Class #1870

Back to Basics Reformer

35 min - Class


No matter whether you are beginning, intermediate, or advanced, it's great for the body to go back to the basics with Mari Winsor in this Reformer workout. Test your alignment and exercise knowledge to improve all of the other movement that you do. Mari's detailed cuing and humor take you through the traditional beginner Reformer exercises.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video


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Hi everyone. I'm Mari Winsor and I'd like to introduce you. Monica Wilson. This is Romana Carson Oscars nice and I was so honored that she is here to do the beginning reformer with me. I want to share a little story with you first. One of my friends who is a level two for Mamas pilates instructor, she trains teachers. She has a beautiful studio in Champagne, Illinois and her name is Janice Duloc and Janice called Romana one time she said, Romana, I've got the best students.

You're not going to believe how great they are. They can do everything they can do. They can do the best. A star, which is a very advanced exercise. They can do everything. You're going to be so impressed. And Romana was like very quiet on the phone and she said, yes dear, but can they do the basics?

Something to think about whether you're beginning, intermediate or an advanced practitioner of velocities. Sometimes it's always a really good idea to go back to those basics where the exercises are simple, end up where you can really think and memorize where your body is in time and space and see how you improve over time. If you're intermediate, go back to the basics and tested out, see how uh, testing your alignment and your knowledge of where your body is in time and space. See how that improves the rest of the work you do when you get even to more advanced level. It's always a quiet place to go to. And I love the basic work. Romana loved the basic work and then no, you do too, don't you Monica. So now some of you at home have equipment that is different than this.

This is a garage equipment. I love the grotto equipment. It is the exact dimensions, the Palazzo these worked out himself on and his clients. So we who have been working with Romana and are involved with [inaudible] [inaudible] and some other people, some other organizations as well. We love this equipment. Not to say that there's not other good equipment around.

I have to say there are some very well made beautiful equipment that's available to you and however you can manage to do the work on the equipment. I don't care. But for us personally, we enjoy this equipment. Um, also some of you have equipment that doesn't have legs. You're, you're all the way to the ground. So I'll be mindful of working up your workout as well. Some of you don't have boxes to put on top of here.

You can do everything that we do on the box sitting on the reformer of sitting on the carriage as we call it. So you can still do the same exercise. Perhaps Monica will show us when the workout is finished, exactly how we interpret that for you so that you can have a good workout and do all the things that we do. There's a special way that we get down on the reformer. So Monica, very lady like it's like English salvo on horseback riding, right? So put your hand here for support. Pull your tummies in, squeeze your by cheeks a little bit. Pull yourself up and slowly sit down, keeping your body lifted. It was very graceful. Romani used to say, if you don't feel elegant, doing an exercise is generally wrong.

So think about that. Turn it around very calmly and lie down on your back. First we have footwork so your toes are going to open and your heels are going to be together. So you make a Leather v from your heels to your toes. You don't want to be real high up on your tippy toes like this. If you can focus in on this for me, camera guy right here.

You want to be a relaxed, a little bit more in your ankles so that you take the work into your inner thighs and your glutes rather than the new joints in your feet and toes. Yes, makes sense. So we're all about eaters, slides and powerhouse here. And lengthening. We want to use some footwork to lengthen the body. So let's go for it. Here we go. Push out and come in. Good. Now the other thing I want you to think about doing when you're doing this work is keeping your tailbone long. So in order to keep your tailbone long, you have to pull your tummy in a little bit deeper to keep yourself lift up.

You don't want to curl your hips forward to pull your tummy in. You want to keep the body long. It's all about length in the spine. Good. Let's go here. Arches and push out knees together. Now try and open your shoulders and reach with your fingertips. I also think of telling people to pull the armpits down here so the chest can lift up a little bit more in your long in your body.

Squeeze your inner thighs together and feel that length. Feel the backside working. If you're feeling your quads too much, try to work into the buttocks a little bit more by keep your, your tailbone down. Now we're on the heels. Push out again. I've got four springs on here for Monica and that's what we used to doing. You can do, if you have garage, you can do three springs. The most important thing is to keep the alignment of your body real clear.

All right. Also, if you have springs that have different color, um, uh, tape on them, uh, you might want to do like two strong springs, one medium spring and maybe a week, one week. So you play with that. See what feels the best. Now we have tennis stretch, push out, squeeze your butt cheeks together, upper inner thighs, working upper inner thighs. Remember that slowly lower down, keeping your upper inner thigh squeezing together and push up. I like to tell people that if you were in a desert and you were sinking into quicksand, what your body would do, you wouldn't just let your heels go real fast because you don't want to sink. So you have resistance and then you try to pull yourself up out of the quicksand so you have resistant each way. Squeeze your inner thoughts. Good.

Now you can test whether your hips are up or not by putting your own hands underneath your a little bit and making sure that you're crunching your own hands. Good. And let's do three more. One, pull up the body. Shoulders open, breathing long, eyes wide, open and up. Good. Tommy in and down and press up. Very good. Bend your knees and come back. Okay, so I'm going to help retake this bar down. This exercise is called the 100 it's great to warm up the heart and lungs and we try to breathe evenly through the nose and out through the nose for a count of five as we add a little power to the arms and pump up and down. All right, so we're going to just test the waters here. Legs are tabletop.

We need to protect the back, arms down by your side, and I just want you to get used to pumping your arms with a lot of energy and doing it. Nice, smooth, deep breath. Don't give me the Tutu breath. Don't call. You're not really taking the warm air and oxygen to the muscles that way. Nice and deep. Good. Now let's try lifting up the head and shoulders. Good. Now if you look at your belly button, you might activate the Tummy as well, which is an extra added bonus to the hundred. Right? Good. Now let's if you have a strong lower back, let's go a step further and stretch the legs out and rotate the legs from the hip and squeeze the heels together and squeeze the inner thighs so that you're really activating your inner thighs and your glutes. Do you feel that Monica?

Is that nice? How do you shake your head and breathe and pump at the same time? But she's very talented. This one. Good. Inhale and exhale. One more time. Breathe out all the, breathe up with it up. Good. Now Bend your knees in and come down. That was beautiful. Now our next part of the workout is frogs and circles. So Monica, you're going to help me.

And for those of you who do not have an extension strap, uh, hold that up for me. Uh, you, the extension strap, for those of you who do not have this, uh, and don't have any way to make these longer, get a piece of fabric and tie them up. You don't want to do your farks in circles where the straps are too tight. Okay? It's not good for your hips. So you should have extension out to about here with your fabric. Okay? We do this.

It's very special the way we do it. Took me forever. Okay, so now you can lie back down. And I'm going to take a spring off because you want to have two springs. For those of you who have different colors and, and uh, tensions. Probably a heavy and a medium would work. All right?

Put your foot in here. And here we want to have the hardware on the outside. If you have hardware, it's better for you. Bend your knees in your head. Rest is up, right? Good. So you want to try and keep your tailbone down. So bring your legs out a little bit more. Perfect. Now stretch your legs out to 45 degree angle and come back.

Make sure now if you're more intermediate, advanced, and you're doing this workout, make sure that where you push the legs out and in that you're using both legs, the same strength. Don't use one leg more than the other. You've got your eyes, you can see your, where your heels are. If your legs are going out to one side, that means you're using one like more than the other. So try and make the adjustment and stretch. And n. Now let's do circles. Let's see how coordinated you are. And circle open and around. Don't start your circles way up high here.

Start them lower like Monica's doing. It's better for your back. Alright, good. Reaching with the toes. Nice Long, beautiful. Look at those beautiful legs. Y'All are going to get taller. You Better Watch out. Good. Reverse it. Now this is the hard part. And again, you can see your legs, so make sure that when you're looking at the your legs, they're moving the same semester cli. All right, good. Nice. Now I'm going to help her with this just because I can be careful. If you're taking these off, good, they'll put these down.

And how about low stomach massage? The stomach massage is a wonderful exercise. There are so many layers to this exercise, but a lot of people do it wrong. So let's do it right, shall we? Um, it's hard. I'm going to put three springs back on.

For those of you who have different strengths springs, you can use two heavies and a medium or two mediums and a heavy, whatever it feels right to you. The bar goes back up. You can sit on your pad. Look at how she does. She's so perfect, okay. And you're perfect to see you did it too, didn't you? Now take your hands and put your hands here. What most people do is they like to stretch. Keep your hands there. They like to stretch to the arms and not bend the elbows.

See what happens to her back when she goes that not pretty member whether set about being elegant. So [inaudible] elbows and instead of contracting and you're telling me so I the lift up in your tummy and roll back on your tailbone just a little bit there. So your upper body comes forward a little bit more and you have a lifting here. You're not all and contracted. That's pretty good. Here we go and we're going to stretch your legs out.

Just out in back to start out and back. The arms. Do not straighten as you stretch your legs. Everybody likes to do that. They like to straighten the arms as they straighten your legs. Don't do that. Keep your elbows bent. Keep your position. It's all about control and the mind guiding the body.

Tell your body to do that and it will. Once you lead that, then chaos. What can I tell you? There we go. Now let's add the lowering of the heels and cause she's doing pretty good and I'm sure you are too tummy in. Stretch out. Breathing is good. Always inhale. Exhale. Works every time.

Good and up. Good. As long as you breathe with the movement, lot of people like to hold their breath. Breathe with the movement. Nice. Now we're going to change our position. Sit up tall and take the hands back on the shoulder box. So we curved the spine. Now we're going to stretch it and squeeze the shoulder blades together.

Lengthen the spine. You can bend your elbows a little bit if you need to. All righty, so pull up. Good, nice chest lifted the whole thing. Here we go. Stretch out. Now we know to lower our heel down. So do that right away and let's pick up the tempo a little bit. Nice and breathing. Inhale, release with the movement. Make the breath. Move your body.

Good. Nice. I liked the way she does that. I wish I could see you all at home. Good and come back. Now I'm going to take a spring off and she's going to reach her arms to me and she's going to push out straight and come back to me. And imagine that I have a rope attached from your fingers to my hands. So stretch out and I'm going to pull her forward. Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul.

When she lengthens her back again and feel that connection. Pull Paul Paul, Paul, Paul. Good. I love the determination. Now sit up tall and the twist. Let's try well through. We twist. Well, we usually leave it out, but for those of you who want to, you can try this twist from the waist and look at the hand. The danger here, comeback lies in shifting in the hips when you do this.

So you're really isolating in your waist and not moving from the hip. You can tell if you're doing it right. If your legs stay even and your heels stay together. Good. And one more time and then no, most of you don't have meat and hold on to, but do the best you can and come back. Good step down please. Now we have our short box, so I'm going to bring this down and we're going to get our sharp box and if you don't have an apparatus to put on top of here, then you can sit right here with your knees bent and do a modified roll up from the Mat. Good.

And we'll try to show you later what that is. Good. She's such a good girl and you want to put the mat or the path up there. That'd be great. Good. The pattern is there so you don't slide around on the box. If you don't have a pad, I think you're okay. If he wanted to make a pad, take it an old yoga mat and cut a rectangle out, you're good.

It just helps keep you stable. All right. Go ahead and sit down. Have a seat, my princess. You're welcome. Now there's different elements that are really important here. One is to really flex the feet, pull the toes towards you, and the heels pull away from you. What does that make you do? It makes you feel the back of your legs. Good.

And also pressing the feet against the strap. So you make a connection up here. Now what is [inaudible] connection is connecting different parts of the body together so we can move, right? Cause you don't want to feel like you're uncoordinated or it doesn't feel good, right? So if you use your butt cheeks squeezing together a little bit, what's that gonna do? It's going to pull your waist up more. Hallelujah. Right now. So now you're taller. What could be better?

Especially for me now, hug yourself around the waist and lift up your back. What's this position? We just did it in the stomach. Massage. It's the same thing, but now we've added an element of danger. She's gonna lean back, squeeze about cheeks, lean back, and use your tummy to come up. That's it. You see how their tummies in a little bit deeper on the way up. That's correct. Try it again and let's try to focus right here and I'll come up. Tell me.

Yes, good. Keep pushing the feet out and again, two more times back. Squeeze your butt cheeks and Tummy in. Then come up. Breathing is good. Don't forget, we will be an inhale to go back. Breathe with the movement and exhale to come up. Wow, that was pretty good. Now we have this.

If you don't have a pool, guess what? You don't have to have one, but since we have one, I guess we'll use it. You can pose your arms here. You can pull into your arms here. You can hold onto a ball, do whatever you need to do. The important thing is the flatness of the spine and the use of your pelvis to support the back straight. Here we go. Squeeze your butt cheeks and lengthen your waist and lean straight back and pull your body straight up. Good. For those of you who have a little bit of trouble with this and everybody does it for us, so don't be embarrassed.

Imagine that you're reaching for a cup and a top chauffeuring you can't quite get it. You don't just do this and with your shoulders up, you pull from your waist to make your body longer so you can get that cup and have your coffee in the morning. So reach there's your reach from your waist. Very nice. Good. Now let's do a little sides aside, shall we? So the arms go back up again and you're going to shift your body forward just a little bit, a bit lengthening from the spine and twist just a tiny bit and just stir to the side and come center again. Up and gesture to the side. Hip is down.

The goal is not to let the head come up and see how far you can stretch to the side. It feels wonderful for the waist. Good. I'm going to be here and I'm going to help her just a little bit if that's all right. Here we go. Wonderful. And that feel good. I know it. Good and one more. We a long keep that hip down. Everyone good? If you lift up your hip, you're defeating the whole purpose of control and stretch. Good. Now let's put the bar down. We'll have my favorite exercise.

The tree. All right, partner. Let's lift this up. I think this kind of gets in the way right now. I'd rather not have the pad. Good, but that's just me. If you want your pad, you can have it. Bring your right knee into your chest. Good. Take your hands underneath your leg. Beautiful. Now this tree, alright, imagine the trunk of a tree. The trunk of her tree.

It's going to be her whole torso right now she's not allowed to move the tree, but she is going to stretch and bend her leg without swatting and fly. You know what I mean? Don't go rack right. Don't swat the fly. You want to lengthen the leg out. You don't. People do that. Walk up now. Stay there. Keep your chest lifted. Focus, flexing, point. Good. No matter how advanced you are, this exercise is always challenging.

Bend your elbows and round forward. Curving your body, relaxing your shoulders. Pull those armpits down. Now we'll shift back. Now, guess what is your tree? Your leg is your tree. You're not allowed to move your leg, walked down your leg and make a connection from your hands to your torso and walk back up right here. Pull right underneath your bra. Pull those rib muscles in. That's part of your abdominals. Let's go back down again and walked down.

Good. Pull your tummy in and walk up. Well, she does that well, doesn't she? And again, walked down. Good. Remember, grab your leg. Don't just touch it. Really feel the connection of the hands to what's happening in your torso, right? That's part of the work. Connecting the dots right now. Should we just, uh, you want to stretch to the novice? To the other side? Yeah, and up. Good. Now for some of you who feel really inflexible, guess what? You don't have to take your thigh that high. Monica is a very advanced, beautiful practitioner. [inaudible] so she's going to do what she needs to do.

But for some of you, this is fine. All right? But go back to your position. Get your treats aren't good, that's it. And make sure you flex this bottom foot. We don't want you to end up in the ocean. Good. And that's it. Beautiful. Now Walk Up. Good. Now flexing point. Thank you. Lift up. Good. Shoulders back, right. Good. Now Bend your elbows.

You can move your treats right now and round forward. Good. Now shift back. Now your leg becomes your tree trunk. Okay, and walked down. Grab the leg and come back up your first time. Your second time, your third time. Do not arch all the way back. Only go parallel to the floor or you can go a little bit less if you need to. If that's scary for you. Don't go back so far.

The important thing is a connection, not how far you go. Right? Do it one more time so they can see your connection right there. Now connect to come up. Yes, you see that? That was brilliant Monica. You're so good. Good. But if you need to, let's just show this.

If you need to just go down a little bit bit. Walk your hands down and pull your tummy in just to, there's fine and walk up. Alright, no big deal. Remember, this is a process you can't get on here and be advanced right away. You have to go through the process of understanding how your body works under pressure. All right, so let's take this off. We'll do it together. Thank you [inaudible]. Some things I can do now, the next exercise, you can slip your headrest up if your, if your reformer has that capability.

If not, don't worry about it. Okay? We have two springs. Your Bar's going to be up. If you're a reformer, has the capability, put your head rest up. If not, don't worry about it. It's okay. I'm going to put my foot here for safety. You're not going to have that home. So be careful how you grab your bar. All right, so let's step up and let's do our elephant. One Hand, one foot, one hand, one foot. Wow, that was pretty good.

Now, if you're short like me and Monica is not a shortage me, but she's still kinda short, you know, uh, you can walk forward a little bit if you're five, four and over, push your heels right up against her shoulder blocks like that and trying to dig your heels down. Make connection of your heels digging down and your spine, curving your lower spine, curving underneath you and your shoulders relax. Good. The thumb should be connected with the rest of the hand. All right, that's good. Now we're going to move the carriage back a little bit. Bit. Use Your Tommy to draw back in. Good.

Inhale, squeeze and exhale. Good. Inhale and exhale. That's it. See if you can curl your toes up a little bit. Give yourself a little extra stretch. Imagine your torso is hovering over a ball.

What is this position? This position? We've done it before. It was your hug on the short box and it was also your summit massage your first position. So whenever we curve the spine, we have a hovering lifting position, but we're deep with our powerhouse or core into the back here to support. Okay. Do a couple more. I like the way you do it and push out and come in. Good. And now I feel this. Ooh, yes girl. That's good. Good, nice work and make sure you're not, because relaxed, even if you can step down.

Now I'm going to hold onto this bar. Make sure that you're careful with your bar. Again, you don't want to use this, so like some falling, right? Make sure you have consult. All right. Now you can go back on and you're going to get on your knees and do your knee stretches. Good. As a beginner, you can do all the positions with the, with both knees on your first one is curve. Guess what?

Here's that position again, isn't it? It's the same thing. Whenever we curve our spine, we don't just collapse and crunch together and here we lift. It's like a hovering. So you're really engaging your lower abdominals, opening up those shoulders. Neck is relaxed. Good. Your hips are almost here. Heels like you're sitting. All right, let's push out and pull back in in. So the accent is in, in, so you're allowed to pull your tummy in a little deeper each time.

Good. Now we've done five of those. Now let's let the back arch a little bit, but again, don't release this so much that you're telling me saying, you know you still want to be engaged in your tummy and your neck is long and your soldiers are down. Let's do five more. One, two, three, four, and five. Notice how she's not using her arms. They're just there for decoration. Round the back. Drop your head. Now you might want to use your arms a little bit to get your knees off and then shift back. One, two. That's it.

[inaudible] three, four. Let's do eight of those. It feels so good. Get your heart rate up to drop your head, drop your head good. All these little things that even if your vans, you need reminding. That's why it's not such a bad idea. No matter what level you are to do this beginning work and think about the placement running in place is our cool down.

So I call this running with no place to go. So lie down on your back. Good cause we don't move. We just saying the same young it right. All right. So yeah, the arms down by your side stretch out and Pavel, the legs, one ear goes down and the other knee bends. As I sit down and push, don't keep seeing little bitty movements when the fee I want full range of motion. So when the heel drops down, you'll feel a big range of motion between the heel and the toe. Yes.

Good. Now it is called running. There we go. Pick up the tempo. That's right. Almost like God bless. 'Em Man Rico. Right? I can't think it's okay. This is not a thing. Class is a good thing. Now he owes here. Good arms down by your signup.

Press your arms down. Pull your armpits down and close your ribs a little bit. Good. Squeeze your butt cheeks and lift up hips. Good school bit as much as you can without engaging in the hip flexors. There's a fine line between that tightness that you can create there and not.

So there's kind of a length here. Here we go. Push out. I've got two springs on and back. Good push out. I think she needs worse pain, so I'm going to add one. Push out. How's that feel? A little bit better. Sure. I think she needs a little one. Come back and push out. Good. Now, interestingly enough, the hardest way to do this is with one spray, but I'm not going to do that to her. Good. Push out an N. Good for shout.

You see how she's resisting it in? She pushes out. She resists it in. She pushes out. She resists it in. Good. That's what I want you to do. You will feel your brothers if you do that. Roll down, bringing ease into your chest. Grab your ankles. Good. Take a deep breath in and breathe out.

Let your back be heavy into the map again. Inhale and exhale. Good. Now if you're not a beginner, turning yourself around on your reformer, we're going to do the series of five, so lie down with your feet this way, your head this way. Tada. Just like on the one the chair. Lie Down. Draw your right knee into your chest. Take your right hand on your right ankle on your left hand on top of your knee.

Lift the other leg. Lengthen it out. Tug it twice. One, two, switch. One, two, switch. One, two, just a little, some extra fee of dominoes. Right? In case you didn't feel them, now you will, right. Mamiko Huh? Huh, Huh? Like I didn't know we were going to do one more. Now bring both days and good. So we're going to unfold the body. Now we're gonna. Um, we're falling the body now we're gonna unfold. So it's your arms back and length and feel a two way stretch in the body. Reach around and pull. Inhale. Feel two way stretch.

Now believe it or not. And all the exercises that you do, you will feel are two way stretch in the body. You can go back to that basic work we just did on the reformer and think to yourself, where's my two-way stretch? That's an advanced way to view the beginning work. Good. One more ample and take your right leg up. One too. Tugging twice. One too good. One, two, one, two, one, two, one, two. Nice. One, two, one, two. Nice straight lace. If you bend your knees and do this, you won't feel your tummy is much good and legs up, hands behind the head and let's go right into the crisscross one.

Switch it to nice. Three. Good. Well I feel the heat hot. That's a good, and go ahead and stand up. Beautiful and up. All right, so there should beginning work was a little bit of tummy thrown in for good luck. We liked it. Luck. Now if you don't have a box, you can sit right here and listen. Sit with your knees bent and do a roll down. If you have, if you don't like this, if you don't have a strap, you can put your feet like that. If you have a set, go ahead and put your feet in here. It's up to you wherever you want to go.

But you can still make this connection of squeezing your buttocks, lifting up, pressing the fees against there and make sure you always have two or three springs on. When you do this with a box and you get your curve and you lean back just like that. And come up. Good, simple. And then you sit up tall and you can take, if you don't have a bar, your hands like this, pull your back up and lean straight back. Reach for that cup of coffee and pull up. Good. And then you can go side to side.

This actually feels really good with your legs. Straight that feel nice and twist. Good. That's it. Again, twist, just so you can have a little stretchy stretch. We like that. And Rich, now you can do your tree here as well. It's a little bit more challenging, but you can do it. Okay, so you get the idea, Rachel. So you know that there's no exercise that you should or can skip in this beginning work because there's a method to the madness. All these back to one place where here your powerhouse, your powerhouse isn't just your tummy is your upper inner thighs, your butt cheeks, and your upper tummy.

Go ahead. So let's stand up everyone and just stand up and put your heels together and your toes apart. Let's stand to the side so everyone can see this beautiful body. Good. So if you stand and you press your heels together, when you stand, what do you feel? You feel your upper in fives, you feel glutes, and then you have space to pull up your waist a little bit more. Good. There's your posture, right?

That's what you should be feeling when you do that per supposition of your footwork on the reformer, right? So check yourself with that posture. All right? And then just kind of relax a little bit and walk away. Bye.


1 person likes this.
Just rejoined Pilates Anytime after a few years of not doing it. Mari was a great re-introduction to the reformer exercises with a light, no stress, fun work out. Thanks!
Welcome back, Kathy! We're glad you enjoyed it.
Bonnie H
2 people like this.
Clear, precise and a plethora of information for all who study the Art Of Contrology . Thank you ,Mari Windsor
Love going back to many gems in this one....elegant, lift in stomach massage, reach to top shelf, no swatting the fly, running to nowhere...thank you thank you thank you!
Wonderful queuing!!! It was a pleasure watching Mari, thank you!
Had trouble viewing the workout at the last two exercises.
(Edited by Moderator - Alex Parsons on April 1, 2022)
Suzel ~ I'm sorry you had trouble viewing this workout at the end. Did the video stop/freeze? If so, please email us at and we can give you a few solutions that may help.
Mari was delightful. My Reformer is on the floor and I don't have a box (yet), so some of the exercises I had to wait to the end to do. Thinking it might be better to show the modifications BEFORE proceeding with the workout so those do us without the same equipment can join in all the way through.
Andrea ~ Thank you for your feedback. We agree that Mari is delightful, and we are happy to hear that you enjoyed this class! This tutorial may help you the next time you are in a class where they use a box. It offers modifications you can do when you don't have one. I hope it helps!
Have never watched Mari before. I smiled through the entire workout, fantastic!
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