Pilates Angel x Refinery29

  
Click on the link below to see a full body Pilates Mat workout that I shared with Refinery29 Wellness that you can do at home. All you need is a mat!

http://www.refinery29.com/pilates

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Reflection: Good Friends

  
|| L I F T || Build positive relationships and surround yourself with friends that support, encourage, celebrate, inspire, and lift you higher!

In the past few weeks while nursing an overuse injury, I have been reminded of how fortunate I am to have such wonderful friends. Two of my physical therapist friends have worked on me and helped me to recover. One of my yoga teachers gave me massages, let me borrow a portable massager that I use everyday, and also gave me a book with restorative poses to practice.

As I have regained strength and my pain has decreased, another friend and personal trainer gave me a boxing lesson that was just the right level of intensity for a workout that would not injure me.

How lucky am I?? I am not in luck though honestly because I picked these people to be my friends! Just as we can make healthy diet and exercise choices to take care of our bodies, we can also decide who we surround ourselves with that will enhance our lives.

It is no surprise that studies show that good friendships have a positive impact on our health. Look around you and make sure that you are in good company. The best friends are those that boost your mood, self esteem, and encourage healthy behaviors.

Get rid of negative and toxic people in your life asap! Kick them to the curb! There is absolutely nothing mean or selfish about eliminating people and relationships that do not serve you well. Love yourself enough to make the choices that are best for you.

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Photo by Masha Creative for Nóli Yoga 2015

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Move of the Day: Développé 

  
|| DÉVELOPPÉ || This ballet inspired variation of the Pilates side kicks is a great exercise to tone the booty!

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1 — Begin lying on your side with your shoulders and hips stacked and legs slightly forward on angle, one or both hands behind the head. Have the heels together and toes apart in a Pilates “V.”

2 — Bend the top knee dragging the toes up the inside of the bottom leg and be sure that the knee is pointing up, keeping the turnout of the hips.

3 — Extend the top leg up towards the ceiling and lower it to meet the bottom leg in the starting position. Repeat 4-10x and perform this exercise on the other side.

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Tips: Keep the torso still while moving the legs by pulling the belly button in towards the spine. If having both hands behind the head feels too challenging to keep the body still, place the top hand on the mat in front of you for support.

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Tights: BodyLanguage Sportswear

“Like” Pilates Angel on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @imyourangil to see more of my favorite moves!

Move of the Day: Heel Grab aka Double Leg Stretch

  
|| HEEL GRAB || aka Double Leg Stretch!

Robert Brace of D28 For Life, taught me one of his dance inspired core workout moves called the Heel Grab. In Pilates, we call this exercise Double Leg Stretch, that is part of the abdominal series also known as the Series of 5. This is a go-to move for toned abs!

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1 — Start by lying supine with the knees into the chest and arms along sides. Curl the head and shoulders off of the mat and engage the abdominal muscles by pulling the belly button in towards the spine.

2 — Inhale to extend the arms back and legs forward on a diagonal, keeping the head and shoulders lifted. Exhale to bend the knees in towards the chest as you grab the heels (or hug the knees).

  
3 — Repeat 8-12 repetitions, 1-3 sets.

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Modifications: If this exercise causes any lower back pain, modify the movement by shortening the range of motion. Have the arms and legs extend towards the ceiling rather than having the legs low and arms behind the head. You can also modify by keeping the legs in a tabletop position or having the knees bent with feet flat on the floor as you move the arms back and forward.

If you have any neck issues, rest your head on a pillow rather than having it lifted or place the hands behind the head for support and just perform the movement of the legs.

Chaturanga Tights by Athleta & Free-to-Be Bra by Lululemon

“Like” Pilates Angel on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @imyourangil to see more of my favorite moves!

Move of the Day: Hundred

  
|| HUNDRED || Hundred is my move of the day and is a classical Pilates exercise that helps to tone your abs! Adding a set of 2lb dumbbells makes this move even more challenging for the core, and it will help to create lean, sexy arms too!

Benefits:

• Strengthens and tones the abdominals.

• Warms up the entire body and increases blood flow.

• Tones the arms and upper body.

• Coordinates breath with movement.

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1 — Start by lying supine with arms by the sides holding the dumbbells, and knees into the chest. Engage the abdominals by pulling the belly button in and curl the head and shoulders off the mat.
2 — Extend the legs out to a high diagonal with the heels together and toes apart in a Pilates “V.” Lift the arms above the level of the hips and begin pumping up and down vigorously, as you inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts.

3 — Repeat x10 and that makes 100!

4 — Hug the knees into your chest and lower the head and shoulders onto the mat. Move the head from side to side to relax the neck.

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Tips: Keep the body still as you pump the arms by engaging the abdominals throughout the exercise. For more of a challenge, lower the legs closer to the floor, but only as far as you can keep the abdominal engagement without arching the back.

Modifications: If you are a beginner, practice this exercise without dumbbells and start with the legs in a tabletop position, knees bent above the hips and feet lifted as high as the knees. If that is too challenging, you can also perform the exercise with the knees bent and the feet flat on the floor. 
If you have any neck issues, do this exercise with the head down and use a small pillow or towel for extra support if needed.

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Photo by Sherry Dubash at KZP

Tights by Splits59

“Like” Pilates Angel on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @imyourangil to see more of my favorite moves!

Move of the Day: Teaser

  
|| TEASER || Teaser is my move of the day and one of the most challenging classical Pilates exercises. Most of the movements that are performed early in the matwork are meant to prepare the body for teasers.

Benefits:
• Strengthens the abdominals and hip flexors

• Improves balance and coordination

• Stretches the hamstrings

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1 — Start lying supine with arms along sides of the body. Inhale to prepare, engaging the abdominal muscles by pulling the belly button in.

2 — Exhale to roll up, lifting the upper and lower body simultaneously. Legs should be at about a 45 degree angle and arms reaching upwards, parallel to the legs.

3 — Inhale to hold the balance, and exhale to roll back onto the mat, ideally with the head and feet touching at the same time.

4 — Repeat x4.
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Tips: Be sure to sit up tall in the teaser with the head and chest lifted, but keep a slight curve in the lower back. Keep the abdominals engaged, focus on the breath, and relax the shoulders as you balance. For more of a challenge, start with arms extended behind the head rather than along the sides, and have the legs lower in the balance.

Modifications: If you have tightness in the hip flexors, hamstrings, and lower back, keep the knees bent with the heels together, toes apart, and knees slightly apart in a diamond shape. If you are a beginner and teasers feel too challenging, try practicing the hundred, the roll up, and the lower lift exercise in the matwork series to build core strength.

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Photo by Masha Creative for Nóli Yoga with fellow Pilates instructor Katie Yip

“Like” Pilates Angel on Facebook and follow me on Instagram @imyourangil to see more of my favorite moves!

Move of the Day: Tricep Dips

  
|| DIP || The Tricep Dip is my move of the day. If you feel like the back of your arms jiggle and need to be toned then this should be your go-to move! This exercise can be done using a bench, chair, sofa, or a step.

Benefits: Strengthens the back of the arms, shoulders, and chest.

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1 — Start by placing hands on a bench shoulder width apart, fingers pointing forward, and legs either bent or extended in front of you.

2 — Bend your elbows lowering the tailbone down towards the floor then push back up.

3 — Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Tips: Keep the elbows pointing straight up and keep the back close to the bench. Be sure to leave a slight bend in the elbows as you straighten the arms rather than locking them.

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Photo by Sherry Dubash at KZP

Top by Splits59

Note: Long Back Stretch is the exercise pictured on the Pilates reformer and tricep dips can be added as a variation.

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