If you want a great stretch for your spine we have a great pilates piece of equipment called the Ladder Barrel. To do this wonderful exercise you will sit on top of the barrel and hook one foot between the first and second pole while you lift the other leg up as you roll your spine on barrel all the way down as you can see on the picture. The great support provided by the shape of the barrel allows the spine to hang backwards without strain.At the same time you need a strong core to lift the leg up and to keep it lifted. Also to roll up out of the pose you will need to use your abdominal muscles. I hope you can see the intelligence that lies behind a pilates exercise like this where great stretch, strength and control is needed and developed with the use of an apparatus is order to facilitate a movement that otherwise would be too complicated to perform. And above all it feel so great!