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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 Side Kick Series: Up and Down. Pilates exercises focus on breathing, alignments of the spine & build strong torso muscles.
Setup for Side Kick Series: Up and Down:
* Lie on your side and line youself up on the back of the mat. Your underneath hand supports the side of your head, and your uppermost hand is planted firmly on the mat in front of your chest.
* Bring your straight legs forward to an angle of 30 degrees, and stack shoulder over shoulder, hip over hip, and ankle over ankle.
* Flex the lower ankle (toes to kneecap) and press the foot into the mat.
* Engage your powerhouse to stabilize your spine and to keep your shoulders and hips still and vertically stacked throughout.
Action for Side Kick Series: Up and Down.
* Half turn the leg out and kick smoothly to the sky (stable pelvis!).
* pause, turn out fully, lengthen out of the hip joint and slowly lower.
Classic Pilates Cueing:
* Kick up smoothly - hold, turn out - lengthen down, down, down.
* Paint a rainbow!
* Stack your pelvis - Move at the hip joint.
* Works the lateral hip rotators muscles- often weak lazy, and a common cause of hip and buttock pain.
* Practices pelvic stability and stabilizes the lumbar spine - important for low back pain.
* Stay stacked and stable - Imagine that buttocks and shoulders are lined up against the wall behind you. Better still, practice the side kick series with your back against a real wall!
* Lengthen and outward turn your action leg at all times!
* Anchor with the lower leg: lengthen the heel away and "toes to knee cap!