Exaggerate your movements (Monty Python style!)

Yes, we know we need to move more. But we do not always know where to start. In our warming up in class, we sometimes gradually do animal or sports movements to work towards a full range of movement.

Start with a swim stroke in sitting or standing for example, then make this bigger. Then do this in the opposite way. Move your arms as if they were wings, start small and then bigger, spread you wings and fly away, in your mind at least.

Another simple way to get more movement, is to exaggerate the movements you already made. Think of movements you do every day.

Got out of bed? Exaggerate this movement: turn your first yawn into a grand old stretch.

Made your morning brew? Make the movement bigger: imagine your coffee cup is as big as you are and pour in the milk, then stir for improved shoulder mobility. Turn the pages of this newspaper as if the paper is really huge.

Imagine your hair is very big and high, and pretend to slowly comb it. Back to front, front to back, side to side, reminding your shoulders of a fuller range of movement - see first picture above.

Make sure the movement remains pain free, do not push through any pain. Move through your house with slow, big steps. Be sure to have something to hold on to if necessary, such as the wall.

You can exaggerate walking up the stairs, going up slowly, lifting the knee higher. Again, be sure to hold on to something. Maybe you can take two steps at a time? See pic three above.

Training your body like this, will make it easier in the long term to go up the stairs in your regular way.

Try out a variety of walks to move through your house. Move in different and unexpected ways - see photo four. Your legs and hips will move more, get stronger and more flexible, and you’ll improve your balance too.

Challenge your body and remind your joints of their full range of movement in a slow and pain-free way. As always, move with awareness and with good posture and alignment.

And don’t forget to notice the smile on your face as you practice your own ministry of funny walks!

There will be a workshop on posture, gentle movement, stretch and relax on Sunday 28 November 9.30am-12 in Ennismore retreat centre, Montenotte. See www.bookwhen.com/pilatespeoplecork to book your place.