Class #1645

Wunda Chair Fundamentals

35 min - Class


Meredith teaches a fundamental Wunda Chair workout designed to take someone who is familiar with the basics of Pilates Matwork through an introduction of the Wunda Chair. She explores Press Downs, Backwards Arms, Footwork, and Swan, among other exercises. Meredith's clear cuing and explanations demonstrate that even the fundamental Pilates exercises can be challenging and a great workout!
What You'll Need: Wunda Chair, Moon Box, Knee Pad

About This Video

May 10, 2014
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Hi, today we're going to work on the one to chair in the class that we're doing is going to be geared towards f more beginner or fundamental level student. That being said, I always as a teacher like to make sure before I put my students on any piece of equipment, especially the one two chair that they have had at least some experience with PyLadies mat movements and things of that nature so that they can translate movements that they already know onto a piece of apparatus. So without further ado, here we go. So we're going to just begin standing right in front of the chair, finding balance over both feet, the fetal be just underneath the sitting bones, feeling the alignment of the spine, the alignment traveling from the ankles through the knees, up through the pelvis, through the shoulders and out through the top of the head. Inhale, taking the arms out and a just connecting the mind and the body. Exhale to bring the arms down. As the arms are falling down, allow the head to start to travel forward and roll the spine forward. As the spine is rounding forward, let's soften the knees so we just let the head be heavy.

The palms of the hands face one another. Inhale here. Exhale, peel the spine back up. Keeping the knee soft. As we roll articulating through the spine. As the spine comes up straight, the knees can straighten, the arms are going to reach out and not pressing the arms back down to the sides. Again, exhaling as we draw the chin in towards the chest. Huh? Going out through the abdominals, softening the knees and just using this as a moment to connect, to link the mind and the body. Inhale here and exhale to roll the spine up. So feeling the work through the front of the body, manipulating the back side of the body. Like straighten the arms, come out and uh, and the arms. Press back down. We'll do that one more time.

Excelling to take the body forward, rolling through the spine, allowing the knees to soften. Just kidding. That nice mobility in the back from the bottom in here. Exhale, stretch the legs towards straight. And inhale. Allow the knees to bend again. Exhale, draw up through the center, letting the ribs press up into the center of the back. Inhale, allow the knees to bend. We'll do that twice. More heavy head reaching a and bent and reaching out. And one last bend.

Inhale here. And exhale, just allowing the spine to start travelling back upwards. Soft softness in the spine. Coming all the way back to upright. Come down onto the mat. I have one spring on four, so one spring on the top. I'm just going to place my feet in, um, right out the arches of my feet on the edge of the chair setting up for the pelvic curl. So we're gonna press the pedal to the floor. Once the pedals down the feet form a prehensile position over the arch of the pad. We inhale here. Exhale, keeping the pedal connected to the ground.

Start to roll the spine so the arms are long. The neck is long. Inhale at the top and exhale. Just softening through the breastbone. Feeling the shoulders just resting on the floor, drawing and creating space between the bones of the spine as we travel back down into the floor all the way down to the pelvis. Inhale, exhale, flattening through the spine first, trying to keep the pedal on the floor. It's at that moment right as the lower spine is flexing that that's where that challenge arises. Inhaling at the top and exhale, sliding the body back down, feeling the heaviness of the shoulder blades, the elongation through the back of the neck.

Right here as the lower spine flexes. We've got a rurally work, our hamstrings. It's a great place, this excelling to lift, to really teach someone the importance of working the hamstrings in the pelvic curl. Note the attention to detail, the length of the arms, the wildness of the collarbones, the stability of the pedal. As the spine comes all the way down. We'll do one more inhale and exhale. Curling the body up. I'm a hold at the top and just do a simple bridging exercise in healing to hold cause we exhale.

We're just going to float the left leg up and inhale to reach it back down. Exhale, float the left leg up, drawing up through the center of the body and inhale to reach it down. Exhale, float the Lega and inhale to reach it down. Last two. Exhale floating up and notice that there's a shift from side to side in the body and try to eliminate any of that. Placing that foot back down, reorganize the pelvis if one side has dropped and then Xcel picking up the other. Lay. Inhale we reach and tap XLE. Draw in and lift. Inhale, reach into. Exhale, draw in and lift arms heavy and law hits high and centered. Last too, and last one, placing foot back down on the pedal. Inhale. Exhale.

Roll the spine down all the way. And then as we come to the bottom, we just with control, allow the pedal to lift back up. You're going to bring the arms out to the sides, palms facing up. Lift one leg at a time, off the pedal into a tabletop position. As we inhale, we're going into the spine twist, so we take the legs across to one side and then we come from the center of the body to take the body back in. You're reaching over to the opposite side, keeping the knees aligned with one another and exhale as we pull back to center.

As we inhale and rotate that one hip lifts off the ground. The feet stay aligned with the knees and exhale to pull back. Drawing the navel back towards the spine as the knee shift from side to side. Inhale and exhale Chubb Draw back just a couple more times. Breathing in as we cross over and exhale to pull back and breathing in as we cross over and excelling to come back. Last one to either side India and exhale and inhale and exhale from center.

Place one foot back down on the pedal and then the other. Reach back and interlock the hands behind the head. Find a position with your fee where you'll be able to get a good grip on that pedal. Take a breath in, exhale to press the pedal halfway down so you're standing on it with your feet. Inhale there holding the pelvis steady. We now excellent. Curl the head and chest up off the mat.

Inhaling to pause and excelling to lower down. If that was too challenging for someone to stabilize, you could always place the feet all the way down onto the floor. All demonstrate that. Now inhale and exhale. Keeping the feet pressed out. In fact, we'll do that here today. It's already even here. Inhale being as this is a class for beginners. We'll keep it simple.

Breathe in to prepare. Breathe out, keeping the head heavy, curling the spine up, pausing, neutral pelvis, holding. Inhaling and XL. He elongating the spine as we bring it back down again. Inhale and exhale. Head and chest. Come on. Inhale. Depas feel those hamstrings working and XL to lower down.

We'll do that two more times. Excelling to lift up this time. Pause. Reach behind the thighs, guide the spine up just a little bit more. Keep that. That'll press nice and heavy. Lift the arms up. Hands come back behind the head. We're holding our elevated spine and then we take it back down to the floor.

One more time, just like that in hand. So we curl the head and chest up, reach to the backsides of the thigh, exhale to lift. Inhale, arms up, hands come back behind the head. And exhale we come all the way back. So heading into a little little bleak rotation.

We're going to curl the spine up. Whoop, curl the spine up. That with a little whoop is cause I'm having trouble. Keeping that pedal down and reach back and curl up. Just goes to show that even the fundamental work can be some of the most challenging work hands, one on top of the other. We're going to Indian reach across the left knee and exhale to come back to center and then heel to reach up and across over the right knee and exos to come back to center and inhale to reach over and XL to come back.

If this is challenging for your client to hold this lift, you could come behind them and help them to support it by holding your hands underneath their shoulder blades. And just guiding them into position. Inhale as we reach across and exhale as we come back to center. Inhale, reach across and exhale to come back to center. You'll feel your hamstrings working profoundly here. Exhale to center. Pause and center. Let go of the hands. Reach up, hands behind the head, and we take the body all the way down and with that just very carefully.

Allow the pedal to come up and place the feet on the inside of the chair so the legs together. We're going to take the arms overhead. Breathe in as the head and chest. Lift off the mat. Breathe out as do curl the spine, curling the spine up, finding the hands on the pedal. Even heel. Press down on the pedal by bending the elbows in. Lift the spine up straight. Then as the pedal releases, we curl the spine.

We a let go and we roll the spine down. Just keeping the eyes right in front of us. As the shoulders begin to come down to the mat, the arms will travel overhead again. Any other head, chest and arms reach forward. Exhale, we curl the spine. Staying round, staying long, finding the pedal and around its spine and then bending me. I wasn't lifting the back.

Feel those back extensors working powerfully and then the arms straighten. As this spine rounds, we float the hands away and just effortlessly, which is not really a reality. This is not an effortless movement, but it's an idea creating effortless movement. Inhale to lift the head and chest. Some people get a little stuck here. You can help them stabilize their feet, but just the objective of teaching, teaching the hamstring work in the pelvic curl will be of assistance here as well. Then the elbows elongate the spine. Pause there, lift the arms, roll the spine back, let the arms float off the chair and begin to roll down. As the up for body comes down, the arms reach overhead. Inhale, lifting the head and chest and arms. Exhale, curling the spine up, finding the pedal, lifting the back, pressing down on the pedal. Lift the Arms Baca.

Let the arms float. Curl the spine down bone by bone. It's an intricate movement. Takes skill, takes practice, takes flexibility. Inhale, had Justin arms last time. Exhale to curl, reaching for the pedal, drawing the abdominals back into the spine. Inhale, lift the spine up, eyes forward, reach back to straight arms, curl the body, roll the spine down all the way and reach back, and then you'll just turn to our side and help ourselves off. So setting up for foot work. I have a pad here. A sticky mat works just as well.

It's nice to just have something to hold on hold your clients. Still going to do on this chair, one on four and one on three. But also keep in mind that every chair is different. So suitable springs may not be the springs that I'm choosing for my body. I have to just organize that on a case by case basis.

So sitting just at the front of the chair, we're going to have the arms just perched at the back. So I'm on my fingertips. I'm just using my arms to allow my spine to stay lifted in healing here. And exhale, pressing the pedal down. Inhale as an easy lift, pulling them up through the waist. X, we pressed the paddle down and inhale to lift. So in my mind it's important to reiterate the facts here or to teach the fact that the most important thing that's going on right now in my mind anyway, is the stabilization of the trunk.

So we want to try to teach to use the abdominal muscles and the back extensor muscles in a co contracting manner so that the body doesn't sway from side to side. It doesn't sway front to back and we feel those abdominals working to help to stabilize the body. We'll do four more here. It's a great place to teach spatial awareness and trunk stabilization. I'm only pressing the pedal down to the point where I can keep my body absolutely still in space and left. Moving now to chose the feeder and Plantar flection again, the spine is straight and we exhale pressing down.

Inhale, lifting the knees. Watch it. The legs don't lift so high that the knees want to reach away from the center of the body. What I mean by that as it's important to keep those knees right in parallel alignment and we pressed down, but as the pedal goes down, the spine is rising upwards. Exhale to press down, spine rises upwards, exhale, suppressed, yeah, and left. Exhale to press down and lift. Do three more here. Good, nice and light on the fingertips to reminding yourself all the time that narrowing action through the waist to get the abdominals working.

And last time here, the feet, the knees lift, the heels come together, toes stay apart. Spine is still upright and we just continue on. Exhale and lift and pressing down and lift and lifting up. So I like to think about a two directional energy. So every time the legs press down the spine elongates upwards.

It's like the pumping of the legs is as well as lifting the back and the heels are pressing together and we're going to do that five more times. I just do about repetitions of 10 keeping the heels connected together, feeling the adductors working here is number three and two. Okay. And one taking the heels out to the outside of the pedal. So well we could do here is if we're certain that we can stabilize the spine as let the arms just reach towards the floor and pressing the pedal down spine is lifting and ah, so taking off the hands away from the chair adds just a second element of stabilization. Another option would be to put the chair up against the wall and have a person stabilize their back against the wall so that they can feel a tactile connection to something solid as they're moving the pedal up and down.

So feeling the adductors working here, feeling always the elongation of the spine. We'll do three more. I love the fundamental work. It's challenging, it's detail oriented and simple, elegant in its simplicity. Let's challenge the, the, the our student one last time or ourselves, one last time by raising arms out to our sides and from their press. So if any of these arm positions go arrive, we can always go back to holding onto the chair. Just knowing that there are other options. Watch the this ch a trunk isn't drifting forward to allow gravity to help the pedal to move.

So we'll do four more here and three, holding the arms out to the side. Also challenges the arms a bit, the shoulders and last one. So bringing the harms down and stepping down off the front. I'm going to lighten my spring. I'm going to now use one a tooth, sprains on three for my half work. Taking that pad and moving it just over the edge of the chair. Place the right foot on the pedal and placed the need just over that pad.

The left leg is going to be pressing down into the floor and the fingertips can just touch gently. The edge of the chair. From here, keeping the spine elongated and the left heel reaching into the floor, we press the pedal down with the right foot and draw Baca and press. Getting a full range of motion in that foot and press. Also important to pull back, so work the back of the calf on the way down and the front of the Shin on the way. I as a person becomes more skilled at this movement, the hands can be taken away and it can be turned into a balancing exercise. Last two times here. Excelling to press and release. Exhale into press and release and then balancing with the hands.

Let the pedal come all the way at exchange feeds for the right foot, goes onto the floor, the left foot comes onto the pedal, the knee comes onto the pad, the spine is elongated, the pelvis is in neutral and squared. And then we'll begin to work the foot and lifting up. Excellent. Your press is drawing again, energy all the time. Up the front of the body, keeping the head in line with the spy, the touch on the fingertips, very light. They'll right here, heel reaching into the floor and we'll go four more times reaching down and down.

And I think 10 of these is perfectly appropriate last time. And, and then stepping down, placing one foot down and pushing the pedal down onto the floor. And then placing both feet on the pedal. Take the hands just to the front edge of the chair and draw the head down in between the arms. So this is a good preparation for the pike.

I teach it a lot in a drop the heels down. Gonna bring the shoulders just over the hands and lift the ribs up, spacing out through the shoulder blades in healing here. And then exhale, just using the waist line to pick the heels up and then feel that the you're lifting up through your center is your heels are dropping down, working all the time to keep the shoulders over the hands, Xcel to lift up. So yes, you're going to feel your calves because they are also working. But we're generating the energy in the movement, not into the legs but into the center of the body. Instead shoulders still arms in a straight line from the wrists.

And then we'll do four. Exhaling, lift and exhaling. Lift and exhaling, lift and exhaling, lift and, and then just dropping the heels down and leaning back over them to get a nice stretch of spend one knee there and then change bending the other knee and then making sure that we're in control of the springs as we stepped down and let the pedal come up. So we're going to go to a lighter spring here and I'm going to get a small box to sit on. So placing the box just in front of the Chair and sitting upright on the box. The hands are going to come to the pedal. We're going to press the pedal down, so starting with shrugs and then teaching a tricep exercise. So here we inhale and allow the shoulder blades to passively rise and exhale.

Feel the back muscles engage the middle and low trapezius to press the pedal down while the spine is carried upright or maintains its uprightness. Inhale, allow the shoulders to float and exhale to press the pedal down and lift the spine. Ideally the spine isn't changing, but it's the energy in that I'm speaking of the energy of growing taller as the shoulder blades are depressing as the shoulders are elevating, watch it. They're not moving forward or backwards, but instead just reaching straight up and straight down, lifting up and pressing down. If a small box isn't available to you, you could use a cushion or a couple of stacked cushions. We'll do that one more time. Lifting on and lowering down.

Now holding the shoulders in that stable position, we're going to bend the elbow straight back and Xcel to straighten the arms. Inhale, bend the elbow straight back and exhale to stretch. Inhale, keeping the elevation, keeping the navel drawn back towards the spine. Just noticing all of these positions are a lot of these positions are, are challenging our ability to hold ourself upright in space, which is a very important skill in life, in my opinion. So we'll do four more pressing and lifting.

Three pressing and lifting, two pressing lifting and one pressing and lifting. Careful as you bring the pedal up and then step up off the box. I'm gonna keep that same spring. Oh by the way, I lightened this spring. Sorry, I've moved it down to two. Two Springs on one. I'll keep it there for the standing pike, so standing tall. Inhaling, as we exhale, now we're going to roll the spine forward and feel the hands come down onto the pedal. From here, we inhaled draw up into the center of the body as we press the pedal down and then exhale, feel the pelvis reach forward as we draw the shoulder blades down and lift up with our abdominals. Inhale the abdominals, lift up, the pedal goes down towards the floor.

Not Important that it touches the floor and not super important that the knees are straight so we can have bent knees and then we draw up the pelvis presses forwards and inhale. So it's an important in my mind to consider the fact that it's not just an up and down movement, but a focus on deep spinal flection. Dominoes pulling deeply up towards the sky. Inhale to press down and exhale to lift up. Going to do that two more times. I'm going to add something in the middle.

I'm going to go down in here. Bend the elbows Y. Exhale, pull up on the waist as the arms straighten in. How Ben, why Xcel pull up on the waist as the arms straight. Inhale Ben Wa exhale Sir. Press one more time. XL suppress in heels, a hold there and the next hill drawing up and lifting. One more time like that. Press the pedal down, hold it there. The energy in the body is lifting off the floor, bend the arms, pull up through the spine with the abdominals. As we straighten and inhale, straighten, allowing those of us to reach out.

Y lift up, stretch down. Last to lift up, stretch down. Last one, pressing down, inhale to Ho and then rolling the spine all the way up. Just so out of the hands to come away from the pedal. Enrolling ourselves back to upright. Coming around to the back of the chair. I'm going to take one spring up to four or to the top choice.

If you only have three choices, three would be perfect. And we'll do the standing pike reverse. So inhaling here, XL reaching down for the pedal. So there's a different focus here and not just a full flection focus but an elongation focus. So we take the spine out into a straight line, inhaling as we do so and then Xcel pulling up through the waist as we drag the pedal Baca. And Inhale, reach the pedal down, feel the pelvis, reach out, feel that spine, get nice and long and exhale, draw. And then lift. And Phil, I like to start feeling the pelvis moving, making sure that the low back is definitely elongated before the pedal starts moving. And then exhale, press energy forward through the arms as we cruel the pelvis under and pick the pedal up. Last two, reaching out in here, an XL to pull back and reaching out. Last one, feeling that in Nice long spine and exhale Cipolla let the hands come away from the pedal roll through the spine to come all the way up. We're going to sit down on the chair now sideways. So I'm going to sit just on the side of my pelvis.

I'm to take my a the leg that's on the chair and just poke it around the edge and then reach the toes of my opposite foot away from me and the hand comes to the pedal. I'm gonna take my opposite hand behind the head. And from there we're going to reach the spine over in healing as we move. And then exhale using that up upward, most old bleak to feel the spine elongate back to the start position. Inhale, feel the lower obliques contract to take the body over and exhale to lift. So for a beginner, what I find is sometimes the most challenging element of this exercise is the stabilization of the shoulder that's on the pedal. So we feel that shoulder blade draw down the back as we're using our obliques to lift us up. We'll do two more reaching over and trying the nail to the spine to lift up and last one reaching over and lifting.

And then we'll take the arm over head and we'll just take that pedal all the way down. Again, nice side stretch, beautiful side stretch. And then just easing our way out of that position coming around to the other side and on the pedal. Well I ended up with the shoulder. Joanne had hand behind the head or straight out to the side would also suffice. So here we go. We take the body over on the inhale, creating a nice arc, shea, and then you elongate and lift up and out and the body goes over on the inhale and [inaudible] up in now. Yeah, I'm reaching over.

Maybe seeing if you could just explore that bottom range a little bit last too. Reaching over and lifting, Huh? And last one, reaching over and lifting up. Taking that top arm. Reach over and just allow the body over. Taking that beautiful side stretch, reaching the leg away from you on the floor, feeling the stabilization of that bottom shoulder. You bring the Arma.

Let me just help ourself up out of that position. So turning around, we'll come onto the chair on our pelvis. So I'm just going to keep my feet on the floor with my knees bent for this first exercise, straightening the arms all the way. So at the front of the chair, I have the space where my ribs come together at. At the back of the chair, I have my pelvis, the back end of the chair, just crease right in the crease of my hip joint.

Starting from a neutral spine. We're going to reach the head out. We're going to elongate the spine. We're not going to let pass the ribs, but just right onto them. And then exhale, draw the ribs up into the body, draw the abdominals off the chair and let the pedal come down. [inaudible] inhale as the head and chest Recho long pressing back into the pedal with the arms. Exhale, feel the ribs and the abdominals. Lift up off the chair as we press the pedal down. [inaudible] any of we reach out.

Exhale as we pressed down. One more time. Inhales where you reach out and exhale as we pressed down, bend the elbow. So let the pedal come up and then scoot the body a little bit more forward on the chair. So now we have the pelvis resting on the chair. The hands on the floor, the legs out straight. So we, we've learned to stabilize the pelvis and now floating the legs up. We do that same action. We allow the head and chest to reach up. We feel the spine. You gating, reaching up, not writing the springs but working springs.

And then drawing up through the abdominals, lifting up through the ribs. As we just lower back into a neutral position in house, we reach out and up, pressing backwards into the pedal with the arms, feeling that Nice, beautiful spinal movement and exhale as we pressed down. We'll do that two more times to reaching out in a and pressing down and reaching out in a legs. Still Spine, moving eyes forward and lowering the body low enough to let the pedal come all the way down onto the floor. Body can then scoot back. We'll bend the knees again, bend the elbows to let the pedal coma.

Just take a moment there to let the spine around over the chair and then placing the hands on the chair, helping ourselves up onto our feet, standing just behind the chair and now to finish, we reach the arms out and up. That's gathering energy or feeling the energy that we've created in our bodies and then just lightly allow the arms to fall or trickle or heavily just drop. And one more. Inhale, reaching out and up through the arms. Looking at this time, taking a gentle back bend and bringing me arms all the way down. Thank you for watching.


3 people like this.
Love this class. Well explained, easy to follow, but deep work. Nice example of how to teach first sessions on the chair. Thanks!
1 person likes this.
I learned so much more detailed cues from your class Meredith....Thank you!!!
Kim W
1 person likes this.
As I begin my practice teaching for chair, I will refer to this format again and again. Thank you for providing this fundamental class!
Lucie Bécus
1 person likes this.
This was a great workout - sometimes I find myself seeking more/harder challenges and it was really nice to take a step back and work a little deeper and connect with the fundamentals!
Thank you, sweet ladies!
1 person likes this.
Thank you!! This class was super informative and so easy to follow!! Great cueing!!
1 person likes this.
what a great beginner class!!! awesome, clear cueing!!!
1 person likes this.
I love this class! I don't have much time in my life for exercise so the first half hour of my day is spent doing this class. Thank you . . . And will u be making another fundamental class soon? ??
1 person likes this.
Loved it! I love your precision in cueing. Great!
Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Hey Meredith! I taught this to my class last night! I love the way you broke down Full Pike and Swan Basic! They Got it!! As always your cues are very good! Clear and concise!! I really love the the way you speak to both the teacher and a client. Keep the videos coming! Miss you, Love from Vancouver! xoxo
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