The breakneck pace of fall in the city (or anywhere) can make it difficult to get in to the studio, let alone keep up a healthy at-home practice. We asked Swan Instructor Katie about some of her go to exercises when she is feeling the rush!
There are so many great at home Pilates exercises, it's hard to know where to start! I personally try to work from the ground up when I can, but when I am short on time I have a few that I consistently rely on.
Chest Curls with Squishy Ball aka Over Ball (can be done with out the ball too)
Lying on your back, knees bent, place a squishy ball under your bottom ribs. If you need support for your neck, you can place a block or pillow under your head (although not necessary). Place your hands behind your head and on an exhale nod your head into your chest and come into a chest curl. Lower back down. Keep your head heavy in your hands and move from the ribs. Repeat 8 times.
Add on these variations for additional core work:
Bring legs to table top, maintaining neutral pelvis. Keep legs in place and do 8 reps of chest curls. You can also add toe dips, doing 8 reps. Then add rotation in with the upper body, moving the ribs in to the ball, again doing 8 reps.
Flip over on to you stomach and place the ball under your diaphragm or where the ribs start to splay. Take a few full breaths, hands stacked under your forehead. Keeping the hands attached to your forehead, engage the abs and lengthen through the spine. Float the upper body up as if you were trying to draw the ball forward with your chest, coming in to a slight extension. Keep the back of the neck long throughout. Repeat 6 times.
Knee Lift in Quadruped
Come on to your hands and knees and find your neutral spine. Find width between the shoulder blades by pressing in to the palms, tuck your toes under and lift your knees an inch above the mat. Hold for 5 full breaths and lower. This can be done by adding serratus push ups (drawing shoulder blades towards each other and away, keeping arms long) as well. Repeat 8 times.
Glute Exercise with Rotation
I also love glute exercises, particularly this one as it incorporates rotation of the thoracic spine. Lying on your side, bend your knees and bring your heels in line with your sitzbones. Stretch your bottom arm out long in front of you, in line with your shoulder socket. Stack your top arm on top of your bottom arm and reach the top finger tips towards the wall in front of you, then up towards the ceiling. Pause and take a breath, then spiral open from the middle spine in to twist, keeping the hips stacked. Take a few full breaths in to the back and then reach the top arm back to meet the bottom. Now lift the top leg to hip height, foot in line with the knee and slightly rotate the knee open. Keep the leg in this position as you repeat the spiral of the upper body. Take a few breaths and then lower both arm and leg down. Repeat to the other side.