In Pilates imprint is an essential starting point that focuses on abdominal engagement and control through the core. The proper imprint engagement can be taught to you by a well-trained STOTT Pilates instructor.
To begin on your own you can lay down on your back, knees bent, feet in line with your sit bones and flat on the floor. Place your middle finger in the top of your hip bones and your thumb on your lowest rib. Your oblique’s, the muscles you are trying to engage, are in between your fingers. To engage them slightly tip your hips back and think about moving your rib cage toward your hips. Inevitably your oblique’s will engage to bring these two bones a little closer together.
Now that you’ve got your engagement the idea is to move your body around that strong core center. This engagement protects your low back and ensures that your core is worked safely and efficiently.
Imprint can be used in daily life as well as during your pilates workouts. Especially if you have a desk job! While sitting at your desk think about this engagement as zipping up your abs and improving your posture. Sit tall on your sit bones and place your fingers on your hips and ribs, again bring the two bones a little closer to each other. At the same time lengthen through your spine and through the top of your head. All the sudden you become tall in your seat, strong in your core and more focused with your work. Plus, who wouldn’t want to get an extra ab workout just by sitting at your desk.
The more you practice this engagement the easier it will become for you to connect to. Practice it several times lying down, and then begin to practice it siting up. When you become more aware of your body you will even be able to tap into this engagement when you are standing up.
You will find that once you become so aware of your body and where it is in space that you are able to sit tall, walk tall and feel confident. Imprint is an amazing tool.
If you have questions about imprint and the proper abdominal engagement for safe and efficient pilates workouts please contact one of our STOTT pilates instructors at Balance Pilates.