Radhika Karle is certified Pilates expert from the the renowned Balanced Body institute based in USA. She is Sonam Kapoor’s trainer and travels with her when she leaves Mumbai . Radhika is a qualified nutritionist who can map out healthy eating habits.
According to Radhika in her interview with Women Fitness India she recommended “While you are in limited outward world access to gym or places of workout you can practice these 3 exceptional Pilates moves at home using a mat.”
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your legs hip-width apart, with your feet placed on the floor.
- Knees should be bent at about 90 degrees.
- Arms are straight and down by your sides.
- Your pelvis should be in a neutral position. This means that your pelvis level and your tail bone is neither tucked under nor sticking out.
- Take a deep, full inhale and create space in your spine by imagining it lengthening.
- Then start to exhale slowly through an open mouth. Breathing in this way aids the movement of your spine.
- As you breathe, press into your feet and start to peel your spine up into the bridge position. Reach long through your thighs and let your knees move away from your head – you should feel the front of your hips opening up..
- Make sure those glute,hamstrings and spine extensors are activated by sending your tailbone to the back of your knees.
- Bridge up to the point where your shoulder blades are on the mat.
- Pause at the top of your bridge and take an inhale here.
- Exhale and slowly start to bridge back down.
- To initiate this first allow your chest to soften and trickle the spine down the mat.
- Keep opening through your thighs even as you lower. This will create length and space in your body, and therefore helps to decompress your spine.
- Your bridge is complete when your body is back resting on the mat with your pelvis in neutral.
- Repeat 5 – 10 times, or more if you are stronger.
Focus on maintaining good form throughout the exercise.
- Lie face down on a mat with your forehead resting on a towel or hovering just above it. Place your hands either side of your chest with your palms facing down.
- Inhale to prepare.
- Exhale and connect your pubic bone with the mat.
- Next, press your hands into mat and send your elbows back towards your heels. As you do so, allow your chest and upper spine to peel off the mat into an upward arc. Make sure your lower abdominal(s) are engaged.
- For the full version, start to straighten your arms and bring the rest of your spine and hips into extension. Your thighs should be off the mat.
Remember to keep sending your tail bone down toward the mat.
Pause and inhale at the top.
- Exhale and start to lower the body back to the mat. Do so by rolling over your thighs, hips, lower abdominal(s) to your chest until you are back in the starting position again.
- Repeat this sequence 3 – 5 times.
- It’s important to extend your spine evenly during the Swan. If you don’t you’ll end up moving excessively in the segments in your lower back, which can create a painful pinching sensation.
- To avoid this, think about lengthening the spine as well as curving upwards as you move into extension. This change in emphasis should help take the pressure off your lower back.
Side Bend Mermaid
The Mermaid Pilates Stretch is excellent for working on postural problems caused by weight bearing too heavily on one side.
- Begin by assuming a Z-sit position where your knees are side sitting with both knees to one side. If this causes any discomfort in your hips or knees, you can sit on a yoga or moon box to prevent excessive internal rotation of the hip. The goal is to have both sit bones level.
- Rest your arm closest to your feet on the mat and float your other arm to the side.
- Feel yourself lift up as you inhale a deep breath
- Gently press your hand down into the mat as you exhale and arc your body up and over to the side using your opposite arm to reach up and over.
- Once in side bent position, take a deep inhale floating your ribs up to the ceiling.
- Exhale to return to the starting position
Watch Out For:
- Hips lifting of the mat.
- Excessive lateral flexion of the head and neck
- Excessive shoulder shrugging.
For a Simpler version
- Begin cross legged – this is the easiest sitting posture for most people.
- Inhale to prepare, think of lengthening through the top of your head.
- As you exhale reach one arm overhead and reach over to side bend. The opposite arm can be rested on the floor in line with your hip for additional support.
- Inhale into your top lung to hold, think of flaring your ribs and allowing them to separate. Think of standing down in your opposite hip, don’t allow if to rise up off the mat so that weight stays evenly distributed in the pelvis. This will increase the stretch in your Quadratus Lomborum and abdominal muscles – mainly the obliques.
- Exhale to return to the starting position.