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If you are looking a for a quick pilates reference, take a look at this pilates animation. This a quick & easy, clearly explained diagram of the pilates mat exercise: Classical Pilates for Beginners:
The Seal. Pilates exercises focus on breathing, alignments of the spine & build strong torso muscles.
Setup for The Seal:
* Sit tall on your sit bones with your knees bent and toes pointed and touching the ground.
* Dive your hands between your knees, reach around the outside of your ankles and place your fingers on the sides of your feet.
* Brace by pushing your knees against your arms, and balance on your sit bones.
* Keep your knees just outside the line of the shoulder.
* Chin to chest, eyes on the belly, and scoop your abs.
Action for The Seal.
* Inhale, clap your feet three times, (eyes on the belly!), roll to your upper back, & clap 3 times.
* Exhale, scoop and return to the sit position, Clap 3 times.
Classic Pilates Cueing:
* Clap 1, 2, 3. Roll back and clap 1, 2, 3.
* Inhale back - clap 1, 2, 3 exhale up, clap 1, 2, 3.
* A cool down toward the end of the classic mat series exercises. Massages the spine.
* Eyes on your belly button at all times.
* Maintain a smooth, gentle C-curve. Do not make your back curve as tight as it can possibly go.
* Strong powerhouse. Stay reasonably relaxed elsewhere; do not kick with your legs to boost yourself upward.
Don't let an injury or weakness stop you! There is always a modification. Take your time and find the right one for you. If in doubt, seek advice!
* Lower back problems or osteoporosis: Omit this exercise, or if you have a medical OK, choose an alternative from below-
* Hip replacements and hip pain- place your hands behind your thighs, and choose the appropriate alternative.