Neutral Pelvis and Neutral Spine

By June Scharff

Even if you have been in Pilates a short time you have probably heard the terms neutral pelvis and neutral spine. What was Joseph Pilates’ purpose in teaching neutral pelvis and spine?

Joseph Pilates’ purpose was to train the body to function at its optimum all of the time, in everyday life and activities; not just while exercising. The logic is this… Our bodies have 4 natural curves: the cervical, the thoracic, the lumbar and the tailbone. Many Pilates exercises are intended to be executed while maintaining the integrity of those curves. For example, if you are laying on the your back and you tilt your pelvis getting rid of the lumbar curve, the muscles involved will be trained to function well in that position. When you stand or walk, and your natural curves resume, your muscles will not be prepared to function efficiently in that position.


Now, what if you have lower back issues, neck issues or just a weak core? Jumping in a class and doing neutral pelvis and spine can cause gripping of the back and neck and become painful, if not even harmful. The goal would be... to be able to do neutral eventually, as your core gets stronger. In the meantime, take a towel roll it up and put it under your lower back and or neck. The towel will provide the support you need while maintaining your natural curves. Those with disc issues and or surgeries may have to use the towel indefinitely; others just may need to use it while in the process of getting stronger.


Something so simple and logical, and yet it can impact the quality of your whole life. Hmmm, Joseph Pilates… he was amazing.