Pilates and Posture

“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.” – Joseph Pilates

According to Pilates (and physical therapy, and NY Posture Bar), there are 4 movement principles for rehabilitation: Breathing, Alignment, Core Control, and Motor Control. I’m going to break down what each of these means.

  1. Breathing: Healthy breathing will be clarified in more depth in a later post, but put simply, during typical breathing, your mouth should be closed, your tongue at the roof of your mouth, taking deep breaths in and out through your nose, and filling the deepest part of the lungs (abdominal area) with air using the diaphragm, not shallowly with the accessory muscles. Training for correct breathing is essential, for several reasons, in the development of good posture.
  2. Alignment: Having correct spinal alignment in neutral (when laying down flat on the back, or standing) is essential and will decrease risk of injury when performing dynamic or weighted exercises. If you are unable to get to neutral independently, there may be mobility restrictions that must be address (for example, tight muscles, tight fascia, or trigger points).
  3. Core Control: Engaging the core muscles in both static and dynamic movements allows for reciprocal inhibition of the lower back muscles, protects the internal organs, and forms the basis of correct execution of exercise and movement.
  4. Motor Control: One must have correct motor control in order to perform dynamic movements. There is some evidence that individuals with nerve damage, demyelination, can regain function in some cases; however, in many, they are not able to. In addition, swelling, tight muscles, etc can cause nerve compression, decreasing sensation or even motor control. Additionally, brain space must be devoted to process the correct execution of a movement. There are many steps on this pathway.

NY Posture Bar can help develop these 4 principles, allowing individuals to be ready for more complex pilates exercises and group fitness classes. Feel free to comment or connect with questions!