Gentle movement and staying in touch are the name of the game

Let’s keep moving and stay connected!

How is everyone doing out there? Things are a little tough right now, and certainly strange. Please don’t despair. Let’s preserve our sanity, our bodies and help eachother out. We can support ourselves by looking after our health, support our friends and family by reaching out and connecting with them, and support local community by helping those more in need than ourselves and taking our custom to local businesses.

I heard on the radio the other day that people of all ages are lonelier than ever, and this lockdown is compounding the problem. Research show that time spent with other people, either via Zoom, through telephone calls or maybe during a quick walk and chat with a friend, will all help to combat loneliness and make people feel more connected.

One of the reasons our courses are so popular is that keeping some gentle movement in your life, together with seeing a friendly face, is a way of keeping engaged in these days when it is easy to stay indoors, sat on the sofa and eating biscuits (me sometimes!). While that may be fun to do once in a while, it isn’t great for our physical or mental health over time.  So, my advice to you this week is, phone a friend, go for a walk and stretcchhhh!

What makes NOW a good time to sign up for online classes? 

Our live classes are varied, ranging from various levels of Pilates, yoga and stretches; they are recorded, so if the live time doesn’t work for you, the recording helps you to fit the class into your own schedule.
In addition, you’ll be in the comfort of your own home. Your space, your time to boost those all important feel good hormones.

Pilates Community Zoom Classes

Our Zoom classes have the benefit of connecting you with a teacher, who can check your posture, motivate you and ensure you are doing all the exercises correctly. PLUS you will have all the benefits of Pilates Community online membership including the FB classes and library of Pilates videos to do in your own time on the members only area of the website. You can sign up for Zoom membership this month for only £40 per month (this goes up to £49 in the new year). Sign up HERE.

Our Zoom classes next week are as follows:

Pilates Community Facebook classes

Alternatively, our basic Facebook membership is still only £9.99 per month, offering you Facebook Live classes during the week, and the Pilates Community membership with videos and inspiration on the website. Sign up HERE, still only £9.99! Here’s our Facebook Live schedule for next week:

All of our teachers are qualified and experienced in their field, bringing their expertise and inspiration to YOU in the comfort of your own home. are highly regarded experts in their field.  You can experience their expertise and inspiring teaching in the comfort of your own living room. As the classes are all recorded, if you cannot, or choose not, to do the live classes, you can do them at a time of your own choosing, somewhere safe and warm and convenient. You can read MORE about our teachers on the Teachers Page. For maximum engagement and classes, choose Zoom membership, where you can enjoy both the Zoom classes, the Facebook Live classes and all the benefits of Pilates Community Online membership.

Vouchers for classes and one-to-ones are always available, so why not treat yourself or a loved one? Now is the perfect time to grab a bargain for Christmas, before all prices go up in the new year. Contact Hannah and her team on 07855 291833 to discuss the vouchers available.

Our friends over at Only Blue (a local Farnham based company) are offering 10% off first orders for Pilates Community members.  Quote 10OFFPC to get the discount. You can follow them on Instagram @onlyblueliving. Here are some examples of what is on offer, from scented candles to lovely coral prints.

Until next time, let’s keep moving and stay in touch,

Squeeze and breathe, love Hannah x

Autumn has arrived! Hydration and bones.

AUTUMN HAS ARRIVED! Hydration and bones

How is everyone doing?  I don’t know about you, but I am feeling windswept and damp! It feels like Autumn has well and truly arrived, and so I am taking time to look after myself. In today’s blog, our featured therapist is osteopath Fleur Robertson.  And why keeping good hydration is great for your bones.

The first thing I am doing, at the moment is staying away from alcohol – I am following the ‘stay sober for October’ mantra, choosing mocktails over cocktails and water over wine. It is not always easy, particularly as the nights draw in, but instead of seeing it at limiting myself, I am viewing this as an opportunity to improve my skin and bones with extra hydration. Not to mention improved sleep and energy levels.  Take a look at the mocktail recipe at the bottom of this blog.

Stay hydrated to improve your bones….

As your bones lose minerals and need to rebuild and strengthen, a lack of available calcium can lead to bone loss and eventually osteoporosis. Since water also helps rid the body of toxins, these substances can and do build up in the bones if there is not enough water to carry them away. So, keep a water bottle next to you, on your desk or somewhere you see regularly, and keep drinking water.  Around 8-10 glasses per day.  If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. So grab a drink now!

Fleur Robertson @ Coombe House clinic

Our featured therapist this week is osteopath Fleur Robertson, at Coombe House clinic in Farnham. Follow this link to the clinic: Coombe House Clinic

Fleur writes:

“Osteopathy is a holistic, hands-on and non-invasive therapy. It offers relief from pain and discomfort, alongside specifically tailored self-help advice and exercises for injuries of the body. From jaw pain to sporting shoulder complaints; from low back issues to disc injuries, Osteopathy can help you find reassurance and a path away from pain; getting you back to the things you love!

Osteopathy works really well in partnership with Pilates, because they both work towards bringing better balance and flexibility to the body. Pilates works at also actively strengthening the core.

Regular exercise is essential for a healthy body and Osteopathy can relieve pain, which is limiting movement; allowing for greater benefit and engagement when participating in Pilates. This helps strengthen postural musculature, benefiting the body and you in so many ways. Whether you’re working from home or running a marathon, if you’re in pain you don’t have to put up with it!”

FACEBOOK group: Pilates for Busy Women

Did you know that I have a Facebook group that offers regular FREE videos? It’s called Free Pilates for busy women working at their desk and you can join the group HERE. On the group you’ll find short and sweet exercises for neck shoulders and back.  Perfect for those of you working from home….

New classes!  New teachers!

You will by now have hopefully seen our new teachers, who joined us this month. They have enabled us to expand our offering of live classes and add a little variation. You can learn more about Vivianne and Monika,  by clicking here, on the Teachers Page of our website.

So the Zoom classes timetable now looks like this:

REMEMBER: Full Zoom membership is still only £45 per month! However, the price goes up to £49 in January.  So if you’re not already a Zoom member, take a look here  to see what benefits there are and to sign up via PayPal.  Don’t forget, to avoid trips to the gym, poor motivation and to ensure targeted, bespoke attention, I can offer 1:1 classes here at the Garden Studio in Farnham. See HERE for all the details.

If the Zoom membership isn’t for you, then of course there’s always the ever popular monthly membership option, still only £9.99 per month!! Click HERE to see what this level can offer you and to sign up. And monthly membership comes with Facebook Live classes, as outlined in the timetable above.

Now, to that mocktail recipe…. Autumn Spiced Mocktail

Ingredients

4 cups diet cranberry juice drink

1 orange, juiced

1/2 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into slices

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 piece fresh ginger cut the size of a penny that’s 1/4 inch thick

1 empty tea bag or cheese cloth

orange slices, rosemary sprigs and cinnamon stick for garnish (optional)

Method

Place ginger, cinnamon stick, and cloves into tea bag and pull drawstring tight. You can also tie spices in cheese cloth if you do not have a tea bag.

I hope you enjoy your mocktail!

Until next time, squeeze and breathe!

Love Hannah x

How is your hip and shoulder mobility?

Woman with shoulder pain

Now you know that here at Farnham Pilates we always like to emphasise the importance of mobility in your life. At the end of the day, including some daily movement in your life is essential. Today, we focus on hip and shoulder mobility.

It may surprise you to learn that hip and shoulder pain can actually be linked.  If you are unsure of the pain you are experiencing, please seek medical advice, as there are medical conditions that can cause such pain, such as a condition known as Polymyalgia rheumatica. This is an inflammatory condition that causes pain in the joints and muscles of the lower back, thighs, hips, neck, shoulder and upper arms, and other parts of the body. The condition occurs when the lining surrounding the joints, bursa and tendons near the shoulders and hips becomes inflamed. There are also forms of arthritis that can cause hip and shoulder pain. If, however, you are just feeling stiff and achy, you may find some Pilates exercises could be of benefit.

What Causes Hip Tightness?

For most people, the biggest cause of tightness is what we do all day: sitting for too long is a major culprit in tightening the hip flexors. When you sit all day at a desk, the iliopsoas, in particular, shortens, making the flexors tight. Sitting all day also affects your posture, so this can also lead to… you guessed it, shoulder pain!  There is also the relation to your spine. Tight hips cause your entire spine to move differently. So tightening your core (the muscles around your spine) will help with hip pain and shoulder pain by improving your posture!

So, today’s Farnham Pilates video is to help with hip and shoulder mobility and core strength.  Click here for for the video (you will need Vimeo to view this).

If you have enjoyed this video, check out a library of other Pilates videos by becoming a member of our sister site, Pilates Community Online. See here for details on how to access a whole host of videos and live virtual classes for just £9.99 per month! You may also like to check out other blogs, such as this one on 10-minute shoulder and neck stretches, on our sister site Pilates Community Online

Details on our live classes for all members can be found here.

Lastly, I am have some news! I have recently started working part-time (don’t worry, your live Pilates classes won’t be affected) at Lake Therapy, a physio and sports therapy clinic. I am happy to offer you a special deal:

If you mention my name when arranging a treatment at Lake Therapy, you can get a FREE initial consultation and a 15 minute assessment with a report of findings worth £85!!

Until next week, squeeze and breathe,

Love Hannah xx

10 minute Pilates stretches to improve mobility – focus on shoulders and neck

What a strange time it is.  More has opened up over the last week, and yet I’m feeling as if I’m still stuck at home more than I’d like to be. It’s like we’re busier but we’re not doing any more, does that make sense?! Over the next few weeks, these blogs will be focusing 10 minute Pilates stretches and on the need to remember your health as things get busier.  It can feel as if there is not enough time to do everything, but if you don’t prioritise your health, an increase in your workload and the stresses and strains of life will really take their toll. I promise you, just 10 minutes of Pilates stretches a day will give you a huge benefit. Some of the stretches can even be done at your desk.

With this in mind, I have developed a new FREE Facebook group to help busy women build mobility and freedom, and reduce pain from achy joints. Each day I post a short and sweet 10 minute Pilates stretches video; even the busiest person can enjoy improved mobility and less pain. Give it a go!

Shoulder and Neck stretches

So, the focus of this week’s videos is on shoulder and neck stretches.

It’s important to work these together, as you should not carry out neck stretches without first releasing the shoulders. 

Why is neck stiffness and pain so common?

Common reasons for neck pain:

  • actions as simple as looking down at your phone repeatedly, or holding your head in one position, this can affect posture long term
  • hours at computer and cellphone without movement
  • incorrect seating at a desk
  • reading (especially a good book that you are engrossed in!)
  • driving or sitting for extended periods
  • cycling, especially  if you are not properly positioned on your bike can lead to real neck tension
  • walking, especially on uneven terrain
  • sleeping incorrectly, in strange positions or with bad pillows
  • sewing, sketching, or writing
  • carrying a heavy shoulder bag
  • sports that use one side of the body such as tennis or golf
  • repetitive movements of the upper body such cooking/ stirring

Aim to increase the daily movement of your neck – making small changes to your movement can be a really simple way to start to improve mobility and reduce pain.  Try these gentle daily movements:

  • rotate the neck from side to side
  • bend the neck forward (neck flexion)
  • tip the head laterally to bring the ear to the shoulder
  • extend the neck to lift the chin upward

Note a normal range of motion is (in neck flexion) 40 to 80 degrees, without experiencing pain, discomfort, or resistance

Check out these short stretch videos, remember to do the shoulder one first, then the neck stretch.

Shoulder video

Neck stretch video

 Additional exercises

Neck flexion stretch

This exercise will help loosen your posterior neck muscles and reduce tightness.

  1. Rest your arms alongside your body and engage your core muscles to stabilise your spine.
  2. Draw your shoulder blades back and down.
  3. Slowly draw your chin in toward your chest.
  4. Hold for 15–30 seconds.
  5. Do 2–4 repetitions.

To deepen this stretch, place one hand behind your head with your fingertips at the base of your skull to help guide the movement.

Neck retraction

This exercise loosens up tight muscles, relieves pain, and reduces spinal pressure. Keep your eyes facing forward the whole time.

  • Place your fingers on your chin to push your head as far backward as possible.
  • Feel the stretch in the back of your neck.
  • Hold for 2–3 seconds before returning to neutral.

Do 3–4 sessions of 8–10 repetitions all at once or throughout the day.

Exercises for improving neck extension

The goal of these exercises is to lessen the intensity and severity of symptoms. These stretches relieve neck tension and pain, making them the perfect counterbalance to activities that require you to look down repeatedly.

Upward neck extensions

This exercise targets the front of your neck. You can do this exercise by moving with each breath instead of holding the position. Inhale as you look up and exhale as you return to the starting position.

  • Begin in a seated position.
  • Slowly bend your neck backward and gaze up toward the ceiling.
  • Hold this position for 5-10 seconds.

Do 5 repetitions.

Bed hangs

Do this exercise when you first wake up or before bed to relieve pain and increase circulation.

  • Lie horizontally across the bed with your head, upper back, and shoulders near the edge.
  • Gently manoeuvre your body to allow your head to stretch along the side of the bed.
  • Reach your arms and hands overhead or place them alongside your body for more support.
  • Hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
  • Release by tucking your chin into your chest and using your arms to shift your body back onto the bed.

Do this exercise 1–3 times.

I really hope these 10 minute Pilates stretches have been helpful.  Do check back next week, when we will focus on Mid-back stretches and mobility. Don’t forget our FREE Facebook group or you can see an enormous library of videos and a host of helpful articles with our monthly Pilates Community membership for only £16.99 per month! 

Until next week, squeeze and breathe,

Love Hannah xx