Tutorial #2482

Head to Tail Connection

10 min - Tutorial


Develop awareness about the head to tail connection in this tutorial with Deborah Lessen. She looks at the spine from the top all the way down to the bottom, making sure everything is balanced so you are not locked down in your spine. She shows examples with exercises using flexion and extension so you can see this relationship during movement.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Mar 06, 2016
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I'm Deborah lessen and I would like to talk to you about a principle which Joseph [inaudible] would have identified eventually had he lived long enough. But we certainly talk about it now. And that is head tail connection or head tail awareness. So as you know, the spine is made up of a number of smaller bones and they're meant to be fluid. So what this means to us is that we never want to lock down any one part of the spine. If we move from the top of the spine, we have to allow that movement to go through to the other end of the spine.

And we need to develop the awareness from the top all the way to the bottom. So assisting me today is knee Adria Gabriel. And the first thing that I would like you to think about are the flection exercises that you do in polarities in a supine position. So I would like you to simulate the position that you would take to start coordination. Okay. So the knees are up. I want you to start with your head down for right now.

So if we start in a supine position with the head down, the tail also has to be dropped into the mat. Now you can take your hands behind your head as you round forward to begin the movement, you're going to soften through the chest and as the head comes up, the tail comes up regardless of the position of the legs. And now think of going from the center of your spine and Ilan gating out to both ends. So this is an excellent beginner idea and you can do it in the simplest form. Exhale, soften.

Let the spine drop to the mat in the middle and both ends are coming up. That's it. You can let your knees fall in towards your head and unroll all the way down. Again, exhale, soften and round. And Corolla would come up and just give you a gentle stretch to open up the bottom few vertebrae of the spine and roll all the way down.

Now exhale, come into position and stay. And now take your legs into the position that you would use 400. So even though the legs are extended, the pelvis is still curved under and the tail is off. Ooh, that's it. And you can come down and rest for a minute. Good. All right.

So what are alternative positions that you can use the legs in for hundred? Just take your hands behind your head. So round forward now see if you can take your leg straight up to the ceiling with your tail off if that works for you. Great. Um, what I often do is take one leg up, one down like a scissors. So the leg that's up is helping to scoop the pelvis under will. The leg that's down gives you that feeling of support from under the leg and the thigh falling away. And then switch legs.

So by taking one leg down, you're starting to train the abdominals to hold the weight of the leg. Good. And take both legs down. Okay. Little stretch and rest. Okay, very good. So now I would like you to, um, come up on all force. All right, and you're going to start flat back and we're going to do cat cow.

Now this is actually more difficult than it seems because we want both ends of the spine to start and finish the movement at the same time. So on your exhalation round, finish the head and the tail at the same time. And now to come back to your starting position, you're going to reach head and tail away from each other and finish at the same time. And exhale round. Good. And Inhale Elongate. So try not to delay the head. Try to integrate it fully.

Exhale round and inhale. Now you're going to keep going all the way up into an arch and feel like the crown of the head and the tail are going to come together at the top. And now elongate back to your starting position and exhale round all the way under stretch through here and release to flat, back and arch all the way up. Good. And remember your sternum forward. Yes. And come to flat back. Good. Finish the head.

There you go. One more set round under and come to flat back. And our tie up. Push way up out of your arms. Oh yes. And come back to center and stay. And now I'd like you to Tuck your toes under and you're going to straighten your legs and lift your pelvis high up. Good. Good.

So just stay in this position. So I want you to actually drop your spine here and extend and think of extending from the tail to the crown of the head. That's it. Don't overdue. Okay, so now we're going to start an extension and we're going to roll through the pelvis until your entire spine is inflection. Keep going forward, keep going forward and stay. So this is your up stretch position. And now lift the tail high up and go back to extension. Careful not to overdo the neck and start from the bottom.

You let the head react immediately. So it's fluid through the spine. And Inhale, lift. And we'll do this one more time there. Exhale, scoop under good and lift. Good. And come down onto your knees and you can sit back and stretch out your back. Okay. And even in this position, you want to feel that you're making a dome the entire length of the spine.

Okay, so now I would like you to come back up to quadro pet flat back. And we're going to go back to the cat cow idea. Only this time as you round, I want you to bring your right knee up towards your right ear. That's it. So that leg is continuing the line of the curve. And now as you extend your spine, the leg comes high up in the back. Good. And again, think of this dome finishing head to foot.

Good. Come to flat, back and round, all the way under. Bring the knee up to your ear. Good. And reach out long and high up. Good. Come to flat back and let's just change legs. Good. So start flat back.

Exhale round. Bring the knee under and reach long and high up. Good. Just drop that left hip very ago. Now stay and push up out of your arms. Yes. Come to flat. Back and scoop under.

Get your head inside the knee. Inside the knee. Yes. Come to flat back. Good. You can bring your eyes up a little bit. Push high out of your arms and arch. Way Up. Good. Come to flat back. Good and round under.

Head inside the knee and come back to flat back. Good. Push up out of the arms. Yes. And be careful not to overdo there. You want to elongate up through here and come back to quadriped pad and sit back and stretch your low back. Okay. Thank you.


Hi Deborah: so now your comment in a previous tutorial makes sense. You remarked that when supine and legs come up to say a table top, that the tail bone will naturally curl in reaction to the upper thoracic coming into flexion. This comes full circle to the notion of "neutral" pelvis. Can you speak to that because I think there is so much confusion around that notion everywhere.
1 person likes this.
Yes please .I feel confused around that issue
I am confused about this, too. Tailbone off the mat in the hundred?
Here also confusion I don't get that 100 with tailbone off the mat ????
Niedra Gabriel did you learn new and important things from all the classes you took with Ms Deborah Lessen on PilatesAnytime?
You can answer the question posed by the four previous submissions, as you demonstrated!
Can we have an answer soon please.
Hi all- I can only answer briefly at this moment. Hundred is a FLEXION exercise. If the whole spine is in flexion, the tail will be off the mat(or at least not weight-bearing). We do not want to segment the spine, therefore we should not flex the upper spine and leave the pelvis in neutral. xxx
Conversely Ms Lessen, if we do the 100 as Mr Pilates taught it with the feet about 2" above the mat, the pelvis would not be curled.
As far as I know, Mr. Pilates wanted the toes at eye level.
I hasten to add that I intended no disrespect Ms Lessen whatsoever, and was only quoting what it says in "Return to Life" namely, "Lift both feet about 2" above the mat or floor, and "Raise the head with eyes focused on the toes".
It was most kind of you to reply.
I am intrigued by your work Madam.
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