At the end of last month I attended a workshop on the use of Toning Balls and the Magic circle, (not to be confused with Tony Balls and the Magic Circle, which sounds like a great name for a cabaret act…) which I thoroughly enjoyed. Our teacher was the lovely Conchita del Campo who – with her wealth of knowledge and experience – took us through a ‘weighted’ toning ball session in the morning, followed by a blast of the Magic Circle (or Power ring) exercises in the afternoon (I certainly ached afterwards which is a sure sign that I worked several muscle groups!).
I loved working in her intimate studio and it was nice to converse with other Pilates instructors – all from very different backgrounds and with varying journeys in reaching the same destination as Pilates teachers.
We developed a few new exercises during the sessions which clarifies the beauty of Pilates being open to change and development. I will be incorporating some of these exercises so that you too can enjoy my learnings!
The most important thing that the workshop reminded me is the need, throughout the whole of our lives, to stay active and flexible – it is positive for both body and mind, and allows us to live life to the full. We were made to move, so lets do it!
Which leads us nicely on to this month’s exercise…The ‘Dart’:
This is another great exercise for that upper back posture. Like last months chest openings we will need this in these chilly months as we start to naturally hunch over in the cold weather.
Start by lying on your front (those with lower back niggles may find it more comfortable to place a small flat cushion or towel under the hips.) Place arms down by your sides with your palms facing down (Make sure your pubic bone and hips are pressing into the floor and your abdominal muscles remain lifted throughout.) Try really hard not to nod off at this point!
- Inhale – reach the arms back toward the feet.
- Exhale – lift arms to hip level, and lift chest, shoulders and head keeping the the eyes focused down to lengthen the back of the neck.
- [if you’ve got enough breath left, on the exhale rotate palms to face the floor and then back towards the ceiling.]
- Inhale – lower head, chest, shoulders and arms to the floor
Repeat this between 5 and 10 times, and then you’re free to have 40 winks!