23. Strengthen Your Core with Pilates and Dance Instructor Heather Craig

Heather Craig

Pilates & Dance Instructor

The Joy of Movement

Pilates and dance instructor Heather Craig trained at the Royal Academy of Dance and The Rambert School, and she’s co-founder of Moving Stories Dance Company. Heather is an experienced pilates instructor and also teaches adult ballet. And you’re in for a treat. This episode is a bit more interactive. You’ll have a chance to do some lovely stretching as Heather guides you through a seated pilates session. It’s the perfect way to gently get your body moving.

Heather’s Links

Inspiration

  • Quite by Claudia Winkleman. “It’s uplifting and funny”.
  • Dance Technique & Injury Prevention by Justin Howse. “It’s quite phenomenal. It’s my top reference book – the information in there is really, really good. It doesn’t work for everyone’s injuries, but it’s something I will refer to quite a lot”.

Benefits of Pilates

  • Move fluidly. Keep your fascia (the substance that encapsulates muscles) nice and lubricated. You’ll be able to move more fluidly, with fewer of those pops and creaks.
  • Get stronger. The stronger your core, the less likely you are to sustain injury.
  • Be balanced. Pilates was designed to create more symmetry within the body, to create a strong core. It’s about retraining the body structure, so it’s a very practical sort of exercise.
Heather Craig dancing in costume in a garden
Heather Craig doing a side stretch in a dance studio

I wouldn’t say to anyone: ‘Just do pilates – that’s going to get you fit.’ Because it won’t. But it works as a beautiful supplement and integral part of your exercise regime because you’re strengthening from the inside out effectively.

Heather Craig

Just Move

It doesn’t need to be complicated.

Like Heather, you can start your day with a 10-minute mini pilates routine.Listen to the full episode to hear Heather’s mini seated pilates session. Relax as she gently coaxes you through some lovely stretches.

Heather’s favourite pilates exercise is the pelvic bridge/pelvic tilt:

“So really the reason I like that exercise is because it’s not loaded flection, so therefore it’s pretty safe for everyone’s spines. But also what it does, it provides a little bit of traction. So if you’ve been standing for a long period of time, then what it does is just gives some lovely space between those vertebrae”.

Once a day you need to get out. Even if it’s only a short walk (15/20 minutes), just get out and get that space. Go and see what’s going on around you. Get that air.

Heather Craig

Cultivate Other Interests

Whether you’re training in dance or music – any creative (or non-creative) thing, have a backup plan. Cultivate other interests. Think: what would I do if I couldn’t carry on with what I’m doing now? Future-proof your career. So, if something like a worldwide pandemic comes along (or if robots make your current job redundant), you’ll be prepared. Be curious and explore new avenues.

Keep a few things in the pipeline. Have your Plan B’s and your Plan C’s just in case, because you never know, do you, what’s round the corner.

Heather Craig

Style Notes

Thank goodness for athleisure. Or loungewear. Or “pyjamas/fitness” as Heather calls it.

Top Tip: Sweaty Betty and Lululemon are fantastic places to find stylish sportswear or loungewear or everyday wear, depending on your personal style vibe.

“Oh my goodness. My favourite leggings are from Lululemon and the material they’ve used, it’s like skin. It’s just really unusual. So, I do love those. I am a particular fan of quite funky leggings. Yeah, that is my clothing accessory”.