Tag Archives: holistic

There can be no ‘return to normal’

The worldwide pandemic of Covid19 is a strange and uncertain time. Entering SEVENTH week now in lockdown!

It’s a serious and deadly virus for some. I sincerely hope no-one reading this has lost a loved one. My dear brother-in-law was on the critical list, but now appears thankfully to be on long road to recovery.

One thing is certain – there can be no ‘return to normal’; my hope is this virus will result in a new value system where humans – led by enlightened government – recognise environmental issues are more important than economic growth.  Did you know that the climate crisis has already caused more deaths than the worst predictions for Coronavirus? (Irish Times, 17/4/2020).

Satellite images are showing a marked decline in air pollution as billions of people stay home. Noxious gases from heavy industry and traffic have declined. The earth has been allowed to breathe again!

Families are realising it’s actually pleasant to hang out at home without always rushing kids (mostly in cars!) to after-school activities. The material things we are sucked into feeling we need are mostly discarded as waste.

Like many, I am worried about my economic stability into Autumn and next year, that I won’t get back to where I was before this abrupt disruption.  In my tenth year as a pilates instructor, things were going very well and then – wham bam –  nothing! But I feel lucky and resilient enough to believe I can transition to a new model of sharing the movement system I so love and believe in.

I started Pilates classes on Zoom in week two, faltered due to broadband issues, and have been back doing classes since week four (broadband better, not perfect).  Now in week seven, I am putting a monetary value on my time delivering these classes in an attempt to adjust to the new world order. I also look forward with excitement to welcoming smaller groups in my new private pilates studio at Lagganstown Schoolhouse – 2 metres apart of course!

Especially here in south Tipperary, we have the privilege of space and gardens; embrace the ‘gratitude attitude’!

We have time to ponder, walk at leisure, cook more thoughtfully, read more and realise what is truly important.  Stay home, think positive, count your blessings!


Feet are your tools of balance, mobility and posture

Last time I wrote about becoming aware of where your head is in relation to the top of your spine. This post is about your feet — your incredibly important connection to mother earth.
The deeper my knowledge of pilates, the more I understand that the feet are the body’s foundation – the tools of balance, mobility, and posture. I always include footwork and foot awareness moves in my pilates classes.

Feet are biomechanical marvels. Each foot has 26 bones, 31 to 33 joints, 19 to 20 muscles (it varies according to how they’re counted), along with thousands of nerves (explaining why feet can be so sensitive to touch!).
Children are mostly lucky to run around freely on healthy, blemish-free feet. As we get older, our feet often bear the toll of ill-fitting or bad shoes: fallen arches, bunions, hammer toes or plantar fasciitis.

Freedom of movement at the joints where the toes meet the feet (the metatarsal-phalangeal joints) is essential for freedom of movement higher up in the body – your knees, hips, pelvis.

If you wear routinely wear high heels, you are storing up back and foot problems. You are forced to walk with your pelvis tilted forward, causing unnatural curvature of the spine and placing excessive stress and strain on the low back. Also, your calf muscles and Achilles tendon will be shortenened. Not to mention problems in the feet themselves from squashed toes (see list in previous paragraph).
As our feet are mostly tucked away in shoes, it’s very easy to overlook your feet and toes, and forget how much they do to carry and support you.
When the weather gets warmer, feet start to be revealed and you are forced to check in with them. But ideally we should be checking in with our feet all year around. Lately, I have been encouraging my pilates clients to work in bare feet as a regular way of checking-in with their feet.

Here are my recommendations for healthy feet:

Do foot exercises! Here are three simple ones:

– 1) Spread your toes wide, then lift all toes off the floor while leaving the ball of the foot down; progress to lifting just the big toe off while leaving the other toes down, and vice verse.

– 2) Stand on the edge of a step with your shoes off. With your weight on the balls of your feet and your heels extending off the edge, drop your heels down to stretch Achilles tendon and calf muscles.

– 3) Try picking up a pencil with your toes.

Massage your feet frequently – either using your knuckles or pressing down and rolling out on a small ball.

Mosturise and care for your feel (before bed is a good time!). Visit a chiropodist or get a pedicure. For a really relaxing treat, go for reflexology.

Finally just make your entrance in your high heels! Then switch to lower heeled shoes that won’t cause you long-term damage.