Ever feel like you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, dragging through your day? Do you sometimes wake up feeling achy and stiff, and depend on coffee and a hot shower to get going? If so, you aren’t alone. Most of us aren’t morning people, and it takes a while for our bodies and brains to get going.
An excellent way to start your day is Mindfulness exercise (post coming soon!) and a few stretching and lengthening exercises to connect mind and body. You’ll see a difference if you can start your day with a positive attitude and open eyes. You’ll be ready to tackle anything that comes your way.
Designate a quiet spot where you can place your mat. Every morning, make this your ten minutes (just 10 minutes!) to find calm and strength within yourself.
The Roll Up
The exercise is great for strengthening your abdominals and warming up the back.
- Lying on your back on your mat, place your hands overhead.
- Find neutral with your pelvis. Inhale and exhale, filling your diaphragm with breath. Find a calm rhythm to your breath.
- On your next inhale, squeeze your inner thighs together, flex your feet and engage the abdominals.
- Roll your chin to your chest, and slowly roll your head and upper body off the mat bringing your arms overhead.
- Exhale deeply as you continue to roll forward, peeling your body off the mat until you are in a sitting position, leaning forward over your thighs.
- Your arms reach toward your feet, and your heels should stay on the mat. Work toward keeping your heels on the mat as you strengthen your abs.
- Take a deep breath in and out in the sitting position.
- On your next inhale, engage the abs and tuck the pelvis under and begin rolling back slowly to your starting position lying flat on the mat.
There’s nothing worse than a stiff back on a cold morning. Use this exercise to increase the mobility and flexibility of the spine, and strengthen your back, gluts and hamstrings.
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Your arms should be relaxed near your sides, and your shoulders back and relaxed.
- Hollow the abs, and curl the tailbone to the ceiling to move your back off the floor.
- Your gluts and hamstrings should feel the movement. Keep your pelvis level.
There are several movements to add to the work in this position.
- Lift each leg off the floor one at a time keeping the knees and hips even and not moving, doing a series of leg circles, fanning the leg out to the side, and lifting and lowering the leg.
- Tilt the pelvis side to side without knee movement.
Have an issue sitting on the floor, legs straight out in front of you and your back straight? A lot of people with desk jobs have this issue. The Saw exercise is a nice way to stretch out these issues and gain strength. It also helps gain rotation of the spine and increase movement in the shoulders.
- Start this exercise with your legs straight in front of you, hip distance apart.
- Your arms should be straight and reaching to the sides of the room, shoulders down and relaxed. Sit up nice and tall on your sit bones.
- On your next inhale; rotate your torso to your left side reaching your right arm to your left foot.
- Now exhale, engage your abs and round your head and torso forward, reaching your right arm toward the little toe on your left foot.
- Reach your left arm back while rotating your shoulder until you palm faces the ceiling.
- With your inhale, rotate back to starting position sitting tall on your sit bones and feeling your weight evenly grounded into the mat.
- Repeat this movement rotating the torso to the right side, reaching the left arm toward the right foot.
If any of these positions are issues for you, be sure to ask your Pilates instructor about modifications or exercises that combat your specific issue. Make today your day! Set your alarm ten minutes earlier, and start your tomorrow right.
Make today count,