Pilates, low-impact, dynamic stretching series of exercises, performed regularly have been proven to maintain bone and joint health, improve flexilbilty and maintain mobility of movement. It can be practiced by people of all ages and the anti-ageing benefits have been well documented, having a positive effect on concentration skills and stress reduction.
A regular Mindfulness practice has been proven to improve health on a cellular level, helping to slow down the ageing process by clearing our minds and decreasing the likelihood of stress related illness.
Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.
"It's easy to stop noticing the world around us. It's also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living 'in our heads' – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour," he says.
"An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs.
"Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment.
"It's about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives."
Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better.
When we become more aware of the present moment, we begin to experience afresh things that we have been taking for granted.
"Mindfulness also allows us to become more aware of the stream of thoughts and feelings that we experience," says Professor Williams, "and to see how we can become entangled in that stream in ways that are not helpful.
"This lets us stand back from our thoughts and start to see their patterns. Gradually, we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over and realise that thoughts are simply 'mental events' that do not have to control us.
"Most of us have issues that we find hard to let go and mindfulness can help us deal with them more productively. We can ask: 'Is trying to solve this by brooding about it helpful, or am I just getting caught up in my thoughts?'
"Awareness of this kind also helps us notice signs of stress or anxiety earlier and helps us deal with them better."
Mindfulness is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a way to prevent depression in people who have had three or more bouts of depression in the past.
“My partner and I came to the Pilates and Mindfulness retreat for some much-needed rest and relaxation as we have a young daughter who doesn’t sleep very well and it sounded like it would be just what we needed. It was much much more. We came away from the weekend feeling recentred, positive and rested. Ros was so knowledgeable and made us all feel at ease. I would recommend the weekend to anyone. Thank you"
Lizzie Fordham and Nick Green. January 2018
Rosalind Hoyes has been teaching Pilates in many different environments since qualifying with the gold-standard teacher trainers, Body Control Pilates, in 2004. After many years running her own busy studio in Northamptonshire, she moved to rural Derbyshire and embarked on teacher training with the University of Bangor, which has an international reputation for the quality of their teacher training programme. She also gained a qualification as an NLP Practitioner with Quadrant 1.
She now teaches her unique blend of these skills at Retreats and Workshops in the UK and abroad, using the combination to enable people to take a relaxing break in good company whilst improving mobility and strength.