Pilates Mat Exercises

I work in an office and sometimes I’m sat down for hours at a time. Can you recommend any poses, exercises or stretching I can do while I’m at my desk?

There are plenty of exercises that you can do sitting at your desk. Seated Tadasana is a good one, as are as side stretches and gently twisting from side to side. There are lots of books and DVDs out there that you can practise from. However, I would ask you to seriously consider investing some quality time in practising yoga for at least 15-minutes a day at home or even somewhere in the office on your lunch break away from your desk so you can practise standing and lying exercises and not just sat in your chair. This will help refresh you and indeed boost your productivity. Try it and see for yourself.

I don’t go to class that often now days but I never miss the magazine! I’ve got really tight hamstrings. What are the best poses to try?

Pilates Mat Exercises

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Before you jump into yoga exercises I suggest you visit your GP who can eliminate any possibilities that you may have a longstanding injury. If you have the all clear, I recommend practising Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) – an excellent pose to help loosen the hamstrings. If you can t achieve the full pose then modify the pose by using bolsters or by practising against a chair. Ensure you warm up before attempting the pose. Regular massage is another option for tight hamstrings. In the long term though, it’s better to find at least 10 to 15-minutes a day when you can practise yoga at home. This will be an excellent investment in your health and will significantly improve the quality of your lifestyle in the future.

Born in Galway on the Irish Coast and christened Daniel, my mother and I moved to England when I was just two to begin a new life, leaving behind my father whose history of mental health problems sadly prevented us from remaining together.

The education system was frequently challenged by my energy levels, though on the upside I was gifted with a high IQ and my academic ability secured a place at Grammar School. By the age of 12, struggling to fit into my new school environment, I was diagnosed with ADHD, medicated with Ritalin and undergoing therapy. Devastation hit when I lost my place due to the extremes of my behaviour.

Life was never to be the same again. Anger issues, depression, self-harm and a suicide attempt resulted in being admitted to a Psychiatric Hospital. This year that I lost during a most poignant time on so many levels was spent medicated, restrained and vulnerable. At the tender age of 13, broken from the experience and with further school failures, I gradually fell in to a life of gangs, crime, drugs and alcohol. By 19 my existence felt hopeless and I was in trouble with the law.

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