Start the day with this Pilates workout and you’ll be more productive

Stay focused and centred all day.

one hot yoga and pilates, tahlia ware, pilates workout, pilates principles, pilates principle breath,
via One Hot Yoga & Pilates

Breathing is something we often forget about during exercising. Mid sweat session it’s not easily said nor done. But conscious breathing is vital to exercise. Not only can it enhance your workout, but being in control of your breath can help you remain calm and stay focused in everything that you do.

So for the third week of our six-week Pilates challenge with One Hot Yoga & Pilates Instructor, Tahlia Ware, we are focusing on the oh-so important Pilates principle: breath.

“In Pilates, all movement is propelled by breath. Our breath is our body’s fuel and when used correctly it is the driving force behind Pilates. This is a useful principle to connect mind to body and also connect our Pilates practice to our everyday lives. Our breath sustains our body and gives us life, as it does too with our movement,” says Tahlia.

Throughout this workout Tahlia advises you to focus on the Pilates breathing technique. Inhale through the nose, sending the breath into the sides and the backs of the ribcage. Exhale through the mouth with a slightly forced breathe through pursed lips, gently drawing up through the deep, lower abdominals.

Practice this every morning and you’ll start your day more centred and focused, and find yourself more productive.

Week 3: Breath

Missed week one and two? Try them, they’ll tone your whole body.

Leg Pull Front Prep one hot yoga and pilates, tahlia ware, pilates workout, pilates principles, pilates principle breath,

one hot yoga and pilates, tahlia ware, pilates workout, pilates principles, pilates principle breath,
Image credit: One Hot Yoga & Pilates | Tahlia wears active wear available from Fire & Shine

This is a great exercise to connect to your breath, prepare your body and build strength for the full Leg Pull Front or ‘Plank’ exercise.

  1. Start in 4 point kneeling; hands under shoulders, knees under hips and the spine in neutral alignment. Think of having a long line from the crown of the head to the tailbone.
  2. Inhale – Prepare
  3. Exhale- Lift the knees about 2 inches off the mat, maintaining a neutral spine.
  4. Inhale – Hold
  5. Exhale – Lower knees back to the mat
  6. Repeat 8-10 repetitions

Pro Tip: To increase the challenge, hold the knees off the mat for three to five breathes before lowering; focusing on the Pilates breathing technique.

Safety Tip: Be sure not to break the alignment of the spine when the knees lift off the mat. Think of pressing down through the hands and feet as you hover off and lifting your front body (abdominals) up towards your back body (spine)

Single Leg Kick one hot yoga and pilates, tahlia ware, pilates workout, pilates principles, pilates principle breath, rocking exercise

one hot yoga and pilates, tahlia ware, pilates workout, pilates principles, pilates principle breath, single leg kick
Image credit: One Hot Yoga & Pilates | Tahlia wears active wear available from Fire & Shine

Single leg kick will challenge your coordination, moving the legs whilst keeping the hips stable. We want to keep the hip and thigh still by keeping the glutes active, while also using the hamstrings to bend the knee.

  1. Start with the body facing the mat, with the upper body supported on the elbows. Lift the abdominals up to the spine and draw the hipbones just off the mat. Aim to use the lower abdominals to keep this tilt through out the whole exercise.
  2. Inhale – Prepare
  3. Exhale – One knee bends twice to create a controlled pulsing movement. Pointing the foot for the first pulse and flexing the foot for the second pulse
  4. Inhale – Point the foot again as the leg lowers back to the mat
  5. Repeat on the other leg
  6. Complete 5-8 repetitions on each leg.

Pro Tip: To decrease the challenge, lie the whole body onto the mat with the hands stacked under the forehead. This will make it easier to keep the pelvis stable and avoid any movement or rotation of the hips.

Safety Tip: Keep the glutes active! The pelvis should not ‘hump the ground’ during the exercise. If you notice the pelvis moving or feel any discomfort through the lower back, try the above variation having the whole body lying on the mat.

Double Leg Kickdouble leg kick, one hot yoga and pilates, tahlia ware, pilates workout, pilates principles, pilates principle breath,

one hot yoga and pilates, tahlia ware, pilates workout, pilates principles, pilates principle breath, double leg kick
Image credit: One Hot Yoga & Pilates | Tahlia wears active wear available from Fire & Shine

This exercise will challenge the endurance of the back and core muscles. We want to create even extension through the neck, upper back and lower back to emphasise the length of the spine. Coordinate the arms, legs and spinal movement with the breath.

  1. Start lying face down on your mat with head turned to one side. Legs squeezing together, knees bent and hands at the small of your back
  2. Inhale – Prepare
  3. Exhale – Bend both knees 3 times to create a controlled pulsing movement
  4. Inhale – Lengthen the legs away to the back of the room and the crown of your head to the front of the room. Allow both the upper body and lower body to lift off the mat slightly as your arms reach back beside the hips.
  5. Exhale – Begin to return back to the start position with your head turned to the opposite side and start the pulsing movement again.
  6. Repeat 5 repetitions on each side.

Pro Tip: Use a staccato breath as you pulse your knees. Three sharp breathes out through your mouth like you’re blowing out a birthday candle to match the three pulses of the knees.

Safety Tip: Keep the pelvis still while the legs are moving. Avoid rocking on the hipbones as the knees bend by keeping the movement small and the abdominals working throughout the exercise.

Rockingone hot yoga and pilates, tahlia ware, pilates workout, pilates principles, pilates principle breath, rocking exercise

one hot yoga and pilates, tahlia ware, pilates workout, pilates principles, pilates principle breath, rocking exercise
Image credit: One Hot Yoga & Pilates | Tahlia wears active wear available from Fire & Shine

Rocking is a fantastic stretch for the chest, hips and thighs. It will bring the body into the opposite position to how we spend most of our day when seated. Use your breath to find more space and open the front of the body.

  1. Start lying face down on your mat with the head hovering just off the mat, legs squeezing together, knees bent and hands holding onto the ankles.
  2. Inhale – Press the feet into hands, gently lifting the spine while keeping the abdominals working. Simultaneously reach the legs to the back of the room, which will allow the knees to lift slightly, and the legs to open to hip distance apart.
  3. Exhale – Lower back to the start position
  4. Repeat 8 -10 Repetitions

Pro Tip: It is all about pressing back with the legs as though you are going to straighten them. From that pulling sensation, the chest will be able to comfortably lift. The ‘Inhale’ breath will assist the lift.

Safety Tip: If you have limited flexibility, rocking can be preformed with a flex-band or yoga strap around the ankles. Don’t have a band or strap at home? Try using an old T-shirt or towel; wrap it around the ankles and hold on to either side with each hand.

Leg Pull Front Into Extensionone hot yoga and pilates, tahlia ware, pilates workout, pilates principles, pilates principle breath,

one hot yoga and pilates, tahlia ware, pilates workout, pilates principles, pilates principle breath,
Image credit: One Hot Yoga & Pilates | Tahlia wears active wear available from Fire & Shine

This is an advanced exercise to strengthen the shoulders and improve spinal mobility whilst providing a great challenge for the abdominal strength.

  1. Start in a plank position; hands under the shoulders and legs extended back behind you. Spine is in neutral alignment
  2. Inhale – Prepare
  3. Exhale – Float the left leg just off the mat, with the foot flexed
  4. Inhale – Hold
  5. Exhale – Slowly control your body forward into extension, pressing the hands into the mat, lifting the chest and keeping the abdominals strong. Point the right foot back and be sure to keep the thighs off the mat at all times.
  6. Inhale – Hold
  7. Exhale – Lift through the abdominals to bring the body back up to the plank pose flexing the right foot
  8. Inhale – Hold
  9. Repeat 3-5 repetitions on the right and then repeat the exercise and on the left.

Pro Tip: Use your breath to guide you. Inhale to hold, exhale to move. Remember in Pilates the ‘exhale’ breath gives you more activation through the abdominals, so use that as support for the movement of your spine.

Safety Tip: You should feel no discomfort in your lower back throughout the exercise. Be sure to feel confident executing ‘Leg Pull Front Prep’ first before adding the extension. Try this exercise keeping the spine straight as you point and flex the foot first, and then add the extra spinal movement.

 

Previous articleWhy the zero waste movement is trending right now
Next articleWhy you should add a sunscreen mist to your arsenal
Growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney with a love of the outdoors, Georgia has always led an active lifestyle. She has a passion for health, fitness and fashion, and loves to travel and try new things. Along with her position at Sporteluxe, Georgia works as a fit model for global fashion brands including Bassike and Christopher Esber, combining her interest in fashion with her dedication to healthy living. She graduated from the University of NSW with a Bachelor of Media (PR and Advertising) and initially pursued the public relations field but was always drawn to journalism due to her love of reading and writing. For Georgia, life is about balance. She leads an active and fulfilled lifestyle and nourishes her mind and body but won't shy away from a burger and wine!