Learn to relax

It can often feel quite difficult to try and find time in our busy days to relax. However, making time to unwind and relax is such an important part of maintaining good health and can benefit the body both physically and mentally. Relaxation can slow the heart rate, reduce blood pressure and relieve muscle tension. It can also help to improve anxiety, stress and insomnia.

There are many different ways and methods to relax and sometimes it’s experimenting to find what works for you. Mindfulness, breathing control, meditation and exercise such as yoga and Pilates are all techniques we can incorporate into our daily life to help us relax.

Together with Vicky from Pilates Live we have put together a series of videos that include Pilates, breathing and mindfulness exercises. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do and they help you enter a state of complete relaxation.

Mind and Body Pilates Class

This is a mat-based class that focuses on relaxing and stretches our muscles before bed. On the mat lying on our backs, we open out through our hips and lower back with a knee hug stretch. We then mobilise our spines with a bridging exercise and lengthen through the body with opposite arm and leg movements. We finish the class with a mindfulness body scan to help connect our mind and body and release any tension from the day.

Breathe and Stretch Bedtime Pilates

This is a mat-based class and focuses on breathing. Breathing can be a great way to help reduce tension and initiate a sense of calm. We start the class in sitting focusing on taking some deep breaths to expand our ribcage and bring more oxygen into the body. In sitting we lengthen through our neck and spines with some gentle stretches. We then move into four-point kneeling to lengthen through the body with a pilates swimming exercise and finish with a child pose stretch.

Unwind Pilates Class

This is a mat-based class and focuses on our body’s alignment and control of movement. We start with some gentle Pilates movements such as Bridging and double leg stretch exercises to engage our core muscles and gently mobilise and stretch the body. We then stretch our hamstring and glute muscles on the mat. Finish the class with a short breathing space meditation which can be done either sitting or lying.

Stretch and Relax Pilates Class

This is a mat-based class that gently stretches the body from top to toe. Starting in standing we open out our chests and spines with some lovely stretching movements before rolling down into a downward dog position to stretch out the calf muscles. We extend our spines in the class with a cobra stretch and open and flex with a child pose stretch. We then move round onto our backs on the mat to finish the class with some gentle stretches.

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