Class #1150

Flexion, Extension, and Flow

45 min - Class


Play with flexion, extension, and flow in this Reformer workout with Kristi Cooper. Your spine will move back and forth like the waves in the background. Kristi includes exercises like Spine Stretch, Semi-Circle, and much more.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

Aug 06, 2013
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INSTRUCTOR: I'm dedicating this one to the waves, so we're going to flow. We're going to go through flexion and extension. Hopefully, kind of back-and-forth, and just enjoy the work out. I have my reformer set up on a light spring. One red.

And I'm leaving my bar low for something that's coming, just to do a little warm up. To get the spine moving and the legs loosened up, the hips loosened up. So standing near your reformer, you know this one from me, feel your body weight. Let's feel grounded before we can really begin our wave-like action through our bodies. So we've shifted weight forward.

The set-up matters. Shift your weight back. Come into yourself as best you can. Take a deep breath. And then, when you're ready, take an exhale.

Just allow yourself to round forward. Nothing too well thought out, necessarily. Just kind of find your hands on the edge of the carriage. From here, bend your knees. Make sure your knees are pointed towards your toes, and not coming in on themselves.

And now with your head down, we inhale. I'm just pushing the carriage out, as I extend my spine. So I've gone down first, and now I'm going to extend the spine long. So I didn't lean forward into the bar. I am near it.

But take a second while you're here, and just feel your tailbone reaching one way. The crown of your head towards the edge of that carriage. The heel of the hand is on, not so I'm flexing my wrist, but so I feel secure there. I want to feel anchored at my feet and my hands. From that place -- from your spine, from the tail -- round exhale.

And I'm just going to go again. I'm leaving my knees bent as they started. Inhale, lengthening out. And it's going to take a few, probably, to really feel anything delicious, but it's there, I'll bet you. Exhale Back.

Inhale stretch. It's alright to even go beyond, a little. It's alright to let your ribs move, right? I'll ask you to hold back, maybe here and there, but for now we're just breathing and expanding. So if you arch your back a little, that's all right, as long as you're protecting yourself, and as long as it feels good.

I'm doing just 2 more. Inhale. Well 2 more of that. Exhale back. If I'm going too fast for you, or slow, you can change the pace a little.

And then come back to a rounded place, so the carriage is almost all the way in. Then we're going to go a little deeper. I'm just backing up a slight bit, because I feel like I'm hanging on too much with my feet. I'm going down again. My knees are still bent.

I'm stretching my spine as much as I can, and then checking the shoulders. Letting them fall back into place. Let the carriage push against your straight -- absolutely straight -- arms. Check that. From here, reach the tailbone further and see if you can straighten the knees now.

So there's your extension there. Do what you can. No pain. Inhale bend them. Try not to round the spine much there, it's more hamstring now.

Exhale straighten. Just 1 more of those. Inhale bend. Really reach tailbone. Exhale straight and hold.

Now if you are flaring you ribs here, let's pull them in just a smidge, so it's feeling nice and solid. Staying down here. Now you allow the elbows to bend to the side. Exhale straighten fully. And when you do, if you were to look at your elbow joints, they're pointed towards each other, not straight ahead in hyper-extension.

1 more time. And bend. And straighten. And with the straight arms, leave them straight. You can bend your knees if you want, otherwise just round your spine and roll yourself up.

Bringing the carriage all the way to the stopper. Letting go. And round all the way up. Taking 1 leg over the bar. If you have a bar.

I have mine on low, 'cause I'm going to lean into it, to get a little stretch the hip flexor. I learned this weekend from Rael. It's nice. There's other ways to do it you don't have a bar. If have a low reformer.

You can do it standing up. You may want to pull for balance. You won't get the same stretch I'm going to, but it will achieve the real objective, which is to start thinking about knee-tracking. So, my bars locked in. I'm going to lean this straight-leg thing into the foot bar, where I get a mild stretch through my calf.

And also, through my hip joint. Hip flexor. The other foot's about at the ball of the foot. It's so that I feel secure. So I'm not at the arch, but I'm not just the toes either.

So then, for now, I'm just going to hold on. And I'm looking where my knees and my toes are lined up. At the moment, as I look straight down, I don't see my toes. It's right over. From that place, looking straight ahead, you're gonna bias towards the posterior tuck.

I recognize I'm in a mild bit of extension. That's cool. And then, extend the leg. Push it out. Make sure your foot feels secure.

Inhale pull it in. Look down and see if you're tracking. Do you send that foot straight ahead? Or does it take a different path? No detours.

Just a few. Just kind of feeling that. The back foot is nice and parallel too. You probably want to turn out, but nah, that's not what we're doing. And I'm actually using my hands on the bar to get a little sensation in my upper back, of pressing and engaging.

But now, as we do a few more, let your arms go if that feels alright to do so. And if you have something to lean into. And do a few here. Inhale. Just wake yourself up to the idea of balancing, tracking, and focusing.

Now I'm going to do 3 more. I might go slower, because as I push out I'm going to extend my upper spine. So my low back isn't going to change. I'm going to push out and extend. And I'm going to need some balance there.

It's alright if the leg that's this moving touches the bar. Bring it back. Straighten the spine. Still biasing at the pelvis. So you don't just let go there.

Oh extend. Feel good about it Already feel better. 1 more time. Press extend. Getting ready.

And bring it back. Change feet. Again, one red spring, the other foot goes on. I like to place the down foot first, so that I can know where I'm going to be able to get the heel down, and parallel. I think that's it.

Again, I'm in extension in my back. I realize that, and that's fine, but I'm not just letting it go. I have a sense of trying to draw the pubic bone up. And it's not just the pelvis, right? It's the whole upper back.

Other foot is on and balanced. Use your hands at first, or a pull if you need it. And press to extend. Check it out. Adjust where you need to.

And press. Doesn't need to be heavy for the point. So you're just getting your body, your brain, assimilated to what we're doing. We're going to do foot and leg work, of course. So just watch what you do.

Get it ready. Making sure it tracks. Making sure, when you push out, that your foot doesn't roll in or out. Just one more like that, or you can keep that. We'll do 3 or so, with a balance.

And if your bar locks, like mine does, you can really lean into it. It feels good. Slowing it down just enough to extend the upper back now. Again, don't hang out on the pelvis. I'm lifting up even though it feels as if I'm trying to tuck.

As I push out, I'm trying for that upper back. And I bend. And I come back to upright straight. Pushing again. [EXHALE] And bring it back.

And again. Up, up, up. And, bring it back in. Alright, hopefully that's got you somewhat ready to go. I'm going to put the bar down completely, to do a little bit more of a warm up.

Get yourself ready for foot and leg work now, so we don't have to move about. I'm going to put 3 red and a blue on. I think medium to heavy. I won't do a whole lot of leg work, but some. OK.

So lying down. Thinking of, again, that wave dedication we made. I have my feet on the bar. If you need to, because you don't have a platform, you can put your feet on the actual foot bar, in an up position. I'm just going to leave mine on the wood, and partially on the bar, for this pelvic curl.

My headrest is down. Inhale. And exhale. Thinking, maybe, of the back of the body. Reaching the sits bones into the hamstrings as you roll up, elongating the front of your legs.

Working through the back find the line of the back of your body. We focus on the front, maybe sometimes, too much. Exhale. Come on down. Imprinting the spine.

Smoothing out the back. Let's Just do one more like that before slightly changing it. Inhale. Exhale. Same direction.

From the pelvis up we're feeding the sits bones into the backs of the legs. I encourage you to look down, or at least feel for your inner thigh action. It should be happening. Inhale and exhale down. When you get to the bottom, you level out the pelvis, but stay involved.

Inhale. Exhale. Role your head up. Slide your arms along the carriage until they float just off. Try not to tuck.

Inhale. Exhale. Bring it back down. When your arms go down, again, feel the back of your arms pressing into mat. 1 more.

Exhale. Just your head. So really feel the neck flexors work there. And then up. Reaching.

Inhale. And exhale down. Blending the two just to get the wave going. Inhale. Keep the arms pressed into mat.

Exhale. Pelvis rolls, going ever so slightly faster. Inhale. Exhale. Melting your way down.

It's an easy, fluid motion, right? Inhaling at the bottom. Your head will come up next. Exhale. Here it is.

Reaching. Inhale. Exhale down. Thinking to place your arms almost further down each time. You inhale.

You exhale. Roll up. Pay attention to your feet. They're active. Stand on them.

Don't let them turnout. Inhale. And exhale. And take the long inhale as you start exhaling when it feels appropriate. Up we come.

And 1 more time. Inhale. Exhale. Spread out your shoulders so you feel the back of the shoulders there. Let's stay up on this one.

Holding it. Check it out. What do you need to do to make yourself feel square? Or maybe, see yourself square. Your front leg.

Inhale. or right leg will work. Exhale. Pick up that knee. Bring it in.

Inhale. Exhale. Stretch it up as straight as you can. And then re-fold it to put it back down in place. Inhale.

Exhale. Take the other knee up. And whatever feels right. Just start growing the leg up. Exhale.

Refold it. Place it down. 1 more of each side. Just kinda getting in touch. Inhale and exhale to bring up the right leg.

Inhale. Grow it. Bring it closer to your chest as it extends. Exhale. Just refold it, no big deal, just kind of feeling our way through our full extension.

Second side, inhale. Exhale. Pull it in. Growing it a little longer. And bringing it down.

Stay here. Inhale prepare, and we're rolling down on this exhale. Find your way down. Right. From there, let's stretch out the legs fully.

You may need to scoot away from the shoulder rest just a little bit. Take the arms just above your chest. Let's go palms toward each other, as if you're hugging something. Not with your hands, not with your elbows, but the entire inner seam of your arm. From there, pick your head up.

Just look to your feet as you exhale and roll up you feel the chest fall. You feel yourself. Just pour yourself over so your shoulders end up over hips. And energize it., right? Power and water.

Power in waves. Here we go. And down. Picking up the pace slightly. Inhale.

Because of the shoulder rest we're just going to leave the arms up over chest. Exhale up. Reaching. And exhale. To go down, head touches, back of the shoulders touch.

Inhale. I like to start it, well that's how I was taught so that's how we're doing it, I start on that inhale. And exhale. The breath, ultimately, very important of course, but what's going to move you. What moves you in a way that is conducive to your body today?

This is feeling a little rigid for a wave, so we're going to play with it a little. As we get to the top, from the tailbone, extend your spine long, extend your arms to the side. OK, re-contract around, and come down. And then arms are above the chest. Inhale.

Look forward to reach forward. Full Roll Up. Feel the connection to the back of the legs in your mat, or into your foot bar. Inhale extend. And exhale.

And one more time. If you hit the shoulder rest, no one's looking, so just fix it. Up we go. Inhale. Stay up here.

Exhale. Rotate to the right. Inhale. Through the middle. Don't let your feet move.

Exhale. Rotate to the left. Let's do it again. Inhale. Just checking things out.

And back to the center. Scoot forward on your carriage. Picking up the right knee. Let's for this first one, hold behind it. So I'm just sort of cupping behind it, and pushing my leg into my hands.

From that place I'm going to roll back, bringing the leg with me. But it is in fact still pushing away, so I have that resistance. My arms are strong. Feel it coming from that spine, really. And at a certain point it's just natural for the other leg to lift up.

Roll almost to the shoulder blades, and then change your mind and come back up. Think of reaching out of the straight leg as well. When you get here, straighten your spine. Then straighten that leg, to the extent you can this early in the game. Re-bend.

Hold behind the thigh, rather than the knee. We roll down. It's from the spine. The arms and legs are helping by counterbalancing. We go down.

Inhale. Notice, while you're here, that foot again with that tracking, is right opposite your knee. You almost don't see that foot. Exhale. Up we go.

Keep reaching out of the straight leg. It doesn't go down immediately. And if you haven't, take the inhale to straighten the leg up. One more like that, And down. So you're not resting here, right?

And it would be really tempting to yank, but we're not going to do that. Oh, I could've done that better, but anyway. Lengthen, lengthen, lengthen. And rather than straightening your leg, straighten your back. So let's bend the knee for a second.

Get what you can out of the back, as if you were doing 'climb a tree.' Then, see what you can do with the leg, keeping the back. Set it down. Pick up the other leg. Exhale. Roll away.

Feel those hip bones rolling away from the thigh bone. Oh wow. Checkout your alignment here. It might be different. Inhale.

Exhale. Up we come. Check our shoulders. This is where they're going to want to creep up. Don't do it.

Oh, I forgot to lift the leg, didn't I? Straighten the top leg. I'm sure you did it right. Re-bend it. So, as we go down I'm reaching out -- this time I'll do it -- we're letting that other leg float up naturally.

And they're both working. They don't look like they're doing anything, but they're both working to shoot energy away from me, so it's easier to get up. And straighten the spine, then the leg. 1 more. Rolling down.

Just before you get cozy, you bring it back, pulling the belly in, stretch your leg up. And down it goes. Pick up the first leg again. Hold the front of the knee. Pick up the other one.

You if you moved back, you're gonna want to make sure you're near the front again. And you're in that place where you can sustain you're spine in a curved position. It doesn't have to be super curved, we're just going down for Double Leg Stretch. So slowly lower. And you come to table top.

For Double Leg Stretch, let's go. Inhale reach out, exhale pull in, inhale reach, and in. Create some sense of everything being drawn to the center. 1 more. Hold on to the right leg for single leg press.

1. Switch, 1. And 2. 2. Nice broad collar bones.

You hear it all the time. What does it mean? Are you doing it? Keep going. Pull.

Pull in closer, but do it without the arms. In fact, just let them go. Pull in, reach out. Do both. A couple more here.

Pull. Now both legs come in. Extend the right leg up. Hold onto the calf, or behind the calf. Other leg to the ground, and it's pull - pull.

Pick up the other one, then change. Pull - pull. Keep going. Here's a suggestion, instead of pulling the top leg, focus on pressing the bottom leg. You won't see it because the way I'm teaching, it's hitting the ground first, right?

So push the bottom leg. Use that to create the opposition for the top leg. Just 1 more. Both legs up. Bend your knees.

Hands behind your head. Pushing your head straight backwards, not up to the ceiling, but back. Rotate for Criss Cross. Rotate. Rotate.

Pull it way in. Way in. Here we go, slowing it down. Come up towards me, and hold. You're gonna reach the opposite arm, right?

So you're reaching across your body. Then switch. So there we are, right there. A tiny bit faster now. Reach.

The trick here is not letting your knees go all askew. They're still creating those straight parallel lines. Next one you're gonna hold. Put a little resistance against that leg. The leg against the arm.

To rotate you more, but not because the shoulders coming up. Come on. Higher. Reach energy. Change.

So you get there. It's not that you're torquing yourself, but you are putting pressure equally, both ways. And reach. Not just twisting, but further. Breathe however you want.

Come on. Both knees towards the middle. Come back to center. Rock yourself up. Set your feet over the bar.

Back up so you can be comfortable with it. And then, first go to a straight spine. I'm holding under the thighs. If you have it available to you, you can kind of hook -- meaning pull the calves back, and extend the spine. And we're kind of focusing on the upper back.

I could throw my ribs forward a little. Not much, but some of you could. To look up, and enjoy. And then round with control. Do it again.

Bend hook, if that's an option. You can even put your heels on the floor, if you have a lower reformer. And round. And that'll do. Let's put our foot bars up, and do a little bit more Footwork.

Or some Footwork. We already set it up, so just lie down. I do like my head rest halfway up, if you have the three options, Which I do. Oh my goodness. It's amazing what the sun will do.

After a bunch of gloom, I know. It's been raining lots of places lately. All right. Heels are parallel. Take a second.

Feel that the hamstrings are involved, OK? It's not just the quads. We don't really need to go there. Here we go. Press out.

And pull in. Press out. Feel your body here. Not too much of a wave going on here just now, but energetically there could be, right? Nice and easy.

Eyes up. They can be closed. Sometimes, when you're working alone, I think we tend to look at ourselves a lot, and that in and of itself can be an issue over time. Trust me. One more time.

OK. Stay out there. Can you lengthen more? Can you challenge your ability to go further, and sometimes it's by not contracting more. It's almost by letting go.

That's enough of that. Come back. Not one for letting go, over here. Both toes are on. Parallel still.

If you drop your heels, it's not a bad idea to check that out. That's one version that we're not doing. Super high heels is also not what we're doing. We're going to no-man's land, where we actually have to work the lower leg. So put a little pressure there.

Hamstrings are there. You didn't tuck. You're all good. Here we go. And then you're just lifting -- lengthening off your feet.

In fact, the feet are getting really good work by having to hold that. If they move around a lot you're losing all that energy. You want your feet to be strong. It's not that. You want to shoot energy out of them, but make it so it's solid, so that you can actually go somewhere with it.

That you can feel the connection from your feet to the crown of your head. Or at least up through the whole leg. And by that, I mean the back of the leg. Just a few more. Nice and long.

There's a tendency to start rolling into it so that your back starts to round. Let's go down and just go into the Pilates V, or the heels touching here. And press out. And in. Come out and stay out for a second.

I'm going to ask, let's look, first are your heels up? Not fully, but somewhat. Then check your alignment. Have you gripped so much that you've got your thighs pushing to the ceiling? Let that go.

If you're going to grip anywhere, and it's fine to work legs, you should work legs, but let's press inward and upward. So the inner thigh bones are going toward each other. Yes, you can squeeze your glutes, it's not critical, but you could. And might as well. And then flatten out the front here.

If you find yourself gripping in the front, and pushing up, it's not good. Let it go. OK. Enough, let's go. Keep going.

Press out, and come in. Press out, and in. Full connection with yourself. With your reformer. Become part of your reformer.

So you're not working against it, you're working with it. I need 3 more. 1 and pull, and in 2, and in 3. Come down. Now, flip your head rest down if it's up.

Keep your feet as they were. Make sure they haven't gone wide. You'd know If you pick your feet up and you can see your toes. Let's keep it line with the 1st and 2nd. From here, peel up just like before.

Keep your feet where they were. Come on. All the way up. Come right back down, sequentially. Keep your feet where they are, but get to neutral.

Curl your head, neck, and shoulders up. From here. Just pick up the heels first. Pick up the toes so you've come off the bar. From there, extend your legs out.

Full extension, they're in turn out, right? Because we just picked them up off the bar. Lift the legs up. Control coming down. That means the back doesn't change.

Nothing changes. You can bend the knees back in. Place them on the bar. Head goes down. Narrow the knees if they got wide on you.

Peel up. Now motion to the carriage. Peel up. Here's our wave. Find the hamstrings.

You can push the heels down a tiny bit, right there to get more, as long as you don't move the carriage. Roll from the top of the head, down through the spine. Oh, wobble, wobble, wobble. And then, leaving your pelvis down in neutral, curl up, or at least down. From there you're in that nice chest lift position.

Reaching the arms. Pick up the heel. Then the toes. Extend the legs out. You could leave them there, or lift them up.

Up, up. It's coming from right deep, deep, deep in the trunk. Reach longer to lower them down. Still working through the glutes. Re-bend.

Set them on the ground. Roll your spine down, 1 more time. Inhale. Narrow the knees. I just caught myself going wide there to get my feet on the bar.

Peel up. Feel the hamstrings. Let yourself work, and try to relax your toes so they're not hanging on for dear life. Make your hamstrings do that. Oops, I didn't finish it.

Did you? There's the long line. Roll down. I know I said headrest down, but did you do it? That matters.

Once the spine is down, curl your head up. Reach forward. Lift the heels. Lift the toes. Stretch your legs out.

Bring them up. I like exhaling there. I don't know if I've been saying that, or even doing it, but I'm hoping for there. Re-bend the knees and set them down. Set your head down.

Swivel your feet to parallel. Let's just leave our headrest where it is, unless it's uncomfortable. You can adjust it, 'cause it will be flat for a bit. Push out. So I'm in parallel.

Sit bones distance apart. Both heels reaching under the bar as I stretch away. This is another time you want to check the front of your hips. It can be really tempting to grip there to get more work. I don't think we do, when we do that.

And lift up. And down. You have strong feet, but it's more than that. You can feel the backs of your arms into the mat. Or can you?

That might be a better thought. Can I? Can I feel those landmarks? How's the back of my head? Am I looking behind me?

Are my shoulders reaching off the mat? Do what you can for help. To level that out. Lift and lower. Stay up.

Lower the left heel, bend the right knee, and really stretch that left heel. But make sure you didn't drop your weight onto it. You haven't let go. You're almost resisting it. Or as Niedra likes to say, reluctantly.

I love that. Reluctantly reaching. Or reluctantly letting go. Use that left foot to push you all the way up so both knees hit straight, and then the other side. The hips never move.

Take this stretch. Make sure you haven't turned out or in, or anything weird. Go back up, we'll go a little quicker. Now let's go down, up. Down, up.

I'm alternating. Down, up. It's like there's strings on your kneecaps that are pulling up each time they bend. A little quicker still. Down, up.

Down, up. Hit the full range. No sloppy legs or feet. We're precise. Even though it looks easy, and maybe it feels easy, but it won't if we do it precisely.

A couple more. Both feet up. Bend your knees and come on down. From there, just wiggle away from the shoulder rest. Just a little.

Knees up and off the carriage. Hold the post if you have them, or arms out to a T if you don't. We're just going to do a little rotation, so we have the knees together. I rotated left first. It did bring my hip up.

Exhale center. Go the other way. Up and over. And come back. And inhale.

Keep both shoulders and elbows on the ground, if you can. You may have to lower your arms if you're real tight, but that would be something to work towards. Just 1 more each way. I want to get that in before we go too much further. Last one.

Right. Back to center. You're gonna hold on behind your thighs. Push into them, we're gonna get up like this so be careful of that foot bar. Let your thighs drift away from you a little.

Squeeze the glutes. Use your strong arms. Make sure it didn't pull the whole shoulder girdle up. They stay in place. And then we just rock up.

You could rock and roll up, or challenge yourself to just roll up. OK, I'm gonna put the foot bar down for a bit. I suppose you could leave it, but it just seems in the way. I'm going to get rid of it. And I'm gonna do Spine Stretch with the straps, so I'm taking it down to 1 red.

I might change that, but let's learn it this way anyway. So it's light. It's not super light, but it's light. We may decide to go out half a spring heavier, but don't just go there. Just try it if you've never tried it.

So I have the strap on, just thumb is on the outside. And we're sitting tall. I am against the shoulder rest, but you want to not rely on them, right? It's almost like they're hot. Arms straight out, feet flexed about the width of the carriage.

With the weight here, I want you to let the weight pull in to you. We're not pushing against it. It's there to help us. So from there, inhale. Exhale, just from the mat.

You exhale around down. Yeah the carriage is going to move, but again, the shoulders didn't slide off my back at all. Hopefully. Feet are strong. Legs are strong.

Inhale, hold. And, exhale to let the springs bring you back up, right into place. I Actually like this spring. Heavier, it kind of is tempting to push with your arms, so let's leave it. Energy out.

The feet. It's like you're trying to go forward but everything else is saying, no, go backwards, go backwards. Your spring, your spine. Your abdominal. And I came up.

Inhale. And exhale. I'm gonna make it 1 breath, since most of your probably used to it that way. Go, go, go, go, go, go, go. Inhale.

Let it bring you up. Exhale. Squeeze the glutes here. Squeeze the inner thighs here, even though the legs are apart. Go.

Can you put your forehead on the floor? Or at least the carriage? Inhale up. And again. Go, go, go go.

More breath. Make sure the breath is gone. Obviously, I had to take some to talk. Last one. Strong legs.

Flexed feet. Blow it out. And, up. OK. Come in, 'cause you're gonna want a lighter spring here.

You can take it back up, but let's try it first light. So I went to a half. If you don't have a half. You're just going to work slow to make sure you do it well. My legs are back in that same position for, sort of like a Saw.

We take the arms out, not directly to the side, well I suppose you could, but if you look straight ahead you can see your arms. Feet are still flexed. If you get too tight in the hip flexors, just bend your knees and hook them on the edge of the carriage. That's one way. It doesn't make it easier though, in other ways.

We're upright. We're going to rotate by first thinking about the spine doing it. I'm not going to move the arm closest to you. I'm going to rotate my spine, and the arm is connected to it. So that's how it's coming towards you.

OK, so this one goes lose. OK. Come on back. Oh, it's going to catch. Don't let it jerk you around.

And then the other side. Oh, don' let the hips move. It's so tempting to just take the arm, but you're going to know it. It'll hit you. That cord.

And back. That's only a blue. Rotate spine. It's all trunk. The arm is just attached like a lever, it's not about the hand.

if you feel like, oh this is super, super light, it might be, but I question it. It will depend, of course. Oh, that's good stuff. You get one more each way. Oh, just caught me doing my arm.

Isn't one side always easier? Check your feet with your eyes. Did one get one leg get longer? I hope not. OK, that'll do.

Now, keep your straps nearby. You may have to re-peg them. Just put your 1 1/2 or medium weight spring, maybe 2 springs, for feet in straps. Lie down. Bring your feet into the straps.

And, for starters we're going parallel. Parallel. These are kind of low. And I wouldn't ordinarily say shins parallel to the floor too, but it will drive me nuts if these ropes hit me, and I'm not one to futz with equipment. So I'm gonna change the position and for me, raise my heels up a little.

From there, from the glutes, I'm just pressing out and in. I have my feet sits bones distance apart. It's just like doing the foot and leg work again, only now, of course, I have to control it. it's not heavy, intentionally. So I have to put my attention to not overworking.

Or just noticing really, what happens. It doesn't really matter if you overwork as long as you know it, and you try to balance it out. Now changing it. Externally rotate, so I just turned the whole leg out. It felt like it came from the hip joint.

I bend the knees. The feet are still apart, so it's just like a wide-stance frog. I'm coming back to parallel and pushing out. And then turn it out and bend. And parallel push out.

So now it's not quite a wave, but energetically make it fluid. See if one leg hits straight before the other. Nice and fluid. Going from external rotation, to just parallel. I'm not going internal right now.

External to parallel. Although you could, feel free. Then when we go back out to straight hold, we're just going to reverse it. We don't have to go internal, but it could feel kind of good, if you want to try that, just slightly rotate in. And again, it's not the feet.

If you're not sure what I mean, put your hands on the hip, and the upper thigh. And that's what moves. OK? It could be interesting, because if you focus on the feet it feels like you're doing more than sometimes you are, and it's not a big move. Bend the knees.

They may touch each other, they may not. Turn the knees out when you get down here, and push out. Rotate in, or to parallel. And out. Great mobilization for the hips.

Let it feel good. Find any of the creaky spots. Don't over think this too much. Just swoop through it. One more time.

We'll go out and stay out, now that we've kind of lubricated things, hopefully. I'm in an externally-rotated position. And now, with flexed feet, I'm going to take the feet out as far as I can without dropping the legs down, or raising them up. So it's just out. And then, same thing as I come back in.

It's a sensation of reaching far away from me, and I can tell you, it's not really easy to see. but sometimes we all pull down and use the hamstrings, or even outer thigh, to bring the legs back together. Do your best to make a pure adduction. It's the sense of the feet skimming along a plane. I sometimes think of a sheet of glass above my feet, that I keep my feet touching as they go out.

And in, so it doesn't come way in. Right there, coming in. You probably can't see the shaking rope, but it's there. Now, staying there, we're just going to move the left leg out. Keep the right leg there.

You're going to lose tension there on that right side. But mostly, you're going to have to support your body. So you can let that one leg open. However you want to, just don't let the hips, or shoulders, or anything else move. I probably went a little bit big on that.

Now I'm going to stabilize the other side. And again, let the strap hold you. Let it pull onto your leg. I know it's not heavy, but you've got to let it do its thing so that you can freely move the other side. You can almost do a jig with the other side.

If you' over control things, and I can say this from experience, it just makes things messier. Lot's of little life lessons in Pilates sometimes. And reach. I'm just alternating, if I haven't been saying it. Playing with, I think, that is almost the last one.

Here is the last one. Right. Bring it in. Let the feet come out of there, and Semi-Circle with the foot bar up. In your normal foot and leg position.

Or low. Low might be a good idea. I'm going to do what I normally do. With one spring. If you have the option, I'm using a red, medium, regular spring.

Right in the middle, so I can feel it. Just so I know I'm in the right spot. Lie down. We're doing semicircle, if I didn't mention it. Hands on the shoulder rest.

Slide yourself out until you are up. And I'm in parallel, just to make it fun, or hard. Arms are straight pressing against the shoulder blocks. Bring yourself in as close as you can. I changed my mind.

Go back to the turnout. Let's just keep it normal All right, so here, once again we're not super high on the heels and we're not dropping them to nothing. They're not in no man's land. Pull yourself in as close as you can, but look for that flat line. You must work the backs of the legs here for this to really give you all it can.

You're neck is free, you're looking up. We're going to roll down. I'm exhaling, I think. Right here, don't just stick your butt out. Try not to move the carriage.

When it's time, you're going to let your spine drip into the carriage. If you're on a metal spring, you might feel that spring there. I have it light. Right? Some of you are used to 2 springs.

That's cool. I'm just doing it differently, and for different reasons. Maybe. Push out. Not quite to straight.

So I'm touching this springs still. OK, there's that gorgeous, just feels like my spine never gets to do this. Well why not? Let's enjoy it, as long as there's no pain involved. Without moving the carriage, you're going to collect the front of your body, or the back, however you look at it.

Round Up. Get that nice articulation all the way up. Carriage is still where it was, until you're in the nice, flat, long line. And use the back of the legs to bring you in close again. Exhale, roll down.

And you're pushing into the shoulder rest as you reach the tail bone to the spring. Inhale, push out. Not quite to straight legs. It just turns it into something else. Exhale.

There's a subtle downward pressure on the feet as you peel up. Inhale, bring it back to the stopper. Exhale, make your wave. Pushing out. Peeling up.

And in. I'm just going to do 1 more. Take it down. I'm not going to reverse it. Just enjoy it.

And out, to peel up. Come all the way in. At this point, if you want to go parallel, you can. You can grab the reformer edge. You could grab the foot bar.

I'm going to keep my feet together, for now. You can even grab your ankles if it's available. If you're a higher bar that might put too much pressure on your neck, if you're flexible. I'm going to back off, just a little. And then I'm giving myself that posterior tuck.

I am now going to gently press my heels down. Press the backs of the shoulders down. Arms are long. Enjoy the quad stretch. Come on, push a little higher.

And again, if it's on your neck you're going to have to back up so you can bring your body down a little, but still press the hips up. OK, then ease yourself back. Hold on to the shoulder rest to help yourself on. Easier when you're sweaty. OK, up we come.

Quickly, to your knees. Let's do Knee-Stretch round back just to get a good position here. I do this on a light spring intentionally, because I'm not really going for the legs at all. I trust that I can keep my shape. Meaning that the pelvis isn't going to go back and forth.

And I'm going to focus on the in. I just want to do a few, because it sets up the next exercise. So, with the knees down. Feet flexed against the shoulder rest, and the stopper in. Arms are straight.

So almost like you're trying to get away from the bar. You have created this big C curve through the body, including your head. I'll do my best to keep it down as I talk. And then, with the legs you push out. Not so far that you have to change your position.

And now, it's as if the spring does it, but really it's the abs. You pull in. Let's go. Focus in. When it's this light, it becomes harder to control that shape, doesn't it?

But we're going to be good with it. A couple more. Here's 1. Find the center. 2.

Now if you felt totally out of control there, you could put on more, of course. The next one is a version of several things I'm not going to take the time, but you know them if you're doing this level class. We started round. From almost sitting on your heels, you're going to go through and anterior tilt. Or you stick your tailbone up, and allow the rest of the spine to follow.

That means your head comes up too. I'm not forcing an arched back, but there will be a little arch. I'm feeling a stretch almost, through the front, but not have a full release. So there we go. I just got to that part.

Now I'm going to push my feet out. And then bring it all the way, until I get that nice long arch, and then come up through a down stretch. I've got 1 more piece to it, but I'm going to do it that way again first. We release the tailbone. That lengthens the back, picks our head up.

We then push through the feet. We have to take the pelvis forward. Now, it biases towards the posterior, to a rounded back or a tucked-under pelvis, but you can tell that's not going to actually make the shape, it's just how you protect the shape. And round. One more piece, and then we'll let it flow.

We released the tailbone. And now, instead of just pushing with the legs first, to get a little more out of it you push with the arms next, so you come down, not long and flat. It's going to be different, so be ready for it. Now you push with the legs. You start letting the pelvis go forward.

I'm trying to tuck there. My head comes up into down stretch, and up we come. There's almost no way down the arms at the end. And round back. Release tailbone.

Head comes up. Push with the arm so your body goes low. Push with the legs. Press the pelvis. Lift the head, and float your way to the top.

Rounding back. Release pelvis. Push with the arms. Push with the legs. Head comes up, float yourself in.

We can do one more, now that we're getting it. And release tail. Head push arms, or you could skip that part. Push through pelvis. Are you feeling secure in the middle?

You can just float your way to the top. Stay here, when you get here. Come to your fingertips. Heels against the shoulder rest. Arms up.

Still in your arch, of course. And release. Grab your box. Let's take the foot bar down. And we're going to just go into...

first, lying over the top, I have one spring on. Actually, I'm going to go light for this. I went blue on purpose. I might get up and change it. For the most part, we're going to be over the top of the box.

Reach your arms out to the frame. It could be flat palmed, if you have a low frame. You just want to make sure your hands don't flip. Legs are reaching, so I feel the whole front on my hip reaching into the box. Comfortably.

When I reach the legs and lift them, that's when I'm going to get the glutes and hamstrings. But I don't need to grip the glutes at all. From here, let the shoulders come up. Yep. So you know the difference.

And it's good to let them go up too sometimes. Then they start to come down. Your head reaches out to match the line of your feet. Keep drawing the shoulder blades down. Let your vertebrate drop forward.

And up as you lengthen, with the straight arms the whole time. Look at your elbows. Good. And now, you're pushing, almost, to go back down. It's still not light enough to really get that sense.

You'd have to use no spring, which is also an option. Here we go. Reaching the legs. That never lets up. As we draw the shoulder blades down, the head lines up.

You start to look forward. Let the upper back, the vertebrate drop forward. Let them sink. Don't be afraid of that. Sometimes we're so concerned about holding the abs that it ruins it for us.

So let them go, for a minute. They'll be fine. No one will know. You're lying on a box. Right.

I did just say that out loud? OK, so are you there? Can you feel the back of your shoulder? Can you exaggerate the sense of the sternum dropping into the box? Don't push it.

Just let it fall. Don't let the legs go. It's Coordination there. Arms are still straight. And then, with just that intention to draw the carriage forward from the shoulders.

1 more time. And let yourself down. And with that, you're going to let your head hang. Let your back up so it's comfortable enough to do that. Let your arms hang for a moment.

You can bend your knees if they're on a funny spot on the edge of the box. And then, bring your hands underneath your shoulders, at the frame, and just pick your abdominal and chest up. Your head is hanging. And then roll into an extension again. And let yourself go back down.

Again, I'm just going to push into the frame. I'm lifting my abdominal. I'm lifting my chest. My head is hanging until my arms are straight. And then, just reaching my chest forward.

My head forward. And down. And this is going to be last one. We'll end it on this one. So take a big inhale.

Straighten the arms. And rounded. And then, it's like I'm just trying to set my chest further forward. And down. And just let your arms hang.

If it feels good to let your legs hang, do. Let your head just dangle. Then the energy just sort of eases its way back to normal. Or perhaps you wanted it higher, and you can leave it. Help yourself off the box.

Be glad the time you took for yourself. And meet back here again. Thank you.


Love this class!
2 people like this.
Feel so good after the class.. (I think I grew another inch haha)
Emily... thank you. The pause (...) was me exhaling in gratitude. What a wonderful compliment.
This class felt great!! Thank you!
Never disappoint! So nice to meet you at the Polestar conference last week:)
Very nice to meet you Donna! Thank you! Now come see us!
Susan H
Super cueing, thanks!
Very much enjoyed the cueing as well.
Thanks Kristi, this is a great class for getting the spine moving again. I've got to get Krista to do it next!! Hope all is well.
Miss you RC!! Thank you!! Love to KC!
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