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As both a Physiotherapist & Pilates Clinician, I often hear the comment from my patients “I know I have bad posture’, which is followed swiftly by “how do I improve this?” so I thought I would just take a moment or two to cover a few of the basics, and how we integrate posture exercises in the Pilates Studio.
1. Begin with your ‘Neutral Spine’ position
- What is that? Neutral spine is the term used to explain the correct alignment and posture for the spine, and it all begins around the lower back and pelvis
- Why? By setting the body into a neutral position, we immediately offload the discs, joints and muscles around the back, and set up a really good foundation for the rest of the body to move from.
Without correcting and setting your lower back into a neutral position, you may find this leads over time to injuries not only of the back, but also the hips, knees and feet.
- But how? I think the best way to explain (and practice this) is lying on your back with knees bent – then roll the pelvis so your spine flattens to the floor, roll forwards to create a big arch, and then find your middle ground between the 2 – this should align the ribs and the hip bones.
No matter what position you are in, weather this is sitting, standing or lying – you can always use this method to help find your neutral spine and set correct postural alignment, which is a fundamental aspect of any Pilates programme.
So how do good posture and Pilates link together?
Pilates exercises and teaching always begins with setting neutral spine and correct posture – crucial for offloading muscles and joints of the body and optimising efficient movement and breathing.
Understanding your own posture, and how you set your pelvis and spine should give you a good idea on what you need to work on, and what muscles may need stretching or strengthening, which is where your Pilates programme can certainly help.