The majority of Pilates exercises are performed in what is called ‘neutral’, so this is one of the very first things to learn about. Here is a very quick summary.
What is neutral?
It refers to the positioning of the pelvis and can also refer to the spine. In neutral pelvis the ‘hip bones’ (Anterior Superior Iliac Spine) and Pubic bone are level; so when lying (supine) this is parallel to the floor, opposed to tilted, as can be seen below.
Neutral spine on the other hand, varies from person to person due to different heights and angles in the vertebrae, but they share the same traits.
The Lumbar spine has what is called a lordotic curve, the Thoracic a kyphotic curve, and the Cervical a lordotic one as seen above.
Why do we need this?
Over time many people have lost this neutral position and correct alignment, so Pilates works to bring this back. This is our most efficient position. The spine functions as a shock absorber and works best when (in layman’s terms) the ears, shoulders and hips are stacked on top of each other providing even weight distribution onto the pelvis. The pelvis is taking all of this upper body weight to distribute to the legs so needs to be level or any tilt is going to be emphasised by the weight bearing on it. If there is a tilt then this can cause lower back and/or hip issues among other things, that many people suffer with. If you look at the top picture you’ll see that this neutral alignment also happens to be our tallest positioning.
How to find it
Have a watch of the video and discover finding your neutral pelvis whilst lying down. This is the easiest position to start in as we can use the ground as a point of reference. Now the challenge is to maintain this whilst performing the exercises.