Pilates can help you correct typical misalignments.
One of the big benefits of Pilates is that it can help you correct common misalignments. If you’re trying to make the corrections on your own, you need to be aware of the parts that need to be realigned.
Stand in front of a full length mirror facing forward. Take a good look at your body and note the following landmarks:
2/ Chest bone
4/ Pubic bone
5/ Center of the knee cap
6/ Center of the ankle
7/ Space between the first two toes
Draw an imaginary line straight down your body passing through those points. What do you notice? Does each side look about the same or is something noticeably different about the two sides? Note the differences.
Then turn to the side and note the following landmarks:
2/ Top of Shoulder
3/ Center of rib cage
4/ High point of your hip
5/ Mid point of the knee
6/ Mid point of the Ankle
Again, draw an imaginary line straight down your body passing through each of those points. Is the line straight in the middle or does it have to shift forward or backward to accommodate part of your body? Note the differences.
It’s hard to do your own back, but ideally the following landmarks should be level and balanced.
2/ Shoulder Blades
Note the differences.
The differences that you noted are all the imbalances in your body that are either the result of muscle development or skeletal issues.
A well rounded Pilates practice will help to balance your body over time. Working with a Pilates teacher can help you develop a practice to correct specific muscle imbalances, improve posture and develop the support for skeletal issues.
With that said, awareness of your imbalances can help you make adjustments for common misalignments.
Four Common Misalignments
1/ Pelvic position:
Ideally, you want to work in a neutral spine. If you place your hands on your pelvis with your pointy figures pointing towards your pubis bone, your palms on your hips and your thumbs joining at your belly button, your hands should sit level. There should be a small space under your spine.
If your abdominals are not strong enough to hold that position throughout your practice, you can work in an imprinted spine. Alternatively, consider modifying the exercises or reduce the number of repetitions until you build sufficient strength and flexibility.
2/ Elbows and Knees:
Hyperextension is common in elbows and knees. It’s a sign that there is a strength and flexibility imbalance of the muscles supporting the joint. Think about “softening into the extension” rather than locking out the joint when you straighten your arm or leg. You’ll work the supporting muscles more and doing so will help correct the hyperextension.
Ideally, you want your feet in a neutral position [arch maintained when in a load baring position] with your toes pointing forward unless a different position is called for in the exercise.
Correcting the pronation of your feet is harder and something good to work on with the help of a Pilates Teacher especially if it is causing or contributing to pain elsewhere in your body.
There are a few easy adjustments that you can make with awareness:
1/ Keep your shoulders out of your ears. Turn your palms inward to help rotate your shoulders away from your ears.
2/ Keep your head in alignment with your spine. Use a foam roller to check the alignment of your spine from your head to your tailbone when on all fours [hands and knees] and when in plank.
Winging shoulder blades [Scapula] are harder to address and best done with the help of a Pilates Teacher especially if the issue is causing you pain.
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