When doing pilates it is important to keep the head properly positioned to avoid stressing the neck muscles.
The head nod movement should be done prior flexing the torso off the mat to ensure activation of the deep neck flexor muscles.
Similarly, when lying on your stomach and lifting the upper torso, pay particular attention to maintaining an even line from the upper back to the neck. Avoid lifting the head too high and crunching up the back of the neck.
In this video, Elizebeth Ellison of Pilates Tutor in Marietta, Ga, teaches Angela Fowler the STOTT Pilates Head and Neck Placement principle, and demonstrates two important exercises: the ab prep and the breast stroke prep.
Practice the head nod, ab prep, and breast stroke prep to increase strength in the deep neck flexors and to learn proper movement patterns.