As Pilates teachers, we are well-versed in guiding others through movements that enhance physical and mental well-being. However, it’s equally important to focus on our own self-care. This Self-Care Day Saturday, let’s delve into a ritual that merges the mindful breathing aspects of Pilates with the rejuvenating practice of body tapping. This combination offers a unique way to reconnect with ourselves and cultivate inner peace.
Pilates: Embracing Mindful Breathing
On Self-Care Day, begin with setting an intention for your day. It could be anything from seeking clarity to fostering a sense of calm. With your intention in mind, engage in a series of mindful breathing exercises. These exercises are the foundation of our Pilates practice, emphasizing the connection between breath and movement, but they're also powerful tools on their own for stress relief and mental clarity.
Breathing Exercises to Start Your Day
Diaphragmatic Breathing: Find a comfortable seated or lying position. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Breathe deeply through your nose, allowing your abdomen to rise more than your chest. This encourages full oxygen exchange and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting a state of calmness.
Rib Cage Breathing: Remain in your comfortable position and place your hands on the sides of your rib cage. As you inhale, focus on expanding your ribs out to the sides, filling your lungs entirely. Exhale slowly and feel the ribs contract. This exercise enhances lung capacity and encourages relaxation.
Lengthened Exhale: Inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of six to eight. Extending the exhale helps reduce stress and anxiety. It's a simple yet effective way to prepare your body and mind for the day ahead.
Introducing Body Tapping
After your breathing exercises, transition to body tapping. This self-administered therapy involves gently tapping various parts of your body with your fingertips or hands. It's a method to awaken the body, stimulate circulation, and enhance the flow of energy.
Body Tapping Sequence
Head and Neck: Begin with gentle taps around the crown of your head and down to your neck. This helps relieve tension that can accumulate from daily stress or long hours of teaching.
Shoulders and Arms: Move to your shoulders and down your arms to your hands. This region is especially important for Pilates teachers, who use their arms extensively during classes.
Chest and Abdomen: Continue tapping on your chest and around your abdomen. Focusing on these areas can help deepen your breathing and stimulate digestion.
Legs and Feet: Finish with your legs and feet, promoting blood flow and energy throughout the entire body.
Reflect and Relax
After completing the body tapping, take a moment to sit quietly, reflecting on the sensations within your body and the calmness of your mind. This is an excellent opportunity for a short meditation or simply enjoying a moment of silence.
Enjoying Your Self-Care Day
Let the peace and centeredness from your morning ritual permeate your Self-Care Saturday. Whether you choose to read, take a gentle walk, or indulge in a healthy meal, allow the principles of mindful breathing and the practice of body tapping to guide your activities.
Self-Care Day serves as a reminder of the importance of nurturing ourselves. By combining mindful breathing with body tapping, we create a powerful ritual that replenishes our energy and renews our spirit. As Pilates teachers, practicing self-care enables us to bring our best selves to our students and our practice.
Here’s to a Self-Care Day that revitalises and inspires, reminding us of the beauty in simplicity and the power of breath.