Joseph Pilates said, “Good posture can be successfully acquired when the entire mechanism of the body is under perfect control. Graceful carriage follows as a matter of course.” In other words, when axial elongation is achieved, the body’s alignment allows for greater freedom and efficiency of movement. The problem is, how do we get our clients to that point? How do you explain that perfect posture isn’t just unhunching your shoulders?
Try this: Imagine someone holding a bunch of balloons on a string that is attached to the crown of your head. Now imagine that the person lets go. As the balloons float upwards, the string pulls your crown with it and forces you to sit up very straight – inches taller than you were. You call upon your cervical, trunk and pelvic floor musculature in order to eek a bit more height out of your spine and pelvic skeletal structures. This lengthening creates more space between your vertebra, also known as axial elongation, allowing for that increased freedom and efficiency of movement, or “graceful carriage.”
This cue can be used to correct positioning during specific exercises (spine twist, mermaid, standing balance, etc.) where the posture is meant to be maintained throughout, or we can use this to properly set up for other exercises that begin in or pass through this position (rollup, standing roll down, spine stretch, saw, and so many more!).
See if this cue doesn’t help your clients feel just a tad bit taller when they leave class!
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