The hundred is a classic Pilates mat exercise. The hundred requires that we coordinate the breath with the movement, and be strong and graceful at the same time.
1) Lie on your back with your knees bent and the shins parallel to the floor. For now, put your hands behind your knees.
Inhale to begin.
2) Exhale: Bring your chin down and curl your upper spine up off the floor. Keep the shoulders engaged in the back. The gaze is down into the scoop of the abs.
Stay here and inhale.
3) Exhale: At the same time, activate your abs, and extend your legs and arms toward the wall in front of you.
Your arms extend straight out but low, just a few inches off the floor.
Your legs should only be as low as you can go without shaking, and without your lower spine pulling up off the mat.
4) Five short breaths in and 5 short breaths out (like sniffing in and out) go along with a controlled up and down pumping of the arms.
This is a small pumping action - be sure to keep your shoulders relaxed.
5) To finish: Keep your spine curved as you bring the knees in to your chest. Grasp your knees, and then allow your upper spine and head to roll, sequentially, back to the floor. Take a deep breath in and out.
For more instructions, modifications, and related links go to the hundred.