Class #1173

Prenatal Mobilizing Mat

45 min - Class


Leah teaches a Prenatal Mat workout with a focus on finding acceptance of the changes you are going through by moving through space. You will mobilize the body while practicing control. Leah adds a series challenging leg work and balances, and then goes into movements where you can feel free.

Watch Leah's Prenatal Mat Series #1 and Prenatal Mat Series #2 to get more ideas of prenatal exercises you can add to your practice.
What You'll Need: Mat, Fitness Ball

About This Video


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Hi, there. I'm back again for another prenatal Pilates mat class with our stability ball, fitness ball, birth ball, whatever you want to call it. You need one of these little guys for this class. Before we start, I really want you to focus on kind of the idea of acceptance during your pregnancy. Wherever state you are right now in your pregnancy, if you're in the first or second, or if you're late into the third trimester, just kind of the acceptance that comes along with kind of your body changing, your mood changing, how you feel, how you see yourself, kind of how you are preparing to become a mother, all of those things.

I really want to start to kind of internalize while you move. And just really feel your body moving through space and start to accept those changes that are happening in your body. And that idea of acceptance is even going to have to come into play when you're in labor, when you're giving birth. Because we have these birth plans, but the truth is, is that just like life, labor hardly ever goes according to plan A. It's often plan B, or plan C.

And we have to be open and accepting to those. So I think Pilates is a fantastic tool for us to find that acceptance through movement because sometimes we feel a little fatigued when we do a class. Or the next day we feel more energized. We just have to kind of accept what's going on in our body and that's something that I really want you to think about today. So before we start with the ball in our seated position, kind of just take a moment to recognize in yourself what are a couple things that maybe you are having a tough time accepting during your pregnancy.

And I'll just give you a couple moments to kind of think about that. And why maybe you're having a hard time accepting those. And then I just kind of want you to embrace those ideas as you move. And I of course have my own, as you do. And I want you to just kind of think about those and meditate on those, so to speak, as you do the movement, and hopefully, not that you'll come to some conclusion by the end of our class, but just hopefully you maybe will have spent a little bit of time with that.

And you can start accepting that. OK. Enough of my starting speech. We'll go ahead and start moving. I don't need you to have a huge ball.

If you have really big ball, it might be a little problematic for this class. So a medium sized ball is actually going to be preferable. But of course work with but you have and hopefully you'll be able to adjust the ball to the movements that we're going to have choreographed into this particular class. So we're going to sit with our legs crossed. And get as comfortable as you can.

Again, I want you to focus on, as always during our pregnancy, just letting the normal adjustments of the pelvis be present, but not tipping too much weight towards your pubic symphisis towards your pubic bone. I want you to try to keep it a little bit more equal on that triangle of the pubic bone and the two sits bones that are underneath you. And we're just going to start on just kind of moving our spine. And just letting the ball kind of be a little bit of support for us. So right hand on the ball, left hand just down by your side.

So take a nice big inhale to start. And then exhale. So then inhale. I want you to swing the ball forward, kind of on the diagonal towards your knee, and bring your left arm forward to meet it. And then inhale, come back up.

And exhale. And inhale. So we're just moving the spine. No big strong abdominal contraction or anything like that. We're just mobilizing the spine.

And inhale up. Exhale. And inhale reach. Exhale. And inhale reach.

Now we're going to go into a side tilt. Inhale, reach to the right. Let the ball roll up to your elbow. Lift your left arm, look at your hand, lift your left hip and knee, and just reach and expand, and then bring it back with an inhale. And exhale.

And inhale. So we're mobilizing the pelvis here. Just starting to mobilize the body. But also practicing a little bit of control. And bring it up.

Exhale, two more. And bring it up. And last one, feeling that pelvis just tip over for that little stretch. And bring it back. Now you're going to thread the needle.

You're going to thread your left arm in and you're going to push it toward the ball with an exhale. Then inhale, left loop, thread it back through, back to the sitting position. And exhale pressing forward. So I want you to feel this kind of side pike. Again, not a really strong abdominal contraction, just drawing the abdominal wall in for support.

And then inhale threading it back through. And exhale. And inhale. And just notice where your body feels tight. Where your body feels loose.

And just accept those sensations. And start to move through them and start to breathe into them. And last one. Exhale. Now this time you're going to hold it.

Place both hand on top of the ball. So you're in this little rotation. If it feels like it's too much rotation for you, bring the ball slightly forward in front of your knee. Then you're going inhale, lift up into a back extension. And exhale reach forward.

Go as far as your belly will allow you. An inhale, reach out through the crown of the head. So you feel the neck, then the upper back, then that lower back. And exhale reaching forward. And inhale, glide the shoulder blades down your back gently.

Not with force, but just feel how they glide naturally. Up and down and they widen and then they narrow. And lift up. And exhale reach forward. And one more time.

Lift up. And exhale reach. Feel that wonderful stretch of that pelvis. Reach that left hip away from you. You'll feel that stretch through the left side of your back.

Let that left side pelvis be heavy. And slowly roll out of it. And this time you're going to come up and you're going to place your right forearm into the ball. Place your left hand behind your head. So just a little lateral tilt, but we're also get a little bit of lat engagement.

Because we're going to push it down onto the ball. So exhale, laterally tilt over and press down on the ball with your right arm. So you're getting the oblique work here. You're getting the latisimus dorsi work here. Exhale and then inhale release it.

And exhale. And again, be mindful that you keep equal weight on both sits bones as you go into that tip. So you can really maximize the contraction on the right side and maximize the lengthening or the stretch, on the left side. And back up and give me one more. Exhale and come back up.

Hold it. You're going to do ten little pulses with that arm. Exhale. Just getting a little extra lat work. Feeling that postural control.

Eight, nine, and 10. And release it. And we'll do the whole series on the other side. Just go ahead and swing that ball around. So we start from the beginning.

Inhale. And exhale swing the ball towards your knee and meet it toward the front. And inhale out. And exhale. And inhale.

Just as you start to move the body, feel that rounding of the spine and the extension of the spine. And up, two more. Exhale. And up. And last one.

Right into the side bend. You're going to exhale, lift the right hip up. Roll the ball all the way up to the elbow. And then inhale sit up. And exhale reach.

Just feeling that tip, feeling that expansion. And up. I want you to feel tall, long, beautiful. Open, just to reach. If you're in the privacy of your own home, just go for it.

And up. Two more. Reach, inhale. And up. And last one.

Exhale. And inhale up. Now we thread the needle. Exhale, we push through. Almost like you're trying to push the ball away.

And then inhale, reach up. Exhale. Feels a little dramatic and that's the way I want it. Inhale up. Act like you're saying, no.

Be a little dramatic for me. And reach up. And exhale. And reach up. One more time.

Exhale. So again, as we go into the back extension, you can bring the ball slightly forward so it's in line with your knee. That will kind of help with the rotation. And lift up with your inhale. And exhale, reach forward.

And lift up, inhale. So again, I really want you to focus on working through the entire spine from the top to the bottom. So inhale, head, neck, and chest up. And exhale reach forward. Two more.

And reach head, neck, and chest up. You can see that articulation kind of like a turtle coming out of its shell. And reach forward. And lift up. Remember that right hip just stays sunken down into the mat.

Let it feel heavy on that mat. And hold there. Feel that stretch. Feel like you're being pulled in two directions. You're being lengthened, expanded through your body.

And slowly roll up bringing the ball to the side, the left elbow on the ball, the right hand behind head. Pushing down, getting the lat engagement. Equal weight on both sits bones. Exhale down. And inhale up.

And exhale down. So you really want to feel that stabilization of the pelvis. You maximize that work through the waist. Feel the ribcage being drawn, gravitated toward the pelvis as you go down. And up.

And one more I believe. And up. Now hold it here. Ten little pulses with the arm. Exhale one, six, seven, just squeezing right underneath that arm, and hold it, and release.

I just want you to bring the ball forward in front of you. I'm going to turn to the side. And I want you to hug the ball with your arms. And place your cheek, one cheek, on the ball here. We're just going to take a moment to breathe here before we move into our next sequence.

And feel like your pelvis really heavy behind you. And take a big breath in. And feel your ribs expand along side of the ball, if that makes sense. Almost like you're trying to wrap them around the shape, or the curve the ball. And exhale relax.

And inhale. So I want you to open up your back with this breathing and hopefully by hugging the ball, that helps you achieve that. Again. And inhale. And if you have ball during labor, this might be a position you adopt when you're breathing through a contraction.

And inhale. And I always like to breathe into my ribs, but also into that space between my ribcage and my pelvis, which tends to get tight. And exhale. So now to continue, with this sitting position, place one hand on top of the other, one forearm, rather. And I want you to take your forehead and place it on the ball.

Then I want you to reach into extension. So again, depending on the size of your belly, you might have to adjust your legs so that you feel you can get that reach. So you're going to really extend that back as much as you can then exhale. Draw in to a little curve. And inhale reach into that extension.

And exhale. And depending on how you feel this particular day that you're doing this class, you may need to be a little more gentle with your abdominal roll, or you might feel like you can do a little bit more. And also depending on your trimester. So I just want you, again, to listen to your body and accept the sensations that it's telling you. And be respectful of that.

And one more time. Inhale. And exhale. Rolling yourself up. You should start to feel that your back is getting open.

I want you to sit with your feet flat onto the mat and place the fall in between your knees. And grasp the back of your thighs here. And we're going to do some adductor squeezes for some pelvis floor work as well. So this is very gentle. I want to start with just five little knee squeezes in.

Exhale, one. Now again not like the biggest squeezes you've ever done in your entire life. I just want it to be gentle. And I want you to feel the legs come together, then I want you to feel the pelvic floor musculature to draw together, almost like you're narrowing your pelvis. Then let it open.

Exhale. And open, exhale. Now place your hands on top of the ball. Very gently you're going to push down on the ball while you repeat the same thing with the legs. So exhale.

Release. Exhale. While maintaining that really beautiful back extension. Release. We want that nice back strength.

We want that healthy torso control. Release. Give me two more. Release. Last one, and hold it.

Release the arms, place them back behind thighs. Now this time you're going to add just the slightest little pelvic tilt as do the leg squeeze. So exhale. And bring it up. Exhale.

And bring it up. So now I want to feel like your sits bones are being drawn together. Then I want you to feel like they're expanding. Exhale, they're being drawn together. And they're expanding.

So just like they're opening and closing. Not like a door, think more like a curtain. There's some undulation there. There's some softness there. And open.

Feel the suppleness of those bones because you want those bones to be supple. You want them to move. And exhale. And bring it up and hold it. So now to challenge your back control, we're going to do a little bit of arm work.

Now lifting the ball gets challenging as we do more repetitions. If you need sit in a more comfortable position, legs crossed, or to prop your hips up on a towel, or rolled up mat, please take a moment to do that now. And then you can join us for this arm work. So we're lift the ball overhead with an exhale. And down.

Exhale. So legs are nice and wide. You're really rooted through your sits bones to the earth and feeling nice and lifted through your body. Feeling the back of the shoulders, the upper spine. Four more.

And again, feeling just that gentle abdominal control. There's not a tight grip or a contraction. It's just that nice control. Hold it up. Elbows are going to come in narrow.

You're going to exhale, bend the elbows so the ball's right in front of your face. Exhale up. Now compliment this movement by lifting higher through your spine as you feel that elbow extension elevate yourself through your spine. Feel that pelvic floor acting like that beautiful shelf supporting your entire insides. Yes.

Feeling that extension. The little weight of that ball will start to sneak up on you. One more time. Then we do the same thing rotation. So you're going bend it and come up.

And bend to the knee. Reach up. And bend to the knee. Reach up. And just feel that beautiful spiral of the spine, just back and forth.

And just start to let your body move here. What sensations are you feeling? Are you feeling your back fatigue? Your shoulders fatigue? And just kind of soften your eyes, soften your gaze, and just accept those sensations through the body.

Might be a little bit uncomfortable, but use your breath. Use your control and just feel that movement. Holding it here, you're going to tip to the side. You're going to circle around with your torso. And bring it up.

Inhale. Exhale. Feel a little bit like just that rolling, that churning inside your body. Don't think of too much form. And up and to the left.

Inhale. Exhale. Feel your heart rate start to rise gently. Use your breath. And again, just go through your checklist of the sensations that you're feeling through your body.

And up. One more time. And hold it up. And this is our last part of our sequence. Just bend your elbows and extend.

So we're doing a little bit of a tricep extension. And hopefully I'm not messing up my perfectly manicured hair. I'm joking. And bend. Exhale.

Just feel the triceps work. You'll feel the shoulders by now are really starting to fatigue. But keep that calm. Give me five more. Keep in mind of your torso control.

Four, up, feeling tall, feeling proud. Embracing your endurance, embracing your strength. And hold it. And bring it down. Good.

That was fun. So now you're going to take the ball and place it behind you. So please be careful here. If you have somewhere where you can prop it up against something, that would be great. But once you kind of get it wedged into your lower back, I simply just want you to lie back and find a comfortable position.

So where your head is resting on the ball, but you feel secure. So we're going to do a little bit of shoulder opening here. Take your right arm back with an exhale. And switch back and forth. And just close your eyes here.

And just feel the stretch of the shoulder. And just like your arms are swinging like a pendulum. And I don't even mind if you put a little bit of an arch in your lower back. As you let your pelvis just get really heavy on the floor, it's the sensation I want you to embrace here. And switch.

Let's just do one more set. Switch. And bring the left arm down to match the right with the palms facing up. We're going to do little snow angel arms. So exhale, bring them above the head.

And inhale, down. And exhale. This is a great way to kind of get a little bit of stretch, a little bit of back extension, without having to go into any sort of extreme back extension, or of course we can't lie prone, or on our belly anymore. And just let that movement start to happen. If you feel the ball starting to slip away, just take a moment, pause, and bring it back underneath you.

Just don't fall. And bring it back. One more time. And up and hold that position. Feel that stretch.

We get so tight in our chests. We start to get rounded through our upper back. Once you're there, just bring your arms to the side, gently place them down. And just surrender in this position. Feeling the weight of your head on the ball, the weight of your back, the weight of your pelvis into your mat.

No holding on here, just let go. Taking that moment to relax in between the movements. Breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. To get up, I want you to put your hands down behind you and just slowly kind of roll yourself a little bit to the side, and go ahead and sit up. So next we're going to go move into a little bit of a leg series.

A sitting one, and then a kneeling one. So what I'd like you to do is take your ball and place in front of you. So again, you just need to be very cognisant of kind of positioning yourself where you feel comfortable. So again, if you need to elevate your hips, please do so. So what I want you to do is place your right ball of the foot on the ball.

And just take your left leg out in front of you. Now I've also done this with my leg kind of tucked in, but I find personally that I prefer it with my leg out. Then I want you to prop yourself up on your fingertips. So here you're kind of in this single leg frog position. You're simply going to extend your knee with an exhale Now again, depending on the size of your belly, you may have to do this slightly out to the angle so you can have a little bit of space.

So you're not feeling like you're trying to squish your leg in towards your growing belly there. Just very simple, but you'll feel the rotation through your hip. You'll feel the opening through your hip. And this is a great prep for some squatting exercises we're going to do later. Exhale.

And again, making sure that spine is lifted. Now the reason I wanted to incorporate a lot of this sitting work into this class, let's do two more. Is that even though you might be reclining during labor, you might be lying back, and there may be a moment where you feel like you need to stand, or you need to squat. And you need to have that back strength, and that core strength to be able to do that. You're going to slide the leg out just slightly and exhale, bring it back in.

So we're moving from the side of the body, exhale, gliding it back in front of the body. We're just going to do a few of these, just six. And exhale. So this is a challenging exercise. You're going to start to feel your hip flexor a little bit here, which is fine.

Don't worry. We're going to open that out a little bit later. And bring it in. So let's go ahead and switch here. So take your left foot on the ball.

Take your right leg out. So feeling nice and lifted here. So you're going to bring that heel in as far as you can. Remember, you can take the ball slightly out to the diagonal if that feels more comfortable, and extend. Bring it in.

So again, you have your arms here to help prop you up. If you're really feeling like you need a little assistance, go ahead and place like a box behind you, or even sit up against the wall as you do this. And bring it in. I just love the subtle work it gets in the rotators of the hip. And that nice deep crease that it gets in the hip.

And exhale. And in, let's go three more. You can see my foot starts to slide down. I'll simply just lift it back up on the ball when I need to. And hold there.

Take it out to the side. Inhale. Exhale in. I am flexing this bottom leg that's resting on the mat, but if you feel better just to let it relax, you can do that. And bring it out.

And feel like you're getting taller as you draw the leg in. Just two more. It's a nice challenging exercise. And last one. Exhale.

So now we're going to finish this short little sequence with both feet on the ball, propping yourself up, perched on top of your fingertips. Kind of like frog on the reformer. Bring the legs in as far as you can, then exhale, squeeze. The feet may need to be a little bit lower on the ball to accommodate the belly. Just move them where you need it.

And exhale. So really hold that position. Feel that pelvic floor. Feel the inner thighs. Then inhale, open.

Exhale. Inhale, open. Make sure that you're not shrugging your shoulders up towards your ears as you're doing this work. You going to feel that challenge to your back extension. Give me three more here.

So again just continually lifting, feeling that suppleness, that jellyfish like quality of the legs. And we'll do one more. Exhale. Then bring the legs in. Adjust your feet if you need to you.

And I want you to hold the ankles and pull the body forward. Let the elbows just rest slightly on the knee. Just feeling that nice control. And we're going to go ahead and rest. Now I want you to keep the ball there.

Then I want you to turn around so that you're in a kneeling position, a four point position. So we're going place the toe, the left foot, on the ball. And I want you to keep the toes of the right foot tucked forward and under. So you find your position and you're going to extend out. So again, it's not easy to keep that ball there, but I just want to put a little pressure down.

Then inhale in. And exhale. So squaring off the hips, feeling that your spine is as extended as possible. Exhale. And I want you to feel those hip extensors and that full body control.

Exhale. And give me three more. And two. Then we're going to add a little extra challenge to it. And one.

Now as you bend your left knee you're going to bring your right heel up towards your bottom. So you're getting a hamstring curl on that right leg. Then extend. Bring it in. And extend.

Lots of energy reaching up through the crown of the head. Again, just focusing. Can you maintain this position for this 30 to 45 seconds? This challenge, this balance, this focus? That's how long our contractions last, right?

Although they're a lot harder than this is, but still you can relate it. If you can find that control, find that breath, find that focus. As you enjoy this challenge hold there. Now you're just going to finish with some push-ups. So elbows in, inhale.

Exhale up. And just six of these. Feeling the abdominal wall stay nice and in and controlled. Letting that foot just rest. Last one and hold.

Now without losing the ball, simply place the top of the foot on the ball, and relax your bottom foot. Now just to finish, you're going to swing the ball to the left, and you're going to look at your foot. So you're doing a little lateral flexion through your body. And then bring it back. And exhale.

And inhale. Reach it long as you bring it back. Exhale. And reach it long. Exhale.

So acceptance, I'm getting very frustrated that I'm losing this ball. But I'm going to just accept it. And bring it back. And keep working with it, and not lose my patience. And bring it back.

Hold it. And down. OK so let's move on to the next side. So right foot up against the ball. Find your position there.

Squaring yourself off. And inhale. And exhale. Now you'll get a little more bang for your buck here if you just gently push your foot down into the ball as you press. And really feel like the movement's being initiated from your gluteals.

Spreading the scapula apart as wide as you can. Make sure you're not locking out in your elbows, but you're keeping a little bit of that co-contraction. So just bring a little more bicep into it. And exhale. Two more.

That beautiful control. And then we're going to add the left leg hamstring curl. So exhale, and it's a little balance. Exhale. If this bothers your knee, just pause the video and put a pad under that left knee.

You could have done the same thing on the right side. Exhale. Extend. Two more. Exhale.

Extend. Last one. And hold it into the push-ups. Bend. Extend.

So just let the body dip as one solid piece. Bend. Extend. And keep reaching forward through the crown of the head. Keep energy through the heel of hands as you lower.

Last two. Feeling the triceps work, feeling that body control. And up. On the the top of the foot, you're going to swing around with an exhale. And inhale.

Exhale, look, like there's something on that ball that you want to see. And I'm allowing my pelvis to swing over to the left as I wrap that right foot around. And allowing that right hip to kind of hike up toward the right ribcage. Last one. And all the way.

Hold it. And softly bring it down. So that's some of our little hip and leg work. We're going to come and bring the ball around forward. We're going to do some kneeling work here.

So I want you to come up on your knees. You can bring your feet together so you're kind of making a triangle there. You're going to hinge forward with a flat back. Inhale. Now notice how I let my hips go back to counter-balance the action.

This is exactly what I want. And then exhale. I want you to bring the ball up. And inhale. Even if you only go halfway down because that's where you feel more comfortable, more in control, then go ahead and do that.

But there's a really interesting thing happening here. As you go forward, your pelvis is opening, your pelvic bones are literally widening on the bottom part, the inferior part of the pelvis. So feel that opening and then as you come up, the bones actually come closer together. You can do a little pelvic squeeze. And inhale, reach far forward.

And exhale, a little pelvic squeeze. And this is the last one. I want you to hold it. Now here place the palms firmly on top of the ball. I want you to reach your shoulders up towards your ears.

Then exhale, glide the scapula down. Inhale, reach, Exhale, glide. So you're going to feel the challenge through your center body. As you're supporting yourself in the position, and that's exactly what I want you to do. Two more.

And exhale. Last one. And you're going to roll yourself up and lift the ball up, pressing the hips forward, feeling that hip extension. Roll down. And out.

So now instead of hinging, we're getting the rolling action like a cat stretch. Roll up, life the ball up. Feel that expansion. Feel that height. And roll.

And up. Now I want you to start to move with a little bit more freedom. Like nobody's watching you. And roll. And rolling up, and just feel how your breath matches that movement.

Feel that freedom. And roll. One more time, rolling up. And then we'll take that element just a little bit further. We're going to transition rolling down, and I want you to place your arms, forearm over the other, and your forehead down on the ball.

Now this is going to be a more challenging position if you want a little bit more support, bring the ball to your chest, turn your cheek to one side and hug the ball there. But I'm going to show the slightly more challenging way to do this work. And just challenging meaning by there's just not as much support. But both are going to be very beneficial because what I want you to do is bring your hips back. Circle to the right and around.

And all you're doing is just letting that rotation happen. And just feeling the freedom there. So no form. No objective than just letting your body rotate and roll. Just five times.

And again, this is a position that if you're able to move during your labor, I want you to adopt this. I want you to try this. This kind of circular movement of your pelvis opening and closing your pelvis. This could actually help the baby descend down into the pelvis. Help relieve the sensations, the strong sensations of contractions.

One more. And bring it around. And roll yourself up. Now I want you to tuck your toes under and I want you to come up into a small v. So you have the ball here to help you balance.

So here we're going to go into a little bit of a squat exercise. Now if you're like me, when you come into a deep squat, your Achilles aren't so generous and can't get your heels down. So you may want to roll up a towel to put under your heels. If you can get into a position where your heels can go all the way down, that's what I would prefer. Very carefully I want you to open your legs a little bit wider and I want you to adopt that squat position.

Your ball, even though you might not think it is, it's a little bit of your support here. So what I want to do is I want you to bring the hips halfway up, and then exhale, bring them down. Bring them halfway up, and exhale, bring them down. Bring them halfway up. And hold.

This time take the ball a little further forward. Inhale, bring the head, neck, and chest up. And exhale, reach. And you're going to feel a lot of work in your legs. that's exactly what I want you to feel.

And exhale, bring it forward. And inhale, reaching up. And exhale forward. One more time. Reaching up.

And exhale forward. And then bring yourself back down into your squat. And hold it. Halfway up, inhale. Exhale, take it down.

Halfway up, so you have to grab on to. That endurance here, ladies. The legs are going to fatigue. You're going to feel it. Up and down.

One more time. And hold it. Pelvic curl in. And extend. Try to stay on the same level.

Pelvic curl in. And extend. Feeling that expansion through your pelvis, through your shoulders. Pelvic curl in. And extend.

One more time. Pelvic curl in. Extend your legs. Roll the ball in. And we're almost there.

I want you to sit on the ball. So that support of your ball as you do those squats, kind of coming back and forth, you could use the ball during labor. Hold onto the edge of a bed. You could hold on to your partner. But that kind of give and take of the ball and your body as you're going in and out of those squats, that's what I want your to do.

So here we're going to do some bouncing. Little bit of toning for the pelvic floor, but more importantly, I want you to focus on just letting it all go here. OK? So just kind of feeling free. So the rhythm is going to be a four count.

One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. As I catch my breath here. And they're just little bounces. So we're going to start with some body movements.

So we're going to swing the arms forward. One, two, three, back. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. Kind of fun.

Up. One, two, three, four. So just soft rounding. Let those arms just be free. Very un-Pilates-esque here.

And you know what? You're not going to be doing Pilates during labour. You're going to be doing anything that feels good. And I want you just to feel free here. So up.

Now we're going to go. Right, left, right, right. Left, right. Doesn't it look like I'm having fun? Right, right, left, right.

Left, left. So just let those hips go back and forth. You can look if you want. I wouldn't close your eyes here. You want to make sure you keep your balance.

Just let yourself just go free. For some women this kind of bouncing sensation feels really good while they're going through their contractions. Just to kind of help distract them, help put a little smile on their face. And one more time. And we're going to finish with just, swing, swing, swing, swing.

Letting it all free. You'll feel your heart rate start to come up a little bit. Just let yourself swing. And I don't need you to think like squeeze, relax, squeeze, relax of your pelvic floor necessarily here, but just that kind of sensation that's happening, that reaching into the ball and coming out of the ball. That pelvic floor is just kind of having that nice beautiful natural work going on here.

Just a couple more. And I just want you to settle down into it. Nice and slow. And relax. It's just about just having a little bit of fun and letting free.

So here's to finish, I'm going to turn to the side so you can see me. I want to make sure that you feel really good here. I want you to bring your left back behind you. So you're in a lunging position here. And make sure that your right foot is securely in front of you.

Just be careful in that transition. Now bring your pelvis underneath you. And sit up nice and tall. Now I originally learned a version of this stretch from one of my teachers Carolyn Anthony, who also does classes here on Pilates Anytime. And it just is a really nice, profound, beautiful stretch for the hip flexor.

And it's so effective for pregnant women because we don't put ourselves into an extreme position where we can really enjoy the benefit of that stretch. So we have Carolyn to thank for this beautiful, wonderful stretch. And I'd like by keeping your knees slightly bent you can even get a little bit into the quadriceps here, which is really nice. But our focus of course are those deep hip flexors. Because of that tightness that they get.

And slowly come out of it. And turn the other way, adjusting yourself carefully. Now once you get there, the idea is to pull your pelvis underneath you as is you were going into a posterior tilt. Bring your pubic symphisis forward. Press that the back foot into the mat as much as you can.

Elevate yourself so basically you're opening up more and create more of that space. Those deep breaths. Then slowly bring yourself forward. Sitting with your legs open, arms above your head, take your breath in. Exhale hinge forward.

And place your hands down on the floor. And feel like you're reaching your bottom back behind you. Should feel like a spider. And allow those knees to open. You can even roll the ball slightly forward so that your thighs open a little bit more out to the side, increasing that stretch on the adductors.

Increasing that pelvic opening. Breathing here. Then I simply want you to extend your legs. You can bring your arms up to your fingertips. Or you can hold onto your ankles.

Whatever feels more comfortable for you. And then just enjoy this little hamstring stretch. If your legs shake a little bit, just breathe through that. They very well might after those squats and that little bouncing series. But more importantly I just want you to feel your pelvis opening out wide behind you.

And let you hips rest. Rolling up, gently bringing your legs back together. We're just going to finish with just a couple little pelvic floor squeezes and relaxing. So place your hands down on the side of the ball. I want you to literally feel you're going to squeeze and lift the ball up into your pelvis.

As you contract the pelvic floor musculature and feel like everything's rising up towards your sternum. So you should literally feel like you kind of floated up an inch or so, then inhale, let everything relax. So exhale, I'm going to draw everything in and up. You can't really see me moving, per say, nor will you see yourself moving, but it's just that sensation that everything is closing and lifting up. And then let it just relax.

And let it kind of spill out over the ball. One more time. And exhale. And down. Inhale, bring your arms up.

Now notice how the body feels. We're finishing in this seated position. I'm just going to have you move your arms, float them up and down on the ball. And start to think about those things that you feel like you needed to work on as far as acceptance goes. Fears, or apprehensions, or concerns, or negativity.

And then here realize how good you feel, and how strong you feel after you move your body. You give your body a little TLC with some nice Pilates movement. And that sense of that same movement coming in to help you accept the sensations, or the worries, or the fear, or the excitement that comes along with giving birth to a child. It may seem like a small connection now, but it could turn into a powerful connection if you want it to and if you let it. And bring the arms down.

Place your hands on your thighs, on top of your knees, just very gently. Nice big breath in. And out. Thank you for joining me today and I hope that you open yourself up to your acceptance and your freedom. And that you enjoyed it.

I did. Thank you so much.


Excelente aula!!!
Great great class- thank you!
What an awesome class.
Tricky to keep the ball in place during some exercises, but really, just added to the fun aspect of then class! Oh yeah, and I'll definitely keep working on those squats! Thank you

I'm so happy you enjoyed the class Yes, apart of the fun is keeping that ball in place, I guess we can think of it as preparing us for part of the unforeseen involved in labor and birth All the best to you, and yes, practice those squats for a healthy pelvic floor.
This was a great class. Thanks
Great. Thank you!
I LOVED this class!!! Thank you so much.... I feel amazing now ;)
Leah I am thoroughly enjoying your prenatal series. This week I experienced my first growing pains (which I'm told is normal!) but I felt very restricted in my body yesterday. I thought a class would help to loosen me up and get me feeling back to normal, and I have to say I feel stretched and strong and relaxed. Thank you!
Can't say enough about this class.....every time I do this work out I feel great! :) Thanks!
Me again! By far this is my favourite class and I always feel stretched and stronger afterwards ! Thank you!
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