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ALIGN YOUR SPINE 

September 2016 

ALIGN YOUR SPINE 

Reprinted courtesy of PilatesStyle 

a Pilates magazine that helps 

you “Live Life to the Core”. 

By: Jonathan Oldham, MSPT 

Edited by: Amanda Altman 

As a Pilates teacher and physical therapist, I have observed that the clients who derive the most benefit from Pilates have one thing in common: They are consistent with their practice. But research shows that one of the greatest obstacles to a regular practice is a perceived lack of time and not having access to equipment. As a solution to these issues, I was inspired to follow the model of dental hygiene. 

Just as daily dental care prevents cavities and gum disease, a consistent spinal hygiene program can minimize the potential for back injury and dysfunction, while benefiting the joints of the extremities. Of course, the ultimate in spinal hygiene is to practice a comprehensive Pilates program on the equipment and mat, as well as to experience the valuable feedback of a teacher in a private or class setting, but when neither is available, performing this five-to 10-minute spinal hygiene series every day offers infinitely more benefits than doing nothing. Not only are these exercises designed to develop mobility, promote circulation and awaken muscles, they also provide a few moments to pay attention to your body and prepare it for your day (or your Pilates session to come). 

The following movements, which work all the segments of the body

and explore all planes of motion, were inspired by some wonderful preparatory exercises developed by Ron Fletcher, as well as traditional exercises, such as the Mermaid, Semi-Circle and Long Stretch. While performing them, it is important to be completely focused; this will take a basic fundamental set of movements to the level of a seasoned practitioner. As always, it is essential to incorporate deliberate breath and active deep-abdominal engagement. If you know that a movement is contraindicated for you, make the appropriate modification. For example, if you have been advised to avoid flexion due to low bone density, replace the rounded back components with a flat back, or just perform the extension part. If extension movements provoke symptoms in your lower back or legs, then place a pillow under your abdomen for the exercises performed face down. 

I invite you to explore changing the order of the movements if that makes sense for your body’s needs. And feel free to experiment with your own hygiene program, but as Clara Pilates admonished Ron Fletcher about any creative invention in the realm of Pilates, “Just remember your ABCs.” Above all, breathe, explore, pay attention to your body and enjoy. Remember to brush and floss, too! 

Get started with this: 

Ron’s Seated Foot Lift with 

Contraction or Hinge 

Purpose: encourages a vertical 

posture while sitting; activates and 

strengthens the deep spinal 

extensors (muscles along the spine); 

mobilizes the lumbar spine (lower 

back) in flexion; develops core 

control. 

Setup: Sit tall, with your knees bent, 

feet shoulder-width apart on the floor 

and hands under your thighs. 

  1. Lengthen your waist. Inhale, 

lifting your feet and flexing your 

ankles, keeping your heels on 

the floor, without collapsing in 

your spine. 

  1. Exhale, pulling your belly in androunding your lower back as you lean back. 
  2. Inhale, then exhale, lifting back to the vertical position. 4. Inhale, then exhale, lowering your feet. Do 6-8 reps. 

Tip: Use your biceps to help you sit taller and minimize hip flexor tension. Modification: If trunk flexion is contraindicated, hinge back

with a flat back, with your arms out to your sides at shoulder height and palms down. (Try this as an enjoyable variation, too!) 

To complete your Spinal Hygiene workout, click on the following link for the entire exercise program: 

http://www.pilatesstyle.com/2016/exercises/align-your-spine 

BIKE & BREW FEST 

Join us at the Second Annual Bike and 

Brew Festival. It will be a day of great 

cyclocross, beer testing, live music, and 

an expo full of amazing sponsors 

(that’s us!). 

Stop by the ALTA booth, #11, to say 

hello, grab some freebies, and enter to 

win a Medical Bike Fit with Larry 

Meyer, PT, DPT, worth $300. All 

proceeds benefit Cyclists for Humanity

Cyclists for Community, Boulder Food 

Rescue, and the BMA. Support these 

great causes – bring a friend, bring 

your family, bring a great attitude and 

get ready to have some fun! See you 

there. 

Welcome Baby Eliza! 

Michael & Maggie 

welcomed 

Eliza Rose Westphale 

August 17th at 2:20 am 

8 lbs. 7 oz. of joy!

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