Mat Progression Series 3/10
Monica Wilson
Class 56

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Hi Monica,
I feel my neck working a lot (specifically the two large muscles running down the sides of the neck) when I raise my head/neck off the floor using my upper stomach muscles. Am I just feeling muscles I have not used before? I'm going through your beginner series and am enjoying the clear instructions I'm receving from you. Thank you.
Debra I'll forward this comment on to Monica for you...
Hi Debra,
There are many possibilities and how I wish I could be teaching you directly to truly be able to answer your question. If you have or had any previous neck injuries, you should keep your head down and supported by a pillow until you feel stronger in your Powerhouse. You can strengthen it safely with exercises such as the Roll Back. Even if you haven't had any previous neck injuries, your neck can get quickly tired and strained if your getting back into the swing of things with exercise. If this is the case, try starting with your head up, chin to chest, for a few repetitions and then lower the head while simultaneously making sure your legs are not going to low as to pull your back into an arch off the floor. You will be able to hold your chin to chest in no time at all! To be continued...
Sorry, my explanation apparently is too long and had to be cut in two messages. Finally, the way you hold your head up can greatly effect how your neck feels. If you're trying to follow the cues regarding shoulder placement, ribs in and upper stomach engaged yet are still feeling sore, try pretending you have a small lime under your chin so you don't press to hard towards your chest or strain your neck. I hope that helps! Again, I love teaching the body in front of me and wish I could be more help! Love, Monica
I used to have the same problem as Debra, I think my stomach muscles were not strong enough. I used to start the excercise with my head up and lowered it as my neck started to hurt (I also got an instant headacke if i keep my head up for too long). But now, I feel much better. My neck still hurts sometimes, but it's much much better than before. Here's a tip that I've heard that also helped me a lot: the rise of a head should come out of the shoulders trying to reach your ankles (hope you know what I mean).
Hi Monica, I am new to Pilates and was hoping to strengthen my back since I've had lower back pain over the past few months-I've started this series and I'm trying really hard to not use my lower back muscles but it's difficult not to put strain on it. Will I eventually get stronger as I keep doing the exercises?

Hi Maria, You will absolutely get stronger as you keep doing the exercises! This series moves fast though and progresses at a much faster pace then I would progress someone with a history of back pain. It is a series of 10 classes and I would definitely recommend focussing on the first class and repeating until you feel yourself getting stronger...with a little patience, believe me it will happen before you know it! Class #391 is also a good alternative for you once you feel you have mastered the first and second class of this series:)
I love the beginnerseries but this class seems to be uploaded wrong, it starts over two times so that you don't get much further then the single leg strech.
Is it a good idea to master each class before moving on to the next one in this series?
Monica, I have done Pilates on and off for several years with many instructors and I just want to say that I love your style. I feel like I have learned so much from you in the way that you explain how to sit or move so that I can feel the muscles that you have told me I should be feeling. I especially like the soup bowl concept. Thank you for helping me get stronger again!
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