Class #2954

Prenatal Reformer Workout

60 min - Class


Work on pelvic mobility and strength in this prenatal Reformer workout with Leah Stewart. She calls this class the "Pelvic Key to Maintaining a Healthy Pregnancy" because she focuses on the different elements of the pelvis that are really important for labor and birth. She works on mobilizing this area in addition to acquiring and maintaining the appropriate amount of strength during the third trimester of pregnancy.
What You'll Need: Reformer (No Box)


Read Full Transcript

Hi there. This is Leah Stewart and I am here to teach you, and show you, and do with you a Prenatal Pilates Reformer Class. I am here at PilatesAnytime for my third or during my third pregnancy presenting some more classes for you. I am about, I don't know, eight, eight and a half, close eight and a half months pregnant here, and so these classes are really appropriate for third trimester, and little bit challenging, but then of course you can do them through the first and second trimester, and then they're really good for anybody. That's like kinda the fun part here.

This class is going to focus on what I call the pelvic key to maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Obviously the pelvis plays a massive role in bearing a child, and birthing a child, conceiving a child, everything that has to do with making babies, so we're going to focus on kind of what different elements of the pelvis become really important. One that we kinda hone in on here and one theme that I feel really passionately about is really about pelvic mobility, and even within that pelvic mobility, being able to acquire and maintain appropriate amount of strength that we need and support of the pelvic musculature as we worked through pregnancy. We're gonna start with a little bit of a warm up. If you have a reformer with a half a spring or lighter spring, you're really going to use that for this series.

If you can change your springs around, to put that spring in the middle of your spring settings down here, that would be the most advantageous as well just because we're gonna kinda be straddling with our legs, that spring. So just to kinda let you know, if it's on the far right or the far left, it's not gonna work as well. If you can change that, that would be great. What we're gonna do is on our light spring, so come with me here, push the carriage out carefully, and you're going to push the carriage back so you're sitting right on the edge of the carriage with your sits bones. I have the blue spring is right in between my legs here so it feels really comfortable, and then as we kinda shift positions, we'll kinda have to move over that spring (clears throat).

The reason I want you on the edge here is because when we do this warm-up movement of the pelvis, I really would want you to be able to get into as big and as juicy of a range of motion that you're are able to get into. Hands are gonna be on your hips, kind of finding your position here, and we're gonna go into what is a big theme in a lot of my classes is just pelvic rocking. We're gonna rock forward, but obviously this is gonna feel really different than just sitting on a mat or even sitting on a ball because now we have a moving entity of the carriage and I can get into a lot more extreme range of motion. I can kinda feel like I'm just hanging off the edge here and coming back. I'm going into anterior tilt, really allowing my sits bones and my sacrum to kinda flare out behind me, then I'm drawing the abdominals in and coming into that posterior tilt, so reaching and back.

Let's do this a few more times. Inhale, and exhale. You can see I'm also getting a really nice subtle movement of my hips and my knee joint, even my ankle joint a little bit, so that also feels really nice, and forward, and back. Now I want you to think of just sending the right side of the pelvis back, and forward, just the right side of the pelvis back. We're getting a little bit of pelvic rotation here.

It's just a subtle change in the movement dynamic. Now if you can start to think about, two more times, just how that's playing with the engagement of your pelvic floor musculature, it's not super obvious in what you can feel sensation-wise, but if you start to pay attention to it, let's go the other side, so left side of the pelvis back, you can kind of feel how you're just kind of stretching and toning and kinda just engaging that pelvic floor in a real subtle, but yet really effective way, and exhale, and reaching, and exhale. One more time. I'm reaching, exhale. Now, we're in this posterior tilt, we're gonna circle half-way back, so I circled essentially my right side of my pelvis out around and back, I'm gonna circle it back to the right so I'm getting a little lateral tilt, and forward, so I'm doing a half a circle.

If I was facing you, my right side of my pelvis would be circling like that, so I'm going out to my right and back, out to my right and forward, out to the right and back, so I'm making a little half circle, and forward, just four times on each side. Now I can start to feel the muscles, my lateral muscles of my torso starting to kick in. Left side. Around and back, so you're actually shifting your weight on and off the right and left side of your pelvis, so right now, and my weight is on my right side of my pelvis, and then it comes forward and I'm on both sides of my pelvis, then it shifts to the right again and back. Hopefully, you can catch onto this movement.

It may feel a little awkward at first, but you'll get it, and forward. Now I'm gonna make a full circle, going to the right and around. I was going to the right, so it's going clockwise here, and around. Again, I'm transferring weight on and off the left and right sides of my pelvis, and around. You'll start to feel the work creeping up into your abdominals, creeping up into your pelvis, creeping into your hips.

Other direction. Inhale, and exhale. Now I'm not deliberately using my abdominals in this instance like pull the obliques and pull the pelvis into posterior tilt. I want a little bit more freedom, a little bit more focus on just kind of how this movement is turning on the inside, the deep side of the or deep parts of the pelvis floor musculature, but there is times it's appropriate to really feel that engagement of the abdominals here. This is our last one, and forward.

Find that posterior tilt, so I slid back a little bit on my carriage, and come up to your straight spine here. Now we're gonna turn to the side, so use your arms to kinda hold the carriage out, and I want you to face me, so it might be your right or your left leg, but I want you to bring the inside legs so to speak up onto the carriage, and then what you're gonna need to do with your leg that's still outside or down in the well here is you're gonna bring it forward of your spring. Then, if you can see, I don't know if you can see, my foot, my toes are curled up and I'm pushing against this inside of this leg of my reformer. That's just gonna help me to get a little bit of push and pull for some of the work I'm gonna be doing. You can see that my, in this case, my left side or my, I'm calling it my inside, is on, fully on the carriage.

My other side is fully off the carriage, and I want that. So this leg is externally rotated and we're gonna do some lateral tilts. It's so nice to do it on the reformer here because I have so much more freedom to produce a more exaggerated movement than I do, I can do this on the mat, but boom, the mat stops me. Now I can go past that straight line and go deeper into the opposite side of my lateral tilt and lifting up. The right hip, in this case, drops down, and then it lifts up.

Again your hip that's closest to your foot bar is the one that you're working here, and up. Three more. Here, you are literally taking your sits bones and they're separating as you go down into that lateral tilt, then you use your obliques, you can lift it up and your pelvis floor musculature engages. It stretches and it engages. You can kinda feel that, two more.

(inhales deeply) (exhales loudly) Arms are gonna go out. Now we're gonna keep going. As your hip is down, you're gonna bring your arm overhead. As your hip comes up, you're gonna exaggerate the lateral flexion with the pelvic flexion or the pelvic tilt. You're gonna strive to reach your fingertips for the foot bar.

Inhale, and exhale. Now we're incorporating a lot more trunk work, oblique work (exhales loudly), which feels really nice. Number three. (exhales loudly) I always say this, my disclaimer, I'm not very good at exact counts of repetition so just forgive me if I'm a little off on them, and forward. Now you're gonna extend our torso, or it's not, yes it's extended, rotate your torso toward the risers, toward the shoulder block, and you're gonna extend that bottom leg just as much as you can, as much feels comfortable, and then you're gonna reach back.

I'm gonna take my right arm here, and I'm gonna rotate, and reach back, so just four of these. Exhale, twist, inhale, and last one, I'm gonna hold here. Now if I can get my leg extended a little bit more, so adjust your foot, rotate that torso. Now I'm going to glide the pelvis forward or push the carriage forward with the pelvis, and glide the pelvis underneath me. Glide, so I'm getting this beautiful stretch here in the front of my hip, and in.

Glide forward, and bring it back, and glide forward, and bring it back. Now this time, I want you to put the hands on the shoulder blocks and I want you to glide forward, so push the carriage forward, and I want you to open that outside of the body, open and almost a little bit of rotation so I'm really feeling that accentuated stretch. Then when I come up, bring the carriage in underneath me, I'm gonna lift the sternum up, I'm gonna square the hips a little bit more to get a little bit more extension on the rotation. When I push the carriage out and glide my pelvis forward, you can see how I'm getting that elongated line through my body here, so pressing the carriage out, then square the hips with the rotation and bring it in. And (exhales loudly) exhale out, and inhale in.

Last one. Exhale out, and inhale in. Slowly and carefully, come out of your rotation, make sure that feels comfortable, and that is our first side. We're gonna go ahead and turn around, so you gotta keep the carriage out a little bit. Carefully take your feet over, moving a little gingerly here, so my hip stays on the carriage, in this case, it's my right hip, right side of my pelvis, and my left side is off.

I'm externally rotated in that leg that is inside the well or closest to the foot bar, and I do a little bit of lateral tilt. What also feels really nice about this series is, especially this first part, is as you're doing that teeter-totter with your pelvis, that lateral shifting, is you're really getting a nice deep stretch in the adductor muscles as well, but it's not so stressful on your pelvis, which is something we need to be wary of, especially, actually throughout the entirety of pregnancy, but as the hormones start to loosen up the ligaments and the musculature of the pelvis. This is a nice way to be able to stretch, but in a really nice safe and effective way where we don't necessary open the doors, making yourselves more susceptible to potentional injury. Couple more lifting up, and down, and exhale, up (exhales loudly), inhale, down. Find your stretch over with your body here, and I'm gonna come up.

I'm gonna reach to touch the foot bar. I'm gonna meet the lateral flexion, lateral tilt rather of the pelvis with the lateral flexion of the trunk, and then I'm gonna reach back out and reach in, exhale, and inhale. Don't be tempted, I just caught myself doing it, I caught myself being tempted to use my leg. Let your pelvis initiate and then your leg slightly extend in response to that. Exhale.

I really want you to feel that lateral work in your torso. We need to feel that lateral work in your pelvis. Reach, last one. Exhale, and reach. Come back to center.

Find your neutral as best as you can. Now this time, just kind of, keeping your hands on to the carriage, you're gonna rotate, and come back in, and rotate the torso, and come back in. Left arm out here, and twist, and come back in, a couple more here. Rotate, trying to keep as much of the idea of keeping both sides of your waist elongated equally, and back in. Last one here.

Now holding this rotation, you're gonna glide the pelvis forward, the carriage pushes forward, and then glide back underneath yourself. Now if you need to turn your leg a little bit more internally, adjust your foot so you're more comfortable back there, that's fine. With you leg a little bit more internally rotated and your foot a little bit more parallel, I find that you get a little bit more of an effective stretch of the elongation of the hip flexor muscles and also deeper into those adductor muscles as well, and forward, and back, and gliding forward, and back. Hands onto the shoulder blocks. As you glide forward, you're gonna allow that top side of the body, the outside of the body start to rotate toward the open space here, and then as you come in, you're gonna square it off as much as you can and come up into extension, and reach, and come in.

Exhale, reach (exhales loudly), and come in into that extension, find that extension. Let's go two more. Reach, feel that reach, feel that stretch. It feels really good. You can hold out a little bit longer if you want, just hang out in that position, kinda stretches out the tummy too in a really nice, safe way so it feels really good.

So if you're feeling, good, if you're feeling like your baby is sitting really high up into your rib cage and makes it uncomfortable and kinda hard to breathe there, this is a great way to kinda stretch that out or if you're like me and your baby is just so low, just sitting so low, it feels really good to stretch out that pelvis. In a way, it works. Come in nice and slow, shift your hips onto your carriage, and take your right leg on the outside of the carriage. Use your hands to support yourself here for the foot bar and take your left leg out. Now we're gonna go on to one spring here.

I'm gonna do a little bit of abdominal work. Now when we come into the in position here, we're gonna bring our feet down, our hips are gonna internally rotate, and we're gonna come up into this extended position. I want you to really play with this because look how much forward my pelvis is. Now it's gonna look like my tummy's hanging out because it kinda is, but I'm not like trying to (grunts) hold it in real tight. I'm trying to keep the support, but really let that extension happen.

Now, depending on the height of your reformer, this might be a little bit easier, a little bit harder, or depending on the length of your legs, so what I wanna do from here is as we come into flexion, we're gonna bring the legs forward and we're gonna curve the spine here. As we come back into extension of the spine, we sweep the legs back, and we hug the frame of the reformer with our legs and come into extension. That's the exercise that we're doing. My reformer that I work on my studio is a bit higher so I have more room to swing my legs. If you want more room to swing your legs, pause me, and if you have a towel, a stack of towels you can sit on or blankets, or if you have a little moon box, which is like a little mini version of our long box, sit on that and that way you have more room to swing your legs.

You can set a little bit closer to the front of your carriage and that way you can get a bigger range of motion with the carriage. Stay with me. Let's go ahead and start this. We're gonna lift up. It's almost as if somebody is threading a needle and thread through your tummy.

That's your initiation process here. You swing the legs around, push the carriage forward or, excuse me, push the carriage back, and then sweep the legs and come forward, so pretty simple here, not too difficult, and reach (exhales loudly), and inhale, but you're gonna start to feel the challenge in the legs, a little bit of challenge in the abdominals. Reach (exhales loudly), and swing back, inhale. One more time, and reach (exhales loudly), and swing back. Here, I want you to make your feet float off the floor, and you're gonna squeeze the knees together and drawn onto a little bit of a posterior tilt, and then open the legs a little bit wider and come into extension.

Squeeze the knees together, activate the pelvic floor and the abdominals, come into a little bit of a posterior tilt of the pelvis inflection of the spine, open the legs and come into extension. Exhale, squeeze (exhales loudly), inhale, open. Exhale, squeeze (exhales loudly), inhale, open. Last time. Exhale, squeeze, inhale, open.

Again, bring the legs around, we're gonna do that series twice, and sweep and around. You're gonna feel a lot of work in your back, a lot of work in your hips, and that's exactly what I want, but I want you to also feel the dynamic of what's going on in the pelvis. Three more. This isn't a grand movement. It's not one that is fancy or, I don't know, maybe it looks cool, but it's more about just that floating aspect and that dynamic of really initiating from that center body, last one, and reaching up.

Now hold the legs there and squeeze the thighs together, and release, lift up. Squeeze the thighs together (exhales loudly), and release it up. It's very subtle, very small. We're gonna have plenty of time to do bigger movements. Reach up, two more.

Yes, it's not like the most comfortable thing on the inside of the thighs on the frame of the reformer, but the benefits far out-seed that slight little bit discomfort. Come in, and reach up. Reach the legs here. If you can rest your legs on the floor, that's great, and then just come forward in for a little stretch and reaching out. Now we're gonna move into our foot work series, foot work series with a little bit of emphasis on moving the pelvis a little bit, moving the spine a little bit, even moving the legs and the hips a little bit.

I want you to find a weight that feels comfortable for you, three springs, three and a half springs, whatever feels good for you, you can decide to work on. Now, personally I don't like to fuss too much with props and moving around. I'd rather keep the flow of the class. So for the interest of this series, because we're not gonna be lying supine, on our backs, I want you to come onto your elbows, but this isn't gonna feel as comfortable for you if you have tight shoulders. You wanna really make sure that you feel nice and comfortable here.

Some remedies that you could have is if you have like a little bolster, or a little cushion, or a little small ball that you could set right behind your mid and upper back that way you have something to rest on a little bit more, or you can enjoy some of the challenge of the shoulder work that's gonna happen here. We're gonna start with parallel heels, and as I push out, I'm gonna draw my pelvis into a posterior tilt. As I inhale, I'm gonna come back to neutral, maybe even a little bit beyond. Exhale, press out, posterior tilt, and inhale, a little bit faster (exhales loudly). I want you to load up the spring appropriately so you feel the challenge in the legs, but not so much that it's just adding so much pressure on your back or on your shoulders.

That is not comfortable for you, and reach in, exhale. You can see this is a really nice safe way to engage the abdominals (exhales loudly). Notice that my head and my neck are moving rhythmically, with the movement, naturally with the movement, and up. Two more. Exhale (exhales loudly), and lift up.

One more (exhales loudly), and up. Now I want you to go into a wide heel position, parallel or a little more external rotation is up to you, but in the end of the day it doesn't really matter because as we press out, we're gonna rotate. I'm rotating my legs to the left. I'm allowing my right side of my pelvis to come up, then I'm gonna come back up to center. Exhale, I'm gonna rotate, and come back to center.

I enjoy kind of looking to the right and the left with my movement, and I can feel the work on my arms. I can feel myself wanting to rest on the shoulder blocks. (sighs) It feels so much better, but I'm gonna really try to keep pushing through my arms and break it in. I can feel the work happening in my cervical spine as I'm holding my head up and you just wanna welcome that as well. Exhale.

Make sure you make it a little bit more dramatic. Lift the opposite side of the pelvis up and come back in. Now let's take a little bit more intention of really pulling the carriage in with the legs. Exhale (exhales loudly). Pull the carriage in with the legs, exhale.

Pull the carriage in, one more set for me, left and right (exhales loudly), and draw the carriage in, and to the right, and in. Two more positions here. I want you to go on to the pa-ruh or, excuse me, the toes in the wide V. This time, when you extend back, you're gonna actually let your head go back and push into a really nice arch position. When you pull the carriage in, you're gonna drop your chin forward, allow your lumber back, your lumber spine to actually sink into the carriage here, and then lift.

Exhale, and inhale would be our normal foot work breath, and I'm gonna change it for you today. I want you to go inhale, and exhale (exhales loudly). Inhale, reach it back, and now look at my head comes up, then my torso follows, exhale. Inhale, reach, and exhale (exhales loudly). Keep going, about halfway there.

Inhale, reach, and exhale (exhales loudly). Find that rhythm in the body. Use your breath here, just enjoy the kind of exaggerated element of this movement, and reach, (exhales loudly) and in, nice safe abdominal work. Two more. Reach, and in, trying to keep the heels nice and stable.

Last one. Reach, and in. Then just to finish the series, nice and short and sweet 'cause I know our shoulders and our necks are getting a little fatigued, toes, parallel toes, you're gonna take the knees to the left, parallel with the legs, to the right and in, to the left, around, and in, so this beautiful circular pattern with the legs, and in. One more to the left, around. Then for here, I'm just kinda focusing on keeping my, I'm not really going in and out of a posterior tilt of my pelvis.

I'm just more letting this kinda swing in circular motion of my hips happen and the kind of a little bit of a teeter totter of my pelvis. It's slight, but it's there, and around. One more time. Right, and around. Take your legs to the left and slowly sit yourself up.

Again, through that series, if it's starting to bother your neck at all, just pause, take a little break, kinda circle out your neck a little bit or maybe you wanna play with stacking up some pillows or cushions behind you so you have a little bit more support or just keep working on it until you get that strength and that endurance built up in the neck muscles. Now we're gonna go on to two springs and we're gonna do kind of a wham bam kind of a single-leg side series here to finish up our foot work. (clears throat) You're gonna lie on one side. I'm gonna start on my left side here and I'm gonna go onto my heels so I have this beautiful external rotation here of my hip joint. I like to place my hand here on the shoulder block, but you can certainly place it wherever it feels more comfortable for you.

We're gonna press the carriage out and we're gonna come in. Press the carriage out, we're just gonna do about five of these, just nice and basic just to kinda get into the rhythm of the series here. Press out. Now notice I have that beautiful external rotation in my hip and I'm feeling that nice stability of the pelvis. One more time.

Exhale. Now when you come in, I want you to go parallel with your leg, external rotation with your leg, and out. Come in, rotate inward, rotate outward and press out. Three more. Now we're getting a little bit more dynamic that as we rotate the femur, I don't want any movement of the pelvis right now.

I wanna work on that pelvic stability, so in, and out, and extend. One more time. In, and out, and extend. Now take your right arm over your head and I want you to lift the body up, so we're doing a little lateral flexion here, and I want you to complement that, match that by a little lateral tilt of your pelvis. It's a little movement that when you bring the carriage in, I want you to try to lengthen that top side of the pelvis away from the rib cage.

Exhale, up (exhales loudly), and inhale. Now it's not so much about pelvic stability. It's a little bit about keeping that hip work involved, we're getting a little bit of pelvic mobility and a little bit of oblique work. Exhale (exhales loudly), I believe that was four, exhale (exhales loudly), and in, and exhale (exhales loudly), and in. Now to finish this first side, go onto your toe, your toes, you have more than one, and internally rotate the legs of the knee is down.

I want you to bring the leg out, bring the arm down, then here's what you're gonna do, so you have to feel secure on the foot bar, you're gonna sweep the arm around and come into external rotation there, so stay with me. You're gonna extend the leg out, internally rotate the hip and, let's see, where was my arm, here, I'm gonna figure out my arm, I promise you. For now, ladies, let's just leave our arm stable. Let's take the leg out or extend the carriage out, rotate and bring it back in. Let's bring the arm here, a little bit more comfortable.

Let's just focus on the lower body. Extend, rotate inward, and bring the knees together. Again, you need to make sure that you feel really confident twisting your foot because your hip rotation on that foot bar. I'm pushing a lot of energy into that foot, and come in. Reach out, rotate inward.

Now what I want you to think about as you do this is don't be afraid to let yourself feel like that hip, the top side of the pelvis is rotating a little bit forward and back. Rotate and in. Last one. Press, rotate, and in. That just feel really good.

Let's go ahead and jump onto the other side, so carefully get yourself up. (exhales loudly) Take a deep breath and let's go to the other side, then we'll be done with our hip work series or our foot work series (clears throat). Lying here, my shoulders are stacked, my hips are stacked in that beautiful aligned position, my top leg heel is somewhere on the foot bar, there it is, and I'm gonna press in and out five times. This is all about pelvic stability (exhales loudly), so really keeping the length of the waist, feeling that external rotation of the hip joint. Exhale (exhales loudly).

One more time here. Now as you come in, you're gonna internally rotate, externally rotate and press. Bring it in. Internal rotation, external rotation and press. Draw it in.

We're not loaded when we do this internal-external rotation. I really want you to feel that hip, that pelvic stability here and you're just rotating in the thigh bone, in the femur, and press. One more. Rotate inward, rotate outward and press. Arm goes here.

I want you to come up and I want you to draw the hip down and lift or, excuse me, draw the hip up rather and draw the rib cage down so you're here. In with the carriage and stretch out. Exhale, up into lateral flexion, and then stretch. Try to lengthen the pelvis away from your birdcage as you go down. Press up (exhales loudly), and lengthen as you go down.

Press up (exhales loudly), and lengthen as you come down. One more time. Press and feel that wonderful length there. Now bring the hand to the shoulder block, go on to the toes and bringing your knees together so you're in internal rotation of the hip on that top leg. Press the carriage out.

Make sure you feel secure here. Rotate the leg externally and draw the carriage in. Take it out, internally rotate, and bring it in. Press out, externally rotate, and draw the carriage in. I'm keeping myself load, now I'm loaded when I'm rotating.

I'm allowing my pelvis to follow slightly so I'm not being as strict about that pelvis stability. I'm allowing it to respond to that rotation in the femur. Press, rotate, and draw it in. Press, rotate, and draw it in. Let's do the last one here.

Press, rotate, and draw in, draw in. Bring the foot off the foot bar, and slowly come on up, and that's our foot work series. Now we're gonna go in to doing some hip work with some abdominal work with our straps. We just finished a really great foot work series where we really got and tapped into the hip joints here. We're gonna move on to a kneeling hip work, but also kind of abdominal series here.

I want you to load up half a spring. Take your other springs off, so you're just working on half a spring. We're gonna be doing kneeling with our legs in the straps. I think the most eloquent way for us to do this is to stand inside the well of your reformer here. Take your straps and place them up over your knee, on top of your thigh with the straps kind of facing back, and then very carefully, you're gonna walk yourself or crawl forward rather.

You're gonna place your hands on the front of the carriage. The heel of my hands are really right there on the edge and I'm just really taking my fingertips and wrapping 'em around the carriage there. My legs are together and my feet are resting on the headrest in between the shoulder blocks. You may find that your strap kinda slips in some of this and you may find that mine does as well and we're just gonna take some time to adjust as we move through the series. We're gonna start with a neutral spine, so a lot of upper body strength here, abdominal support of the spine, and very simple, we're gonna just draw the knee into the chest.

Now I'm gonna take it back a little bit into hip extension, but not much. My emphasis is more bringing that right knee to the chest. Again, I'm on a half a spring. Exhale. We're gonna do five of these.

That was three, exhale, two, 'cause the series will build, and exhale, one. Now this time I'm gonna add some trunk flexion. Exhale, in (exhales loudly), and back. Exhale, two, and back. It's kind of like a cat stretch and meets a knee to chest.

I've definitely utilized this a lot in past prenatal classes (exhales loudly), but each one is slightly different, and exhale in. I think that was my fifth one, but I wanna do one more. Let's do six. Now here, you're gonna circle the leg around. Don't get too caught up in whether your leg is parallel or externally rotated or in some combination of those.

I just want you to think about rotating it at the top of the hip joint, the head of the femur into the acetabulum of the pelvis. So right now, the first one is to keep the pelvis again in neutral and the spine in neutral, so just find your way. You're kind of rotating the thigh and circling that knee around that shoulder block. Three, and four. Keep that extension through your spine, and five.

Now, five or six more with flexion, exhale and two (exhales loudly). Again, this is really gentle, but effective abdominal work, meets a lot of spinal work, shoulder work and hip work. (exhales loudly) Last two (exhales loudly), and last one (exhales loudly). Take that right knee down. We're gonna switch sides here.

We're gonna bring the left knee into the chest. We also, because of our focus of our class about being about the pelvic key here, so I'm holding that neutral pelvis, that neutral spine position. As I draw that knee into the chest, yes, I'm feeling the abdominal support, but I'm feeling a lengthening, in this case, through the back of my hips, or the back of my lower back down through my buttocks, especially as I draw that left leg closer. I'm really holding the energy of those sits bones out behind me. Now adding flexion, exhale (exhales loudly), and back.

Exhale (exhales loudly), and back. We did six of these on the other side, so this is number three (exhales loudly), so now I'm adding a little bit more abdominal work by producing the flexion. Two more, and last one. We're gonna come back to the neutral, and we're gonna go into circles. We're circling that knee around the shoulder block, keeping that neutral spine position.

I just adjusted my eyes so that they're down so the back of my neck is little bit more elongated. I'm circling forward, so trying to keep my pelvis as stable as possible as I circle that leg. Feel a lot of work in the outside of your right hip here for stabilization. That was number five, now go into flexion (exhales loudly), and circle, and flexion, getting a little more abdominal work, and circle. Flexion (exhales loudly), and around.

This is number four. Extend, en-th (clears throat). Last one here. Bring that leg down and go ahead and sit your hips back. So we have that wonderful, we were really square with our pelvis and working kind of in what we call the sagittal plane, so really working with our torso and our pelvis at least, working with that neutral into that, kind of that posterior to an extension, then of course warming up the hip joint a little bit more.

Now taking that a little bit deeper, a little bit more dramatic for this, the shorter little second part of this series, is you're gonna bring your right leg out, so my leg needs to come underneath the strap, I'm gonna draw my knee in. You know what, I'm gonna start with my other side so you can see me. I'm gonna draw my knee into my arm, then I'm gonna reach back, draw my knee into my arm and I'm gonna laterally flex my torso, so just nice and short and sweet, again, 'cause the series builds so there's no need to do a million repetitions, and reach back. I'm swinging my body to the left as I bring the knee in, then I'm bringing it back to neutral. One more time.

Exhale, and bring it back. Now I'm gonna bring the leg down to the floor, this is what you might lose your strap, I'm gonna bend my knee into a squat. My hips are back over this left shoulder block, so I'm really reaching into this beautiful squat, so this is welcome 'cause you kinda get a stretch through your hips, but then I'm gonna need the energy of my full body to bring back up and behind. Swing it out and drop down with control, bring it back up and bend your knee behind you. Extend the leg straight down, bring it up, and around, so I'm starting to lose my strap a little bit, which is totally fine.

Just go with it if you lose it. You don't need it right now, and bring it back. Extend, down, bring it up, so you're gonna start to feel the outside of that hip. Two more. Extend, and that should've been about eight repetitions, bring it up and back.

This is six now. Good, let's do two more. Up and back. Seven (exhales loudly), and up, and back, don't worry about your strap if you lost it. Bring it up, and back.

You should really feel the outside of that hip. If you can, bring the strap up, but you're not really gonna miss it. We can fix it later. You're gonna bring this leg up. We're gonna do knee in, so knee in, squeeze laterally, flex, and bring it back.

Now we're working in a different plane of motion, what we call the coronal plane here, right in that beautiful lateral flexion of the torso, of the pelvis. Feel that stretch in the bottom side of the pelvis. Pull those sits bones apart there as you bring it in. Number four (exhales loudly), and draw it in. (exhales loudly) Reach, a few more here.

(exhales loudly) Last one here, and hold there. Extend the leg out. Place the right leg down onto the floor. Lean back. So even if you have a higher reformer like I do, this still works really well.

It's a little bit harder getting back up, but you're gonna be able to do it. We're gonna do eight of these. Leg up straight, and kick it behind. Extend, down. Try to find a really nice, healthy, strong neutral position here.

Don't let your abdominals hang out too much, nice strong shoulders. That was two, three. Bring it up, and four. Down, lean back, and bring it up. Again the carriage is gonna rock a little bit back-and-forth, so we obviously don't want it banging into the stoppers, but go ahead and just let it move a little bit naturally as you move through the movement here.

Number seven, and eight, and bring it up behind. Bend that knee in and go ahead and sit back. I want you to swing your hips back and forth just to release some of that work, just feel that really nice hip work. In conjunction with the foot work that we did, your hips should be nice and warm and fatigued and engaged, and then I want you to go ahead and release. What we're gonna do here, we're gonna gently walk ourselves back, stepping onto the floor, then stepping out of your straps.

It's easy as that. Go ahead and come out of your reformer here. We're gonna move on to our next series which is gonna be, go and take your foot bar down, which is I'm calling a stretch series, but it really is about strength as well and some control. You might be feeling a little bit wobbly right now, which is fine and good, so it's just gonna demand a little bit more control and strength here, a little bit of balance here. So if you are feeling too fatigued or too wobbly, I want you to bring something into your frame here, whether it's a long box that you can put your hand on or a pole because, more importantly, I just want you to feel secure 'cause there's a little bit of balance work.

You're gonna a little bit of stability to the carriage by using one spring, but not too much resistance where you're having to push against it too hard. We're gonna start with the right foot up on the carriage and we're kind of into this kinda hip flexor stretch kind of lunge. We're gonna keep the pelvis steady and we're just gonna go in and out with the leg, really simple. We're just extending that knee and bending that knee in. Now if you wanna get a little bit lower, you certainly can make your range a little bit wider here.

That's definitely up to you and that just depends on how you're feeling, how fatigued you're feeling, where you are in your pregnancy, what you're feeling confident in doing. So from here, I want you to go slightly forward with straight legs, and then I want you to bend the back knee and bring the carriage back, so slightly forward, both legs, and then bend the back knee. You're sitting back on that back heel. Notice how strong and sturdy my torso is staying throughout here. I'm staying really nice and strong.

This is about pelvic stability, about balance, but I'm so grounded in that left leg that I feel really confident here in that. That was about five. Go out again, now this time, you're gonna bend both knees in and come into a deeper, what we call plie, on this left leg. You're gonna shoot both legs out, but notice how square my hips are staying, and bend both knees in. I'm using a lot of torso control, co-contraction here, a lot of steadiness here.

Reaching out, and coming all the way in. Two more. Shooting those legs out, and drawing in. Last one. Shooting out, and drawing in.

Now, here, we're gonna take the carriage out and I want you to place your hands down on the frame of the reformer. Now we're getting into a little deeper stretch. If the belly is big, you can take this leg out a little bit more so you don't feel so squishy. I'm gonna wiggle my left leg back. Now this time, I'm gonna reach the right side of the pelvis forward, so I'm rotating my pelvis, then I'm gonna pull it back in to neutral.

I'm keeping my spine really extended here, oh, that feels so good. I'm getting a great stretch in my adductors. I'm getting a great stretch in the medial or the inside aspect of the hamstrings as well, and then I'm really, if you think about this pelvic key, I'm accentuating that opening in that stretch and that mobility of my pelvic bones as well. As we know, Pilates and movement doesn't happen in just one area of the body only. We can focus on one, we can emphasize one, we can initiate from one, but it certainly, always, translates into more areas.

Let's go, two or three more. Inhale, exhale back to center (exhales loudly). Reach, and back to center (exhales loudly). One more time. Reach, and back to center.

Hold here. Square those hips out. If you wanna go a little bit more forward, you can. Go where your body feels good. Reach the tail bone out behind you.

Reach that energy through the crown of the head and through the spine. Feel that beautiful stretch. Then slowly and carefully, release the stress on the muscles and walk yourself back in. I want you to turn facing away. Very nice and short and sweet, we're gonna do a little bit of side work.

The arms are gonna come up here into what we call a high fifth, if you have had any ballet, so up here. I want you to laterally flex as you take the carriage out. As you bring the carriage in, I want you to go forward, so we're in forward flexion. I want you to laterally flex, and up, just nice and short and sweet here. Reach, and forward.

Reach side, and up. Extend, and forward, so this is where I get into a little bit of my balance work, and extend, and up. Two more. Side bend, and forward. This is a nice hip opener with the balance.

Last one. Side bend, and forward, and reach, and up. Slowly come up and we're gonna repeat everything on the other side. So my right leg is gonna stay down this time. My left leg comes forward, so I come into this kinda hip flexor-lunge position, squaring out my hips as much as I can, being a little bit more forgiving given that we are pregnant here.

Extend the leg out, and in. Focusing on not only just that pelvic stability and that spinal stability, but also where the energy is reaching vertically. The energy is reaching down through that back heel, that pressing energy forward, and then that retracting energy back. A few more here (exhales loudly), and in. Exhale (exhales loudly), and in.

Exhale (exhales loudly), and in, and let's just add one more and we'll hold it there. We're gonna slide forward. Your thigh might hit the foot bar, that's totally fine. You're gonna bend the back knee to come in. Slide forward and try to keep those hips as square as you can.

You're gonna reach that energy out, and draw it back in. Putting your weight on your back heel here, not being afraid to really sit into that bend of that right leg. Reach, and bend, drawing it in. Two more. Reach, and bend, and reach, and bend.

Now we're gonna add bending both knees in. Reach out, and bend both legs. Now you're certainly welcome to do this series with your arms out to the side, which looks a little bit more eloquent and I certainly to do that, but you notice, intuitively, I'm kinda feeling like I wanna keep my hands on my hips today to kinda just cue myself and to just feel a little bit more drawn into my center body. I'm gonna just say whichever position feels good for you, I want you to embrace it. When you do this class another day, it might be different.

Draw it in, and last one. Hold it there. Tipping forward with your body, reach your hands down to the pl-aht or to the frame of the reformer here, and glide the left side of the pelvis forward, and bring it back. We're just getting into that really beautiful mobility of the pelvis, that dynamic stretching into the hamstring, and then to the adductors here, into the pelvic floor muscles, and drawing in. We're going into rotation of the pelvis, back into parallel pelvis, so just working in and out of that.

We're really pushing that right heel down into the floor, so you're even getting a little bit of a calf stretch through the back of that right leg, reach, which becomes really important for us during pregnancy because things can get really tight in our calf muscles and our ankles. We can get swelling from water retention. We can get just uncomfortableness from a discrepancy or a disruption rather in our circulation because the baby pushes up against our veins and arteries in our pelvis which affects the flood down through our legs. Last one. Square here.

You can only get a square as you can get as your belly's gonna allow you. Reach energy out through your chest as you find the stretch. Use your breath. Energy out through the crown of the head (inhales deeply). Let the muscles respond to the static stretch, sending them fresh oxygen with each breath.

You can go a little bit forward with your hands, a little bit lower with your torso. If you wanna get a little deeper into your stretch, push the carriage out a little bit more if you like, and slowly release the stretch. Let those muscles respond to that powerful stretch release you're putting on 'em or that stretch tension rather that you're putting on them, and slowly come in. Turning yourself to the side, if you're like me right now, you're shaky, so being careful in this plie here, this external rotation, arms up overhead. You're gonna laterally flex out as you push, and come into flexion here.

I'm trying not to sway with this leg to the right and the left. I'm trying to stay really steady, trying to keep my hips steady and just let my leg move and my torso move. So reach, and up. Extend, and forward, and reach, that was two, up. Extend, and forward, so finding that balance, and up, that mobility of the torso, that absolute control.

This is four, and up. Last one. Side bend, ooh, that was a weird one I did there, wasn't it? Reach, and up and come out of it. You should be sufficiently challenged in your legs and your pelvis, and we're gonna open 'em up a little bit with a little bit of a fun series here.

Moving into kind of our last little series here, a little bit of a cool down, we're going to take the foot bar up. Now, this series is much more helpful and a little safer if you have a foot bar that locks in. Now if you're on a reformer that doesn't have a foot bar that locks in, 'cause we're gonna push our body into the foot bar and push forward, so if that's the case for you and you get into it, I think the best thing for you to do would be to kind of just bend your knees and lift your chest up so you're more pushing down on the foot bar and not pushing forward. I'll try to show an example of that as I go through the series, but if you have a foot bar that locks in, I mean just go crazy and push into it with all your body weight, which we know is extra right now. We're gonna work on opening the body, getting a little bit more pelvic mobility just to end our class, and then we're gonna wrap it up from there.

So I want you to stand back with your hips out, so you're in this nice squat position. Open your legs a little bit wider if you need some space for the belly. You're gonna roll through your spine and you're gonna send your hips forward, so forward and your torso up. So even right now, I'm pushing down. I'm gonna curl the spine in and reach back.

So we're gonna roll through the spine, come up onto the balls of my feet, push down, stretch out the whole front of the body, then pull in and send that tail bone back and reach back, so feel that nice stretch through your arms, really stretch through the pelvis, so curling up, and forward. If you're not feeling secure here, this is where I would bring the heels down a little bit and maybe not push so far forward, but just push a little bit more down, and then press back. So let's do. Again, forward, but this time I'm gonna swing the hips to the right and back around to the left, I'm gonna come into flexion using my abdominals, and go forward, so just two times in each direction, reaching back, and forward, and hold. Go to the left.

Reach back so you're finding that nice circular movement, this is gonna feel good on those hips that we worked through this class, and releasing that pelvis and we have that beautiful strong pelvic stability through a lot of the class, and reaching forward. Now coming back here, holding here, feeling that stretch, kinda pulling back on the bar, which should be safe for all reformers, so reach those hips back, reach those hips back. I want you to bring your legs a little bit closer together. I want you to curl the chest and bring the right knee up, point the foot, then I want you to swing it back, and up. Curl the body in, bring the knee up to the chest, so this is where you need to be a little bit careful with your foot bar, Try not to push forward if you don't need to.

Try to keep the emphasis of pushing down. Same thing here. Push down as you bring it back. One more. Up (exhales loudly), and press back.

So curl the body in, and left leg comes up, exhale (exhales loudly), and inhale back. My leg is staying parallel as it goes back, curling the body up, and inhale back. One more time. Up (exhales loudly), and bring it back. Feel that beautiful deep plie.

Bring the body down. Roll yourself up, roll yourself up all the way and just feeling that wonderful warmth and that work that we did and everywhere surrounding our pelvis. That includes working your spine, working your pelvic floor, working the muscles of the hips because they all cross over, cross over those pelvic bones, cross over those lower spinal bones and it's such a huge aspect of pregnancy and giving birth, just as I spoke to in the beginning. So this is our pelvic key. We did a lot more lower body work.

I have another class in the series where we focus a lot more on the upper body. So just have fun exploring this work. Thank you for sticking with me for a nice long class and I enjoyed it and I hope that you did too. Thanks.

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1 person likes this.
Thank you Leah for all your wonderful beaming energy! This was partly a little difficult with the positions, but that depends on the type of reformer and body-length etc. But I recommend everybody to stay with it because it really is a fun workout. I especially loved the standing part at the end with the great stretches! My hips loved it!
Thank you Leah for this beautiful and creative class. Your cues were clear and easy to follow. All the best to you!
I love and enjoy everything you do. Thanks so much Leah.
1 person likes this.
Hi Leah Stewart! I'm 32 weeks pregnant, I'm a Pilates teacher and I'm doing my stuff every day. This class is amazing! It is gentle but you can feel the work, the stretches, the opening that's happening in your body. I'm going to repeat this class a lot until the birth day. Congratulations and thank you to share it!
Amazing! Thankyou! This is for all of us!
Cant wait to share it all around!
An absolutely gorgeous class and gorgeous Leah! Thank you
Hi Leah, i teach a pre natal class but the reformers are low ones. Can this be modified to teach with a long box on?
Thank you all for the wonderful feedback about this class. Sudha N - go ahead, experiment with the long box and give it a try - I haven't done it myself, but I think it may work with some adjustments.
Hi Leah, I really like your pregnancies series and your cues are amazing and clear. Is there any tip or red flag to pregnant on their 6 months doing bridge (on reformer)?
Really amazing Leah!
When you come back?!
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