Whether it’s through choice, enforced social distancing or out of sheer convenience, many of us are looking for simple and effective ways to bring our exercise and wellbeing rituals into our own homes. And we’re also relying on these rituals more than ever.
Ali Handley, the founder of BodyLove Pilates, has seen it among the women – primarily mothers or mums-to-be – who attend her Sydney studio or take her online Zoom classes.
“There has undoubtedly been enormous pressure on mums during Covid, thanks to a combination of homeschooling, losing the help and support of grandparents, juggling working from home – the list goes on. Mums’ ‘me time’ just gets more and more squeezed in the process,” she says.
As well as the physical benefits of taking time out to exercise, Handley strongly believes in the benefits for our overall wellbeing. “I’ve been doing a lot of research into breathwork and the huge impact it can have on your wellbeing,” she says. “Just by taking 12 breaths you can shift your nervous system from the rush-rush of the sympathetic nervous system to the much calmer and restorative parasympathetic nervous system.”
Try this ritual at home, anytime you need to reconnect with yourself and your breath.
1. Be still; sit or lie comfortably with your eyes closed.
2. Place your hands on your body, with one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. Alternatively use your hands to gently wrap around your bottom ribs.
3. Inhale deeply through your nose to the count of four then slowly and evenly exhale to the count of four.
4. Repeat this 12 times.
Add a scent
You can also elevate your ritual by adding a fragrance that resonates with you.
“I believe that scent can really transport and shift your energy,” says Handley. “I think mint is a powerful motivator, so Tunisian Mint is beautiful when I want to feel uplifted or energised. I also love Tuscan Fig as it reminds me of summer, and Cuban Tobacco for its masculinity and earthiness.”
Written by Michelle Bateman