Okay, good evening or today I'm going to do a short session mostly with the reformer, just going over different details that they look out for when I'm working with myself or with clients and ways to help them get through problematic areas. And this is good for basics and it's also good for advanced work but fundamentally just to get people to feel what they need. Um, if I can, I always start with magic magic circle. I'm so with the foot corrector because most people speak get really stiff and tight. We build up calcium deposits in the feet and um, toes get distorted and it actually makes it like sluggish. So very simply, if you have a magic magic circle, I don't know why I keep saying magic circle. If you have a foot corrector, it is an unbelievable tool to use. People absolutely love it once they get through the pain of it all.
So I started crossed the metatarsal pressing down. If I have something for people to hold on to, I will definitely have them hold on because if they can take full weight, that's good. Then I moved them down an inch and again, five times pressing down. All I'm doing is softening up the tissue on the ball of the foot to make the foot more malleable. The feet should be very malleable, very flexible, but usually people have very stiff, rigid type feet, which means the muscles all the way up the leg are becoming sluggish. A pregnant women, by the way, absolutely love it. This, I watch people like a hawk as they move forward because by the time they are going through the center of the art, they have a tendency to jump because unconsciously there's an area that can be very, very painful and they're avoiding it. And I want them actually to get into that area.
So I've worked all the way through from the ball of the foot to here. Sometimes I will work the heel too. If there's no pain, there's no need. If it's painful, the person definitely, definitely lead needs it and it will get better as a tissue. The connective tissue gets a softer and tighter, um, softer and looser. My words coming backwards today. So now I placed the metatarsal across the, um, the bar there.
The heel is down and I am standing and pushing down. Now what I watch with people as they do this, that they don't do this right now I'm using my body weight to get it to go down. I want to be sure that the body is vertical and it's the Shin and the ankle that are working the um, foot corrector. Then I move to the heel. Very, very good for flat feet. Make sure all five toes are down and press down and up with the heel and you can really feel the arch of the foot working fantastic to really get a good integrity back in the foot. Do the same on the other side. So again, I'm starting on the metatarsal pressing down.
I used to be a dancer and did a lot of ballet work with point shoes, absolutely wrecked my feet. So this work has been very, very useful for me personally to really restore my feet and break up a lot of bad structures that had been built in because of really not very intelligent ways of using my feet to fake it in order to make it. So now moving further down, I'm in the middle of the arch. This is the area that is often extremely painful for people and very important for them to do because it's good moving right up close to the heel. I usually like to do about five times each and then the full heel. And um, if I was to say anything, I've had people at first hate this piece of torture and then ask me if they could buy one for them, their own personal use because they found such relief for new fuel.
The kind of person gets Charlie horses that night. You get a lot of cramps. This can make a big, big difference in relieving cramps instantaneously and restoring balance to the foot. So this is just a very simple procedure. It wakes up the feet, which means when we do foot work and legwork on the reformer, the legs are much more await. The muscles are more differentiated and there's more detail. Tow corrector. This can be done with a rubber band. This is a fancy version of a rubber band.
Grateful Bunyan get great photos that have been crammed into shoes all our life. Very simply sitting up tall. I'm pulling the band apart and as I do this, I'm actually allowing my toes to be pulled apart so I feel the metatarsal and the whole structure of the toes widening. We want to wide foot. Usually the foot gets all crunched up and so this again makes a feet more receptive. I'm trying to feel the stretch all the way into the little toe. Then with the knees slightly bent, pressing the ball of the foot down the toes, down the toes, up and flexing up again. This can be done with a rubber band.
You really don't need a tow corrector. It can be done. You used with anything. I have even in desperation just help people's toes apart so they could wake up their feet and works like a charm. The feet feel so much better. People's balance improves. There's so much more stable, they feel much healthier. It's kind of like the life comes back into the fee. So that's a little tiny warmup for the fee. Before I get onto the reformer, this putting this away and foot work can be done on all level of springs.
I'm going to start actually with a very light spring tension, one spring on a grads machine. The spring tensions all the same. So depending upon what machine you have, you would want to just play around with a light spring to begin with and many different ways to have the Peloton stairs. I'm a stickler right now for all five toes on. Usually people have the big toe or the second toe and or but the little toe is kind of forgotten and already the foot is deformed so you insist on getting all five toes on and the little toe really active and also the heel slightly down. Very useful.
So you have a natural v and you're holding the arch of the foot lifted. It's an interesting way to set the foundation with an anchoring into the hips and then pressing out if the spring is really light, there's a lot of traction coming in and if you notice I am not moving my heels up in down. Now it can become, especially with certain types of training that I have definitely been part of very tempting to get into a high heeled position where to work. So the ankle and the cabs and the legs very differently. So all of these positions are valid but right here it makes the upper leg work so much harder. It's a very, very good way to test the alignment of the hips and the alignment into the lower abdominal area. So that's one way that this work can be done. I actually liked to do that often with beginners and now I'm putting myself back onto the high spring cause I have that feeling of all five toes on ankle joints, not, not lifted up high, which locks the ankle and often will set the heel into a place that's not organically the best place for it.
And it means that I can really pull into my powerhouse more powerfully and now working against full resistance and I'm actually using the return to resist the spring bringing me back rather than just relaxing into it. So I can feel the legs really starting to wake up and work more than just the kind of pushing out in, in the so easy to get into moving onto next one bird on a perch, I will often start the person off right with the metatarsal wrapped around because the metatarsal is for many people have become collapsed. And if you ask the person to extend, you cannot see the knuckles in the feet, which means the metatarsal artists are dropped. And I for one, am a real stickler to try and wait that part of the body up. So if you really wrap the toes IX around the bar and drop the heel slightly and use the pressure into the bar to make the metatarsal be pressed back up, it starts to open up that part of the foot again and restore the correct bone alignment into that area. So I'm literally using the pressure from the bar into my foot to open up that part of my, of the metatarsal art and push the bones up again and lengthen the toes.
Most of those become pulled up and clawed into the rest of the foot to the kind of yanked in and this starts to open and elongate that area again. Then I move into the middle of the arch of just being below the ball of the foot, making sure that the arch is not dropped down. Often. Most many people have a very dropped, collapsed arch, so I make sure the arch is lifted. So there is again, that pressure into the outer foot more than the inner foot and those metatarsal sort debts been stimulated and now being extended. It's kind of costs like the feeling of a bird reaching or Claus reaching. Trying to think of an image to really express it, but there's a lot of life being put back into the foot to make it long and sensitive and really, um, detailed in its way of supporting the body.
And interestingly enough that people's balance improved so much. When you make wake up, those find extensions at the bottom of the foot. Then moving into the heels, all five toes, I actually do not emphasize, emphasize that the feet are flat against the wall. I look at the arch and I make sure that the little toe side is as active as a big toe side, as a push person is pushing out and in again, because of the nature of the arch being very extensively collapsed on a lot of people and this outer line of the foot from the little toe all the way up to the hip is usually a bit sluggish and lazy. So I look at all of those pointers as I go into the heel.
One coming back for tendon stretch again, all five toes. That's obviously an area that I pay a lot of attention to in making sure that the position and the alignment is really serving and waking up the person's body. So here, making sure as they press up that they using the outer foot and the inner foot evenly going up and down and I check that the arch is not being collapsed down and the subtle adjustments can be done here too, whether you're rolling in or rolling out to make sure there's even pressure throughout the whole foot and then coming back down. So moving onto hundreds. If it's a heavy tension, I will usually not work at full tension at the beginning because I'm looking to get articulation of the spine starting to happen. And very often people have a hard time lifting their neck properly. Sorry, I'll start in preparation for hundreds with a few times where I really have them just feel that lifting and lowering down of the chest so they start to really elongate and then pull down and get the upper spinal area lifting.
Um, because that's an area that usually is not working as much as the hip flexors. And the lower abs. I wanted to make sure that that area is active. Once they have a good sense of how that can happen, I can either take the legs to table Top, make sure the shoulders are being pressed forward, always activating into the hands, and then the legs can be out or kept in tabletop. Even brought down if the gripping too much in the hip flexors in order to do the hundreds, constantly reaching forward with the hands, broadening across the collarbones, making sure that only the tips of the shoulder blades are being are touching into the mats. I'm going to come back into tabletop position for myself and I think I've done about a hundred and coming down, so checking how many springs I'm moving on to two springs for short spine massage. I love this one.
He gets such a fabulous one to start really unraveling the spine and the hips to the next level and ideally the tendency is to pull and that's something that we don't want to do. If the person cannot lift their hips up and get their feet in and not ready for shorts. Find massage per se. So headrest is down, extending the legs out in. I'll do a few of these just so that they have a sense of how to reach the legs. The stomach is long gating upwards as the legs go out. Now from here, the straps riding the top of the shoulder rests.
Can they lift their hips without the straps moving? So they really activate the lower pelvis and the lower spine. So from here if they can, they keep lifting also pressure with the hands down so the whole trunk is working and then they float over, bending the knees down, keeping the feet where they are. Beginning at beginning, rolling down, trying to get one segment of the spine at a time coming down and then pressing into the hips. So again, hips first, pulling the stomach up, pressing the hips up, gentle pressure with the triceps into the mat, looking to get the spine to lift and then float the legs over with control. Now another thing to watch for when the Nisa bending the knees will want to roll out. So they we want to even stretch across the hamstrings. So I watched the knee caps like a hawk cause just about here people usually will do this to let it go, the easy road and they're missing a whole angle into the spine and into the hamstrings. So pressing up, lifting and controlling over the knees.
Point down towards a shoulder rest, nod out and then rolling down. Keeping that angle of the knees is such a crucial angle that will expose so much deeper ranges of movement. Now right here as you pull your feet in, do not let those knees roll out and then coming out of short spine and moving into
I will always start people with little weights and I actually have them start standing up straight to, they have a nice sense of string length in the spine and the very first time they come right down so the hands are right under the shoulders. Then they pull all neither shoulders back, not the spine, so nothing is changing in the spinal column and then they take the arms as far back as they can without any shift in the spinal column. So they learn to isolate the shoulder girdle and they are learning to do it standing, which is much more doable than on your stomach. Then we add on from here, shoulders slightly back, the hands going back, slide back extension with the face going up. So little back then.
And the third one progresses a little bit further with maybe a little bit more of a back extension. Going a bit further, I like to work really getting the shoulder cuff back cause a tendency will be for this to happen where the shoulders going forward, the hands are going back with shoulders. So there's this, see some movement happening in the cuff. So the upper back is not being extended in the collarbones on being widened. So then the same thing can be done with the arms to the side t shape. I'll turn sideways. So here I am bringing the hands down, but I want to do one of the Viton lovely variations that they love. Rotating the hands inwards, pulling the hands behind the hips and the next one, pulling them behind the hips, rotating the shoulders back, lifting the head a little bit, very challenging to do and then lifting up.
So coming onto the reformer now that they've mastered how to do it in a way vertical pain, I still work with the shoulder with this little weight. So it's one or two pound weights. The shoulders that are dropping slightly forwards, I start to pull them back. So here's the position of vertical. The shoulders and the hands are even pull the shoulders back a bit and lift the arms. So nothing has changed in the spinal call.
The next one, shoulders aback and then lifting up a little bit looking forward. So there's a little bit more extension, but the shoulders have not dropped down. You really get a chance to isolate the whole shoulder girdle this way, shoulders a back and perhaps it's a little bit more so then once the, the confident they really understand the detail cause it's actually very specific and very sophisticated movement we add in the strap. So the same thing, pulling the straps back to here, rolling the shoulders back and just extending the arm so the spine has not changed shape at all. And then adding in, pulling back, whoops. Shoulders back and lifting slightly, opening the collarbones even more.
If the shoulders are going back on the third one, rolling back and a little bit more. So what I'm watching for is it, this doesn't happen that the shoulders are really doing the work they're supposed to do. So stepping on into teaser, I'm still on one spring here. I will usually start the person sitting, bring them to the front, I have them lift up a bit, tap the tail very slightly under so they can feel this lift of the lower abdominal muscles and closing of the ribs. So they're just finding the powerhouse. One light comes up, one light comes up. I just want them to balance and then we start working a little bit with the arms so that they learn to whole the balance from this position.
And once they have that, we extend the legs to teaser and once they have that, we start going down into the full position. So again, teaser is something that can be rushed and you miss half of the trunk work in the detail of it. So often what I'll have people do is bring their hands to their hips, lift the head and chest, and now use their powerhouse to bring them up and only then the arms, cause it can be done so fast that you don't get to work the powerhouse, you're just using momentum to get you up. Bring the hands down to the size, roll back with control, open the arms out. The other thing that can happen here is if people can use a lot of work with the hip flexors and that's where I will work with a diamond shape rather than straight legs because it disengages the hips flexors. And then all we've got left is the powerhouse. So they suddenly have a revelation. Revelations are always good. So again, keeping the hands where they are articulating through the spine and opening out to release. And then one more time or this go for the flow. Now rolling up.
I'm working into the diamond shape to not use my hip flexors, lifting up, bringing the arms down to the hips, scooping and rolling through the spine and opening everything out. So stepping off of here, we've just done teaser. So it's a good legal lead way into stomach massage, which again can be a challenging one to, sometimes I'll have people go, I don't feel my stomach, I don't feel my stomach. So how to get the person to get really connected into their core when they're starting out this exercise. So I'll usually set it up similarly to teaser lift the hips, very slight tilting of the pelvis. So you're sitting between hale, suppose a tailbone and then see if you can find your teaser closing the ribs.
Only when you have that position, I will place him. So if they are quite close to the front, you find your teaser. Now one foot goes up and one foot goes up. So there's the position. Can you take your feet off? Can you put them back on? Do you feel this holding in the front trunk from here?
I'll have the hands in front, see if they can bring their trunk even closer. But let go. And this made sure that all the right muscle groups are engaged. Same thing with the heels, not two drops, not dropped. Not lifted up so that the hips and the thighs really do the work they're supposed to do. So going out and coming back in. I'm actually on a light spring right now.
I'm on two springs that can be done on two springs, three springs, four springs. Just wanted for the sake of the detail to show how I found it, really helpful for people to feel that stomach coming in. Now from here, they're in around or c curve taking one hand back and the other hand back. If they're a beginner, they've got a very siff back. I'll have them bend their arms and use their arm strength to wedge this fine straighter and start to stretch their chest. A lot of people are so stiff. This is a very therapeutic place for them.
If they're very loose and strong, I take the support away and they have to actually hold the side of the Bach, so now they're working much more with their own trunk strength, not with the kind of stretch and and support that the back actually helps them both have value depending upon the condition of the client and the body that you're working with something very therapeutic and good. Even for beginners, if they have some kind of weakness in the legs or even weakness in the knees, press out with both hands. Make sure the shoulders are over the hips, one leg down, and then making sure the knee is tracking the same angle as the foot and the weight stays even on both hips. This is so good because it puts pressure right into the hip socket in a very healthy way and just strengthens the joint and strengthens all the muscles around the knee. You can really track the knee here to make sure that it's lined up properly, not doing funny things. And then other leg, again, very slight [inaudible] stance, making sure I'm staying over my hips, the leg comes down without any change in the hips and then out in in. So those are basic adding on the stretch. Whoa, I'm without a pad, without just going out and in.
I need a pad because I'm sliding back and then going for the twist, working, making sure both hips stay steady and both hips stay steady and a lovely stretch at the end because usually people are very tight, is pressing out, holding onto the bar and coming back in. Now from here, short box love short box, so
Very often people are scared to go further back because the back feels stiff or tight or that on the way up they feel they have compression in the spine and yet this can be used to really elongate and separate the bones in a nice way. So when a person is scared, make sure this sitting forward and I have them hold on so as they go back they can set their sacred really nicely and make sure that they feel really, really safe because they have something that the safety net for them when they go back so that they can actually pull themselves up. This can make a huge difference to progress the person into going into this place because this is where the spine starts to actually release all the trunk. Trunk work is strengthening and stabilize. The front body is where the back actually learns to relax.
If the person is getting a sense of compression, I will have them go halfway back and put their hands on the box and push. I can actually take my whole lower spine and elongated. I'm taking my sacred [inaudible] and rolling it and then I'm pulling my rib cage away from my hips. So the spine is really long and then on the way up at the same thing, I press away from the box and come back up. Huge profound ability for the person to control this spy and make space in an area that maybe is going to take another few months to really get long and relaxed.
And this gives them a way to control the movement and get a lot of safety and a lot of flexibility coming in. So very, very popular way to help uncover the secrets. They really are secrets to how to make these exercises profoundly open up the body. So the flat back, usually we work with a stick, but what can often happen is if when people take their arms up, they shoulders go up and I'd say lift your spine up and they go shoulders up. So often I'll have him put their hands by the hips and literally work a few times to get a sense of how much can they pull their ribs away from their hips and literally push down with the hands and then get a sense of how to tighten the hips. Once I have this length and real intelligence and how to make the spine long, I'll have them go back and forward with the hands pressing the hips down and this gets a sense of elongation that maybe they were not able to have when they were just working with the arms. It was more of a open circuit versus a closed circuit.
Same thing goes for side to side. If you get the hip, they have grabbed their own hips or hip bones and press down to lift. They can even get a sense of widening in the back and the front. So it, it actually makes for a much more a deeper understanding of what's really happening and then I will shift them, especially at the beginning level, slightly forward because they have a tendency to go back. So they're working very much from the waist area and they can feel how they're separating in the waist and separating the ribs away from the hips and elongating along the obliques. It's actually a lovely feeling. Sometimes I'll have people do it this way. Um, sometimes this is the only way we can do it or this way because people have shoulder problem. It's actually adds to the benefit in the trunk in the twist, the same thing pressing down, rotating without the hips moving or putting the hands in the stomach area so they can actually feel the muscles in the waist area being initiators.
Once it had gone so far, I'll have them explore twisting and then using the ribs to go a little bit extra because it's, it's the waist and then the rib cage and a little bit into the shoulders. That's really getting this twist to happen. From here going into um, tree starting up, I will have them roll slightly back and really pull their knee and just like they were doing single leg stretch. So I don't focus now on the back being long and straight. I focus on the thigh, getting as close to the chest and then as I lift the leg up, keeping it there because now I'm looking to get the length in the hamstring in the hip, starting to be challenged and used.
The earlier exercises were for the, the round back, the flat back, the side to side, the twist. But now I want the hamstrings who are working the full potential range of the body. If they're here, the focus is different. It said it's also an excellent, excellent exercise. It just doesn't get the same. Um, it's addressing different issues. And I, I have found that this loosened up people's hips and lower backs and hamstrings quite fast. Even if they're down here, if they're stiff, this is what they'll do. The body only has so much stretch. It can give it one time.
So then we work the flex and point and then I have them lift as much as they're capable of and just rock back and rock up, rock back and rock up. So getting it starting to open up all the way into the legs. They, this is basic, basic but very, very useful to quickly release a lot of tension and tightness and stiffness along the whole back body. Other sides, same way, my priorities, how close can you get your site to your chest and then just pull your belly in so you're getting more of a c curve, not an and back lift back extension and keep the thigh. Again, the tendency is to do this, to push the knee straight. I don't care if the knee doesn't go straight, I want that thigh in as long as possible so it's almost like another code for the body. It's another way to challenge it and it has a different kind of formula and it opens up different places as a result and again, once they have the length leg lift as much as I can, pulling up the stomach hinges back, bringing that leg with you slightly. Don't really want to go much more than that 90 degree angle, but just this rocking back and forth. Very, very useful to all open and loosen up the hips.
So elephant. Again, these are all the basic poses, basic exercises in, in on the reformer. All the more complex exercises are built on these principles and if you understand them well and use them, they are applicable to beginner. They're applicable to advanced people. They open up the body in a fabulous way. Elephant in the heels are down. The tendency is to be back. This is more like a yoga or down dog position.
I want the person way forward and the shoulders wide so that they can really work. The seeker very strongly lifted. What I watch for that the shoulders are pulled down in the hips have brought forward. Now once they have this position, I will often grab them right under the ribs and make them lift loops among three springs here. Now I'm on two and I pushed the heels out and pressed the tail down and then I pull the stomach up to bring the carriage back, press the heels. Now pull the stomach, press the heels out, pull the stomach up, kind of avoids. This is more legwork. It's a different quality.
This is much more trunk and it's again decompressing the lumbar spine and opening up the tailbone. Once they've done this, they have this feeling and I will bring them down for knee stretch series very often I will literally take the foot bar down, have them round their back deeply and just have them lift. Trying to feel how the whole position is coming from the powerhouse, lifting up and lifting up. Once they have that feeling, I'll put the bar back, see if they can replicate it but further back and then press out in, in really working that lumbar spine, pull back the hip sunder the size extending way the upper body does not move once they have the hat. Got that. Adding in the the long flat back out in in a few times and then coming into running. Very, very important to finish the integrate everything that's happened. I'm on three springs right now, so again, all five poles on the bar. Just the same way.
When we finish the same way we started, they want that sense of the whole foot, like a magnet. Really correcting the bar, feeling it. A lot of sensitivity and intelligence there. And when the legs go out, I focus how much is this bent arch lifted? This is a point where I work that maximally and then bend the other foot, lifting that arch, lifting the arch. So there's this opposition quality coming in. One leg is being fully, fully extended. The calf is being stretched, the Achilles is being stretched, and the other direction the arch is being lifted.
So once they understand their own full range of movement, we start to speed it up, making sure there's no movement in the pelvic area. So the hips are integrated and the body is really active. And it, again, I can't reinforce enough taking full advantage of the legs, full advantage of the feet.
So I hope you found this really helpful and, um, have fun and for yourself and with your clients. Thank you.