Image credit @cmbringle

I woke up on the 1st January inspired to experience more generosity in my life. I already consider myself to be a generous person by nature. The generosity that I am referring to is something deeper - a calling not just to share more authentically with others, but to give more of myself to myself.

I have a beautiful baby girl who just turned 8-months old. She is a treasure to me. We waited and worked through many hard years to have our daughter. She really is our miracle baby. Now that I am finally coming out on the other side of our “fertility journey” I am realising just how much I neglected myself - my true, authentic self - for all those years.

When I was in the trenches of unexplained infertility; and believe me, it felt like war sometimes, I was looking after myself for one purpose - to become a mother. I wasn't, however, taking very good care of my whole self; the me that is defined by so much more than fertile/infertile. I resented my body and my mind’s role in the experience of infertility. I took my supplements and ate REALLY well. I got plenty of rest and meditated to ease the monkey mind, but I was anything but generous with myself.

Through all those years I never truly gave myself the thing I most needed - my own acceptance, my own compassion and caring. There were very few kind words muttered to myself, “you are an amazing woman, no matter the outcome of all of this. You are strong and resilient. Your dedication to this dream of yours is inspiring.”

No, my inner dialogue, no matter how much I tried to shift it in the moment, was much more negative and depended completely on a successful outcome. Now that I am fully aware of this and know how vitally important it is to be generous, kind and loving to myself, especially now as a new mother with all my foibles and imperfections, my practice this year is to turn inward every day and pour some of that delicious unconditional love on myself.

To me this comes through in kind words/thoughts, self-care, quality time with my girl, being brave enough to ask for what I need, including time to recharge with mindful movement (yoga + pilates), enjoying a (hot) cup of coffee in the morning, napping when my girl naps - gosh my cup already feels so much fuller.

What quality defines the year you are creating in 2020?

In our last blog we went over some of the nuances of yoga. This month we thought we’d cover pilates, which is another incredible holistic approach to caring for your body and mind system. Much like the evolution of yoga over the years, pilates has undergone many changes and interpretations. The true heart of pilates however still lies in functional movement and rehabilitation. Joseph Pilates, born and raised near Dusseldorf, Germany, was quite sickly as a child. One could glean from his history that he was destined to build the system of movement that would become pilates. Most influential to this future system, that would first become known as Contrology, was when Pilates was interned during the First World War. Part of his internment was spent on the Isle of Man working with injured soldiers who were unable to walk. He attached bed springs to the hospital beds to support the patient's limbs as they moved through exercises. These original contraptions would later influence the equipment we are now familiar with in pilates studios - the reformer, cadillac, etc.

Later, Joseph and his wife, Clara, relocated to New York and began teaching this developing system to dancers, athletes and, later, celebrities. As popularity grew, the two of them would take on interns. These interns would be a catalyst for the slow spread of pilates globally.

Now there are innumerable interpretations of pilates, pilates teachers and pilates studios. There really is a pilates style to suit every body.

At The Body Garage we tailor our classes and 1:1 sessions to fit our students. Our approach is therapeutic in nature, meaning our intention in each session is to uncover and address imbalances in the body and, over time, support you as your body heals and restores. We offer classes every day, and our classes really are for every body.

If you’re curious and ready, get in touch to find out more :

It is officially winter! Finally the last of the autumn rain lifted and the clouds disappeared revealing the stunning Wanaka mountains capped with a fresh blanket of snow.

As the days become colder and the frost lingers longer we are innately drawn toward hibernation. The darker evenings are a good excuse to stay home wrapped up by the fire.

This is a great opportunity to spend some time to rest, creating a habit of conscious stillness to go within and check in with how you are feeling; physically, mentally and emotionally.

Become a witness to your mind-body state through just 15-minutes a day of meditation:

1 - Find a comfortable seat with your back supported, or reclined.

2 - Connect to your breath, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. After a few deep breaths, allow your breathing to settle into a natural rhythm.

3 - Notice and allow any thoughts to pass by. If you find your mind running away with one thought, gently bring your awareness back to the breath.

Body maintenance and restoration is essential throughout the year, especially in the winter months. The body can feel a little slower to move, perhaps a little stiff and sore after a full day on the slopes. Myofascial release (MFR) is a great way to keep the body agile. Since it’s best done when the muscles are cold, find a few minutes to roll out (foam roller or MFR balls are great tools) before you hop into the shower in the morning. This is a wonderful way to offer each area of the body a few minutes of attention. If you need a little more motivation, ideas or guidance, come along to the studio for a Therapeutic Pilates session. We integrate MFR techniques into all of our classes, allowing you to easily build a daily home practice.

To completely reset the body, we need to cleanse from the inside out. If you want that quick fix reset, we highly recommend the practice of cold water immersion. Just a couple of minutes immersed in the lake on a sunny day to start will do. Over time you can build up how long you stay submerged as you will gradually build a tolerance to the cold. Two important points to remember are: start slow, controlled breathing (in and out through the nose if you can) before you get into the water and do your best to maintain that breath for the duration of the session. This helps to switch on your parasympathetic nervous system - the part of your body responsible for resetting and restoring balance and a state of relaxation. Secondly, go in deep enough where the tops of your shoulders are covered but don’t pop your head in the water. This will engage the fight or flight response in your body. You want to stay relaxed and calmly focused in the water.

The benefits of this practice are truly incredible! Incorporating a cold water immersion into your daily routine will sufficiently increase the immune system making you less likely to catch the common cold, the dreaded winter flu, and it helps muscle recovery after exercise. Why not try a dip in the lake after a day on the slopes? By intentionally exposing your body to the cold temperatures you are helping to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, revitalize the skin and experience the ultimate ahhh moment.

Remember, REST your body consciously through meditation for 15-minutes a day, RESTORE with a simple full body roll out, and enjoy a full RESET through a few minutes of cold water immersion. Perhaps rally a few friends and challenge yourself to a 30-day immersion mission in the lake! Let us know how you go and tag @thebodygarage on FaceBook and Instagram.

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