Viewing entries in
Fitness

STRONG CORE; HAPPY HIPS – Pilates for Pelvic Alignment

Comment

STRONG CORE; HAPPY HIPS – Pilates for Pelvic Alignment

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ACHIEVE GOOD POSTURE – START WITH YOUR PELVIS

by Roisin Woodford

Picture Strong Core Happy Hips.jpg

WHAT IS THE PELVIS FOR?

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.

HOW DOES THE PELVIS AFFECT ALIGNMENT?

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.

HOW DOES THE PELVIS MOVE?

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.

PAIN AND RESTRICTED MOVEMENT IN THE PELVIS

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.

HOW CAN PILATES HELP?

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.

SOUND GOOD?

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.





Comment

Using Yoga Twists to Rediscover Your Full Potential for Mobility

Comment

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.

BOOK YOUR SPOT NOW!

Comment

How Tai Chi Can Help Your Heart & Lungs

Comment

How Tai Chi Can Help Your Heart & Lungs

One of the special things about the practice of Tai Chi is the relationship between movement and breath. Over time and with consistent practice, the breathing is maintained in a deep and steady rate, even when the exercise is quite vigorous. This combination of deep and slow breathing while exercising is unusual and gives the combined benefits of exercise and meditation...

Comment

Yoga: why go with the flow?

Comment

Yoga: why go with the flow?

Flowing forms of yoga have long been popular in London, with Vinyasa Yoga and all of its affiliates becoming a go-to favourite at most yoga studios and gyms. But beyond offering an invigorating physical challenge, I believe there are more esoteric benefits to this fluid form of yoga that are worth exploring for those of us wishing to deepen our practice...

Comment

Why Every Cyclist Should Try Yoga

Comment

Why Every Cyclist Should Try Yoga

Road, hybrid, single speed (really, with South London’s infamous hills?), Boris… whatever your ride of choice, whether you compete or commute, there is no denying that cycling is one of the best modes of transport around. It certainly beats cramming yourself into someone’s armpit on a hot, sweaty Tube...

Comment

THE MINDFUL MOVEMENT PROJECT

Comment

THE MINDFUL MOVEMENT PROJECT

Karma Yoga in Action Let us introduce you to The Mindful Movement Project; beginning at The Honor Oak Wellness Rooms in April as a monthly charity yoga class to raise awareness of mental health and raise funds for its treatment and research.

We asked Fern Ross, founder of The Mindful Movement Project to tell us a little more about it:

Comment

An Antidote to Office Life

Comment

An Antidote to Office Life

At your desk from 9-5? Office life: it’s more dangerous than you think. As you frantically hammer away at your keyboard, trying your best to meeting looming deadlines, you’re putting your health at risk from all kinds of ailments...

Comment