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Pre-Pilates: “Discover Alignment”: on all fours



Foundations: Discover Alignment on All Fours

“Pelvis Rocking on all fours”


What’s it good for?

🌟  This is an awareness raising exercise to help learn how to find the best starting position for exercises that are performed on all fours.
🌟  It helps identify the actions of the abdominals and spinal muscle groups.
🌟  It helps learn how to combine movements with breathing patterns.
🌟  We start to learn commonly used cues such as “lengthen” and other concepts commonly used in Pilates.
🌟  We learn to identify some bony prominences of the pelvis so that we can check our alignment.



A quick “how to”…

All Fours Pelvic Rocking to find your ideal alignment / starting position 

🌟  Bring your knees directly under your pelvis and wrists directly under your shoulders.  When you check in a mirror, you should see that your thighs and arms are perpendicular to the ground.
🌟  Align your head with your spine by looking directly down.  The temptation to look directly forward is common and perfectly normal :-).
🌟  For the time being, don’t worry about your pelvis position – the objective of this awareness raising exercise is to learn how to find our neutral, natural spinal position for starting our exercises.
🌟  As you exhale, draw in your abdominals (see The Pregnant Cat) and tuck in your tailbone under your pelvis, rounding your lower spine.  Try not to move your shoulders – for now we’re just focussing on the lower back and pelvis!
🌟  Inhale, and bring your tailbone up toward the ceiling.
🌟  Repeat several times to learn how your spine and pelvis move together and to explore the full range of movement without moving your shoulders.
🌟  Bring your pelvis to roughly halfway between the two extremes of movement – you should feel equal muscle tension between the abdominals and spinal muscles – both working together to keep your lower spine and pelvis in it’s “neutral” position.
🌟  Check the position of your pelvis with your thumb and forefinger using your hip bones and the bits at the back, upper centre part of your pelvis as explained in the video.

Things to think about… 


🌟 Before moving, stop for a moment to feel and be conscious of the weight in your knees and hands.  Is the weight equally distributed or is there more weight in your hands or more in your knees?  Men and women have different centres of gravity and there is also variation between people – some people have longer arms and legs than others!  Just notice, don’t fret too much 🙂
🌟  More importantly, so you have equal weight distribution on the left and right.  Try shifting from left to right to feel how you can move your weight from one side to the other.
🌟 Simultaneously, lengthen your neck though the crown of your head.  This is more of a sensation than an actual movement – but do practise trying to “get” this idea of lengthening because “lengthening” is a frequently used cue in Pilates.
🌟  Check that your shoulders are not up by your ears.  Slide your shoulder blades down your back – but without tension, just to “lengthen” your neck – after all, who wants to practice a short neck?
🌟  As you tuck your tailbone under your pelvis, feel how your abdominal muscles further activate and you stretch your lower back.

Hints & Tips:

🌟  Although this is an “easy” exercise, becoming proficient at noticing everything can take time.  Be patient and kind to yourself, it’s not as easy as it sounds!  Pilates is something to practice, not “do”.

Any Questions?

Ask away – I love to help!  Click here for the Contact Page 🙂 – or leave a comment at the bottom of the post – see you there…


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