July 12, 2012

So You Need a Quick 15 Minute Pick Up?

Here are five pilates exercises you can do at home.

The Hundred

Lie down on your back. Bring your pelvis into neutral alignment and then find a subtle tail curl, engaging your low belly.

Lift your legs off the mat to a table-top position. Roll your head, neck and upper spine off the mat, flexing around the ribcage.

Keep length through the back of your neck. Either keep your legs at tabletop or extend them out in front of you, maintaing your tail curl.

Soften your belly into the back of your spine. Begin pumping your arms by the sides of your body.

Five pumps per inhale, five pumps per exhale. Repeat that set 10 times for 100 pumps.

Roll Up

Lie down on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you. Engage your legs.

Press your inner and outer thighs to the mat equally. Flex your feet but reach through the big toe mound of your feet at the same time.

Lift your arms up over your head. Make sure that your ribs do not flare out. Keep the back of your body long.

Soften your floating ribs towards your hips. Pull your lower belly in and up your spine.

On an inhale, begin to lift your head up off of the mat.

On an exhale, sequentially flex each vertebrae one at a time until you get to the top of your mat. Keep your chin tucked in and the back of your neck long.

To roll down, pull your lower belly in and back on an inhale and then on an exhale, sequentially roll down your mat leading with the rotation of your pelvis and the curl of your tail. Your head will come down last.  Repeat five times.

Photo: gbSk

Spine Stretch

Sit on your mat with your legs spread a little wider than hip distance apart from each other. Move your sacrum in and up so that your frontal hip bones are lifting. If you cannot sit without rounding your lumbar spine, sit up on a blanket.

On an inhale, lift your arms up over your head, rotating your shoulder blades up and into your chest. Soften your floating ribs down towards your your frontal hip bones. Lengthen the sides of your body. Lift up through the crown of your head.

On your exhale begin to round your spine forward, leading with the crown of your head. Keep your belly pulling in and back.

On your next inhale, stack each vertebrae up on top of your pelvis until you are sitting straight again. Repeat five times.


Lie down on your belly and place your hands a little wider than shoulder distance apart. Spread your fingers.

Photo: Tony George

Lengthen your legs out of your pelvis and feel your inner thighs lift up to the sky more than our outer thighs. You are trying to get your thighs in neutral alignment in your pelvis (not external rotation) so that your glutes do not over-engage and you do not compress your sacrum or low back.

Lengthen your tail bone out of your low back.

On an inhale, lift your head, press through your hands and coil your upper spine in. Take the head of your upper arm bones up and back. Feel the tips of your shoulder blades move into your chest.  Move the sides of your waist back.

On an exhale, sequentially roll down your spine, lengthening your belly along the mat. Repeat five times.


Sit up towards the front of your mat. Draw your knees and feet towards your chest. Loop your arms inside of your inner thighs and then to the outside of your shins so you are holding onto your outer ankles.

Pull your belly in and up and curl your tail. Clap your feet together three times, actively using the muscles of your inner thighs.

On an inhale roll yourself back along your back. Once your shoulders touch the mat, clap your feet together three times.

On an exhale roll yourself up to balance. Repeat five times.


Don’t you feel better?


Editor: Elysha Anderson


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