The entire Poise Method was created to not only transform your body but to build confidence, posture and poise. The instructresses will repeatedly remind you during class to be “proud chested” to “roll those shoulders back,” “tuck that bum” and most importantly to “smile!” but did you ever wonder why?
We will be using these Tip Days to dive into exactly why we do the moves we do and how to ensure your form is spot on to get the absolute most out of each series. Lets start broad with matte-work.
The 20 minute, core series, that begins each Poise class is an intense Pilates driven segment targeting all four layers of your abdomen; Rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques and transverse abdominals. Things to keep in mind when your on the matte:
Connect with your breath: Use every exhale to re-engage your form; pulling your navel to spine and actively pushing your back flat against the matte. By doing this you are connecting and using your transverse abdominals; the hardest ab muscle to actually target. If you are arching your back you are only working the top layer of your abdomen and actually training them to pull away from your spine.
Proud chested & chin up: A majority of the exercises performed on the matte leave your head unsupported and therefore you are at risk for major neck tension. To eliminate any strain its best to envision holding a piece of fruit in your neck. You dont want to hold it too tightly as to squish the fruit but pointing your chin to your chest and hollowing out your neck will assist in rounding out your spine. This position is very challenging - as your core strength increases this will become easier. Stick with it! Take breaks but come back; form intact.
Keeping shoulders down: As shoulders creep up into your ears you are creating serious tension in your neck and upper back. Over time this tension can become a consistent pain and negatively affect your posture. To properly “keep your shoulders down” you must focus on sliding them down your back. You will simultanseously begin to feel your collarbone widening (proud chested). In the correct form nothing will feel pinched or clenched.
Stay present: Pilates is a mind/body practice. Instead of letting your mind drift you should actively be thinking about the muscles you are working to further deepen that mind body connection.
Smile: You are here for this class. This is your “you” time and your choosing to better yourself. I can’t think of a better reason to smile.
All of these “tips” are not just for the studio. Take the posture cues and overall body awareness that you learn and feel on the matte into your everyday life...making everything you do a little more Poised.