Class #3607

Improve Your Posture

25 min - Class


You will walk and stand with beauty and grace after this quick class with Monica Wilson. She offers a glimpse of what you need to improve your posture and how a Pilates practice can create long-lasting results. She starts with a basic Mat warmup to get your blood flowing and then shows how you can use the Wall and a Pole to help give you feedback so you work correctly.
What You'll Need: Mat, Wall, Table Chair, Pilates Pole

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Today, we are going to focus on posture. Friends, family and clients are always asking me how they can improve their posture. Often they are hoping for a few pearls of wisdom, a quick fix, perhaps just a few exercises that will have lasting effects. Maybe improving your posture is why you decided to try [inaudible]. Well, today's your lucky day. I am feeling nice and willing to give you a glimpse or a taste of what you need to do to improve your posture. For sure.

Palase is a discipline which if done regularly will dramatically reshape your body and of course improve your posture, but you want results today. You say, well, let's jump in first. We are going to do a basic Matt, just a warm up our muscles and get our blood flowing. We will not be concentrating on precision but more on flow and imagination. If you feel like becoming more committed to Palase and your politesse method, then check out my basic mat.

If you're just starting out and that there's a whole mat series, 10 classes, and you're going to get from beginner to intermediate in no time at all with a strong foundation. But today, let's just move. Okay? So we're going to start off with a hundred. I want you to lie down on your mat and I want your feet to be bent and I mean your knees to be bent in your feet flat. You're gonna wanna draw a line from one hip bone across to the other. All right?


We want to make sure there is no little hill between the line of your hips. Now all you need to do to make [inaudible] that doesn't happen as [inaudible] your belly n to your lower back so that there isn't any space under your lower back. I know this is something super controversial, but I want you to work today being very aware and stretch your lower back. Stretch the back muscles to get it flat and support it with your powerhouse. This five inch band and muscles were right here.

I want you to take a big breath and exhale and bring in the right knee, pulling in that belly, and then you can even hug it. And then we're going to add the left knee, and then you're going to pull your belly in and lift your head up. So this whole exercise is about pulling my stomach in. I'm going to let my knees go a little bit, kind of push into my hands. Now I'm going to reach my arms and pump. Big Breath. I'm big.

Exhale. I only care. Big Breath and big exhale, but your belly pulling into your back. If your neck gets tired, lower it down. But keep pulling your belly in. Exhale, pulling it in. Can you pull it into your back and make it disappear? Inhale, if it's easy to keep your head up, keep up and looking at your belly. If this is hard, keep it here. If it's need more challenge, stretch your legs out of your hips as the belly pulls in more.

All about the belly pulling in to your back. Okay. And if you've got the powerhouse, you can fix your posture. One more. Ain't enough hug in your niece. Okay, so again, on that one we just wanted to feel like there was a like almost a strap holding us, grounding us or a tree trunk rooting us into the Mat. I want you to sit up any way you can and we're going to do the roll back. So we're going to have our knees bent and our hands underneath your knees sit up tall. What is sitting up tall to you? We're going to find out about that, but we're going to sit up as tall as we think we can, using whatever muscles or joints we think we should use.

Roll Back

And now I want you to make a letter c with your back. My Chin's going to come to my chest, my upper backs going around and I'm going to pull my waist back towards the mat, creating space between my belly and my thighs. And I want you to just keep your hands here and pull your belly against your hands until your arms are long. And then take a breath here and try to keep pulling your belly back as you come forward. Exhale, we're stretching our lower back and in with the air and exhale, pulling back. If this is easy, we can go further and pull him, but I hesitate because I want you to just work with control. So even if you're more advanced and plumber, I want you to just be super aware that you're rolling down one bone at a time and coming forward one bone at a time, not five bones fuse together. Two more. Squeeze your legs together.

If you can pull your belly into your back to stretch your waist, taking a breath and exhale, expanding the ribs and lungs. Even though I didn't say anything about precision, I just want to give you some cues. One more. I just want you to move though, right? And take a big breath and exhaling forward. Now we're going to go all the way down to our head, so we're going to pull back, rolling down through the neck at inches. Just lower my head right through your head.

Leg Circle

Draw the belly in like you're glued here. We're again not going to move our waistband. In fact, we're going to drop to anchors from our obliques and draw the right knee in. Stretch. Extend the leg up, put your hands behind the thigh stretch. Press your arms down by your side so that you can feel stable. And we're gonna circle the leg drawing a circle on the ceiling.

Cross around, up, cross around, up. If this is easy or you're more flexible, you can straighten this leg. You can make it as big as you want to. If you don't move your [inaudible] box or frame. And last one, there's five and reverse reaching out. Scooping.

I'm moving the entire time from my powerhouse, keeping my lower back, anchored, keeping my Pilati Xbox square last one, and hug it in. And you are trying to just move. We're going to bring the left knee in. So again, this you're going to stretch the left leg. You might do this with this leg bent if it's hard to get your leg straight up. That's why you would do it bent, okay? If it's easy, you can straighten that leg and cross around them.

You can keep it small and it's super important to feel your stomach. If you can make a bigger, go for it. One more and reverse. I am not letting my back come off the mat. I'm reaching out of it. Stretching to more using my powerhouse. Last one. All right, hug that knee in. Good.

We're going to put the foot down and we're gonna bend the right knee. We're just going to do single leg stretch and Doa leg stretch. Again, trying to draw a line from one hip bone to the other. Pulling my belly behind that line, anchoring my lower back down. So I'm going to pull my belly in and hug in the right knee. This is single leg stretch that seemed easy, right? Pull in and do the left.

Single Leg Stretch

It's all about can you pull into the mat? We're going to do this sitting up later on. We're going to pull your belly in and hug in the right knee. Can you lift your head up using your belly, so pull into the mat and then put your foot down and pull into the mat. And that was easy. Pull in, maybe not on your neck and head.

You can again, lower it down. But if, if it is okay, now we're going to reach your left leg out of your head and switch. Pull your belly in and switch. It's not a leg exercise pulling in. It's a powerhouse exercise. It pulls below the line of your hips. It scoops into your back and switch and pull in your stomach and pull in your stomach. The arms are there just to add an extra stretch, pulling in your belly, feel the back on the mat. You want to fix your posture, make sure you know what your powerhouse is doing. One more step. It has to pull into your back. Last one and now Ben, both knees, he's and rest your head down. One more exercise here.

Double Leg Stretch

Double leg stretch and then we're going to do a little shoulder bridge and spine stretch forward. So I'm going to pull my belly into the back underneath the line of my hip bones and I'm going to lift my head up, K as a street in my legs. I picked your, an alarm is going to go off. If I let my belly poke up. So I'm gonna reach my legs where my belly stays below the line of my hips and I circled back, scoop into my back, support my beck and pull in reaching my legs. Challenging that back. And you might just go to here. You might keep your head down, but pull into your Mac.

It's okay to do it here. It's absolutely fine if you're pulling your belly into your back. Two more. One more reaching belly is below the line of my hips and stretch. Oh, okay. We're going to add shoulder ridge right here where you're gonna just put your knees hip with the part and feet under the advanced shoulder bridge.

Shoulder Bridge

Your hands go underneath your hips. We're not doing that today. I just want you to gain some awareness of some back articulation we did the rollback where you rolled your lower back down. This time we're going to lift up. So I want you to pull your belly in and I want you to squeeze your bottom and use your belly to rotate your tailbone towards you. Curling your tailbone towards you. Okay?

And I want you to understand that I didn't say push your feet into the mat and grip with your hip flexors. To do that, go ahead and let go. Let's revisit that. So don't push with your feet. Don't grip with the hip flexors. Just dry your Bellion so much and then you can squeeze the seat to pull the pelvis in. This tilt. Now still don't want you to push your feet into the mat.

I want you to squeeze your seat up off the mat, two different cues all the way up until your a straight line from your shoulders to near your knees. Be aware whether you lifted with your upper back, that's not good for posture, and now we're going to roll down, not your bottom, but your chest bone, the back of your ribs, and then the next phone. See if you can get your waistband before you tell bone. I'm sure he did a really big effort. Let's do two more. So we're going to pull the belly behind this line. We're going to scoop it towards us as if you could almost tuck it onto your chest bone and you're going to squeeze the hamstrings and glutes, avoiding using the feet. Lift that tight seat until you're a straight line from shoulders to knees and then roll down.

Can you feel the back of the ribs going down? Can you feel the back of the shoulder blades down the waistband and then the tailbone? Make sure your feet aren't too far in front of your knees. They should be almost right underneath your knees or there. Okay, one last time. Belly pulls in bottom helps squeeze hamstrings and glutes lift. There's an exercise that we do on the one to chair where your feet are on a pedal and that pedal doesn't get pushed down.

So imagine you're on something that you can't put any weight on and now hold and you're going to roll down pulling your back of your ribs and shoulder blades down first and then your waistband and then your tailbone. Great job. Let's do spine stretch forward, but I'm going to teach it to you against a wall so we can get a lot of feedback for our posture sitting up and let's go find a wall. So let's sit down in front of a wall and we're going to do our spine stretch forward. I'm gonna sit right here. Perfect. Get My, I'm actually gonna bend forward. Get my tailbone all the way against cause we're working on posture.

Spine Stretch Forward Against the Wall

I want you to open your legs a little wider than your shoulders. If that's really hard to sit up tall, you really feeling your hamstrings, bend your knees. If not, keep your legs like that. And then pull your belly in. Remember that cue, draw the line from one hip bone to the head. Pull your belly and start rolling up your back against the wall. I'm going to move my ponytail a little bit so I can get the back of my head.

Okay. And if you can add flexing the toes, if you can't, that's okay. And we're going to pull our belly. So our waist is against the wall. Is it there? And then I want you to try to squeeze your bottom, pull your belly in and try to grow as tall as you can, as if someone's maybe pulling me up by my ponytail or like a marionette plenty up. Now go ahead and slump. This is bad posture, right? Rolling forward. Nothing's working. It's also we just need to get a little courageous with our posture.

Sometimes you got to kind of walk into a room with a little bit more courage and that helps our posture a lot. Cause a lot of posture. And this is your little quick fix is more about your presence when you walk in that you're trying to be a little more casual, a little bit more just relaxed and you want to give yourself a little bit more than that cause it's amazing. You could even lose about five pounds just if you pull in and lift up tall and use those muscles. Okay? So can you feel yourself growing tall, tall, tall. Now go ahead and slump. Okay. And we're going to stay on the walls. He pull into the wall and this time stay on it. Like, try not to have any vertebra come off the wall.

Here's vertebras off pulling in. Kay. So we're lifted. I want you to go ahead and reach your arms up at shoulder height and we're going to roll off the wall like a banana. Peel the walls, the banana. And I'm gonna appeal my head off just my head. Okay. And then I'm going to pull into the walls. I roll off my shoulders, I even feel like my back and my ribs are expanding. And then I'm gonna pull off the next bone to the bottom of my shoulder blades.

And I'm going to go as forward as I can without losing my waistband. Two, three. And then I'm going to rule back up shoulder blades, okay? Through the neck. And then rest. Pull your belly in. Lift off your seat, grow tall on that wall, cause we're going to take the wall away in a moment and you're gonna bring your head forward. Then your shoulders, then the back of your ribs. But the waistband stays back back, back as you reach forward and challenge it and pull into the wall to roll up [inaudible] bone at a time. Rest. Let's add some breathing for the last two in with the air. Here's my ponytail and exhale, empty all the air. Squeeze out all the year. Inhale up and exhale forward. Really use the wall to give yourself feedback. Okay, so I'm now going to go a little further for a nice stretch. You deserve it.

So go ahead now. Make sure that your hipbones are back. Here's our feedback. You want to know where your sit bones are? Find them and get your hip bones. Those are the ones here, not the ones in our cheeks, over our sit bones. And then you want to roll back your waistband and your ribs. And now you want your shoulders over your hip bones that are over here. Sit bones. How's that?

Are we still sitting tall? I hope so. Let's take that to a regular chair. I'll be demonstrating it on a high map. So let's grab a seat and look at our posture. When we're sitting. I'm gonna sit here on the high map, but you should be able to sit in a regular chair and because this is higher than a regular chair, I have a box here to put my feet on and they're going to be in line with my hips. Now, we're not going to have an etiquette class here, but there is something to be said for those classes that they really taught people how to hold their stomach in and how to sit properly. One of the things that was a little bit overdone though was shoulders and chest, because if you only focus on your shoulders and your chest, well that's the only thing you're going to fix is your shoulders and your chest, not necessarily your posture.

Abdominal Lift

If you focus on your powerhouse and then your while, you can change everything, so you just sat against a wall, pull your belly in as if you're against that wall. Remember those sit bones. Be Aware where are they? Make sure the hip bones are right over your sit bones. Okay and draw that line that you did when you started off with the a hundred and pull your belly behind that line and then make sure your shoulders are over the hip bones. I'm going to actually slide back a little bit to get better feedback.

And so posture is a lot about feedback. What do I mean by that? So I have my hip bones over my sip bones, my shoulders, and I'm pretending I had a wall again behind me so that I have feedback about the alignment of my spine. I'm now going to gently push my feet into the box for you into the floor and see if I can feel my belly. Not just pull in, but pull up off against opposition against my feet and then relax. So I'm going to pull in my belly, push with my feet, and lift my weight up to three and relax boxes. Moving a little and I'm going to pull in. I'm going to lift up, up, up, and relax. Now I want you to relax, but still pull your belly and not necessarily push with your feet.

And now I'm gonna let you do your shoulder rolls, as is the moment you've all been waiting for. So we're going to lift your shoulders up by years. Bad posture, right, and super tense. And then back behind you. Okay? And then down and forward. What I love to see you do differently on these shoulder rolls is not dislocate the whole spine. When you do that, see if you can keep your belly into your back and just lift up your shoulders, roll those back, roll them down, go forward one more in this direction, back down, closing the chest and we'll reverse it. It's really important for good posture to know where your shoulders are.

Shoulder Rolls

So I am going to teach you about your shoulders and back and your chest is nice and open and closing the chest and they're down and you're going to have them back now. And the chest is really open and up and relax. Alright, so what I'd love to see is we're going to reverse it one time where we go up by our shoulders back behind. So now we have a nice open chest, but here's the most important part. Picture your shoulder blades belly is in, and I want your shoulder blades to slide down your spine towards your tailbone. While they're there, can you pull your belly into the wall like you were sitting against a wall? Excellent. This is really good posture. Okay, so we have all that. I'm going to challenge you. Can you keep that palms facing up a little bit? We're not going to sway from one side to the other.

Leg Lifts

We're going to lightly and easily use your belly to just raise up your right thigh. It's almost like there's a sling and it's just gently being pulled up and it rests. We're going to do that two more times. So I'm going to pull into my back and my shoulders are bent down and I'm going to pull my belly in to lift two, three. Notice I'm barely gripping with this leg. That's very important. [inaudible] work and pulling in, keeping my posture, my ponytails being lifted to the ceiling and down.

We'll switch to the other leg. You won't even know that you're switching cause you're so square and balanced. Hold two, three and your scram balance cause you're using your powerhouse, not your quadricep, not your thigh. Hold two, three but your powerhouse. And that's what you need to change your posture. One more stomach in two, three and relax. Okay, finally we are going to get this show on the road. We all want really good posture and learning how to do that while standing and maybe walking. So let's go ahead and grab a broomstick, a swiffer stick, a whatever you have at home.

Standing Posture Check

And if you don't have anything like that, just grab onto a wall. But I'm going to grab this six foot pole that we have. And because it said it's all about feedback. So you want something to help balance you. And I'm going to give you a little side profile here and I want to just stand.

I'm standing very upright, okay? I have the, I'm grabbing the pole kind of at shoulder height and I'm grabbing pretty strongly so that I can feel my shoulders pull down. I love that feeling. My feet are in a Pilati stance, which is like a tripod for your body and it really forms a nice foundation for your, the rest of your tower. And we want it to be a strong tower. So we're not gonna stand ever with our feet wider than your hips. If you do that, you automatically send your tailbone behind you, your or something has that go in opposition. So your lower back goes forward, your belly distends in your upper back, goes back on, you're just a hot mess. So at the very least, stand with your feet in line with your hips.

But even better for most is if you stand in a Pilati stance. Okay? So another thing that we love to do when we stand is we like to have our bottom like I am right now behind us. And I loved my aunt Romanos saying that you need to have your bottom be your bottom and not your behind. So that means we draw a straight line from one shoulder to the other.

They should be right over those hipbones right? Well, it's not right now because our bottom is behind us. So let's make sure our bottom is squeezing forward so that your tailbone actually gets to hang down instead of pointing at someone behind you. And then you have to use your belly to kind of pull up from there. So see if you can get over that feeling. Okay, so the bottom actually has to work, and this again goes right back to what I was saying, just a quick fix is you have to walk into a room with confidence and with presence because this yes is much more relaxed and easy going, but it's not good posture. So you want to just squeeze a little bit and pull your belly in and pull those shoulders and you have beautiful posture. Can you feel that?

Do you want to get a little more complex? There's a lot of things lifting right now and going against gravity. I have the arch of my foot is like there's a little grape under my arch and I'm lifting it, which sends a message to my inner thighs to help lift, which sends a message to my lower belly to help lift and everything's lifting up to the crime I had. And that is what lifts my chest up rather than just leaving everything and just sticking my chest up. That wouldn't be good posture. So revisiting that, we lived everything from our powerhouse and that is what lifts your chest.

Be careful that when you're in this position that you're still not back here. Make sure you're lifting up, creating space between the top of your pelvis and the bottom of your ribs. How does this feel to you? A lot of work, Huh? It is a lot of work and it's going to be a lot of work, but you want to keep practicing it. Keep working because before you know it, it's going to become instinctual.

But if you just are, lacks a daisy all the time and sticking out a hip, you're going to always be in that posture instead of Nice, good posture. So I hope this gives you a few good tips and if you keep practicing it, you work in are going to be walking around with beauty and grace all the time. Thank you.


1 person likes this.
Thanks Monica! Very helpful :)
Monica, excellent queuing! A class every student and instructor might want to take. It's amazing how concentrated movement of muscles can make you sweat!
1 person likes this.
Very informative!
1 person likes this.
Very good, thank you. I loves cues for sitting position
1 person likes this.
Excellent cues thank you!
Cristina L
2 people like this.
Great reminder how the correct execution of traditional work transfers in a good posture and every day activity! Thank you!
When I watch your classes particularly tutorial ones I fall in love Pilates over and over again...Your cueing is excellent..Thank you Monica
Maria P
Thank you Monica! I did this with my kids on Valentines Day and we loved it! Maria , Anthony and Daphne
Monica Wilson
How fun! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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