When standing, we often make the mistake of tipping the top of the pelvis forward. Over time, this puts undue stress on the back. Practice this move to help you return your pelvis to neutral alignment and minimize the pooch below the navel. Make sure you pull your abs inward throughout the move without tightening your buttock muscles. Be sure that you are lowering your legs to only a 45-degree angle -- taking your legs too low will prevent you from doing the exercise correctly.
1 Lie face up on a mat. Hold a large stability ball between your calves. Bend your knees slightly if necessary and position your ankles directly above your hips. Extend your arms above your shoulders, palms turned inward. Inhale to begin.
2 On an exhale, press your navel down to the spine, then pass the ball into your hands. Bring your legs together as you slowly lower your legs and arms to the floor. At a 45-degree angle, pause for a moment and focus on pulling your abs inward to prevent an excessive arch in your lower back. Raise your arms and legs back up and pass the ball to your legs, rest for a few moments and repeat six to eight times.
Karen Voight can be reached at email@example.com.
-- Karen Voight