Thursday, October 15, 2009

STOTT PILATES® Five Basic Principles: Principal 5 Head and Cervical placement

Principal 5 Head and Cervical placement

*THE CERVICAL SPINE SHOULD hold its natural curve and the skull should
balance directly above the shoulders when sitting in neutral. This position should also be maintained when lying on the back. If there is a kyphosis or forward head posture, pads or pillows under the head may be necessary in a supine position to prevent the cervical spine from overextending. In most instances, the cervical spine should continue the line created by the thoracic spine during flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation. Cervical flexion should begin by lengthening the back of the neck. This is referred to as cranio-vertebral flexion. Avoid jamming the chin into the chest. There should be enough room between chin and chest to fit a small fist. Once cranio-vertebral flexion and scapular stabilization are established, the upper torso can be flexed by contracting the abdominals to slide the rib cage toward the pelvis. When flexing the upper torso, focus on creating an even flexion through the thoracic and cervical spine. When extending the upper torso, focus on creating an even extension through the thoracic and cervical spine. Avoid creating overextension and compression in the
cervical area.

Start supine, with pelvis and spine neutral.
Knees flexed, feet abducted hip-distance apart
on the mat. Arms long by sides, palms down.

(also known as Head Nods)
Inhale Drop eye focus slightly, tipping head forward and lengthening back of neck. Leave head on the mat.
Exhale Return to neutral.

The Introduction of the Five Basic Principles
Principal 1 Breathing
Principal 2 Pelvic Placement
Principal 3 Rib Cage Placement
Principal 4 Scapular Stabilization

Article by Moira Merrithew, STOTT PILATES® Executive Director, Education
(taken from

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