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  • Nicole O'Donnell

How to Reduce Neck Strain in Pilates




Shoulder Depression

The shoulder blades going down provide the leverage for our upper spine, neck, and head to lift up. If your shoulders are up around your ears, chances are your head and neck are jammed in too close to your torso.  Pull the shoulders down and you should feel your head shoot up another inch or two closer to the ceiling and tightness through the neck reduce.


Tongue Placement

Where your tongue is placed in your mouth can make a difference!  Lightly touch the tip of the tongue to the roof of your mouth on your inhale, and drop the tongue away from the roof of your mouth on your exhale. This helps facilitate the proper use of the diaphragm, and as the tongue drops on the exhale, you may notice that the muscles in the front of the neck soften and relax a bit.


Pelvic Floor

Effective use of the pelvic floor provides the anchoring at the base of the spine which is necessary for lift and lengthening that occurs during breathing.  Without an active, engaged pelvic floor, it’s impossible to get the ribs to lift away from the pelvis, the neck to lift away from the torso, and the head to lift away from the neck. How do you effectively find and use the Pelvic Floor?  If you’re not already familiar with using your Pelvic Floor, check out this post.


Lateral Breathing

Learning to use the Pilates breath can be a game-changer for your practice and for alleviating strain through the neck. Emphasis is placed on inhaling to fill the back of the ribcage from the bottom to the top to assist with lengthening rather than breathing high into the chest which can limit movement and tense the upper body.


If you have any questions on this, sing out!


N x


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