"I find myself practicing ‘navel to spine' more often than any other exercise. I can do it in the car, in line at the bank or grocery store and in traffic (instead of getting agitated). It is a real challenge to isolate the muscles of the lower abdomen without tightening the neck, flaring the ribs or raising the shoulders. It sometimes is a good thing to think ‘below the navel to the spine.' Working the lower abdominal muscles is a massage for the internal organs, aids digestion and helps with the elimination process."
-- Susan Bronstein, Ojai, California
"The powerhouse of course! I tell my students that engaging the powerhouse while standing or walking makes you look taller, thinner and more self-confident without performing a single formal exercise."
-- Julie Schaaff, MS, West Long Branch, New Jersey
"There's a lot I use depending on my day, but overall I do spine stretch forward. I have protruding front lower ribs in my posture history and this specific exercise, for some reason, has helped me maintain a more stable rib cage. Rib misplacement runs up and down my spine, namely making my lower back arch and my pelvis tilt forward. My handstands are far more stable when I practice spine stretch too."
-- Liz M. Shiels, Albuquerque, New Mexico
"The most important Pilates move I practice all day long is neck elongation by flattening out my shoulder blades against my back. It releases tension in the cervical spine and improves my posture immensely. It also keeps my shoulders from creeping up around my ears!"
-- Jennifer Horan, Cavendish, Vermont