The “center” or powerhouse of the body is the foundation of Pilates. Building strength in the CORE area of the body (encompassing the abdomen, lower and upper back, hips, buttocks and inner thighs ) is the first goal of the Pilates movements. All movements, according to the method’s founder, Joseph Pilates, begins here in the CENTER and flows outward toward the limbs. Becoming AWARE of your body’s powerhouse and CENTERING on it is the first step in any Pilates practice.
Imprinting is a warm-up Pilates exercise that helps CENTER the mind and body before you begin the movements.
- Begin imprinting by lying on your back with your arms by your sides, knees bent hip distance apart, and feet flat on the floor. You will be in neutral spine – allowing your spine to rest with its natural curves.
- Now, relax:
- Relax your shoulders. Allow them to fall to the floor.
- Relax your neck, but lengthen long through the crown of the head.
- Your hips are level, INHALE and EXHALE drawing your navel toward your spine…keep the neutral spine. Allow the ribs to pull down toward the hips on the EXHALE
- Relax your glutes…legs are stable, knees in line with hips.
Use only as much energy as it takes to keep your knees up and legs in alignment.
- Next, “see” the imprint in your mind’s eye. Visualize your spine lengthening and sinking down to the mat. INHALE, drawing navel in, EXHALE and draw navel even more toward the spine, lightly imprinting the spine into the mat. As you INHALE again, you allow the spine to come back to neutral.
- As you do the imprinting exercise, see if you can let your imprint be very even, so that it is balanced along your body. Imagine that if you were to get up, the print your body left would be perfectly balanced.
- Do imprinting for at least 3 to 5 breaths.
Centering is also the foundation of Christianity. The center of our faith, Christ, is the powerhouse from which ALL of our strength comes. (Philipians 4:13- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.) Becoming AWARE of the CORE of our Faith requires practice also. One of the ways to CENTER ourselves on Christ is through prayer. Below is an article from The Upper Room daily devotion series that describes a “Centering Prayer Exercise”. It describes how using prayer can help you become open to receive the love of God which is ultimately displayed in CHRIST. ( Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.)