Being in the therapy and fitness industry for 25+ years, I specialize in spine health. I teach neutral spine, meaning head, shoulders, hips on the floor at all times. Most adults have or develop a forward head posture over time and I just don’t understand the concept of Pilates that encourages unnecessary cervical flexion. As a perfect example, all you have to do is look at the most recent edition of IDEA Pilates Today “Uniting the Industry: Transforming Stories”. Granted I did not read the whole article, but that picture hurts my neck just to look at; as I see an older lady standing with her head in that position…Why?
My training is to elongate the neck and visualize energy reaching out of the crown of the head BEFORE nodding the chin BONE *towards* the chest. Simultaneously with the nod, the person is engaging their lat muscles, relaxing their shoulders and opening across their chest to minimize shoulder “creep” towards the ears. Of course there is belly scooping, too!
I just practiced my own words and found that with great effort I can barely touch the FLESH of my chin down — much less the BONE — when I really lengthen my neck first. There is about a finger’s thickness of distance between my chin and my chest/clavicle area.
Our challenge as instructors is to guide people through the process of attaining the proper form to do the exercises safely and effectively so they may improve over time. I teach mat to a group class of over-45 women (an age bracket which includes myself) and options and modifications are given for nearly every exercise. We don’t do Rollovers or Rolling Like a Ball at all because the floor surface of the classroom isn’t appropriate. There is great brilliance in the “original” Pilates mat routine but I believe like others here have stated that most people will benefit from a tailored, modified program, and that’s what I was taught.