This exercise is intended to take your awareness to the deep abdominals and the pelvic floor. It is taking all the breath exercises to the next step. In Pilates the breath is the place to start and then the place to go is the pelvic floor and abdominal engagement.
To do this exercise you will need a mat. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Begin inhaling using the diaphragmatic breath from earlier in the blog. Then as you exhale notice the hollowing in the abdomen. Inhale again and on the next exhale use your muscles to continue this hollowing into abdominal engagement. Use your muscles to help the breath. Continue this breath and with every exhale help your abdominals engage as your diaphragm releases.
Things to think about:
This is an exercise that begs for imagery. As you are practicing this breath try these on for size.
As you exhale imaging drawing your tailbone to your pubic bone
As you exhale feel your bellybutton smile
As you exhale reach your head away from your tail.
Remember that releasing all of the air will make this abdominal engagement much easier.