When you do Pilates, yoga and many other exercises, it’s important to start in neutral spine position. While “neutral spine” does not sound positive, it’s actually a very good thing. It is your natural spine position and occurs with proper alignment among your neck, middle back and lower back. When you exercise with your spine in this position, the curves of your spine cushion your spine, your body is less stressed than in other positions, circulation is excellent, your muscles are activated and you don’t need to expend as much energy as you would in other positions. Here is how New Jersey chiropractic doctors recommend you find your neutral spine position.
- Lie on your back. Bend your knees and position your feet flat on the floor. Keep your legs parallel with your hips, knees and heels. Rest your arms at your sides. Relax your body; if you’re nervous or tense, you can throw off the exercise.
- Inhale deeply, breathing so you feel it in your back, your rib cage and your pelvis. Exhale, using your abs to push your lower spine against the floor in what’s called a pelvic tuck. Inhale again, and do a pelvic tilt by exhaling and pulling your lower spine up from the floor. Inhale again. Your aim here is to find the middle ground between a pelvic tuck and tilt. Your lower abs need to be flat and your lower spine slightly curving off the floor.
- Visualize a cup of water—or a teacup—below your belly button. Pull in your ab muscles to flatten your belly and don’t spill the cup of water.
- Check that your lower spine is not pressed into the floor; otherwise, you should be in neutral spine position and your body in proper alignment.
As New Jersey chiropractic doctors explain, exercises in neutral spine position increase the stability of your body and set you up for success in your athletic endeavors. Consult with a chiropractor if you’re unsure you are performing the exercise correctly.