Class #2498

Counteracting Sitting

20 min - Class


Counteract the negative effects of sitting with this Mat workout by Brent Anderson. He teaches simple movements that can be done at any time of the day so you can get your body moving. He focuses on the restrictions in the thoracic spine, front of the hips, and ankles. Enjoy!
What You'll Need: Mat

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So this class is our little 20 to 30 minute class that you could do anytime during the day. You could do part of it. You could do it at work. You could do it at home. Ideally we want you doing it periodically throughout the day and they are specific Pilates exercises that are designed to counteract the negative effects of sitting.

And the targeted areas that we're looking at in particular are the restrictions in the thoracic and the rounded shoulders. We're looking at the restrictions in the front of the hips because of the sitting posture and we're also looking for the restrictions in the ankles and dorsiflection. So we're just gonna hit it. We're gonna start on our hands and knees, head towards the center of the room. And let's just start with a nice little wave.

So the idea is getting the spine to move from the pelvis all the way up to the head. And some refer this as the cat and the horse. I rather think of it as the undulation, it's the wave. So we're really rolling the pelvis under and the head drops down, the pelvis goes forward and we're rolling the pelvis around the femurs, can you get that image of really taking it around the femoral head, around the shoulder head, And we're just moving the pelvis and the shoulder girdle around. And the spine in between is articulating and then from here let's go right in to some circumductions.

We're just doing circles around, moving the spine in a full circle. Really lubricating the hips, lubricating, getting the sit bones to open and narrow. As we go into that circle. The same thing with the back of the neck to lengthen. Probably the most important part of this is to go into a little bit of that extension.

So allowing the thorax to drop down. That chest to drop down right in between the shoulders in your circles, and reverse the direction. So this is a great single exercise just in the middle of the day. You feel like you've been sitting too long drop down and do quadruped. From here we're going to go right onto your bellies, so you're going to go down into a prone position.

And lets do start with some very simple thoracic extension and then upper. So you're hands are going to go underneath your head. Palms are down and I want to feel the floor through your forearms. So that is you're going to feel the forearms pushing down into the floor and as if you had a little ping pong balls in front of your eyelashes. Just start to push the ping pong balls forward and let just the head and the neck start to come up, feeling that length.

Almost like the throat wants to come forward a little bit. And then bring the head back down to the hands. We'll do that two more times. Reach the crown of the head, push the ping pong balls to the eye lids, let the head come up, neck comes up and back down. So we're really feeling it right in that CT junction with the cervical spine comes into the thoracic spine.

Let's do two more of those one your own time. Feel that coming forward. And another way of sort of thinking of it is the cervical vertabrae's are moving forward through the neck, the back of the neck stays long and the throat comes forward a little bit as you lift up and now leave the head down. Bring the hands to the side of the chest going into a pre swan now. We're going to still start the head off the same way.

Elbows are pointed up to the ceiling so the hands come right down next to the chest and we use the elbows as a guide through space. So we don't want to squeeze elbows together, we don't want to round the shoulders. We're just leaving them where they are and imagine as if I or somebody was just touching the back of the elbows and sending the elbows down and it lifts the back of the head, the neck and the chest up into extension and then back down, so it's a very subtle and gentle movement. Elbows slide down, you can feel almost that rotation taking place around the shoulder girdle. And letting that sternum come forward with the breath and back down, we'll do two more of those.

Last one, coming back up. Now this time stay up a little bit. The shoulders still, elbows reaching down. And the rule of the ribs, descending the ribs forward and setting the ribs down towards the floor. So we're going to come up into a full swan now.

Continue to send down that connection of the lower rib coming right down into the pelvis as you come up into your swan. And then back down. So we're keeping that nice long spine, if we feel like there's too much compression or closing in the tube we talked about in the work shop then we're gone too much in the low back. So we have to stiffen the front of the body up a little. Let's try that again, elbows slide down, head, neck and shoulders come up and now we bring the elbows into a extended position, body comes up last time.

Come back down and this time rest with the forearms in front, going into a single leg kick. So we're going to come up into that posted position. Right, and we're gonna feel the lower ribs reaching down towards the pelvis a little bit. Its not to be confused with going into flexion, the ribs are going forward towards the mat and reaching down towards the ribs. We've got nice long thoracic spine.

And we feel that sort of tension in the front of the abdominal all or the front of the body. We'll take that right heel right? And we're going to pump it up two times, pump pump. But the magic here is when you reach the leg out, reach it out into a little bit of an extension. Still keeping the control of the pelvis to open up the front of that leg and then letting it come down.

In the left leg we double pump, pump, pump, and reach and then let it come down. Right leg pump pump and reach and down. Left leg pump pump, and reach and down. And pump pump, and reach and down. Again, left and reach and down.

Right side bum bump and reach and relax. Lay down flat, bring the hands behind your back in a double leg, we're going to bring it all together now. Really opening up the front wall. Head can go to the left. Everybody looking to their left.

Yup, head looking to the left good. And we're going to feel the hands together. The hands are what's opening up the front of the shoulders, that's why we clasp the hands together. That counteracts some of the rounded shoulders from siting postures. So just get that organized.

Feel the back of the neck long, even with the head to the left. We're gonna bring the heels to the bottom together. Feeling the length across the front of the body with a nice long pump, pump, both legs. Reach the legs, slide the hands down your bottom, keep the hands together. Pull up into the dark position, so it's not to come up to high.

Yup, good for that length and then come back down. Hands come together and we look to the right. Pump pump and reach. We're going to pick up the pace a little bit now on the third one. And come back down, pump pump and reach, and down, pump pump, and reach and down.

And pump pump, and reach and down and pump pump and reach and relax. Press back into a child's pose. Sitting back, leaving the arms in front. Right, now here get the hands out as far as you can. Walk them out in front of you.

Be careful not to sublex the shoulder, push the shoulder down too hard. What you're really wanting to do is just feel the opening across the chest a little bit and feel the weight actually coming down through that mid thoracic area. So you might even bring the body forward just a smidge. Yup and feel that movement happening in the ribs rather than in the shoulder. So we're feeling that gravity come around through here.

Exactly, good. Take in a deep breath in that position, expanding into the front of the chest, yup. So feel like you're giving that information into the pectorals, minor pectorals, major, really opening that space up and as you exhale, feel the ribs soften even a little bit more from the back into the ground. So you can feel them sliding forward, the forceps in the lower back opening up. That looks beautiful.

Now from there, leaving the hands there, bring that thorax into a little bit of fluxion, coming up onto your knees a little bit, and then back down, so it's gonna be like a pulse. I think of it almost like a jelly fish kind of feeling coming up, and then coming back down towards the heels and pulsing up, sort of rolling it through, it's the wave, it's the gelatinous body moving through, right two more times, just getting the movement in there. Really opening up the thoracic. And from there we're going to go into our mermaid position, so you're going to come up and let's all face forward. And let's all have the left leg in front.

Right leg to the side, left hand down. So from here we're gonna place that left hand down on the mat. And bring the right hand behind the head. And this is a valuable position for us, this is where we get to really create the sliding in the forceps and so that arms is gonna be just every so slightly turned into the body and we're gonna send the arms, the humerus opposite of each other really getting that distance right? Sending that elbow up towards the ceiling.

Now this is the most important part. Is the breath. So let's use the breath to expand and open up that space in between the ribs and when you exhale feel the lower ribs lifting up underneath the heart even a little bit more on the bent side. Inhale, expanding, exhale, lifting. Now we'll stay here and we'll do these breaths for about another 45-50 seconds.

So staying in that position we're gonna enjoy this expansions right? This happens. We talked about the fascia, we're gonna stay there for at least a couple minutes is ideal getting that fascia to work. So sending the elbows up. Reaching, reaching, reaching, last breath.

And then on the exhalation let's come up with a right hand down to the right side. Legs still in the same position, reaching the left arm up towards the ceiling. And now opening up that space again. So we're sending that arm up to the ceiling, we don't have to force anything and use your breath again, sustained breathing, we might stay her for a minute or two, really opening up that space in between the ribs. Feeling the opposition coming from that right hand.

So that right hand is actually pushing, alright? Opposite of that left arm reaching. That's that opposition that we're creating through the body. Beautiful, now this time come up to the left. Left hand down, bring the right arm up and bring it around into the rotation.

So again we're working now on getting that mobility in that thoracic spine that's so important. From here, push with the hands, and send the ribs sliding back and up towards the ceiling. So we're going to widen across the shoulder blades. And again we want sustained posture in this right. Because sitting posture puts us in a different position, we're gonna really try to open up that space behind the shoulders, in between the shoulder blades with breath, so breath is expanding.

Now once we've done three or four breaths here we're now gonna go into an extension, so we're gonna pull with the hands and send the sternum forward, the neck comes up the head comes up we breath into the front of the rib cage. And then we exhale and push back. So it becomes a little more dynamic now. We inhale and pull. Into extension, exhale push back into flexion.

Inhale pull into extension, exhale push into flexion again thinking of sliding through that upper thoracic area. Feeling the shoulder engagement, almost like that little finger, right? Like you can feel the little finger engaging into the mat both in the pushing and the pulling, creates the power to move from the right place in the spine. The last one. Pull forward, and then push back, bring the right hand behind your head open up to the front, sitting up nice and tall.

Bring your hands behind you, switch your legs to the other side and bring your right hand to the mat, left hand behind the head, same thing going the other direction. So again, sustain position. Now what you'll find it's because we've already done this a little bit this side, we might not need to stay in this position as long but do stay there or at least three or four breaths. Again, expanding the rib cage, and especially if you feel like there's more restriction on the left side of your thoracic, right? So we want to try to keep our bodies as vertical and as between the chrono plain as possible.

So that's coming up, lifting from underneath and breathing into that lung. Yup, good, good, good, one more breath. And then we are going to shift over to the left side. Left hand down, right hand behind the head. Breathing into which lung?

Right lung, good. So, really feel that lung like a balloon expanding in between those 12 ribs. Right, even down the very lowest, it's just above the hip, all the way to the top underneath the arm pit. So that whole accordion, right, of the thoracic spine is opening up, you have two more breaths in this position, opening that space. Last breath, inhale, really expand, and then bring it on up, back over the right side.

And now we're going to come over and rotate down. Left hand is on the mat, pushing away that left hand and now sending the spine back, right. Really opening that space between the shoulder blades. Again appreciating that movement of the rib cage as the ribs move, it counter acts the effect of the sedentary posture. Now from here were ready to go right into our extension and flexion, so we're going to go into inhalation, extension, pulling with the energy, the little finger.

And then push through the little finger back into flexion. Inhale extend, exhale push back. Inhale extend, pulling those fingers, exhale push back, we'll do it one more time. Inhale extend, and last one exhale push back. Bring that left hand behind your head.

And bring it on up. Now face back towards the center of the room. And we're gonna cross the legs right, so the legs are crossed in front and we're actually gonna move forward into this position. And we're going to just feel the weight into the ankles so we're going to cock the toes right? And feel that there.

And then we're going to point the toes and sit down on 'em. We're going to come up and we're going to cock the toes. Weight into it and point the toes. Just working on that chain through the foot right? Getting the movement into the toes.

And then down. And this time leave the toes there leave the body up, press the sacrum forward and now hinge back, come up again, open the toes, sit back. Come up, cock the toes, press the pelvis forward, hinge back, back up, and back down flat, so we're really massaging the ankles here, right? Just getting some good movement in there, now when you're ready on this next one, we're just going to come into the squat position. Yup, yup, so go back on the cocked toes.

Yup, and come up into that squat position as best you can, and if you need to here, this is where you want to lift up your heels a little bit you can roll your mat up or things like that to be able to really get enough dorsey flexion place the elbows between, the knees and feel the hands coming toward your chest. So we're really trying to lift the chest up and just now fell yourself doing a little bit of a circle around your ankles. Massaging the ankles in this nice deep squat. And we can obviously use breath to be able to feel the pelvic floor we might as well take advantage of that getting some weight bearing and orientation to gravity. Now you might feel one ankle that's a little more restricted than the other and that's normal, but this is the feedback that we want to get.

Reverse the circle other direction. Alright. And when you're ready lift the hands up over your head. I'm not going to stand up you are, you're going to stand up leading with your chest until we're all standing up with the arms over the head right. From here we'll finish up with a roll down and a roll up.

So we're just going to let the hands come down. Rolling the head, chin, and thoracic spine, feeling this segment by segment, working our way all the way down. Now here feel a little bit of the softening in the knees when you're all the way down. So you're not locked into it. And also notice the weight in your foot.

Is it in the ball of the foot? The heel of the foot? And just with a little bit of a signal, if you send the knee just a little bit forward, the tailbone down, and then allow the elasticity to bring the spine back up one segment at a time all the way back up until you're nice and tall standing position. Place your hands on your hips, send those elbows down and now standing up, we're gonna send the ribs forward and down, right? So we're going to be going into the extension in the thorax, just like the swan but now we're in a different orientation and gravity.

And then stack it back up. And roll down into flexion, standing roll down, and when you're ready send those knees forward, send tail bone down and spring the spine up like an elastic band, hand on the hips open up the last time, inhaling into the chest, exhale, bring the hands in front, shake out your right foot, shake out your left foot, ? do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around ? ? That's what it's all about ? Thank you, have a great time, do this class as often as you can, just some quick and dirty movements. That can really make a difference in a sitting posture and keep on moving.


Yes!!!! Happy dance
1 person likes this.
Thanks Brent, as always, simple and to the point. Gotta love that! Happy hokey pokey!
2 people like this.
Thank you Brett! You are a great the q's...and I agree with Lynn on this... simple and to the point! I've watched a couple of your workshops and they are fantastic.
1 person likes this.
Brent this is FABULOUS! I feel extraordinary after doing this quick class and will be doing it regularly both myself and with my clients. I cannot wait to take some of these exercises to my office working clients, I just know they will LOVE them!
Thank you for all the positive feedback. I am always working on improving my instruction and facilitation of delicious movement.
All my favorites in one!! I love Brent's workouts! I love a quick, potent workout I can easily do any day! Thanks Pilates Anytime!!! You make my day great!
Thanks Brett. As always a great class :) I'm always want to improve my instruction in the class. Love it :)

Fantastic class- thank you Brent. I have to ask if Hayley is a student in teacher-training, because if so, she is getting the BEST Pilates education ever by some AMAZING master instructors! Well done Hayley!
Yes! Thank you!
Fantastic as always, never considered that the hands were clasped in the double leg kick to open up the shoulders. Thought provoking as always ,thank you brent
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