This exercise is intended to introduce mobility to the lumbar spine. It also allows the body to find the relationship between engagement in the pelvic floor and release in the muscles of the low spine.
To do this exercise you will need a mat. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted in the ground. As you inhale rock your pelvis towards your tailbone, and then as you exhale engage the pelvic floor and gently rock your pelvis to your belly button. Inhale as you rock your pelvis towards your tailbone and exhale as you rock your pelvis towards your belly button. Keep repeating this movement with the breath and notice how your low spine releases.
Things to think about:
This is a small movement that is the initiation of many Pilates’ exercises and so learning to execute it correctly will be important to the progress of any Pilates practice.
A common mistake is to “push” the pelvis towards the ground by pressing the feet into the ground and engaging the hamstrings and the gluteus maximus (glutes). Initiating the pelvic rock in this way can interrupt the sequencing of the spine. As you are doing this exercise imagine that your feet are light on the ground and the pelvis moves from the center not from the legs.
Imagery is a good way to create this movement. As you are inhaling become very aware of the weight of your tailbone in the ground like an anchor, then as you exhale imagine that a string attached to the tailbone is gently lifting it out of the ground. Inhale the tailbone is gently lowered onto the ground and exhale the string lifts it gently to the ceiling.