Spine and Hip Extension
Use your hands to set the pelvis in its optimal position to extend the spine and hips. Place your hands in a diamond shape where the thumbs touch and index fingers touch creating a diamond shape. The palms are facing up and placed on the front of the pelvis. The little fingers are above and near the pubic bone and the thumbs at the top of the pelvis on the soft tissue. When you lift the trunk you can feel if your weight shifts toward the little fingers (pubic bone) or thumbs (top of the pelvis that arches your spine too much). You shift your weight of the pelvis toward the area that is not weighted to correct the pelvis into a better position for extension. Repeat the Pilates Swan like movement 5-8 times. Adding the hip extension motion of bending the knees as you lift the legs increases the demand of the hamstrings and gluteal muscles. The movement to bring the legs together engages the inner line of the leg. This is an excellent strengthening movement for all areas of the hip. Finish with sitting upright and breathing into the back of the spine to integrate the work prior to flexing your spine as in a child's pose.