FITNESS FOCUS: One Leg Circles This is one of the fundamental Pilates mat exercises. It is a great way to not only tone and stretch the inner thighs and legs, but also requires much focus. One Leg Circles require you to focus on engaging and strengthening the core muscles by using the breath. Flowing through the exercise with precision and control strengthens the core which anchors and stabilizes the body.
Steps for One Leg Circles:
Inhale and on the exhale, pull the navel to spine (imagine the ribs sliding down toward the hips) , anchoring the pelvis and shoulders. Extend one leg toward the ceiling. Do not lift your hip.
Keep a slight bend in the knee if your hamstrings are tight. It is more important that your hips stay stable and grounded on the mat than it is for your leg to be straight.
Inhale as you start to make a small clock-wise circle with the raised leg. Exhale as you complete the circle. Remember to lenthen the leg. Keep your shoulders and pelvis level, this is where the abdominal muscles get their work! Your hips should not rock off the floor. Use the exhales to sweep the leg up during the second part of the circle. Do 5-10 circles then reverse direction. Inhaling to start your circle, exhale to complete it. Switch legs.
You should feel a great deal of work in the leg and core abdominal area.
FAITH FOCUS: Just like this Pilates exercise tests our core strength, incidents in our lives sometimes test the strength of our CORE in Christ. These tests of faith require us to focus on God’s truths from His Word. In order to do this, we must engage our CORE in Christ by allowing the breath of the Holy Spirit to flow through us, centering and stabilizing our movements. Allowing God to control our movements with precision allows us to strengthen our CORE, our faith in Him.