Again…A bit louder for those at the back:
First things first, Joseph Pilates himself never mentioned “neutral” because he passed away before the research that introduced it took place!
Fast forward to the year 2000, and boom, “neutral” was all the rage. It infiltrated Pilates training ( Including my original training) and seemed like the holy grail of wellness and back injury prevention. But guess what?
Over time, we’ve learned it’s not the be-all, end all solution.
However, like teaching kids times tables as a foundation for maths, “neutral” can be a great concept to help increase our body awareness.
Especially when we use it well, for example in exercises that introduce, hip/pelvis dissociation
What are “Hip/pelvis dissociation” exercises?
They focus on moving your thigh bone while keeping your pelvis “stable” or vice versa.
Think cat stretch, knee drops, knee floats and more and they ARE fantastic exercises, I use them regularly with new clients as PRE- Pilates exercises.
But here’s the truth: Neutral is a zone, not a destination, and we’re ultimately seeking dynamic stability: the ability to react and respond to life, the universe and our horses.
Equestrians, in particular, if you tried to maintain a neutral pelvis as your horse took an unexpected sideways spook I can guarantee you would end up eating your arena floor or the local bridle path
As riders we may seem still, but there’s constant interplay between the pelvis, thigh, spine and our horse.
In conclusion: We don’t live, ride, or even go to the loo in “neutral.”
We’re on a spinning planet, and we’re make tiny adjustments constantly to stay upright.
So, as a Pilates teacher or client, if “neutral” works as a teaching tool or feels good to help you focus in class, go for it!
But remember, it’s a tool, not a rule. Use your judgment wisely.
And can we all agree to stop saying it’s ALL Pilates teachers do? That’s just not true.