Pilates Week 17 – Fundamental 2 – Pelvic Placement

There are 2 alternatives for pelvic placement in Stott pilates the neutral pelvis and imprinted pelvis.

The neutral pelvic placement is when you have a gentle curve in the lower back or lumbar region of the spine.  To find your neutral pelvis place the heels of your hands on your hip bones and your pointer fingers on your pubic bone if you put a board across these 3 points in the neutral position it would be level.

The imprinted pelvic placement is when you gently find a posterior tilt by gently using your obliques to gently lengthen the lower back towards the mat, it’s a gentle movement, not squashing your lower back into the mat.  People who experience gripping in the lower back area are encouraged to work in an imprinted alignment, particularly if your legs are off the ground.

The neutral position of the pelvis is the strongest alignment for your spine so you should always aim to work in neutral pelvis in any exercise, unless you have been advised to work in an imprint position.

To find both positions, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor find the 3 points I speak of above then allow your pelvis to line up so these 3 points are in a horizontal plane.  Gently draw in on your obliques to lengthen your lower back and find imprint and then gently release to return to a neutral spine.

Pilates Week 16 – Fundamentals the First of 5 – Breathing

I had a conversation last week with a colleague who asked me whether I got sore from doing pilates she spotted me in our gym at work and said to me it looked easy but she was sure it is not.  I was quite pleased to hear it looked so easy but it got me to thinking about how one learns pilates and how the basic principles are so very important.

I often see people working out and realise that my love of pilates comes from the structure of the exercises and how there is so much to learn, which always keeps me interested as a student of pilates and also as a teacher.

So I have decided to catch up my weeks I am behind in my blog with the 5 basic principles of the Stott pilates that I have been trained in.  Because I again are very present to what can only look easy through proper practice and knowledge of the correct fundamentals on which Joseph pilates and the many variations of pilates are built.

Breathing

Pilates breathing is to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth with pursed lips, similar to when you are blowing out a candle.

You breathe deeply into the back and lower area of your ribcage.

When you exhale deeply this helps to activate the deep support muscles of your spine and pelvis by engaging the transversus abdominis.

This deep breathing helps to you avoid neck and shoulder tension and helps in relaxation.

As you inhale the ribcage opens out and up whichs helps in spinal extension.  The ribcage closes in and down when you exhale which aids in spinal flexion.

I always like to start my classes with at least 5 big deep inhales and exhales to get everyone focused on their breath.

Pilates Week 12 – Back Extension with Knee Raise

Back Extension with Knee Raise

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Starting with the foam roller under your mid back, your head gently supported by your hands, raise you right leg towards you nose as you inhale and then exhale to lower.

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Then as you inhale extend your upper back over the foam roller, exhale as your return to the starting position inhale as you raise your left knee towards your nose and exhale as you return to the floor.

Repeat 5 times for each leg.

Pilates Week 11 – Foam Roller Extension

One of the things about commitment is that when you commit and fail the person that feels the worst is often you.  I have learnt a lot about who I am in the years since my dad passed away and one of the biggest is that I avoid commitment for this very reason, it feels terrible when you don’t follow through on the thing you said you would.

What I learned is that people fail to honour commitments everyday and it is the people who have the courage to honour their agreement that inspire me daily.  My mum and dad inspired me in just this way with their marriage. I hope that I can keep growing and learning how to honour the commitments I have in life to make them proud.  This blog was one such commitment that has for the past 7 weeks fallen away.  I have spent the weekend catching up on what I promised I would do every week this year.

What I got from this is consistent small commitments taken one step at a time are much easier than the workload of something left undone or ignored for so long it seems to big a mountain to climb.

The relevance of this to pilates is that with weekly consistent practice my body feels much better and thanks me for my efforts.  There is no way one can do a day of pilates and have the body respond compared to the person who consistently practiced for the past 10 weeks.  So here’s to commitment and looking at it from a different context.

Daily committed practice = fit/healthy/happy body even if is just 10 mins in the morning or before bed.

No body ever did something great without commitment, and now I am even more inspired to commit.

So here are the catch up exercises, lucky for anyone following because you basically get a foam roller class in one week.  I hope you enjoy :).

Foam Roller Extension

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Lie on the foam roller with it just underneath your shoulder blades.  Legs lengthen out straight and toes pointed.  Bring your hands to your head and rest your head gently in your hands.

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Inhale as you gently lower your upper body back over the foam roller.  Exhale as you curl forward back to the starting position and then repeat 5 times.

This is a beautiful opening exercise for the upper back.  If you don’t have a foam roller email me and I will respond with a list of places you can source them from, they range from $40AUD to $89 AUD depending on the quality of the foam they are made from.

Pilates Week 10 – The Side Lift

March is a beautiful month in Australia, we get the last of summer and there is a couple of great long weekends.  This long weekend is now a long week off for me and I am pretty excited because the weather is going to be some great beach days, one of my favourite things about this time of year and having a week off is that the beach is ever so quiet because the kids are back at school.

There is something about exercise at the beach, one of the things I love about pilates is you can do it anywhere, anytime once you know the basics.  On that note just a gentle reminder to make sure that you are practicing your pilates with a trained instructor at least once a week so you make sure that you are learning the right technique.  Integrity with your technique will help you grow stonger, leaner muscles quicker and move on to more advanced exercises sooner.

Today’s exercise is part of the side lift series, it will help you build strength in the sides of your abdominals, your inner thighs and help you build balance and control.  This series will take place over the next few weeks.

Lie on your left side, with your left arm stretched underneath you following the same line as your torso.  Place your right hand on the mat in front of you for support.  Your legs are stacked on top of each other.

Breathe in to prepare, as you breathe out lengthen both legs as far away from your hips as far as possible, and then lift them a few inches off the ground.

Keeping your legs together, breathe in as you lower both legs until they hover just above the floor.  Repeat ten times, and then swap to the other side of your body.

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Pilates Week 9 – Shoulder Bridge on Foam Roller

Another one of my favourites on the foam roller as it takes a little more co-ordination.  This one is good to work those hamstrings.

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Lying on your back on your mat put your foam roller under you feet.  Stabilise your shoulders and inhale.  Stabilise you pelvis and spine in neutral and the lift your hips up off the ground.   Creating a bridge position from your shoulders to your knees.  Inhale as you hold the position nice and balanced.  Then as you exhale lower you hips back down towards the floor, inhale and then as you exhale repeat.

Repeat 5 times.