Class #2120

Mat for Creating Space

45 min - Class


Create space in your rib cage and thoracic spine in this Mat workout with Brent Anderson. He designed this class for Lisa after an assessment where he learned that she had restricted movement in the chest and thoracic areas. He focuses on using breath to wake up the movement in the ribs so you can have a nice, flowing movement experience.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hello I'm Brent Anderson at Pilates Anytime and excited to be here and we've designed a special class for Lisa, but it is a class designed for everybody. We took a look at Lisa in one of our workshops and realized that she had restricted mobility in her chest and thoracic area. She had a decrease in rotation in her extremities and in the spine and more importantly, she had over-recruitment of her abdominal wall and had some inefficiencies in her diaphragmatic breathing. Now I see this all the time and these are the type of problems that lead to neck pain, shoulder pain, low back and hip problems. So the purpose of this class is gonna be a little bit breath-centric, focusing on restoring mobility.

We're gonna stay away from any type of muscle contraction cuing to make sure that we have a nice flowing movement experience. And I hope you find it as beneficial as we do. So we're gonna get started. And what I'd like to do is just have everybody stand up for a second on floor and just do a little self reflection of how we feel today. And with eyes closed, provided you don't have a movement disorder or balance disorder, and just take in a couple deep breaths and just notice what happens when you inhale and exhale.

Where does the air transfer? Do you feel the weight shifting as you inhale and exhale? Are you able to expand laterally in your lungs in a standing posture? Just be sensitive to that, 'cause we'll come back to this at the end of the class and we'll see if you notice a difference of how you feel when you're standing. So with that being said, let's go ahead and have you lay down on the mats.

You're gonna be on your back in a hook line position. And I want you to place a hand on your belly and a hand on your chest. So placing one hand on your belly and one on your chest. And just take in a nice deep breath and observe where do you initiate breath from. So if you initiate breath from the chest, that's fine, that's nothing that's wrong.

You might be initially a chest breather. Some of you might be diaphragmatic breathers. But just notice where does the air pass. Continue to inhale the air until you do a maximal inhalation, expanding the lungs as much as you can and then do a maximal exhalation, getting rid of the air as much as you can. And again, just observing, do you notice anything as far as one being more dominant that the other?

Possibly the chest or the belly? And then place your hands on the side of your ribs and just notice what kind of breath pattern you have, breathing out into the ribs sideways. So expanding that lateral expansion and narrowing is just as important as expanding. So just again, observing the mobility that you have in your chest wall right now is really important, okay. From here I want you to turn over and lay onto your right side, so you'll be rolling over onto your right side and just laying on your right side, head and rest on your arm.

You can even bend your knees a little bit if you want, for stability and just test what it's like breathing in to your left lung, not just into the center but to the front and the back of it as well. So you're just expanding that whole left side with an inhalation. And then exhale, let it relax down. Let gravity take the air out. So you get an expansion out to side and to the back, expand, expand, expand, really bring in that air.

And then just relax the breath out. Again, we're just observing if there's movement and if you have displacement front and back and sideways when you're laying on your right side. Now from here, roll over onto your tummy. Now laying on your belly, prone, hands can be down to the side, your head can even look to a side. See what happens when you breathe to the side and to your back, so filling your lungs up posteriorly and being able to feel that air filling into the lungs in the back and then let gravity take it back out.

And just observe how much displacement can you create from the ribs posteriorly expanding versus the chest anteriorly expanding into the floor. So it's like you're filling up the balloons of the air in your lungs. Rise and fall, one more time. And not that there's a right or a wrong to it, it's more about just observing and seeing how you breathe. I know sometimes people come up to me and they say that they were told that they were bad breathers and I always remind them that there's no such thing as a bad breather unless they're dead.

So everybody that's alive is a successful breather. So turn on your left sides now. Let's do the same thing we did on the right. And let's observe that. So just inhaling into the right lung, coming to the front, the back and the side and just feel that expansion and then let gravity take you back down.

If you notice one side might be a little more restricted compared to the other side. Really expanding that rib front, back and up toward the ceiling. Do one more breath there and then take just a moment as you roll over onto your back and we start with our exercises to reflect and just think. Where did you breathe easier? Where did you have more restriction?

Was it more challenging to expand anteriorly into the chest, to breathe inferiorly into the diaphragm, laterally into the ribs, or even posteriorly into ribs. So you hear this often in the Pilates teaching, breathe into your back, breathe into your right lung, breathe into your left lung, observe where you have movement and where you don't. So when we come back after the class, we're gonna check it out and see if there's a difference, okay. So let's go ahead and start with our first exercise which is gonna be the pelvic circles and pelvic tilts. So we're gonna start with that concept.

I love to start with this exercise. You've seen it before on Pilates Anytime. With the pelvis as if it's that bowl of soup, so we're gonna start with that concept of this large bowl, that is the circumference of the pelvis, the pubic bone, the bellybutton, and the pelvis and imagine it half filled with a nice warm soup. And just tilting it anteriorly and posteriorly 'til the soup comes to the lip of the bowl. Now what I want to add to that image is that your breath is going to facilitate this movement, so as the pelvis tilts anteriorly, we want to make sure that we're inhaling, expanding that diaphragm down into your belly.

Do not worry about looking skinny in this class. I really wanna see that Buddha belly and that expansion of that diaphragm. 'Cause one of our objectives in this class is to get that diaphragm to really start expanding and creating breath exchange. So inhale as the pelvis tilts forward, exhaling as the pelvis naturally tilts back. So it's more of a relaxation (exhales) inhaling anteriorly, let's go a little bit quicker, and exhale, back.

And one more time inhaling anteriorly and exhale, back. When you right from here into our bridging. So just with that same idea, let yourself have a little bit of that anterior tilt to prepare with an inhalation and then exhale allowing the spine to roll up and peel up into the weights behind your shoulder blades. From here, you'll take another breath in, but pay attention to where you're inhaling. See if you can expand the ribs to the side in this position and then exhale allowing the front of the chest, or the sternum, to soften as you roll down through your spine one vertebra at a time.

Now one of the things that we often do that could be considered a faulty movement, is that we exhale too fast. What I'm gonna have you do, is just sort of imagine that you're blowing through a straw. You don't have to make any noise, but as you're exhaling when you're coming down. Can give you a little longer breath. So a nice big inhalation up on the bridge, exhaling through the straw, feeling the ribs slide down into the mat and creating more movement.

So we should see a little more expansion each time you do this. Now on the next bridge you're coming up. Everybody's gonna come up, stay up, take the weight onto the right side of your ribcage, and roll down through the right side. Maybe a little bit like the familiar exercise of corkscrew, but in a much more basic version. And roll down through that right side, all the way down and anteriorly tilt in that right side as well.

Exhale roll back on that right side, so rolling back up through the right ribcage all the way up. When you get to that base of the shoulder blades, square off, then rotate to the left taking a deep breath and as you exhale diagonally coming down rolling through the ribs. So again, this is a great way to start opening up those ribs. And let's repeat that roll up on the left side. Let's make it a little more fluid now, so you're gonna come up and over the right and roll down through the right inhaling as you come through to that anterior tilt exhale, roll up on the right, square off across the center as you inhale, exhaling rolling down on the left.

Exactly. And really concentrate on trying to find this part of the ribcage as you're rolling up, that lower ribcage rolling up, that's it, Lisa, good, come across to the side and drop this down, this is what has to drop down, there. Life is good, one more time. And roll up on that left side and then you'll come back to the center and roll down through the center. Give your hamstrings a little break and we're go into a little slide glide.

But again, I want you to imagine when you're up in that bridge, we're literally sliding those ribs side to side. If you can think of the ribs as rings and rings stacked on top of each other, we're sliding the rings across each other. So let's go into one more bridge. All the way up, yep, take a breath here. Drop sternum down just a centimeter.

And now translate the pelvis to the right and to the left as if you were on a skateboard or something that slid side to side. So it's really horizontal, come down a little bit lower and slide and slide and slide. And every time, come back into center, drop down another centimeter and slide and slide. At this stage, we are also waking up those local stabilizers in the low back and you might find that there's a little cliff or a drop in your exercise. That's okay, that's just telling you that you need to find that segmental movement.

Let's do that one more time. So you come to the bottom, roll up. Take in deep breath on top, softening the sternum. Again, it's breath-centric today and translate side to side. Just like on a skateboard, you got it.

And feel that translation, really opening up segment by segment, all the way down. Waking up, that's it, good. It's like a typewriter, if you remember the typewriters. Alright, now in this position, take your arms up over your chest, fingers to the ceiling. And I'm gonna allow you to cheat a little bit.

What I want you to do, is let your arms come over your head, and let your ribs come up, just let them come up. Heaven forbid, right, so let them come up and just observe that position. You'll notice that you're not doing any harm to yourself. It's just not what we would consider to be ideal alignment. But I want you to understand what it feels like incorrectly when the ribs come up and now see if you can leave the arms down as you exhale, bringing the ribs back down towards the pelvis and only exhale as far as you can keep your arms close to the floor.

Try that again, deep breath to relax the arms on the floor. Feel how the breath influences that. Leave the arms on the floor and exhale, drawing the ribs down, so opening up that shoulder girdle and that pelvic area. Inhale one more time, this time keep exhaling bringing the ribs down and let the arms float back up over the chest, fingertips to the ceiling, all the way up to the ceiling, you got it. This time leave the ribcage where it is the spine, inhale and expand as you exhale that, the arms come down towards the mat again, over the head, over the head.

Only as far as you can go with control, that's it. Bring it back up over the chest. Let's do two more of those, exhaling over the chest. Bringing them back up, take a breath in, exhale one more time, over the chest, that's right. And again just getting that awareness of that relationship and noticing how you can allow it to open up and free up that part of the body, okay.

So now what I want you to do, is you're gonna roll over onto your right side, your knees are gonna stay bent, arms are gonna stay in that position, right. So just roll over to your side. Going into our book openings and book openings are another way early on in the class to be able to wake up the movement in those ribs. So you're gonna take that top hand and slide it across the bottom hand, slide it across your chest and open it all the way out to the other side, leaving the knees on the floor. This is one of those delicious exercises where it's like, oh, Brent's being so nice to me today, he must have some hell of a hard exercise coming up, which you're probably right.

Alright, so what we're gonna do here now is again listen to your breath and what you feel, right. So take a deep breath in and see if you can feel that arm coming down a little closer right to the mat. Feel the ribs opening up and then when you're ready, start peeling that left hand off of the floor and draw it across the chest and reach it out to the other hand and let's do two more of those a little bit quicker now. So we're just gonna slide it across the chest, open it up, reaching long, feel that opening through the chest, feel the ribs expanding with that inhalation right into the front of that left ribcage, right, and then when you're ready you can peel that hand back across the chest, yep, and let the arm even be a little softer. So here we go one more time, soften that arm, let it lay out open, oh, life is good, and peel back, soft arm all the way through, okay, beautiful.

Okay this time we're gonna roll onto your back. Take it over to the left side, same idea, opening up. And again, everything at this stage of the game of this class in the warming up is observing where you move from easier, where you have more challenge. So continue with the same exercise, sliding the right hand across the body, opening up into that rotation, opening up that chest, beautiful and when you're ready, slide that hand back across the body, you got it. And again, good.

Now concentrate on where that air is going, underneath the right armpit, underneath that ribcage, feel that expansion in those ribs starting to move. That's where the movement comes from, so we're gonna feel it right underneath there. Last one and then this time leave the arm out there and then roll your knees up and then scooch yourself into the middle of your mat. So we're gonna do the opposite now, with knees side to side. And so the hands are gonna stay out to the side and we're now gonna allow the knees to come over to the right side and this where we start really learning about where movement happens.

So this is what we're gonna do, you're gonna take a deep breath in and the first exhalation is gonna start bringing that rib down underneath the armpit and that's gonna gradually bring those legs back up into the center position. Go over to the other side, inhale into the left lung, exhale underneath that armpit, sending that rib down. That's right, so let your breath and the rib movement actually remove the legs rather than you moving the legs from your belly. Ribs slide down, exhalation, ribs draw the legs back up. How many ribs do you have?

12 ribs, right? See if you can find all 12 ribs, starting way up underneath the armpit in the neck, starting to drop those ribs down, bringing the legs back up. One more time side to side. You got it, slide it down, find that rib, yes, yes. That's it Lisa.

Good, now resting the legs in the center, we're gonna sorta cover a quick rule, I call this the rule of the ribs. So, we're gonna take a quick break and just have you come up onto your knees, facing forward. And I'm gonna do it with you as well, so we're just gonna kneel down and what I want you to imagine is that your ribs are connected in two places. They're connected in the back into the spine, right in the center of the spine, and then they have another part of the rib that connects to the transverse process, so it has two parts. And that creates two separate rules to movement, right.

So the first one says that wherever the disc of the spine goes, the rib goes, so if I'm going into flexion, that would mean flexion, it would mean that my spine is going into flexion, my disc is going posteriorly, it's going back. That also means my rib is gonna go back with it. So where the disc goes, the rib goes. If I go into extension, you can do this with your hands as if it was the spine, so you're going to extension, the disc is gonna go forward, that means the ribs also go forward, alright? The second rule is a little more important to us because what means is that it's connected to the vertebra below, so when I go into flexion, the rib is going to slide back, but also it also is going to tilt up underneath my heart.

Can you feel that? And when I go into extension, it's gonna slide forward but tilt down towards my pelvis. Do we have that concept? It's counterintuitive. It's counterintuitive but it's going to open your ribcage up significantly, okay?

So we're gonna play with that concept as we go into your mermaid and let's go ahead and sit so that we're facing forward with all of legs to the right side. Facing? Facing forward, yep. So in the mermaid and I teach this a little bit differently, we're gonna put your left hand down like normal. So you put your left hand down and I like to soften the elbow just a little bit into your body, so the shoulder's gonna drop down with it and bring your right hand behind your head and we're gonna take that right elbow and we're gonna reach it up towards the ceiling and give just a little bit of a counter push with that left hand.

So if you think about it, your left forearm is lining up with the ribs on right side, so if I'm pushing just gently with that left hand, it's going to be pushing my right ribs out towards the side. So think of the rule of the ribs, if I'm side bending to the left, my ribs are going to be reaching to the right. Now stay in this position and just feel the breath coming into the rib, feel that expansion as you reach that arm up towards the ceiling, really opening that space. And it's okay to stay here and do a three or four breaths, learning how to expand that space. It doesn't just happen with one breath.

And feel that lift, reaching through, through, through through, good. Last breath in this position. And when you're ready, we're gonna come up and over to the right, keeping the knees where they are, the hands come down to the shin. Now the left hand's behind the head. Now this time it's a little more fixed so the left hip can not come up when you're in this side.

Can you feel that? Left hip's anchored down. So now it's more likely that when you breathe into that left lung, we're gonna get a nice expansion and just think of those ribs sliding, so the lungs expanding underneath that armpit as that right hand goes down, left elbow goes up. That's it, right there, beautiful. We've had a moment like this before. Yes, we have.

on Pilates Anytime. So now let's pick up the speed and do a regular mermaid with the gesture arm long, so you're gonna come up and over to the left, reaching the right hand and up and over to the right and just now like seaweed would be the image I'd like you to imagine, out in the Pacific Ocean, watching out for those sharks. Up, and over side to side and really feel the flow through the thoracic cage rather than just dropping down side to side, you got it, this looks really good, Lisa. Come up and over and feel that reach, that's it. And up and over, you got it, good, excellent.

Now this time come over to the left, stay there. Bring that right hand around towards the ground. Bring the left hand out a little bit, you've got it. I'm here to help you, you okay? Um hm.

Alright so now, this is another one of those sort of pause moments where let your breath be your friend. We're just gonna expand the breath into the space between the shoulder blades, think of the ribs. The ribs are gonna come back and up underneath the heart. Back up underneath the heart as you expand those ribs. Feel that space increasing so it's coming back up underneath the heart, opening that up, okay?

We'll do one more breath in the flex position, expanding the space in the back and when you're ready, we're gonna leave the hands where they are, but we're gonna start sending that lower ribcage through to the front, pushing with the hands. And the hip bones can come up a little bit. But feel those ribs coming forward as you expand the air forward into the chest. And then from there, you are going to exhale and push with the hands and send those ribs back again. We're trying to feel that lift in that opening, in between those shoulder blades, yep, feel that breath.

And let's go a little bit quicker now, so we inhale up into extension, exhale pushing back into flexion. Open that up, inhale up into extension, that's it. Exhale back into flexion, create that movement. And inhale, flowing, yep, all the way through that spine, because if we get that thoracic mobility, we're gonna feel so much better in our neck, our shoulders, and our low back. Last one, come up into extension, exhale into flexion, slide that left hand into the middle, right hand behind your head, open up and come back up into a seated position.

Arms behind you now, on the ground. Lean back into those hands and swish those legs gracefully over to the left side. And we're ready do the same thing on the other side. So now you've learned from one side, put that right hand down, drop that shoulder, bend that right elbow a little bit, left hand behind the head and we're going for that same little ride, here we go. Up and over, let the breath take control, that's it.

Breathing into that left lung and when you exhale you can also lift up from underneath so you can inhale into the left lung here and then exhale lifting those lower ribs up. So if you think of the rule of the ribs, on the right side would be like flexion, so those ribs are going to slide to the left and lift up underneath the heart. On the left side, their sliding to the left, but they're reaching down towards the pelvis. Can you feel that opposition, right? And just let the breath do it, you just have to allow it to happen, give it permission to move in that direction.

One more time and then we're ready to come up and over to the left side. So left hand goes down to the shin, right hand comes behind the head, right elbow up towards the ceiling. This is the more challenging side because that pelvis is fixed. Hi Lisa, how are you doing, alright? Yes. (laughs) Yes, good.

And we're gonna breathe into that right lung, just getting breath in that space, that's it, good. And then expand again, and expand, good. Now remember on that exhalation we're gonna lift from underneath, there it is, now just a little word of advice is you don't have to have a lot of tone in your face or in your shoulder or your hands or your knees, 'cause we're just using breath as the mover. Last breath and we're getting ready to go into seaweed mode. Ready, and we go up and over to the right, adjust your arm reaching long and back and over to the left, adjust your arm reaching long, fluid, just feel that fluidity of the ocean moving you with the tide, breath involved, you got it.

Let's do two more on each side. And up and over to the left. The last one coming over to the right, place that hand in the center, slide it out a little bit and rotate around dropping that left hand onto the mat. Let's open up that spine now, so pushing with the hands a little bit, sending the sit bone down. We're gonna use our breath again to really open up that spine, so inhaling between those shoulder blades, get that opening, then exhaling feeling those ribs lift up underneath.

One more time, deep breath in and exhale. This time we're gonna go right into extension, so on the next inhalation start bringing the head, and ribs, and sternum up, opening that space, pushing with the hands, and then exhaling back down into flexion. Inhale into extension and exhale into flexion. And inhale, we'll do it one more time, both directions. Inhale, exhale, stay in the flexion, slide that hand to the center, right hand behind your head, unrotate and come up from the mermaid position.

Great, now we're gonna go right into quadruped from here. So just turning to your right, go right onto your hands and knees and we're gonna have a little fun with some spine articulation here, so really there's no rules. What I want you to feel is just allowing the spine to move. We'll start with more or less, a cat and a horse. So we're just gonna arch the back up towards the ceiling, setting the tailbone and the head down and then go the opposite direction, setting the tailbone and head up.

So we're gonna be working that full flow. See if you can feel that all the way through the spine. So it's every single vertebra that is participating in that roller coaster, yeah, it's sorta like L5 talking to L4 and L4 talking to L3, how you doing, how are the sets, how's that synovial fluid doing these days. Fantastic, how is your disc doing? Oh she's good, she's a little cranky lately, but if you get her walking and she seems to a lot happier.

Now, from here we're gonna go into circumduction. So circumduction, we're gonna move all the way around, all the way up around, I'm just doing circles and really feeling the segmental nature of the spine. So there's no right or wrong here, just sort of move around like you're dancing on a stage, the spine's moving around. I won't say what kind of stage you might be on if you're dancing like this. (all laughing) And rotate the other direction. You know, we gotta put humor on Pilates Anytime, or they don't pay me any money, so I gotta put at least a couple jokes.

Alright, so getting that movement, just allow it to keep going, reverse the direction if you haven't already. And then come as close to what you think is your neutral spine, so it's always debatable what that is, but really what we're looking for is, if I laid a stick on top of your back, the head, the thoracic, and the sacrum would all be touching, there'd be a little space for the lumbar and a little space behind the neck. So we're gonna soften this just a little bit. Now from here, we're gonna go into a belly breath. So without changing the spine at all, inhale into the belly and allow it to drop down as if you maybe had a two or three pound weight with a string attached to your bellybutton, and really allow that expansion.

This is that Buddha belly part that I was talking about. And then exhale, draw the belly back up into the spine without the spine changing position. Inhaling, expanding the belly and then exhaling, drawing the belly back up and in. Let's come about right here, good. Inhale into the belly, that's it, good, and exhale.

That's right and each time try to expand that belly and that diaphragm a little bit more, really filling that expansiveness that comes with the diaphragm breathing that we often miss in Pilates 'cause we're always worried about holding our powerhouse and I think that leads to a lot of pelvic floor and diaphragm problems, that's it, you got it Christy, one more time. Beautiful, and this is a great way to get our clients to avoid over recruitment of that abdominal wall. Now from here you're just gonna go lay right onto your tummies, right onto your bellies and prone. And I want your arms in the scarecrow position, so about about ninety, ninety, your forehead resting on the floor. So I talked about rotation, rotation is another thing we want to try to incorporate into this class.

And not just rotation of the spine, but also rotation of the arms, the legs, et cetera. So in this position, we're gonna do the scarecrow. And I like to break it down into a couple different levels, so the first on is gonna be just lifting the forearms up, pivoting on the elbows and then back down. Hand and forearms up, hands and forearms down. Hands and forearms up, so it's a rotation and keep sending the elbows away from the center of your heart, just send them to the side of the room, expanding them and seeing if you can find a little more natural rotation inside the shoulder itself.

Let's do that two more times. Hands and forearms up, hands and forearms down. Hands and forearms up, hands and forearms down. And this time we're gonna add the elbows, but still in the sequence, so we're gonna go hand and forearms up, elbows up, elbows down, forearms and hands down, that's the sequence. Hand and forearms up, elbows up, elbows down, forearms down.

Little bit quicker, hands and forearms, elbows, elbows, forearms, hands One more time and now we're gonna add one more component, which is gonna be the head and the neck. So it's gonna go, hands, elbows, head and neck, neck, head, elbows, hands, we got it? Hands, elbows, head, and neck, neck, head, elbows and hands in that sequence, one more time. Hands, elbows, head and neck, stay up there, bring your hands down to the side of your chest for pre-swan, elbows are up towards the ceiling, hands are right next tight to the chest. Feel the elbows sliding down and away from the shoulders.

A lot of times we tend to squeeze them together, it's not squeezing them together, it's just send them down, coming up into pre-swan, so that the head and shoulders come up a little bit higher. And now we're coming up just to the base of the ribcage, so you should still feel that lower rib intact with the floor and then let yourselves back down until that forehead contacts the floor. Still thinking of that rotation coming from the shoulders, so for the rotation of the shoulders, the head, neck, and now the thoracic come up until we meet the base of that ribcage and then back down. So this is our pre-swan. You got it.

And let's bring the hands down just a little bit lower, yep. And now we can give that direction, that's it. And you know, this looks good, now just to give you an idea, in one of the workshops we did at Pilates Anytime, we did an assessment with some Pilates assessment skills that you can find on Pilates Anytime and we happened to use Lisa as one of the subjects. And so this class is designed around some of the restrictions and I just wanna let you know that she's already doing better with the movement through this thoracic area than she was when we did the assessment, so, good news. One more time, come up to that base of the rib and now we're gonna go in the full swan one, coming up onto your thighs.

Now the key here is you don't wanna increase the movement in the lumbar spine too much, so we're gonna come up and just gently slip the hands forward, continue to come up like we practiced, coming up onto the knees. So you look like the front of a maiden voyage, a ship, so you're strong and stable. You could break a wave if the wave came up against you. Laying the thighs back down on the mat, keeping that body long, then the belly, then the lower ribs and then back, all the way down until the forehead touches the mat. And we're gonna repeat that two more times.

So again, elbows down, head comes up, come to the base of the rib, connect the front of the ribs, up we go onto the thighs, with a deep breath up, and exhale letting the thighs come down, keeping the body long and connected as you lay it down. Beautiful, now the key here is, use as little force as possible, so this time come up with that same beautiful length, use less arms, less strength to come up in that nice position. You don't have to use a whole lot of strength to get up and allow yourself to come back down, keeping that lengthened, actually elongated position. And relax, very good. Now from here, roll over onto your right side, come up onto your right form, we're gonna go into side kick.

And I love side kick, because as we did in side line breath, this time I want you to really pay attention to what the ribs are doing while you're in this position. Can you get the ribcage up and over that right shoulder? Right, so we're combining the rotation in the arm, the movement of the ribcage, and the axial length. So take that left leg now and lift that left leg up, and left leg down, left leg up, left leg down. Now lift that leg as high as you can without the pelvis moving, so that's gonna challenge that control on the downside of lifting.

So if you think of the ribs lifting up towards the ceiling as the legs lift, you're gonna create the control. That's it, yep, that's it. That's exactly what I'm looking for. Bring it halfway down and let's do some circles forward. And one, and two, three, four, five, six, as smooth as you can and reverse, two, three, four, five, six, seven side kick with the flex forward, point, back and flex, and back, you got it, flex, and back.

Watch the breath and inhale, and exhale. And inhale, and exhale. And inhale, and exhale, last one, inhale, leave the leg back on the exhale. Take that left hand and reach it forward opposite of the left leg so going back, so reach that left hand forward, forward, forward, forward. And this time let your body rotate and spiral around that central axis, you can reach long, long, long.

And I'm gonna take you a little bit further into here, yeah. And feel that connection of where that rib, that's right, that rib's gonna come in, that left lower rib is gonna lift you up a little bit here, reach, reach, reach. Now take in deep breath and we're gonna make this sound of a bee, alright, so breath in, I'll do it with you so nobody's embarrassed, exhaling (buzzing), connecting bellybutton to L3 and sternum to T4, keep going (buzzing) until there is no more air. And when you run out of all the air, you can roll over onto your tummy, beautiful. Over onto the left side, same idea, up on that forearm now.

You're loosening up as we go, I can tell already. You're wondering though, I can see that challenge like, is he almost done yet? (participants laugh) I'm not almost done yet, we're getting close. Alright, same idea, lifting that right leg up. Make sure that chest is up and over onto that left shoulder, and down, and up, and down.

Also send those lower ribs up the same time the leg comes up, that's where your stability comes from. Can you feel that? When you think of those lower ribs lifting up and sliding in that plate as the leg comes up, it gives you tremendous control and stability and that allows that left leg to be a little more free. You can also think of the femoral head, think of that femoral head gliding and spinning down into the groin, rather than thinking of lifting the leg up against gravity. Now bring the leg down halfway, circles going forward.

You know the routine and one, two, what's good for the right is good for the left, we do both sides. And seven, eight, reverse that circle, two, three, four, five, six and ready to side kick. Bring it forward, and back, and forward, and back and inhale, and exhale, and inhale, and exhale and in, and ex, and in, leave it back. Reach that right leg back, reach that right arm forward, really feel that diagonal, take in a deep breath, keep the head of the movement, and let's hear that buzzing sound, deep breath in (buzzing). Feel that connection, the core keep reaching a little bit further until you have no more air in your lungs, the ribs have been drawn in to that central axis.

When you run out of air, roll over onto your tummy one more time. Bring your hands down to the side, head resting going into the dart position. Now we understand that subtle movement in the upper back, so I'm talking about just a little bit of extension, because of dart, you don't want a dart to be in full extension because then you would deviate from your course, so just allow the head and the upper thoracic to lift ever so slightly off of the ground, lengthening. And even not so high, from, you just come down a little bit lower, arms a little more wide. Yep, that's the position.

Legs float a little bit up off of the ground. You got it, we've got some beautiful darts there. Palms up towards the ceiling. We're doing our hundreds in dart position and pulse the hands up and breath in and exhale. What's the most important part of this exercise is gonna be your breathing as you inhale two, three, four, five, exhale and in.

Feel the expansion of those lungs, feel the expansion of that ribcage and exhale, creating more space around the front of your chest by that exhalation, the ribs coming in and then expanding all the way around the back, especially into the back. You have two more breaths to do, and in and ex, and in, and ex, and relax, very good. Bring your hands to the side of your chest. We're gonna ride up into our plank position. We're gonna go right into a leg pull front.

So come on up into plank, nice long spine, feel that organization now, the shoulder blades are on the trunk, reaching that right leg back lift it up and point the toe and back down. And left leg up and down, and right leg up and point and flex and down, left up and point and flex and down. And up, point, flex, down, point, flex, down last one, point, flex, down and I want one perfect pushup, one perfect pushup and back up. We're gonna walk our hands back towards our feet. That's it, and from there, we're going to let our feet come apart a little bit, bend the knees down and go into a squat position.

Put your elbows between the legs. See if you can't get the heels down. And remember I talked about really wanting to get the ribcage and the diaphragm to move? This also is for the pelvic floor to move. So we're gonna just stay here for a little while.

And again, just using breath as our tool, deep breath in expanding the belly, expanding the pelvic floor, really let the Buddha belly come out now. Feel like your pelvic floor is pressing down towards the floor, belly pressing out towards the front, and then exhale. Let it just spring back, so don't lift back, don't draw in, just spring back, so here we go. Inhale, expand and then exhale, spring back in. And feel yourself settle into the hips as you get a little more relaxed through that pelvic floor.

Again, deep breath in, and exhale. You can feel your hips relaxing almost as you go through that, it's a nice feeling. And I do this a lot with my clients and patients that have low back problems, even with the pelvic floor disfunctions, incontinence, post-partum, pre-partum, just trying to get that pelvic floor and that diaphragm to work correctly in their breath. The last one, exhale and then bring your hands back to the floor, press back with your legs. And if you need to, allow the knees to come forward a little bit, the back of the neck is long and we're just gonna go into a roll up, stacking our spine back up, all the way up, articulating that spine into a nice tall position.

Now, this is time for the reassessment at the end of the class. Standing up position there, straighten out your shirts for the camera so everybody knows that we're looking good and we're conscious about this. Close your eyes and just notice now when you take a deep breath in, how does it differ from the breath that you were taking earlier? Do you feel a greater distribution around the back? Or the sides?

Do you feel the diaphragm working and dropping down into the belly? Can you feel that whole ribcage expanding with every breath a little bit easier? And then draw your attention to your vertical axis. How do you feel as far as the head, the ribcage, the pelvis on top of the hips all the way down to the feet just by having a breath-centric, thoracic cage-centric class that allows us really to focus on how that empowers us and gives us more mobility throughout the whole body. Remember movement is very important.

Distribution of movement is the same thing as distribution of force. So in Lisa's case where she was having thoracic pain, low back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, much of this was due to restrictions of the thoracic spine, but adding a few more segments and more mobility in that area, it's gonna decrease tremendously the stress that goes from her neck, her shoulders, and her low back. I hope it does the same thing for you. I look forward to seeing you in the future in other Pilates Anytime classes. Have a great evening and let this be the start of a brand new day.

Thank you.


5 people like this.
feels fantastic!!! thank you
5 people like this.
Not only for Lisa, but for me too!! This one rings all my ribs and bells. :)

I wonder, Dr. Anderson, if you've heard of Scheuermann's disease or kyphosis. This seems made for it, but would love to see even more progressive exercises over time focused on increasing mobility in the thoracic spine. That's my special request. :)
Thank you so much, a beautiful class!
Trisha Donnelly
Needed this class, my ribs feel open!!!!!
You all make my day knowing that this class helps you to feel better. Have a great week. B
2 people like this.
Awesome! I loved when you said "the breathe is your move" . I remember my Balanced Body teacher trainer teaching that to me. Loved your cue's on mermaid. I will definitely be using for my client with scoliosis. I think it will really help her! thank you Brent!
Wow! I feel fantastic now. Thank you Brent x
Elizabeth D
Absolutely amazing! A real noticeable freedom in my shoulder girdle & neck after this class. More more more from Brent please!
2 people like this.
Dr.Anderson, you are like a magician. This is amazing. I feel freedom not even in my ribs but also in my hip joints for some reason. Thank you very much!
1 person likes this.
Wonderful breath class. I can feel the difference! Love the quick pace also!
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