Rolling Like a Ball – Building Your Skills with this Basic Ten Pilates Exercise
Rolling Like a Ball is the fifth exercise that Joseph Pilates introduced in his book Return to Life Through Contrology. It is also one of the first exercises performed in most lessons and classes on the mat. Rolling Like A Ball is the fourth exercise performed in the Basic 5 and Basic 10 Pilates Exercise Routines. In previous blogs we have looked at The Hundred, The Roll Up and The Single Leg Circle. Rolling Like A Ball is a great exercise for several reasons but primarily breathing fully and spinal health.
The Benefits of the Pilates Rolling Like A Ball:
· Connecting your breath to movement.
· Creating a healthy spine.
· Elongation of the spine.
How to Perform the Pilates Rolling Like A Ball
1. Start seated at the front edge of the mat. The hands holding the ankles, head bent towards (ultimately between) the knees.
2. Lean back and lift feet off the mat, balancing in this position.
3. Inhale to gently roll back to the shoulder blades.
4. Exhale to roll back up to the starting position. (Try to not have the feet touch the floor) Repeat 6 times.
What to Look for in Rolling Like A Ball:
1. Check in that your breath is part of the movement. Hint: Breathing is key to doing Rolling Like A Ball successfully.
2. The shoulders are open and wide when you curl your spine, head curling to your knees. Check in that you are not overly pushing through the upper back.
3. Work to roll evenly down the center of the spine.
Modifications for Rolling Like A Ball:
1. If you can’t hold the ankles, hold a little higher up on the shin.
2. If that is still too difficult you can hold behind the thighs.
3. If you roll back and can’t make it back up, that’s OK! Just come back up to sitting and get into the position to roll back and try again. Each time it will get easier and it is better to take your time and work up to the full exercise. Patience is a virtue in Pilates!
4. If it feels too hard on the spine try a softer more padded mat.
The goal is to not perform it perfectly but to successfully do the exercise, so maximum benefits can be achieved. Pilates is a journey and students will experience days when some movements are easier or more accessible than others. Don’t lose focus or get discouraged. The quality of the movement is more mportant than getting into a specific shape. Keep up the good work with a positive approach and you will experience a healthier and happier mind, body, and spirit!
Stay tuned for more exercises and tips!