Class #2838

Magic Circle Mat

55 min - Class


Elongate your spine with this Mat workout by Amy Havens. She plays with breath so you can compare and contrast how it can impact how you feel each exercise. She also uses the Magic Circle during the whole class to create length in your body and to challenge you in a different way.
What You'll Need: Mat, Magic Circle

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Hi guys, let's get started for magic circle mat class. And I think I'd like to have us stand in pilates V and often when I, we'll just kind of set up like this while I chat. A lot of times when I'm teaching the magic circle I squeeze during an inhalation, which is okay, so just kinda practice this for a second, you're gonna soften your elbows so we're not locking, shift your weight slightly forward so that we're not hanging back on the back of the knees and start to press the ring a little bit and take an inhale and just see what you feel. And then as you exhale you can slightly release the tension of the circle. Just do a few of those.

We're gonna kind of compare and contrast the breathing with the squeezing. What I, keep going, mainly want everyone to think about on the inhale with the squeeze is to fill up the back space of the back ribs, which I talk about a lot because that's what I've needed so much in my own body in my practice, exactly, is to expand and elongate this space. Good, Nicole. Yep, and if my hand were there on everybody you'd be feeling, nice, Alyssa, filling that up. So the tension that you're creating is actually that nice, positive tension, not stress tension but exercise tension, or elongation tension if that makes sense.

And I don't know if you can see it, but they're all kinda both getting a little more elongated in their posture. And we're just holding the ring just in a low level-ish, you're fine. Good, let's do two more. Just kinda feel what you feel, with inhaling squeeze. (breathing deeply) Okay now, let's do eight more.

Maybe hold the ring the same height or a little higher and exhale as you squeeze, okay? Just to compare/contrast. So let's prepare with a breath in, and here we go, exhale squeeze. So this is also good. And this is achieving something different.

Everyone just keep going. Yep, and they're both nodding and it's good. Breathing in different ways is really good, using the ring with different breath is great. Think about as you exhale that you're getting the tapering, I'm seeing it on both of them, of the abdomen, the transverse muscle, which would be taking place on an exhale. Okay, yeah, so their sides are going in, their back is coming in to the front, their front's going to their back.

So in essence, kind of engaging all around the diaphragm. One of our main Pilates muscles, if not the most important one. Good, and last one. Okay, lower your arms for a moment. So let's do little pulses of the ring eight times from here up above the head, okay?

And let's do inhale for four, exhale for four, we go. (breathing deeply) And down, two, three, four, we'll do this several times. Keep the weight shifted forward, three, four, and exhale. So we're gonna try to time it that eight little squeezes from bottom to top, one, two, three, halfway there, five, six, you're all the way there. All the way is how high you can take it without shoulder tension.

Exhale three, four, in two, three, four, exhale, our legs are connected, they're squeezed together. Exhale, three, four, our front and back are connected. Exhale, let's go one more set. Exhale three, four and down two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight. Just rise up on the tippy-toes for a second.

Keep your heels squeezed together, I did lose it, and lower your heels down. One more time lift up and just feel the legs squeeze together. Stay up there and let's do two more passes of the arms, here we go. Exhale three, four and in. So try to connect all that sensation you had at the beginning, sides of your waist are in, front and back are connected.

And exhale three and four, lower the heels. Good. Okay, place one pad, one squishy part of the ring on your shoulder, the top of your shoulder. And if you can, get the palm of that hand on top and just for a moment let your elbow poke out to the side. Okay?

And just feel what you feel. It could be compare/contrast day, okay? And then I'd rather not have it there. I'd wanna have your elbow, have our elbows, more facing forward if there's a way, you might have to adjust. But see if that allows a little more room, from the side of you neck to your deltoid which is this wonderful muscle right there.

You should have a little bit more of a valley for your ring to go in. Try that again, so if you take your elbow out feel how the valley goes away, or the space goes away, maybe, and if you bring that forward you can actually drop the shoulder blade, let's do that a couple more times 'cause I think it's easy to see. So right there the shoulder actually elevates, we're trying to avoid that. And as we come this way the shoulder can drop without having to yank the shoulder down and let's go one more. Just feel that.

That might be negative tension in the neck, okay? And then this one we're gonna work with positive tension, meaning activation of the muscles. Now if you press down the top hand on the top and try to avoid shoulder elevation. I'ma let you decide inhale or exhale, okay? Let's do eight of them, first two.

You might want to do four and four. Keeping our weight shifted forward. So I want us to all think about, you guys keep going, is that when you compress that tension of the ring you actually get longer on that side neck. Your shoulder blade is dropping down, but more importantly somewhat swinging forward, or not swinging, but rotating. So if I could dial Alyssa's shoulder blade more forward, the bottom tip of it, as she presses down it comes down and comes forward a little bit, okay?

One more time. Here we go. And lift. Let's just do that on the other side, alrighty? We'll have to do four compare/contrast.

So start it in the valley of the shoulder, neck and shoulder. And then let's poke it out to the side. Both of your shoulders are gonna feel different, we know that, and then bring it forward and notice there's a little more space, hopefully, for it to set in and we go again. Less space, just by the nature of the design of that movement, and more space. Couple more times.

Right, and then also when we're doing these little check ins we can also check that the abdominals are just pulled in a little our weight is shifted forward, there we go. M'kay? And then stay forward if we can. So your shoulder blade not having to be forced by pulling it down, but let it drop down and the bottom tip of it kind of arcing forward so we'd be looking toward each other there. Here we go, press down, your choice of inhale or exhale.

Release the tension. And press. And press. Kinda have to wait for the Pilates moment and the magic to happen in there so keep calibrating the feeling, see if you can drop it and press. If you feel the urge to press the shoulder up that might be a little too much movement of your hand on the ring.

Good, last two. 'Cause in Pilates we talk about shoulders down all the time, but maybe we don't give the top of the shoulder what to fell. So this can kinda give us a little sense of what to feel, right? One more time, I think, dropping down. Great.

All right let's take that away and then we'll take the ring into our hands again and open up your feet guys, go a little wider. I'm gonna put my heels just on the outside width of the hips and let's just hold the ring right out in front of the chest and then, same thing, elbows out now for this. Pull the ring toward your chest and reach it forward. Now reach it too far forward so that the shoulder blades, they've got a vantage point of both of your backs, the shoulder blades are very wide away from the spine and just stay like that for a moment or two, hopefully you wouldn't want to stay there too long. It's not really the best place for the shoulder.

Okay, but keep the arms in front and then grab the shoulder blades really tight together, like pinch. And hopefully that you wouldn't want to stay for too long. 'Cause neither's really optimal, okay? Go to right between the two and let the rib cage have space to go back into. Nice, Nicole.

So if your shoulder blades are too close the ribs have to be in front this way, if the shoulder blades are too wide the ribs may want to be back here. So we want to find that nice happy medium, perfect. Okay, then we move on with the elbows. We inhale elbows wide, exhale and stretch front. Let's do eight.

Now I do want us to inhale it to the chest. Pull and reach. The legs are active, sometimes I cue heels toward one another, that'd be a good place for this. We want to grow tall, we're gonna remember those low shoulders. Yeah, good Nicole.

Last two. Last one. And stay. All right, take a bend of your knees. Just go down there and hang out, kinda rock side to side a few times.

Let's do eight more of the arm movements, but I want us to breathe here first, inhale, bring it toward the chest as we exhale. Feel the difference. It's warming up the body, you know, in a slightly different way. Lift up those elbows so air can go underneath your arms, but the valley of those shoulders can stay low. Good.

So we all three look different for that reason. We've got different shoulder design. Last two, could we go lower with the legs, maybe, yeah? Get into your leg muscles. Now stay here, we're gonna breathe inhale inhale here.

(breathing deeply) Another set. Our legs are working and four, three, that's all we'll do there and just stretch your arms, straighten your legs, and lower your ring. Okay, I think it's time to get to the mat. So guys, go ahead, just lower down to the floor, seated, and let's start with the ring right between the knees. Yep, it's time for abs.

So we've got a little blood flow going, go ahead and put your hands behind your knees and pull up on the back of those knees, m'kay? So your elbows are already lifted, they've been there before. Let's take a nice, deep breath. Now I do want us to exhale, squeeze the ring and roll the pelvis back. So we're doing basically from seated pelvic tilt.

Stay here as you inhale. Exhale, squeeze the ring a little more and curl forward and then inhale as you sit tall, release. Again, exhale, squeeze the ring, contract the abdominals back. Challenge to hold the abdominals in that position to take a breath. Exhale as we go further, you can actually let your head round to follow the line of the spine and lifting tall, two more times like this.

Exhale, we press and curve. So where can that inhale go? It can go into the back of the rib cage. Yes, exhale, we can go deeper, stomach to spine and sitting tall. Last one here, exhale, squeeze and curl.

Holding, inhale. And exhale, squeeze and round forward. Now without the arms holding, we're gonna shorten the breathing cycle and just hold them here. So this is a breath in, a regular thing, exhale, squeeze and curl back. Inhale, come forward.

Three more, exhale, squeeze and curl back, maybe adventure, go take a little adventure, go a tiny bit further back, bigger breath in to come forward. No shoulders are steady, exhale and curve, so the ribs can come back between those wide shoulder blades, inhale forward and lift. Last one, make sure the ring is moving, squeeze, exhale. And inhaling back up to sitting tall. Palms go up, arms go out.

We're gonna do a little karate chop with the thumbs going back. So we have a little pull, pull, let's squeeze the ring with this. And I want you to squeeze the ring so that you can feel abdominal muscles supporting your back as you're seated. And waking up those hip joints, four, I know this is hard, three, and two and one and release. Let's roll all the way down on to your back, we'll keep the ring right between our knees, okay?

Pelvic curl from supine, we inhale, prepare. As we exhale here's that same thing again, squeeze that ring, now as you roll up your spine, and we did all that seated work so you can feel a little stretch in the hip flexors, press your arms down against the mat, especially the back of the upper arm, were the triceps and lats kinda have a union up there. Here's where I want us to take an inhale and roll down, squeeze the ring a little more this time. Give your spine a very nice massage. Three more times, inhale, prepare, exhale, contract and peel up.

On the way up you're pressing those shoulders back, connecting those muscles into your upper back. Inhale here, exhale as we roll down, squeeze the ring a little more. Keeping a stable collar bone, inhale neutral pelvis. Exhale contract and squeeze, lengthening, think of the knees out over the ankles. Extending that line, exhale as we roll down.

There's a long spine inside of us, really getting massaged. One more time, basic inhale, exhale we round and curl up. All right, we're gonna stay up there, just float the arms straight up above your chest, whatever arm position you'd like. I'm gonna choose palms facing one another so my shoulders can really just feel heavy on the mat. I'm gonna do extra squeezes of the ring.

I'm gonna squeeze here and exhale, hold, hold, hold, inhale, release, squeeze. Contract in one, two, three and release. Three more times with this pattern, keeping that nice plank line. Exhale. The sides of the waist should be coming in.

Last one, the sides of the waist should be tapering in. Now as you release the circle of that squeeze, take your arms back overhead, palms facing the ceiling now and just feel how open this feeling is, okay? Now start to drip down the spine. If there's a particular spot that you want to linger in for a moment you can. Give your arms a little reason for being up there, stretch them as you try to stretch your spine long and place your pelvis down.

I don't know about you, but that always feels really good. Hands behind the head. Neutral pelvis to begin. Take a breath. Now as you exhale and come up to chest lift let's lift the elbows up off the mat a little bit as well.

We warmed up with that sense that they're kind of rotated under and forward so if I had a string from this shoulder blade it would kind of be working toward that elbow, not back there in that line, okay? And then we roll back down. Three more basic ones, exhale, you can squeeze the ring, let's give it a little more oomph. And inhale down. So feeling the contraction of the circle with deeper stomach to spine in this exercise.

We'll start adding to it, inhale, exhale, same thing, curl up. Now just taking your right arm down by your side, reach it long toward that foot, curl a little higher. We're just gonna do two types, this arm will go inhale up and exhale, press it down as you squeeze the ring. We actually should do four. Exhale, press down.

Without losing symmetry in your shoulders, pelvis, spine, reaching out long, squeezing deep against the ring, put the hand behind the head as you take your head down. Other side, take a breath. Chest lift to start, exhale, squeeze the ring and curl, the left arm comes down by your side, your shoulders are still square. Inhale, raise the arm about higher than your knee, exhale, squeeze and reach, curl higher. Inhale, like we float, exhale, we press.

Shoulder blades are still wide on our back. Low belly is pressing down into us, rather than popping out. There's our four. And hand behind head as you release. Adding some rotations, inhale.

On the way up squeeze the ring and curl to rotate your upper body toward one side. Inhale, take it down. As you go to the other side ask that waistline to come in toward the bellybutton. Get that oblique connection, inhale down. So whichever side you're going to the side of your waist should go in toward the navel and lower down.

Other side, side of the waist goes in toward the navel in the direction of. Four more times. Squeeze the ring a little bit more on the exhale. Inhale down. Exhale, squeeze a little more as we curl up, and down.

Last two, exhale, good, keeping a level pelvis. It's easy to hitch one side as you turn away from it, so keep it as level as we can and we can lower all the way. Okay, takin' the ring out of there, hoo, mama, take it on the outside of the knees. Now, of course, this is very different because you can't really go that far, but try to right now press out on it and you'll hopefully feel that contraction all the way up into the side of your pelvis. Now lift your pelvis into a little bit of a bridge here or a big bridge if you like, basically as high as you can without that ring popping off.

Okay? And just feel like, right in here you guys, you can just kind of float the pelvis from right to left as if your pelvis is on a little plate being served to one side of the table, the other side of the table and maybe kicking you in to your, connecting to your hip, the side of the hips there, just a few. Each side. All right, that's plenty, come to center and lower your spine to the mat. Let's put the ring between the ankles and I want us to stay parallel so tabletop your legs, arms by our sides, let's do our hundred this morning, today.

Inhale four, exhale six, all right? So bring your chest up first, we'll keep the legs here for the first couple of sets, we go in two, four, exhale three, four, five, six. Exhale three, four, five, in fact, you could stay here the entire time. Remember on the exhale, let's try that squeezing of the ring. So maybe it's the side of your waist that gets narrow during the inhale.

three, four, five, six, legs up, exhale, three, four, five, six and in two, three, four, exhale three, four, five, six. I'm gonna lower my legs a little. Exhale three, four, five, six and in. Exhale three, four, five, six, two more sets. Exhale three, four, five, six, and last one.

Exhale three, four, five and six. Bend your knees. You're gonna hold on and just bring your head down, give it a quick turn side to side. Okay, let's go into a little roll up. I want you to take that away from your ankles, into your hands, extend your legs down on the mat.

Put your thumb inside the ring, fingers on the outside and for just a moment pull outward on the ring. And feel how a little side pullout you can widen your shoulder blades, hopefully, so that your breastbone has space to drop into. We want a little flexion in that upper spine. Here we go. Inhale begin to lift head, neck and shoulders, exhale, pull out on the ring.

I'm gonna go for some stretch today, 'cause I feel like I need it. I am still pulling my belly back, I'm gonna try to get the crown of my head down to my knees and let's roll back in a full breath cycle. And stretch. We'll do four total. Inhale up comes the chest, head, shoulders, exhale you can pull out on the ring, dive toward your knees, but still feel like you're pulling into yourself with your strength roll yourself back.

And again, rolling over ever vertebrae to get a massage through those joints. Last two. Like your hipbones are being pulled back, your stomach is so pulled back, and rolling backward, exhale over each vertebrae roll. And then last one. Inhale up goes the head, shoulders, upper back, exhale, good.

Little more, little more, little more, little more, there we go and roll back. Now exhale, exhale, exhale all that air out. Good. Okay ladies, roll over with the ring, you know what it is, the ring in the ankles. Okay.

So I haven't really brought you back to choice making for a couple of minutes on the squeezing, but as you're probably tapping into a natural sense of exhaling and squeezing the ring in certain exercises, right? So there might be certain exercises where inhale is a good initiator, and exhale is kind of the completer of the movement, so I want us to think about that on rollover. So as I start to lift my pelvis and hips I'm gonna take a big breath in 'cause I'm trying to channel my breath in, my diaphragm down my front, exhale as I need that strength to hoist myself overhead. That's gonna come from upper abs. Here we go.

Inhale, exhale as you're going overhead. Now flex your ankles and squeeze that ring a little more firmly. Can you engage the side of the hips? Inhale as you're starting to come down, 'bout halfway down your back, exhale as you complete the roll down and you can just pause with legs at 90. Two more times.

Inhale begins the lift, exhale overhead. Your arms are still useful, you can press them down a little bit, press the legs together, inhale as you're coming halfway down and exhaling, you're halfway becomes a full roll down. One more. Inhale, exhale upper belly takes you over, flex those ankles, press that ring, inhale brings you halfway down. You're still integrating your arms and exhale we're all the way to neutral.

Okay? We could reverse it, but we're not going to today. Bring one leg down. I'm gonna take my right foot up in the ring. you know we do leg circles on each leg so choose which you'd like to start with.

However, what I do want us to start with is the bottom leg today, let it be slightly turned out and a little bit out to the left of your hipline, just a little. And that might just give you a slightly different base of support down there. The leg that's up, you can flex your ankle, you're holding a little mai tai on your heel, (laughing) or a coconut, okay? And then bend the elbows, that might allow you to take this leg further, yeah, into a hamstring stretch. Mmm, enjoy.

Okay, let's take the ring with the right hand and bring it, your leg, down to 90 degrees so that hopefully you'll feel a little more centered on your pelvis. Take the leg out to the right. Okay, so you get a little inner thigh stretch. Possibly on both sides. And then as we take the leg over the midline you can switch hands and I'd like you to take that right hand then right at the top of your leg where it meets the pelvis and a little gentle traction.

Okay, and continue to breathe. We'll do one more full inhale/exhale. Yeah. Okay? Now just take the ring off of your foot and but it down by the side, you can still hold onto it if you'd like to.

The right leg is the leg that circles. As it's up it's a slight external rotation before we circle really feel the hip anchored in the floor, in your mat. Here we go for crossover, inhale, exhale around and lift. So make your circle the size of where you can control your hips. (breathing deeply) This is our fifth one.

Okay, and the other way, so out, exhale around and lift. Abdominals should be taut, but the hip joint should be free. That's a tricky thing to manage, but you gotta. Okay, now I want you to bend your knee again, foot goes back inside that ring, leg goes back up, a slight climb a tree. So I want the other leg now to come more midline, flexed ankle and pick up your head and your chest, okay?

And now lower you leg to where your arms are straight, this is gonna look different for all three of us, there it is. Now I'm gonna push my foot into the ring, but I'm also gonna use my upper abs and curl up and at the very top let's go ahead and pull the ring toward us and lift more into maybe an extended spine, from tail to head is flat. Now as we go down let's start to soften the elbows and create that nice space between our foot and our head and round ourself down. And we'll do two more. Okay, so this is where that ring can be useful for helping us roll up, reach into it, reach into it, exhale.

Let's pull and inhale. And exhale and reach and soften, a lot of space between our leg and our head, so our stomach can really scoop in. Beautiful, Nicole. And release, one more time. Leg, body, you're reaching out, your foot is reaching out into space, rounding toward it, bending the elbows, lift.

We want a lot of space here too, between ribs and pelvis. Okay. And we roll ourself down. We have all that on the other side, so you can just simply bend this knee and switcheroo. Okay, so the down leg goes out slightly turned out, just slightly off the edge or to the side of the mat.

Bend your elbows so you increase the elongation of your hamstrings. Each leg is different, thankfully. Lookin' for balance in our life, though, so try to gain the same amount of range on each leg as you can. Go for that feeling with breath. (breathing deeply) Whoops, where's my mai tai or coconut?

Yeah, balance your foot, okay. So then left hand pulls the ring, leg goes to the left. It's still externally rotated, you're just leaning the leg out without dropping the pelvis or cheating that balance there. Most likely feel a pretty nice stretch on the inner line of the leg. And our leg goes over the midline, switching hands, opposite hand kind of tractions the thigh away from pelvis, we have a little more space.

And so when we do those leg circles that's that fine line of how big should the circle be? Well, a big as you can feel free in the hip, but without being lose in the pelvis and that's where the abs come in. Okay, so here we go, center the leg, hold on to it with the ring, you're just gonna set it on the side. Your up leg is slightly turned out, ready to cross the midline on the inhale, there we go, exhale, round, lift. Inhale, so what do you have today with your range?

(breathing deeply) Can you push your range with a little more abdominal support? Here's your last one, reverse. (breathing deeply) And sometimes you have to go past your range to know where your range is. And here's five and pause. Okay, the climb a tree moment, so foot in the circle, leg begins straight.

Arms are straight and you start to lift the head and chest because the leg is being pressed forward, exhale as you need that abdominal connection and at the top we can bend the elbows and lift. Again, think also that you're lifting your leg up, not just toward you, but up to the ceiling. And then as we round down there's space between leg and body. Abdominals can just really hollow in there. And two more.

Press the leg, exhale and inhale as we sit tall. Good, you guys. And exhale, rounding down, lot of space, you're still pressing out into that ring. And lifting up, last one, here we go. (breathing deeply) inhale as we lift up.

And exhale and rounding down. Okay, good deal. Set that off to the side, I'm just gonna put mine here, that's fine. Both knees into your chest and, actually no, let's rock ourselves up. How dare I forget rolling like a ball.

At the ankles today, whee, don't hit yourself in the head with this top end. Okay, so I'm gonna have my hands at the base of my knees, ankles, those are my ankles (laughing). Squeeze the ring, squeeze your elbows into your knees and look down at your tummy, all right? So you want to complete that circle, let's go for six movements, six repetitions. Roll back, inhale, lift your hops, exhale, come up and press the ring in.

Inhale you can release the squeeze here, but we need it coming up, exhale. Good, inhale, we don't need it here, we need it here. Three more, good. Hips up. Nice, they got a little air time.

Last one, little air time, squeeze. Last time, oops, I'm thumping, exhale. Okay, place your feet, nice joy you guys, keep this in your hands and let's roll down with a nice breath in first. Squeeze the arms and the ring, just a little exhale, that should trigger those abdominals. Just a little bit of a stomach series, okay?

So I think for the first one arms will just stay right above the shoulders and chest. Bring your head up. Now if that feels too straining in your neck, which it could, you'll just reach your arms this way. So take one leg forward, bring the other one more tabletop today. Here we go, and just exhale, (breathing deeply) and three.

Really try to keep the body, upper body, in the same shape, six, seven, we'll go to to 10, eight, nine, and 10. Both knees in. Okay, three times only double leg. Arms go back, legs go forward, but we're gonna hold it, 'cause you're gonna stretch a little more and then contract in here. Inhale, stretch a little further, exhale to maybe squeeze that ring for a little power in the belly.

One more, stretch a little more, good! Exhale all the way in. Now keep your body there, except your head, take it down. Inhale, go in for a little scissor action next, curl it up. Now I want you to take your legs up and touch the shins with the ring, okay? Lower one and keep pressing that shin into the ring.

Now that's as far as we need to go with it today. So exhale, bring it up, exhale, bring it up, exhale, bring it up. Now if that's too easy and you want more flexibility you take your ring up above your head more. So that means you have to stretch your hamstrings, good, it makes that leg go higher toward your head. Eight more times, one, two, three, and four, and four, we're gonna take a little neck break, six, and seven and eight and fold it in.

Just set the ring on your knees, turn your head a little side to side. Doing great, you guys. Let's take the ring back in the hands, now ankles, double leg lower lift. I want you neck supported with your hands. So legs'll come up, chest comes up.

So once again, once we have this upper body in this position it doesn't go anywhere. And we lower the legs without arching that lowest rib. Exhale, bring it up and hold, squeeze the ring. Three more, inhale, exhale, squeeze the ring, make it move. And last two.

Exhale, bring it up and squeeze. Now we have a little crisscross action with the upper body. Choose a side. Check it out without moving the ankles or the ring. To the other side, upper body squeeze.

And twist and squeeze. And twist and squeeze, we have one more each side. Let's squeeze the ring a little more, squeeze and squeeze. And let's take a little rest. All right, let's move on, rock ourselves up.

So I think we've had enough of that ab work, let's go and do some back work so come on to your tummies, okay? And I think how we'll start today, and you may need to have, actually that'll be fine, put your palms right against the ring and you far enough the ring in front of your head that you're not, you know, putting your head right on it. But take just a moment and settle the pelvis into the mat. So you get those landmarks, pubic bone, hip and hip, so important to get that. And then can the abdominals come up to meet the spine for support?

That was really nice, Nicole, yeah, nice Alyssa. So the lumbar is very long. We want to keep it that way as much as we can as we focus on extending and arching the upper back. So let's float the face first, just off the mat, you guys, just your face, okay? So let's now use the eyes and look toward the ring and the nose, the tip of the chin, and if the chest had a tip on it, I did say tip, you heard it, T-I-P, (laughing) lift that toward the ring, but the ribs are still on the mat, okay?

And then bring it all the way down. So all I want us to do, keep going again, is eyes, nose, chin, chest. Lumbar still nice and long. Yes, you guys, now could you reach the chest a little more forward and roll a collarbone back, imagine that, nice, yeah, and then all the way down. So we're keeping it small so that you can get the upper back involved so it's not just about the lumbar yet or the full spine.

Okay, as you lift up still be on your hip bone anchors. And lower down. Sometimes these smaller movements allow you to feel as well, keep going eyes, nose, chin, chest, that you want to feel both sides of your back, both sides of your spine contracting, or that positive tension I talked about a little while ago, in a balanced way. So that one side of your back isn't doing more than the other, okay? So with that, one more time, we're going to stay up.

Stay there. Press your elbows and your pinkie finger sides of your hands down just a little bit and then bring your legs together. And I'd like you to float one leg up and try to press the ring as we exhale and we're gonna hold, two, three, inhale, release. And exhale, press and lift the other leg. The elbows are down, you're pressing the ring, you're lifting the leg and release, lots going on.

Exhale as you press the ring, exhaling that's your abdomen, the transverse, the sides of the belly coming in, yes. That's the direction we want that muscle to go for us. Press and lift the other side. We'll do one more each side, inhale, exhale, good. Lifting that chest, it's forward and up.

And last time. So now your whole back probably feels activated, yeah. Okay, and lower and let's just bring our head down, keeping the ring where it is, but let's move our hands right to the side of our chest wall, we'll do a couple full swans, okay? So full breath to take you up, same initiation, eyes, nose, chin, the chest, but then, of course, as we're going up higher, the elbows straighten and you lift. I've got my belly pulled back, I'm a little bit more toward my thighs, and then as I come down I'm stretching long.

Two more full swans, inhale, my elbows are pulled together behind my back, kinda. Look out in the horizon. And come down. One more full swan. (breathing deeply) Left, even behind the neck is active, behind the shoulders are active, right through the bra line, the kidney zone, the sacrum.

And we're coming down, everything included. Okay, come on up into hands and knees and just give yourself one cat stretch. Tuck your toes, hands are right below your shoulders and let's go ahead and not use the ring for this either, but just have a neutral spine right now. We're gonna do a knee hover and as you have your hands and knees down your elbows are soft, it's as if you're trying to pull them out apart to activate some shoulder. You've got a nice breath in and you're gonna hover those knees, good Alyssa, and hold and hold and hold and we come down.

Two more times and exhale and hover. So one presses down and one lifts up. You're good. And inhale and down, one more time. Exhale and hover those knees, longer spine for Nicole in her upper back, and release it down and from there, soften the toes and sit back a little bit.

'Cause we're gonna go back on your belly for single leg kick and double leg kick. So come on down. Okay, similar hand position with the ring, you're pressing it, but this time try to press just with the pinkie side of it so it's like a karate chop in toward the ring to activate your external rotators of your shoulder. All right, legs are together, bellies lifted in and up. Let's try this today, guys, with our legs hovered because I know we can.

So as you hover those legs you still have a long lumbar spine. You're gonna breathe to prepare. Let's squeeze and kick the butt for two and inhale, other side. Kick, kick, I'm gonna flex my feet today, okay? So you're squeezing the ring as you exhale.

(breathing deeply) Again and eight, externally rotate the shoulders. (breathing deeply) Good and four, lift a little more at the top of the head. Low belly is up off the mat and last one there and all the way down. Take the ring, put it in over your bum, thumbs inside, just like we did earlier with roll up, fingers on the outside and try to pull out on the ring slightly. Now I want you take your arms long, take an inhale through your nose and as you exhale the heels come in for three, one, two, and three.

Lift the chest, reach the ring down the back of the legs. Hold there, reach a little bit more, now turn to the other side and we just do three more kicks. One, two, three, inhale, reach the ring as you lift the upper body. We're just gonna do one more each side. And we kick it in one, two, three, inhale and lift, use the back of the arms this time and try to lift the ring a little higher.

Lift the ring a little higher, lift, and other side, exhale, we kick it one, two, three and lift. Okay, I did some paddling a few days ago and just paddle with the feet. Could you lift your arms a little higher, very buoyantly, right? Salt water's nice and buoyant. Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one and rest.

Okay, put this in front of you. Come back again and stretch your back into a cat back. All right, make your way up to your knees. You guys can face me. Let's do a little side body jazz.

Take this ring over here, lean out. Yeah, so the knee that you're on, have that shin directly behind, rather than angled in like this, okay? 'Cause that's gonna take the femur into external rotation, we actually want that femur more parallel so that this hip stabilizer group is working for us, 'kay? Now as you're leaning out press on your ring for just a moment and feel like you can press it from your armpit zone and your side waist and lower back. This is in and our elbow is not locked.

Okay, this arm I think for today is gonna go behind our head, it makes it a little harder, okay. So as we take a breath in, prepare. I want us to press this ring and lift this leg out here, exhale, we hold, inhale, let's lower down. These are tough, exhale left. I like this option for side body work though because it's challenging, a little bit more maybe than being on our side on the mat.

And more balancing's happening, yeah? And exhale, Nicole you're doing great, and lower, Alyssa, doing fantastic as always, press, her leg's gotten higher! It's not a race on how high the leg goes, but we certainly want to strengthen those ranges. I'm gonna go to 10, so I believe we're at eight, okay? Anyone counting? Nine and down, here we go, we have to stay.

Why do we have to stay? Hold, how much press do you need on the ring, how much lift can you take in your leg? Let's do 10 little pulses of one, the mai tai is on your heel now, three, four, five, don't spill it, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, okay. In to sit back on that hip on a little, kind of a diagonal, let your head go down. Yep, other side.

I love that, 'cause it does get both hips going, right? So you don't have to do as much, maybe on this version. Okay, so find your setup, your standing leg is parallel, your shin is right behind you, yep, you're leaning out, your arm is straight but elbow not locked. This package is back, hand behind the head. You've got a nice sense of length at the top of your head.

Let's breathe in to prepare. So we press down, activating those side waist muscles, inhale as we lower and exhale as we press lift and lower. Good. And here's four, and a lean, you may have to adjust your ring a little bit out if you want to, that might help you, yeah. There, was I right?

Yeah, feel free to play with that ring, move it out, find where you need to put it for support. Exhale, we've got three more. Remember the valley of the shoulders that we started with at the beginning of class, can you drop the shoulders to create more ease up there? Here's our last one, we're staying up on 10. Drop those shoulders for 10 little pulses.

One, two, with the leg, three, four, five, seven, eight, nine, 10. Tuck the knee in, round and round. Great. Spine twist, let's stay up on our knees, believe it or not. It's gonna be a little weird.

So I'm gonna face you here. You can have your knees, in fact, go ahead and keep your knees apart, but tuck your toes down and put your heels together. Yeah and as you squeeze the heels together it should connect you into your seat, your butt, okay? Now ring in front of you again, we're gonna breathe in. Turn to the ocean over that side of the room and exhale.

Now try to keep your right hip forward and inhale center. So you go to your left, keep your left hip forward. 'Cause that left hip, whatever side you want to twist to, usually the pelvis also wants to cheat, there we go. So that's that rule, whatever side you go to, keep that hip forward. And center.

To the other side, exhale. Now we're gonna let go of the ring and let your chest be more open, exhale. And center. Switch hands, free up your chest, good. One more, it might allow you to turn a little further, It's fine with me if you even look at that ring.

So you complete the spiral of the spine from neck to sacrum and tail. Once again each side and twist. One more time, exhale and center. Okay, let's finish it with no ring and a rolling exercise. Of course we'll probably do the seal, all right?

So you can move that ring out of the way, yep. Bring yourself forward, hands underneath those heels, right on top of your ankles and lift the feet up. Now today see if you can get the prayer foot position exactly, so big toe all to fifth toe kissing, they're touching (imitates kissing), okay? I know, I'm crazy, and now think about this, that you're gonna lift your feet up over your head, that'd be fun for some, and then roll over like that. Come back up and try to keep lifting the feet.

All right, here we go. You can do the clapping hips and feet if you want to, I'm just gonna work on rolling through my spine. And inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. That's it, inhale up.

So when I roll back I'm still thinking hips up to feet. Three more then we'll do a real easy little stretch, you guys. Up, last two, lift, up. And last one, and up. Okay, wonderful.

Just face me one last time. We're just gonna do a nice little straddle stretch, something so basic, but good. How often do you do this stretch for yourself? Maybe we could try to do it, why do we want to do it? Well, it's a different stretch I think in the pelvis, the pelvis, the hamstrings, the adductors, we do a lot of that contracting, especially holding the ring.

So just walk your hands out. You can go to your elbows if you're, you know, super flexible, and that's fine if you are. I'm not super flexible, but I can get to my elbows. It's all right, let your head go. And just notice where your body weight distribution is on pelvis.

There is a good chance that more of your weight is forward than back on those sit bones. That's me right now, that's why my elbows are out here, 'cause I've actually taken my pelvis that way. So if I do it a different way, and brought more of my weight back on my sit bones, notice my, I'm not there. And both are good. Choose what you need more than what you want.

Good, I love what Alyssa's doing, it's a fantastic little self monitoring, hands at ankles to try to invite that rotation all the way down from the leg to the feet. Okay, let's just take two or three more breaths everybody. Keep working it from the hips, good. Nothing like an old-fashioned stretch, right? And up.

Wouldn't be an old-fashioned stretch without a side bend, easy little side bend, yeah. And up on the other side. Thanks for playing with the magic circle with me. Great class, you guys, thank you. (clapping) Yahoo, thanks!


2 people like this.
That was a helpful tip on the roll up to pull with the thumbs on the Magic Circle. I found that it made the movement go more smoothly than the usual instruction to squeeze the Magic Circle on the roll up. Those kneeling side leg lifts and then pulses were challenging - I liked it. I hope you will do some more Magic Circle videos.
1 person likes this.
I love the magic circle! Thank you Amy!
1 person likes this.
Great class! Love the hamstring stretches with the circle
1 person likes this.
LOVE! The breath cueing was so spot on! Thank you!
Thank you gals!
1 person likes this.
Studied this one last night.....prepared my sessions today using some of the gems in here. KAPOW - perfect sesh to start the new year. The strength moves sneak right up on you!!!! For example, SSLS pressing into the ring, side leg series on the knee, swimming from name a few Amy, thank you thank you. I learn so much from you....and PA. My best investment EVER!
Jennifer....thank you SO much for this comment! It means so much to me knowing that I'm helping other teachers and guiding you along and motivating you, giving you ideas from which to create class programming too. Thank you!! And from all of us here at PA....we appreciate you!!
1 person likes this.
I say WOW!!!! I just had a massage Friday and I needed to find a good workout and stretching at the same time. LOVED IT. I found something that really work those knots after teaching my SPINNING class.
Thank you so much Josephine! Glad you enjoyed this class!
1 person likes this.
Great class Amy.Thanks.
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