Pilates Basics: Before we get started!

There's Joseph Pilates in his lovely black undies. He was a smoker, and lived til the age of 83, and looked like that until he died. The undies weren't so lucky though!

There’s Joseph Pilates in his lovely black undies. He was a smoker, and lived til the age of 83, and looked like that until he died. The undies weren’t so lucky though!

I know you want to skip right over this, but don’t! You need to know the very basics of Pilates before we get started. Uploading videos takes FOREVER, so read this first and come back tomorrow to see the videos. Watch them once all the way through, and then try them yourself. If you’ve got a dodgy back keep at least one foot on the floor during the crisscross ab routine, armpit to knee, you’ll see! Just keep one foot on the floor and the other foot resting on top of the knee of that leg. Or keep both feet on the floor to get started and get that back stronger.

1. Breathing

2. Precision (of movement)

3. Alignment of the body

4. Posture

5. The Core

Joseph Pilates at age 57 and 82.

Joseph at age 57 and 82. What more can I say, this stuff really does work.

6. The Spine

1. Breathing: Exhale on the exertion of the move. Your core is smaller and more flexible upon exhalation because the lungs are empty.

Exhale upon exertion

Exhale upon exertion, breathe out at the most difficult part of the move. Inhale to return to rest.

2., 3. and 4. Ear over shoulder, shoulder over hip, hip over knee and knee over ankle. Adjust the rear view mirror in you car tomorrow morning so that you must sit  with your ear over shoulder, shoulder over hip in order to see into the mirror. It will remind you to sit in correct posture every time you look in that mirror!

Center lines of the body for Pilates

Center lines of the body for Pilates

4. Speaking of cars, bucket seats are comfy, but are hard on your back. They allow the rib cage to slouch down on the pelvis, poor posture. Put a folded towel in the lowest part of the seat in order to correct your posture.

5. Everything from breast to hip bones is the core. It needs to have strong flexible muscles to give the organs the room the need to function correctly.

6. The spine, carries a lot of weight. Your head alone weighs ten pounds, and for every inch your head shears forward, add another few pounds to the base of the spine. When we stand with our hip bones tilted to our belly button we shorten the core and allow the rib cage to slouch down on the pelvis. When we lay down on the floor we need to lie with our hip bones tilted to the belly button whenever we lift the feet off the floor to do ab work, that is until our spine and the core muscles are much stronger. But for now lie in imprint at all times when you are doing ab work with feet off the floor. This position, hip bones to bellybutton, is called imprinted spine; each vertebrae of your spine is on the mat.

Neutral Spine (Picture via Pulse Training International)

Neutral Spine (Picture via Pulse Training International)

But when we are standing we need to stand in neutral spine, hip bones tilted to knees, in order to diffuse the weight the spine carries around the body evenly and effectively. When you stand or lie down with neutral spine, hip bones to knees, you’ll feel a slight curve in the lower lumbar, that’s good posture and we call it Neutral Spine.

OK then! The videos for week 1 of the arms, abs and legs routines plus a brief Pilates Basics video will be up and running tomorrow! See you then!

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