REFINED PILATES “THE CRAB”
MY ORIGINAL SOURCES.
America and, most importantly, I learnt a lot of the fine details from Jerome Andrews.
This exercise is good everyone.
Pregnant women who are well exercised can do this exercise until the belly is too big.
3 – 5.
This exercise is performed in smooth, continuous way. It may be too extreme for those with knee problems. I love this exercise. It is one of my favourites! I love the fact that the whole spine is stimulated. Touching the crown of the head down has a knock on effect throughout all the body’s diaphragms. Keep as round a shape as possible, like a continuous circle and as close a shape as possible.
Sit in a crossed leg position. In yoga this is sometimes referred to as “Easy Pose”. Take a hold of the big toe by sliding your second and third fingers in between the first and second toes, right down to the root. Bend the fingers around the big toe so that they are holding firmly and are curled towards and meet the thumbs. This encourages the opening of the space between the first and second metatarsal where there are nerve endings that ultimately connect to the sciatic nerve. This is, by itself, therapeutic for the back.
Mostly I see it taught with the right hand holding the left foot and the left the right. The arms are not crossed and the elbows are gently open.
Jerome Andrews taught us to have the arms crossed. This deepens the curl of the upper back even more. You do have to be careful not to lift the shoulders. In a very deep 1st position of the spine or “C” curve, place the crown of the head on the floor in front of you.
Feel as though the crown of the head has roots and maintain a feeling of it being pulled down into the earth. At the same time, feel as though the tail bone is being pulled down into the earth in the opposite direction. Think of your tail as being like a sensitive feeler. The front of the body is very soft. Begin sending your awareness along the spinous processes at the back of the spine. Think of each one as being sensitive alive, fluid and sensing. Start at the end of the spine and move up vertebra by vertebra until you arrive at the top vertebra which is behind your nose. Move up in your awareness two steps more, to the centre of the brain and then to the crown of the head ( the part which was soft when you were a baby) which is touching the floor. Allow the curve of the back to deepen. The opening in the back of the lungs on the in breath encourages a even deeper curve.
See my blog on the “First Spinal Succession” https://jennycolebourne.com/jerome-andrews-pilates-the-first-spinal-succession/
Continue to have the feeling that the crown of the head to pulled down to gravity, to the earth. Begin, at the same time focusing in the very tip of the base of the spine (remember it is sensory) and let it travel towards the floor. This may seem like a long journey to you! Don’t be temped to hurry. It is worth the wait. Very simply the energy of the tip of the tail surrendering to gravity is so great it rolls you back vertebra by vertebra, traveling along and sensing the spinous processes. You will feel a powerful opening, energising and sensitising of the spine. If you have a tendency to be stiff in the lower back and you are careful to take this two way energy as far as you can you will be rewarded with a good opening there. It is vitally important for any tension in the hip joints to be absent. Roll all the way back onto the back of your neck. The knees come to the floor. The feet stay close to the buttocks.
Stay up in the stretch and lightly change the legs. This movement is like quick silver and tests if you are relaxed in the hip joints.
Roll starting back from the the very first vertebra of the cervical spine. This time feel as though you do not wish the knees to leave the floor to increase the stretch. Roll back vertebra by vertebra, spinous process by spinous process, until crown of the head touches the floor.