From tired and stiff to energised with 2 moves

Feeling tired and stiff in your body? There are so many reasons why we feel like this. Lots of sitting, a level of background stress, lack of circulation to name a few. When I feel like this, it is overwhelming. It’s hard to get moving and I feel like I need a big workout to feel better. This means a lot of time, which I often don’t have! This can often add more stress, knowing that you can’t make the time for what you need, and the tiring cycle of stress continues! But I am a Pilates teacher so I have to find ways to get movement into my day. And I have learned that small moves can add up to give you big results.

In this blog we will explore what is going in our bodies (and minds) when we feel tired, stiff and sore and what we can do about it. Then we go into exercises you can do when you are feeling tired, stiff and sore to feel better quickly. We will discuss frequency and how to approach building a new habit and how to monitor your results over time, so you know you are feeling better!

Why am I tired, stiff and sore?

When we feel tired and stiff there are two major things going on. We aren’t getting enough blood circulation and we aren’t getting enough oxygen. The good news is we can change these two things in our bodies very quickly! And if you are not a person who loves to run up and down the stairs I have other ideas for you.

Shallow breathing is a major cause of tiredness during the day. If you are spending hours sitting at a desk, or in meetings, it is likely that your ribs are not moving much so your lungs are not expanding properly and you are not getting enough oxygen. When you are in this state going into high intensity exercise doesn’t necessarily move you into a deep breathing pattern, although it can. I prefer to include some specific rib mobility drills throughout my day or during my exercise warm up to get my deep breathing pattern back.

Lack of blood circulation can be another major cause of tiredness during the day. When our blood is moving more slowly around our bodies this in turn slows our lymphatic system. Pilates exercises are designed to maximise your circulation to clean your blood.

As a result, the bloodstream carries and discharges from your system more of the accumulated debris created by fatigue. Pilates exercises drive pure, fresh blood to every muscle fiber of our bodies, particularly to the very important capillaries which ordinarily are rarely ever fully stimulated once we reach adulthood.” Joseph Pilates, Return to Life.

There are a number of conditions that can contribute to chronic tiredness such as diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and adrenal fatigue to name a few. If tiredness is stopping you doing the things you love, see your doctor for a check up.

What to do about it – mindset

If you are battling with feeling tired, stiff and sore regularly then it’s worth taking a moment to acknowledge the mental strain of this. Our mind-body connection is present whether or not we are present to it. When we are caught up with ‘to do lists’, tasks, thinking through work issues or just overthinking things this can often impact on our breathing. Our breath is the most powerful way to reconnect to the present moment and to our bodies.

If you are in a habit of being over-busy, placing unreasonable demands on yourself to be super productive at work AND a great parent AND a good partner AND a good friend, then the best thing you can do is take a BREATH. I know it sounds simple, it is. Taking a moment to take a conscious breath is a powerful act. A breath brings you present in your own anatomy. A breath gives your blood what it needs to nourish your body. A breath expands your rib cage, taking pressure off your spine. A lot can happen with one breath.

The key mindset shift to know is

  1. Becoming present in your body is where you can turn your tiredness around.
  2. The beginning can be tiny (one breath) and still be effective.

What to do about it – movement

We know exercise is essential for physical and mental wellbeing. But what if you are not a huge fan of exercise? Or what if “exercise” feels like it will take too much time or require special clothes or be too hard or may cause injury. What if we swap out “exercise” for movement?

We all move everyday in all different kinds of clothes. Mostly though we don’t think about it. So what if you thought about taking moments in your day to move mindfully? That means you could do it in what ever you’re wearing. It could be short, as short as it needs to be and still help you feel less sore, tired and stiff.

When you sprinkle movement though your day it helps maintain your mind-body connection, it helps maintain your deep breathing pattern and it helps release tension. This all helps you to build strength through all your activities.

So if you are ready to move here are some ideas below, some are super subtle, some are an all over work out. There is one here you can do on a chair at your desk. Try them out and tell me your favourite. Each video has suggestions for different levels of mobility and strength.

Exercise 1 – Shoulder bridge / tendon stretch – spine stretch

This series give a few different levels. In all the exercises we are waking up the back of the body, particularly the back of the legs. Most of us spend a lot of time sitting and the front body get tight and the back body goes to sleep. This series is fantastic for balancing awareness and strength between the back body and the front body. This series also works the core muscles at the same time as the larger muscles of the arms and the legs. It’s an allover work out all at once. Keep your head lifted for tendon stretch variations. Enjoy…

Exercise 2 – Mermaid series

The mermaid series is an all time favourite Pilates exercise for many. It’s a lovely stretch that helps us to deepen our breathing. And it feels wonderful. The series presented here is modified to do on a chair so you can do it whilst working. It is also matched with a glute (or butt) stretch, because believe it or not a lot of sitting makes our glutes very tight. The more you can stretch them the better. Breathe deep with this one and let me know how it feels below in the comments.

How often do I need to move?

So, this should really be up at the top because it is important. Frequency matters! The more frequent the better. Humans have not evolved to sit still for hours at a time. Our bodies need to change positions regularly to maintain strength and flexibility. It is just as good (if not better) for your body to move mindfully for 6 lots of 5 minutes throughout the day than to do 30 minutes of exercise and sit for six hours straight.

This is where starting tiny comes in. It’s about training your brain to reconnect with your body often. Once you are wired to connect in with your body the moving will come more naturally. For more about starting tiny sign up below to join my FREE monthly ‘Tiny moves to feel good’ email coaching program.

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, Pregnancy and Post-natal Exercise Specialist, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online. To receive regular body wisdom sign up below.

You need to strengthen your gluteals?

So, you need to strengthen your gluteals (your butt). You may have a sore back, a sore hip, you may have mild incontinence, you may have sore knees. You may have gone to Chiropractor, Physiotherapist or Osteopath or even you GP has told you, you need to strengthen your gluteals. There are many reasons why you need to strengthen your gluteals. We will look at some anatomy and some common body patterns that cause weak gluteals and then cover simple exercises and alignment tips to get you started.

Why strengthen your gluteals?

Anatomy

Let’s start with some anatomy. The image below shows the 3 muscles that make up the gluteals. Each one has a slightly different function but of course they work together. Let’s start with gluteus minimus, it sits deeper than the other gluteal muscles and is responsible for abduction of the thigh (moving the legs apart) and hip stabilisation especially when supporting the body on one leg (eg whilst walking).

Next is Gluteus Medius, the front part is responsible for internal rotation of the thigh and the contraction of the whole muscle abducts the thigh (moves it away from the other leg). And last not not least Gluteus Maximus, responsible for hip extension (bringing each leg behind the body) and works with other muscles to externally rotate the hip. All three of these muscles have a role to play in maintaining optimal position for the pelvis in order to support the spine.

The Gluteus Maximus is also a bit special in that it provides the power for forward propulsion.

Strengthen your glutes with Pilates

Gluteus Maximus is the largest muscle in our body. And so, it is a muscle that has tremendous power. It is where we get our power for forward propulsion when we’re walking or running. If we aren’t using the glutes properly for this forward propulsion, we will be compensating with pressure through our knees, or using our quads, which then lead to tight quads and tightness in the front of the body.

Common signs you have weak gluteals

Common issues that emerge when the gluteals are weak are disc bulges, low back pain, mid back tightness, knee pain, shoulder pain and poor posture.

Compensations – Knees

When our gluteals are weak and tight, we have an increased risk of injury to our knees because often the front of our legs and our the muscles around our knees start to take on some of the work of the gluteals, this impacts on the knee joint requiring it to take much more pressure and load than it was designed to take. and the functioning of the joint, lower back injuries, much more common with people who have weak and tight gluteals.

Compensations – Back

If your core and lower abdominals are weak it likely that when you bend down to pick something up or sit down, you will unlock and bend through your spine, rather than at the pelvis and legs – see image below. This habit creates a gripping in the gluteals so the thigh bones cannot slide back in the hip socket and the gluteals get shorter and weaker.

Two images of a woman bending to pick something up

Pancake butt

The flattening on the bottom is often happening as a result of lack of core connection and strength. After childbirth many women have stretched out abdominals. As a result the gluteal muscles start to grip to take on the work of the deep abdominals and pelvic floor. This gripping tends to pull the pelvis into a posterior tilt (or tucked under position).

When glute muscles are gripping like this, it’s really hard for the muscles to lengthen, to get long to allow movement, but also to strengthen, because the gripping activity, makes them tight. This then tends to get exacerbated during menopause when there is some loss of muscle mass. This results in a further reduction of the gluteal maximus and an enlargement of the gluteal medius and you end up with a very flat or non existent butt.

What to do about weak gluteals?

When, when I’m working with correcting these kind of patterns in the body. There’s always three ways that I go about it.

1) Releasing tension

2) Building strength with correct alignment

3) Muscle lengthening to allow optimal pelvic and femur positioning

It’s good to understand what’s going on in your body. So ask some questions. Do you have a gripping pattern that’s going on? You can also assess if you in a pelvic tilt or tuck, take a photo of yourself from the side just standing normally and assess you posture.

To release, lengthen and strengthen your gluteals at home, here are some suggestions and ideas.

Release tension in your gluteals

You could get a tennis ball, look at doing some knee drops with the tennis ball under the outside of the hip.

This video shows how to release tension in your gluteals using a tennis ball.

Strengthen your gluteals

Lengthen your gluteals

You could do some pull backs to assess your gluteal length by observing the position pelvis in relation to your legs as you pullback.

This video shows a simple pullback to assess your gluteal length and to gluteal length, pelvic positioning and femur placement.

Lengthen your gluteals
Lengthen your gluteals

If you find that you have tight, short gluteals by doing the pullbacks then try this classic gluteal stretch that is done lying down so your pelvic position and spine is supported.

Lengthen your gluteals
Classic gluteal stretch

Another classic gluteal stretch.

Lengthen your gluteals
Lengthen your gluteals

Strengthen your gluteals

The two videos below show bridges and clams, both are common exercises for gluteal strengthening. The videos cover common mistakes people make with their alignment when doing these exercises and how to correct these.

Strengthen your gluteals
Bridges to strengthen your gluteals
Strengthen your gluteals
Clams for gluteal strength

The exercises above are both done whilst lying down. We need our gluteals to be functioning and firing when we are upright and when we are load bearing. Once you get the gluteals firing and you can sense them working in these positions try some hip hinges which prepare us for everyday movement where you need your gluteals to be showing up.

The thing to remember with gluteal strengthening and lengthening is that our lifestyles really work against us on this. The more sitting in chairs, cars, sitting to watch TV all mean that your gluteal muscles are pretty much asleep. Whereas the front of your legs are tightening up, the glutes are wasting away when you’re sitting down.

If you lack core strength and lower abdominal strength then you may be gripping your gluteals whilst standing. The gluteals end up being tight and weak and short, which does nothing for your posture, or your power.

Follow the protocol above, assess your posture, release tension, lengthen and then strengthen. Do this for at least 3 weeks at least 4 times a week for 10 – 20 minutes each time and notice the change in your body! I look forward to hearing what you discover.

10 Tips to stay active in the school holidays

10 tips to stay active during the school holidays. I know what it’s like when the school holidays come around my schedule gets thrown sideways. It’s just that much harder to get me time. I know that as a mom, I really need that time to connect with my body, and stay feeling strong. And so I want to give you guys tips, and so I’ve learned a few things about school holidays, and staying connected to my routine, and my body. And I want to share these things with you.

Tip 1 Get up earlier than they do!

I know this is hard, but I find that when I’m up earlier than my kids. I’m able to get a little bit of quiet time. This isn’t often exercise time, often it’s meditation time. It’s a moment to breathe, and connect with my body, and find my equilibrium, before I have to help somebody else find theirs.

Tip 2 Morning dance parties!

When they get up start cranking the tunes. Everyone can have a boogie as they get breakfast into them and then the day is looking good no matter what the weather. What I love about this tip is there is no explaining or bargaining to be done, let the music do the talking for you.

Tip 3 Play running games with the kids

Not everybody is up for running, but you can make this fun. A game of tag can be a bit more interesting when you’ve got a tea towel, tucked into the back of your pants and you’ve got to chase the other person’s tail, so a little bit less running involved it’s a bit more pivoting, and everybody gets a good workout. And there’s a lot of giggles, at the same time.

Tip 4 Bum walking races

I love a good bum walk, you can check out this video. Kids love a good bum walk race or some littler ones will prefer to bum shuffle, you pick a point on the floor and you race each other this is a great all out workout. It’s going to help your lower abs really connect with your core, help your obliques, and some of your hip function.

Tip 5 Movement flow jar

Get a little pack of activity cards that have different yoga poses or Pilates poses on them, put them in a jar and play a game where you pick them out, and this can be the flow of your little movement session. You can set a timer for five minutes, and pick out five little poses from the jar, and do a little yoga session together. What is really great about this is that the kids can be the teacher, and they can teach you the movement flow that they pull out of the jar.

Tip 6 Get a good chase toy

Find a fun running chasing toy for the holidays so it might be a new frisbee or Boomerang, or just a really great ball. These toys are just so fun to take to a big wide open space and experiment with and get everybody moving.

Tip 7 Play ‘tickle monster’

Depending on how old your kids are the old tickle monster game is a very great way to get the blood moving and get the good endorphins flowing. So this involves being a tickle monster and tickling the little ones, and then in return they become the tickle monster and come and tickle you. I think the rest is self explanatory.

Tip 8 Beach stick drawing

When walking on the beach with my young kids I always found it really a bit hard to get them to walk on the beach. My little boy loves to just stay in one spot and make sandcastles. So to get him walking, I would get big stick and draw a line in the ground and he would have to follow the line. Sometimes I would put little dashes and he’d have to jump from dash to dash, zigzags, spirals etc. so it gets really crazy and of course they love to take the stick and draw the line for you. For me it’s a great way to get up the beach and get moving.

Tip 9 Rolling, rolling, rolling

Stay active in the school holidays and get a good little activity mat and do some forward rolls, teach the kids how to do a forward roll. You can do what they call pencil rolls where you’re rolling on your side. Also, that’s also really great to do on a grassy hill. And you can come into some really simple circus balances, where you. Check out these amazing tutorials for fun at home from Circus Kids Australia.

Tip 10 Circus toys

Pick up some hula hoops and juggling balls from the cheap shop and have a hula hoop competition. Hula hooping is great exercise, and really fun for everyone. Hot Tip, the bigger the hula hoop the easier it is to get it swinging around your hips.

I hope that these 10 tips have given you an idea of how to stay dynamic and active in the school holidays, share that with the kids, and keep your own peace of mind.

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online. To receive regular body wisdom sign up below.

Post-natal movement & Pilates

Which manual therapy is best for me? Osteopathy

If you have ever wondered which manual therapy would be best for your body, this series of blogs is for you. Today we will explore Osteopathy, what is it? How is it similar to other manual therapies and how is it different? I sat down with Dr Andy McLeod and Dr Sarah McCahon from Foundation Health in East Ballina to explore the philosophy and benefits of Osteopathy.

What drew each of you to Osteopathy?

Andy: Personally, it took me a while to find osteopathy but I was always curious by nature. I was always intrigued to understand how the body moves, how it healed. In general, I was always very attracted to working with people. So it took me a while to find the right career or the right, devotion, I traveled a lot.

I spent five to eight years traveling the world to really learn about myself. And that was the key, really knowing my skill set, realising I was meant to work with people. I’m really good at a one on one situations, I connect really well. I know how to engage with people. Having knee injuries from soccer, different surfing injuries, and I was amazed at the speed and the ease that my body would recover when I saw an osteopath.

Then I had a knee injury from dancing at a music Festival. Would you believe it? And I did all this rehabilitation and all this Osteopathy and my knee hasn’t given me any grief since so this gave me an insight into Osteopathy. And I trained up it took me four or five years. And then eight, nine years down the track here I am loving it every day.

Sarah: I was always very heavily into netball, six, seven days a week doing all sorts of academies and state competitions, trying to get to that top level. And I was pretty lucky, not having too many injuries until I started really ramping up the level I was playing at and started having lots of problems with my hips, And I think I actually saw a few different practitioners, Physiotherapists and Chiropractors but nothing was really helping. And it kind of just felt like there was more to it. And didn’t feel listened to, I suppose.

My parents would always tell me about when I was a kid of about 18months old and I wasn’t walking and talking properly. They took me to an Osteopath with really great results. So eventually I went back as a teenager and got to the bottom of my injury. I felt very guided by Osteopathy through this.

What training is involved in being an Osteopath?

Andy: You complete a Bachelor of Clinical Science with a Masters of Osteopathic Medicine. This takes 4 or 5 years depending of the University. From the third or fourth year we are treating in the clinic with real clients under the supervision. It’s a lot of physiology, a lot of anatomy, a lot of case studies. We dive into the pathology of all diseases to understand our scope of practice. If it’s outside our scope we know when to refer on.

Sarah: The philosophy of Osteopathy is always in the forefront of our mind. So that we can not only know when to refer but also know when maybe there’s more than just what’s going on in the musculoskeletal system. Because the body is all connected, and that’s one of our philosophies. That’s how we tie in to the holistic nature of Osteopathy.

How is Osteopathy similar and different to other manual therapies?

Andy: All manual therapies have a process of assessment to determine the treatment. With an osteopath, our examination and our treatment occur the same day. So when you come in to see us, after the physical exam we do the orthopaedic and neurological examinations, and then we take the case history, and then we do our assessment.

Osteopathy is a hands on therapy. We use our hands to assess the asymmetry, we determine the range of motion, we determine the texture of the tissue, the tension, and then we put all these little clues together to try to work out why you’re having that pain.

Once we understand why you’ve got the pain we move into the treatment. There might be a little bit of variety between practitioners because we apply the philosophy. And it’s the art of that philosophy, which for every practitioner is different. The goal is to try to understand why the patient has the pain, and then we apply our techniques as treatment.

What is the ‘philosophy of Osteopathy’?

Sarah: Osteopathy was founded in the 1870’s by Andrew Taylor Still. There are four principles that Osteopathy is based around:

The body has its own self healing and regenerative capabilities, so the body can adapt. It’s got incredible power to be very resilient, and adapt to many situations.

The body is a unit – describing the interconnectedness of the entire body. One part of the body influences another. This is why Osteopaths consider more than the musculoskeletal system, we’re looking at the psychosocial elements, the behaviours, the visceral systems, as well as metabolic activity, things like that.

Then we get into structure and function being reciprocally related, our structures directly relate to function in the bodies and function directly relates to structure.

And then we start getting into rational treatment being based on integrating these three principles.

Andy: I think that a lot of people are not taught through modern medicine that the body can heal itself, given the right environment. So our goal as Osteopaths is to have this philosophy within us. It requires us to remove the obstacles, improve the range of motion, this requires our work, we facilitate this work. But the true healer is the body, we just facilitate it.

Some people run around saying “I’m a healer”, no , the body’s the healer, we always come back to the body, because it’s the body that has the magic, we just help this process. We let the body find that balance, because that’s what it needs to restore function and restore health.

MTN: Joseph Pilates had a similar respect for the body. He would say that “the body will teach itself”. Given the right environment and movement patterns.

Is there anything Osteopathy is particularly good at treating?

Andy: A wide variety. Often we get clients come in and they say, ‘you really helped me with my knee do you do feet?’Or ‘ you’ve helped me with my shoulder, but I’ve got this headache. Can you help me with that?’ My answer for that question is we treat the whole body from top to toe. We look at everything. And we try to understand why and get to that root cause of why you’re getting that pain.

MTN: And so where are the points where you refer on.

Sarah: We always have our scope in our mind. So we will look at how psychosocial and behavioural factors that can influence the body and manifest in the body. We can give encouragement in areas, but in terms of treating elements that might be more down that path that’s out of our scope.

If we believe someone needed extra help managing anxiety, that’s where we it’s out of our field. We would work together with a team of professionals and try and get the best referral possible and keep in contact with the patient to make sure they are on track.

Andy: We are involved in a lot of team care arrangements with the GP. So we get referred three or four sessions for certain conditions that are are under our scope. And sometimes they’re referred to psychologist or dietitians, exercise physiologists or Pilates instructors. You might have this recurrent hip pain or bursitis. We as osteopath can help that but say your opposing hip is quite weak. We’ve told you to do the exercises but you’re not , we’re all busy. We understand that so we suggest, work with this professional. That’s going to help you maintain your gains.

We’re open to referring to lots of different practitioners. It all comes down to what the clients comfortable with and what will work for them.

When is the best time to see an Osteopath?

Andy: If you have an injury, and that problem is not addressed, the body will start compensating. So what that means is, for example, a part of your hip is restricted with that movement. So what the body does, is it compensates, so we’ll use another part of your body to do that job. And it’s so intelligent that it can still get by, by not using that part as efficiently as it can. And over time, chronic pain sets in.

So generally, we like to as soon as people feel pain and the treatments are about helping people understand their body. It’s really better not to leave it for months, this is when things can become acute injuries. Assess things early.

Sarah: I think the tricky thing with the body being so incredible and being able to heal and being able to compensate is that I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding. If people have acute injuries, for example, your body will heal. And so often they put it off a little bit, and then you get to your four to six weeks or six to eight weeks afterwards and pain free and they think I’m pain free, I’m fine. Everything’s fine and then a few months down the road everything flares back up again.

Andy: If you are feeling suboptimal when you feel lethargic, or you feel like brain fog, or you feel like your system isn’t working efficiently this is the time to see an Osteopath. You might have pain, this is like little clues along the way. And once we teach people how to be sensitive to that, we can teach them how to manage that within their own world.

This helps people to avoid a chronic pain cycle. The world’s at a knife edge with chronic pain, people that are on prescription medication and not addressing the core root of it. Education is the biggest part, teaching people about their body, teaching them about their health. So they can leave and move better.

Andy and Sarah are Osteopaths at Foundation Health in East Ballina, NSW. They are open 6 days a week, you can book appointments via their website www.foundationhealth.com.au

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online. To receive regular body wisdom sign up below.

Post-natal movement & Pilates

Tight body or muscle tension? Try these tips!

Do you suffer muscle tightness? Do you feel tight all over? There is a big difference between being tight and being strong. In fact when your body is tight, it can be difficult for your muscles to strengthen. This article explains the difference between muscle tightness and fascia tightness, both of which contribute to a tight body and then includes 6 tips to reduce all over body tension.

Muscle tightness or fascia tightness?

Our muscles are intimately connected to our fascia. Fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fibre and muscle in place. Fascia has nerves that make it almost as sensitive as skin, when it is stressed it tightens up.

Muscles attach via tendons and ligaments to our bones and move them. In a horse and cart analogy, the bone is the cart, the tendon is the attachment to the horse and the muscle is the horse.

It can be difficult to work out if your tightness is due to muscle tightness or fascia tightness and the two do impact on each other.

Tip 1 Become aware of where you are gripping

This is probably the hardest one to do. We have to be aware of our our bodies to notice where our muscles are gripping. Common gripping patterns occur in our gluteals or bottom, our lower back, our pec muscles at the top of the chest and our ribs pulling down at the front.

When you notice your muscles gripping make a conscious, relaxed effort to let go. If you notice you are gripping, you relax and then minutes later you’re gripping again, this is a gripping pattern. Our bodies develop a gripping pattern when other muscles are not working effectively, so the body compensates to get stability by gripping with other muscles. Seek help from a qualified movement teacher (Pilates or Yoga) or a manual therapist (Physiotherapist or Osteopath) to release gripping muscles and learn to recruit the right muscles for the job.

Being curious towards your body and which muscles are working or gripping can go along way to finding your own alignment and relaxing your muscles. Awareness is the first step.

Tip 2 Hydrate!

 Drink at least 1.5 L of water a day. Unless you have issues with your kidneys which means you need less water then get to this volume each day. Hydrated muscles are less tight and able to work better to build strength. Start in the morning with a couple of glasses and make this a habit throughout the day to enjoy less tension in your muscles.

Drinking water helps your cells, muscles and connective tissue (fascia) stay hydrated. Tight muscles and muscle cramps can be a sign of dehydration.

Make it part of your routine to drink water throughout your day.

Tip 3 Move enough each day

If you are suffering from a tight body, enough movement each day will be at least 30 minutes per day. This doesn’t need to be all at once but at least 10 minutes of movement at least 3 times through the day is the bare minimum.

Most of us are under moved. We just don’t get enough movement for our physiology. Too much sitting or staying in one position for too long contributes to muscle and fascia tightness.

The easiest movement for most people to get is walking, but it could be Pilates, Yoga or sport that you love. The more variety the better. And of course there is always dancing around the lounge room, one of my favourite movement snacks.

Tip 3 Boost your magnesium

Magnesium can reduce muscle cramping and tightness particularly due to hormonal fluctuations during your cycle and coming into perimenopause.

Muscles that don’t have enough magnesium can’t properly relax and this can cause cramping. Low magnesium can create a build up of lactic acid, usually associated with post workout pain and tightness. Magnesium is part of long term muscle growth and strength.

Natural ways to boost your magnesium is to include green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, brown rice, avocado, beans, raw cacao, endamame and seaweed in your diet.

Always seek advice from your doctor before starting supplements.

Tip 4 Use a muscle release tool regularly

A muscle and fascia release tool is usually made from wood or rubber, in a shape that is easy massage muscles into.

My favourite muscle and fascia release tool is the Markalu which includes six domes so you can grade the pressure as you get used to it. They are also are magnetic so you can use them standing up against a fridge or filing cabinet.

Any rubber ball either smooth or with ridges can do wonders for example tennis ball. For tight legs and bottom lie down on your back with your knees up, souls of feet to the floor. Place the tennis ball under one butt cheek, then drop that knee gently out to the side (towards the floor) and up again. Repeat about 12 times and then do the other side.

Releasing through your feet brings benefits all over your body.

Standing on one leg (close to a wall to help with your balance if you need) bring your other foot onto the tennis ball and roll from the ball of you foot to your heel and back about 10 times. Then bring the ball back under your heel and stand on it, then move the ball forward just in front of your heel and stand on it again, then move it forward to the middle of your arch and stand on it again until you bring the ball over the ball of your foot to your toes. Transferring your weight (standing on the ball) at different points on your foot. Notice how different your foot feels now! And then do the other side.

The key word here is regularly! Doing this once might feel nice but it won’t make much of a difference. Put your muscle and fascia release tool somewhere you will see it, next to where you watch TV or where you wait for the kettle to boil. Take a few minutes to release tight areas twice a day for at least two weeks to start to feel the difference.

Beware of rollers for muscle release, the they can sometimes be too strong and end up aggravating muscles and tight Facsia.

Tip 5 Less passive stretching

 Passive stretching is when you have no load on your muscle and you try and lengthen them, for example touching your toes. Static stretching can actually engage the reflex in the muscle to contract rather than lengthen to protect the muscle and for an already tight body this is no good. Instead, experiment with lengthening your muscles under load.

Pilates equipment is a specially designed to lengthen muscles whilst under load easily. If you are using weights in the gym you may need to consult a professional to help you find how to lengthen your muscles whilst loading them. This develops strong, long muscles that support your bones. Well worth the technical effort.

If you are a fan of passive stretching consider these suggestions.

  1. Be meticulous with your alignment and understand the joint positions you need to get to achieve the length you want.
  2. Go gently. You will never force a muscle to lengthen, you may coax a muscle to release if it is well hydrated and relaxed and the alignment is just right.

Tip 6 Breathe Deep

 Breath will help relax your muscles and fascia. Using breath with muscle and fascia release and active stretching will improve your ability to respond to the load and therefore help you build strength faster. Breath also brings the mind into the body promoting body awareness and mindful movement helping to reduce injury and calm the nervous system. Breathing into areas of the body that are tight can help them release and let go. And can over time change a gripping pattern. Your breath is underestimated as a tool for muscle and fascia relaxation, use it, it’s free.

A tight body from muscle and fascia tightness is not the worst thing to have, but it can be uncomfortable and lead to things like tension headaches and poor posture. The tips in this article are pretty simple everyday things you can do to release tension regularly. Of course there are a bunch other ways such as laughing until you cry, making love and swimming in the ocean but these are not available to everyone everyday.

Developing a relationship with your body where you are listening to what your body needs and responding is the gold standard for managing your all over body tension day to day.

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online. To receive regular body wisdom sign up below.

A woman with good balance is unstoppable

An older woman with good balance is unstoppable. You know it’s true. As we age our balance can deteriorate for a number of reasons. This can reduce our body confidence and stop us maintaining and building strength. There are many factors that contribute to the balance system and lots of things to consider when wanting to improve your balance. This article will outline the systems in the body that contribute to good balance and then cover ideas for working to improve your balance at home and in a Pilates studio.

What makes good balance?

Having good balance relies on three senses in the body operating well and interacting together, these are:

Visual – what we can see

Proprioception – our perception of where each part of our body is in space

Vestibular – how our head is sitting in space and our head righting response in relation to gravity

When one of these senses is not functioning well or is compromised the others tend to compensate. The sense that tends to suffer most as people age is proprioception. As we move less and take on less physical activity the brain has less input as to where each of joints are in space. The more time we spend sitting, the less we activate the pathways to the brain from each of our joints moving through space.

We begin to rely more and more on the visual system which is intimately linked to the vestibular system via the vestibular ocular reflex or the ability of our eyes to focus as we move our head. The trouble is that our visual system can also deteriorate as we age.

It is easier to stimulate the proprioception system than to repair the visual system. For this reason it is important not to rely too much on the visual system for balance. And that is where targeted movement and exercise can develop proprioception and muscle strength to improve balance. Strength on its’ own is not enough to improve balance, improving proprioception is essential.

How to improve your balance – a four step approach

If we take what we know about the senses of the body that contribute to good balance and combine this with an understanding of body mechanics there are a number of things you can do to improve your balance. Many of these can be done at home and some will require specific equipment and guidance in a Pilates studio.

Step 1 – Foot strength

Our feet are our foundation and when you want to improve your balance this is the place to start. We love to overlook our feet (literally!) because they are right under our noses and it is so obvious they are important for our movement. But our feet are often not what we want them to be. Usually our feet spend most of there time in shoes, they lose there agility to cope with different surfaces.

The very act of wearing shoes, makes our feet, weaker. So, to build balance, we start from the foundation. Yes, I want you to kick off your shoes and spend more time barefoot. If this causes you pain you may need to seek some advice and support for this. But generally, spending a little more time each day, bare feet will bring you great benefits for your balance.

This is a great exercise for our feet, that helps bring back some of the suppleness, articulation of the many joints in the feet, and pliability to your feet.

Pilates for balance

Fingers through toes

Bring one foot to the opposite knee and thread your fingers through your toes. This may be quite difficult and painful, so go gently. You can then lift and drop your toes.

Step 2 – Hip strength and alignment

Hip strength and alignment is directly related to our feet, when our feet are weak or not able to respond to the terrain, our hips immediately compensate to find and create stability for our body. This results in tight and immobile hips. This is why we started with the feet, the exercises in the feet will then support your alignment of your hips.

One of the key things to improve your balance is hip alignment or more specifically the position of our thigh bones in our pelvis. When we are in heeled shoes this pushes the top of our thigh bones (femur heads) forward in our hip. This makes it more difficult for us to use our bottom muscles and the backs of our legs. This can cause real strain on hips, and issues for posture, over time.

Once you are able to get your thigh bones to slide back in your pelvis you will begin to feel your muscles in your bottom and the back of your legs working harder. The first place to start is with the hip crease. This is called a foundational movement because it is a foundation for living. They’re also called functional movements, because we use them every day for usual functions getting down and up from the toilet getting down and up from chair, bending to pick something over from the floor.

Practicing getting your thighs to slide back in your pelvis will help you maintain healthy strong hips and they will be a strong foundation for your balance. When the feet are doing their job to respond to the terrain and thighs are rolling well in the hip joint, then the back of your body can be as active as the front of your body when it comes to your balance.

Here is a great exercises for encouraging the femur heads or the top of your thigh bones to slide and roll back in the hip joint.

Pullbacks

Start on your hands and knees, hands under shoulders knees under hips with a long spine. Draw you bottom back to your heels without bending or buckling your spine. Repeat 15 – 20. Go slow to make sure you are not bending your spine. If you do make the movement smaller to keep your spine long. This encourages the top of your thigh bone to glide back in your hip joint.

Step 3 – Core muscles

core muscles strength and coordination is a key part of balance. It is the part that a lot of people focus on to the exclusion of all else. In my approach to balance core strength is just one key part of improving your balance.

When I talk about core muscle strength for balance. I don’t mean a great six pack. What I mean is, being able to activate the very deepest abdominal muscles to stabilise your bones (your skeleton).

Practicing this very deep, stability, doesn’t come from doing a lots and lots of sit ups or ab crunches or exercises that are in a typical gym workout. These smaller stabilising muscles need exactly the right load, and to be in the right position to be activated.

This is why we look at alignment from the feet to the hips and into the core, but also why we work, gently with the load, because if you overload these muscles, they stop working, and the big muscles take over. And when that happens you lose the deep and subtle ability to stabilise your skeleton.

Here is an exercise that will teach you core coordination or how to coordinate your core muscles with your breath. We use the breath, initially to teach the sensation of the core muscles firing. And then as you get more comfortable with that you can do the core firing independently of the breath which is ultimately where you want to be.

This exercises may feel very easy although there is a lot to think about. They’re not the sort of muscles that will give you a deep burn straightaway. This is a more subtle sensation than that. And it is the subtlety that allows you to develop better control of your deep muscles to stabilise your skeleton and improve your balance.

Knee drop

Lying on your back, soles of the feet to the floor, knees bent, neck and head relaxed. Drop on knee out to the side, do not let it drop all the way to the floor. You want to keep your pelvis still while you move the knee. If you feel your pelvis tip as you drop your knee, make the movement smaller until your pelvis can sty still while you drop your knee. Repeat on both sides 15 -20. Go slowly and move with intention and control.

Step 4 – Neck strength and head alignment

In our current lifestyle we spend a lot of time in front of screens or driving cars. It is very common for people to develop forward head posture, this is where your chin, and head starts to slide forward of your body, and the back of your neck needs to become very strong and often quite tight to stabilize your head.

When people take this into an exercise setting, often they continue to hold this forward head posture. Sometimes they’ll get a sore neck from that, but often they are trying to strengthen their neck. To reverse forward head posture we need to strengthen the front of the neck, the deep cervical flexors, in the front of the neck, rather than the sternocleidomastoids that attach the back of the skull to the sternum and collarbones at the front.

Strengthening the front of the neck will re-align your head over your spine, it will take some of the pressure off your upper back and shoulders. This will mean you won’t have the weight of your head pulling you forward and making it more difficult to balance.

Here is an exercise to strengthen the cervical flexors at the front of your neck and some cues or ways to remember about how you are holding your head throughout the day.

Pilates for balance

The head hover

Lie on your back, soles of the feet on the floor and knees bent, head and neck relaxed. Bring one hand to the top pf the back of your head and grab your hair (if you have it!). Pull the top of your head gently with your hand as you tuck your chin, tuck it as deeply as you can. Begin to gently hover your head only about an inch off the floor on each exhale, keep tucking your chin as deeply as you can. The back of your neck should feel relaxed, the front of your neck should feel like it is working. If you get tight and sore in the back of the neck STOP. Do about 8-10.

Now challenge your balance!

Once you have explored some of the exercises from each of the steps above, you can challenge your balance. Start by standing on one leg, if this is easy close your eyes. If this is easy come into a deep squat and come on to one leg and close your eyes! Let me know how you go!

I will be running a COMMUNITY BALANCE CHALLENGE in July where we all get to work on our balance together on Facebook. Don’t miss out on this! Sign up below to hear more.

Post-natal movement & Pilates

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online. To receive regular body wisdom sign up below.

5 Reasons to rebuild core strength gently after baby

When you want to rebuild core strength, especially after having a baby, it can be tempting to go hard. You know, boot camp hard. Intense cardio activity mixed with high reps of challenging abdominal exercises. That’s how you build strength right? Well, wrong. This might be how you go about burning some calories but building strength takes a more focused approach.

To really rebuild core strength and regain spinal stability the best way is gently. Gently doesn’t mean easy. Gently means with awareness. And there are so many benefits:

Core strength and alignment

When you are rebuilding core connection and strength it is really important that you are working the muscles that you want to be working. This is why correct alignment is key to building strength. If you are out alignment it is likely that other muscles are compensating for the muscles you are really trying to get strong. This means you are reinforcing those patterns in your body. When you are pushing yourself in a hard cardio routine, it is very difficult to check your own alignment.

Breathe to rebuild core strength

When we are pregnant there are some things that get moved around internally to accomodate the baby! Our ribs widen, our abdominals stretch, sometimes to the point of non engagement, the position of our pelvis can change. When the baby is out these things don’t always bounce back. All these changes can ultimately change the way we breathe and the functioning of our pelvic floor, leaving us with a shallow breathing pattern that fails to connect to deep abdominals.

To rebuild core strength focus on reestablishing a deep breathing pattern can help to engage your deep abdominals, get your diaphragm and rib cage working again and can return natural function of your pelvic floor. This approach can help with stress incontinence, lower back and hip pain and tight and painful neck and shoulders.

Getting the load right

Once you have established a great deep breathing pattern you can begin to load your abdominals whilst keeping a close eye on alignment. Learning to feel your own spinal alignment and ways to fire your deep abdominals is something you can take into all your movement everyday. And let’s face it, being a mum there is a lot of lifting , twisting and running!

Adding load gently helps you to target the right muscle groups without other muscles jumping in to help. This means your core gets stronger more quickly. If you overload your core, other areas jump in like your neck and shoulders, leaving you with a sore neck. Or your butt muscles will clench and grip rounding your spine, leaving you with a very tight mid back.

Moving with awareness and going more gently helps to be more targeted with your efforts to get better, results faster.

Avoid prolapse and continence issues

About half of all women who have had a child have some level of prolapse, and 1 in 3 women who have had a child suffer from some level of incontinence (The Continence Foundation of Australia).

Using the approach outlined above, reestablishing a deep breathing pattern, learning your own optimal alignment and gradually increasing load will help to avoid stress incontinence and prolapse. These are great reasons to start gently and work up to a more strenuous routine.

Enhance sexual function

Reconnecting with your pelvic floor muscles after giving birth can enhance your sexual experience and confidence. Your pelvic floor is part of your deep core, and a healthy pelvic floor increases blood flow and sensation. A healthy pelvic floor is not a “tight” pelvic floor. Learning to relax and lengthen your pelvic floor in addition to contraction = a better orgasm.

A strong centre (360 degree core) helps with all the positions. Better breath helps distribute oxygenated blood through your body, reducing stress and increasing feelings of euphoria. A strong core helps you stand taller, which results in more confidence. Strong, flexible hips help with everything! Oh also one more point, body fat stores oestrogen and healthy levels of oestrogen increase sexual desire so hang onto some of that baby weight.

Let’s just say your hard core workouts to get back your pre-baby body and six-pack abs can’t do all that!

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online. To receive regular body wisdom sign up below.

Post-natal movement & Pilates

Neck pain from exercise? Never again!

Do you get neck pain from exercise? There is nothing more frustrating than doing your workout and then having a sore neck for a few days afterwards.

The worst things about getting a sore neck after exercise is it means that your neck is probably compensating for your core muscles. This means they didn’t work as well as they could have. Also having a sore neck means that your neck was out of alignment when it was working so it isn’t getting stronger either. It’s just getting tighter.

See what I mean? Frustrating right! If getting a sore neck after exercise is normal for you, you might not believe that it is possible to work really hard without getting a sore neck. I used to think that because I often used to get a sore neck after any exercise. I know what it feels like!

It wasn’t until I went through my Pilates teacher training that I learnt proper technique to align my neck. It was a revelation to me! And now I know that it is completely unnecessary to get neck pain from exercise I make sure my clients know how to work hard and look after their neck at the same time.

How to reduce neck pain from exercise:

1. Self Assess:

What is your posture like? Take a photo of your self from the side standing in a relaxed position. Does your ear line up with your shoulder or is it more forward? Do you have forward head posture that looks anything like the image below? I love this image because it demonstrates the additional weight the upper back has to carry the further forward the head is.

Neck pain and Pilates
Neck pain and posture

2 Chin tuck – long neck

If you have regular neck pain after exercise it is likely you have some forward head posture going on. You can see from the image above that the further forward your head the harder the front of the neck has to work to support your head. The true job of the muscles at the front of the neck (cervical flexors) is to contract to tuck the chin and lengthen the back of the neck.

To practice a good chin tuck, lay down on the floor with you knees bent and soles of the feet on the floor. Place a small towel roll under the curve in the back of your neck, this is simply to support your neck to rest with it’s natural curve, do not prop the head up to tuck the chin. Ensure the back of your head is still on the floor. Then proceed to tuck the chin down toward the chest, leaving the back of the head on the floor, lengthening the back of the neck as much as possible. Practice this twice a day for at least 1 minute.

3 Neck and head hover

Once you are comfortable with the chin tuck you can progress to the head hover. This progression is to continue to find the deep chin tuck and then hover the back of the head off the floor ONLY 1 CM! This is hover not a chest lift, and the low hover is designed to strengthen the deep neck flexors at the front of the neck. So if you lift too high you will miss them altogether. See this video for more information. Add these head hovers to your twice daily practice of your chin tucks.

These exercises begin to teach the bones in your neck to re-align themselves so the right muscles can start working. If you are practicing twice daily you will start to feel improved alignment in other positions like sitting and standing. Allow your chin to tuck more and lengthen through the back of your neck.

Then you can bring this awareness in as you exercise. If you do you chest lifts and sit ups you can start with the chin tuck and head hover. Make sure you pass through these positions on your way to the chest lift to get your neck aligned and the right muscles switched on. If you are playing golf or lifting small children from the floor, bring in the chin tuck to align your neck. If you are surfing tuck your chin whilst lengthening the back of your neck, see if you can lift your head with the front of the neck rather than the back.

There are so many ways to learn and apply great alignment! Get in touch for more ideas.

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online. To receive regular body wisdom sign up below.

Post-natal movement & Pilates

When you need to get strong fast!

When you need to get strong fast it can feel like the only way is to push like hell. Well, the surprise I have for you is that the fastest way to get strong is gently. When you are in a hurry to get strong fast it is usually for a reason.

You may have just had a baby or maybe an illness or injury has laid you low for a while. You may be going through menopause and feel your muscle mass decreasing or maybe your life has become too sedentary. What ever the reason, when you need to build strength fast, here are some tips to help you reach your goals.

In my thirties I had a number of abdominal surgeries. Each one meant I had to let the muscles recover before working them and then it was like starting again to rebuild my strength. I learnt a lot during this time about the downfalls of pushing too far too fast. I want to help you avoid the setbacks so you can get strong fast.

Tip 1 Set activity goals

When setting goals for our physical strength and fitness it is most helpful to have an ‘activity goal’. This means identifying something that you want to be able to do, or do with more ease. Activity goals can be as diverse as running a half marathon to wanting to walk up stairs without discomfort. What is important is that you set your sights on an activity you WANT to achieve. This is different to goals like I want to lose x amount of weight, or I want to have strong arms, or I want to have a toned butt.

Activity goals are different because they are not about how you look, they are about what you can do. Activity goals are easily measurable because they are practical activities you can test yourself on. As soon as you achieve one you can set another one to spur you on. Pilates is amazing for this because there are always more advanced exercises to learn and master.

Tip 2 Get strong fast – set a timeframe

When do you want to achieve your activity goal? Take into account your current level of fitness / wellness and how much work you will need to do to achieve your activity goal. The sooner you want to achieve it the more often you will need to work. To a point, the more often you exercise the more quickly your body will reap the benefits. The great thing about deciding to work gently towards strength is that you are less likely to injure yourself and experience setbacks that interrupt your regular commitment to exercise and towards achieving your activity goals.

Tip 3 Find a teacher who will teach you alignment

Finding a guide is important when you want to get strong gently. The key to building strength effectively is finding your own proper alignment. Most of us need the help of an extra set of eyes to help us when we revert to bad posture or to an old pattern of misalignment in our bodies. A teacher who can explain proper alignment is the best foundation you can have for achieving strength (and your activity goals) through gentle exercise. Building strength is never passive, even when you are working gently. Finding alignment and staying active in your muscles is something your teacher should help you with, every class.

Tip 4 Learn to feel the right challenge for you

Once you are being guided to find the alignment that activates your muscles most effectively you can start to develop a sense of the right challenge for you. This is important because when we overload our muscles, particularly our core muscles, we don’t make them stronger, usually other muscles jump in to compensate for the ones that are overloaded. This reinforces existing weaknesses and can lead to injury. Learning to find your activated alignment and sense just the right load for you today is the pathway to sustainable strength and to reaching your activity goal gently and quickly.

Tip 5 Learn the difference between good sore and bad sore

Finally, how you feel after exercise matters. If you feel some tenderness in your deep abdominals, where your bottom meets your thighs, between your shoulder blades or even in the muscles under your ribs, these are good signs that you are working muscles that need to worked. You are on the way to reaching your activity goal.

If you feel tenderness, tightness or pain in your neck, calves or lower back, these are signs that these areas are compensating due to lack of alignment or overloading. If you continue to push harder, you are likely to experience some kind of injury or the work out will become so unpleasant you won’t maintain it.

My goal is to have as many people reaching their activity goals as quickly as possible. I hope you have found these suggestions helpful.

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online. To receive regular body wisdom sign up below.

Post-natal movement & Pilates

Get more from your exercise routine

You want to get more from your exercise routine? Or may be you don’t have an exercise routine but you want to get started? I am here to tell you that your attitude matters. Not only for how you stay motivated but also how you measure your progress and what work outs you choose. Our attitude to exercise is most often shaped by our attitude to our own bodies.

What attitude?

How is your attitude towards your own body going? Have you thought about it lately? Do you catch yourself looking at other peoples bodies and just wishing you had theirs? Do you experience frustration from not being able to do things that you love? A while back I had terrible plantar fasciitis (inflammation in muscles in the feet). This stopped me from walking on the beach everyday. I loved walking on the beach but when my feet were tight it was agony. And so I stopped.

It was around this time I realised that I didn’t really care about the shape of my bum that much, but I really wanted to walk on the beach without pain. My motivation for exercise shifted from wanting to look a certain way to wanting to do a certain thing (without pain). This shifted my attitude to exercise, I was more willing to go more slowly and work with my body to achieve the outcome rather than override and push my body to achieve a certain shape.

Body image:

In our society most of us carry some body image issues. We are bombarded by images of an ideal body shape achieved by certain work outs that are most relevant to younger bodies. Our body as an object is pushed hard, particularly at girls, from an early age. We learn to focus on what our bodies look like to others, not what they can do for us. This view of our bodies then influences how we sense our own bodies and how we interpret what we feel.

The exercise industry has not sought to help women with body image issues. In general the exercise industry has exploited the view of women’s bodies as objects and continues to perpetuate the promise of buff arms, a firm butt and chiseled thighs as the only goals worthy of pursuing when it comes to exercise.

Think about function over form:

If you are heading into exercise with the view that you want to change your whole body, you basically want a knew one, this is a set up for a pattern that isn’t kind and may make a sustainable path to regular exercise difficult. If you head into exercise appreciating what your body can do now, with a clear idea of what you want your body to be able to do, you have a better chance of reaching these goals.

When setting your exercise goals think about function over form. Think about activities you would like to do with more ease. It may be you would like to get up off the floor more easily or you might like to run a half marathon. These specific goals give you and your movement teacher or trainer something to measure your progress. This gives real information to your teacher or trainer about where to focus and what work outs to develop for you.

Working with a teacher or trainer who helps you set clear, practical goals for your what your body can achieve can be a tremendous help. These goals can then become a way of monitoring your progress.

Achieve your goals

Get more from your exercise routine by checking your motivation and your attitude. Set goals that have real outcomes for your everyday life rather than ideal body shape. Notice as you start to achieve those outcomes in your everyday life, this is you achieving your goals and it is the best motivation for an active life there is.

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online. To receive regular body wisdom sign up below.

Post-natal movement & Pilates