better in the car, at your desk or chair:

  • Sit with your bottom at the back of the chair,

  • Have your back at the back of the chair & your head lengthened, like you’ve got helium balloons through the top of your head

  • feet hip width apart (in the car it has to be comfortable & the right position for you)

  • in a chair sit with your feet under your knees, hip with apart (ideally no crossing your legs)

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After a long drive, sitting for too long take a Stretch such as this gentle back stretch, breathe, relax & take 5 breaths in & out.

Enjoy this gentle neck stretch

How to do another amazing neck stretch; look at your armpit!! 01202 808947 & www.angeliclifestyle.com Disclaimer: Consult your medical practitioner before trying these exercises and do not try if you have an injury.

Really hope this gentle Pilates neck stretch helps you too. Only takes 30 seconds. Practicing little & often may really help you too.

Thanks for reading & hope today’s blog helps you be more body aware & have less tension to feel good with Pilates

Love Bev

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5 Tips to Feel Good with Pilates

So, it might sound funny, but my favourite pair of gold gladiator sandals inspired this weeks blog!

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Why? Well actually I really love wearing them in the summer, but what I hadn’t realised is that driving in them in heavy traffic, constantly putting my foot down on clutch in my manual car, not just caused pain in my toe on my left foot but also sciatica nerve pain down my left leg, so annoying as I’d just sorted out the previous bout of sciatica, it had been so nice feeling good again, and of course a big part of that is doing the right Pilates exercises. Yes I found it annoying to have to keep changing shoes in the car, am now back wearing my fitted autumn/ winter boots for driving as I need a lot more support when I’m driving I’ve discovered. Sometimes you have to adapt things, even if it may be inconvenient or boiling hot weather, humid and you simply want to wear your favourite sandals all the time. But it’s a choice isn’t it. A choice of feeling good or better, or a choice of pain. Quite an easy choice really. So this week in the five tips, it’s also a chance to look at your body and life as a whole and ask your self this question and tip:

Tip 1: Is there something you are currently doing in your life that is aggravating or hurting your body? 

(sit there with a notebook or piece of paper and a pen and write what comes to you.)

Tip 2: What can I do about this? What is the solution? How can I help myself? (sit there with a notebook or piece of paper and a pen and write what comes to you.)

I originally first hurt my back through overuse in sport at a young age, I was a national junior squash player & remember doing this squash fitness training with heavy medicine balls. (With an underdeveloped body), that was the beginning of the damage. Primary school age.

So as frustrating as it might be for me personally, I’ve just got to get on with it, do more of my heal from sciatica Pilates programme and incorporate as much Pilates into my lifestyle as possible to recover and wear those boots driving. (Also I don’t drive long distance as sitting long distance driving can aggravate some people’s discs & backs..) so I then tend to catch the train for long journeys as you can move more & walk inbetween stations.

Another thing happened this last week, I was teaching an advanced client and I got carried away demonstrating exercises I know are bad for me, the thing is, I know them inside out, upside down, obviously I’m qualified to teach them, however having a back that needs extra care and attention, having had past lumbar, low back prolapsed discs and moderate spinal stenosis (narrowing of the nerve root). So in the moment I just did, and I will be honest I regretted it a lot afterwards as it had made the sciatica worse, I know, I know, I should have known better. Certain Pilates exercises are contraindicated for ‘disc problem’ backs, and of course many exercises are excellent for it. There was no need for me to demonstrate those particular ones, the client already knew how to do them, so I could have just verbally talked it through. I will next time as I have to look after me and you have to look after you.

I’m being honest here as there may be things in your life where you’re ignoring your own health and wellbeing and not putting yourself first.

Tip 3: Ask yourself this question: Is this good for me? Keep this question in mind when you do different things during the week, exercise etc, (sit there with a notebook or piece of paper and a pen and write what comes to you.)

And to top it off I did one more stupid thing to aggravate my back this week, I was sitting at my laptop and I will be honest, I love crossing my legs sitting in a chair sometimes, but no, my nerves and back had other ideas. When I did this yesterday, crossing my right leg over my left, I got numbness in my toes and foot and that is not good at all, so I STOPPED IT, and it went away pretty quickly thank goodness. So here I am writing this to you with good posture, my back supported with a cushion behind my low back, feet hip width apart, feet under my knees, knees in line with my hips and sitting nice and tall with the natural curves of my spine. It’s like I have helium balloons through the top of my head. Do you think about how you sit & stand during the week?

Tip 4

Sit with good posture and don’t sit for too long!! (set regular alarms so you don’t sit down for too long, Ie set an alarm for every 30,45 minutes if at all possible then walk around and do some gentle stretches. My local chiropractor recommends this. – great neck stretches for you to do on my Pilates to feel good YOU Tube channel

Tip 5

Final tip of the week is go for a walk everyday

Today I went for a walk before work and its a wonderful way to start the day, before breakfast I do my Pilates, find the best way and time of day for you to do your Pilates.

I’m glad to say, Pilates is making me feel good again, step by step I’m feeling better. We can all keep imperfectly improving!! (a friend and fellow author Janey Lee Grace says this wonderful saying).

Have a wonderful week,

Love Beverley.

Retreat with Pilates

Pilates is liking going on a retreat every single lesson, you’re taking time for YOU, for your body & mind. It’s a place to de stress & unwind & BE, but a class for an hour can only help you relax & de stress so much & that’s where an actual weekend get away can really come in handy – to indulge in longer classes, more stretching, more relaxation, a time to really release your muscles & to tame that monkey mind, infuse your mind with positivity, calm & relaxation.

Combined with gentle back neck & shoulder massages, incredible tasty healthy food, energising juices, smoothies to invigorate you from the inside out I felt it was time to offer this time of essential back care, muscle care & it’s like an MOT & service for you.

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We MOT our cars, but why not you too. You get more out of your Pilates when you take dedicated time out, you’re not rushing from work to the children or straight back on your I phone!! A little holiday from social media.

You get a chance to indulge in longer classes, deeper relaxation, small groups of maximum 6 clients on each retreat- retreats will be announced in the future.

  • Relax

  • Re-charge

  • Tone up

  • Release your muscles

  • Stretch your muscles

  • Strengthen your core

  • Strengthen your back

  • Improve your posture

  • Have fun

  • Make new friends

  • Learn how to incorporate Pilates into your lifestyle, practice easily at home & feel great

  • Improve your mood, happiness & energy levels

Perhaps you’ve been through some past or current big or small stress? Bereavement or injury, prolapsed disc or another form of injury, and want a retreat that can look after you properly. I would love to help & inspire you.

Pilates and how it can help you Mentally

I suffered from some bouts of painful depression lately, no I’m not talking about 22 years ago when I had suffered after a road traffic accident, but in 2019. It wasn’t all the time but came in waves. What was very noticeable was that when I was doing Pilates or teaching Pilates I was absolutely fine, in fact happy.

Now I’m no depression expert, however I really do believe that there is a strong link between good mental & emotional well-being & Pilates (just my opinion). Everyone seems to just come for their body, but Pilates is way more beneficial than that, it helps your mind too & definitely your happiness. Many clients have said they sleep better, are in a better mood & can cope with life much better even when some tough things are going on. Life’s not always easy so it’s nice that you can have this happy place to go to, but not just that then incorporate it into your lifestyle.

Of course there are different root causes of depression & it’s getting the right help, support & solutions with that. I knew the root cause & beavered away taking action to sort it out. & decided to really embrace Pilates to the fullest & my goodness I’m grateful as the happy Bev many of you love & know is back. Always talk to a trusted friends & family & seek professional support.

Thank you Pilates.

so my tip for you if you’re, stressed, anxious, depressed or under the weather is go do Pilates, book those lessons, we need to socialise too, even us introverts! & then practice. Practice daily!! Not just your exercises with your breathing but daily relaxation too, it makes such a difference.

When you’re upset, crying, feeling depressed you’ll notice your posture is poor, Pilates will help you re gain that confident happy posture. In one of my classes this week I said Pilates is like happy hour, it’s a happy place to go to and once you’ve discovered it, it’s there to help & support you everyday.

Love to hear feedback if my blog helps you. Hope it does (of course always seek medical support such as your GP if you are depressed), however you might find adding that holistic approach of Pilates exercise is the icing on the cake you’re looking for.

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