Good posture seems like one of those mythical things left over from a bygone era when girls went to finishing school to balance books on their heads in order to learn to walk with grace. Luckily we’ve moved on from finishing schools, but as a society, we have also moved on from our focus on good posture. This means that many of us are clueless on how to improve our posture, or what good posture even is. Don’t worry, Pilates to the rescue. Pilates is invaluable for perfecting posture and you don’t have to go to a demoralizing finishing school to do it.
1) Focus on alignment
Pilates is known for its focus on alignment, and for good reason. Pilates instructors, including myself, are focused on alignment for many reasons because it helps tap into unused muscles, breaks old movement patterns, and often makes Pilates harder. It is also a major reason Pilates is so perfect for correcting your posture. The alignment that we focus on in a Pilates class is often the same alignment used to find good posture, a tall straight spine, relaxed shoulders, and the head right on top of the spine like a crown.
2) Balanced Muscle Development
Balanced Muscle Development is one of the key concepts that Pilates is based around. Joe Pilates believed that balanced muscle development is something that everyone should focus on which is why so many of the Pilates exercises are full body exercises. When talking about posture, balanced muscle development is important because you need to have balance between the back and the front of the body in order to have a straight spine. If your front (like your pecs or abs) is stronger than your back (like your erectors or traps) you will curl forward like a candy can, but if your back is tight you may experience pain and misalignment through the ribcage.
Want to know more about the concepts at the base of Pilates? Check out my FREE ebook, Pilates Principles.
3) Whole Core Strength
Pilates is known as a great exercise for strengthening the core. This is because we are trained to see past 6 pack abs and view the core as 3D. Our core has deep muscles close to the spine on the front, sides, and back, turning your entire trunk into a support system for your spine. By strengthening the core in 3D in a balanced way you are strengthening the muscles that support your posture, creating better posture without even realizing it.
Today I am including a short Pilates workout for posture. This workout focuses on stretching the muscles in the side and the back before strengthening these same muscles in order to counteract the extra work they have to do in many workouts, or even just when sitting at your desk. Enjoy!
Loving Pilates, but want to dive deeper into your practice?
At the beginning of your journey and wish someone was there to hold your hand?
Check out Pilates Essentials, a 14 lesson course that will provide you with the building blocks you need for a solid foundation. Lessons focus on form and creating a deeper understanding of the Pilates exercises. With over 2.5 hours of footage and a written component to each lesson Pilates Essentials is designed to take you to another level in your Pilates practice. Invest in yourself today.