The Pilates Roll-up
Let's hit the Mat and learn the Pilates Roll Up Exercise. Lie down on the mat with your arms and legs extended. Reach your finger tips to the ceiling and prepare with an inhale. On your exhale, look at your toes and bring your chin toward your chest as your hands come down in front of you. Roll all the way up, moving and articulating one vertebrae at a time off the mat. (If you have trouble, bend your knees and plant your feet firm into the ground, or hold behind your thighs to help you in the beginning.) Stack your spine up tall at the top as you sit (practicing good posture), then roll all the way back down. Keep energy reaching out your legs (if they are extended) in opposition of your roll down. Try to get each vertebrae to move into the mat. Move slowly and don't use momentum. (that's cheating!)
Notice which places you feel stuck, or have difficulty moving through. This is where there is a weakness in your core. To overcome it, move back and forth and hold for three full breaths pulling your navel in deeper. This will help strengthen that particular spot and then the next time you try this exercise, it will be easier.
Complete 8-10 full roll up and downs. Too Easy? Increase the reps to 12-16.