Pilates 101 - The Basics - Prevention of Neck Pain
by Jason Vandijk
your not-so-skinny ass down to the local gym, head shop, living room or doctors
office that just happens to "offer" Pilates. Neck Pain Prevention is just one of the
benefits of this "group fun" exercise program.

All joking aside, Pilates has proven to be effective ever since it was introduced by
Joseph Pilates during WWI to help returning veterans. Pilates believed that the mind
and the body were interrelated (a revolutionary concept at the time). The German
recommended a combination of stretching, strengthening and stabilizing key muscle
groups. The so-called "Pilates Principles" were created to address the entire body;
proper alignment, control, breathing, centering, precision and a flowing movement.

Mr. Pilates was way ahead of his time! He studied the Eastern disciplines of martial
arts and yoga, and blended them with Western physical activities such as:
bodybuilding, gymnastics, boxing, and other recreational sports. At age fourteen he
had sculpted his physique so well that he was posing for anatomical publications. A
modern day Michelangelo! (or Matthew McConaghey for the young readers)

Before actually entering the somewhat intimidating world of Pilates, you must
possess a minimal amount of "self-awareness". No we are not talking about great
cosmic universal awareness, just the basics- 101 remember!

Self- Assessment- Check to seeing if you have proper neck alignment is the first step
for neck pain prevention. Alignment is fairly easy to ascertain. Simply take a look in
the mirror. I know how hard this is when those "crows' feet" wrinkles seem to
spread out exponentially by the day, but focus on the alignment of the neck! The
goal of your cervical self assessment is to realize a "neutral" position - the chin is
raised slightly, and vertical alignment is straight. If the chin protrudes upwards, or
angles down or to one side, you will need to it move back to the" neutral."

As simply as it seems, this is the single most important piece of advice any article
could ever give you on Neck Pain Prevention. All you need to do is stay relaxed and in
the neutral position at all times, and most of the common ailments of the neck can
be avoided. EASIER SAID THAN DONE! There are just too many variables in life, right?
Stress, Aging, Injury & Disease! Okay, you already knew that, so let us carry on...

There are numerous Pilates exercises, stretches, breathing exercises, moves and
programs available, from the basics (which we will discuss further here) to advanced
movements that include sophisticated machines and training manuals. In addition, a
Neck Traction Device can also provide the support or stretches that your neck needs.

When it comes to the neck, the Pilates exercises can be relatively simple. I will lay out
four basic moves for your stretching pleasure!

Shoulder Lifts - Sitting in a chair, feet flat on the floor, back straight and chin in a
neutral alignment; relax arms to the side of body. Inhale and lift shoulders to ears
and roll shoulders backward. Exhale. Repeat: 5X

Head Rotations - Still sitting, with neck in neutral position, Inhale and gently
rotate neck to one side as far as is comfortable. Exhale and return to center. Inhale
and roll neck to opposite side. Exhale and return to center. Repeat: 4X

Neck Stretch - Relax in the chair and let arms go on both sides. Imagine that you
have a heavy shopping bag in one hand and then bend neck to opposite side. Inhale
and breathe into the stretch. Repeat on opposite side 4X; 2x on each side

Chin Nods - Start with the neutral position of the neck. Rest hands on thighs.
Lower chin as far as it is comfortable (no pain), then back to neutral. Tilt neck back
as far as comfortable and then back to neutral. Repeat 5X

Like I said earlier, just keep that old neck of yours in the neutral position when sitting,
standing, driving or sleeping will get you on the "Neck Pain Prevention wagon",
smoothly rolling along the rough road of life. Believe me, going the exercises above
on a daily basis, will assure a much better road!

About The Author

Jason Vandijk is a freelance contributor and editor of the Beauty and Fitness
information portal which reports on the latest Beauty, Fitness and Relaxation
Therapies promoting natural detoxification and healing benefits.  Click Here to learn
more about Neck Traction Device, please visit
The primary principle of Pilates is to
maintain proper posture. Pilates helps
keep the body balanced and provides
support to the cervical spine through
strengthening of core muscles,
breathing awareness, and correct
alignment. Pilates is also one of the
latest words to be thrown around the
water cooler. Yes, Pilates is firmly
entrenched in the daily psyche of the
average American psycho!

So go ahead and order that double
skinny frappachino maraschino, hold
the froth, not too hot from the one
of the neighborhood "Bucs" and get
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