Come home time, long days hunched in front of a computer can leave you feeling tense and wired. Enter Office Pilates, a short sequence of tension releasing moves achievable at a desk that won’t attract the attention of your colleagues and will help ease back pain. We sat down with Natalie Ziegler, pilates instructor at Core The Studio, to discover the moves anyone can do at work to enhance both body and mind.
Pilates always starts with your core. Find your core by forming a triangle with your hands by placing your thumbs on your belly button. The area within the triangle is your core. Whilst sitting, work on finding your best posture. Inhale and let your torso expand with air, like a balloon. As you exhale, press the air out of your stomach and torso, concentrating on pulling your stomach in towards your spine.
Sit up tall in your chair and place your head in your hands, curl your head backwards into your arms, exhale and twist gently towards the right side. At a depth of your twist where you can still breathe deeply and fully, pause, and gaze over the right shoulder. After 2 minutes repeat on the left hand side.
Move your body towards the front end of your chair. Ground the soles of your feet on the floor, which will help prepare the lengthening of your spine. Inhale deeply and place both hands, palms down, behind your back. Gently begin to push your body forward. Lower the shoulders and softly relax your head towards the back of the chair. This is an adaption of the bridge pose and is renowned for stimulating abdominal organs to regulate metabolism and improve digestion.
Sit upright in your chair. Circle the shoulders back and forth for 5 reps. The slower you go the more tension you will release.
Sit with as much space between your ears and shoulders as possible. Gently nod your chin down towards your chest as though you are trying to hold an orange between your chin and chest. Repeat several times without curling your shoulders or upper-back.
Sit in your chair with one leg crossed over the other. Start by pointing the toes of the top leg as far away from you as possible, then flex the toes back. Repeat for 10 reps and change legs.
Time to give yourself a stretch break. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your feet parallel and facing forwards and your core engaged. Bend your knees to your toes and straighten them again. Rise up onto the balls of your feet and slowly come back down to the floor. Repeat for 20 reps.
Keep one foot firmly on the floor and place your other foot across to your right thigh. Take your right hand and very gently push on the raised thigh. Now twist towards the opposite shoulder and breathe deeply. Aim for about a 2 minute stretch and change legs.
Leg Extension and Ankle Stretch
Bring yourself to the edge of your chair. Lift your knee in the air and rest it on your desk. Lift the kneecap and thigh muscle slightly upwards to engage the abdominal muscles. Flex the foot and activate your toes. Sit up as straight as possible and inhale deeply. Stay for 10 breaths and change legs.
Reverse Arm Stretch
Take your arms to the back of your chair and press your palms together with your fingers pointing towards the ceiling. Inhale and exhale until your body feels grounded.
For more pilates tips and to book a class with Natalie at Core The Studio visit CoreTheStudio.com