So “why” do we start Pilates with such small movements? You probably know most of the reasons but the most important reason is the one I will go into here because you might not be aware of the benefit.
Some Reasons for starting Pilates with small movements:
- To build body awareness…it takes small movements to really “get in touch”with the small muscles deep inside our bodies.
- To warm up/wake up the spine…there are so many spinal movements in Pilates and it’s important to make sure the muscles surrounding it are ready to go.
- To improve the mind/body connection…when we come into the studio from the busyness of our lives, these small movements help our brain and our body connect and communicate with each other by focusing inward which naturally allows us to focus less on the outward.
4. The main reason we start with small movements is because the deepest muscles in the body are responsible for proprioception and stability. The deep muscle of the spine (Multifidi and Rotatores) is actually a chain of small muscles linked together to make one long muscle starting at the base of the spine and reaching up to the first vertebra in the top of the neck. It’s primary role is local stability and proprioception of and for the spinal column.
The Multifidi and Rotatores muscles contains 6 times more proprioceptors than other muscles in the back. Wow! It’s job is to help your brain know where each vertebra is in relation to the others, how and when to make small adjustments for balance,control,and precision… and basically for you to know “where you are in relation to the space around you”.
Next time you are taking a Pilates class or private session and your teacher begins with small spinal and joint movements (or sprinkles them throughout the workout) be mindful and aware and appreciate the deep and important work you are doing for your body.
This is just one more way to “love Pilates by understanding the method better”.
I am curious. Can you name any of the small “pre-Pilates” exercises we do to train the deep back muscles? If not, ask your teacher so you can make sure to pay extra attention.
Next blog…The deep neck muscles and how the role they play in vision and hearing.