FITNESS FOCUS: The Hundred – this is the most well-known of the classic Pilates exercises. Although there are MANY good warm-up movements, many consider this to be the best exercise to warm up the body, gets the breath moving, and strengthen the core muscles.
Description: Lying on a mat with your feet off the floor and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Reach your arms long by your sides and slightly raised off the mat, spine in neutral. Inhale, and on the exhale, lift your head and shoulders off the floor pulling your navel to spine to engage the abdominals and support the head. Reach the arms long, imprint the spine (no arch in the back) and keep the mid ribcage or shoulder blades connected to your mat. Pulse your arms up and down at your side like you are slapping water as you inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts. Keep your head and torso still and unmoving during the exercise. When you have finished 10 breaths, gently lower your head and shoulders and pull your knees in to rest on your chest.
FAITH FOCUS: Thinking of the Hundred as the best among many exercises reminds me of a story in the Bible. When Jesus came to Mary and Martha’s house, Martha busied herself with MANY things, but Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus, listening to Him. When Martha complains to Jesus, He says, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better…” (Luke 10:41-42) We have the choice in the course of our day to focus on MANY, perhaps “hundreds” of things, but only one thing is needed. Let’s choose the thing that helps us get the Breath of the Holy Spirit moving through us, strengthening our CORE… and finds us, in the end, resting at the feet of Jesus.