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Audrey's Pilates & Dance



Posted on December 31, 2019 at 4:25 AM


ROLL DOWN (modification)


0. Start from a sitting position with the feet under the straps, the hands placed on the back of the thighs.

1. Inhale, sink the “navel to the spine” and roll the small of the back into the Mat. Roll down until the elbows are straight.

2. Exhaling, round the spine back up and, if needed, the arms can help “pull” you up. Repeat 6 times




0. Lie on your back with arms stretched long, alongside your body, palms facing down. Stretch the legs straight forward, arches are long.

1. Lift both legs about 2 inches above the Mat. Bring the chin to the chest, “draw” the weight of the head into the center of the body. Do not lift the upper body above “the base of the shoulder blades” off the mat. Raise the arms about 6-8 inches above the thighs (I prefer that measurement off the Mat).

2. Inhaling slowly through the nose, pump the arms vigorously up and down for 5 counts. Keep the arms straight and pump only from the shoulders.

3. Exhaling slowly through the nose, continue to pump the arms vigorously for 5 more counts.

4. Repeat until a maximum of 100 movements is accomplished (10 sets).

5. Relax completely.


Begin with only 20 pumps. Gradually increase until the maximum of 100 pumps is accomplished.


The arms are beating rapidly to get the heart and blood pumping and the breath circulating.


Make sure the back remains completely flat. If they cannot maintain a flat back with the legs at eye level, then have them raise their legs to the level they can control.




0. Lie flat on your back. Extend the arms, shoulder width, over your head with palms facing up. The legs are straight and together. Sink the “navel to the spine.”

1. Inhaling slowly, raise the arms up to the ceiling. The head goes through your arms as you pull the navel deeper to the spine.

2. Exhaling slowly, start rolling up one vertebrae at a time bringing the arms forward.

3. While finishing the exhalation, continue forward until the upper body is over the legs.

4. Inhale slowly as you roll down to the Mat one vertebrae at a time. Maintain the arms at shoulder height.

5. Exhale as you lift the arms to the ceiling and then back overhead, stretching more and more.

6. Repeat 3-5 times.



If the person cannot roll up smoothly one vertebrae at a time, have them put their feet under the strap.

If the person cannot keep their entire spine flat to the Mat, have them bend their knees slightly.


If they are especially weak, you can introduce the ROLL UP with the ROLL DOWN variation.


The student may use a lightweight bar and the teacher may assist by stretching them while they are in the forward position; and to the back by gently pulling the bar to lengthen their spine.




0. Lie on your back with arms stretched long, alongside your body, palms facing down. Sink the “navel to the spine.”

1. Bring the right leg to the upright, right angle position. Reach for the center of the body. (“to the nose”;)

2. Keeping both hips anchored to the Mat, cross the leg over the body first as making a small circle.

3. Repeat 5 circles in each direction. Inhale on the first half of each circle and exhale on the second half.

4. End by bending the leg and “hugging” it towards you, stretching.

5. Repeat on the other leg.


The crossing over the body and the reaching up for the center are the most important part of the exercise. The accent of the circles is on the “up.


Keep the circles small and controlled; small means ”within the joint.” Do not move the sacrum.

Make sure that throughout the exercise the whole body stays anchored to the Mat.




0. Sitting up, bend your knees and move your hips forward to your heels. Hold onto your ankles bringing them into the buttocks.

Bend the head forward with the chin to the chest and the nose between the knees.


The arches of the feet are long with the toes off the Mat.

1. Inhaling slowly, press the “navel to the spine” to initiate the rolling back action.

2. Exhaling slowly, return forward maintaining the ball position.

3. Repeat 6 times.



Warning: People with a bad neck should not attempt this exercise.

For those who have trouble rounding their spine, we can modify the hand position. Instead of holding the ankles, they can place their hands under their thighs.

Do not always bother with rolling on their first sessions. Leave it out and work on control as described in the modification, THE ROLL DOWN.



0. After finishing ROLLING LIKE A BALL, sit back to the center of the Mat and lie flat on your back.

1. Pull the right leg, bent, as far as possible towards the chest, inhaling slowly. *The crown is lifted high with the chin on the chest. *Place the left hand on the right knee and the right hand on the right ankle. (This hand position is used to keep the ankle, knee, and hip aligned.) *The left leg is extended out at an angle to the floor, while still maintaining a flat back.

2. Exhaling slowly, change legs and pull the left leg, bent, into the chest. Extend the right leg out.

3. Repeat 5 and 10 sets.


Make sure the chin touches the chest. Keep the elbows lifted to the sides.


Maintain a flat back. Keep the navel sinking into the spine.


For those with a bad knee, have them place the hands on the thigh, underneath the knee instead.




0. Lie flat with both legs bent into the chest, pulling your ankles in with your hands.

1. Inhaling slowly and keeping the chin to the chest, reach simultaneously the arms overhead and the legs long/ forwards. The heels are about 2 inches off the Mat. Keep the “navel to the spine.”

2. While exhaling slowly, circle the arms around and “draw” both legs upward into into the chest again. The hands grab the ankles, hugging the legs firmly into the chest, deepening the exhalation.

3. Repeat 5-10 times.



The navel is pulled into the spine to insure a flat back. The legs extend only as low to the floor as the individual can maintain a flat back.


This is a breathing exercise!



0. Sit with the legs straight, open slightly wider than shoulder width apart. (Or place the heels in the middle of the traditional Mat boxes). Draw the toes upward and backward. Extend the arms, straight forward, at shoulder height.

1. Inhaling, pull up tall, start from the top of the head, chin touching the chest, roll down and forward one vertebrae at a time. Press the “navel to the spine,” carving the letter “C” in the lower back.

2. Reach the arms forward with a sliding motion, as the body stretches forward and down, as far as possible. Keep the “hip bones” over the “sit bones.” Exhale

3. On the inhalation, initiate from the navel and roll back up.

4. Sitting up tall, exhale.

5. Repeat 3 times, trying to reach further down and deeper into the spine each repetition.



Keep the abdominal wall drawn in and the chin dropped to the chest. Concentrate on the opening of the lower spine.

This is a stretch “into” your spine.

Categories: Pilates , OCC