The Basic Positions of Pilates
Pilates today is gaining popularity. Many people are attracted to this activity because it is known to promotes lots of health benefits. It is more focusing on the center of body, strength, and building up the core muscles. A healthy stronger core is allowing the rest of muscles to freely move and takes pressure off your spine, neck, and shoulders.
This activity offers greater movements and flexibility in your joints and muscles, improving overall body strength, and mobility. In addition, it also uses stretching, concentration, and deep breathing in order to provide deep connection between your body and mind, relaxing your mind and body, while reducing your stress levels. The movement or position usually learned first when starting an exercise regimen actually is not a movement or a position at all because it is breathing.
Method of breathing is essential for correctly practice and completing the movements and positions most effectively and efficiently. To practice proper breathing in this exercise, you can start by lying your feel flat on the floor and your leg bent to make your knees pointing to ceiling. After that, place your hand on the abdominal region under your belly button. It helps you being more aware on how you are breathing. To make your ribs expand, you can inhale and you will feel the pressure is going to the floor. Make sure that your belly is not rising under your hand. Try to pull your belly button in and up. On the exhale, the belly will move away of your hand. You must get sensation that the diaphragms is stretching by end to end during this process.
The next position you must master is neutral position. It is a foundational position, which is used in exercises. It is also a position you will return for several times through the pilates workout between segments of exercises which work the same muscles. Actually, this position may referred as neutral spinner or neutral pelvis. In order to find a neutral position, you need to lay on the floor just like in breathing exercise has explained above.
There will be two areas spine which are not touching mat. One is in the lower back area and other is under the neck. These are natural curvatures in spine. You need to be familiar with these areas because you are required to maintain these curves for movements whether laying down or sitting. You might need to adjust yourself until curvature feels natural. Anytime you rest between or start, you must start in neutral spine position.
The third foundational position in this exercise you must master before engaging full exercises is the imprint. In order to reach this position, you need to lying on the mat in same position because the last two exercises start. Relax your entire body start from head, then down to the jaw, neck, shoulders, and ribcage. After that allow the ribs and sternum to press to floor in relaxed way.
After that, focus on the breathing because you let your abdominal muscles drop toward spine. Last, relax the legs and hips and visualize spine sinking to the mat. Make sure to keep the belly button pulling in and up but in a way, which is relaxing. You can also place rolled up towel under the neck to make it easier.
The swan prep is also a basic for pilates. It can be used for prep spine for relax or exercises as a cool down or during the workout. You can lay on the mat on your stomach and keeping the arms close to your body to do spinal stretch. After that, you can bring your hands up under the shoulders and keeping your shoulders low. Start engaging bas with breath to make your belly button lift in and up. You will keep the abs engage during the exercise.