Pop-up Pilates Tutorial 3 – Meditative Breathing

As voted by you, the third online pop-up PILATES X MELISSA tutorial is on meditative breathing to calm the body and encourage sleep.  It will take place on Thursday 1 October at 1900.

This practical 30-minute session will guide you through a number of tension release and mindful breathing exercises, which you can take away and use to help manage stressful situations, reduce anxiety and encourage sleep.

Who the tutorial is suitable for

The session is suitable for everyone except those based in the US and Canada who for insurance reasons I’m unable to teach.  Apologies.

How will you benefit

The tension release and meditative breathing exercises when performed regularly can help:

  • improve lung function;
  • lower heart rate and blood pressure;
  • release tightness/holding patterns in the face, scalp, jaw and neck;
  • encourage greater movement of the diaphragm;
  • increase respiratory efficiency;
  • ensure the lungs and the cardio-vascular system are working together coherently;
  • improve your ability to focus.

How to get the most from this pop-up Pilates tutorial

Whilst the tension release and mindful breathing techniques can be done anywhere and anytime, it would be useful for this online session if you could:

  • attend from a quiet part of your home with low lighting.  Candlelight can be very calming;
  • wear comfortable clothes you can relax in, e.g. pyjamas;
  • have a duvet or blanket to hand to avoid getting cold;
  • minimise the chance of distractions, e.g. turn off your phone;
  • choose a comfortable chair or bed or have your Pilates mat ready on the floor.  The exercises can be done seated or lying down, whichever feels right for you on the day.

To attend this pop-up Pilates tutorial, please register here with Zoom. Once you have done so you will automatically receive a confirmation email from Zoom.  Please check your spam folder if it doesn’t arrive straight away in your inbox.  If you don’t receive this email you probably mistyped your email address so please re-register.  This Zoom confirmation email contains a link that only you can use to attend this tutorial. On the day of the session, 5-10 minutes before the start time just click on this link to join the tutorial.  The passcode for the session is embedded in the link but if for some reason you are asked to enter a passcode this is provided in the Zoom email.

Before the tutorial, if you’re using a tablet or mobile to take part you will need to download the Zoom App from the App store, which is free. If you’re using a laptop and want quick and smooth access to the session on the day, download Zoom Client for Meetings in advance and for free from their website. You don’t need any kind of Zoom account to attend my online classes and pop-up tutorials.

Please help me to help others by sharing details of this pop-up tutorial with any friends, family members and work colleagues you think might be interested in registering to attend.

The pop-up PILATES X MELISSA tutorials are free.  There is an option after the session to pay what the tutorial was worth to you or what you can afford.  I was very grateful to all those who contributed something after the last pop-up tutorial on the neck. How to make such a contribution, for those interested in doing so is explained in the confirmation email you will receive from Zoom after registering.

The Rest Test

Photo by Alison Brady

Rest is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for all ages. It rejuvenates your body and mind, regulates your mood, and is linked to learning and memory function. Not getting enough rest, on the other hand, can negatively affect your mood, immune system, memory, and stress level.

How good at resting are you?  Why not take the Rest Test and find out.  The Rest Test is designed to explore people’s attitudes and opinions towards rest and rest-related experiences. The reseachers want to take a snapshot of people’s resting habits.

The Rest Test was designed by Hubbub, an international team of social scientists, psychologists, neuroscientists, artists, humanities scholars, and public engagement experts who are in residence at the Hub at Wellcome Collection in London.

The questionnaire is split into two parts. The first part takes about 5-10 minutes. You will be asked some questions about your attitudes towards, and opinions of ‘rest’ and to give some demographic information.

After completing Part 1 of the questionnaire you’ll be asked if you’d like to continue to Part 2 – there is no obligation to do both parts, but if you do have the time to do both that would be of great benefit to the researchers.   Part 2 takes about 30-40 minutes and has more in-depth questions about rest and also some questions about yourself.

By completing the test, not only will you help the researchers understand more about rest, you’ll also be given an instant summary of the results from the first part of survey, which will allow you to see how your responses compare to those who have taken the questionnaire so far.  The results of the The Rest Test will be aired on BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind programme in 2016.

Here’s a link to the site where you can take the Rest Test.

Ballerina Project

Want to feel more rested and relaxed?  Here are a few tips which might help:

1. Make time to relax

As you do with a hair, dental or other self-care appointment, make relaxation a priority by blocking out time for it in your diary. Taking this time is especially important when you are feeling stressed and over-burdened, even if all you do in that time is take a leisurely walk round the block.

2. Follow a routine

Rather than waking up and immediately jumping into the day at high-speed or equally jumping straight into bed at night, follow a routine that allows you time to transition from one part of the day to the next. For example, consider waking up 10 minutes earlier and before turning on your TV, radio, computer or smartphone, take the time to do some simple Pilates exercises instead.

3. Give your mind a break

Relaxation isn’t only about resting your body—resting your mind is just as important. If you struggle with constantly worrying or stressing about certain concerns, write them down, put the list aside for a few days and then revisit them. Sometimes when we give our mind a break from certain thoughts, we return with greater clarity. Also, consider participating in an activity that requires your full attention, such as Pilates. This type of activity can give you a mental break by requiring you to be fully ‘in the moment’ both physically and mentally, leaving little time to think about your to-do list.

4. Try a relaxation technique.

Below are some 5-minute relaxation techniques that can be practised any time or place which you should find rejuvenating:

  • Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Put your hands on your abdomen and as you breathe in, let it expand like a balloon filling with air. As you exhale, slowly let the air out. You should feel your abdomen rising and falling as you breathe.
  • Try to raise your shoulders up to your ears for 5 seconds, and then let your shoulders drop. Then, one at a time, rotate each shoulder backward 5 to 10 times, and then together rotate them forwards 5 to 10 times.
  • In a relaxed position, close your eyes and breathe naturally. Think of the number one as you inhale.  Continue this for at least five minutes but try for 10 to 20 minutes. Any time your mind starts to wander, gently pull it back to thinking of the number one.

Rebecca Loyche