1. Standing Press Down Did you know that the act of pressing your shoulder blades down actually creates lift in your torso and lengthens your neck? Try it here: Prep: Stand with your heels together and your toes pointed out at a 45 degree angle. Extend your arms straight out to your sides, and check that your shoulders are down away from your ears. Action: With your abdominal muscles pulled in, slowly with control, press your arms down by your sides as you lift your heel off the ground. Slowly reverse the movement to return to the starting position. Repeat 5 times. 2. Standing Mermaid Prep: Continue standing with your heels pressed together and your toes apart. Draw your abdominals in toward your spine. Extend one hand over your head and keep the other hand down by your side. Action: Reach up toward the ceiling and stretch your lifted hand over your head as you lean over toward one side. Reverse this motion back to the starting position and then switch sides. Repeat 6 times. Tips: As you reach over your head, be mindful that you don’t arch your back backward—this adds to compressing your spine. A good awareness tip is to keep your collarbones in front of your hip bones. Advanced: Continue using the hand weights, and try performing this exercise with your heels pressed together but also lifted off the floor. Remember, keep fighting gravity!If you Feel Compressed, practice more Pilates to stay better supported with leaner, longer muscles. You just might feel like you're growing up.
How do you spend your day? What are your everyday movements... and how present are you during them? At the end of day, scan your body and take notice of how it feels. When we stay engaged in our core and move with mindfulness, our body sits better and we can even appear taller. Unfortunately, the chaotic frenzy of our computer-centric days leave most of us compressed and feeling slighter. Luckily, Pilates can help us decompress the mess we feel. Grow taller by practicing some simple, yet effective movements we learn from Susannah Cotrone in Pilates Style Magazine: