Class #2595

Magic Circle Powerhouse

50 min - Class


Use the Magic Circle to work your powerhouse in this Mat workout with Alycea Ungaro! She explains how the Circle is like your external powerhouse so everything that happens to the Circle should happen to your core as well. She also includes many creative variations and balance challenges to ensure that you are dripping in sweat by the end of the class!
What You'll Need: Mat, Magic Circle

About This Video


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Awesome, thank you guys for coming to Zumba class today! April fools. Not Zumba class, we're gonna do tai chi. Just kidding. Great, let's begin with some magic circle arm work, so you will find the circle conveniently located at the front of your mat. I always like to say that the circle is like the external powerhouse, so it actually represents what's going on your abdominals out here.

So anything that happens to the circle out here, should also be happening inside your abdominals, okay? So stand in your Pilates stance, please. And let's start with the circle just out at chest height, and I really like to hold it with the heel of the hand, so like kinda stretch your fingers out and away from it. Pick up your elbows so they're up and a little sideways, and because I'm a weight-shift freak, I want you to lean into the wind a little bit, yes, nice! Squeeze the circle as you squeeze your abdominals and then release, again. Squeeze and scoop the abdominals up, you could get a little seat action in there as well, that'd be great, and release.

And think about stretching your arms a little more forward every squeeze, and release, try again. Squeeze backs of the legs, high hollow waist, good. Try not to lock the elbows, they can reach, but they don't lock, and squeeze and reach, two, three, and one more time. Squeeze and reach, lengthen the arms, two and three. We're gonna take the arms down just a little bit, make a little circle in front of you, again, elbows side to side gives you the best sort of angle for the circle.

A little bit forward onto the fronts of the feet. Squeeze the circle, reach the arms out on a low diagonal and release, again. Squeeze and lengthen, two, three, and release, if you're really working the abs here, you can feel your low back getting longer. So squeeze the circle away, your low back lengthening, feel that? Yes, and release.

No rounding, just lengthening. Squeeze and reach, two, three, and release, a little taller in the body, keep the chest open. Squeeze and reach, two, three. Good, let's take it up above, so overhead, and this is the place everybody wants to kind of lean back and let go, so again, leaning a little bit forward, elbows wide, squeeze and reach, fingertips to the sky, two, three, and release. Let me see that circle move.

Squeeze and reach, two, three and release, again. Squeeze and reach, lengthen the sides of the waist, and release, where's the weight on the feet, just to check that, squeeze and reach. Nice and light heels, and release. One more time, squeeze and reach, two, three and release, take it all the way down. We're gonna take eight pumps going from the bottom to the top.

At four, I should see you at chest height. Here we go, pump one, two, three, four. Five, six, seven and eight, lower down, two, three, four, five, six, seven, repeat. Take it up, two, three, and four. Five, six, seven and eight, lower down, two, three, and four, five, six, seven, again.

And up, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Lower, two, three, four, five, six, seven, last set. Up, two, three, and four, five, six, seven, eight. Take it down, two, three, and four, five, six, seven and eight. We're done with the circle for the moment.

Take it to the side, can we all lower ourselves down to the mat traditionally? So come forward to the center, cross arms and legs, take one foot behind you, and with control, lower yourself all the way down. Good, and lie down on your back. Excellent, we're not gonna use the circle for the moment. Bring the knees into the chest, I just wanna see where you all are, we'll add it in a second.

Good, nice squeeze of the legs. Take a deep breath, and then put your feet down on the mat, flat, knees are together. Keep the circle handy, you won't need this second, we're just gonna do a little baby curl up, yes? So, keep your hands on the mat. Lift your head, your shoulders, scoop the abdominals in, and I actually wanna see your arms slide forward like you're trying to reach your heels.

Could you almost reach your heels? That's insane, but we just think about that to get a really deep scoop in the abdominals, and then lower yourself all the way down. And continue, curl it up, slide your hands forward deep, deeper, deepest, (instructor sighs) and lower, two, three, I'm doing this for a reason, instead of trying to lift up off the mat like we all do, try to grind down into the mat, so use the whole middle of your body coming up, slide the arms forward, and push down with as much force as you can into the mat, pushing down, and that will push you back so that you really do come up higher even though you're not thinking that way, lower yourself all the way down, looks beautiful, one more time. Curl it up, two, three, squeeze your knees, reach the arms, press your feet firmly into the mat, and then lower, lower, lower. Now, find your circle, nice and handy.

Anyone here object to the full roll-up? Swing yourself up to sitting, so I'm gonna have you start seated already. Circle over the legs. Keep your legs nice and long. Little Pilates dance, squeeze the circle to begin, we're gonna go halfway down, curl yourself halfway down.

Halfway down, halfway down. (instructor giggling) Squeeze your seat like crazy, squeeze the circle like crazy, and come up and over, two, and three, try again. Curl yourself halfway down to your lowest point, I always say it's the point of control, Maybe add one inch, so curl under one more inch. Squeeze your seat, squeeze your circle, exhale, and come forward and keep doing that, roll yourself down, two, three, plus an inch. Plus another inch, squeeze the circle, and exhale all the air out. Round yourself forward, give me two more good ones like that.

Curl down, and two, squeeze the heels, Lengthen the legs, gimme another inch, one more, one last one, you god this, squeeze the circle, exhale, and come up and final one, and a down, and two, and three, come on, get that low back into the mat, into the mat, into the mat, and then exhale, all the way up. Good, so then, for just a little twist, place the circle on the mat, you're gonna put it between your ankles. We do this later again in neck pull, but a nice place to start here. So I always kinda use that little cutout under your ankle bone as like, that was made for your magic circle pads, that's why God put that there, squeeze the legs together, regular roll up, but you're working the backs of the legs into the circle, so now there's no reason you shouldn't be able to get yourself up. Curl yourself down, show me the halfway spot, but we are gonna go all the way down from there.

Curl a little lower, a little lower, a little lower, reach the arms all the way up and back. Arms come up, start to curl, this is where you really squeeze the circle. Squeeze like crazy, look it makes it just float all the way up, inhale and come back. Exhale, and go down, with a little rhythm 'cause we're all ready for it, inhale and up, squeeze the circle, exhale and over. Pull back into the abdominals, inhale curl back.

Exhale and down, again, inhale curl up, keep using it, exhale reach forward, now squeeze the circle on the way back, I shouldn't see it move, except for in, in, in, all the way back, one more time. Inhale up, exhale over, you look great, ladies, take it back. Squeeze the site, squeeze the circle, and be done, toss it out to the side with your feet, you don't need it right now. We're gonna take leg circles. Imagine, if you will, that they are no longer leg circles today, they are leg triangles.

What do you mean? Take your right leg up, so really, truly, if we could just make a triangle, 'cause this is the piece I never get, cross over the body, so the top of a real triangle from here would be, take it all the way down to the point of the triangle which would be the center line, and then out to the side where you challenge your abdominals a little bit, does that make sense? So for today, just for today, a triangle, go across, down, and out. Across, down, and out, that works, across, down and out, I could get more across, way more across, way low, out. And across, down and out.

Come back to center, let's reverse. Start on the out, go down, big across, and out, big down, big across, and out, exaggerate the across, please, big across, and out, down, across, one more, out, down and across. Give it a hug and a stretch. Awesome. I just thought of that this morning, so I think that was a good thing to have, so.

Not sure if anyone has ever done that, but I thought today it would just be a triangle. Could also be an April Fools' thing. Take that other leg up. (instructor giggles) Hold on, hold on, show me the across. All the way, all the way, all the way without all the hip stuff today, maybe. Bring it all the way to the bottom, hold.

And then all the way out, beautiful, here we go. Across, and down, and out, and across, and down, and a out, and across, where are your abs please, and across, down, out, one more, cross, down and out. Come center to begin again. Start the out, then down, and across, and a out, down, across, and a out, down, big stretch on that across, out, down, across, last one, down, big cross, hold it, where's the cross? Oh, right, there, and then come up to center, give it a stretch, a hug, a little bit of love, and swing yourself up for rolling like a ball, everybody's favorite exercise.

Come to the front of your mat, hug your ankles, put your head to your knees, put your knees to your head. Leave very little space between anything. Make sure your heels get glued to the backs of your legs, and don't come apart. Everybody pick up your elbows. Thank you.

Scoop deep, roll upside down. And rightside up. Stop at the top, roll upside down. Put your booty on the ceiling. Come rightside up, stop at the top.

Good, keep those elbows wide, upside down. And rightside up. Two more and back, come up and stay. And one more, back, come up, stop at the top. Hold it, can you let go of your legs just for a split second, and don't change anything else, and then roll back?

And come up, nothing changes, ooh, hold on to it! Go back, little concentration. Come up and stay, stay, stay, keep your heels to your bum. Go back. Come up and stay, hold forever, very last one, go back, tighter and smaller and rounder, come up and hold, hold, hold. And put your feet down.

Good, go back, grab your circle, you're going to need it. So we re-order our ab series for this, taking one, three and five and saving two and four for the end, where we will add the circle, so just right by the side of your mat, holding onto it, come onto your back, so we're gonna take all the switchy leg things so a little out of order. Single leg stretch to start, 'cause you can't really use a circle with these, right? Big hug, in to in, change. In, in, keep going.

In, in, in, in, use your breath. Maybe inhaling for two, exhaling for two, little quicker, in, in, out, out, and in, in, out, out, one more set, in, then out and out, both knees in, quick scissors. I know, brain freeze right? Pull, pull, pull, pull, use it as a stretch stretch, in in, keep it going, in in, big split here, in in, open the elbows really wide here. Last four, four, three, three, two, two, and one, and one.

Both knees in, hands behind your head, crisscross to the right, hold. Keep twisting. Keep lifting, change sides, and hold. Keep twisting, keep lifting, and change. And hold, hold it, don't go anywhere, one more, change and hold, now lickety-split, and twist, and twist, and twist, and twist.

Last set, and hug your knees and relax just a moment, ooh boy. Grab your circle. So the two we left out are double leg stretch, and the lower lift, right? Take 'em between your ankles, I didn't make it up, I'm just the messenger. Don't hate me, and curl yourself up.

You can hold just under your knees or all the way down by your ankles. Squish the circle! Don't just hold it, do something to it. Everything reaches out, squeeze. Circle around and hug. Everything scoops, circle around and hug.

Keep it going and squeeze it out, come back in, and squeeze, and in, two more times, reach and squeeze the circle, I can see it, bring it in, last one, squeeze, and in, hands behind your head, legs up, it's gonna get a little ugly. Hang on, long feet, turn out a little bit, so heels knock in towards each other. Lower, lower, squeeze, and lift. Lower, lower, squeeze, and lift, again, lower, lower, squeeze, and lift. You got a big one in you, take it now, because it doesn't get better, and lower, two, squeeze and lift, one more, down, two, squeeze and be done, bend your knees, toss that circle away, who needs that bloody thing.

Guys alive? Swing yourself up for spine stretch forward, please. And be in the middle of your mat. Good, let's take hands on mat. 'Cause it's fun.

'Cause pilates should be fun. Drop your head, slide yourself forward, and reach all the way, top of the head towards the mat, flex your feet, stretch the backs of the legs so straight, so straight, all ten toes pulling back to you. Into the powerhouse, you roll up, up, up, tall and straight, again, slide it forward, chin in. Pull the front ribs way into the back ribs, so somebody's resisting, resisting, resisting, and roll it up, two and three, and again, round it forward, and two, and don't let me splat you out here, just stay, resist, resist, resist, yes. Roll it up, two, three, one more time, and over, two, three, and sit up tall and straight.

What happened to that circle, you gotta go get it again. Bring it back it, bring it on in. So same spine stretch forward, different variation. One hand on top of the other. Same idea we worked on earlier with the chair workout, we pulled the circle in toward the body, rounding forward, rounding forward, rounding forward.

Sit up tall and straight, you actually have to think about pulling the circle into the body. And two, better, three, keep squeezing down, and roll up, two, and three, and again, press down and pull, stretch through the legs, open the toes, go ahead, really flex the feet, so much better. Sit up tall and straight, one more time, and exhale, nice, nice, nice, keep pressing it down, pressing it down, pressing it down? Roll it up tall and straight. Okay, put the circle to the side, bring your legs together.

In a slight departure, we do a little twist here, So legs together and flexed. Make sure your toes are touching, so not one here, yes? Hands behind head, palm over palm. Twist to the right, I want to see you go up, up, up as you twist, come back to center. Spiral the other way, lifting taller, higher, and bring it center and twist to the right, you go higher, everybody stay there but lean a little forward.

And come center, and twist to the back, up and up and hold, like you're being pulled forward by your elbow, your frumped elbow, love it, and all the way back, little bit of rhythm, on a two count, we go twist, twist, and center, other way. Twist, twist, and center and from your whole back, twist, twist, and center, check the feet. Twist, twist, and center, one more time. Twist, twist, and center, last one. And done, drape over your legs, take a mini-stretch.

We're gonna put both of those moves together and take our saw now. Because it's good for you. Feet flexed, legs straight, arms out to the side. You guys can twist right first if that's better for you, I'm going this way. Twist the body, you already twisted and you already did spine stretch, so they go together.

Reach forward, one, slide forward more, two. All the way out on three, and then come up tall and straight. And, twist to the other side, one. Slide past your foot, two, Now swing that back arm up in the air, it's allowed to go there, go for the ceiling, big reach here, and come back to center. Inhale and twist, exhale and reach, keep going forward, two.

Pull back in the other hip, all the way back, so much better. Bring it up, other side, twist and reach. One, reach forward, two, little more, little deeper three, and bring it up, can we get a little tempo? Twist to the right, exhale one, two, three and up, inhale and twist, reach, two, three and up, one more step. Twist, reach two, three, bring it up, last one.

Twist, two, three and up and be done. Put your legs together, swing them all the way behind you and come onto your stomach for a little bit of swan stuff. Hands just underneath your shoulders, not too far forward, I mean I really should just see your fingertips peeking out from your shoulders, they're pretty far back, so I always think it looks a little chicken wingy, you know? Pick up the elbows nice and high, there you go. Pull your gut up, draw the heels together, and let me see the head come up first, and then the chest come up second, and now only come up to a 90 degree angle with the elbows, so push down with the hands, and come up hugging the body with the elbows, really squeeze your body with your elbows.

Good, no more than 90 degrees, that's it, pick up those low ribs, it shouldn't be a big backbend here, it's much less than that, and lower yourself down, two, three, again, lift your head. Lift the chest, squeeze the elbows into the body, then open everything, hold, hold. Keep pressing down with the heel of your hand, less bend, fill this up more, stay up, just fill it up, fill it up, there she is, and bring it all the way down, good, I see triceps shaking! And come up one, come up two, you got this, come up three, hold it, I'm gonna resist, you don't let me push you, don't let me push you, that's it, ooh, that's so fun! Come all the way down, last one. This is the money shot, and bring it up one, bring it up two, sliding in, bring it up three, get me, come on, make it count. And all the way down, everybody comes all the way up to straight arms, as straight as they can be.

You can hold for five or big swan dive for five, up to you, all the way up. Up, up, up, up, up, big fall or hold, one. And two, swan of your choosing, three, keep it going, four, and five is finish, sit back on your heels, stretch your low back. So nice, keep your hands out in front of you for this. And push the heel of your hand into the mat so that you actually give yourself a little traction and you can sit a little deeper into your heels, open up the low back.

Take a deep breath in, your belly is up off the thighs, and let it all out, and then slide yourself back on out for single leg kick, everybody's favorite exercise. We go old school here, knuckles together, elbows down, chest up so high, good. Draw legs together a little tighter, yeah, as much as is available to you, I like legs super tight together, bend one knee in, give me a double kick tight, in, in, change. Kick, kick, change. Kick, kick, change.

Kick, kick, change. In, in, and, in, in, one more set, in, in. In, in, okay little change, bring the right leg straight up in the air two inches. Can you kick in that position with the leg up? Kick, kick, straighten it out, put it down, other leg, lift, kick, kick, straighten, put it down, right leg up, kick, kick, straight down, and up, kick, kick, straight down, and up, kick, kick, straight down, little tighter, up, kick, kick, straight down, enough, sit back on the heels.

Good for knees, and thighs, and other things. Good, we're gonna grab our magic circle again for our neck pull please. Just as we did with roll up earlier, right between the feet, everybody's favorite. I like to start again from seated position, rather than that dead zone down there, which is kinda scary, so palm over palm, feet flexed, tension on the circle, the circle is never as it likes to be, it's never, the word that comes to mind is flaccid. Don't keep it like that, tension on the circle.

Round yourself over, good, roll yourself up and squeeze the circle, hold, lean back with a flat back, squeeze the circle more, start to round down, squeeze it again, this is the money shot, and roll yourself down all the way, if you need to change your hands, this is the time to do it, hands would slide up, otherwise keep them behind your head, and round yourself over. Maximum tension on your circle. Sit up tall and straight, hold. Lean back, let me see the circle, I'm only looking at your circle, I should see all the work you're doing by seeing your circle, curl down squeezing more, curl down squeezing more, curl down, and lie flat. Start again, and squeeze the circle to come up, exhale, bring it over, good, the circle doesn't lie.

Sit up tall and straight, hold it. Lean back, give me a good hinge, now squeeze it, squeeze it again, squeeze a little more, and roll yourself down and back. Give me one more good one. Squeeze and curl up, exhale, squeeze and round over. Inhale, squeeze and you're up, and then hinge back, really long spine, really long spine, now curl it down, maximum squeeze, and be down.

We're gonna take a shoulder bridge here, so kick off the circle. Everything's good. You guys are gonna make this. Scooch yourself down a little bit. There does start to be a moment in every pilates class where you doubt that you'll make it through, right?

Take the feet a little bit farther away from you, everybody, so not tucked in too tight. Even a little farther out, if you don't mind, squeeze the legs together and give me just a regular shoulder bridge, so hips come up, hang on out, squeeze, and since weight shift has been kind of a thing today, walk your feet back in a half an inch, yeah, just experiment! Shift all your weight forward toward the fronts of your feet, which should have the effect of turning on something in the back of the body, something that shall remain nameless. Keep squeezing, this is a clean station. Squeeze, and then kinda pull yourself away from where you were, a little weight shift, weight shift forward, so knees come forward, shins come forward, all the heels are really digging in, something's fired up there, is that a yes? Oh good, and then shift your weight back again.

Shift a little forward, now things get interesting, hang on here, take your right leg up to the ceiling, what? Hold on, lengthen that, still weight shifting forward, as though someone might come forward and push into your shin and you have to kick them off. That would be really heinous of them, right? So pushing, pushing, ooh, that's a killer. Hang on to that, hang on to that, it's not pleasant but it is effective.

(instructor giggling) Hold on, there's just one more to go, and thank goodness there's only two legs, change legs, wee. Who needs all that kicking? Other leg up. Colleen, take your standing leg in a little bit. There she is, hold onto that, we're up, right?

I didn't hallucinate that, keep lengthening the leg up. Good, how's that other leg doing? Well now that she got a rest, keep pushing in to the shin goes forward, knee goes forward, ankle bone goes forward, hang on to it, don't die, it's almost over. Holy margarita. Stay, fight for it.

I always say mean it. Mean it! Ooh, she does mean it. (Instructor giggling) Okay, two legs down, hips stay high, hips stay high, hips stay high, hang on there, all the weight into your heels now, toes and ankles up, wow, that's awesome. Keep staying there, all the weight into the heels. Now you may roll down upper back, middle back, lower back, it's not all over, hug your knees in for a quick second, but now you're ready, anyway, to do the actual shoulder bridge at least for a bit, so feet back down, arms down to your side, pick up your hips, take your right leg up to the ceiling.

We will go on our kicking spree right about now, this leg is gonna kick all the way to the floor, and take it up, you can flex on the down, point up, flex it down, and up and down, and up, down, kick up, down, kick up, last one and change legs, take it up. So I prefer if you don't take an artificial stop at the 90 degree ceiling mark. There's all this space behind your head, so go for it, yeah? All the way down and oh my god! And down, and over the head, down, so much better, and down, and up, and down, and up one more, and change. You get a second set, right leg, take it up.

Don't quit now, and one, and two, we go for six, three, and up, four, and up, five, and up, six and change. Other leg, take it up and down, up, down, up, big kick, where's the over the head? And up, down, and up, last one, and up, put it down and roll down through your spine, bring your knees into your chest, bring your head into your knees, laugh it off, that's over, guys still with me? Yup. Good, take your arms down by your side, everybody come up into a shoulder stand.

[Gray-Haired Woman] What, I'm sorry? (Instructor giggling) A shoulder stand, like a jackknife. Knees in, throw your legs up in the air. Wee, show me what you got. Good, that's the easiest way to get there, yes?

Now as high as you can be, not a plow but a real shoulder stand, so toes to the ceiling. Even higher, even higher, no hands, just you. Just you, there you go, everybody come halfway down. And come back up, all the way. Come halfway down, and then back up.

Come halfway down next time without moving your legs, just roll down a little bit of spine, and pick it back up, I'm here, and halfway down. And pick it back up, there she is, squeeze your seat, pick it back up, couple more of those. And down, I'm gonna have to walk away, lift two more, maybe not, pick it up, and last one, how we doing? Pick it up, stay there, nobody moves their feet, promise? Whoops, nobody moves their feet, hang on.

Come down super slow, upper back, middle back, lower back, and you're done at the bottom. Bend your knees, there are no sorrys in pilates class, you did brilliantly, we are gonna move to side kicks, thank god right? (instructor giggles) So can we face the front over here? Can we all put heads that way? Okay, push at your circle for now. Get rid of it.

Maybe I'll join you this way, my back. Be at the very, very, very, very back edge of your mat. Use this hand as a break, it's actually here, to stop you from rolling anywhere, so if you press it against you, you actually have a good foundation for that, I see all kinds of weird variations, and I'm always like, yeah, but it's supposed to actually stop you, so use your hand there. Take the top leg up, we're gonna do two exercises, maybe three, up with the top leg and then up with the bottom leg, that's really all that's gonna happen. Big kick, and then slow on the down.

Big kick, slow on the down, and up and resist, two, three, no funny footwork, just the leg, two, three, and up, squeeze, two, three and up, resist, two, three. Couple more and down, two, three, and up, resist, two, three, one more and resist and stop with the leg just in the air, now don't move this top leg, okay? Bottom leg, lift it. Lower it down. Lift it, lower it down, lift, squeeze, and lower, I'd like to see heel to heel, lower and again, squeeze and lower, you can take this leg a little higher so the bottom leg has to do more work, yeah?

Instead of the cheap way out, come on, squeeze it up! And lower, one more time, squeeze, lower, hold your back to side kick up, resist, two, three, second set so much harder, two, three, and up, resist, two, three, and up, resist, two, three, and up, resist, two, three, two more, squeeze all the way down, one more and hold it in the air. What's the next exercise? Lift and lower, good, memory training by pilates. Squeeze up, and lower, squeeze up, and lower, Think upper inner thigh, don't even think about the feet. Squeeze, and lower, upper inner thigh, lower, high as you can get it, right at the top where the legs meet, two more times.

Squeeze, then lower, last one, put it down, this is your last set, take it up, squeeze, two, three, I could get more length out of this leg, all the way down. See if you can make the top heel pass the bottom heel by, so when it gets to the bottom, it's actually longer. Three more, and two more, even longer, come on from the hip, up and then all the way down, this is the last set, hold it in the air. Bottom leg, squeeze and lower, squeeze it up, and lower, come on, knee to knee, lower, calf to calf, lower, heel to heel, lower, the whole leg zipped up tight, last two, up, and down, up, hold it there, hold it there. Can you take that hand off the mat?

Maybe, hold it, (instructor giggles), two, three, and roll onto your stomach for little tiny beats. Just two exercises three times, that's all you need, hold it there. Okay, everybody just relax the chest for one quick second while the legs are up, I didn't say relax the body, hold the legs up in the air. Squeeze the lats down and together, and now beat. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, hold.

Put everything down, we have another leg to do. Start at the very, very, very, very, very, very, back. Use your front arm as a break. Bring the legs to the front. Good, so you have a nice 45 degree angle, are we good?

So even though we're sort of relaxed on this side, I still want some support on the underside of the body, yeah? Really press the forearm into your gut, I really do mean it, like use that, there's a good point of contact there. You become your own apparatus, you know? Take the top leg up just a wee bit, hold on, here comes the kick, everybody, we're up, resist, two, three, and kick, resist, two, three, and up, where's the length, two, three, and up. Think of your abdominals pulling up and away from the leg.

Two, three, and up, resist, two, three, and up. Resist, two, three, two more, resist, two, three, one more and pause at the bottom, right before you rest the leg, hold it there, abdominals in and up the other way. Back hip sometimes falls down, keep it over the bottom hip. Good, don't move that top leg. Pick up the bottom leg, squeeze it.

Squeeze it and lower, and lift, and lower, and lift, and lower, and lift, can you get your bottom knee a little straighter, lower, and lift, and lower, that extra straightening is really, that's the money, and up, and lower, and lift, and lower. Squeeze the heels, and lower, two more times, and lower, last one, put it down, we're back to side kicks. And kick, resist, two, three, and up, resist, two, three. How high and how fast, two, three. All the way, resist, two, three.

Kick behind your shoulder, I mean it, resist, two, three and kick, thank you, don't lift it, kick it, oh, so much different, two more, kick it! And last one, big kick, lower, lower, hold. There's the squeeze up, and lift, and lower. Bottom leg, pick it up, and lower, and lift and lower, inner thigh, and lower, inner knee and lower, inner calf and lower, inner heel and lower, last two, and hold, big squeeze here, open the chest. Everybody kinda caves forward after a while, right? You still want all of that open, put the bottom leg down, hold it, last set, we go top leg up, resist, two, three and up and resist, two, three, and fast up, slow down, and up, slow down, and up, lengthen the leg longer.

Two more times and up, two, three, and up and resist, resist, stop at the bottom and hold. Here we go, bottom leg, squeeze it up and lower, freeze that top leg, don't move it at all. Lift, and lower, much better, lift and lower, much better, lift and lower, last three, you're up and down, you're up and down, final one, up and down, and it's over, lie down on your back, not your stomach. Your back, bring knees into the chest. It's teaser time, Colleen, flip round. (instructor giggles) So we're gonna do one gorgeous set of teasers, just teaser one, working on that 45, like a true 45 degree angle with the legs, because I always think pilates has become so stretchy and flexible and about all these images, and like, I just want you to do a true 45 degree angle, which is the hardest thing you can do to your abs, so everybody, take arms back first.

Knees are in, to begin, and show me your true 45 degree angle with the legs, and arms should be just off the mat to begin, so hold on. Is that true 45, maybe it's a little high, oh, that looks good, easy toes, hang on there. So your job is to not move your legs, not even a millimeter, for the whole three reps, which sounds crazy, let's do it. Arms up, head up, don't move your legs, sit up, sit up, sit up, don't move those legs, bring it down, no height change, no height change, keep it pure, yes! That's one down, two to go, and curl it up, curl it up, sit up tall, good. Arms will be parallel over legs, that's true 45, right?

Slowly down, even a little higher when you get there, and two, and three, there are some good photo ops here. And we curl up, sit tall (instructor giggles), all the way. Show it, arms right over legs, same exact angle, everyone is 45, you guys look amazing, come down slow, slower than slow, super slow, and bend your knees and hug 'em in. Three like that, that is such good homework, like everybody should do that all the time, everyday. On your stomach quick, quick for swimming, you can either face each other, or..

Let's do that, let's face each other, smiles, joy. (instructor giggles) Take a deep breath in, let's do a little prep, lift everything up, head, chest, arms, legs, you're in the air. Look to each other, find a friend, put it all back down. Do it again, inhale here, pick it up with an exhale. Get longer, not higher, longer not higher.

Put it all back down, next time is the big one, okay? Inhale on the down, exhale, pick it up. Hold it, and now let me see you swim. Paddle, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, bigger, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, freeze, longer please. Stretch it out, and then sit back on your heels.

Excellent. Stay there for a split second, I'll talk you through it. We're gonna come out, just the way you are, face down to do a little leg pull down. Then we're gonna flip around as though we were gonna do leg pull up, but we're gonna do a teaser two there, okay? Just so you know what's coming, you can emotionally prepare.

(instructor laughing) So tuck your toes underneath you right where you are, and then bring yourself out into a push up or plank position, whatever you like to call that sort of thing, and just be there, maybe a couple of long stretches just to start, so put legs together super tight. Heels together, everybody sail forward over your hands, long as you can be on your tip, tip, tiptoes, and then push all the way back, stretch your heels. When you do that, I shouldn't see your hips lift or lower, you are in one solid line. Sail forward, top of the head goes right to the opposite wall, and then sail back. Nice adjustment you guys, and sail forward.

And then sail back, good. This time, sail forward, lift your right leg up. I'll take that, now bounce back with the back heel twice. One, two, come back forward, put the foot down. Other leg comes up and bounce back, one two, come forward, put it down, and right leg up, bounce, bounce, come forward, put it down.

Left leg, bounce, bounce, come forward, put it down, bend your knees, sit back on your heels. So, shoot your legs forward again, sit forward facing your friends. Legs out in front of you. And we're gonna start with the up, so right from where you are, nobody lies down, just pull your knees into you, and find that gorgeous posed 45 degree teaser position you perfected just moments ago, and here's our teaser two. Nothing moves in the what now?

Upper body. Nothing, not arms, not head, not chins, no tongues. Let's have legs go down, down, down to where you can. Pick 'em up. Go down, down, down, squeeze your heels.

Lift 'em up, gorgeous, down, not past 45, 'cause you promised, pick 'em up, two more. Just below 45, and then just back to 45, last one, you're down, down, down, pick 'em up, put 'em down. Stretch over your legs, take a second. Holy moly. Good, here comes the fun part.

Now we are hands back, the reverse leg pull. Take your legs out in front of you, Lift your hips up, let's see what that looks like for everyone. I like fingers facing into the hips, if you need to rotate them into the side, I'm okay with that too. Yes, look right down the body, hang out there. Hang out there, hang out there, check for yourself are you equal weight on both heels?

If not, just slightly pivot to one side, Everybody's up, take your right leg, kick it up. Put it down, left leg, kick it up. Put it down, right leg, kick it up, or hold. Put it down, left leg, kick it up, put it down, one more set, right leg, put it down, last one, left leg, put it down. Sit down, stretch over your legs one more time.

And then with control, roll yourself all the way down to lie back for teaser three. So we got all our teasers in, in a variety of settings. Are we good? You guys still with me? Arms all the way back.

You're so close, this is like, the very, very end, right? Arms just at ear height, don't relax them on the mat, it actually kinda sends a bad message to your body, like, oh, we're resting now. Does anyone feel like resting? We're not resting. Take a deep breath in.

On the exhale, sit up and show me that 45 to 45, arms over legs, hold. Beautiful, take arms to the ceiling. With maximum control, lower everything down. Everything, everything, everything, you guys look amazing. Do it again.

Sit up, be there, hold. Arms over legs, now to the ceiling. Hold it, like I'm pulling your legs out, resist as you lower, resist as you lower. Try to keep the arms just behind the ears, just behind the ears, just behind the ears, you got one more in you, this is it, and sit up, hold it there. Arms a little bit higher.

Lift them to the ceiling. Hold, now stretch out long and thin as you go back, arms just behind the ears, just behind the ears, just behind the ears! Hold and die, hug your knees in, give yourself a little bit of a hug. Swing yourself up to the front of the mat, let's do seal. I'll take six seals right now. Drop your head, clap your feet, one, two, three, and roll upside down, one, two, three.

Roll right-side up, one, two, three. And upside down, and right-side up, get a little smaller and tighter to the legs, this is three, bring it up, number four. Squeeze the knees into the elbows. Squeeze the knees into the elbows, two more times. Get the feet one inch from the mat in front of you.

That is not optional, take it back. (instructor giggles) Bring it forward, show me your end, hold it, one inch from the mat, I need one do-over on this, go back, and then feet one inch from the mat without me asking, hold it. Excellent, good, we're gonna come back into that push up, plank position, I'm gonna count to ten, You're gonna do as many push ups as you can, or you're gonna hold it, I don't care what you do, but I'm gonna count to ten, and we'll see what comes out at the end okay? (instructor giggles) Then we're gonna grab our magic circle and do just one more thing, okay? Ready, set, go, this is one. And two, I won't count super slow. Three, 'cause that would just be mean.

Four, squeeze the legs, five, wide elbows, let's try wide today, six, (instructor giggles) seven, no default patterns, eight, I'll take it, nine, ooh, and ten, we stay up and hold forever. Bend your knees, sit back on your heels, that was the last time for that. We can tuck your toes, roll yourself up to standing, find your circle for our last standing series, 'cause we started with a standing series for arms, we'll end with a standing series for legs. I'd like to face you, I think you should face me too. We take it all the way down to the ankles, We'll just go side to side to begin, and then we're gonna transfer to front back, so again, just above the ankle bones, if you go too low, you're gonna lose your circle.

Try to keep your legs very parallel for this. We still wanna turn on the backs of the legs, so it feels to the backs of the legs like you're working pilates stance, but your feet really have to stay kinda parallel. You have a choice, if you have bad balance or working on balance issues, take your arms out to the side, if you feel comfortable with your balance level, then take your hands to the hips, so totally up to you. We're all gonna go that way, so shift with me, if you will, and stand on one leg, squeezing the circle. So what you're looking for is, oh I don't want to change my body.

Keep your body square, shoulder, shoulder, hip, hip, no shift in the torso, at all. Now come back to two feet, and we go to the other side. Other side, squeeze the circle. Check your torso, your box, your shoulder, shoulder, hip, hip, are you leaning this way? If so, correct that.

Put it down, and we're gonna continue, so again, no sailing like airplanes, just shift like somebody pulled your outstretched arm right out the door, two, three, come back to center, and shift and hold, two, three. Come back to center, shift and hold, we're gonna graduate this, you're not gonna get that middle stance, soon, you're not gonna like me very much, but it is good for you. Other way, hold, hold, hold, okay we're on two feet, hang on, so, I'm gonna take out the step, that means you have to go from one side automatically to the other side, okay? Which requires lots of scoop in the powerhouse, we go to the right, hold it, two, three, now automatic change and hold it, two, three, squeeze your seat, and hold, two, three, shift, and hold, let me see the circle squeeze, that's really important, and squeeze, hold, two, three, and one more time, squeeze, hold, hold, so much fun, put your foot down. Yes?

We're gonna have to go front to back. So, everybody take your right foot front, and your left foot back, I won't do it on this platform, but you will lock the circle between the front of your back ankle, and the back of your front ankle. The back of your front ankle, yes. So you should be able to stand pretty neatly, if the circle is in a good spot, yeah? Offset your feet slightly in terms of width, so that there's some space between you here, yeah?

And again, arms either out or on the hips, up to you. And we start just with the easy version, so shifting forward, you squeeze the circle, but back leg lifts, come back to two feet. Good, now the front leg lifts, and down, keep going, to the front, I'll come around and help. So if your arms are out, keeping them just a little in front of you is good for balance, come back to two feet, and then back up into the powerhouse. Nice, squeeze the circle, and back to two legs.

No twisting the torso, and front, good, squeeze the back leg, what happened to the abdominals, one, two feet, and then to the back. Just adjust our circle if you need to, squeeze, down, good, hold on everybody, we're on two feet. Can we try to take out that middle step? Come forward in one count, hold it, two, three. Automatic shift to the back and hold, squeeze it, two, three, and front, shift and hold, two, three, and back, shift and hold, creative arms are approved, come to the front and hold, two, three, and take it to the back, and hold, hold, and down to two feet, good thing you have to switch all the way around, take your other leg in front.

These are so good for you. We don't realize how in our balance, it's such a key thing to be able to recover from balance challenges, on the street, in and out, everyday life, in your home, those tiny little things. We just did construction in my apartment, and I don't know this width anymore, so I keep losing my footing, and I was like, we have to do magic circle. (instructor laughing) Squeeze the circle, and come forward, and hold, two, three, stand on two feet, and powerhouse pulls in, especially on that back, that's where you really think, squeeze the circle in and up, into the body. And now down on two feet, and take it forward. So that back hip kinda wants to stay back there, nice fix, pull it forward so you're square, come down to two feet, and then to the back, and pull that front hip a little back, exactly, keep pulling it, it wants to cross, 'cause the circle has an opinion, put it down, and come to the front.

Bring the back hip a little forward with you, put it down, and then we go back, this is almost the last set of this, hold, good, down to two feet, here comes the automatic shift. Are we ready? And forward, hold, two, three, and hold, two, three, and squeeze, hold, two, three, and back, hold, two, three, final set, pick it up, think waist, and powerhouse lift, and back, and hold, and hold, and hold, beautiful, take the circle out from your legs, turn your legs into parallel, we do a little swing dance, before we go, feet just hip width. Stay the way you are, you can still face me, arms all the way up, three bounces, so the knees are gonna bend a lot. Bounce, bounce, bounce, inhale, pick it up.

And do it again, bounce and reach, and two, and three. Inhale, pick it up, one more time, inhale one, a two, a three, lift up tall and straight, big stretch, look behind you, look behind you, look behind you, and bring it all the way back, you guys get a good workout? (class applauding)

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That was mad but absolutely brilliant. Especially like the balancing standing exercises at the end. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Dynamic, energetic, and down right funny! I always appreciate a little down to earth humor in my classes! keeps a smile on my face. Thank you!
That was phenomenal. I was excited to see another class from you and exceeded my hopes
I like the Balance part!! Thank you.
1 person likes this.
Refreshingly excellent teaching ??????????????
I LOVE this class!
Great class! Thank you!
Lots of fun with great challenges. Thank you!
Thank you, very good.
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