This exercise is a variation to the classic pilates exercise. It gives the support of the hands to the head, neck, and shoulders while the body builds the strength of the deep abdominals
To do this exercise you will need a mat. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and pulled into your chest. Place your hands behind your head interlacing your fingers to make a hammock for your skull. Inhale to prepare and then exhale as you narrow the ribcage and to press it into the ground and lift your head, neck, and shoulders. Inhale into the back of your ribs as you extend your legs, and then exhale to fold at the hip sockets and bend your knees. Repeat this movement pattern 8-10 times
Things to think about
If you have osteoporosis you can do this exercise without lifting your head, neck, and shoulders. In actuality this makes the exercise much harder. It will be a great challenge to keep your spine still as you move your legs in the hip socket
Using your hands can allow you to find the slight nod of the head that engages the deep neck flexors as opposed to the more superficial. If you feel your sternocleidomastoid (The long rope like muscles that go from behind your ear to your collarbone) then release your head to the ground and practice nodding your head in your hands.
These deep neck flexors can help you find the deep abdominal muscles and will protect the neck from strain.