By Liz Brookes, Pilates Instructor
As a busy Mum taking time out for yourself with a regular movement practice is so important when you’re constantly taking care of others and are constantly on the go. When things get a little overwhelming during your day take a few minutes to restore your nervous system with some abdominal breathing and release of your surrounding tissues.
Abdominal Breathing Exercise
Begin resting on your back with your knees up and feet flat on the floor a little way apart. Focus your attention into your belly. You might want to put your hands there to feel the pressure shifting in and out of the belly region to create relaxation. Try to breathe so that your belly, pelvic floor, waist and lower back feel expansive on the inhale and deflated on the exhale. Feel the distance tissues travel as you deliberately focus on breathing into them. Repeat for 10 breaths.
Roll onto your side with your knees bent and a support under your head. Use a prop of a rolled up mat or towel supporting your waist between your ribs and your hips. Begin breathing by inhaling intentionally into the prop under your waist to make it expand while your top waist side contracts.
Hold your breath for a moment and then contract all the muscles below the diaphragm (lower ribs), hold the contraction for three seconds and then exhale. Allow the prop to enter your side as tissues become more pliable. Repeat this breathing 5-7 more times. Then switch sides and repeat the same process on the other side.
If it is comfortable, lie face down and rest your abdomen on top of the prop slightly below your belly button.
Start breathing by inhaling intentionally into the prop. Hold your breath for a moment and then contract all the muscles below the diaphragm (lower ribs). Hold the contraction for three seconds and then exhale. Allow the prop to release into your belly as your tissues become more pliable. Repeat this contract and relax breathing 5-7 more times and then return onto your back into the starting rest position.
Practice this breathing technique when things get a little overwhelming and you need to push your reset button.
Now you are ready to give yourself some ‘me time’ with a regular movement practice with Pilates classes in our new Collective Loft Space at Auckland Physiotherapy.
Invigorate and energise yourself with one of our Essential or Intermediate Reformer classes. Or if you need a bit more specialised care we have Private one-on-one or Studio classes available where the focus is on just you as you are. Our team of expert instructors are equipped with the skills to modify any of the exercises to accommodate for injuries, pregnancies and any other life’s discomforts. Pilates is great for anyone whether they have practiced Pilates before or not. If you have any concerns with any existing or old injuries you can always have a 1-1 first with one of our highly trained Physiotherapists who will ensure you get the best advice and guidance before you join in a regular class.
Haven't done Pilates before? Pilates was founded in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates, a German physical trainer who developed this progression-based fitness method that gives you a workout that is both effective & safe, suitable for all ages, gender and fitness levels.
It’s a method of exercise consisting of low impact exercises that focuses on the whole body, targeting strength, flexibility, stability, postural awareness, spinal mobility and body-mind connection.
You can’t think of anything else except focusing on your own self-care when you are practicing Pilates, so it is a great way to regain energy, strength and focus before you enter back into being a busy Mum again!