When you use the two-way stretch you are reaching in opposite directions to fully activate your body and extend outward from your torso. The more completely your body extends from its center, the deeper your core can work. In Pilates, the core includes the muscles of the torso on all sides of the body, including the hips, buttocks, stomach, back and inner thighs.
The two-way stretch is well exemplified in the Double Leg Pull. When you extend the arms and legs, you reach away from your center through your back, legs, arms and sides, keeping an even and stable center. When you circle your arms you engage your back and bend your legs in from the strength of your center. Jay Grimes shared with me that the double leg pull can be found in every exercise. Spend time making sense of that concept as you refine your own mat work out.
One Pilates enthusiast wrote to thank me for the detailed corrections I gave to Melanie and Alisa in the mat class that is associated with this post. Both ladies are experienced students who know the mat order and understand the general principles of Pilates. If my corrections had disturbed the flow of their work out, caused them to slow down or become tense, I wouldn’t have offered as much correction.
Enjoy your mat work out as you build up your repertoire of exercises and perfect your two-way stretch.
To see the class that this post is referring to, please click here: Two Way Stretch Mat