Core, one of 5 Key Elements to Pilates
2) Centering “Finding your Core”
Pilates aims to develop a strong “centre” using your abdominals, lower back and pelvic floor muscles – your POWERHOUSE. A natural body corset is made by the Transversus Abdominus (TrA), multifidus and pelvic floor muscles. These are postural muscles and are designed to work at a low level all day to provide this natural spinal support. It is important to find your “neutral lower back posture”.
Place your thumbs in your belly button, then your fingertips on your pubic bones and the heels of your hands wide onto the pelvic bones: this forms your pelvic diamond.
Tilt the diamond backwards to flatten your lower back then tilt the diamond forwards to create an arch in your lower back. Tilt your pelvis in either direction and position your pelvis midway between these two movements. Your pelvic diamond should feel like it is resting flat like a tabletop.
Setting your core
Focus on engaging the deep abdominal muscle – transversus abdominus (TrA). To feel this muscle working, place your fingertips on the front bony parts of your pelvis, then slide your fingertips in and down an inch. Press firmly to feel your deep transversus abdominus muscle. Imagine this deep abdominal muscle forming a natural body corset. Focus on the portion of this corset lying below your belly button. Breathe in to prepare, breathe out, then slowly and gently draw this corset in towards the spine. Maintain your neutral spine position. You should feel this muscle under your fingers slowly tighten and draw away. Hold your gentle contraction and keep breathing. Then relax.
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