Moving into the New Year:-)

Moving in lots of ways

Coming up to Christmas ‘18, I created a number of videos designed to get us moving.

On Social Media, I often feel like videos are fun, and can be a great way to inspire us to try different ideas. What I also feel is important is some context and information on what is involved in the movements and why to do them in the first place.

The movements I chose are mainly inspired by what I see in classes and one to one sessions. They are movements that I feel almost everyone can benefit from and often we are not stimulating in our daily lives of sitting etc. For any of you that attend Yoga or Pilates classes, or are involved in other activities, the movements are also an idea of how to diversify and balance our movement capacities to improve strength and mobility. These movements will add to a more rounded experience in your body and are a sample of how we can start to challenge and stimulate.

I will give a little more detailed description for each of the video links below and you can play around with following these or adding in some more of your own. If you have any questions, please do let me know:-)

1) For Hamstring Strength:

Often in Yoga classes there are lots of poses aimed at ‘stretching’ your hamstrings, eg standing forward bends, seated forward bends. You might feel like you have ‘tight’ hamstrings and need to stretch more and more. However, without developing strength these areas of the body will become weaker. Developing strength in the back of our body is important for overall equilibrium and reduce risks of imbalances and resulting injuries or pains.

3) For Glute Strength and Stability:

This movement is great for feeling the muscles around your hip joint. In order to find balance and react to a loss of support from the lifted leg, the muscles have to engage. Often in Yoga or Pilates classes you may practice poses or movements standing on one foot, this is a great variation to focus more on the hip muscles without your ankle or foot helping support.

6) Pelvic Movement Awareness and effect on your spine

So often there can be a lack of awareness or connection to our pelvis. As a result in lots of movements in Yoga and Pilates, we force movements through our spine in order to achieve a pose or task. Often you may not realise this is happening. This can happen in Downward Facing Dog, Lunges, Pigeon Pose, or Back bending poses for example. what you can do like the video below is explore and even video yourself or use a mirror.

8) Mobility

This word basically means your ability to actively move into a position, control yourself and move out of it. Often again in Yoga classes, we may think of using our hands or supports to bring our feet or legs where we want them to go. This can help develop flexibility or your ability to move into a pose, but for long term sustainable benefit in movements, it is important to explore where you can move without an aid. You could like this video, try any variation of going down to the ground and getting back up again, and if you think this is just for young, sprightly folk, check this VIDEO out

10) For your core

This movement is super for developing the ability to stabilise your upper body while you move your lower body. there is strengthening for the hip flexors, abdominals and all over. It is a good progression from lying down core movements you may experience in Yoga and Pilates.

2) For Hip Flexor and Quad Strength:

Just like the Hamstrings, the front of the body and legs need strengthening. Again, there can be a feeling that these areas are ‘tight’ because of sitting at work or generally during our day, so we may feel drawn to more and more stretching. Again, strengthening is important and when paired with hamstring strengthening can provide a sense of balance and help with lots of other movements around your pelvis where we need to flex at hips or extend eg like squatting and lunging.

4) For ankle and foot strength

This movement is great for developing balance and ankle and foot strength. It is important to keep the heels high. When you lift one leg, it is helping further strength development from the movement no.2 and also stability from the supporting side. As a lot of us wear shoes all day, our feet tend to get weaker as they are supported all of the time, it is really important to spend time barefoot and encourage movements around the feet and ankles.

7) Glute and Leg Strength Progressions

In this video, I move through a couple of variations of standing on one foot and moving the other leg forwards, behind and then a one leg squat. The more you add in or try here the better:-)

9) Scapular mobility, shoulder joint health and strength

Our shoulder blades should move, they have the ability to elevate (rise), depress (lower), retract (squeeze toward the spine) and protract (spread away from the spine) If we do not make our shoulder blades move, they will lose their range of motion. I show in this video full circles with the shoulder blades in both directions, you can do this standing, sitting or kneeling.

Hanging is great for our shoulder joints, developing strength and resilience in the tendons and ligaments. Adding in the pull ups, helps develop and build strength in the arms and shoulder musculature. There are a lot of pushing movements with the arms in Yoga so it is great to balance that with some pulling.

'Fake it until you become it'!

I love love TED talks, Neal introduced me to these talks when we were travelling together a few years ago.  They are a great way of learning about so many different topics on those days when you don't feel like reading!

This talk by Amy Cuddy is in reference to our body language, not only affecting how others perceive us but also shaping how we perceive ourselves.

I just spoke about this concept in a class last night, that in Yoga classes, we put ourselves into certain Asanas/postures to gain physical benefits and changes but this in turn undoubtedly affects how we feel about ourselves on many levels.  Have you have ever been to a yoga class where you practiced handstand,or another type of arm balance and felt strong afterwards, felt this sense of joy and pride in yourself? Or in working on big opening poses like Urdhva Dhanurasana/Wheel pose and felt a sense of lift, a sense of compassion or love flood over you as you opened up? You may not be fully aware of these affects consciously but they are happening.

We convince ourselves all the time that 'This is me', 'I am like this', creating manageable boxes from which to understand and view ourselves, when the reality is we can always change, nothing is permanent.  We try to create permanence due to a fear of change.  However, any change can be uplifting and liberating and extend us into situations or experiences we never saw ourselves in or never thought possible.

This is not just a concept I have made up, as Amy Cuddy speaks in this amazing talk, she shows the science behind how we can shape ourselves to adapt to different situations and challenges by simply adapting our body language, where once you may have felt powerless, undermined or weak, you can become powerful, strong and assertive.

And if you don't feel ready, fake it until you become it!

Enjoy the talk, well worth watching and make sure to share!