To the naked eye Spine Stretch Forward on the Pilates Mat looks like a simple hamstring stretch. However, when done correctly, incorporating the whole body Spine Stretch forward is an incredible center strengthener, backstretch, hamstring stretch and more! If your back is tight or your hip flexors like to overwork you may find the start position difficult. In this case, slightly bend your knees. Over time try to bend them less. It may take a long time to get there but as you connect more to your center, seat and back your ability to sit in the start position will come.
Focus on a full back stretch from head to toe. Not just the hamstrings
Sitting tall on your mat, separate your legs as wide as your mat. Flex your feet and place your hands one on top of the other on your mat between your legs. Before you begin, be sure you connect your shoulders to your back. It's not just down or back; you want to feel the tips of your shoulders slightly pull towards each other. As you round forward, reach your spine forward and not your shoulders. Sitting tall, reach out through the crown of your head and your heels. Be mindful that you do not lock your knees out and lift your heels. Instead, connect to your seat and press your heels down and away.
As you round forward reach your hands down and into the mat and stretch forward 3 times. As you reach your back forward your center pulls backward. Your sacrum will want to tip forward or under. Instead, try to reach your sacrum down and focus on the back getting longer, and the stomach pulling back. Sit back up tall and then repeat three to five more times. You do not need to get your hands past your feet. Focus instead on getting a stretch from your head to your toes, not just the back of your legs.
Be sure to check out more of my Pilates Mat exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Mat training!