Tutorial #1274

Fill The Empty Space

5 min - Tutorial


In this tutorial, Karen Sanzo shows how you can create a place of support where an empty space presents itself. By adding props to spaces when you are lying supine, either under your lumbar or cervical spine, or when you are lying prone under your hip flexors, you can create better alignment to get more out of every exercise you do.
What You'll Need: Mat, Knee Pad, Towel

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Nov 29, 2013
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This tutorial is called filled the empty space. In this section, what I'm going to show you are different things that you can use to fill an empty space that a client has during an exercise. Places that'll be important are the lumbar curve, the cervical curve behind the neck, and then right in the hip crease when you're on your tummy during any prone work. I'm going to start with an awareness of where the head is, so we'll start lying down, take my props with me, and the first thing I want you to be aware of is the position behind the neck. I'm going to choose this a little bit right here so that I can feel where my neck is, that little neutralness behind my neck so that if I indeed have to nod my chin a little bit as if I'm holding something underneath my chin, I'll feel the curve of my cervical spine kind of pressing down on this little shelf lining paper here. I'm not going to mash the heck out of it, nor am I going to let the shelf lighting paper stick my neck up. Some people need bigger sizes than others. If this role appeared to be too large to provide more tactile input into the neck, I may need to have a little smaller role there so I can feel where that is.

There. Again, I'm not smashing the roll down, nor am I allowing the roll to lift my head up. We can do the same thing in the low back. Sometimes in the low back. If a client has a flat back, I can put something right underneath the lumbar curve to facilitate a little bit of anterior curve, if you will, in the Lumbar area. I don't want to anterior your curl it so much that I create an anterior pelvic tilt, but I do want to create an awareness of where neutral is and sometimes in just filling that space behind the back, it allows me to give a tactile information to my spinal muscles as I work through the fundamentals either on the mat or on the reformer. There's another place where we often need to fill the empty space during the exercise called single leg circle, and that is with the down leg.

Oftentimes clients have a tight hip flexor, and when they go to do the exercise, single leg circle, sometimes they curl their pelvis and this thigh bulges up, changes the neck, changes everything. So I'm going to go back and reposition my head and neck level, my pelvis out to neutral, and then I'm going to give this left leg something to press on. And you'll notice here that I'm still in neutral and then I can circle my leg or lower and raise it or whatever I need to do while I'm giving this down leg feedback so that I'm filling this empty space behind the leg. If I were to have this and I had a tight hip flexor, sometimes by pressing my leg down or hearing the Q, press your leg, press your leg, I end up creating disturbance somewhere up the chain. So again, I can fill the empty space underneath the thigh to create a good single leg circle.

The next space that we need to fill is underneath the hip flexor. If during single leg circle you noticed that that pad that was underneath your thigh was very successful, then this, uh, prop may be successful for you as well. I'm going to put the blanket role, and again, I can use some shelf liner or anything else that allows me to prop my hip up. So it looks like this. I'm going to put this right at the level of where my hip creases, if you will, so that when I lie flat, okay, it allows my pubic bone to fall down.

So I'm not tucking my buttocks. This is tucking my buttocks and kind of bulging my ribs backwards. But instead I'm resting down so that the hip flexor crease is actually being supported by this terrible. So what then this allows me to do is stretch my thighs long so that now I can give myself the feeling of what it feels like to activate my buttocks and my thigh. So again, the purpose of the towel roll is to fill the empty space that can be left by tight hip flexors. I'm going to show you what that looks like on some people. Cool.

When they lie on their tummy. Sometimes their buttocks lifts and it looks like this, I'm exaggerating it a little bit, but you can kind of see that little space right there. And sometimes they want to push their pelvis down to try to close that space. But the issue isn't with their pelvis. The issue is with their tight hip. So again, we have to figure out where the issue is and we're gonna fill that space.

My feet, by the way, are off the edge of the table because for some people, when their feet stay on the table, they get a little crampy. So again, I have filled the empty space right underneath my hips so that now I can get the action of hip extension freely. By the way, I can just lift my thighs up to that is the action of hip extension as well. Just simply like this lifting one leg would be an advancement and then lifting the other leg. Well, I think about, just really quickly, I mentioned something about how the, the feet can get cramped. Sometimes if you don't have the ability to lie off the edge of the table, you can just fill the empty space right underneath somebody's ankles just like this and that way. Um, it gives them something tactile to feel as their hands rest underneath their head and then their feet restaurant on the table. So then they could actually press down on the towel to tighten up their thighs as well.

So those are just some places where we can fill the empty space to help create connections throughout the body. Thanks.


1 person likes this.
I really enjoy your descriptions and explanations. Your demonstrations also really clarify things. Thank you !
Thank you so much for all of the great tips. You are an awesome teacher!
1 person likes this.
Really appreciate the tutorials!! Breaking down the movements and the whys behind the exercise are so welcomed. love the contrast of what the incorrect way and the correct way should look like. What to "look for" helps in developing a good eye. Thank you!
Karen Sanzo
1 person likes this.
Oh goodness. You are all so very welcome!! I am glad you gathered from it what I had hoped!!
Great tutorial, quick and very helpful tips. Thanks, Karen!
Love it! love it!! love it!!! so informative and so very helpful for a new bee like me learning so much thank you Karen??
Jamie H
Karen is a wonderful teacher. As a visual learner, I appreciate how she demonstrates the exercises.Far too often, I have teachers who simply just give directions but they don't show HOW to do the exercise correctly.
Excellent as always
Elaine S
I'm new to Pilates Anytime and I love your helpful, quick tips. Thank you
Clear, concise, and very helpful, both for myself and for my students. Thank you.
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