Pilates for Posture

Tower Pilates @WellBarre Pilates
Roll up with roll down bar on Tower

Pilates is hands down the best way to correct faulty movement patterns and develop beautiful posture. What makes Pilates so important with respect to posture is the fact that by strengthening the core muscles we begin to naturally lift the ribcage away from the abdomen. As the core muscles are developed, strong and lifted our internal organs are no longer compressed as this also creates length in the spine.  Many people think of pushing their shoulders back to correct their posture, however this creates tightness in the neck and shoulders and ultimately doesn’t correct the problem.

Using the deep core muscles of the powerhouse—the abdominals, back, and pelvic floor—to support our posture allows the shoulders to relax, the neck and head to move freely, and relieves stress on the hips, legs, and feet. Not only is posture important for good health as well as dramatically improving our appearance as there is a noticeable slimming effect in play, but great posture is a communication to others. Often we associate terrific posture with poise, grace, confidence and success. So now might be a good time to think about what you may be communicating through your posture.

Benefits of Good Posture

• pain relief throughout the body, including back and neck pain, hip pain, leg and foot pain.
• Improved movement patterns in the body
• Strengthens muscles with elongated at the same time
• increases range of motion
• healthier to our internal organs that do not experience compression from slouching
• improves circulation
• youthful and trim appearance
Maybe you haven’t given it much thought until you are wearing a backless dress or tank top in which you notice you have begun to round your shoulders and it doesn’t feel comfortable to straighten the body without discomfort….Here are some exercises to address posture.

Pilates MAT Exercises to Support Good Posture

1. Finding Neutral Spine
2. Pelvic Curl
3. Pilates Plank Pose
4. Roll Up


Rowing Series (Shave the Head)

Plank on Box

Roll Up with Rolldown Bar
Straps 1 and 2
Swan Prep/Swan

Chest Expansion on Tower

Contrology and the 6 Principals of Pilates Method

Joseph Pilates in NYC Studio

According to Joesph Pilates’ Return to Life Through Contrology, first published in 1945, there are six guiding principals for the exercises. Contrology is defined as “the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit.” Through Pilates discipline performed correctly at least 4 times per week and in specific order, “Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong posture, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit.”

Here are the guiding principals of the Pilates Method: Breath; Centering; Concentration; Control; Flow and Precision.  Interesting that 3 of the 6 principals are focused on the importance of the mind and mental discipline.  Pilates saw the exercises as truly the connection of mind, body and spirit, and did not believe that you could separate the physical from the mental discipline.

Breathing: Is the first act of life and the last, our vary life depends on it. Pilates emphasized that students should use very full, deep breaths.

Centering: Joseph Pilates emphasized the powerhouse of you body which is the area between your lower ribs and hips and it includes the lower and upper back muscles. Centering the mind through focus on the core is key.

Concentration: Simply put, Pilates requires that you bring your full attention to the movements of eat exercise. “Concentrate on the correct movements EACH TIME YOU EXERCISE, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all the vital benefits of their value. Correctly executed and mastered to the point of subconscious reaction, these exercises will reflect grace and balance in your routine activities. Contrology exercises build a sturdy body and sound mind fitted to perform every daily take with east and perfection as well as to provide tremendous reserve energy for sports, recreation, emergencies.”

Control: having control of all movements directed by the mind. Pilates famously said, “Good posture can be successfully acquired only when the entire mechanism of the body is under perfect control.”

Flow: The elegance of the movement is defined as flow.  Movements are performed with grace, elegance and fluidity.

Precision: Pilates emphasized correct form and alignment.  Instructors are taught to use precise cueing in order to make movements more precise.

Joseph Pilates emphasized that over time the body would move according to the six guiding principals in everyday life, making the exercise something that is incorporated into a person’s overall well-being and health vs a separate activity for the sole purposes of an isolated form of exercise.