Connect to Your Back with the Magic Circle on the Mat
When doing Pilates Mat exercises, it’s easy to feel like the arms are doing choreography. And you have probably heard that if Pilates is easy you are doing it wrong. But, how do you connect your arms to your back? What does that even mean? Does it mean shoulders down? What muscles are you even supposed to use anyways? In this tutorial, we will go over a quick and easy prep that you can do before you do your Pilates practice to teach your arms where they connect to your back using the Magic circle. Then give your mat workout a try without it!
Press down only as much as you lift up and control the circle back up.
Sit either cross-legged on your Mat or have your feet on the floor and your hips on an elevated surface that has room for your arm to be stretched out to the side straight like a Cadillac mat or Reformer carriage. Place the circle on the mat to one side of you slightly in front of your shoulder. Place the heel of your hand on the top pad and for an additional check, you can place your opposite hand around your ribs. Like you are wrapping your hand around your chest.
Press down into the circle slightly. You do not want to push so hard that you lean over. Or you shrink down. You should feel yourself lift up as the circle presses down. You should also feel your upper back muscles come alive. This is where your arms circles from. Lifts from. Reaches from! And, as long as you connect here than you can really find a two-way stretch in your body in every exercise. Do 5-10x each side and if you have a weaker side then be sure to do weak, strong, weak! Take the circle away and do your 100, Double Leg Stretch and Teaser and see if you can feel your arms on your back!