If you have ever been to a Pilates class you should be familiar with the words neutral spine and pelvis, but for many people there can still be some confusion to what this actually is so I thought I'd explain this a little more...
If we think of our bodies in the most optimum way, we think that all of our joints are in the correct alignment, and if this occurs then our muscles should ideally be at the correct lengths. In this way neutral pelvis and spine should mean the body has its least stress and most balanced.
For us to have the correct 'neutral' spine and pelvis for our bodies, this should encourage the joints to be in their correct alignment, thus correct muscle lengths, posture and movement patterns.
We need to have a neutral spine and pelvis at the beginning of many exercises for the exercise to be performed most effectively and safety.
- How to find a neutral spine and pelvis...
This can most easily be practiced in what we call relaxation position, where we are lying on our backs, with our knees bent, feet grounded to the floor - the floor will give you the feedback that you need.
Scan the back of the body along the floor- In an idea neutral position your neck should not be tilted back or forwards but 'neutral' in between the two, you will probably need to place a small cushion under the head to find this.
Feel for the back of the ribcage, ideally this should be connected to the floor also, right the way to the very last lower part of the ribs.
Next feel for your sacrum bone- this is the bone to the back of the pelvis at the very base of the spine, this should feel weighted and connected to the floor. It does depend on the shape of your spine, but in most cases the lower spine has a dip which you should notice you may be able to fit your hand under when the sacrum is weighted, honour this natural curve and do not try to press this into the floor, or accentuate this.
In this position without you even knowing it your centre muscles will be working a little to maintain you here, bonus! This of course takes a while to master so if you are a beginner don't panic, like anything with more practise the correct position will come. Now you are ready to start your Pilates exercises...
Join me for a Pilates Class if you would like to learn more about improving your posture and movement patterns.