A is for 'Alignment (Postural)'
Good posture comes from being upright against the force of gravity so that your bones fit properly with one another at their respective joints (place where bones connect). The way the bones fit in relationship to one another and to the whole body are referred to as alignment.
Posture experts have described ideal alignment in terms of the location of body parts used as landmarks, relative to a vertical line that runs down through your centre. Ideal postural alignment causes the least amount of musculoskeletal pain and strain.
Performing Pilates exercises with good posture is essential as if the exercises are performed with stress on joints and ligaments, as a result of poor posture, a participant could actually make a postural condition worse or indeed cause themselves an injury. Therefore it is vital that before every exercise, whether it be standing, seated or lying, a reinforcement of the appropriate posture should be addressed.
The key areas that need to be addressed when focussing on teaching correct alignment are:
- Neck alignment
- Shoulder stabilisation
- Neutral spine
- Engagement of the TVA and pelvic floor muscles
In a standing position, side view, visualise the plumb line:
- Tip of the ear is aligned with the shoulder joint, with the chin parallel to the floor
- The line should pass down through the lumbar curve just posterior to the hip joint
- It should pass anterior to the knee joint and slightly anterior to the ankle
Plumb line points during side view in neutral or ideal alignment:
- Ear lobe
- Bodies of cervical vertebrae
- Shoulder joint – tip of the shoulder blades
- Bodies of the lumbar vertebrae
- Slightly posterior of the hip joint (through the greater trochanter of the femur)
- Slightly anterior of the centre of the knee joint
- Slightly anterior of the lateral malleolus (ankle bone)
Imagine you are creating footprints in the sand and that your feet are like a tripod with the weight evenly balanced over both feet and evenly across the toes and heels. Imagine you have a golden thread on the top of your head and it is drawing you upwards, lengthening your spine.