First things first, please don’t get hung up on this! Everyone will have a different neutral because all or our bodies are different. Got that? Good. Quite simply, neutral pelvis and spine are where all the natural curves of your spine are visible.
If you are new to pilates, then it’s easiest to find it in the relaxation position.
Here's how to get into relaxation position:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet in contact with the floor. Your legs are hip distance and parallel; arms resting down my the sides of your hips and your chin should be in line with your breastbone, jaw and shoulders relaxed. Feel the back of your head, your ribs and your sacrum all in contact with the floor beneath you. The gentle curve of your low back and neck should be visible.
Here’s how to find neutral pelvis:
You are looking for your two hip bones to be even and the natural curve of your low back to stay visible. Imagine if you were to balance a glass of water on your pelvis. If the two hip bones are even then the water would stay in the glass; this would be your pelvis in neutral. If your pelvis is not ‘neutral’ it is either tilting excessively forward (an anterior tilt) or tucking excessively backwards (a posterior tilt), both bring you out of a natural spinal alignment.
A forward tilt means you’ve got an increased arch in your low back (in which case the water in your glass will be spilling forward towards the floor in front of you).
Backward Tuck The opposite would be a tuck of the tailbone, which would mean your back had flattened into the floor and your curve had disappeared. The water in your glass would now be spilling out over your belly.
Aim for the glass to stay full and your two hips bones to be even - the water stays in your glass remember - so if you were to draw a line form hip bone to hip bone connecting them it would be a straight line.
Pilates Pro Tip:
Placing the heel of your hands on each hip bone and connect the two fore fingers on your pubic bone to make a diamond shape. Now do pelvic tuck and tilts to feel the the pelvis moving between both points and then aim to bring it to neutral (where the hip bones are even).
Remember this will look different on everyone and we're not looking for perfection - ever. Neutral pelvis and spine serves as a guide and allows us to think about the alignment of our spine and the different shapes we make with it throughout any given day, and to bring a bit of balance back to it.
Give it a go and leave me a comment below let me know how you get on?
P.S. Have you seen my post on the 8 best pilates exercises to ease low back pain? You can try out neutral pelvis and spine in these and they're also a tried and tested, super simple way to get some movement into your low back. I had chronic low back pain in my 20's so I've done the homework here and wrote this to help anyone else in the same boat!