If you’ve ever taken a Pilates class, then you’ve probably heard the term “neutral pelvis”. It’s a term many contemporary teachers use, but Joseph Pilates didn’t actually use the term when he taught his students, he would just sort of push them into place and make them feel it in their body.
Once his students felt that incredible stability in their body, they never forgot the feeling. It feels superhero like! It’s the most shock absorbing position for the body. Meaning, when you have a neutral pelvis, you’re in the strongest and most aligned position so the rest of your body is free to move without overworking, and all of the support comes from your center.
The pelvis is the center of your body. It includes your hip bones and your pubic bone, forming a triangle in the front and back of the body.
The pelvis is home to the powerhouse or core, where the upper body attaches to the lower body and the lower body attaches to the upper body.
The placement of your pelvis dictates the alignment of the rest of your spine. In order to obtain and sustain a vertical neutral pelvis, you need a strong deep core. A deep core holds the pelvis in position, so that the spine has freedom to decompress and elongate. Other rippling effects of a vertical neutral pelvis are natural traction of the spine, proper posture, aging well, avoiding or dealing degeneration of the spine, and being able to exercise without injury.
Your deep core muscles consist of the multifidus (muscles between the vertebrae), the transversus (deepest abdominal muscle wrapping the body from low back to low belly), the diaphragm (assists in breathing), and the pelvic floor (a hammock-like muscle under your pelvis). All of these muscles assist in keeping the pelvis neutral and they ALL need to be strong in order to do their job.
Being aware of your neutral pelvis will help you in EVERYTHING you do.
Awareness is the first step. And that’s the goal in my “Mastering Your Body Alignment Series - Power of the Neutral Pelvis”. I want you to think about neutral pelvis in every possible position. Once you know what it really means and practice you Pilates, eventually your brain will get it and it will become second nature for you to maintain a well supported posture that prevents injury and overuse of muscles/ligaments/and tendons.
When you approach your Pilates practice knowing where your body is in space, it will enhance your workout to a whole new level. Your results will happen not by “pushing” yourself more, but by becoming more aware of “how” you’re moving.
Pilates is not about pushing, tensing, or struggling. It’s about using your muscles in the most efficient manner where you exert less energy and get better results. It becomes a daily practice to get to know your body on a deeper level each time you step on the mat.
There’s no comparing to others when you work this way. There’s no competition when you come from a learning approach. It takes away the idea of being “perfect”. Curiosity leads which makes you Pilates practice a whole lot of fun.
During this caronavirus time, when most of us are under an enormous amount stress, it’s important to find the tools to help keep our sanity. For me, movement has always been one of those tools. Yes, I love my cardio. But there’s nothing more satisfying than learning more about my body. I ESPECIALLY love it when an aha clicks for one of my students, and they exclaim, “OMG I now get it!” They could be practicing Pilates for years and still having these aha’s. That’s Pilates for ya! Something can click for you, even though you’ve been hearing the cues for years. It’s when it "clicks" in your body that knowing truly happens.
And that’s exactly what I hope for you in this Master Your Body Alignment series. I want you to learn something new about your body and how it works. Once you learn it, you’ll never unlearn it, and then I can feel better because I helped you find a little golden nugget that just might help you feel better.
Thanks for being part of this community, I appreciate you. Here’s a video from the series. The rest are coming this week.
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