What is Neutral Spine or Neutral Pelvis?

And why is it important to work in this position?

If you have ever seen an x-ray picture of a the spinal vertebrae, or drawings or photos in an anatomy book then you know that the spine is not a straight bodily structure, like building blocks stacked directly on top of each other, but more of a snake-like curved structure.  Neutral Spine is the NATURAL curves in the spine, when standing in an upright healthy stance. In this position, the pelvis is not rotated posteriorly (tailbone tucked under) or rotated anteriorly (lordosis/swayback) however just…neutral.

neutral spine

neutral spine in table top position

What are the benefits in working in neutral spine? Strengthening your muscles in their proper alignment supports proper posture, and helps to prevent injuries. It is also crucial for someone recovering from any back injuries to work in neutral to prevent any further injury.

You can find YOUR neutral, and I say YOUR neutral because everyone is uniquely different, by laying supine (on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor).  Feel your tailbone, the very tip end of your spine pressing down into the mat. Then be sure the back of your ribs are also fully laying on the mat. In this position you will feel a small curve in you lumbar spine that slightly lifted of the mat. A bit like a footprint, where the arch of the foot is not touching the floor.  When doing the Pilates mat work, maintaining this position enables the core muscles to automatically kick in! Don’t worry if these instructions seem confusing! In my mat class I give easy cues for you to be in neutral spine throughout the class.

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