BREATHING PRINCIPLE ACTIVITY: Awareness to your Breath Pattern
Begin by lying on back, breathe smoothly, noticing natural breath pattern.
Ask yourself, Is breath going into abdominal cavity (belly, core, stomach), upper chest (fill the lungs with air), sides of rib cage, back of rib cage?
Experiment with breathing to the belly first, then chest. Try the opposite way too by breathing into the chest cavity first then the belly. Be sure to focus on breathing 3-dimensionally, forward, back, and sideways.
2. Rib Cage Placement
The positioning of your rib cage affects the alignment of the upper spine called the thoracic spine. When you are lying on your back, find a neutral position with your shoulders relaxed and feet flat on the floor with the knees bent. Focus on the weight of the ribs, and feel them resting gently on the mat. Do your best to maintain the normal curve of the upper back and try not to lift off or push your rib cage into the mat. It says steady, like its heavy like a cement block. Pay attention to the placement of your rib cage when inhaling, ensuring your ribs do not "pop up". Be sure to remember to begin engaging your abdominals creating a strong exhale to help stabilize your ribs. Emphasize breathing 3-dimensionally.
Lay on your mat and find a neutral position with your shoulders relaxed and feet flat on the floor with the knees bent. Begin with an INHALE through nose, feeling sides and back of rib cage expand. Followed by a deep EXHALE through pursed lips, pressing almost all of the air out, with control allowing rib cage to close.
1. Neutral Placement which maintains the normal curve of the lower back.
2. Imprinted Position, in which the lower back is engaging toward the mat.
It is important to be able to find and maintain the structural integrity of the spine and control while moving through the Pilates exercises.
PELVIC PLACEMENT PRINCIPLE ACTIVITY: Rocking your Pelvis, Pelvic Tilts
Laying on the floor, begin to rock your pelvis by alternating arching lower back off floor and pressing lower back into floor. Your "neutral placement" will be somewhere between the two, when the hips and ribs are steady and there is little "mouse house" behind the natural curve in your lower back.
4. Head and Neck Placement
Your head should sit within the natural plane of the body, centered on the axis of the spine, equally positioned between both shoulders and when looking at the side few of the body the ears should sit in line with the center of the shoulder.
Without lifting the head and shoulders off the mat, tuck the chin down towards your check making a "double chin". Do not jam your chin into chest, do not lift your head, you are simply stretching the cervical spine by creating space in the neck bones.
While standing, INHALE as you prepare EXHALE as you squeeze the ring with all your might creating a strong core, make sure your shoulder are level and engaging by sliding on the back body.