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In this short video I demonstrate how we can improve day-to-day movement by applying the basic principles of Pilates to rotation of the spine. 

More often than not, rotation of the spine, or turning to the side comes purely from twisting the head and shoulders. As a result, we miss out on the spinal rotation needed to maintain balanced movement. The neck and shoulders become tight from overuse and the spine becomes stiff through reduced movement.

I hope this video will demonstrate how, by applying the basic Pilates principles to rotation of the spine you can achieve and maintain full and balanced spinal movement.
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.

If by extending the arms out to the side proves too challenging for you, then pop your fingertips onto your shoulders, and be sure it is the powerhouse which provides the rotation, and not the arms!

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 and 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.

Rotation is achieved by imagining the ribcage moving around the spine. This prevents the arms from taking over, and keeps this as a trunk or spinal strengthening exercise rather than an arm exercise (which is not the aim here!)

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 during my demonstration, that by using these key Pilates Principles to rotation of the spine, the length of the spine is maintained and fully supported during movement. To prevent any collapse resulting in compensatory postures and muscle imbalances.

Join me over the next 3 weeks as I move on to demonstrate the more advanced Classical Pilates exercises, which also bring in Flexion, Extension & Rotation.

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

KSJ X Asquith

Shop Katherine’s bamboo Pilates clothes here…

To find out more about Katharine go to or @ksjbodycontrol



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