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Basic Pilates Positions and Movements

February 14, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 168

The position or movement usually learned first when beginning a Pilates exercise regimen is actually not a position or a movement at all; it is breathing. The method of breathing is vital in practice Pilates correctly and completing the positions and movements most efficiently and effectively.

To practice the proper Pilates breathing, begin by lying on the floor with your feel flat and your legs bent so that your knees are pointing to the ceiling. You should then place your hand on your abdominal region just under your belly button, this helps you become more aware of how you're breathing. Inhale so that your ribs expand and you can feel their pressure going into the floor beneath you. Be sure your belly isn't rising under your hand, you should be trying to pull the belly button up and in. On the exhale your belly will move away from your hands. During this process you should get the sensation that your diaphragm is stretching from end to end.

The nest position you should master is the neutral position this is a foundational position that is used in many exercises. This is also the position you will return to several times throughout your Pilates workout between exercises or segments of exercises that work the same muscles. This position can either be referred to as the neutral pelvis or the neutral spine.

To find your neutral positions, lay on the floor exactly like in the breathing exercise above. You will notice that there will be two areas of your spine that aren't touching the mat. One is under your neck and the other is in your lower back area. These are of course the natural curvatures in your spine. Become familiar with these areas as you will need to maintain these curves during movements whether sitting or laying down. You may have to adjust yourself until the curvature feels natural and there is no strain on your neck or back. Any time you begin an exercise or rest between you should start in this neutral spine position.

The imprint is the third foundational position or exercise you should master before engaging in full Pilates exercises. The imprint is done by lying on your mat in the same position as the last two exercises began. Allow your entire body to relax from your head, down to your jaw, then your neck, shoulders and the ribcage. Then allow your sternum and ribs to press to the floor in a relaxed way. Then focus on your breathing as you let the abdominal muscles drop toward the spine. Finally relax the hips and legs and visualize the spine sinking into the mat, like it is making an imprint in the mat. Be sure to keep your belly button pulling up and in but in a way that is relaxing. To make it easier you can put a rolled up towel under your neck.

The Swan Prep is a great beginner's exercise that can be used to prep the spine for exercises or relax it during the workout or as a cool down. To do this spinal stretch, lay on your mat on your stomach, keeping your arms close to the body. Then bring the hands up under your shoulders, keeping the shoulders low, down from the ears. Begin engaging the abs with the Pilates breath so that your belly button is lifting up and in. You will keep your abs engage throughout the exercise.

Next lengthen the spine and image that your head is reaching for the sky as you press your hands into the mat as you life your upper body. The elbows will be slightly bent. Then slowly lower back down. You should inhale as you lift and exhale as you drop. You can do a few breaths in and out as you are holding the pose.

Learn more about personal pilates training at these pages: Pilates Training South Lake Tahoe and tahoe fitness.

Source: EzineArticles
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