“Pilates? Like yoga?” Inevitably is the question that spurts out of people’s weary mouths when I tell them I’m a pilates instructor. Instead of launching into a half hour explanation of what makes the technique different, yet similar and complimentary to yoga, a quick no will suffice. I could write at length about the differences, but instead want to show you a quick maneuver that will have you feeling what pilates is all about in about 5 mins flat. Deep core work and alignment cues get to what makes the 60 year old technique so effective and timeless. Follow along in my first demo video to feel what pilates and gravity can do for you.
Quick alignment notes:
While practicing the stomach series above, or other core work of your choice, proper alignment of the bones and breath work are necessities in injury prevention and increasing the depth of the work (the burn!).
Keep a “neutral” pelvis: In the entire pilates repertoire of movement I like to think of what is staying stable and what is moving. The moving parts of the body in a given piece of movement are more than likely meant to challenge the stability of the core. So for example, in the hundreds (the first core piece in the video) the curl of the upper body activates the abdominals. That curl then doesn’t move. As though the whole torso is encased in cement. Then the pump of the arms and the lowering of the legs challenges that core stability.
Part of the stability of the core is the stability of the pelvis. If you are holding a curl or “crunch” look down at your pelvis and check it’s placement. You want the pubic bone and the two hip bones to be flat. Imagine you have a bowl of water on your low abs and you don’t want the water to spill in any direction. Most people tend to tuck their pelvis, flattening their low back to the floor. Bad news for your spine! We want to train the body to support the spine in it’s natural curvature. Which includes the lumbar curve. Keep the flat pelvis while continually sinking the abdominals into the spine and mat.
Breathe! I will talk a lot more specifically about the importance of breath, but for now just try to follow the video. The double inhale, double exhale in the beginning of the clip is practiced by breathing half of your air in followed by filling up the lungs completely. Then exhaling half your air, then getting rid of all of it. Two sips of air in to fill the lungs, and two pushes of air out to empty the lungs completely. Make sure to exhale all of the air to avoid an oxygen overdose.
Let gravity help you build a strong core to support the stability and flexibility of your spine. Spine health and killer abs all in one. Exactly why I teach and adore this genius body of movement!