3 stretch routines that will enhance your life!

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Stretching is essential for a healthy body.  Just like cardio and strength exercise stretching should be a regular component of your fitness routine.  So let’s enhance your life!

So what is stretching?  

Stretching refers to a practice of elongating a muscle or muscle group to its fullest length. 

It is actually an instinctive action.  Think about when you wake up in the morning and stretch, or after sitting for a long period of time in a chair how you just want to reach your arms over your head.  Our body craves to stretch.

Without stretching as we age our bodies lose mobility, especially in our thoracic spine and hips, maintaining flexibility and movement is crucial to staying able.

In this post we share with you three of our fundamental Pilates stretches that we believe will enhance your life.

  1. Deep pelvic squat
  2. Psoas stretch
  3. Open thoracic stretch

Our goal is that by the end of your read you are encouraged to include them regularly in your wellbeing lifestyle!



1. Deep pelvic squats

The deep pelvic squat is one of the human body’s most primal movements.  It was our natural sitting position before we invented chairs!

It is also the traditional position we used for elimination and going to the toilet.

Although today we consider chairs, toilets, sofas or even cars a normal part of life, our bodies still needs the benefits that a deep squat gives to the pelvis, hips and legs.

How do you do a pelvic squat?

With your legs just a little wider than hip width apart you are going to bend at the knees and bring the buttocks toward the floor.  The aim is to get your anus as close to the floor as possible but to start with you should only go as low as it is comfortable until you gain strength and flexiblity. 

Make sure you keep your back straight and lean slightly forward. It is important that your knees should be in line with the toes to avoid any knee pain or issues. As you return to standing tighten your glutes and contract your pelvic floor.


Let Natalia show you how to do a deep pelvic squat!

Contraindications: It is important that you do not do deep pelvic squats if you have knee issues or other injuries. Please speak to your health practitioner if you are in doubt.

5 top reasons why you should do deep pelvic squats

  • Improves and maintains flexiblity and range of motion particularly in the hips, knees and ankle joints.
  • Maintains strength in the hip extensors.  These muscles are at the back of the thigh and your buttock muscles.  They support pelvis and trunk stability and help you to walk and climb stairs.  They also keep your bottom pert! 

If you do not stretch or use muscles surrounding these joints they can become tight causing pain and immobility.

  • Helps with good bowel habits.  When we squat to use our bowels the pelvis and rectum are not at their best angle for elimination and this can cause straining and pushing.  Keeping your pelvic muscles strong and in condition helps your body to overcome any issues that might arise from sitting on the toilet to poo!  Strengthening these muscles will also help people who have urine leakage and bowel control issues.
  • Tones the pelvic floor muscles.  When we teach Pilates we are always reminding our clients to use and contract their pelvic floor muscles, however, like other muscles the pelvic floor also moves bones, especially the bones we use to squat.  And the only way to keep them strong and in good condition is to work them in a deep pelvic squat!
  • Enables getting up and down.  If you are unable to squat this drastically hinders your ability to get up and down off the floor and ultimately to be able to walk.
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Common mistakes people make when doing a squat


  • Not dropping down to the floor enough.  You must alway listen to your body when you start any new stretch or exercise but in time what you are aiming for is to get your buttocks as close to the floor as possible!


  • Knees turning inwards.  It’s really important for your knee health and also to achieve the most out of your squat that you keep you knees in line with your feet and ankles. 

2. Psoas stretch

The iliopsoas or as it is commonly referred to, the psoas muscle, is a fundamental muscle for back and spinal health. 

Anyone who has every participated in any of our classes will know that Natalia is passionate about this stretch, especially when she is working with her patients with disc herniations or back injury.

The psoas is a muscle when it is weak, or tight and short, will cause the spine to round or pull in one direction because it attaches to the spine and the femur. 

It is a major trigger for lower back pain.

The psoas tendon can become aggravated and inflamed from overuse, muscle tightness or muscle weakness.

It can also result in a painful hip condition known as psoas tendonitis.



What does the psoas do?

The psoas muscle is a hip flexor muscle and assists with the external rotation of the femur bone.  It helps to maintain the strength and integrity of the hip joint and acts as a stabiliser for the lumber spine and pelvis. 

It is fundamental for:

  • Stabilising your spine when you sit.
  • Driving your thigh up towards your lap when you are standing.
  • Enabling you to bend in all directions.
  • Adducting the hip when it rotates out to the side.
  • Helps with deep breathing using your diaphragm.

What happens when you have a tight or weak psoas?

If there is tension in the psoas the nerves can be compressed as they travel through the muscles. Because of this, a tight psoas can cause symptoms that you wouldn’t think related to this muscle including:

  • Back pain
  • Leg pain
  • Hip pain
  • Digestive issues
  • Bladder pain
  • PMS symptoms

It is a muscle that is regularly overlooked in people’s exercies and stretch routines.


Book a private treatment to release your psoas

Weak or tight psoas?

How do I know if my psoas is tight?

If you sit at a desk all day, do a lot of sport, or are overstressed with emotions the psoas muscle can shorten.

The psoas muscle greatly determines the ability to relax as well as influencing your feeling of wellbeing and stability.  This can trigger fear and anxiety.

What are the signs of a weak psoas?

  • Lower back pain
  • Tight or overworked hamstrings
  • Knee pain
  • Difficulty lifting your knee
  • A sway back
  • Pain in the front of the hip
  • Standing upright

As with a tight psoas sitting for long periods can cause a weak psoas.  Cycling a lot, having weak abdominals, glutes or pelvic muscles can also cause your psoas to become weakened.

Try one of our 50 stretch videos!

Release fear and trauma when you stretch your psoas

In the emotional body if the psoas is relaxed and maintained with stretching it allows energy to flow freely and help with increased sensitivity of the whole body. So, if you want to release fear, trauma and emotional stress (the psoas links to the adreanal glands and is located with the sacral chakra) release your psoas!

Learn how to stretch your psoas!

Contraindications: When you should not overstretch your psoas? - You Have Psoas tendonitis or tendinopathy. - You Have a Psoas Strain.  Speak to your health practitioner before you decide to include this stretch in your exercise routine.

3. Open thoracic stretch

Your thoracic spine is the middle section of your back. 

It is made up of 12 vertebrae that all attach to your rib cage.  The thoracic enables about 80% of your trunk rotation, and it is responsible for movements of the neck. 

Why is thoracic mobility important?

The ability to arch your back, go into thoracic extension, as well as have a full range of motion through this area of your back is essential for the health of our neck, shoulders and arms.

It also allows us to play sports that require rotation such as golf or when we need to throw or hit a ball. 

Adequate thoracic mobility is necessary in order to move your shoulder joints into their natural end ranges of motion. 

Without good thoracic mobility, we are also restricted when doing everyday activities like walking, going to the toilet, running, checking a blind spot and moving our heads.

What is the most common source of thoracic spine pain?

Your neck and shoulders sit on your thoracic spine and ribcage. 

If your thoracic spine is immobile or has limited rotation it means that other parts of your spine and body such as your lower back, neck and shoulders have to take up the workload and over compensate. 

This pulls them into inefficient positions and can cause pain and other issues and can cause inflammation in the muscles or the soft tissues of the thoracic spine.

Other causes of thoracic back pain include:

  • Poor posture
  • Sitting or standing for long periods of time
  • Sprains from car accidents or sports injuries
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The most common symptoms of thoracic pain include:

  • Sharp sudden pain in the middle of your back, either on the spine or to one side
  • Persistent pain in the middile of your back
  • General aching or throbbing
  • Numbness, weakness or tingling
  • Stiffnes that causes loss of normal movement

Your thoracic spine transmits signals from your brain to your major organs including the lungs, heart, liver and small intestine.

Learn how to do an open thoracic stretch and release your thoracic spine!

Contraindications: Please speak to your health practitioner if you have any thoracic injury or pain before trying this stretch.

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