Thread the Needle – Relieve your Spine

With the Thread the Needle exercise we want to investigate the stabilization of the vertebral column in quadruped position while our torso is rotating. And why is this important to a betterment of our spine? Because it is a means to

  • reduce intervertebral disc pressure
  • alleviate pain between shoulder blades
  • reduce the sagging of the lower back in sitting and
  • improve kinesthetic awareness in Pilates exercises such as the Saw and Twist.

Yes, right, and it is done in quadruped position - on our knees and hands! Now we can take a break from being so upright and uptight and allow our spine to breathe. Thank god!


Check out how this looked in a workshop quite a while ago..

... and back to now!

Our starting position

Stand on your hands and knees and make your neck and spine long.

TTN pic 1_cut.jpg

Note: According to scientific studies, exercises done in quadruped position are most advantageous for the rehabilitation, re-conditioning, and re-organization of the spine and back due to the closed-kinetic chain manner of work, which simply means that your hands and feet remain fixed on an immobile surface.

The procedure

Breathe in through your nose for 3 counts, hold the breath for 3 counts and breathe out through your mouth for 6 counts as you apply the ABC principle
A – navel to spine
B – head up through the 7th spine
C – shoulder blade down towards the pelvis.

Now rotate your ribcage and head by threading your right arm under the midline of your torso (pic 2). Breathe naturally in and out through your nose for 3 counts, then rotate your ribcage, head and right arm away from the midline of your torso towards the ceiling (pic 3).

TTN-pic-2_0.jpg TTN-pic-3_0.jpg
picture 2 picture 3

Repeat the whole procedure 7 times on each side.
And what to put in your head while doing the exercise?

The coaching keys

Throughout the exercise think

  • I maintain the elongation during the movement pattern.
  • (While threading through) I take care to move my arm and torso as one unit.
  • (While de-threading to lift torso and arm) I avoid placing extra weight on my supporting arm.
  • I keep my weight off my supporting wrist, shoulder joint (especially my upper trapezius) and knees.


Use the video to practice remembering the coaching keys

Where to feel the Thread the Needle exercise?
In the shoulder girdles and lateral sides of your ribcage.

Try it & fly with it!