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Proper posture is about keeping the bones and joints in correct alignment so that the muscles fire properly. A postural assessment is essential as a starting point for creating a comprehensive Pilates program.
For example, Janice (not her real name) a busy, 52-year-old mother of two boys, 8 and 12 suffered a whiplash seven years ago. Up until her 50th birthday, she believed that it had been treated and corrected.
She was a regular member of the local gym and decided to try the new Pilates mat class as she had heard it could tone her abdominals. Though the Pilates mat teacher was earnest and tried her best to address all the different needs of the 13 students in her class, she could not. As a result, Janice aggravated her old injury.
After her initial visit to my studio she learned that there was a lot more to Pilates than what one session could show her. On her second visit, we went over her medical history and did a postural evaluation. I found that she had a tendency to a forward head position and rounded shoulders that aggravated the muscles in her cervical spine. I showed her some simple neck and jaw stretches/releases that she could do at home.
Over the course of the next ten weeks, we used the Reformer and the Cadillac to strengthen and connect her upper body to her core, thus releasing the muscles in her neck.
Today, Janice attends her private session once a week and supplements it with her original mat class. She is becoming more confident with the machines (Reformer and Cadillac) and is talking about moving into the open studio class on Tuesday morning.
Through the Pilates system postural evaluation Janice and I were able to first identify and then tone those muscles that had been taking a back seat, helping her to recover from her injury, while strengthening core muscles and building balance throughout her body.