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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 Swan-Neck Roll. Pilates exercises focus on breathing, alignments of the spine & build strong torso muscles.
Setup for Swan-Neck Roll:
* Lie on your stomach and lift your abs off the mat.
* Place your hands under your shoulders and bring your elbows close into the sides of your body (like duck wings).
* Shoulder blades down your back.
* Slide your jaw forward so that your front teeth are gently touching.
* Scoop deep, and inhale as you roll a marble away with your nose, and roll up (head, neck, upper back, mid back, lower back) to the ships figure head position.
* Breathe normally. Gently lengthen your chin and your breast toward the horizon.
* Look to your left and stretch, roll your chin down to your chest, and then roll up to look to your right and stretch.
* Return to lengthening your chin and breast bone out to the horizon, and pause.
* Stay scooped & exhale as you roll back down.
* Stretches the muscles of the throat and abs.
* Works the shoulder stabilizer muscles.
* "Releases" and counterstretches the spine after all the flexing you've done. As such, it is the Pilates alternative to the "Mckenzie Extension exercise" that is famous for relieving sore backs.
* Keep your thumb close to your fingers, and distribute the weight or your body equally through your whole hand and fingers.
* Review pointers under Setup, Action, & Cueing.