You may have heard the term “neutral spine” during your Pilates sessions. Or perhaps you haven’t tried Pilates yet and you have no idea what I mean. Either way this is something that is extremely important in your everyday life as it will help you to improve your posture and strengthen your core in a subtle yet effective way.
What’s a neutral spine/good posture?
A neutral spine or good posture is being able to maintain the three “natural curves” in your spine with as little tension as possible.
Our spine should never be “straight”. How many times over the years were you told to “sit up straight” and you probably did. But did you realise that it was maybe doing you harm? Probably not. I can guarantee that all you probably did was arch your back excessively.
Our curves were built with purpose (how clever is the human body)! Our spine is our support structure, the building blocks from which we move. Our curves are there so that we can sit, stand, walk or lie down with the least amount of strain on the ligaments and muscles as possible. Correct posture means that we use less energy, decrease injury and pain and, decrease stress on the joints of the spine. It’s a very clever structure that more often than not we take for granted.
In a Pilates workout we often move in and out of a “neutral spine” and this is so that we experience all the lovely ways in which our spine can move. This creates more freedom, flexibility, and increases strength within all of those lovely planes of movement so we are “fit for life” so to speak.
Joseph Pilates said “Good posture can be successfully acquired only when the entire mechanism of the body is under perfect control”.
But, first I believe you need to know what “good posture” is before we move on and create a “body that is under perfect control”. Once you know what that is you can take a look at what “your” current posture is like and start to make shifts in your awareness throughout the day and your Pilates practice.