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Pilates Concepts: Use Mental Images to Feel Abs Engage

Pilates Images For Everyday Moves

I am a firm believer that Pilates makes everything better. And when I say firm, I also mean that literally. Pilates is a body/mind method of fitness, or as the very Germanic founder Joe Pilates believed, mind over body. I have found mental images help clients understand the details of basic moves. Here are three images that I have found helpful both inside and outside the Pilates studio.

  1. String bikini abs: To feel your low abdominals engage, mentally draw a line from the top of your right pelvis (the ASIS) to the top of the left. This imaginary line will be about two to three inches below your belly button. Pull that line, your string bikini bottoms, gently toward your spine. This is a great image to help feel your low abs engage while running, walking, or riding.
  2. Balloon head: A tense neck can lead to headaches and upper back problems. If you find your neck tense from holding up your heavy head, imagine that your neck is a string attached to helium balloon. The string can can move easily and the skull is light and floating. This is a great image to relieve neck tension when stuck in traffic.
  3. Soapy shoulder blades: This image comes straight from body/mind guru Eric Franklin and is great for keeping tense shoulders relaxed. Images your shoulder blades are bars of soap that slip easily up and down your back as you shrug your shoulders. If your shoulders are super tense, raise your shoulders to your ears on an inhale and let them drop on the exhale while imagining the soapy shoulder blades sudsing up your back.
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