FITNESS FOCUS: Rolling Like a Ball -This exercise, one of the classic Pilates mat exercises, can stimulate the spine, strengthen the deep abdominals, and help us focus on how the body’s movement flows with the breath. Notice I said “can” do these things, if you are performing the exercise properly. Rolling Like a Ball is easily done, children often hug their knees into their chest and rock back and forth on their spine. Doing the exercise in this manner is fun, and might make us feel young and child-like, briefly. However, performing this exercise without properly engaging the core and using the abdominals to protect the spine, can cause pain in addition to not building the strength we need.
Here are the steps for performing Pilates Rolling Like a Ball:
Sit on your mat and clasp your hands over your shins, just above the ankle.
Sit up high on your sit bones, pull your shoulders back and down. Lift your feet off the mat, balancing on the sit bones, keeping your shoulders back and down and lengthening through the crown of the head. Inhale, and on the EXHALE, pull your chin to your chest, navel to spine making a nice curve of your spine. Don’t tuck your head too much, your neck is part of the long curve.
Inhale and pull the lower abs in and up as you roll back. Roll only to the shoulders. Do not roll onto the neck.
Exhale and keep the scoop in your spine as you return upright. Be sure not to swing the legs or pull on the legs with your arms. Allow the exhale and your abdominal contraction roll you back up. Balance on the sit bones; do not allow the feet to touch the floor. Repeat 5-6 times.
FAITH FOCUS: There are many sources in the world that tell us how to take care of our lives. We see experts on tv who seem to have all of the answers about our struggles with marriage, parenting, diet, exercise and even our faith. Sometimes these methods may work or be “fun”, briefly. However, any solution that does not contain Christ as it’s CORE, its center, can wind up hurting us, not strengthening us for the better. Colossians 2: 17-19 speaks about this:
So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ. Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are. They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.
The movements and decisions we make in our daily lives must be driven from our CORE in Christ, who put us together in one piece and whose Holy Spirit flows through us. Only with proper activation of this CORE can we be healthy and nourished in our physical and spiritual lives.