FITNESS FOCUS: IMPRINTING
Imprinting the spine to the mat is an important skill in Pilates. Although not part of this Fundamental routine, it is necessary to understand and practice this during the Pilates Mat series. Imprinting will help to center your body on the core area, lengthen and relax the spinal column in order to prepare you for the routine. Begin by lying on your back with your arms by your sides, knees bent, legs hip width apart, and feet flat on the floor. Make sure you are in the supine neutral spine position (see above). Now, pull the shoulders back and down allowing them to relax on the mat. Lengthen through the crown of your head to elongate the neck. Do not allow your ribcage to pop up toward the ceiling, rather imagine that, with each breath, your ribs are pulling toward your hips. Keep your knees in line with your hips. Now, visualize your spine lengthening and sinking down to the mat, lightly imprinting. To do this, inhale, and on the exhale, pull the navel toward the spine which will imprint the spine on the mat. Do not allow the glutes and hips to help you. This should be done with the breath and the activation of the abdominals only. Inhale to release back to supine neutral spine, and exhale to imprint. Practice this for several breaths.
FAITH FOCUS: There is another type of imprinting that is important in order to center us and engage our CORE. The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 18-21 to, “Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. …. Inscribe them on the doorposts and gates of your cities so that you’ll live a long time…” Just like the imprinting of our spine to the mat prepares and protects us by engaging our CORE, so too does imprinting God’s Word deep inside us. Getting His Word deep into our CORE will protect us like doorposts and city gates and provide strength to carry out His Will for our lives. The goal of such imprinting is long life in the land of God’s promise.