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Perhaps the most whimsical exercises we do in Pilates is all the rolling and rocking exercises. In the mat repertoire, Rolling Like a Ball is the first fundamental place to start learning the "rolling" concept. Having said that, the exercise should be anything but basic. Let's take a look at some different variations.

First start but sitting up on the mat with a rounded spine. Remember to never sit directly on the tailbone but slightly back so you are on the sit bones. Let's start with the hands on the outside of the ankles (elbows point wide), knees open hip width apart and the big toes together. Gaze down at the belly button to keep the neck in line with the spine. Without going on the head or neck, start to rock backwards and then rock right back up to balancing on the sit bones. Repeat 5 times. What's the purpose? Rocking backwards helps work spinal articulation and acts as a natural spinal massage. Rocking up forces the abs to engage and works balance. Have this version mastered? Try the same position with legs pressed tight together and the head more to the knees. Take the hands in hovering in front of the ankles without holding on. Try any of the above variations and add a teaser as you rock up to balance.

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