COREconnection: ‘Tis the Season for….Advent Pilates?

I know what you’re thinking….”Really, exercise!?, now?…I barely have time for all of my holiday errands…and you want me to take time out for PILATES??!!”

Well folks, yes and no.  Yes I want you to do Pilates, No, I do not want you to take time out of your schedule to do it.  This busy time of year is the PERFECT time to practice the true essence of Pilates.  The original purpose of the Pilates movements were to build your strong core in order for you to move through your daily activities (that’s right, those things you already do!) with protection, support and efficiency.  This “everyday” use of your core muscles is called “Functional Pilates”.  Over the next few days and weeks, I will be giving you some “Functional Pilates” movements to incorporate into your busy holiday schedule.

Functional Pilates:  Standing In Line

While standing in those long lines to buy Christmas presents, why not practice your alignment?  Getting into proper alignment will help you breathe more efficiently, support and protect your body by engaging your core, plus, it will help your posture by keeping those shoulders back and down!

Here are the steps:

 Standing: feet in parallel, hip width apart, arms resting by your sides, shoulders pulled back and down (you are trying to hold a pencil between your shoulder blades).  Knees are soft and directly above the ankles, hips are level (imagine they are a bucket of water…don’t let the bucket spill out toward the front or back).  Stand up tall, lengthening through the back or crown of the head, like someone is pulling a string that runs down through the crown all the way to your tailbone.  (standing neutral spine)

Bonus Move:  If the line is REALLY long, here are some other Functional Pilates exercises:

 Lift up on your pelvic floor, do a few glute squeezes.

 Contract and draw up your stomach.  Inhale and lift up onto your toes, squeezing the inner thighs, glutes.  Exhale and lower the heels back to the floor for a  few calf raises.

Do you know that you can also practice Functional Advent?  Yep, that’s right, just like we can incorporate our fitness routine into our daily activities, we can also “exercise Advent” throughout the our busy schedules.

Here is a tip for Functional Advent Practice:

1.  Choose an Online Daily Advent Devotion. (Biblegateway.com has a good one!)  Write down the verse for the day and carry it with you.  As you stand in those long lines and work on your alignment, try meditating on that scripture.  Think about your wait in line as an opportunity for you to ponder this season of waiting, with expectation, the coming of the Christ child.

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