ZEN TIP TUESDAY #15
A big welcome to Barbara (Babs) Rodrigus who is our guest poster for ZTT #15. Babs is a travel blogger who helps you decide which travel accessories are perfect for your family. Today Babs shares with us her routine of doing morning Pilates. I can relate to this somewhat because I do Pilates at least three mornings a week and love it! Years ago I did mat Pilates (like Babs) and I still sometimes do a mat class – but these days I mostly do Reformer Pilates (similar yet different to mat based Pilates, it’s done using the Pilates reformer machine). You can find out more about Babs and how to connect with her at the links in her Bio at the end of the post.
Before I go – just letting you know that I’m away in Sydney today at an all day event so won’t be able to respond to comments or read and comment on posts linked up to today’s ZTT Link-Up #013 until I’m back at my hotel room tonight. I may be late … but I promise I’ll get to it all!
I believe many of you will stand by me if I state that life can get busy. Really busy. Especially as a young mother and a professional travel blogger. I sometimes get the feeling that I hardly get any time for myself. My 3-year old daughter wakes up at 5:30 am which marks the start of a busy day with getting ready for school, working hard on my website (believe me if I tell you that blogging is not a laid back job!), cooking, housekeeping, entertaining the kid and working some more when she’s in bed.
To keep my sanity and feel balanced throughout the day, I start my morning with 45 minutes of Pilates. At times, even that is a challenge, especially when my daughter is in the mood to climb on my back when I’m doing exercises. But it is a great way to get my mind and body ready for the day! And on good days my daughter and I even work-out together (for a bit).
WHAT IS PILATES?
Pilates is a movement method that was designed by Joseph Pilates at the beginning of the 20th century. The main goal is to make the body stronger and acquire a balance between body and mind.
A good posture and muscular control are the essence of this method, but flexibility, balance and strength are equally developed thanks to the wide variety of exercises.
Every move requires a conscious movement and a lot of concentration, while you have to also stay focused on your breathing. Because of the cooperation between mind and body it is similar to yoga, but instead of taking poses, each exercise is to be performed in a fluent movement.
When you think you’ve mastered an exercise, there’s always an adaption that makes things a little harder and/or different. This way, practicing Pilates never gets boring.
MY PILATES ROUTINE
It took me quite some time to find a Pilates routine that works for me. I originally started exercising to be healthier and lose some weight. Thanks to the busy life I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t see myself going to the gym or another sports club. So, I found a Pilates app that sounded like fun. After a couple of months I got bored with it and bumped into the Blogilates Youtube-channel. I really like Cassey Ho’s video’s and I’ve been doing them for almost a year now.
My daily routine starts with five minutes of warm up, to wake up my muscles. Then I choose two areas I want to cover that day. My favourites are thighs, abs, butt, arms and calves. Each video has about 10 to 15 minutes of exercises that focus on that specific region of the body. My last 12 minutes are spent doing stretching exercises that help my general flexibility and are a great way to become calm and relaxed.
HOW PILATES HELPS ME FIND MY ZEN
Even though I originally wanted to lose weight and just get fitter in general, I’ve noticed that my morning Pilates actually helps me accomplish a lot more.
Ever since I was a young teenager, I’ve been suffering from lower back pain and a hernia. 20 years later and I’ve learned to live with that daily pain. But I’ve noticed that my body responds really well to my exercises. If I miss a day, I feel significantly stiffer and I am in more pain. When I started noticing that, I began to crave my routine because it makes my body so much more tolerable. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have to be careful. There are days when an exercise suddenly causes pain or others when I’m stretching and I can’t get half as low as the day before. But that’s ok. I try to listen to my body, so that I’m benefitting from the Pilates in the long run even if that means quitting a certain move.
Furthermore, it is such a calming moment and I can totally relax even though I’m exercising. I have these big windows in my home, so when I roll out my yoga mat, I get to watch the sun rise above the forest in the distance. The need to focus on the moves and on my breathing plus that lovely view, prevents me from letting my thoughts wander. So, it is actually an exercise in mindfulness as well.
After these 45 minutes of me-time (in which my wife tries to occupy our daughter so she doesn’t bother me too much) I feel very much in touch with myself and ready to take on the day!
Originally a teacher, but a traveller in heart and soul, Babs recently quit her day job to be able to work location independently. She now writes about travel equipment for children on her blog Travel Gear for Kids when her 3.5 year old daughter is at school or asleep. When she’s not travelling the world with her family, you can find Babs in her tiny house in Belgium with her 4 furry friends.
Here’s where you can connect with Babs:
ZTT LINK-UP #013