Class #2478

Stay Present Reformer

45 min - Class


Practice presence during this Reformer workout with Deborah Lessen. She takes you through her first time working with Niedra on the Reformer to show a real-time teaching situation. She adds variations to exercises like Swan, Front Splits, and others to make sure you are really listening to her cueing instead of relying on your habitual movements.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Pilates Pole

About This Video

Feb 06, 2016
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Okay. I'm Deborah. Lesson, this is Nia dre Gabriel. She has not worked with me on the reformer before, so we are doing a real time learning situation, advanced reformer workout. So if you would like to assume the position for coordination, good and grab the handles. Now I, I have worked with Nia dra on a couple of tutorials and I want to employ that information immediately in here. So as you can see, she's starting in neutral spine with the head and the tail down and as she goes into position for coordination, both ends of the spine round up and exhale storage so you can no coordination. Exhale, stretch forward, accent together, legs, accent together, knees in and roll all the way back down to neutral. Exhale, round, forward and stretch accent together.

Knees way in and roll both ends down. One more time. Exhale, stretch accent together. Knees in and roll down. Now you're going to go right into hundred, exhale into position. Start on your inhale. Good. And you can keep going at your own rate.

Keep dropping the center of the chest back into the mat and feel your pelvis rounded under good. When you get to your last exhalation, you're going to lower your straight legs all the way down onto the mat. Good. Try to keep the head still just from deepening that curve at the top. Good. Okay. And arms up. Alright, now leave the legs down. Inhale, bring your straight arms down to the mat.

Exhale, scoop under and bring the legs back to overhead position. Inhale, stretch high up, and just give me a little resistance and roll down through the spine. Bring your straight arms up and float your legs down. Inhale, arms. Exhale. Nope. Come back to overhead position. Inhale up.

Exhale, roll. Inhale, arms up. Exhale, legs down. One more time. Inhale, scoop and roll back. That's it. Inhale, stretch. Exhale, roll.

Inhale, arms up. Exhale, legs down. I'm going to take these and I'd like you to get the box and put the box on long way. Now we're going to do points, straps and t. Next. I usually do this on two springs, but if that's too heavy for you, you can switch to one. Okay. Um, I usually do them on whatever you want to switch it. Okay, so come on your stomach. You're going to grab the straps with straight arms all the way forward. Okay.

Now Bend your knees and let your head hang over. Just press your knees up gently. That's it. So everything is active back here. Now you're going to lead with the head, nose forward, sternum forward. When you get up to neutral, then you can stretch. Good. Now reverse it. Roll forward through the nope. Through. Nope.

Through the chest roll. Yes. So this is what we've been practicing. Exactly. Start from the top of the spine. Head forward. Inhale, stretch. Stay. Bottom ribs are down on the mat. Yes. Your low, low, low. Now reverse it. Roll through the spine. Yes.

Bend the knees and all the way down. Good. Let your neck go. Reach forward through the head. Inhale, open the chest. Open the shoulders. Stand on your bottom. Ribs. Yes. Roll forward. Good. Bend the knees. Let's do this one more time. Roll forward.

Weight on the bottom. Ribs. Yes. Roll forward and bend the knees. Good. Slide your hands into the loops. Okay. So for me, I want your hand through the loop and thumb around legs straight back. Now you're going to do that small arch above my fingers. Sternum forward, ribs on the barrel, on the mat, palms face the floor. Inhale as you pull the arms toward the body.

Keep the ribs down and arms open. Good arms pull in and arms open. Good. Three more. Inhale if you can on the action. And exhale, open. Good, easy neck. Inhale, pull. Exhale, open.

Inhale, pull. Exhale, open. Good. I'll take the straps from you and if you can add back that second spring and come on, you're back for backstroke swimming. Okay, so you're going to have knees to chest, hands to temples, and in this position the heels are together. The knees are slightly open. You leave space for your head in there.

Bring your head in between your knees. Hands are to the temples, temples, forget your prior teaching. You're with me now. Inhale, arms and legs up to the ceiling. Arms and legs open wide and stay. Go to your comfortable second position, palms to the floor, scoop and reach everything forward. Stay down, down, down, down, down, and bend back into your starting position. Arms and legs up open, palms down, scoop and reach forward. Get your weight way back into your chest. Pelvis under yes and bend back in. I'm being in phatic because we are working on this idea.

Arms and legs high up, open wide. Keep your pelvis under. Open all the way out. Scoop and reach and stay pelvis under. Get weight back here. Now I like your legs a little higher so you can really get down. Open your arms and legs wide.

Arms as wide as you can and exhale close. We're going to do four more of those. Inhale, let your pelvis carry the weight of your legs. Exhale, close. Inhale, open wide palms down. Exhale, close. Inhale, open. Exhale, close. Bend everything back in. Pelvis under, head into the knees. Good and just come back. Shoulders off the back edge of the box. That's good. Give yourself a hug. Knees are open. Heels are together. Good. Stay there.

Take a deep breath into your back. Exhale, reach your arms and legs to me. Palms down parallel to your legs. So bring your arms over your legs. Now you're going to go all the way back. Head forward. Circle your arms and roll up into teaser. Arms parallel to the legs. Good.

Find your balance point roll down, bend the knees, go back to your starting position. Hands are around the thighs, around the legs. Good. Exhale as you reach forward. Heels together. Inhale all the way back. Exhale, round and roll up. Good. Roll down, bend and hug. One more time.

Exhale as you stretch. Inhale, circle, head forward. Roll. Good, good. Soften the chest. Roll down. Bend the knees and give yourself a stretch. Good. And come on up. Okay. Come stand up. Give yourself a third spring and we're going to do swan.

How tall are you? Okay, let's try here. So you're going to grab one of the black straps and put your feet under the strap. Just one is enough. Good. So I want your pelvis on top of the box. All right. Just straighten your legs with your pelvis. More on Ti. Nope. Pelvis on top of the box. Yep, that's it. So you don't want to wedge yourself back here.

You need to get on top of the box, clasp your thumbs together, reach out to one straight line so when you rise up, you want to be on your thighs, not anywhere near your pubic bone. Inhale, pivot. Bend the knees high up. Stay and open your arms wide. You should see your hands in your peripheral vision. Keep your head high up. Stretch your legs and roll forward. Keep the head high up.

Reverse arms are open. Roll back up and the knees stay. You should see your arms in your peripheral vision. Now you're going to come up to vertical. Center the head. Hook your thumbs together. Dive your head right down into that head rest and stretch out to one long line.

Inhale, pivot, bending the knees, lift and open the arms. Good. Stretch your legs roll forward. Keep the head high up. Roll back up, zip up to vertical. Center the head dive under good and stretch out. One long line. One more time. Inhale, pivot against the box.

Head up, arms slightly ahead of you. Stretch your legs and roll forward. Head is high up, roll back up center, dive under and stretch all the way out. Very good and rest and you may dismount. Okay, don't worry. We're all creatures of habit. We do things the way we first learned them.

Learning is much more energy than learning. Okay, so we're going to do stomach control. You're going to sit right on the edge of the box. Just grab a strap for your feet. Okay. Straight legs. Now Open your feet as wide as you can and you can actually come forward a little bit. Yes, that's it. Okay. Round back, and you're going to fold your arms. Press one arm against the other. That's it.

So this circle has a lot of energy in it. Inhale, round your back. Inhale into my hands. Exhale as you roll down and stay. Float the face up as you inhale, bring the head in. Exhale. Inhale, stay round, and exhale, roll back. Lift the face. Inhale, head forward. Exhale. Keep the waist back. Exhale as you roll down. Lift the head.

Inhale forward. Exhale, keep rounding. Rounding, rounding, rounding, rounding. Yes. Exhale down. Lift the face, float the arms up. Bring the arms in the head in stay round. Exhale. As you roll, we're mimicking the waves on the ocean right outside the window. Arms in head in. Inhale, lift your head, adjust on your spine, and exhale, roll head, arms. Inhale, arms head. Exhale, push through the heels. Good.

Now you're going to go all the way back. So roll down. Find the edge of the box. Reach your arms way back. Good. Bring your head through. Arms Open and round. Good. And inhale through your back. Exhale as you roll down. Good reach straight back, had through the arms.

Reach your elbows and your heels forward and the waist back last time. Exhale as you roll. Inhale, reach, head leads, folding in. Good. Now we're going to add a spiral, so take your fingertips right at the base of your neck. First let's turn away from me. Round back. You're going to roll straight back just halfway and stay scoop through center.

Spiral to the other side and inhale up and exhale down. Scoop through center. Rotate straight legs, round, round, round. Exhale, roll. So you never straighten your back in this exercise. Good. That's why it's called stomach control scoop through center.

Good. Excellent. Okay, so let's have you turn onto your left hip facing away from me. Your right foot stays under the strap, your left foot way down here, and you're going to hang all the way down. Clasp your thumbs together. Okay. Now if anything bothers you, just Yelp. So you're going to reach after your arms and come up parallel to the floor and then go all the way back down. So you're on the side of your hip. Inhale, reach through the underneath side and all the way down.

Once more, reach out and all the way down and just hang and stay. Good. So after you use the muscles, they really let go. So save the stretch till after the exercise and come change to the other side. You're going to be two inches taller in 15 minutes. Okay? Hang all the way over.

Hook the thumbs together and reach long. Good. And exhale down and reach and exhale down once more. So if you do this exercise regularly, you can build up to more repetitions and then we add spiral. But Nia dre is new to me and so I don't want to go there yet. Good.

And just hang and stretch. Good. And when you're ready, come on up and let's get rid of the box. Okay. And we're going to do footwork. So are you used to three springs for your footwork? Okay, it's your choice. Okay.

But my choice is headrest down. Okay. So you're going to take your toes apart and your heels together in a small V and I want you to place your fifth metatarsal on the bar. That's it. Good. And then step into the heels and use your big toes around the bar.

Now don't force your first metatarsal down because that may make you pronate. Okay, so head is down, tail is down. And think of your rib cage. Moving the carriage back. So you're going to inhale as you stretch out, just stay there for a minute. Feel your back muscles and your abdominals equally holding your spine.

Drop your hamstrings. That's it. And bend back in, knees toward little toes. Inhale as you stretch and drop your tailbone that set and bend back in. Okay, good. Inhale. So if you're not accustomed to doing your foot work in a neutral position, just make sure you feel both the head and the tail firmly planted in the floor. Good. Three more.

Good. And also because you're in neutral, it's better to change the breathing to inhalation, going out, exhalation coming in. Okay, so now toes and heels together again, make sure that you have weight on the fifth metatarsal. [inaudible] heels together. And that might mean that you have to spiral a little through your feet. Knees slightly open. So notice if you bring your knees together, your heels come apart. We need your heels together.

So inhale as you stretch and exhale coming back in. Good. Inhale, stretch. So we're doing five of each. Normally I do 10 of each, plus single legs. Drop your tail, that set. So if you use your buttock muscles, you're going to push your pelvis up off the mat and we don't want that. [inaudible] okay. Up on the heels, toes and heels together.

Good. Inhale out and exhale in. So you can really work your abdominals as long as you don't use them to change the shape of your spine into a curve. Okay, good. Two more. Good. And give equal value to going out and coming in. All right.

And come down on the balls of the feet for tendon stretch. Now if you need to, you can be a little lower for tendon, stretch and toes together. Kick. Go out straight legs and stay. And now nice long, stretchy. Flex in point, keeping your heels press together. Okay, so as you go down, only go as far as you can without bending your knees. Stay wrap and close the back of your legs toward each other. Good. And press high up.

That's good. Okay. Relevant and come back in and take the heels wide. Okay. Now you can turn out from your hip joint. So everyone only turn out as far as you are comfortable.

Let your feet open the same amount as your thigh and no more so that you're not twisting your feet open. And again, inhale as you go out, expand through your ribs and drop the tail. And Ben back in. Inhale, expand through the ribs and exhale. You're welcome. You look like you, you feel like you're going to be going to be scolded.

Any minutes. Good. One more time. Okay, good. All right, so you can take off the center spring and I'm going to prepare the straps for short spine so you can come, you can leave it come lie down on your back. Okay, so Pete, okay. Now this is a little different than you probably learned. So you're first going to take your tail down into the mat, keep your knees dropped, pull your tail down, and now you're going to bring your heels down to your tail. That sit.

Get that tail all the way down there. That's home. Stretch your legs on the diagonal. Keep your tail on the mat and bring your straight legs toward you. So I'm giving her a little little pressure down into her tailbone. That's it. Now this is like rollover.

You're gonna take your straight legs down into the well. Drop the knees, roll through the spine, control with your abdominals, keep those knees dropped, dropped, dropped, pull the tail down, dropped. And now bring your heels to your sit bones. Good. So you don't want to straighten your legs back there. It's too much pressure. Stretch forward on the diagonal.

Keep the tail down so you're just folding at the hip. Good. And she has very long hamstrings. Most of us can't get down this far. Good. Keep the knees bent. Roll [inaudible]. Pull the tail down. So you're using your low back extensors.

Hips down. Bring the heels down. Excellent. Okay. Just stretch forward one more time and bring your legs back. Good. And I'm going to add the spa, the strap extenders for long spine. For those of you at home that don't have strap extenders, the straps need to be longer for long spine than for short spine.

Okay, so you want your legs vertical and hold. Now you can do this. Parallel are turned out. Since we've done so much parallel, why don't you do this turned out so you're going to roll straight up to the ceiling. Inhale, open hip with the part. Exhale, roll down. Anchor the tail at the bottom and close together to more scoop under and inhale. High Up. Open hip with exhale, roll down. Good, good and close together. Last time. Scoop. Inhale, hip width. You don't want to go too wide on that.

You can keep going because you'll lose control, not using your ad doctors enough. Now reverse open scoop and stay narrow. Inhale, legs together. Exhale, roll and open hip with the part a little narrower. So imagine that your feet are hugging your rib cage. That's the width. Scoop under and roll. Inhale together.

Exhale, roll. Good, and inhale open last time. Exhale, scoop. Inhale, elongate. Exhale, roll. Good and rest. Okay, so come on up and let's do kneeling. Knee stretch. All right, so you're going to sit way back over your heels. Scooped under, head under.

Imagine that you're closing the crown of the head and the tail under you. Shoulders down. Okay, so you're going to inhale, pressing out and exhale in and in. And in. Two more. Good. Keep this open and stay. Now change your back to flat back. Think of sternum, forward and up. That's it. Small.

Inhale out. Exhale in and in and in and [inaudible] in once more. Stay good. Now you're going to stand on your feet. This is going to be different from how you learned it. So just come with me. Lower your heels a little bit.

Now I want your shoulders and your hips the same height off the floor. That's it. So you're going to stay way up under here and just straighten and bend. Good. Pushing through the heels. Good. And in and in. And stay in.

Bring your heels a little higher. Yeah, that will work better. Now bring your left knee up to your left ear. Now you have to keep your pelvis square and you're going to do five on your right leg and in. So think of a bow and Arrow with the legs stretching in opposite directions. Good and change to the other leg.

Okay, good. And you want to keep your weight forward over your arms. That's it. Good. Use Your upper body state income back to two legs. Come to flat back. We'll be out of here shortly. Bring your sternum forward over the bar. So you're going to look way out there.

Bring your left leg straight back behind you. Good. Now you have to keep your pelvis square, single leg and in this is very difficult. The knee has to open outside the body. Good change to the other side. Alright. Keep the hips facing flat front. Good on your own time.

Stretch. Good. Use your hamstrings. Push through the heel, not the toes. Good. Okay. And bring this leg down and let's dismount for a minute. Okay. Carefully. Okay. Do you do, um, control front? Yeah. Okay. On onto springs. Um, sometimes I want you to choose what you can do now. Okay.

One spring. Okay. And first gear is okay? Yes. Okay. Okay. So hands here and you're going to take your feet together on top. So start with your hips high up. That's it. Feet together. Come to the left of here. Okay.

So you're going to push out as you flatten out and stay. Okay. Press out and under. Good. So try to stay flat right through your mid thoracic spine. Good. And hold on back here. Good. Two more. So this is a small range of motion or you're going to start rounding in your upper spine. That's it. Good. And Pike Up.

Good and let's come right down and go into tendon stretch. Okay, I'm here to help. I'd like to spend for this one. Okay. Okay, good. Exhale, scoop. Good. And come back and high up. So you're using your arms and shoulders beautifully in this exercise and scoop back and high up. Good. One more time. Exhale, scoop. Come back and high up. Good, good. Walk your hands forward. Good.

And I want you to swivel around. We're going to do elephants. Just squiggle around just like an elephant does. Okay, so toes up. Alright, now I want you to drop here a little bit. Let your head drop so you're moving toward your legs. That's it. And now press out and scoop under and up.

So if you keep a little pressure of your torso back towards your legs, you're going to get much more stretch and movement. Good scoop under an up, two more, and stay in. Now let's take this leg straight back. You're going to keep that shape in your spine. Keep your pelvis nice and square and do the same thing.

Scoop under. Good, good. Keep both arms straight. One more. Come to two feet square off and then take the other leg up and press. Keep your right hip facing forward. That's it. Good. And you want to keep your pelvis right down the center of the Mat? Yes. One more. Good.

And come down to two feet. Good. Take your heels high up against the shoulder stops. We're gonna do up stretch. Okay, now move with me. Drop your head to your knees, your chest, to your thighs. You're going to press through your back to go out. That's it.

Keep your head down and roll under. Come forward right through here. And stay good. Hips high up. Drop the chest, press out. Had under scoop the tail under and come forward and up. Good. One more time. High Up. Press down this time.

Just come halfway in. Roll under. Okay. Stay round. Stay up in your hamstrings. Now you're going to hold that position. Push the carriage back. You can do it that sit, go to down stretch. You can bend your knees. Good. Come forward and up.

Stay in down. Stretch. Let your feet slide back against the shoulder stops. Right? So you want to use your arms and legs equally. Keep the head high up. Exhale, press back. Use your legs. Good and forward and high up. Good.

Keep your head up as you push back. Good and up. One more time. Press back and up. Now you're going to go back. Press back round. Come all the way in.

Stretch your low back. That's it. Good. And you can come on up. Okay. Now, um, this bar is a little high but we're going to try to do Cleopatra. So you're going to sit facing me both feet against that shoulder stop. You'll, you're on your left hip here. Flex your feet. Toes in front. Yes, that's it. Okay.

You want to get these way back? Okay. Now you're going to take your left hand beside you here. Your right hand across the front. We'll turn this around after, but it's actually more useful to see her back first. Look arrogantly over your right shoulder. Please round your back. Good.

Now you're going to sit into my hand and press out with your left arm. Excellent. All the way down on your left side and come back up. Rounding your spine and if you need to, you can let this shoulder ride up. Exhale, sit into my hand. Get that left side as low as you can and deep in the pelvis in the chest as you come back up. Now she's on two springs. If this is too heavy for you, you can do one spring like to try one. Okay. Alright, exhale. Good. So you want to keep those bottom ribs open and round in.

Keep turning the chin over the shoulder so it feels like you're in spiral because one hip is up and the head is turned, but actually she's lined up along the length of the reformer. Okay, let's try the other side. Corolla called this side stretch. Okay. You know what? You can move your hips away from the shoulder stops a little bit there.

Okay. And this hand can be back slightly. Alright, cross the other arm in front. Straighten your right arm even if the shoulder comes up. Now if your shoulder does come up, as you push down, that shoulder blade is going to slide down in your back. So round your spine, drop into my hand. That's it. And stay down in my hand as you round back up. Keep the pelvis under. Good. This is sort of a Rubik's cube, but it feels fantastic.

Good and deep. Chest, deep pelvis. Relax here. That's it. So keep the arms straight. Yes, again. Good. That's it. One more time.

So if you feel too crunched on this side, you could go out to second gear so that you have a little more space and not come all the way up in there. Okay? Rest a minute. We're going to put the bar down and rest is over. So come on up. You're going to kneel on the mat with your feet back against the shoulder stops. Okay. Now, Nadia has never done this before. So this is, this is an improvisation de, take your right foot here. That's it. Okay. Now you're going to hold onto this for balance.

Take your left arm open to second position to start. So I want you to first establish your vertical alignment from the top of the head right down through the knee. So she's going to take her left arm down by her side, reach forward. And as that arm comes up, start pushing the carriage out with both legs. Take the chest in the head, high up to the ceiling. Stay good. So you're pushing back as much as you can with this leg. And straighten the front leg. Yeah, so you don't have to go really low.

Now you're going to center the spine and [inaudible] on the front leg and let this arm open. Center the spine. Good. Now from underneath, you're going to zip and let that back leg come in under you and you're back to your starting position with this arm in second. Bring the arm down, reach forward. Good. Start pushing straight in the front leg test. High Up. Good. Now Center the spine ple, ae on the front leg and open the arm. So this is where you sit down in your split. Stay right over your pelvis and now zip from underneath and come up to your starting position again. Left arm down.

Don't go yet. Okay. Now you're going to reach forward first. Reach and come high up, arm up. Stretch that front leg all the way. The face is up toward the ceiling. Please, please [inaudible] on the front leg and open the arms center, the spine.

Stay. Get over your pelvis, over your pelvis. And now zip. Okay. Can we do one more? Because now we're coming along. Okay. Left arm down. Reach forward. Push with that front leg. Come high up. Good. Open and plead a center. The spine.

Sit in your split. Good. So you always have to adjust your upper body over your pelvis. And now lift. Okay. And let's try the other side. [inaudible]. Now when you're really fantastic, which some of us never get to, you don't need anything for balance and you can take both arms up.

Yeah, it's my foot and heel. Supposed to be well up to me. Uh, I would do what feels the most stable, but use your toes to hold onto that bar. Okay. Okay. So you're going to start with this arm open and you can move that pole with you. It doesn't have to stay in one place. So you're going to come down, reach forward, start pushing with both legs, straighten the front leg, come high up that sit open and play on the front. Legs. Stay. Sit in your split. Okay, your way out and come back up.

Zip Up, come back in. Okay. You've got to keep your upper body over your pelvis. Okay. Right arm down. Reach forward. Now Push. Straighten your left leg all the way. Come high up. Good face up to the ceiling.

Now Center and play on the front legs. Sit. Sit in your split. Get your upper body over your pelvis there and now zip up. Yes. Right arm down. Reach forward. I'm manhandling this poor.

Stretch the front leg. Chest high up. Good. Open and plea a on the front leg. Chest over the pelvis. Keep that leg back. Nope. Push back. Use Your right leg and hold that carriage out there. No Zip.

Okay. Okay, one more time. So when I ask yes, have your pelvis forward. I have no idea. No, not your pelvis. Sorry, my chest. You're hanging back. Oh yeah, I had no idea. Yeah, so you have to use this leg more. Okay, so arm down, reach forward. Come high up, chest up. Good. That front leg is straight. Good. Now you're going to send her employee a and don't let that let come in.

Yes. Stay. Sit, sit, push back with your right leg. That's it. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Get your chest over your pelvis and lift and rest. Hi. Okay. Thank you. Thank you.


What an amazing class!!!! As you said start unlearning takes more energy than learning, and I could feel that! Interesting clues and really clear explanations and images to work with. I'll repeat for sure. Thank you Deborah Lessen
Wonderful flowing class. Loved the front split at the end!
1 person likes this.
I am so glad to see Deborah and Niedra working together, and indeed there is unlearning going on. Deborah you are so right, unlearning takes so much more energy. It was wonderful to see Niedra, who is so experienced, go through this process. To be open like that, at her level is not so common. Thank you Neidra for letting yourself find something else. And Deborah thank you for being so innovative with joe's work, while still keeping it classical. Such a joy to watch.
1 person likes this.
Thank you! This is priceless!

"Don't worry, we are all creatures of habit.
We do things the way we first learn them.
Unlearning takes much more energy than learning."

-Deborah Lessen
Great class, cues and challenge!
Delightful! Thank you to both ladies, wonderful to watch you working together for the first time on the reformer.
Great class!
Phew! That was a great class and loved seeing that even a very experienced Pilates practitioner has a learning curve. :) Appreciated the challenge and felt this class flowed more like a traditional gym weightlifting session than a typical Pilates session.

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