Having practiced pilates for many years I was always instructed to ‘roll-down’ and ‘roll-up’ and I thought for many years this was safe. However when I did my yoga teacher training with the British Wheel of Yoga – the group I studied with spent a great deal of time over the three years training on anatomy, physiology and kinesiology and I can’t tell you how many times we had the discussion and debate about the roll-up/roll-down. So to cut a very long story short – we were advised not to teach this method but to come up with a flat back, e.g. place hands on upper thighs, lift head and come up with a flat back.
The roll-up / roll-down method has always intrigued me (I am a bit of an A&P geek) 🙂 so I did some research on this topic and of course as with most things in life there are very differing opinions. Dr Stuart McGill is a professor of spine biomechanics a very well respected, he has written numerous medical papers containing scientific evidence, and he has his own theory on core strengthening and is not a fan of the roll-up / roll – down method. While attending a pilates weekend a few years ago I met a very well know American Pilates teacher who is also a fan of Dr Stuart McGill and his evidence based articles.
I leave it to you to the reader to decide what is best for your body. You might like to read the article – see link http://sequencewiz.org/2013/08/14/rolling-up-from-a-standing-forward-bend-can-damage-your-spine/ . For Dr Stuart McGill’s website see http://www.backfitpro.com/articles.php.
I always instruct the non roll-up method when teaching my students/classes. As a yoga teacher I focus very much on alignment and safety.
This post is by no means a denigration of ‘pilates’.