Pilates Moves to Relieve Stress & Anxiety

Pilates Moves to Relieve Stress & Anxiety

If you’re feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed, give this Pilates a try. Spend 5 – 10 minutes on this routine before bed to calm your nervous system and really connect to your breath and the fluidity of the movement.

Lateral breath:
The breath is the foundation of Pilates movement. We frequently coordinate our exercises with inhale and exhale patterns. Start by placing your hands on your ribs and taking a deep breath into the sides and back of the body. Remember that your lungs sit inside your torso and your ribs can expand with each breath. Feel your ribs pushing your hands outward as you inhale. On the exhale your ribs will contract and the hands will draw back towards each other. Repeat this breathing pattern several times until you feel the ribs expanding and contracting and your heart rate and nervous system relax.

Cat cow to childs pose:
Cat: Tip your pelvis forward and tuck your tailbone. Again, let this action move up your spine. Your spine will naturally round. Draw your navel toward your spine. Drop your head and take your gaze to your navel. Repeat the cat-cow stretch on each inhale and exhale, matching the movement to your own breath.

Cow: Tilt your pelvis back so that your tail sticks up (like a twerk!). Let this movement ripple from your tailbone up your spine so that your neck is the last thing to move. As your belly drops down, keep your abdominal muscles hugging your spine by drawing your navel in. Take your gaze up gently toward the ceiling/sky without jamming your neck.

Thread the needle:
On your hands and knees in 4-point pose, slide your right hand between your left hand and left knee. Slide the arm all the way out to the left so that the right shoulder and side of the head rest comfortably on the floor. Hold here for 1-2 breaths then exhale the palm back to the floor and slowly inhale back to table pose, then rotate your spine and open your chest to the opposite direction and reach to the ceiling. Hold for 1-2 breaths and repeat both sides 5 times.

Roll up roll downs:
Pull your abs in and deepen the curve of your spine as you exhale and roll back towards the mat vertebrae by vertebrae, keeping the head tucked, the abdominals deep, and the back rounded.

Ideally, your legs are kept straight throughout this exercise with energy reaching out through the toes, however, a modification would be to allow the legs to bend. As you come up, keep the chin tucked, the abdominals pulled in tight and exhale as you reach back up toward your toes.

Digestive spine twist:
This pose helps in getting rid of back pain as it increases the flexibility in your upper body while stretching the shoulders, hips, and neck. It also improves your posture and spine mobility. Be sure to twist away from the bent knee and twist from your centre. Stay there for 1-2 breaths.