Relax your shoulders. Soften your ribs. These were regular reminders when I first started Pilates almost twenty years ago. Over time I did learn to keep my shoulders in neutral, but it was hard work and to be honest, I never really knew what neutral should feel like. I also had to work hard to not pop my ribs, especially when reaching my arms overhead.
Then came MELT. After my first MELT session, my shoulders were closer to neutral without any thought or effort. I didn’t have to actively hold them there. They were just there. My ribs rested heavily on the mat without me working for it. And I felt more comfortable like there was less tension or tightness in my body. By simply doing some focused MELT moves and sequences to hydrate my connective tissue and balance my nervous system, my body naturally fell into better alignment with less compression, less tension, and more comfort.
When MELTing, you begin with an assessment where you use your body sense to check in for areas of stuck stress or dehydration. The primary areas where stuck stress resides are the shoulder girdle, the diaphragm, and the pelvis. These three areas are also discussed in the basic principles of Pilates. MELT helped me learn to identify areas of stuck stress in my body and recognize what healthy alignment feels like, information which transferred directly to my Pilates practice.
Starting a Pilates workout with my body already in a better position changed the entire experience. My muscles now fire more efficiently making the exercises more beneficial by reducing compensatory patterns. Some of the exercises that I’ve always found challenging have become easier because I have better alignment and even more range of motion. Since adding MELT to my practice, I have less neck tension in forward flexion or when my head neck and shoulders are lifted.
I feel my abs more than my hip flexors when my legs are in tabletop. I can sit upright without a cushion or support when my legs are extended on the reformer like in back rowing. I have more thoracic extension or range when I do exercises like the swan.
I love Pilates and I have certainly benefited from it. But since incorporating MELT, I’m now moving more efficiently and effortlessly which brings my Pilates practice to a whole new level. That’s not to say that there’s no room for improvement. I will always require and want correcting when practicing Pilates and no matter how long you practice, Pilates can challenge you. But I can now say, I’m starting my practice in better alignment with hydrated tissue and a balanced nervous system allowing me to move more freely with less tension and discomfort. MELT also helps reduce inflammation and chronic pain. Adding MELT a to your Pilates practice is a true game changer. Better efficiency, less discomfort and improved strength are all wins in my opinion!
If you’re interested in learning more about the MELT method, book in with Leanne, Gayle or Liz or try one of our MELT classes and watch for upcoming workshops.
Certified in STOTT PILATES®
MELT Level 4 Instructor