• Pilates of Forest Acres

Eyes on the Horizon

We spend a lot of our lives looking down; at computers, at our cell phones, doing everyday tasks, and looking at the ground when we walk.

By doing so, we put a tremendous strain on our spine. The human head is heavy. Imagine a bowling ball standing upright on a twig. When we look down, which makes the weight of the head falling forward, the shoulders have to compensate and roll forward as well.

If this is a consistent pattern for you, the body will lock this down in your musculature and fascia system. Your body will overcompensate in other areas, and eventually, a breakdown will occur.

Understanding and sensing how your head sits on your spine are essential. Learning how to shift that “bowling ball” as you fold forward, lean back, or twist, is paramount in keeping a healthy spine.

One simple (but constant!) cue I try to tell myself is to keep my eyes on the horizon. It helps tip my head back so that the weight of my skull falls through the plumbline of my body.

When I lift something, I will look at the object I’m grabbing, bend my knees, and reach for it, then I right my head with my spine before lifting. I don’t keep looking at the object as I lift it. I bring my spine to be neutral.

I teach a lot of my clients about neutral position. I help them sense their skeletal structure more so than their musculature. Sometimes a lot of release work is involved in getting rid of the old pattern before embarking on learning a new one. Using imagery, physical cues, and patience, a person can change old habits into new ones.

Ashley Hayes

Certified Pilates Instructor - Pilates Forest Acres

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