Class #1614

Stimulating Reformer

40 min - Class


Niedra teaches a Reformer workout which focuses on stimulating your mind and body. She includes many challenging variations using the Magic Circle like the Hundred, Teaser, Elephant, and more. Niedra encourages you to use the method to service your body so you can enjoy the movement and get out of your head.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Magic Circle

About This Video

May 03, 2014
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Hi there. Today I'm going to do a reformer with magic circle to tone the legs in and your bat. And uh, I am working with a balanced body reformer, which is different for me. I'm used to a grot. It is set up right now on three red springs. And the uh, foot bar is in the middle rig in the middle section, so not too high, not too low. Before I actually lie down, I wanted to tone the legs. I'm placing the magic circle right between the knees, sitting up nice and tall and squeezing, intake, engage my adductors and squeezing and lifting and squeezing and lifting and squeezing and lifting and squeeze and squeeze.

So every time I'm engaging my apps, feeling the lift through the spy and just kind of warming up my legs. Moving down just below the knees, this becomes much more interesting because now I'm actually focusing on the shinbone and activating it because it can kind of fly all over the place and also get impacted. So it's frozen. So getting a sense of how that shinbone works is very useful for detail in the legwork detail in the footwork. Riches. Where are we going with all of this? Moving down just above the ankle bones and again, sometimes I can recommend working with the heels as well, so there's a slight external rotation happening in the legs or just pressing the shinbone inwards. So occasionally when people have completely dropped ankles dropping out, you'll have to really see if it's the bowl or the foot and this starts to strengthen that outer part of the inner part and outer part of the ankle itself.

Now moving to the outer leg, placing the magic circle on the outer side, pressing out. So now from the hip to the knee, I'm engaging in warming up that section. I can feel my pelvis actually widening as I do this. Often we can pull in and hug the midline to such an extent that this outer part of the legs is not as activated. So today that's going to be part of what I'll be working on and focusing inner leg, outer leg using straps. Magic Circle. Yes. Moving down.

Now it's the shinbone and half again and right here I'm going to add something. I'm going to press out and lift the heels, lower the heels, release, press out, lift. I'm connecting my foot and my calf and shinbone so it will start to get the relationship of the lower leg working and really lifting up, lowering down, moving down to just above the ankle. Again pressing out, so I'm doing five of these. This is my fifth one and now lifting up, stabilizing the ankle, lowering down, pressing out, slightly, activating my foot, lowering down, releasing and again lifting up two more times, lifting up all the time.

I'm also keeping my spine long, reaching up through the crown of the head, so a lot of just fine detail coming in into the legs to wake them up. The neck and the throat. An area that I, we just usually take for granted, so making sure my neck is nice and long, pressing down, just waking up the muscles in the front of the throat and feeling the length coming into the back of the neck. Also checking that my shoulders are down and the spine is long as I'm getting the sense of where the neck connect right in with the back of the spine and the sense of being vertical and supported all at the same time. So putting the magic circle down, lying down for regular food work to begin with. All five toes are on.

I'm checking that my back is long and pressing out and activating all these points. I just warmed up with the magic circle pressing out and at the same time I'm checking my ankle in relation to the shinbones. Are they long? Are they stable? Can they feel my inner and outer thighs working? And I really love doing the footwork after waking up to muscles cause so much more comes in moving onto bird on a perch.

I am going to move down just a little bit so I can feel all five toes wrapped around and I'm checking is my arch on both feet on my arches lifted. I have a tendency with my left foot to drop the arch down so making sure the arch is lifted but the ankle is stabilized inwards. Arch is moving out, ankle bones are moving in so that the foot is anchored and then the relationship of the ankle to the Shin and the cap is being held really nicely. And then just a few more pressing the heels down. Just a stretch up those ankle joints and stretch across the top of the foot.

Cross the metatarsal. All right, I'm pressing out. Very nice. And moving on now to the flex position. Checking anchor ball, foot arch lifted the toes spread and the knees actually facing the ceiling versus going in or going out. Multiple checking. Can I feel these outer size and inner thighs and here's my back, my fin long and going back to tendon stretch. Palati stance, double checking that all five toes are on, making sure I have inner and outer thighs working and lowering down and lifting.

So this is can be more and more interesting as the legs become more sophisticated because I'm looking to feel both the quads and the hamstrings and the outer size and the inner thighs all supporting the bone and the shin bone lengthening down and up with the ankle stable. So there's actually a lot going on. If I pay attention to this now working into one leg, I'm bringing the one foot in front of the ankle, pressing out, lowering both and reaching with both heels and coming in. I am pressing out so a lot more detail now being demanded of my left lay to stay stable in this position. At the same time I'm connecting the legs into my hips, into my back.

And one more time. And now just a few fast ones to loosen up the leg and loosen up the hamstring and challenge this fast. Um, quick firing muscles, which sometimes if we're working slow in detail, don't get addressed and they're very stimulating. So here we go. Lower lift. For now I'm working slow and detailed. I'm building up the stability in the standing leg and also getting used to my hip on the left side, starting to be engaged as a stabilizer for the moving leg. Now adding the fast ones up, up, up, up.

Oh, that was so good. So moving onto the hundreds, I am releasing a spring sag now on to red springs. Magic circle is between the ankles and my straps. Fun to work with a different kind of reformer cause it feels so different based stimulating. So here we go, reaching and squeezing that circle for five pulses and then really working the at the inner thigh into three four, five. Exhale, three four pipe in four, five. Exhale, three, four, five into five. Exhale three, four, five into three, four, five. Exhale, three people by in four. Five exhale, three, four, five. Last set. Exhale three, four, five and reaching arms up. I'm putting the circle down, my already on two springs so I can get right into my short spine and I'm ready for a little massage, making sure the hips are lifting first and then using the whole trunk to lift up and float over. So this is definitely a lovely stretch.

Only halfway down and then lengthening the hips away, keeping the fit feet length and it's, I can get into those high part of my hamstrings and again, lifting. Now I'm actually helping with my arms up high, floating over, bending halfway and rolling down, lengthening out of the hips into the lower spine and down and now three fast once as I'm a firm believer in taking time to move fast because that's where you kind of have fun. Once you've mastered the technique, it is so useful to get out of your head and just move a little bit and enjoy the emotion and not think too much. This is when you already know what you're doing. Now adding a little stretch, taking the legs way, way out, working into the inner thighs, bending and pressing out. I'm anchoring my hips nicely. I definitely have difference between the right and left hips, so this is a very nice way for me to work into evening out both legs as much as I'm able to reversing it, going out, deepening the powerhouse and I'm not going all the way in so I can stay in the spring tension and in the strap tension all the way. Okay. Coming back, getting my magic circle for coordination and coming up, extending out, pulling in, bending, bending, extending out, squeezing in, bending, bending. Last one and eight pulses, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight squeezing all the way in, all the way in, taking the magic circle off and coming up for long box. So some nice fun variations as I've been enjoying recently.

First of all, just working into the upper back and into the lats, which I consider for most women are way under developed. So my face is literally over the edge. I have my knees just over the box and making sure my spine is long, shoulders down, and then pressing out. Well, I'm on two screens so I'm actually moving myself down to one red spring in the middle. So even though I know there's a lot of times people want to know how many springs are on the reformer, I highly recommend the fact that spring tension is kind of like salt and pepper with your food. At a certain point you decide if you want more or less.

And as each machine is quite different, it's good to test it. Now I'm starting to lift up. As I come in, bending down, I'm adjusting my hands now to the top, pushing out again. So this is almost like a handstand position. Lifting my head, looking between my hands, lifting the chest and lengthening the trunk up, bending down, pressing out, looking between my hands and reaching forward to, there's a connection in the front body and in the labs. Then I start to bring my back body in, coming down and now one hand behind my back and five times working with one hand. Very interesting because they can feel how much the body wants to adjust and one more time and then moving into the other hand and pressing.

And this definitely I would suggest if it's your first time work with a lighter tension spring, you will know if the spring tension is too much for you. But great for stabilizing the shoulders and stabilizing the back. Taking the magic circle between my ankles, still holding on here and lifting. So now I'm working into the hamstrings, working into the glutes now, lifting and extending out and again, pressing out, bending, coming in, pressing out, trying to keep the knees off the box, bending, coming in, pressing out with the legs. I can't remember my variation, but the concept is fine.

So pressing out, reaching, bending, coming back, they were like that variation. Pressing out, reaching, bending, coming back, crossing out, reaching, bending, coming back in. Oh that felt lovely. So pulling on the straps, now I will lower the foot bar and standing up. I'm on one red spring right now, pressing all the way out to push up position and lowering down. Reaching into the wrapping my hands inside the straps, although they are fabric, I'm used to the wood straps. So pulling the shoulders back and lengthening the arms, lifting and looking forward and down and again, pulling through the straps and lifting a little bit more.

And now adding in the bend knees so the knees are up, pulling and working those knees up and again, bending and working the knees way up and out. Arms will go to the side. Now and here I'm internally rotating, pulling the arms behind my bottom and taking them out. And same thing, bending the knees, pulling the arms back and stretching the legs out. Two more times like this, lifting the knees off the box and out.

And one more time pulling and lifting the knees and all the way out and getting off. Making sure I have two springs and I'm putting myself on one red and one blue. This is going to be interesting to get on. Magic Circle straps, double work for the price of one arms and legs up, only the arms open and then squeezing everything as tight as I can. Try and get that magic circle really tight and coming back, lifting up.

I am so used to opening my legs. I have to really be in present time. Not to open them, but actually squeezed for the many years of doing the exercise one way. Oh okay. And teaser. Whoops, I better move on to one spring. I'll be in trouble. So let me put the straps back and I am now on one red spring.

Let me see here. One and one long back long arms. I'm already starting to engage the magic circle and then boring myself up into my teaser three times with the arms and then bending the knees and straightening them, bending them, straightening them, trying to stay high and stable in my core as I open out and again curling up and three times one, two, three same thing again, two, three and rolling down and I have to watch that. I miss the foot bar. This is definitely for me an exercise and being in present time because it's kind of like this dish of work experience of I know what I'm doing but I don't know what I'm doing because the machine is different and I'm changing the exercise a little bit and I have to say I am a firm, firm believer in not doing the same thing because we all need stimulation. We all liked variety. We all [inaudible] like to think on our feet and problem solve and doing things differently is so wonderful for that reason alone and the workout that we're dealing with up bending the arms in, pressing the arms out and down. So is is about life.

It is about increasing your life force in your body, increasing your degree of health and being organized in your centers. So you can take on the unexpected aspects of life from a place of creative joy. How about that? For Philosophy, while I'm working my biceps, but I genuinely believe that and I believe that this work needs to address way, way more than just getting a tone body. And that's the beauty of it. Now I've got my feet bent and I'm going into shaving.

So leaning forward I can feel the pull into my spine and then working six times. And interestingly enough, I'm pulling my feet slightly back on the box. I'm actually gripping the box with my calves to engage so it becomes a full body exercise. This is my last one. Lifting up, lengthening all the way out and coming down. So now going into normal long stretch series because I just want a little bit of plank work here to stabilize.

I'm back with the foot bar in the middle rung. I'm back on to red springs and long position of the spine. So I'm bringing the heels for them, hugging the midline cause it's nice and strong. Now with all the magic circle I've been doing pressing out and I'm trying to keep my heels forward with the whole time pressing out and nice and long with the body and keeping my hips very stable. And now the spring tension here is nice and strong for me.

One leg up and come back in three times in one leg. Good. And I'm going to change and do the same with the other leg. And my focus right now, especially on my left leg is just keeping it stable cause I have all the injuries in the joints that mean my leg feels a little wobbly. So again, all of that ankle, knee, hip stabilization, making sure the muscles are connected properly. So essential for keeping the my left side really long and strong and part of my body, part of my own agenda and then lifting up, opening the chest. So I like to interpret this one as a bit of a back extension and I'm going to really use it here, pressing my hips way down.

And then as I come in, I'm literally allowing my sacred to come way in. I'm lifting the ribs away from the hips. I can feel as super stretch in the hip flexors and I'm allowing the chest to be very, very open, which is something I consider very healthy because we usually get locked up in that area. So nice lift. One more back extension. Working out from the hips. Opening owl. We're reaching back, moving into up stretch.

I like to really work the IX, the pressing of my chest in uh, attempting to get my head all the way to the knees. Now obviously I'm more flexible than many of you, but working into the stretches, uh, shoulders out and allows the hamstrings to release a lot. So for me here, staying that low, so I really lock the hips. Then I pull the shoulders down the back and with control. Let me see if I can get all the way in. Oh, that feels wonderful. Again, broad shoulders, but giving them a bit of a stretch, pressing out, narrowing the hips, coming all the way in, looking to control everything. Yes. One more time. Pressing out, coming all the way in and lifting up for elephant, making sure my top priority is the heels.

So first I get the heels digging down. Sometimes I'll swing my hips way back just to get the weight into the heels. Then I only come as far forward as I can feel that taking more weight than the ball of the foot and then lifting up as high as I can. Oh, and I'm going to add the magic circle and make this a magical elephant. So here we are. I have to take my feet slightly wider, make sure my knees are going straight forward. Ankle bones are lifted, arches are lifted and weight is in the heel and boy am I legs working right now because all of the slight alignments of the joints that I is, my program where the knees a little bit off from the ankle bone and each of us has some of this stuff. I'm really working to get maximum alignment of hip, knee, ankle and heel and big toe and little toe working.

And it's wonderful with his magic circle because it's giving me a way of getting into that so much better. So from here I'll go into the stomach massage. Fun Way to get into it. It's a bit of a longer machine is long on my back. Scabbing my feet, all five toes in place and rowing up. Just that's a workout.

So I'm quite forward looking to get my shoulders as far over my hips as I can. So now all of this work in the legs that I was focusing on earlier is doing wonders for the detail that I can get out of my ankles and calves and then quads into hamstrings, into my hips really feels delicious and I'm releasing a spring, bringing the hands behind, lifting way up, just checking that I'm not crunching my shoulder blades together. I want the shoulders down, but then wide I'm getting this upper back really lifted up into the neck. Five, six, seven and eight. Oh, okay. I'm taking back my lovely magic circle.

So big lift out of the sit bones, reaching forward and up as I press out, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze and reach the arms long and for. But keep lifting the spine. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. And one more time. Extending out. Lifting the back. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Coming in. And now pressing out shoulders a down. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Oh, this is a nice challenge. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. And now twisting.

Worsting, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze and lifting and rotation. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. And if you find it almost impossible to twist, look with your eyes. And you may be surprised that if the eyes lead the movement, there's more movement available and come back in. And now pressing out again, pulling the shoulders.

The trick here is a shoulders pulling down. And every time I'm milking this a little bit more reaching and lengthening my hamstrings, lengthening my sacred, lengthening my waist, lengthening the rib cage, and I'm using the shoulders and the traction of the arms to get that extra work into the whole spinal back trunk. And it feels delicious and coming back in. Oh absolutely. Love that. Now let me see here. Back to my magic circle.

And going into court screw and all of that heavy power work. So here's the magic circle and I'm a little bit away from the shoulder rest so I can actually roll up, lengthening my back and rolling way, way, way up. And then rolling down on the right side I have to adjust a little bit. Left side and up and other side. Left, right and lift.

And again, right left lifting up. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, left side going up again. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. One more time. Right side up. Looking to get really high. I'm rolling. Twisting out to my left side, left, right and up. And now just for fun and Games, I'm going to go for the airplane.

I bring my elbows in so I can get more engagement into my lots. I'm not that strong. Hugging the midline and looking to lower down. This is definitely more for guys. Oh yes. But I liked the tough one. Okay.

That's always fun. Interesting and different. So I put in the foot bar back up on the middle run here I have got two springs and I'm placing the magic circle between my thighs just to work and prepare myself for deeper backbends or extension. So first of all, hugging the mid line, just warming up those innercise even more. They're pretty warm, I have to say. Now I'm squeezing, rolling my hips up, rolling my hips down, releasing the knees and I just realized the machine was moving slightly different tension and rolling up, looking to keep them. This machine very stable, rolling down and releasing and again squeezing, rolling up lengths and he's a very much like normal bridge getting the length, especially in the hip flexors, rolling down, releasing the knees. Now I'm going to go up just the way I did, getting that length in the pelvis and eight times squeezing the inner size to really get even more stability and control around the pelvis. I think this is almost eight. I'll say this is a, and then rolling down, rolling down, rolling down, releasing the knees.

Now from here, I am going to bring my feet onto the football or not under the flipper, but onto carriage and I'm lifting my hips just the way I did before my head rest should be down and I'm popping onto the crown of the head. Now this is a thing, there's a tendency to drop, so I'm pressing and lengthening the neck, lifting the ribs. This is actually all about the laps and then pulling down and up. So a lot of work in the trunk, in the hips and in the neck to make it strong and stable. Very good. Oh goodness. That is a doozy. Whatever that's supposed to mean. Now moving by, feet up onto the foot bar, lifting the hips again.

So here I am on my head. I am shifting a little bit towards the feet, so woopsie daisy, let me see. I'm going to put my hands down and lifting up. Once I'm up here, I'm moving my hands into the shoulder rests and working them out in, in in order to get this amazing opening and stretch in the top of the chest and the shoulders. Then coming down and lowering down.

Yes, I was good. Interesting to do on a different machine. And let's see here. I think I'm just going to do as I did back when I'm going to do knee stretch. So coming on and kneeling, rounding the Spine, Oh that feels delicious and opposition showed us a down and just working a few of these. [inaudible] keeping my scoop.

Now I'm bringing the machine in and lengthening my trunk so it's fine. Is now nice and long and again and third variation. I'm rounding, lifting the knees up and going all the way out and and again, eight times. Every time I come back in I'm opening up the waste contract in the stomach and pulling the knees in towards the chest down with care, bringing the right foot up for a thigh stretch. So I'm still on two springs here, two red springs, bringing the hips way forward. Just taking a moment to feel the hip open. This pelvis square and the chest lifted. This foot part is a little bit higher, so it's a really lovely, slightly different stretch for me.

I'm working into the heel of the back leg as I stretch out, letting the hips get nice and low and come back up. So I'm more interested. And this opening, when I look at someone else, I always look knee, pelvis, knee to see if the pelvis, if the, I can get a straight line to happen between the thigh joints and of course keeping the pelvis even. So the right side is down, the left side is lifting and pulling forward. And I think I can go a little deeper on this side. And now lifting way up on the left, keeping the right hip down, all punning, these side ribs, other side, bringing the hips forward. Again, lifting up such a lovely stretch right here into the quad, into the hip flexors. So nice and long. I'm working into this backlight first to get a nice stretch.

So it's very tempting in this work to press with the front leg. This is what people want to do, but it's actually about the backlight and it's about keeping the knees bent. At least this is what I like to look at, keeping the knees bent. So you really warming up and opening up the thighs, lengthening the quad in the back and the hip flexors so you're ready for the deeper splits. This is not the deep splits. This is setting you up for the big ones.

Then lifting up and lengthening through the right side, stretching over and now just to cool down running. So I'm putting myself back on three springs, had rest will be up, making sure all five toes are on that my back is long and first evenly pressing out. I'm actually going to push out three times just to get this sense of right leg and left leg evenly working, so even pressure on all five toes on each foot and I'm burning to start slow to really open up the metatarsal and make sure my ankle joint is working at capacity in a balanced way. And now that I'm quite pleased with the alignment, it feels healthy, it feels integrated. I'm just working faster and coming back in heels on the bar. Nice wide thighs and scooping.

So more open than normal. Ken, this was a variation that Ramana used to give us, dancers who were obsessed with our turnout and how much out of body range of movement we could do. And sometimes you would humorous or actually support us and she would use the method to support the dream of the person, which is such, oh lovely, lovely way to look at technique. Cause technique is really not just one way. It has many, many PR services and are also different [inaudible] method to service you to support your vision. So hope you had fun with me cause I sure had fun doing something new and different. Playing with a machine I not used to and challenging myself.

And after all, that's what this is all about. So thank you.


i just love your enthusiasm and's all fun and games! Thank you for the inspiration.

I just love your routines. So original. I use a lot of your routines on myself and clientele. Excellent. Thank you.

Niedra Gabriel
Thank you Ladies, so happy you enjoy the spirit of play, and the commitment behind them. always makes me smile to know someone else is getting the spirit and vision.
Thank you Niedra…amazing verbal and energy! Flow and precision is so inspiring! Im looking forward to delivering this class to my clients!
Niedra Gabriel
Thank yo Lois, I can just see the fun you will have teaching this. I see you are a new studio owner and I can feel your enthusiasm for your work in your bio.
How fun and insightful you are. I am so glad that even though you are classical trained, you can be open to trying s new reformer and see the outcomes. I think the more we leave are selves open, the more we can receive.
I decided to watch this because of the amazing still shot from the video on the home page, and I am so glad I did--I've never watched a video by Niedra before, and I really loved it!
Niedra Gabriel
Thank you Alicia, So glad you enjoyed the video. I must say, I LOVE to move, Love to teach and share, and love to communicate with like minded people, so welcome. PA is an amazing resource for people.
Niedra, thank you for your teaching, I love the leg workout.
Wonderful! Thank you!
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