Part 1 Pilates workout at home, Most Common Mistakes

I’m sure you are already doing regular workouts at home. This post will help with your Pilates workouts at home.

Our upended lives have created new daily routines. To me these new routines are a reminder that each person has to take responsibility for their own health and wellness. Time to figure out what you CAN do for yourself (instead of can’t do). 

You can control what you eat, how to stay safe and when to exercise. Let’s use this “safe at home” time to make exercise a natural automatic habit. Maybe you’re at just 1x a week workout. Good! After 3 weeks let’s make it 2x a week. You get the idea. And there’s a Big Yes to: Can you do a workout every day? But, maybe a couple of those workouts include more stretching. 

Bottom line, make a small commitment that is successful and then build upon on it. The tips in this post will help you get the most out of your Pilates workouts at home by pointing out common mistakes to watch for. 

These are the 3 most common mistakes in the Pilates form.

Keeping neutral in an abdominal curl, 

Keeping shoulders down, 

Hand/wrist placement on all fours.

These 3 things have something in common, they require you to control your body.  Pilates exercise is specifically for teaching or training the body how to perform more efficiently. 

This post will cover the #1 & #2. Next post will cover #3.

Neutral position takes a while to master. Neutral position does not feel “natural” because the body takes the easiest (or laziest) way to move, always.

What happens when you lie on your back?

Lie down with legs and arms stretched out. Your back will pop off the floor in an exaggerated arch. Bring the knees up…  and the body will flatten the low back to carry the load, while the ribcage will still lift off the floor. 

Just because this automatically happens doesn’t mean it’s supposed to. Especially during your workout routine. 

Fix common mistake #1:

When on your back in a Pilates workout keep neutral spine position by practicing it with feet on floor and knees bent.

Tailbone stays in contact with floor and back of ribcage stays in contact with floor. There should be a small space under the low back. Practice holding this while you lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Master this and the entire ab series will give you the abs you’ve been dreaming of. Video of this is on my instagram cosmik_fitness

Fix common mistake #2 

Shoulders are not earrings! Keep your neck visible by practicing holding the shoulders down during your Pilates workout. 

It’s easy with this teaching exercise. Place your fingers on the wall right in front of your shoulders, move shoulders up then press them down 5-10 seconds. Now move fingers up on wall at eye level, shoulders up then down, hold 5-10 seconds.

Now raise fingers above head (shouldn’t hurt). This is harder, but doable. Shoulders up then down and hold again.

You might notice as the fingers go higher that the ribcage will start to push forward making the back arch, Avoid this! Keep breathing (Pilates breathing) & keep front ribs pulled in and deliberately hold shoulders down as you inhale. Video on instagram Thrashy50

If the shoulders are up then the neck muscles are worked and shortened. This can cause neck pain and headaches. Use the muscles around and under the shoulder blade and this will connect the shoulder girdle to the abdominal wall of muscles. 

Shoulders down literally means “working from your core”. The shoulder girdle will become more stable and your abs will work harder and therefore get stronger. The hardest position to keep the shoulders down is any exercise where the arms raise higher than the shoulders. 

So how do you fix common mistakes? Practice. 

Pick one of the above common mistakes and make it a project. Every time you do your Pilates workout consciously make your body attempt to improve it. You might think that’s enough, not yet!  Try to incorporate it into 2 or 3 other Pilates exercises to improve your project. That means spend 5 minutes on an exercise that forces you to work on the common mistake you selected.

I guarantee that this method done gradually and moderately will improve common mistakes you might make and turn it into proper Pilates technique. 

For one to one coaching with me email me astrology.of.fitness@gmail.com or DM me on Instagram @astrology.of.fitness

Astrological help with Covid 19

Are you more susceptible to viruses? Are you one of those people that gets colds, flu, or  chest infections regularly or chronically? Using the practice of astrology we can see if the respiratory system is vulnerable in an individual looking at the birth chart. I’m keeping this part simplified. Some knowledge of astrology is needed to understand some terms below. Each sign has rulership over a body area. In this case the main sign to look for is Gemini. Gemini rules the lungs and actions of breathing. Out of the 12 houses in a chart the house to look at in your chart is the 3rd. Gemini is associated with the third house. If you have any planet in the sign of Gemini or any planet in the third house there is more risk of problems with the lungs.

If you want to see a list of what body areas are ruled by what signs go to my website page Pilates & Astrology. Since fitness is ruled by planet Mars the astrological focus is on Mars in each sign. 

Why do some people react more to viruses than other people? Why do some people recover easily and some don’t? Just like any thing else, each person has their unique vulnerabilities. 

The more planets in Gemini or 3rd house, the more likely of an issue. It’s not a guarantee of a problem just a likely possibility of a problem. One more thing I want to mention here is to look for any square or opposition aspects to Gemini planets or planets in the 3rd house. If there are these aspects then there is likely some difficulty in the lungs.

So what is coming up this year as the planets move through the skies? I’m only going to bring up how this year’s planetary positions will affect your Gemini planets. If you have planets in the 3rd house they could be in any sign and need to be considered on an individual case.

Here is some positive news, Saturn (chronic issues) has moved into Aquarius, an air sign. Until Aug 24 Saturn can only make an easy aspect to Gemini planets. If you have any, cold, flu or viral issues now they won’t be made worse. Saturn returns to Capricorn briefly and moves into Aquarius again for about 3 years. We also have Venus in Gemini at the beginning of the month. Venus usually helps or provides some relief. Venus will be staying extra long in gemini this year, because of retrograde movement 5/13- 6/25. Venus stays in Gemini until 8/7/20. 

The main issue coming up is a Mars square Saturn 8/24. It looks like a little setback for the U.S. in general. This square will trigger the retro Mercury in the US chart. This does not trigger any Gemini planets though. 

Two more minor difficult aspects happen around the same time, 8/30 & 9/11 Mercury then Sun will oppose Neptune, ruler of the immune system. If you have Gemini planets at 18-20 degrees you as an individual could be affected by this. 

How to cope with this coming year? Support yourself. Check with your doctor or health care professional to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep body systems operating optimally. 

If you have a Gemini planet or 3rd house planets spend more time on breathing exercises. Fitness like pilates or yoga and meditation will help with the focus of breathing. Investigate online to find other types of breathing exercises. There are more out there than you realize!

My last post has a link to many types of breathing exercises.

Know your chart, it’s a great way to stay prepared.

Even if you don’t have any Gemini planets or 3rd house planets breathing exercises will help your entire body fight against  possible microscopic invaders. Better breathing equals less stress=better immunity.

For one to one coaching with me email me astrology.of.fitness@gmail.com or DM me on Instagram @astrology.of.fitness

Breathing & Pilates

Conscious breathing is its own exercise. Especially Pilates breathing, it takes practice and focus. How deep is your breath? Right now the world collectively has its shoulders up around its ears taking shallow breaths. We are all very stressed, understandably.

It is even more important now to listen and notice your own personal breathing. Does your neck feel tight? Is it hard to relax? I’m noticing these things in myself too. If you meditate regularly it’s probably easy for you to sit and focus on breathing. I’m not one of those people yet.

You might think that deep breathing is a scary thing right now with a contagious virus running amuck. The opposite is true. Not only do rib muscles get exercised during focused breathing, but signals get sent to the nervous system that increase feelings of calm and relaxation. This diminishing stress helps support your immune system which of course will help you fight off any viruses or bacteria. 

I use exercise to focus on breathing and letting go of stress. Breathing is an integral part of Pilates. We generally use the exhale to help stabilize the torso while doing a movement and the inhale to connect with the back of your lungs, an underutilized area. Pilates breath is this: inhale with the nose and exhale through the mouth. 

The most important part of breathing in Pilates is connecting the breath to the movement. Inhaling helps certain types of movement and the exhale helps other types of movement. If you follow your instructor’s directions you’ll know when the inhale and exhale should be.

The issue that comes up again and again in my clients is consistently using the breath with the movements. They start the movement or exercise with correct breathing but then give in to the fatigue they are feeling. The breathing turns into an aerobic type where the mouth is open and air is being sucked in the through the mouth or they hold their breath when they should be inhaling and then gasp when the rep is over. This is inefficient breathing and the air will only reach the top part of the lungs, in other words shallow breathing.

I’ve found that the key to connecting breath to movement is focusing on the inhale. Practice feeling the dimensions of the lungs inside the ribcage by keeping your mouth closed while inhaling. You will automatically feel your lungs fill up more fully, accessing the sides and back of your lungs. 

The breathing in Pilates is not easy, Pilates usually has challenging choreography while handling equipment plus breathing that has to match the movement.  

The better you are at inhaling at the right time following Pilates principles the more you’ll get out of the exercise. The better you’ll feel and the better your immune system will be.

Here is an article on Healthline if you want to try another types of breathing exercises.

Breathing Exercises

For one to one coaching with me email me astrology.of.fitness@gmail.com or DM me on Instagram @astrology.of.fitness