Mind & Body

A Pilates Zen workout to tone your body and calm your mind

Free your mind from anxiety and stress while toning your entire body, with this at-home Pilates Zen workout from Peaches Pilates founder Tori Clapham. 

We’re all feeling extra stressed right now, and it’s definitely both mentally and physically draining.

And we get it – doing a hardcore HIIT session or 5km run probably doesn’t sound appealing at all. It might even give you a bigger headache just thinking about it.

Which is why you need to schedule in time for Pilates Zen. This form of exercise helps calm your mind while getting all the toning benefits of a regular workout. It’s basically a win-win situation.

Here, Peaches Pilates founder Tori Clapham shares her Pilates Zen workout you can do in the comfort of your home. This series of exercises requires no equipment and can be done before or after a workout or just simply on its own – the choice is really up to you, and what your body and mind can handle.

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A Pilates Zen workout to tone your body and calm your mind

Breath work

Sit with your legs crossed however you feel most comfortable, close your eyes, sit up nice and tall and connect with your core. As you take a big inhale through your nose, fill your belly up with air and then exhale through pursed lips and feel your tummy contract. Now repeat for another 10 breaths.

This is great to do whenever and wherever you like, this can reduce stress and anxiety, slow down your mind and increase focus.

Spinal twist

Keep in seated position and position your right hand behind your bottom, place your left hand on your right knee and slowly start to twist towards your right arm, your gaze towards the back of the room. Hold this for a moment and then release. Repeat this three times on each side.

Cat cow figure 8

Starting on your hands and knees for this move. This is slightly different from the traditional cat cow; this move has more flow and it is up to your interpretation.

Start circling your hips whilst also circling your shoulders, don’t worry about looking silly during this move, listen to your body, close your eyes and just move in whatever way feels comfortable for you. Continue for another 30 seconds and then change the direction of your circles, again for another 30 seconds.

Pike to plank + cobra

From the cat cow position, activate your core, tuck your toes and lift your knees up off the ground and push back to a pike. Ensure that your hips are up and back and legs are as straight as you can. Now start to shift your weight forward and transition into plank position. Push yourself back into the pike and repeat 10 times. Finish in plank position, start to lower your arms down and aim to have your chest touch the floor before your hips. Once you have lowered to the floor, hands should be under your elbows, push your arms up straight whilst keeping your pelvis and legs on the floor, curve your spine slightly back, gaze to the roof for your cobra. Relax into this stretch for 30 seconds.

Kneeling crunch + pulses

Bring yourself back on all fours, stabilise your body with your core and straighten your right leg out behind you. Now draw your right leg in and bring it towards your chest on the left hand side. Make sure your abs are switched on and your movements are controlled. Straighten out the right leg behind you and repeat 10 times. Return your leg so it is straight out behind you, lift your opposite arm, lengthen and stretch your arm and leg in opposite directions and pulse for 15 counts. Release.

Now repeat on the other side.

Box breathing meditation

To finish this zen workout, return back to seated position, cross your legs however feels comfortable, sit up tall and just let go of all the negativity and stress surrounding you.

Inhale right into your belly, hold for 4 seconds, now exhale, release all the air in your body and hold for 4 seconds. Inhale and repeat this for a few minutes or however long you would like.

Box breathing is a technique that can be used anytime you feel you need calmness and relaxation. Try this next time before replying to a stressful email or after a heated discussion – this will decrease stress levels and bring stillness and calmness to the mind.

Tori Clapham is the founder of Peaches Pilates. Follow her on Instagram @toriclapham and @peachespilates.