Good alignment and balanced movement form the foundation of a healthy spine!

In an increasingly sedentary world, good movement of the spine can become compromised, which changes how the body moves. There are a number of potential problems associated with poor posture, such as a tight neck and shoulders, backache and headaches, which can all be dramatically reduced by moving well.

In this series, we’ll be applying the same Pilates principles explained & demonstrated in ‘Series One – Pilates for Everyday Life’, to good movement of the spine. (For a recap or if you are new to Pilates, please take a look at Series One here…)

In weeks one to three of this series, I demonstrate the full movements of Flexion, Extension and Rotation of the spine with key Pilates Principles in place. In weeks four to six, I move on to demonstrate the more advanced Classical Pilates exercises, which also bring in Flexion, Extension and Rotation.

I hope these exercises will provide some inspiration of where a life-long journey with Pilates can take you!

As always with Pilates, do speak with your qualified Pilates Instructor first about changing or adding to your routine, to ensure the movements are appropriate to your individual, unique and beautiful body.

In this short video I demonstrate how we can improve posture by applying the basic principles of Pilates to simple flexion/forward bending of the spine. (Please see series one for a further explanation of Pilates terminology).

I begin the exercise by pausing to ensure the fundamentals of ‘alignment’ are in place before I move.

If you are new to Pilates or find it difficult to get into the position of ‘long sitting’, do bend or soften your knees, and use a small firm cushion to sit on. This will make it easier to achieve the ‘neutral position of the pelvis’ in sitting as detailed here. 

With a ‘neutral pelvis’, the shoulder girdle sits directly above the pelvis.
The use of the ‘deep abdominals’ supports the spine and helps to lengthen the waist.
We bring in ‘thoracic breathing to connect with the abdominals and support a good upper body position. This also prevents breathing into the neck & shoulders, which can cause unnecessary tension.

To move the body, I use my ‘deep abdominals’ and ‘thoracic breathing’ to maintain length in the waist and to support the spine during the movement.

The use of ‘Opposition’ (lengthening the crown of the head away from the tailbone), maintains length in the spine, strengthens the spinal muscles and fully engages the ‘Powerhouse’ during the movement.

I hope it becomes clear in my demonstration, that by using these key Pilates Principles in forward bending (flexion), the length of the spine is maintained and fully supported during movement, preventing any collapse and resulting compensatory postures and muscle imbalances.

Join me next week, as we will be looking at the application of Pilates during extension of the spine.

KSJ X Asquith

Shop Katherine’s bamboo Pilates clothes here…

To find out more about Katharine go to or @ksjbodycontrol


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Pilates Everyday with Pilates Teacher Katharine Jemmett [film]


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