Much can be learned by taking a careful look at what is working, or not working, in an exercise. Sometimes, seeing what isn't right can help you find your way toward what is better. Here, we look at the beginning position for kneeling side kick. If you are unfamiliar with kneeling side kick you may want to read the instructions first. Basically, we want Susie's body to be flat, as if it was between two panes of glass (except for the supporting shin), and straight as an arrow, with a sense of lines of energy extending from the center of her body, her powerhouse.
At first glance, this pose might look OK. But we're going to take a tip to toe look at Susie's alignment, and see how extending energy through an exercise can help correct alignment and change the whole feel of an exercise.What's not quite right here:
- We want Susie's head to be in line with her spine but her head is slightly tipped up. (It's not too bad, though)
- We don't sense a lot of energy in her body. One of the ways this shows up as lack of extension between her supporting arm and her raised elbow.
- Her chest should be open and facing front but it is tipped slightly forward.
- Her supporting leg is not straight up and down. It is on an angle which is not supporting her hips or lending strength and stability to the exercise.
- Her extended leg is drooping downward, throwing off the line of the pose -- showing that she is not reaching from the center of her body. Susie is having to use a lot of thigh muscle, rather than energy from her center and oppositional stretch from the supporting leg, to hold her leg up.
Not to worry, you don't have to be perfect to benefit from Pilates exercises. Simple changes can make a big difference. Let's look at the after picture.