5 safe ways to get back into exercise!

The New Year is often the time when we reset and refocus on our health and wellbeing. Movement and exercise is a fundamental part of wellbeing and the key to this is getting exercise into your routine. If you want to get more movement in your life this New Year I have these 5 tips to ensure your enthusiasm doesn’t lead you to injury or defeat.

  1. Start SMALL

Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean 1hour of pumping iron at the gym, or a gruelling run. You can start with small bite sized movement routines that seduce your body (and mind) into enjoying movement. The important thing is to start! And starting small is always easier than starting big.  What is the easiest form of movement for you to start? Is it walking around the block? Is it rolling your spine on the floor and taking a stretch? Is it skipping with a rope? Is it dancing to your favourite song? Choose something that sparks a little joy and go and do it. You can choose a different starter everyday, you can do as little or as much of it as you like. Just find a start that moves you, no matter how small.

2. Go slow / LISTEN

Getting back into exercise involves getting back into relationship with your body. Like an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, reconnecting takes a bit of listening. In your enthusiasm to get fit remember to leave space to listen to what your body is saying and sometimes this means re-learning her language. This means staying connected to your body as you challenge her, listening to her feedback, enjoying her efforts, accepting her limits. Take this process slowly and you will be able to build the intensity without getting an injury.

3. Be regular – frequency is everything

Move everyday, yes everyday. You don’t have to do a major work out everyday but some time for conscious movement is a basic requirement for health and wellbeing. Employ some of the ideas from ‘START small’ everyday. It is easier to stick to something if you do it everyday. If you only plan to exercise 3 days a week it is easy to postpone or put off until tomorrow. If your commitment is to move everyday you have less wriggle room and when it comes to exercise regularity is everything.

4. Seek pleasure

When it comes to movement, be a pleasure seeker. If a movement feels satisfying do it more. If a movement feels wobbly, tense or jerky don’t do it again or find a way to do it that brings you more glide and stability. This is one of the true gifts of Pilates. Listening to the feedback of your body, bringing your conscious awareness more deeply into the movement to find the pleasure, the connectedness, to find your breath. This is an endless process that can be applied to any sport, exercise or movement practice and it is essential to remaining injury free.

5. Seek guidance and community

To foster the awareness I am taking about in the tips above it really helps to have a guide on the journey. A teacher or coach that helps to hold the space for you to progress in the relationship with your body can be a great help.  Finding someone that sets the right pace and the appropriate level of challenge is important. Joining with a guide and with others who are also seeking connection with their bodies can help encourage accountability; it can bring social benefits and can boost your learning as you learn alongside others. It can also make it a lot of fun!

Movement and exercise are so important for health and wellbeing. I am so excited that you want more of it in your life. I want you to succeed! In my view the more people that move in a self-loving and nurturing way the happier, less stressed and less consumerist the world will be. I hope you will try some of these ideas and I want to hear how you go. Please comment and ask questions and let me walk beside you on your journey to a movement rich life.

Brigid Pearse is a Pilates and Movement teacher in Byron Bay, Ballina and Newrybar offering all levels Pilates mat classes at carefully selected halls and equipment classes in her home studio in Lennox Head.

What are you going to drop to get some exercise?

Are you trying to fit exercise into your life? If you carry your gym gear around with you a lot but never seem to get to the gym, then this one is for you. If you are in a new phase of life, with a new baby or newly retired or just turned 40 and you feel this is your time to get regular exercise and movement into your life? Read on.

The thing is, there are only so many hours in the day. Twenty four last time I checked and a lot of those are taken. So if you are trying to squeeze something else in, a good place to start is ask yourself “What am I going to drop?”.

I know from when I worked in the corporate world that before taking on a new responsibility or deliverable I would have to say, “Yes I can do that things for you but, what do you want me to drop?” This meant I kept expectations clear and didn’t take on more than I could deliver. Asking yourself “what am I going to drop?” can help you make time for things that are important to you.

For example if you are working and your aim is to get to an exercise class at lunch time, think about the times that you haven’t made it and why? Was it checking your emails just before you were due to leave? Was it heading to the lunch area and getting caught chatting and missing the class? Was it scheduling meetings to close to the class time, or not having the class time blocked out in your diary? Think about your misses and what contributed, now decide the things you won’t do to help you get to the class on time.

If you are a mum, juggling school pick ups and running a household ( & maybe a business) and you want to get movement into your life, take a look at what is in your way. Evening and mornings are going to be tricky, look for lunch time classes or early afternoon before school pick up. And book in advance. Parting with your cash can be a good motivator to make you show up and if you have a good teacher showing up is all you need to do and they can guide you through the rest.

So rather than focus on squeezing exercise into your day, ask yourself what am I not going to do so I have time to exercise.

My name is Brigid Pearse, I am a Pilates and movement teacher in Byron Bay and Ballina. I hope this helps you to get movement into your life.

What does Move to Nurture mean?

I often get the question, “move to nurture what?” or “move to nurture who?” It is a great opener to start talking about self care. And how when you care for yourself, you nurture all the others in your life too.

Move to nurture is my business name, it is my personal mantra and it is my intention for my clients.

My personal experience is when I am feeling depleted, stressed, agitated of just a bit off, there is nothing like moving in a self loving way to feel better. It helps to have a guide that understands the inner workings of the body to make sure you focus your attention where you will reap great benefits.

So much of our motivation for exercise can come from a different place. It can come from not loving ourselves just as we are, wanting to change our shape. Sometimes we move because we feel guilty about something we have eaten!

When we move to nurture ourselves we bring a positive intent to our bodies. We listen, we befriend, we reconnect, we learn new things. Within a guided class your body leads the way.

As a teacher I select exercises that allow your body to reveal things to you. My instructions are simple and very targeted. I make it hard to cheat! And I want you to work from where you are at so you develop new movement patterns and get stronger and more flexible quickly.

I teach in Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay on Thursdays at 14 Kingsley Street. 10am is Restorative Pilates (safe for osteoporosis), 12:15 is Lunchtime Pilates and 2pm is Pilates for parents (post natal safe).

To attend a class please email [email protected] or call me, Brigid, on 0404459605.

Positive body image and how to get it

If you are a parent or uncle or aunty or mentor to a young person in your life and you have ever struggled with loving your body how it is, this is for you. We know it is important to model positive body image for the children and young people in our lives. But what does that look like? And how do you model positive body image if you were never taught this?

We now know how important a positive body image is for children and young people, we know that they learn mostly by watching the adults around them. My mum didn’t love the shape of her body and I was often told I had the same shape. For me this set a pattern of thinking that I struggled to break, but I have come a long way.

My experience

I grew up in the eighties when anorexia and bulimia was rife, not talked about but common among young girls.

I did not suffer these conditions but I had no sense of how to love the body I was given, I loved dance as a child but was told at the age of 5 that I didn’t have the right body type and would never be tall enough to be a dancer.

I wavered between enjoying how my body felt on the inside when I was dancing or moving and not liking what it looked like on the outside. Food became a comfort to me when I wasn’t feeling very good which as a teenager was quite often.

The place where I was able to connect with my body was through dance and theatre and it has been a positive thread in my life since then.

Movement for pleasure was always a key for me into a deeper connection with my body that went beyond what it looked like from the outside. Whether it be dancing around the lounge room, doing some yoga with friends or walking the dog, movement always helped me feel better.

When I was working at a desk all week I did Pilates twice a week, every week, no matter what. This kept me connected to my body, my core strength and my vitality even though my lifestyle didn’t support these things.

Now, as a Pilates and Movement teacher I understand the science behind why movement makes us feel good. And I know from my own experience and my clients’ that having a regular movement practice helps us to feel better about our bodies. We move in a more connected way and we feel the strength and connections within our bodies.

One of my favourite quotes from Joseph Pilates is “Change happens through movement and movement heals.” This has certainly been my experience.

Modelling positive body image

To model positive body image to children and young people you need one thing:

You need to engage in some form of active self-care involving movement. This can be very simple such as going for a walk, but it needs to be something that makes your body feel good and makes you feel good about being in your body and it needs to be regular.

The regular experience of having a positive feeling in and about your body will subtly change how you feel about your body and this will flow into your language. Instead of talking about your bodies deficits, as we are all prone to do, you will have experience to draw on that will frame your own body in a more positive light.

Parents and carers of children are the group that I think most need a regular movement practice. Yet parents probably struggle the most to find time for this. I really wish my mum and dad had some support to show up for themselves and show me what self-care looks like.

So as a parent how do you find time to get the movement practice (back) into your life? You commit. You put it in the diary, you book it, you show up, however you are. And you choose a teacher that makes space for you to connect in a positive way with your body.

This is the beginning of a change that will, if you stick with it, will change your relationship with your body and influence the relationship your children have with their bodies.

With this transformation in mind I have designed a six-week Pilates mat class series especially for parents. This is more than just an exercise class, it is a conditioning program designed with the role of parenting mind. It is an inclusive place for connection with your body from the inside out.

If this sounds like something you could use in your life click here for bookings and more information or call me, Brigid, directly on 0404459605.

Why Pilates for Parents?

Parenting can be like a contact sport sometimes. Varied and fast paced physical demands, keeping your eye on the ball (?) and working as a team. But where is the specialised physical and mental training to support parents?

Give yourself a Pilates mat class series to support you with the physical demands of parenting.

I am talking about training to help with the lifting, bending, twisting, running, hopping, jumping and juggling that makes up a regular day looking after kids. The training to breath deeply first rather than react. And if your kids are past the ‘pick me up’ phase what about being able to model a good active lifestyle for them?  It’s a lot to do!

This is why I have created a six-week Pilates mat series especially for parents. This is more than just an exercise class, it is a conditioning program designed with the sport of parenting mind.

The focus is on time for you to relax into your body and ease into gentle movement connected to your breath to connect mind and body. We will develop core strength to help with lifting particularly while tickling and reduce wear and tear on the lower back.

We will encourage good gluteal and hamstring coordination or firing of the leg muscles for leaping up stairs, launching your self off the floor, dancing around the lounge room and doing the lighthouse walk whenever you can squeeze it in.

Special attention will also be given to the shoulders to support good arm muscle strength for being a human swing, getting into the surf and neck alignment to reduce tension and for uninhibited cuddles!

You will get a lot out of each hour-long class, designed to support all the essential movements for parenting. Clients leave feeling strong, energised and sometimes a little taller, ready to meet their little ones at the gate with a smile.

The series will run on Thursdays in Kingsley Street from 2-3pm. Series starts on 31 October through to 5th December, every Thursday 2-3pm. At $90 for six weeks this is great value and yes, there are limited places. Click here for more info and booking.

For bookings and more information click here or call me (Brigid) directly on 0404459605, I look forward to hearing from you and getting you moving to support your life as a parent. Give this to yourself, give it to your family.

Brigid Pearse is a Pilates and Movement teacher in Byron Bay and Ballina. ‘My passion is to help people find functional movement through Pilates.

Parent better, make time work for you

Are you someone that struggles to find time to exercise? Then whether you are a parent or not, this one is for you.

I will never forget the slow motion shock after becoming a mother, the realisation that my time would never be ‘mine’ again. Caring for another human being can be extremely rewarding and completely eclipsing and it can be hard to hold your own needs in focus.

A friend had a theory about using time differently once you are a parent. The fact is when you become a parent you have less time to yourself. So you have to make the time you have work for you, that means fulfil your needs. This theory is useful for anyone not just parents.

Imagine your life is a series of cups, lets say five cups, and each cup represents something that is vital for your wellbeing as a person. Mine look something like this:

  • Community
  • Exercise
  • Connection (partner)
  • Reflection (thinking time)
  • Sleep

Then when you are choosing how you spend your time, make sure that whatever you choose fills at least one of these cups.  And when you can fill more than one cup at the same time you start winning.

So, when I do Pilates I get to exercise with a community of people, I get reflective thinking time as I focus on my body and let my thoughts flow and I sleep better. When I do Pilates with my partner I also get a deeper connection in my relationship and I fill 5 cups at the same time!.

What are the things that are vital for your wellbeing as a person? Go on, ask yourself, what do you need to feel well (what are your cups)? Then think about how you spend your time and whether you are fulfilling those cups. 

You might find yourself spending two hours a night watching late night comedy because it gives you a laugh and some reflective time at the end of the day. But it means you don’t get enough sleep and don’t have connection time with your partner.

Scheduling time during the day for some self-care, exercise, things you enjoy means that at the end of the day you feel less depleted and more able to connect with the most important people in your life.

Choosing how you spend your time to support yourself as a parent is a magic key that transforms the experience of being time poor. Instead of feeling like you are constantly coming last, use the time you have to fill as many cups as you can at once!

Move to Nurture Pilates is running a Pilates mat class series especially developed for parents on Thursdays at 2pm finishing just before school pick up.  This is scheduled time for you.  Get stronger, move with more ease, meet community, have fun. For bookings and more information click here.

Pilates for World Peace

I know it sounds a bit far fetched but bear with me. Pilates can develop better mind body connection, encourage relaxation through a focus on breathing and flowing movements.

It is well understood by people who do Pilates regularly that there is an afterglow. An all over feeling of wellbeing, inside and out that permeates everything. There are the well-known and documented benefits of regular exercise, then with Pilates you get something extra.

In Pilates the focus is on the smaller muscle groups that support the larger muscles. Working the body in balance so that the back body supports the front and the front body supports the back.

Pilates movements lengthens the muscles whilst building strength, so as not to just build muscle bulk. This approach also supports the tendons and the joints, leading to less ‘wear and tear’ in the body.

For these reasons and more there is a particular feeling of salubrious satisfaction that comes from practicing Pilates. I firmly believe the more people who get to experience this sense of wellness; the less conflict will be present.

The more people who prioritise their own physical needs over buying more stuff / objects of desire/ clutter, the less rubbish that will need to go to landfill.

These are some of my motivations as a teacher. I strive to give my clients this sense of wellness, in a way that develops a deep body mind connection and contributes towards world peace .

To take a class with me, Brigid Pearse, click here.

Brigid Pearse is a Pilates and Movement teacher in Byron Bay and Ballina. ‘My passion is to help people find functional movement through Pilates.

To think or to move? That is the question.

The other day I was flicking through a book called ‘GUT- the inside story of our bodies most underrated organ’ by Giulia Enders. About half way through the book there is a chapter about a rare underwater creature that during its life, actually lets its brain fall off. That’s right it removes itself from its own brain.

The author assures us that there is a simple reason for this. The reason is that up until that point the creature needs its’ brain to move around. Then halfway through its’ life cycle it fixes itself to a rock and doesn’t move again.

Just to reiterate the creature only has a brain for the period of time that it needs to move and then it no longer needs its’ brain. At this point its brain becomes superfluous because the true value of its’ brain is to coordinate movement.

As I read this it struck me that humans (particularly in todays society) see our brain’s primary functions as thinking, problem solving and communicating with others and doing crossword puzzles!

And then my epiphany hit me. There is no separation between our brains and the way we move. In fact our brain’s primary function is to facilitate and coordinate movement in our bodies.

What if we as individuals and a society understood and acknowledged that our brain’s primary function is to keep us moving? We might prioritise movement more, we might work differently, we might age proof the brain through movement.

Instead, the common view is that our body is the home for our brain and our brain’s task is to think and the body is subservient to this. What if this was flipped on its head to reveal that our body is an extension of our brain? We can’t truly think without moving and we can’t truly move without thinking.

Pilates as a practice is designed to reconnect our brain to our body. To take a class with me, Brigid Pearse, click here.

Brigid Pearse is a Pilates and Movement teacher in Byron Bay and Ballina. ‘My passion is to help people find functional movement through Pilates.

Pilates – when will I feel the benefits?

If you are new to Pilates, you may wonder how long it will take to feel the benefits. If you struggle with back pain, shoulder issues or bursitis, Pilates can help. And progress towards the benefits will depend on a few things like how often you are practicing, are you doing group classes or sessions planned especially for you and what your goals are. If you want the short answer skip to the bottom.

How often?

Practicing Pilates once a week is a great way to maintain your body. If you are being guided correctly Pilates once per week can help you avoid injury and maintain the movement you already enjoy. If you are working to recover from an injury Pilates once a week can encourage functional movement and improve sensing to build the foundations for better voluntary control over movement.

If you practice Pilates twice a week progress towards strength, flexibility, control and mobility will be quicker. This frequency can help to develop new movement patterns in your body and develop new sensory awareness of muscle activity and tension and joint positioning.

Practicing Pilates three times a week allows you to transform how you move both consciously and unconsciously. This frequency allows you to learn new movement patterns and those new patterns begin to reorganise how you hold yourself when you are not focused on your body.

Group Classes or Private or Semi-private Sessions

When you do a group class, the exercises are offered to everyone, hopefully with some choices or modifications for individuals in the class. Group classes are great for finding an exercise community to build motivation and accountability.

Private or semi-private sessions are usually tailored just for your body. The teacher should have a conversation with you about your goals and design a program especially for your body aligned to your goals.

What are your goals?

Goals can vary in complexity and of course it depends on your starting point. Some examples of my clients’ goals are:

  • A mum wanting to get up and down off the floor more easily
  • A runner who wants improved ankle flexion
  • An office worker wanting reduced lower back pain

Short answer:

Generally after eight to ten regular Pilates classes or sessions you should begin to feel stronger in your legs, deep abdominals and shoulders. You should have a greater connection with your body and (by practicing) be able to feel different parts of your body.

This is the beginning of a journey of learning that can last all your life.

To try a Pilates mat class in Byron Bay with me, Brigid Pearse click here for class schedule and contact information.

Brigid Pearse is a Pilates and Movement teacher in Byron Bay and Ballina. ‘My passion is to help people reduce their pain through movement.

Why do I need to learn how to move? I do it all the time!

Learning to move is a bit like learning to breathe, I mean we do it all the time so why should we ‘learn’ how to do it. If you live with pain or restricted mobility or you struggle to pick up your kids or grandkids or have trouble doing up your bra or getting the shopping from the car to the kitchen learning some new movement patterns could really help.

Unfortunately going to any movement class at the gym is not going to teach you new movement patterns. It may make you feel muscles you never knew you had but to get a new movement pattern in your body you need a teacher and a modality that can take you there.

As a Pilates and Movement teacher I look at the importance of sensory input in gaining sensory awareness and the process of developing voluntary control over smaller muscle groups to improve movement patterns.

One of my clients said this about my Pilates mat classes:

“It’s not just a movement class where I follow choreography. I learn movement concepts that I take into my body and they stay with me through the week. The classes are part of a learning journey that is happening in my body.” Diane, 57 years.

Another client said this:

“Each week it feels like I learn new things that are layered on the week before. It is related but it is new, so I don’t get bored and I keep learning.” Cathy , 42 years.

Find a movement teacher that inspires this level of awareness in your body, so your body begins to teach you about how it wants to move. This is the difference between giving a hungry person a fish (a set of exercises) and teaching them how to fish (developing sensory motor awareness for voluntary control).

To try a Pilates mat class in Byron Bay with me, Brigid Pearse click here for class schedule and contact information.

Brigid Pearse is a Pilates and Movement teacher in Byron Bay and Ballina. ‘My passion is to help people reduce their pain through movement.