This exercise is intended to prepare the body for the classic pilates exercise The Hundred. This exercise teaches the body how to use forced respiration as you lift the head, neck, and shoulders.
To do this exercise you will need a mat. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted on the ground. Inhale as you allow your arms to float into the air so that they are reaching to the ceiling above your chest. Exhale and allow the ribcage to narrow toward the spine as if moving through a funnel toward the pelvis. Continue exhaling as you press the ribcage toward the ground allowing your arms to press down toward your hips, and finally with the support of the upper abdominals allow the head, neck, and shoulders to lift into the air. Inhale into the back of the ribs and exhale again as the shoulder blades slide further down the back and the hands reach further past the pelvis. Inhale one more time and then exhale as the head, neck, and shoulders lower to the ground again. Repeat 6-8 times.
Things to think about.
If you have osteoporosis you can do this exercise with the arm movement, but you should allow the head to remain on the ground.
This exercised is designed to teach the body how to use the base of the ribcage as a lever to lift the head, neck, and shoulders. The breath is key to this movement. On the inhale the diaphragm engages and moves toward the pelvis. And then on the exhale the base of the ribcage narrows. This is the perfect time to allow the ribcage to press into the ground, so that the abdominals will protect the head, neck, and shoulders in this movement.