To achieve optimal spinal alignment and posture it is important to consider the correct alignment of the ribcage. Ideally, the ribcage should be positioned directly over the pelvis when looking at the body from the side in sitting or standing. When you are lying on your back, the entire back of the ribcage should rest naturally on the mat and not arch away from the mat. There are two ways to correct this if you are arching your back:
1. Imagine that your 'sinking into the floor' or 'softening'
2. Imagine a spring connecting the bottom of the ribcage to the hip bones.
Let's practice this...
Start in the pilates rest position. Reach your arms up to the ceiling, level with your shoulders and face your palms towards each other.
Begin by relaxing the ribcage into the mat and engaging your centre. Slowly lower your arms overhead as far as possible while keeping the back of your ribcage on the mat. Try not to arch or flatten your back. Bring your arms back to the start position and repeat 5-8 times paying attention to your ribcage and centre.