As Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, a lot of people are thinking about the love (or lack of love) in their romantic lives.
While V-Day isn’t as popular here in Oz as it is in places like America, I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk a little bit about the importance of showing love, not only to others, but to ourselves. I know, it sounds a little corny, but think about it; we cannot teach another how to fish if we do not know ourselves. When we take the time to really get to know and love ourselves, our lives begin to blossom in ways we never thought possible. Our relationships change, our workouts change, our bodies change–and not just in terms of what they look like.
We begin to actually feel the love inside of us.
When we love someone, we care for them as we would our dearest family members and friends. We protect ourselves, forgive ourselves, trust ourselves and truly nurture ourselves. As a result we find that those tense muscles begin to loosen, the short stressful gasps are replaced with deep, healing breaths and the fatigue-filled mornings make way for a renewed spirit that looks forward to seizing the day. Whether it be a diet, ending an unhealthy friendship or going after a tough fitness goal, positive change is so much easier when we feel we are worth the efforts, sacrifices and rewards that will follow the actions that can sometimes seem too scary to take.
This week, I want all of you to really think about the ways you treat and talk to yourselves. Think about the space you allow (or even force) yourself to live in. If you were to treat someone else the way you treat yourself, how do you think they would feel about you?
So, I have decided to do the impossible, folks. I have decided to make an attempt to stop drinking for an entire month. As in thirty days. As in 730.484 hours. As in no alcohol. Since I feel a public proclamation will aid in my success in this venture, I have decided to blog about my journey. Please find the entries for week one below (and check in every Tuesday to read about my progress).
My family and I celebrated early Christmas and my partner had a work function which meant my weekend went something like this: Roast Pork, potatoes, Christmas ham, wine, champagne, more wine, bread and more wine. My body feels. well, truly dusty. It’s only November, and well, silly season is truly upon us. With the endless Christmas parties and end-of-the-year celebrations, its easy to let things creep up on you. I have never taken an extended break from alcohol but I am feeling determined. My partners family is coming over for dinner tonight. This should get interesting.
Hump Day nearly killed me. After one hell of a day, I would have loved (loved) a glass of wine. Instead, I went to sleep at 9PM. Fortunately, a nice glass of wine and sleep are pretty much on the same desirable level for me.
I have to say, I am feeling pretty fresh over here (if I do say so myself). Again, I enjoyed lots of sleep and and didn’t have to teach until 9AM which is quite a late start for me. I woke up at 5:30AM still feeling well-rested. I am feeling pretty confident. Later Update: It all happened so fast, I swear. I met a friend at a cocktail bar before a movie on a very hot day and well, I failed. So many bad choices. I have to say that I did love that ice cold glass of riesling. Let’s see how the weekend goes…
Day #6 & 7
Ah (AKA Augh), my first booze-free weekend in quite some time. It’s not easy, but I’ve got an early morning Booty Barre class booked for 8am Sunday morning’s for the next month. Hopefully, that will steer me away from trouble. We shall see…
Have you ever done a month-long detox? Could you ever do one?
You Think: The equipment Looks Like Medieval Torture Devices, Or a Scene Out of Fifty Shades of Gray.
OK, I will admit that if you have never seen the equipment before, it can be intimidating. But, as with anything, knowledge is power. Once you get a solid overview and understanding of the mechanics behind each design (which a good instructor will share with you) you will see that the equipment is not there to bring harm (or kink), but there to support and challenge your body. You will then extend and bend into places you didn’t think you could go.
You Think: Why Does My Teacher Keep Poking and Prodding Me?
Many moons ago, I had a client who was an old golfing friend of my dad’s. Dad came into the studio to have a session, only to see me touching his mate Rodger’s arse. The horrified look on his face will forever be etched into my mind. The bottom line:Your instructor will often use hands on cues to get the muscles activating at the right time. As it can be quite hard to juggling all the mental cues in your head, your instructor’s hand are there to help guide the way.
You Think: It Is Quite Personal.
Even before you get moving, the initial questionnaire is pretty full-on. Asking about digestive issues, current exercise routine (note: most people lie in this section) and birthing processes. I recently had a client’s husband come in for his assessment the other day. He was very curious about the women’s-only section. He was specifically interested in a question relating to incontinence, which he did not understand. While it might be difficult to share certain items, the more open and honest you are, the more your instructor will know about you and your body —and the the more you are going to benefit from your sessions.
Were you intimidated in your initial sessions? If so, share your best advice for newbies below!
by Johanna May Irwin
These days, it seems that mostly everyone suffers from some kind of digestive discomfort. I am no exception. Having been diagnosed with IBS at the age of 12, I know all about bloating, believe me! Although my symptoms have eased over time thanks to dietary changes, cutting out all lactose, and reduced wheat, I still have a sensitive stomach.
The good news is that I have found that practicing Pilates really does ease my discomfort.
Here are three wonderful ways Pilates aids digestion.
Throughout class, you are instructed to breath laterally. This allows your lungs to fill up to their greatest capacity. Not only does deep breathing help relax the mind and body–anxiety and stress are directly related to digestive issues– but each deep breath stimulates the internal organs, including the heart.
When the heart gets going, circulation is increased and you get fresh blood coursing through the body. This carries oxygen and nutrients to every cell while also removing waste products. Deep breathing is your easiest and most available internal cleansing mechanism.
There is a strong abdominal focus in Pilates. This is important as the abdominal system supports the spine and the surrounding organs, including your digestive system. Thus these exercises activate the core which engages and increases blood flow around the area.
IBS sufferers often find themselves living with a closed front body, or poor hunched posture. Don’t get down on yourself if you can relate to this; this is a protective instinct. In every Pilates class you will work on extending your spine which will allow your abdominals to stretch out, and creates a sense of space in the area. This space is essential for digestive comfort and reducing bloating.
Do you suffer from IBS or another digestive disorder? If so, have you found refuge in Pilates? Share your story below.