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How to Do Seal in Pilates

Learn how to do the seal Pilates Mat exercise from Core Pilates NYC instructor Sarah Ruback in this Howcast workout video.


This is the seal. So the seal is very similar to rolling like a ball. It's a rolling exercise where we massage the spine. It has a different, fun name because you want to conjure the image of a seal in the circus clapping his fins. And in your case, it will be your heels. It's a little more challenging than rolling like a ball because you're inverting the position. You're going in through the midline to wrap your arms around the outside. So if you have a hard time with this position, you can just go back and try rolling like a ball, and you'll accomplish the same thing.

So to begin, you come up to seated. You'll bring your hands together, thread them through the inside of the legs, then wrap your hands around the outside of the ankles, then hover your feet up off of the mat. That's it. You'll bring your heels close to your seats, then round your chin towards your chest. So she's right back into her C curve, balanced behind her sitting bones.

From here, clap your heels like the seal fins three times -- clap, clap, clap -- then rock back to the shoulder blades. Suspend, clap, clap, clap; up, clap, clap, clap. Again. Back and up. Now with breaths. Inhale back just to the tips of the shoulder blades. Exhale to come up. Inhale, roll back, clap back. Exhale, come up. Last time. Inhale, rock back. Exhale, rock up. And now lower your feet back to the mat. And that's the seal.

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