So, this is it! It’s a wrap on 2014. Be it in a holiday newsletter, or via your Facebook “year in review” summary app, come end of December, we tend to reflect on the major events from the past 12 months of our life here on earth. Using the present to look at the past, we then set our eyes on what comes next. What new direction will you venture into? And, what will you do to welcome the New Year?
Eating round fruits is supposed to ensure a prosperous new year, so in Spain it is customary to eat 12 grapes (one for each month of the year), as the clock strikes 12. In Denmark, they stand on a chair and leap off of it at midnight – as if to literally “jump” into the New Year. One Latin tradition is to take a broom and sweep out your door at midnight. This act means to remove all the negativity out of your life for the New Year.
But we all know it’s not truly the symbolic gesture you make at the stroke of midnight. It’s what you do all year long to take you from point A to point B. So I suggest that while you’re chomping grapes, sweeping out negativity and leaping into the new, make a personal pledge to kick it up a notch. Before you get on the road, you need to map out your course. So here are 3 Pilates pointers to devise your plan of welcoming the New Year.
- Choose 1 Pilates Mat exercise to perfect – each quarter.
Make sure you have a strong base with the Pilates Fundamentals, and then select 4 exercises from the Mat repertoire that you struggle with or simply want to look fabulous doing J. The beauty of Pilates is that many of the exercise forms relate or build on one another whether it is on or off the reformer. So as you get better with one, you’ll tap into the skills for developing your overall Mat mojo!
Focusing on one makes it simple and attainable. Picking out a move for each quarter helps you keep it fresh and gives you a sense of progressing. And I’ll let you in on a secret; whether or not my students are fully aware, this is basically a tactic I use for my Mat classes…sshhhhhh.
I’m sure you can select your own, but if you’re looking for suggestions, here’s a couple that’ll help inspire your list:
Teaser Prep with Pilates Center of Bend (4:02) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-05f-X7OCBo
The instructor in this video demonstrates the full teaser, and then provides a few preps for progression. It’s not comprehensive of all that you can do to perfect your Teaser, but it sets a great foundation in a short amount of time.
Pilates Standing Arm Weight Series by Studio Clasique (6:52) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mU71HOYrQ68
This one will challenge your balance and coordination! Consider using a mirror and checking yourself occasionally from a side view to see your posture and form.
- Abide by One of the Pilates Principles – again, each quarter
For each principle you decide to focus on, find ways to combine it with any movement you’re doing, beyond applying it to Pilates, however simple it may be. So for instance, if you picked Fluidity; the next time you’re walking to the water cooler, imagine that your steps flow, and your feet glide to get you there. You’ll absolutely change the quality and mindfulness of your walk.
Here are the six basic principles, which are described in detail in The Groundwork for Success blog article:
Brooke Siler, author of The Pilates Body also includes the following as Pilates Principles:
Your Imagination uses visualization or your other senses to stimulate your quality of movement. Intuition refers to taking the time to “listen to your body” – that is, tuning in and learning to what feels right for your body’s well-being. And if we take a look at Aristotle’s quote, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” – then this is essentially where Integration comes in. In other words, you can say an exercise is ‘for your abs’ but in Pilates, we are always looking for the whole mind-body to be fully involved.
- Calendar your own inspirational quote or image. Pick 12 – one for each month.
Now, I know there are calendars out there that’ll probably do this for you, so you could cheat, but if you really want to own your map to your New Year, find your own quotes or images. Who/what most inspires you?
Maybe you select something that is thematically in line with one of the Principles, or somehow related to the exercise you chose. Or maybe it’s just something that helps you look beyond the busy-ness of your day – a thought you can meditate on. Here’s one I found that I think I’ll use for my map:
“Whether this moment is happy or not depends on you. It’s you that makes the moment happy. It’s not the moment that makes you happy. With mindfulness, concentration and insight, any moment can become a happy moment. Happiness is an art.”
– As posted on Facebook as by Thich Nhat Hanh on 26 Dec 2014
I know its old school but rather than on your iPhone – consider printing out your quotes/images and paste them onto your calendar or somewhere that you look everyday as a reminder.
All right – those are your 3 Pilates Pointers for welcoming the New Year!
Blessings for a bright and steadfast path into 2015!
See you in the studio!