Feel Good Pyjama Pilates | Guest Post

One of my primary focuses as a trainer is to ensure my clients feel better at the end of their class, physically & mentally. I think that is even more important as we approach winter; with the nights drawing in earlier and the weather even more miserable, motivation to move your body can seriously wane. 

So let’s keep it simple! Here are some pilates movements you can practice at home and you don’t even need to change out of your PJs!

Feel Good Pyjama Pilates

Cat & Cow — kneeling on all 4’s, rounding the spine up to the ceiling and down towards the floor. 

Wide Leg Hip Rolls — lay on your back with your feet and knees set wider than your hips, push through your heels and squeeze your bum to ripple your spine up into the air.

Leg Circles — again on your back, have one leg bent with your foot planted, your other leg extended to the ceiling – draw a circle with it. Hands on your hips, try to keep your body still against the movement of your leg.

Arm Circles — simply lay flat and track your hands from your hips, to the ceiling, overhead and out to the sides continuously. Take this a little slower and try to keep the same gap between your shoulders and ears the same the whole way. 

Spine Twist — lay on your side, knees bent. Take your top arm to the ceiling then allow your rib cage to twist, following your fingertips.

 

A little about me…

Mental health was never something I purposefully made a top priority within my training method, it was always just naturally there. Is that because I’ve been self-medicating my own mind with movement? Perhaps. 

I’ve never really spoken about my struggles with mental health, until now. I’ve always held off as I don’t think my story is particularly awful, in fact my circumstances are such that I feel huge amounts of guilt on the days when I am feeling depressed or paralysed with anxiety. But that is precisely why I’m going to open up, because I believe that most of us have probably felt that way at one time or another. Do I think I’m in any position to dole out advice on the subject, no… I’m only an expert on my own journey, but if it helps anyone else, I see that as a great thing. 

(I am, however, an expert in movement & will be sharing my favourite moves for an instant boost at the end — they even work on the days you want to stay in bed!)

Growing up I had zero interest in fitness, in fact, P.E was my least favourite subject in school and I dreaded sports day each year. It wasn’t until a fateful Saturday shopping trip with my family at the age of seven that my life shifted and dance became my saviour. Long story short, there was an incident involving a bodybuilder come burglar hiding out in the stock room of the boutique we were in, the two shop ladies screaming and subsequently being thrown through the window display. I watched on as my family grappled and fought with the guy before chasing him out to the street. The whole thing is painfully cliché, standard 90’s Liverpool before the capital of culture clean up. 

From witnessing this I was diagnosed with PTSD and started seeing a child therapist. My mum wasn’t going to be convinced of my progress without evidence, so I started dance lessons, working towards a little show on the local stage. If I had the confidence to shuffle ball-change in front of 50 people it would put her mind more at ease. From starting tap lessons, I definitely caught the dance bug and shortly after I was encouraged to do ballet, for which my crippling perfectionism was adept and so the story goes…

Within three years of my first ballet class, I was given a space at a vocational dance school with a scholarship to board. My mum sold her house to pay for the rest of the school fees, the gravity of which is only just sinking in now as an adult. Now, this may sound like a happy result and for the most part, it was, I worked really hard and consider myself extremely privileged to have had that experience and education but it wasn’t all positive. If I were to go into detail on being a teenager, in ballet school — where the teachers pinned you against your best friends to compete for leading roles and would take our food trays away after only a few mouthfuls of dinner — I may have to record an audiobook! To put it bluntly, along with all of the general pressures society puts on women and how we look, my ballet teacher nicknamed me “the Pillsbury doughboy” at 15, when I had a 24-inch waist – that comment has stuck with me, my measurements have not. 

When transitioning from the professional dance world to fitness — a good 10 years after my school days, but sprinkled with all the same ridiculous standards and body dysmorphic experiences — the biggest epiphany I had was that I was enough. The nuanced style of how I teach exercises came in the years that followed, but I finally felt valued. I had spent years of my life desperately wishing to be someone else, 

If I had her feet or so-in-so’s fast metabolism” — all of a sudden that narrative fell quiet, my self-worth started to pick itself up off the floor. 

I am by no means a finished product, I am still constantly searching for the next achievement to create a sense of being whole but I am aware when that feeling starts to consume me. I can give myself a pair of armbands and stay afloat through the towering waves of dread & negativity. And whilst wading, I’ll always have pilates.


Want to know more? I have the perfect beginner series on my website which is available through a monthly subscription or you can rent the series for £7 for 7 days! Just click here to find out more!
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