In the early 1920s, Joseph Peloton brought his exercise regimen to New York. In 1948, Ron Fletcher began to study with Joe and Clara politesse because of a chronic knee injury. He became a serious student of the work. In 1970, Ron opened his studio for body control, Ology in Los Angeles in a letter written to Ron from Clara Peloton in 1971 she says, Ron, you are the only man with the right understanding to continue and develop this work. Keep on, I prayed to God for your success.
So they do add it and then they don't quite understand fully what it's, what it's about. And so it becomes bastardize, it rolls down from one person to another person. So I run, I'm really trying to do is this kind of, I suppose missionary work of bringing it back to what it was, uh, that is about movement and the exploration of space. Uh, developing a more eloquent body that does all kinds of things. If it does this work well, it's gonna do everything else. Well, uh, there is a precision to it and exactitude a specificity involved here, uh, uh, discipline. But that, that discipline brings about a freedom, which is quite wonderful and it takes a long time to develop that and it takes attention more than anything else. And so that's what I'm going to ask you to try to help us with today. I'm going to ask Cathy and, and um, Patrick now to join me and to do a few little movements here just to get the body at the ready because I have seen in studios where people will simply flop down on them. On this piece, the reformer, it's called this, when is it Ron Fletcher approved reformer. Uh, by the way, from the original a reformer. Uh, and then they put their feet up in some way and just start moving back and forth. I like to put the body at the ready. I like it to have it ready and aware before it begins to do the work.
So we're going to start with a few very simple little plea A's and the breathing
Sure. And six. Sure.
The focus slightly back this way so that we don't are not inclined to do this and push the head forward like this, but it's nice and long and lengthened out. Now we're going to pull the knees in and extend the legs straight up in the air to get ready for the first foot position to warm up the feet. We flex them back 1.2 flex and point, flex and point, flex and point and bend the knees and bring them down to the first position. The first foot position is a prehensile position that is like a bird holding onto the, on the branch of a tree twig of a tree. Many people will simply put their feet on like that, which is they're no good.
So this pre Hanse opposition is the toes are really gripping the bar and it's a very important one because we don't often use the muscles in the metatarsal in the short metatarsal across here, the Tarsa art, this even should come forward just a little bit, Patrick, so that the feeling of that the toes are totally wrapped around the bar. The body stays very straight lengthened out and we pushed back until the springs are taught. Where we're doing this on three springs, by the way, we have a choice of from to four. This is three springs. Just the body is very straight lengthened out and then release it and come forward. Now we're going to come back on an inhalation. Inhale back, exhale forward. Inhale back.
Exhale four and three and release and four and release and five and release and six and release and seven release and eight and release. Okay. Now hold it for one second. Um, Clara used to say to me all the time, uh, we want to go here in order to go there, in order to go here, in order to go there. So what you do not want to do and what many people are doing, and I have to point this out, is this vom vom, vom VOP. No good. It has to go one and one and down right now, the breath will help you do that if you really use it because you use the breath as the inspiration for the movement. Inhaling back and exhaling forward and
Now we're going to do little pulses. These a little half beads back to you about so far this do this Cathy, one and two and one and two ant. Okay, now try this. This is one of the subtleties, but try to really use the toes strongly enough so that as you go halfway back on what we call this little pulse. So the knee is just halfway back straight so that you tighten this little muscle here above, above the Patella. And it tightens this muscle back here that the 10, when you release, you actually pull with your toes forward.
So the beat is and one
So you're holding a thin piece of paper between the knees. This one is a little more difficult for those people who are not stretched out in the back of the leg and up through the hamstrings because the tendency sometimes when you push back, push back with the Patrick and let the bat, the tendency to let the back arch up a little bit like that, which we do not want to happen. It needs to pressed down so you have to work very hard to hold. Maintain this stretch. All right. Pay attention to the stretch. [inaudible] the same thing here. Now we're going to take us, let's do six of these going back and then six in the short inhale back
It's own life forward. Five and Ho and six. And now the little doubles. One and two
[inaudible] now this time we're going to reach straight up with the arms and bring them down and down. Good. And bend the knees and come forward. Good. Alright, now the next one is a turned up position. You bring the knees in a little bit. Good. Push the leg straight up, point the toes, and then turn out from the hip. That's it. So we're in a turned out position that is opening up the hip.
Now we're going to flex the feedback.
And if possible, in line with the bar. Don't worry if it comes down here because it takes a good long time to really get a good turnout that that functions well. Instead of just getting it placed there. If you can maintain this position, it's very good. The knee should be this and this position and should not go up or down from there. When you, when you, uh, move back. So, uh, you can push back now on this one. Good. So you see how the knees stay open here instead of come forward, pat, instead of doing this, God had down and down by a dam and they stay here.
Okay, let's try it together. Inhale
So the back of the of the knee touches here and then they push straight out to the add on the exhale and inhale back and exhale forward. Now we have the little pulses again and
So by doing that, by concentrating on holding that thin piece of paper in there, you really engage these muscles on the outside of the leg. And by doing that, it engages the muscles on the inside of the leg so that it develops those muscles. Otherwise, if the are flopping, you're just going back and forth and not a whole lot is happening except that you're going back and forth. So it's very important to hold that position in order to give the back here a little rest. And the body needs always to go through changes. Change, change, change, change. That's why it's not too good to do too many of any one thing, but give, let the body experience many different kinds of feelings. So right here we're taking a stretch over to the side over to the right, taking the knees over to the right. We're trying to keep both shoulders down and the elbows in line. So, so there's a nice twist and a nice stretch up through the side of the body.
And we take, uh, eight little stretches up, little pulses over there and center and the breadth again.
One and two. Flex and point. Flex and point. Flex and point. Take the arms are, hold them up there. Take the arms out to the side, circle them down and place them on the carriage. Bend the knees. Put the feet down out so that we're on the Relevate position. This is the fifth position, so that here you've had first here you've had [inaudible], you've had the flexed foot here, you've had the turnout foot here and now you have the relevant and the Relevate is really over that center foot as we talked about on the floor work so that you're right over that center foot and very high so you don't try.
It takes a long time to develop that kind of relevant or that kind of arch. You can see the differences when his work, these feet have worked much longer for this and Patrick is working and God knows he's working hard on this to get that nice art up there. But the Relevate you see so that the heels are higher than the feet. I'm sorry, the heels are higher than the toes and you should try to maintain that position as you stretch all the way back. Try to keep the heels high because it lengthens the leg.
It uses more of the little delicate subterranean muscles of the which give the leg much more definition. A lot of people are trying to do that by running a lot and they don't do anything but build bulky thighs and they don't really get the definition of the leg that they're looking for. So in this position we will do six of these nice and long. Nice. And even and really think of stretching all the time, making the body as long as you can. Ready and inhale and exhale.
Hold the knees together.
Good. Now we still trying to keep the boat both shoulders down straight. You're getting a stretch up the side of the body. The idea is to bring the left knee over. Good, and you have good. Let me just get here for one second. This is much better, Patrick. Huh? Okay. Now you see how the chest stays flat and other way. Don't let it ride, come up with you over here, but keep it down like that.
And we have four little beats here, one, two, three, four back to the center. And I always like to think they're have a little magnet that's on the tailbone and a matching one on the, on the pad here so that when you come back it's like you bring that directly back there instead of doing this instead of wandering over that from here, it comes by [inaudible] and then extend and place. Now the right when it comes up and good and we're going over one, two, three, four and bring it to the center up and place and lift and crossover and one, two, three, four and center and lift and place. And that's the rhythm.
Extend and extend in Lord. No, I'm sorry. You got ahead of me. Okay. And they're all right. Just relax for a second. Push straight back. Just push back. Good. And come forward and down. Okay. Bring the arm up and over, lifting arms up,
Now we're going to use the feet even some more here to do what we call flex. Relevate. Still, we're going to press back all the way on an inhalation. Hold the [inaudible] for the excalation. Keep your body right straight and exhale, shoot. Now you flex the feet down on an inhalation, relevant on an exhalation. Good.
And then bend and come forward. And this progress is so the next time there'll be two of these, but always hold the full stretch back here for your exhalation now too.
On fours. Okay. Stretch back one and exhale and down and lift to lift three and lift and four and press way up as high as you can get on the relevance and release and forward. Good and five. Inhale back, hold the exhale and flex Relevate to Relevate three let's hear the breathing for
Pull them in and just pull them back toward you to release it a little bit. One, two. When in doubt, always do this. It helps your back, flattens it down, even the everything out. And so, okay, the next movement is for the arms. So we need to get ahold of the, let's do the abdominals here, lower the strap. We're doing these on, they can be done on two or three springs. Um, certainly, unless you're very, very strong. And uh, just continuing down row two, your position, always try to get this rolling position and using the abdominals because it all helps to build this girdle of strength that we keep talking about to here, uh, on the abdominals. Unless you're very, very strongly, you've been doing the work for a long time. When you really know what you're doing. Don't use more than three springs because what that does then is just to make a bulky thigh muscle and you really don't work through those little, again, subterranean muscle groups quite enough. So we're holding on strap, big hug. You're welcome.
Thanks for coming. Alrighty. Now, uh, on this first position, bring the knees back. Good. And open them just a little bit. Good to there. Keep the feet nice and pointed. Uh, and I'm sorry, I bring, let's, let's do the first one where you bring the knees together. So we hold that position. We're in that kind of of line. Now lift the head up, lord the arms and push them forward.
So we're here now the head is lifted up, but try very hard. Relax your heads for one minute. Try very hard to when you lift the head instead of just bringing it here like this and straining the neck that you lifted from the back. So it's coming from back here. More that rather than there.
Now we have little beats here and it really does work on the abdominals. The palms of the hands are in the strap, so, and we have these little beats. One, two, three, four, six, seven, eight [inaudible] three, two, three, four, six, seven and four. Two, three, four, six, seven. Now extend the legs. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, two, two, five, six, seven, eight, three, five, six, seven and four. Don't let it get too fast. Five, six, seven. A little lower. Two, three, four.
She'd get a little bit deeper into the lower abdominal. Five, six, seven, eight, three, five, six, seven and four, five, six, seven. And change the level by six, seven, eight, two, five, six, seven, eight three very good. Six, seven and four and the last one, lower the level two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight two, five, six, seven and three. Six, seven and four. Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. And hold it there for a second because this tells you what it really is about. You could really feel it in the belly muscles there. Now keep the legs on that line and very slowly. Let the arms come back. Two, three and four. Good. Now hold the tension in the straps and just lower the legs.
Do Bend the knees and bring them down to the outside of the bar where it is here. And these little pelvic presses here, a break while they're bringing you about the awareness of the lower abdominal or this girdle of strength that we talk about, it also releases the back because the back has been working very hard to maintain that position along with the belly of course. But this little press up here. Good. And it's just a pelvic tilt and it just comes from the tailbone out. Yeah. Now lift it up once more and try to hold it there. You see how the butt muscles tighten and then release as you lower and the butt good and lower.
So you can see how the Butkin tracks and as the buck, it pulls in this band and muscles, right? Very low in the, in the pelvic area and lower down. Now you will exhale as we tilt
It's coming forward. And here again, you have little pulses. So we're coming [inaudible] one, two, three and four, five and six and seven and eight. This works all up the outside of the arm underneath sh.
Now we're going to take it to the next level. So this first level has been very short, very small. Now we're going to take it back a little bit more.
Now just bring the arms down to touch good and extend it up again. Very good. And now bend the knees and set them down onto the bar, onto the foot bar onto the foot bar. Good. And I'll just choose eight of those little pelvic tilt, lift and lower tills, lower three and lower and four and lower. Shoo Bop. But at that Dah, Dah, Dah. And but ah, AH, okay.
You deserve to drop these now I think. Okay, I threw that one in there at the end. I thought it'd be good for you to dream. Remember what those bellies are supposed to be doing there. Okay. The next piece of movement that we're going to do is on kneeling.
It requires a change of the equipment. Uh, for those who don't know, we're working against the tension of springs. They range from one through four. We've been working on three springs. We're now going to go to two springs. They'll, they'll show you how that changes. We're going to remove one. It's best always to either use, if you're using two springs to outside or two inside here we have two outside springs. We need to lift the foot bar up and place it so good. And now we're going to come onto the reformer onto both knees and the feet are placed back as flat as you can get.
Get them against the shoulder pieces here with deceit, with the toes curled under, so you get as again as much articulation in the foot as you can get. Try to get a real break where through there the body is rounded slightly in a deep contraction. The hands are on the heels of the hand pushing against the bar so that you feel the engagement with the muscles up here underneath the triceps, the back is rounded. Here you have a convex line from the tailbone up through the Vertebra and the top of the back of the head. And this inside part of the body is concave.
It's concave as we can get it. That's pretty good concave to match the convex line here. Now the, and move the butt back. Just a little note, Patrick. Wait a minute, move the butt back just a little bit without rounding, without striking the back. Okay. And this is a nice stretch, but it only goes back a little bit. You don't quite straighten the knee, don't go to the point where the back straightens. But keep the back round as though there's an app hole through here. And this is the access to the movement so it pushes back and even though the knees are going back, it's an optical illusion that the hips are going back.
Just Push, pump back and forth, pump and forward pump and for with the button, with the button, with the button, push back with the butt. And now let me, let me borrow that for a minute. Most people I see will start to do that this way here and here, here and here. Pushing forward. The idea is that it's only from the hip flexors.
And there's a little bit of an attack on that forward pool so that you really get into the abdominals. The inhalation goes, I don't let the hips move a lot. Okay. Bring them forward, bring him forward. Come on. No forward, forward, path. Ready and back and contract back and contract back and contract back and contract. And and, and contract. Okay. Now this is what we call a contracted position. The back is rounded. The belly is pulled in into the back of the spine.
Now we're going to release, we call a released spine from the tailbone all the way up through the Vertebra, through the top of the back of the head so that you come to a nice straight back. Keep pulling this part of the belly back toward the spine. The lower part that we have a nice long line from the tailbone up to the top of the back of the head. The same thing takes place here. The hips do not move and you push back one and four and two and four and three, four, five. Keep it nice and clean.
Keeping the leg straight and bring the chest up and over the bar. Good. Shoulders down though. Denies Nice high lift. Now pull it on the low belly. Contract the spine rounded and sit back on release through the spa and push back on the end and exhale and come forward and come back and contract and release through the spa and once more and back and lower the hips and come forward. Keep the button nice and tight, nice and tight and hold the position for a second. The shoulders down the shoulders down. Beautiful. Beautiful.
Now the deep contraction and sit back on the heel and we lease through the spine. Release through the spine. Patrick, the head will come up right. The head always must come up. It's the end of the spine and it should always end from there. Okay, now stay in a standing position up so good and it's a v shape. The tailbone is the APEC to the V. We're going to open the carriage out to the back though.
You open up that V as wide as you can. Keep the tailbone high in the air with the abdominal muscles. Pull the carriage back together and open one and pull it open too and pull it open three and pull in open four and pull in. Bend the knees and come down onto the knees. Good. And come off the carrier age.
Sit and place and down. Okay. Now I think we're going to need to go to the running in place. Okay, so here again we're going to put, we're on two springs, we're going to add another spring. We keep the bar up, we put a head piece up and take your position in the front, roll the spine back one, two, three and roll it back on four. Bring the legs up in the air one and bring them down on two. You're in a high relevant today and we are pushing back, back, back and whole. Take a breath.
Bend the knees and come for very good. Brava. Bravo. Please get up if you can join me. Thank you all very much. And as my dear friend and teacher, Clara platas used to say to me all the time, God lover, just keep on keeping on. It does get better.
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