I'm trying to remember when and where I learned The Clock? I was reminded about this exercise by an old friend who gave me a Feldenkrais session. Did I learn it in Pilates when we were doing "Per-Pilates" exercises, which are very similar to exercises given by physical therapists? Or did I learn it in Dance Analysis in college? I'm sure I must have learned it many times. Recently I was reminded again about it from a fellow teacher here in Charlotte. It's a very simple exercise, and just like anything else you do in Pilates, it's subtle with great benefits! So, this may not be specifically a Pilates exercise, but it's Pilates-like.
As you would imagine the name emphasizes, you imitate a clock. More specifically, your pelvis will represent a clock. It's wonderful, small movement that is very helpful for back pain. It does require you to be able to get to the floor, which isn't always the case for people who are suffering with back pain. In this instance, I would suggest doing this against the wall and also using it as an extension of the Pilates exercise called The Wall.
If you are lying down, make sure you have a pillow for your head. I often suggest a hand towel or two. Keep your Pilates Box square and your knees bent. Imagine your pelvis is a clock. The numbers we are going to focus on are 6 o'clock, 12 o'clock, 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock. 12 o'clock is basically your belly button, and 6 o'clock is your pubic bone/tailbone. Both hips are 3 and 9 o'clock, respectfully.
Start with just 12 and 6 o'clock. Shift your hips into 12 o'clock. It should feel like you're rounding into the mat and your tailbone is coming a little off the floor. Then, slowly roll the pelvis a little forward into 6 o'clock. It will feel like you're arching off the floor and that your back and ribs are up. Don't force the movement. Just do it the best you are able. It's ok to feel a little discomfort. It shouldn't feel forced or a lot of pain. Do this a few times until it starts to feel like you've massaged that spot. Find your center, or the center of the clock.
Now let's work on 3 and 9 o'clock. Shift your hips over to 3 o'clock. You should feel like you have more weight in the back of that hip, and your legs/knees may follow. Now, like you're using a level for construction, shift your hips over to 9 o'clock. Again, you'll feel more weight in the back of that hip and your legs/knees may follow. After doing this a few times until it feels like the pain has dissipated, find your center.
Notice what your body and back feel like while doing this movement. You will probably notice one side more, and you will notice it's probably harder to do one side. That's ok. Even if you don't feel like you know what you're doing or learning your body, just go to the feeling of being in less pain. That's the most important. I would suggest this practice at least once a day. Maybe two or three times, depending on how you are feeling. I mentioned earlier, this can also be done against the wall. Realize that you will be standing, and your legs will feel it, too. Be aware of your legs, knees and feet when doing this standing. Notice I did not emphasize using your stomach muscles or "powerhouse". This is more of a light massage for the back. For some people, they overuse their stomach muscles and just need to feel the massage. Allow that feeling. It's ok, you're not cheating the exercise. Muscles will still work if you're someone who doesn't work out.
Let me know if you tried this exercise and what were your results! I'd love to hear from you!!!
Until next time my friends, Love, Light and Blessings,