STRONG CORE; HAPPY HIPS – Pilates for Pelvic Alignment


STRONG CORE; HAPPY HIPS – Pilates for Pelvic Alignment


by Roisin Woodford

Picture Strong Core Happy Hips.jpg


The basin-shaped structure at your body’s centre is responsible for supporting the weight of your trunk and head above as well as transferring the weight to your legs below.   It also receives stresses from your legs during movement. You could say that the position of your pelvis is pivotal to whether you have good or faulty posture.


Your pelvis connects to your spine via the sacrum (the lower part of your spine made up of 5 fused vertebrae) and to the legs via the hip joints.  Neutral alignment of the pelvis is the most balanced position for the pelvis to be in relation to spine and hip joints. It encourages your lower back to retain its natural curve and it is the best position for shock absorption.  It also provides a good foundation for efficient movement patterns. Ideally, we want to be able to achieve neutral alignment of the pelvis and to be able to move freely in and out of neutral without holding it fixed.


The fused bones of the pelvis move as one unit and they can move through neutral to a posterior pelvic tilt which flattens the arch in the lower back and in the opposite direction to an anterior pelvic tilt which increases the arch in the lower back.  The pelvis can tilt from side to side and rotate clockwise or anti-clockwise.


All of these movements directly affect the spine in some way and in everyday movement there will be a combination of pelvic positions. However, if any of these positions are held for long periods this may lead to muscle imbalances and a loss of the natural curves of the spine reducing the spines shock absorbing abilities.  

Pain and injury can set in in the spine, pelvis and lower limbs due to stress and strain on the body’s supporting structures.


We want the pelvis, spine, shoulders and head to be stable and controlled against any unwanted movement, to provide a base from which the arms and legs can move. We call this ‘Core Stability’. Pilates teaches good alignment of the pelvis and spine so that you are able to move with ease through your daily movement patterns.  Tight muscles are lengthened and weak muscles are strengthened, encouraging muscles to work in balance. Emphasis is placed on the deep stabilising muscles of the core, consciously engaging them to increase lumbo-pelvic stability. Imagine wearing a wide belt or corset: muscles that control the pelvis are balanced at the front, back and sides.

Many professional athletes use Pilates to increase their athletic performance, address muscular imbalances caused by the repetitive movement required by their sport and to protect against injury.  In contrast, many desk workers with back issues use Pilates to mobilise their back and strengthen their core to manage their various back complaints.


If you would like to explore the ideas discussed in this post, such as learning to connect to your deep core muscles, how to align your pelvis for good posture, establishing healthy movement patterns and strengthening and lengthening muscles to create balance, then it’s time to

BOOK YOUR SPOT in our Strong Core; Happy Hips Pilates Workshop

This weekend with Roisin Woodford (author).

Saturday 27th October 2018 from 1.30pm - 3.30pm.

References and Sources

1. Calais-Germain, B., Anatomy of Movement. US: Eastland Press, 2008.

2. Kendall, F. P., Muscle Testing and Function with Posture and Pain, US: LWW, 2005.

3. Stott Pilates Training manual

4. Isacowitz, R., Clippinger, K., Pilates Anatomy. Human Kinetics, 2011.

5. Paterson, J., Teaching Pilates for Postural faults and injury: Elsevier Ltd, 2009.

6. Robinson, L., Bradshaw, L., Gardner, N., The Pilates Bible.  Kyle Cathie Ltd 2009.


Back Care Awareness Week: New Research Reveals Back Pain Trends in London


Back Care Awareness Week: New Research Reveals Back Pain Trends in London


It’s BackCare Awareness Week! This year, from 8 – 12 October the National Back Pain Association is encouraging everybody to take care of their backs, providing advice and resources for those affected. In light of new research revealing that people in London are experiencing this pain more frequently, the team here at the Honor Oak Wellness Rooms can offer you simple, effective advice for preventing back or neck pain,

The consumer research, undertaken by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), analysed trends in back and neck pain over the last five years. The findings showed the proportion of people in the region experiencing pain each week has risen from 39% to 44%.

The most common triggers for back and neck pain, a condition affecting 79% of Londoners, have also changed.

The number of people pointing to their job as the cause of their discomfort has risen, now affecting almost a fifth (19%) of the London population. The number of people who find driving contributes to their back pain has also increased by 6%.

Meanwhile, lifting and carrying heavy items, a trigger for 46% of Londoners’ back pain, remains the most commonly cited cause of the condition for the fifth year in a row.

Simon, chiropractor and founder of the Honor Oak Wellness Rooms and member of the BCA comments on the findings:

“I think many of us will agree that the increasing numbers of people experiencing back or neck pain each week are concerning, especially given how simple it can be to protect ourselves from some of the most commons triggers.

“Our lifestyles are becoming increasingly more sedentary, and in London many of us spend hours at a desk or stuck in traffic behind the wheel, contributing to people in the region experiencing pain more frequently. For the 44% of adults in London who are experiencing back or neck pain on a weekly basis, I would urge you to consider incorporating more exercise and general movement into your routine where you can to help combat the effects of sitting still.”

Simon provides six top tips to get people in London moving and to prevent back or neck pain:

1.     Take a break: When sitting for long periods of time, whether you’re at work, driving or just catching up on box sets, ensure you stand up and move around every 30 minutes. Simple activities such as stretching and shoulder shrugging can also help to keep your body moving when you’re sitting for longer periods of time

2.     Drive in comfort: When in the car for long periods, you can keep muscles active with buttock clenches, side bends, seat braces (pushing your hands into the steering wheel and your back into the seat) as well as shoulder shrugs and circles

3.     Stay active: Physical activity can be beneficial for managing back pain, as a stronger body can cope better with the demands you make of it, however it’s important that if this is of a moderate to high intensity that you warm up and down properly to get your body ready to move! If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise or seek some advice. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body while keeping you mobile! 

4.     Be computer compatible: When at work, make sure your desk is set up to support a comfortable position. This is different for everyone so if you don’t feel comfortable in your current set up, try altering the height of your chair or screen

5.     Carry with care: While maintaining a strong body can help to prevent injuries, lifting and carrying in a safe way can help to prevent the leading cause of back and neck pain in London. Just as an athlete has to train to lift heavier weights, we should all only attempt to lift objects that we are able to without too much strain. If an item is particularly heavy then try to make use of available equipment which can help to take the load off your back, or reduce the load to smaller more manageable chunks

6.     Straighten Up!: The BCA has created a programme of 3-minute exercises, Straighten Up UK, which can be slotted in to your daily schedule to help prevent back pain by promoting movement, balance, strength and flexibility in the spine

The BCA recommends that, if you are experiencing pain for more than a few days you should seek professional help, for example from a chiropractor, who can assess you and help you to get moving again without pain.

Book your appointment online today!



Using Yoga Twists to Rediscover Your Full Potential for Mobility


Using Yoga Twists to Rediscover Your Full Potential for Mobility

by Lynne Fugard

As forward-facing animals it’s not surprising that we humans get overly concerned with what’s in front of us. As a consequence, a lot of our daily routines and exercise regimens can become restricted to very linear, one-directional patterns of movement, creating imbalanced and uncomfortable habits of tension and weakness in our bodies.

Days spent hunched over a desk, phone, or steering wheel; carrying heavy bags or children; driving, walking, running or cycling; always going forwards, forwards, forwards… It all has the effect of closing up the front of the body, tightening the muscles of the chest, shoulders, waist and legs, whilst weakening the muscles of the back: those bigger muscles either side of the spine, but also the tiny postural muscles that provide vital support and mobility within the spine itself.

As these patterns and habits become ingrained, it becomes impossible to fully realize the healthy range of mobility that should be available to us. Muscle pairs can become imbalanced – some increasingly tight and tense, whilst others weaken and fail to switch on. These sorts of imbalances can potentially even pull the skeleton itself out of natural alignment. The normal, neutral curvature of the spine becomes exaggerated, resulting in an excessive rounding in the upper back (kyphosis), or over-concaving in the lower back (lordosis). We feel hunched over, tired, stressed and tense, and over time chronic pain in the neck, shoulders or lower back can result.

How Can Yoga Help?

One of the joys of a regular yoga practice is the transformational rediscovery of our deep-seated potential for multifaceted motion. We have a spine that can maneuver 360 degrees through 3 planes of alignment - not only forwards and backwards, but also from side to side, in rotational twists, and then through all sorts of combinations of those movements. The yoga practice flows through all of these planes, exploring a healthy range of mobility in each limb, whilst also working to balance and enhance a strong, supple, interconnected musculature that supports and allows such motion to feel safe and stable.

Which Poses Should I Use?

In particular, the yoga poses that most obviously break with linear, forward-facing patterns are twists, side-bends and back-bends. In my classes, I incorporate these movements to mindfully explore the space above and behind us, encouraging new perspectives and creative ways of moving, strengthening around the spine, enhancing posture and breath-capacity, and all whilst brightening the mood, stimulating the nervous system, and clarifying the mind. Suddenly the body feels more alive, supple and buoyant, you wake up every morning more comfortable and spacious, and you begin to challenge your preconceptions about what is possible and maybe even what is normal! 

Sound good?

Then it’s time to BOOK YOUR SPOT in our Yoga Improvers: Explore From Your Core! workshop this weekend!

We will build through an invigorating sequence in preparation for the body to weave itself into deliciously deep twists, binds, back-bends and beyond. Whilst opening the shoulders, chest, and side body, we will also cultivate a strong and powerful core, the centre, from which and around which we can move, expand and explore our natural range of motion with intention and curiosity. Using props and partner-work there will be time to break down and work towards those more challenging twists, binds and backbends from the yoga asana practice - including standing, seated, balancing and inverted poses - leaving you plenty of ideas to take back to your self-practice, weekly classes and daily life.



New to Yoga?


New to Yoga?

Thinking of starting but going to a group class fills you with doubt...? It's very common; we are so often bombarded with images of super flexible bodies in impossible yoga postures that our perception of Yoga can unfortunately become a bit distorted…



A Mindful Cup of Full Leaf Tea

Blog post by Katia, founder of Nauteas who will be leading the Tea & Creativity workshop on Saturday 11th August. Book here.

As far back as the 18th century, when the East India Company began shipping tea from China to the UK, British people fell in love with this magical beverage. Tea was the drink of prestige, big fashion and steered much of the social and political affairs in Europe and beyond.

Fast forward to today and the love affair shows no signs of waning with almost 2,000 cups of tea consumed every second by the British public - that’s over 60 billion cups a year! Quick brew, perhaps a splash of milk, sip and off we go - we don’t always notice this small habit that punctuates our every day.

As a Tea Sommelier and Blender, I am fortunate to experience incredible full leaf teas and their multitudes of flavours, colours and aromas. Miles away from the dusty paper tea bags, there is an incredible world of quality full leaf teas carefully sourced from tea gardens around the world. There’s never been a better time than now to start exploring all the health benefits teas can offer!

tea workshop


As many would agree, we have become a nation of autopilot beings with a strong work ethic, and as such, life doesn’t always give us much room for respite. We live in a society where we are chasing the ‘What’s next? What’s happening tomorrow? What am I doing with my life?’ This can leave us feeling a little out of control, and often creeps up on us without us even noticing.

Luckily many of us have become aware that we can’t sustain this rhythm without burning out and have turned our attention to the present moment,  to the practice of ‘mindfulness’, where we learn techniques to focus our full attention on the here and now.

It’s a technique that once learned can help us take back a little control and find moments peace in a frantic world.

Which is where a simple cup of tea comes in...

tea workshop and creativity

Without even realising it, having a cup of tea gives us an opportunity to stop and to fully attend to what's happening, to what you're doing, to the space you find yourself in.

Mindfulness coupled with the process of selecting, brewing, observing and tasting some of the world’s finest teas is a perfect combination. I would love to invite you to join a session where you will have the opportunity to be in the present moment, tasting some of the most aromatic infusions of full leaf tea and learning the stories behind them all.

In addition, we will explore the health benefits; why drinking tea is better to sustain your energy levels than coffee and I will share my sommelier tips for selecting and brewing delicious teas. Most importantly, learn to really be in the moment and pay attention to the amazing experiences different brews of tea will create for you.

tea and creativity workshop

Join our tea and creativity workshop on Saturday 11th August! 

Book here 


Yoga For Cyclists


Yoga For Cyclists

Cycling is probably my second greatest love after yoga. Nothing compares to the sense of freedom I get jumping on my bike and dashing around London to teach or meet friends….


Healthy Posture; Happy Spine!


Healthy Posture; Happy Spine!

“If your spine is stiff at 30 you are old. If it is flexible at 60, you are young.” - Joseph Pilates. Most of us aren’t aware of our posture but we are certainly aware of any back pain that we might have…


Flow through the Seasons


Flow through the Seasons

What does it mean to live in harmony with nature and the cycle of seasons? And how could our yoga practice help? As the seasons change we begin to make changes in our lives…


Acupuncture & Chronic Pain


Acupuncture & Chronic Pain

We all feel pain from time to time. When you burn yourself on the stove or pull a muscle exercising, pain is the body’s way of telling you something is wrong and alerting you to a possible injury. Once the injury heals, the pain stops…