PERSONAL WELL BEING
How Yoga & Pilates Has Improved My Health & Well being
I’ve always been big into sports, when I was younger I played netball 4-5 times a week, club, county, school / college, even captain at university. I’ve always skied and even used to slalom race as a teenager. And more than that I was super into keeping fit and healthy, with regular gym sessions, studying sports at school and taking up pretty much any extra curricular activities there was going (rounders, trampolining you name it). When I moved to London this transitioned more into regular classes and creating a work netball team to play in the London leagues. But ever since joining my current company and taking on my new role I let my health slip, both physically and mentally, and my time and capacity for fitness became non-existent. And I didn’t do anything to fix it.
For the last three yeas I’ve played no netball, I’ve barely made it to the gym let alone lived the active life I used to lead. But when I got diagnosed with UC (bowel disease) at the end of last year and had the shock realization of how important my health and well being really was I decided I truly did need to make a change.
Of course I want to shed the 1.5 stones I’ve gained in the last 3 years, but that fact made me fear exercise and the serious journey I needed to go on to get back to my normal self. Diets did the same. Instead I decided that I wanted to make positive life changes, I didn’t want to drown myself in pressure to get fit, or put so much stress on my already manic diary that I barely had time to stop. I decided to take up weekly Yoga and Pilates, a class of each a week, with my colleagues in the office during our lunch breaks (fortunately we have ace trainers like Fat Buddha Yoga who come in and run the sessions). It really was too hard to turn down, and it’s very easy to squeeze it in when it’s just so convenient.
I’ve been doing both for nearly 5 or so months now, I’ve been religious at times, and super lazy at others. But when my Pilates instructor told me the other day not to worry about the 6 weeks I’d missed due to work commitments, because this wasn’t a short term fix it was a long term investment, I had another moment of realization! It was just what I needed to hear and the ultimate reminder that being too hard on myself only puts me off doing it in the first place, and my instructor was spot on, one week or six weeks didn’t matter, the key was my long term commitment.
And I have to say I am committed, it’s become routine, part of my week and most importantly it’s really making an impact on my physical and mental well being. Plus, I’ve come to realise I bloody enjoy it too, which is really what it’s all about!
THREE WAYS YOGA AND PILATES HAVE IMPROVED MY WELL-BEING
Physically, Mentally & Holistically
Of course the benefit of doing both Yoga and Pilates is that they are super focused on your core strength and stability, from planks and downward dogs, to the crow and the one hundred, I leave my classes feeling worked out and like I’ve really made my body do some heavy lifting (those extra 1.5 stones I was talking about, ahem). Not only does it help me feel stronger (although a long way to go until I shed the fat and the definition starts to show) it also really helps with things like my back aches, tense shoulders, posture and relieving the general stress my body holds.
Which leads me to my second point, you wouldn’t believe the positive impact my attendance to Yoga and Pilates has made on my mental health as much as my physical health. The sessions are both relaxing for my mind and my body, I love the process of setting intentions at the beginning of each yoga session and spending 10 minutes at the end simply laying still and unwinding after the class. The time out each week does wonders for my positivist and is the most wonderful stress cure – I find both classes completely de-stress my mind and my body. And given my UC is very much affected by stress this is super important to me now.
HOLISTIC WELL BEING
The other issue I face within my day to day life is migraines, which quite naturally are hindered by stress, tiredness and of course bodily tensions. Whilst I didn’t start the classes for these reasons, I can’t deny the improvement on my migraines since I’ve started to take them up! The tension in my neck and shoulders is definitely an issue for my migraines and the regular stretching and building my core has really helped reduce loosen these muscles and in turn (alongside the de-stressing) has helped reduce the frequency of my migraines.
Overall I couldn’t recommend the classes more. If you too suffer from a manic lifestyle, a lot of stress and pressure, a generally busy and hectic lifestyle and suffer as a result, then taking an hour out a couple of times a week to do a class like I do is honestly one of the best remedies out there. My Pilates classes are all modified, which is mat based but reformer in style and structure. We focus heavily on core strength, ab muscles and developing a strong body. My Yoga classes are run by Fat Buddha Yoga and tend to be relatively active, with lots of sun salutations and tricks as well as the core moves and ‘non stop’ flow. I adore them both for different reasons and I find the balance of the two works really well for me.
I’d Love to know what you do to balance your well being and keep fit? Do you have any exercises or routines you find work for you? I’d love to hear your tips and experiences