Class #2965

Mat Workout

60 min - Class


Increase your awareness with this Mat workout by Brent Anderson. He brings in the concepts from his workshop, Alignment, Load, and Tempo, so you can practice the simple concepts and principles. You will notice the adjustments you need to make so you can maintain your alignment after you change the load or tempo of a movement. He also applies the principle of swarm theory so that you begin to find a sensitivity to the other people in the class.
What You'll Need: Mat, Theraband

About This Video


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Hello, and my name is Brent Anderson, a founder of Polestar Pilates, and it is great to be at Pilates Anytime. And today we are going to be practicing some of the concepts in a movement class from the alignment, load, and tempo class that you can apply in your classes, as well, by just applying some of these simple concepts and principles. So let's get started right away, I'm gonna have you laying on your back with the knees bent, the feet flat on the ground, and I want you just to appreciate the floor. And so a lot of times, you know, we don't appreciate the feedback, and the information coming from the floor, and we look at this contact surface, this ability for the mat to give us feedback. So I want you to think of, what parts of your body are contacting the mat?

And again, there's no right or wrong, just being sensitive, listening, feeling, noticing, where do the shoulder blades hit the mat, the back of the head, maybe some of the ribs, the sacrum, the feet, is the weight more in the heel, is it in the ball of the foot? And change things around a little bit as you sort of exhale and gravity changes, let the body readjust a little bit, and sort of feel the shoulder softening, or smiling across the front of the chest, notice the back of the neck lengthening, feel the space of the ribs softening down in the mat with the breath. Without forcing anything, just using that word "allow," right, and then place your hands on your pelvis, and just sort of notice where your pelvis is in space. Temptation is sometimes to squeeze the butt together, so go ahead and feel what that feels like, squeeze the butt together, and feel the pelvis tilt up towards your shoulders, so that would be one extreme, and then completely relax the bottom, and tilt the pelvis forward, to where you feel the back coming off the mat a little bit. So exaggerate it and feel the back coming off the mat, and then let it come back down.

Let's just go that extreme a couple times, both directions, so feeling that sort of unwanted and (mumbles), that pulls to your tuck, and then take it all the way forward, anteriorly, and just allow that transition back and forth. And as you do so, decrease the amount, equally, in the two extreme directions, until you feel like the pelvis is in a really optimal place for you, right? So it's just doing an anterior and a posterior tilt, and just sort of listening to where's that place that you feel the least amount of tension? Now, it's important to notice, this might not be neutral for you, you might have tissues imbalance that tell you that your most comfortable place is a little bit posteriorly tilted, or is a little bit anteriorly tilted, but we're gonna start from here because I want you just to be aware of, where is the place that your body feels the least amount of resistance? And then once you've sort of figured out that space in the pelvis, bring the hands up to the lower ribcage, and just take in a deep breath, and feel like the elbows are gonna slide on the floor towards the walls, right, to the side.

And as you exhale, the ribs are gonna soften down, yeah, shoulders become heavy and widened, and just sort of notice where you feel the tensions, do you feel the tensions in your arms? Do you feel the tension in your chest, or your shoulders, right, is it hard to create that horizontal space in your body, to feel the collarbones reaching out to the side? And again, using the floor as our feedback, it's telling us information, and then let the hands come down to the side of the mat, palms down. Now, from here, let's just go into a simple pelvic clock, very easy, and again, going into the anterior, posterior tilting of the pelvis, but this time, allowing it to pull the spine completely all the way up to the head, just looking for that connectivity. So as the pelvis goes anterior, the chin is gonna jut, and as you go posterior, it's just the opposite, so you're gonna feel that sort of rolling of the spine.

And the key here is you want to use as little force as possible, so you really want to make it relaxed, like let go of the hips, just, it's right there, very simple, very simple. And for you, I want you to continue to feel a little bit more towards the anterior tilt, just sort of let go, and deepen the socket of the hips, and continue back and forth, as little effort as possible, yes? And then relax, find that place again where you feel the least amount of tension, and now tilt the pelvis to the right and to the left. The knees, as if they're on a coat hanger, suspended to the ceiling, and the pelvis tilting in a rotation to the right, and to the left, and again, just noticing how far up the spine does that pelvic rotation reach, does it go all the way up into your neck, or up into your eyes, even, or does it stop at the base of the ribs? And these are the kind of questions we want to know in ourselves, as we listen and reflect on alignment.

Now, what happens in your breathing as you do this? So let's say that you're inhaling, as you tilt the knees, the hips to one side, and exhale to bring it back into center, and inhale, where might you send that breath to expand the mobility in the ribcage? Typically to the opposite side, as you rotate, you're going to breathe into that opposite rib, yeah? And exhale to bring it back to center. Now, I'm gonna allow you to move the knees side to side, so you're gonna keep going now, and let the knees sway, so a knee sway, and get all the way over until just the shoulder's on the ground, stay there, yeah?

So everybody's knees should be to the right side, swarm theory, here we go. Taking a deep breath into that left lung, and gently draw down the rib underneath the armpit, and then work your way down the ribs, where the tissues are going to pull the legs back up into the neutral center position, and then let the legs come over to the left, and inhale into the right lung, expanding the ribs on the right, yeah, and then, when you're ready, send that rib down, one rib at a time, all 12 of them, until they pull the legs back up, finding that connectedness. And you'll find that you might have areas where there's not connectedness, this is where we talk about alignment, right? We want to connect the rib cage to the pelvis, and it's not that it's wrong, it's just exploring until you can find that connection. Exhaling, sending the left rib down, bringing the legs up, find the connection on the diagonals, take it to the other side, remember, we're exploring all planes of movement, and we're looking to see if we can always draw or find the connection back into the neutral, yeah?

Let's do one more to each side. Inhaling into the lung, exhaling, drawing it down, and a lot of times, I'll start slow like this, just to be able to get the awakening, so we talk about tempo, we're going nice and slow. Now, let's play with the tempo a little bit, so let the knees come up nice and straight, feet together, palms go out a little bit wider, 'cause you need a little bit wider to control the tempo. So from here, we're gonna go to the right, and on the left, exhale, bring the knees back up, stay with me on the pace, to the left, and up. (snaps fingers) And to the right, and up, without stopping in the middle, go right to the left, and up, into the left, without right, stopping in the middle, sorry, and back up. Let's go a little bit faster, notice, as you go faster, your range is gonna decrease, and that's okay, control it, right, you'll feel the spring load on, and the spring comes off, and you'll notice that it's a different muscle set that is working, to be able to do it at a different pace.

So let's go a little bit faster even, and back, yes, good, find that pace, left, right, left, right, last one, and relax, feet still together, take both knees, and open them in the butterfly position, yeah? And just observe from your peripheral vision, how far out are the knees, right, in that really relaxed, open position. You'll notice one side might be a little different, one side might be a little higher, one hip more restricted. Now, close the legs, and keep the left knee pointed up to the ceiling, and see if you can keep that pelvis and the ribcage in its organization, and just let the right knee drop out to the side, bring it back up, left leg out to the side, bring it back up, and right, and left. And right, and left, and right, and left, now, let's pick up the pace on this one, (snap fingers) right, up, left, up, right, up, left, up, right, up, up, notice the difference when you change the pace, and relax, stop there, let's go really slow, let's take four counts down with the right foot.

One, two, three, four, and up, two, three, four, left down, two, three, four, and up, two, three, four, and right, two, three, four, up, two, three, four, last one, two, three, four, up, and change the load, bring the right leg up to 90 degrees, left leg up to 90 degrees. Same idea, right, knee's gonna drop out at a four count to the right, one, two, three, four, up, two, three, four, make the appropriate adjustments of not going so far that you can't control. So the load increased, can the pelvis maintain the alignment? You might not be able to take it so far away from center, if the load increases. Now, let's change the tempo with it, let's go right, down, and up, left, down, and up, right, down, and up, you'll notice that quicker actually is a little bit easier on this one for you to control, you're not going as far, and you're able to feel a little bit of momentum and recoil to stabilize the opposite side.

Keep that going one more time, and left, and relax, let the legs come down, very good. So you could feel a difference between tempo, and load, just with a very simple exercise, that we could play with those ideas in the body, right? So now what I want you to do is you're going to scoot towards the center of the room, with the knees still bent, until your toes are touching the toes of the person across from you. So you're gonna stay on your back. (background noise drowns out speaker) Its, what's that?

(background noise drowns out speaker) Yeah, just come all the way down, your knees can get in a comfortable position, but your toes are gonna be touching each other, should be down the woods, so if you guys, if you scoot down a little further this way, it's gonna be perfect, yeah. So if you don't have somebody to do this with at home, you could put your feet up against a wall, 'cause the wall will also give you some of the same feedback, but if you have somebody, not only are you giving feedback, but you're also receiving feedback, so toes against toes, right? So we're going to do the bridge from here, so just position yourself, you have enough knee flexion that you can do the bridge, yeah, make sure there's enough knee flexion to do the bridge, good. And now, just with the toes touching each other, you're going to be able to roll up and bridge, and see if you can feel the same energy, aligning yourself with your partner, as you roll up into your bridge. So rolling the pelvis up, and you can almost feel the weight between the toes on each other, what's going on, take a breath in up on top, then exhale, and roll down.

Now, part of the alignment here, we talk about ankles, hips, and thorax, this one, we're looking at the hip alignment, so what I want you to try to find as you roll up into your bridge, symmetrically, the two of you, each on each side, feel the sacrum pressing through the hips, as the ribs drop a little bit down towards, so you're gonna end up with this nice, planar line. And feel the amount of energy in each other's feet, as you're in that position, that's what I want you to notice, that's what you should be matching to do that. Like, your knees have the Theraband between 'em, can you feel the Theraband between 'em, like we did in the workshop? And now roll down in your bridge, still feeling and respecting that space pulling you together, respecting the amount of energy between your toes to come all the way down, and then feel the relaxation. You can even feel each other's inhalation, exhalation, all the way down through the toes, so that connectivity is continuous, right?

Let's try it again, take in a breath to prepare, deep breath, exhale, the Theraband starts to pull the knees together, the sacrums drive up through the hips, the weight goes into the shoulders, the shoulders are wide, you take in a nice, deep breath, you feel that line across the front of the hips, and as you exhale, you feel the knees still being attracted towards each other as you roll down, one vertebrae at a time, very nice. We'll do that one more time together, this time, I'm not gonna talk, I want you to do it on your own, no peeking, see if you can feel it, and just feel how things change on the toes, if you can match, you should feel the change of energy that you recognize now, as they push into the floor, you should feel when the breath is taken, and then exhaling, feeling the spine rolling down. So you're actually teaching each other, we're gonna do one more of those, 'cause I think it's worth doing. Yeah, let's try it one more time, listen to each other, even listen to the breath, and then exhale, rolling up together, feeling the knees, the toes, create that spacial awareness, feel that length across the front of the hips, it's symmetrical, person to person, and then feel the shift in the energy as you start to roll down, and relax. Very good.

All right, now, from here, I'm gonna have you just grab the back of your knees, and roll up into a modified roll up, yeah, just roll yourself up, yeah, good. And sit right towards the front of the mat there, your feet will be on your mat, yeah, so you're not so close, good. And from there, we're now going to do a visual and a spacial awareness of the modified roll down, right? So when you're in that position, you're sort of looking at each other, right, and you're gonna feel the energy, feel that as that Theraband's connecting the two of you as you roll down. Now, we can start with a partial roll down, and just even working on our timing, going away from each other, right?

So let's sit up nice and tall, and imagine the Theraband is connected between your sternums, right, so you're nice and tall, the head's nice in space, and initiate, remember, that axial alignment is gonna be going from the sit bone, coccyx, all the way up to the crown. The direction of the movement is gonna be in deflection, the space is gonna be the pushing out in all directions, and also between partners, so feel the spacial rule of being pulled together, and pushed apart at the same time, right, so looking at your partners, nice and tall, take in a deep breath, breath is gonna be your cue, and as you exhale, begin to initiate the direction of the spine, moving back, yeah. Let's just go halfway, and use your hands to assist, and then, from there, take a breath in, exhale, match each other's energy, match each other's energy, sitting up nice and tall, you should both get to that tall position at the same time. Imagine, now, all 12 thoracic vertebrae are connected with their own Theraband, right? We're gonna start with the lowest one first, so you're gonna take 12 away from 12, 11 away from 11, 10 away from 10, nine, eight, seven is about halfway down, bring seven back together, eight together, nine, 10, 11, 12 brings us up into sitting again through the lumbar, okay?

Are you ready to try again, we're gonna try to go down to L2, all right, so we're gonna start again, starting with L2 now, so L2's just above the bellybutton. So we're gonna take that direction, pull the bellybutton away from your partner, then the 12th rib, the 11th rib, and continue to send the ribs back, and even up underneath your heart, going down to T5, good, stop at T5, and then bring it back up, so we're gonna go five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 12, one, two, three, four, five, we're gonna go all the way down, all the way up now, watching each other, and it's gonna be really easy, 'cause you're connected to each other. The feet are heavy, if they come off the mat, it's okay, right, you're just gonna control the roll down, so a deep breath in, starting now with the sit bones, rolling back, L5, L4, L3, L2, L1, T12, 11, 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, beautiful. How you doing, okay? I know it's easy, but the idea is feeling the energy of that is really cool, bring the knees up to 90/90, put your hands behind the knees.

We'll use 'em at the same time, and let's see if we can be aware, I'm gonna call it, but you're gonna be moving the same way, where the energy is reaching between you and your partner. So the direction of the movement now is, the head is coming up first, through the cervical spine, through the ribs, the ribs are continuing to reach back, the feet are becoming heavy, reaching down towards the mat, use them as your levers, let them be heavy. Continue to let them be heavy, yes, and then continue to articulate up into, the Theraband's pulling the ribcage back together again. Let's go a little more fluidly now, so we're gonna roll back into a roll down, the feet can come off if they want, rolling back, the ribcage pulls back from each other, you're separating that tension between each other, it's like you're really helping each other, and then you're gonna take in a deep breath, and exhale, and roll up, same thing, feet come down, head comes up. Feel that rolling, feel that space, think of the ribs going back up underneath the heart, feel the help of your partner with it.

Now, I'm gonna give each of you a Theraband, you're gonna straighten your legs out, we're gonna do a full roll down, full roll up. Do I have enough Therabands here, we'll see. The ones who get the green get a like more help, right? So grab hold of one, yes. Thank you.

Let's see, now, if you let go of it, you're gonna smack each other. (class laughs) Tighten up, and get a little bit of tension on it, right? So, now, give yourself a little space with it, right, and as you roll down, it's gonna probably come down sort of to your pelvis as you roll down, but you're gonna help each other, right? So let's start, seated up nice and tall, and feel that length sort of pulling away, as you collectively move down into your roll down. Think of where the alignment is coming from, yes, do not let go of that Theraband.

(class laughs) Take in a deep breath, and take in a deep breath, oh, the temptation of doing that is just too great. I'd have my, one hand over my eye, and the other hand over my crotch, right? (class laughs) That's right, roll it up, and you'll realize, you don't need a whole lot more than a little bit of Theraband, right, which really tells you, you don't need anything, it's all imaginative of why we can't do a roll up, it really is just in our imagination, and anxiety. So, let's make this even easier, right, so let's just sing, as we roll down, right, so, you know what I like to do, and you can talk it out, even, too, just. ? Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one ? ? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight ? Right, it's just controlling the voice coming out, it's the air control, so deep breath in, and we're gonna go from eight to one.

? Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one ? Take in a breath. ? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight ? Good, now, let's play with the whole alignment concept, right, so we're thinking of direction of movement, axial length, right, body parts gonna come as close to the movement of the central axis, this is where it gets a little interesting. Because my central axis is moving back into flexion, my ribs are also going to be moving back into flexion. So don't try to bring them in here and roll back, they're gonna be moving back, as well. So feel, right, we talked about the breath pattern, the ribs have to come back to flex, right?

So let's give that a try, deep breath in, we'll start with eight. ? Eight, seven ? Send the ribs back underneath the heart. ? Four, three, two, one ? A little bit quicker, take a deep breath in. ? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight ? Deep breath in. ? Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one ? Last one, come up.

? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight ? Now, let's get rid of the Therabands. All right, create that imaginary connection between yourselves, you have it, right, where's the initiation, and where's the axial line, where are the body parts moving, as it pertains to alignment? So take a deep breath in. ? Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one ? There we go, you can do it. ? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight ? Good, and rest, very good, all right, you get the idea.

Now, let's take the hands behind, going into a leg pull position. We just want to create and drive home a couple messages here, right, so in a leg pull position, but let's start with bent knees. And let's start with the idea that we want to create alignment, now, into the lower extremities, particularly the hip joint, right, so we're going to come up into a bent knee, leg pull position, right, so you're just gonna bring that sacrum right up, yep, right in between, yes. So what I want you to feel here is, remember what we talked about, how do I know when somebody has lost alignment? So drop your hips down a little bit, and show me what that alignment would be, or incorrect alignment, right, so when we had that hinge, and now see if we can get rid of the hinge without arching the back.

So you're gonna send the pelvis up, yes, very good, and then, from there, can you lift up one leg, and then the other leg? Yeah, and down, and switch. Just marching, just marching, right? The hips up a little bit higher, you can do it, I want this up higher, yep. (background noise drowns out speaker) Oh.

All right, now, not such a high step, but let's do a quick step, so it's gonna look like this, watch me, you're gonna come up, and you're gonna be here, and you're gonna go, all right? Yes, yes, keep driving the sacrum, tempo, fast, fast, fast, fast, fast, and relax, hinge down, and relax. Straighten your legs out in front of you, ah, stretch out those hamstrings a little bit. Now, so you get the idea, and we sort of think, we can go through advanced exercises, but then we think, like, wow, if I can't get hip extension, and control tempo, that's just running, we're just running in horizontal position instead of vertical position, okay? So a simple alignment of just getting the hips into extension, that's a pretty powerful tool, okay?

How about you cross your legs in front of you, and roll over into plank position. And let's just hold the plank position for a second, look at your neighbor, right, so just sort of look around, and see what everybody's doing, and, you know, do your sacrums, drop down through your hips a little bit. Now, can you find that position, sort of hanging on the fascia in the front of the hips a little bit, but supporting from the ribs underneath. Back of the neck is long, and just play with that, now, go into extremes, right, so, you know, drop it down to low, carefully, and then bring it up to high, right, and bring it back down, what you're gonna notice is a sweet spot there, that if you bring your head over your arms a little bit more, like, lean forward a little bit, it's almost like, you know, you can feel the fascia holding your body up in that position. And then press yourself back into a pike, so butts up in the air, yeah, so pike, and then go right into your plank, hit that position, nice and strong, and pike.

And plank, remember, we're doing swarm theory, so if you're out of sync with your neighbor, you've gotta problem, and pike. (laughs) And plank. And pike. And plank, now, hold the plank position, and from here, just run with your feet, right, da, da, da, da, da, da, very close, it's more like, look at your neighbors, (mumbles), Chrissy's got it, Julianna's go it, knees stay straight, knees stay straight, hips are down, hips are down, hips are down, get those hips down, and relax, let your knees come down. Good, sit back and just stretch. So, again, it's interesting to me that, you know, we consider our difficult exercises, things like teasers, and roll overs, and jack knives, and those kind of things, but, you know, a lot of things that we want to be able to do, as far as coordinating and alignment, are really simple things, and I think sometimes, when we're at home, we're doing these exercises, we're watching, you know, it's like it's okay to spend time on some basic exercises we're doing every day.

We're gonna do the same exercise that we did in plank, but now we're going to slap the shoulders, right? And try to move as little as possible, slapping the shoulders, okay, let's give that a try, and see what that feels like, okay? You can do it, yeah. (background noise drowns out speaker) Yes, yes, this is swarm theory, you're gonna start with your right arm first, actually, you'll be opposite of the person in front of you, so just mirror the person in front of you, right? Who's gonna be the leader, there you go.

There you go, we got it, looks good, listen. And relax, very good, good. Good, so again, looking at, you know, alignment has to deal with load, so what we've done is we created alignment, and then we went a load by going to a single leg, or a single arm, or we went with tempo by increasing the speed of what we're moving with, or playing with, right, so again, what has to happen, if you're falling all over the place, you know that we're going too fast, or the load's too high, right, or you don't have good enough alignment to be able to load the nervous system, does that make sense? So it makes it very simple, so from here, now, let's go right into a mermaid position, and we're gonna face forward, and let's all go with the left leg in front, right leg to the side, right, so left hand's gonna be down on the mat, and let's play with the spacing on this one, right? So just feel like your legs are in good spacing, look at the person in front of you, sort of see how you're sitting with each other, right, and then you're gonna put the left hand down onto the mat, and what I want you to, just soften that elbow a little bit, and feel yourself pushing into the mat with your hand.

So the elbow's gonna bend down your body, and then bring your right hand behind your head. Now, sending that right elbow up to the ceiling, yeah, and bending to the left. Now, look at the person in front of you, those, the two of you in front, you are the leaders, so even if you're doing it wrong, the others are gonna follow you doing it wrong. But here's what we're gonna do, we're gonna play with the concept of alignment, so where's the direction, the direction is in left side bending, where is the alignment? We're bringing the body parts close to the central axis, so that means that the left ribcage is gonna lift up, the right ribcage is gonna open, the front and the back are gonna come together into that pane of glass.

Now, take a deep breath into the right lung, and reach that right elbow up opposite of the left arm, pushing down, so just create that little bit of opposition, you're doing it right, I'd smack you if you weren't. You got it, good, excellent, now, come back up, bring the right hand down to the mat, or even grab your shin, if you like, but down to the mat, bring the left hand behind the head, and this one's gonna be a little more challenging, 'cause we're going against the fixed direction, but we're gonna send that left elbow up to the ceiling. Let the right elbow bend in, and again, look at the person in front of you, and see the concept, where is the direction of the movement? Is the spine in its longest possible configuration for right side bending, are the ribs opening up on the left, are they lifting underneath, are the elbows moving opposite of each other in the coronal plane? Yes, good, so now what we've done is we've just created a nice, homogenous movement between the six of you, and now we're gonna go for flow.

So we're gonna come over to the left, with the right hand stretched out into a normal mermaid, gonna come all the way over, yeah, and then come back up, all the way over to the right side, keeping the arms long, there we go, so keep the flow. Let's go a little bit faster, and right, and left, see if you can create the flow with the arms, matching the space, (snaps fingers) the rhythm, the alignment, and the tempo. Let's go a little bit faster, the ones in the front are the leaders, yeah, everybody else has to follow. Last one, and relax, very good, come up into tall sitting position, hands behind your back, yeah, behind, on the ground. Lean back, lift the legs up, and switch the legs over to the other side, yeah, you got it, good.

And now you're gonna put right hand down on the mat, and left hand behind the head, and we'll do the same thing we just did to the left side. So elbow bends into the body a little bit, left elbow up to the ceiling, you're gonna learn from the past, right, so you've already learned, it already looks better, we're aligning, the direction of the movement is gonna be in the coronal plane, to the right, we're thinking that the body part's coming closer to the center axis, where's the shoulder and the ear space, the head space, yeah, keep it going, breathing into which lung, the left lung. Make it a little bit easier for yourself, here we go. And bring this up to the ceiling, there you go, so it doesn't have, this doesn't have to go down, just let this come up, yeah, good. And then we're gonna go over to the left side, so bring that left hand down to the shin, it'll help you out, same idea, we're staying in between these two panes, space here comes together, direction out through the top of the head, so it's that axial line, body parts come close, and expanding movement is going (mumbles).

Drop this elbow into the body a little bit, yes, deep breath into the right lung, beautiful, two more times, and then we're ready to go with the seaweed image, going side to side, to the right, and to the left, nice and flowing. To the right, and to the left, to the right, to the left, to the right, a little bit faster, and left, right, left, seaweed in the ocean, tossed side to side, there we go, just like outside today, and go, last one, and relax, very good. Rotate to your right, going into quadruped position, hands and knees. All right, from here, let's bring the knees directly under the hip socket, yeah, so it's gonna be about maybe six inches between the knees, yeah, and I want you to now think of the floor that you were laying on, and see if you can recreate that alignment in space. So if you were laying on the floor, where is your head, your shoulders, your tailbone, where's the space between the floor, where is the space around the ribs?

Can you find the right rib location? Can you create a 90 degree fold in the hips? Right, are the knees underneath the hips, or are your knees behind the hips? Right, the head nice and long, feel that disassociation of the hips, 'cause this is the same thing, but now we're not having the feedback coming in from the floor, so the alignment now has to come from the inside. Now, here's the trick, if I had your ribs wrapped, circumferentially with a Theraband, could you bring in and expand that Theraband in all three planes, without changing the central axis?

When you exhale, could you bring it towards the central axis in all three planes, without changing the central axis? So the head, the spine, stay in the same place, yeah, we're gonna let that come down a little bit lower there, yeah, good, continue, so the spine stays the same, the breath expands, yeah, good, that's it. Now, from there, still with that breath, when you inhale, hinge back on your heels, as you exhale, come back up over your hands, seeing if you can maintain the alignment in the spine, really hinge in the hips, so you can only go as far as your hips let you go back, before your pelvis starts wanting to go into a posterior tilt. Find out where that place is, if I put a hot cup of tea on your sacrum, it would not want to spill, right? Now, let's try something a little different, if you take your knees out wide, feet together, do the same thing, and see how far back you can go, you'll go back a little bit further, because you have more hip range and motion, and then come back up.

And notice, try not to collapse, or let that low back increase and (mumbles), see, it's just keeping the same relationship, for you, I want you to stick your bottom up, there, that's what I want, and back up. That's the space, don't over (mumbles) that, yeah. There it is, good, feeling that length, good, and back. Now, bring the knees together, and the feet out, don't have high expectations, listen to your body, and see if you can identify where is it that you can hinge back without losing the alignment in your spine? Internal rotation is not very kind to neutral spine when you go back into flexion, right, so I don't want the pelvis to rotate yet.

Not that there's a problem to do it, I just don't want it right now, see if you can find that place. So you're really isolating that internal rotation and flexion in the hips, can you feel the difference? Right, the range of motion is telling you that you can't go back so far, and then come back, and go into the neutral one, where your knees are hip with the part, and your legs are parallel, and give it one more shot, here, going back, yeah. Good, and then come back up, and you sort of notice how the different joint position of the hip can change the position and the stressors on the back. So think of laying on your back, when (mumbles) do this like hip circles and leg circles, are we really, are they able to keep that alignment in that position?

Now, coming up into the quadruped position, stay there, give your hands a little rest, and just look at me for a second. So from here, now, we're going to go into circles around, still keeping the spine in as close to the neutral position as we can, and then back, so now we're gonna make the movement a little more complex, right, but still trying to keep it. So I don't want to see this happening, or the head dropping down, really do our best to sort of keep in, the spine in neutral, moving around our hips and our shoulders, okay? Back of the neck is long, we're still creating that space in the ribcage, and around the spine. So remember, that opposite tension going on, where the ribs are pulling in close to the spine, and just go as small little circles to begin with, and then see if you can make them a little bit bigger, and then notice if there's any difference going right to left, versus left to right.

And it's amazing that when you get a little more pure in your alignment, that you notice your limitations a little bit easier, right, you feel like just where you might find there's some restrictions in certain areas, and when we just blow through those areas, in some of our other exercises, we miss the benefit of doing that exercise. So always get back to basics, always try to find that movement, go back the other direction if you haven't already, and make sure the shoulders are part of that movement, too, you're going over your shoulders, and back over your hips. Good, let's do that two more times. And that last one, I'm just gonna have you come up into a high kneeling position, so walk your hands back, and come up into a high kneeling position. So from here, funny enough, we think that we have the alignment of our body up on top of our pelvis, but the temptation is always the pelvis is gonna be a little bit hinged back, right?

So let's play the same role now, right, so we want to be able to have the hips open in the front, so that sacrum's gonna have to push forward, but the ribs, as if you were laying on the ground, are gonna have to come back a little bit. So we're creating that axial length, and just trying to find that space, and then let it go back into a more collapsed or relaxed position, just let it go back to where you would stand, right? And just notice the difference of where the body is in space, see if you can correct it, so get the pelvis opening up through the hips, and the ribs drawing back to the length in the spine, uh-huh, good, and then relax. And what you should notice is that every time you relax, there's gonna be a little less and less shift, right? So we're gonna find that position again, hips push forward, ribs slide back.

And then relax, and see if there can be less and less shifting in your relax, I see some good positioning now. Now, from here, hinge the hips, cock the toes underneath, yeah, and just sit back towards your heels, keeping the spine in the vertical position, as you bend through the hips, yes, good. And then rise back up into that tall position, let's just do that a couple of times. And feeling the ability, now, using as little muscle as possible, feel like the bones are sort of pushing you through, yep, and you're just finding that vertical alignment, so the ribs and the sacrum sort of come towards the center axis that we talked about, can you feel that? And see if you can do that with as little muscle as possible, so you sort of feel the bones moving into the alignment.

On this next one, you're gonna stay up, so go down, and come up. And from here, right now, bring that left foot in front of you in a 90 degree position, yeah, good. Good, yeah, and then take it back down. Sit back on the heels, come back up, bring that right foot forward, you want to try to do it as little shifting as possible, that leg should be able to sweep right through, bring it back underneath you, stay tall, and then hinge back, come up tall, sweep left. Sit back, and sweep right, a little bit faster now, you're finding the position, sit back, sweep left.

And back, and sweep right, good, and back, now, feel the lifting getting taller and taller, good, and back, and up, and down, last one, left, last one, right. And relax, very good, so now, what I'm gonna have you do, is you're going to sit back to back with a partner. So those of you that are facing this direction, just sit very to the back end, and you in the front, scoot your mats up to theirs, yep, and you're gonna put your back up against their back. And we're gonna do a little listening activity here, but you're really gonna try to get your bums together, and your shoulders together, yeah. And what I want you to feel here is just like the floor, we're gonna create alignment now in a long sit position.

And we're gonna change the direction, so the people facing the, parking lot, yes, the parking lot, are going to roll forward in flexion. The people facing the ocean, or the back, are going to follow them into extension, yeah? So let's give it a try, flexion, everybody goes that direction, and then push back up into your partner, to stack them back up, and then reverse the direction. So this side goes into flexion, and you stay in extension with them, so now, direction of movement, all the way through the ribs and the spine, so see if you can keep that from, go the other direction, including the head, including the back, and you're sort of supporting each other. If you have to use your hands to support your partner's, that's fine, too, like, you can push into the mat, so they're not too heavy on you, don't want you to strain yourself.

It should be fairly light, right, you don't want to put too much weight, you just want to feel and communicate into their spine, at least right now. Come back up, we'll do one more to the parking lot, and one more away from the parking lot. That's it, and help each other, like, really feel like you're feeling that space between each other. Last one, away from the parking lot. Now, we're gonna make this even more fun, bend your knees, yeah, and let them be separated a little bit, so you have a little space, yeah, between your legs.

So legs are a little wider, they're about shoulder with the part, so the hip with the part, and we're now going to grab arms. Yeah, so interlock arms, yeah, yeah, you got it. Ah. There's always a dominant in every group, it's like, who holds the hand this way, who wins? (class laughs) I'm the man, I get to hold it like this.

I don't hold hands like this, I hold hands like this, this is a social exercise, as well. All right, so from here now, we're gonna do the same thing, 'cause you'll have your knees in front of you to support you, right, and you have your feet to push into the mat, so we're gonna bend towards the parking lot, but the person on this side's gonna actually lift their bottom up off the mat. Try to keep the contact on the spine, so you're not losing the contact on the spine, you're just coming up a little bit, and then back down, and switch, right? Keep the contact, and try to keep the congruency without losing too much, and if you have to make some adjustments, that's fine, that's better, Julianna, yeah, yeah. So you're not really lifting, you're just barely hovering off the mat, you're, like, pulling, there it is, good.

Not so high, just a little disengagement, supporting each other, talk to each other, you can keep it down, you don't have to come up quite so high, so keep your bottom down, down, down, down, there, right there, right there, there, and then come down, and then she's gonna come up, just that same place. It's more like you're sort of sliding, no, that's high enough, and back down, good. (background noise drowns out speaker) Extreme movers, feel that hip drop down, drop down, there it is, I want that feeling, yes, yes. (background noise drowns out speaker) Okay, now, still in that position, you can come up into neutral seated position, right, and let the legs straighten out a little bit, a little bit, not a lot, you can still have them bent a little bit, but we're gonna do spine twist, seated spine twist, right? So you can't both rotate to your right. (laughs) It won't work, right?

So it depends who's dominant, huh? It works if she goes right and I go right. Oh, you're right, you are going both the same direction, you are so right, my correction. Go the same direction, everybody to your right. This is the only place it works.

Slide your arms out, so it's like your hands are in touch with each other, yes, oh, that looks beautiful. Whack each other in the face, and the others. (mumbles) All right, and go to the left. And to the right, good, now, temptation's gonna be to side bend a little bit, see if you can keep that nice, vertical line, and go, yeah, good, vertical alignment, I like it, and back to the right. (overlapping chatter) You're swarming, it's getting close. You guys have a few more minutes to make our point here.

But notice how the feedback provides you with the information, right, you, we assume that we're doing the right thing, but until we get the feedback, we realize, oh, yeah, let's see how that works. Last one, now, can you straighten your legs and open them, and let's try the saw. Yeah, same thing, you're just gonna be doing opposite saws, yeah, we call this the seesaw. (laughs) You're gonna rotate to the right, and dip towards the parking lot, parking lot, parking lot, dip towards the parking lot. Let's do it all together, everybody rotate right, dip towards the parking lot, there you go. Come back up to center, rotate left, and go towards the parking lot again, okay?

Now, we're gonna come back, keep the head in the good position there, yeah, now, rotate right, go away from the parking lot. Oh, boy, that looked delicious, and up, and rotate left, and away from the parking lot. See if you can keep alignment, so that sit bone shouldn't come off that mat, let's do it again, going towards the parking lot. Let your spines talk to each other, what's going on in there, help each other out, and rotate left, don't want a whole lot of side bending, I see a lot of side bending going on. Julianna, let's see what's going on, now, you're gonna go away from the parking lot, rotate right, go away.

Oh, boy, here we go, let's do it, let's do it, let's do it, let's do it, let's do it, let's do it. (overlapping chatter) Come back up, and rotate. (overlapping chatter) And going to the parking lot, and the parking lot, stay on that center axis, give me a little more reach there, Julia, there it is. (overlapping chatter) Let's go, there it is, oh, you notice a difference on that one, where do you feel that, who's giving the resistance? [Man In Gray Shirt] Is it me?

No, I'm pulling on-- Well, you didn't have too much resistance going this way, right, move it nice and easy, so it'd probably be a hip, are you feeling it in the hip, can you talk to each other and tell each other where you're feeling that? It just feels good? Yeah. (laughs) Awesome, all right, let's finish up with our famous side kick, and see if we can synchronize ourselves, so let's have heads towards the parking lot, facing that direction, all right? So heads this way, on your right side. Yeah.

You got it, let's come up on the forearms, create the axial length energy, still with a little side bending, so you're between the panes of glass, you feel that alignment, and look at and feel, right now, is the energy matching in the room between yourselves, right? Can you create that, it's gonna be a curve of the spine, right, and a little bit of left side bending, and the neck and the head are part of that curve, coming up, the shoulder spacing and the neck, does that look similar to each other, can you find that? What about the dorsiflexion in the ankle? Good, right, find that energy, send the leg energy, now, from there, everybody lift their left leg up, and down, and up, and down, and up, and down, and up, halfway down, circles going forward, and down, and around. And forward, and down and around, and forward, listen to each other, forward, five, six, seven, and reverse, and go one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight.

Stop right there, side kick, without kicking the person in front of you, ankles flex forward with inhalation, and back with a point, and forward, and back, and forward, and back, feet off of each other, forward, back, forward, back, forward, back, forward, back. Double pump, pump pump, pump pump. Pump pump, pump pump, pump pump, pump pump, and again, and back, last one, and reach, leave it there. Take the left hand, reach it towards the head of the person in front of you, that height, right, that's the angle, the left leg reaches opposite, ribs are lifting away from the floor as you're reaching through that, so you get this nice space, legs straight, good, take in a deep breath, look at your arm placement in relationship to the placement of the person in front of you, yeah. Take in a deep breath again, you're gonna make the sound of a bee, buzzing. (buzzes) (class buzzes) Til there is no more air, and then roll over onto your left side, facing me.

Roll. Swarm theory. (background noise drowns out speaker) All right, now, who are the leaders of the swarm? Who's creating direction of the swarm? Got it, so let's find that plane, that energy, that length, and when you realize everybody's looking at you, you tend to perform a little bit better, as well, isn't that funny how that happens?

Dorsiflex the ankles, so they're in a good position, lifting the right leg up, and down, and up, and down. A little faster on this side, and down, up, down, up, down, seven, eight, small circles forward, and one, (snaps fingers) two, three, four, five, six, seven, and reverse, and one, two, three, four, five, six, side kick, here we go, forward, back, forward, back, forward, gotta go faster in front, you gotta follow me, no, me, stop, we're gonna do it, right, 'cause this is what we're talking about, alignment with, between ourselves. Everybody forward, (snaps fingers) back, (snaps fingers) forward, back, faster, listen to me. (snaps fingers) That's it, and double pump on the next one, da da, da da, da da, da da, pulse pulse, pulse pulse, pulse pulse, pulse pulse, pulse pulse, pulse pulse, last one, leave it back, take the right hand forward, set the height for everybody on that front row, yeah, yeah, reaching for the head, get the arm down, look at where you're at, right, tied into (mumbles) all the way across, even your palm, yes, good, so you find that energy, look off the person in front of you, reaching, take in a deep breath. (buzzes) (class buzzes) Keep going, getting longer, longer, ribs coming towards the central axis, til there is no more air, and then roll over onto your tummies, we'll in up with a swan. All right, hands to the side, give me a pre-swan, pressing up to the lowest ribs, so hands go, have the hands go right next to the chest, so they should be about T4 height, yeah? The elbows slide down, now, what's the direction of the central axis?

Extension, right, so let's create the extension, the body parts are coming closer to the central axis, 'cause we know what direction we're moving in, so come up to the lowest rib, and then let yourselves back down, and back up, and back down, and back up, and down. Coming up into a full swan, one under the knees, without collapsing in the back, full length, come up in the knees, is the head part of it? All the way up, and lay it down, so thighs, hips, belly, ribs, chest, head. Same thing coming up, head, chest, ribs, belly, pelvis, thighs, and down. And we're gonna get ready to do a swan two, so come all the way up, we're all gonna do it together, a single swan two, you're gonna release, roll down, come back down, and catch, ready?

And release, and down, and up, and catch. Release, and down, and up, and catch, very nice. Release, and down, and up, and catch, release, and down, going for a three, here we go. Prepare yourself, and we're gonna do three rocks, on three, one, two, three, and down, and up, down, up, down, up, and catch. Nice, let's do it again, one more time, all together, last one, if we can nail it, on three, one, follow Christy, two, and three.

And down, and up, down, up, down, up, and catch, and sit back towards your heels, prayer stretch, give yourself some love, very nice, yeah. All right, so when you come up from that position, let's just have a quick pow wow for the sake of our community out in Pilates Anytime land, as well as here, these are just some samples or examples of how we use the concept of direction of the central axis, drawing things closer, we talked about changing tempo, we played with velocity a little bit on some of them, we looked at load, so we notice, when we went with single leg on some of these exercises, that it became a lot more challenging. If we did single leg, alternating with heavy load, and sped it up, then it even got more challenging. If we lost alignment while we were trying to do the load, we noticed it got more challenging. So you can take very basic exercises, and if you focus on the three items of alignment, load, and tempo, in that order, you'll realize how it changes the quality of the movement, and that's what we're looking for.

So when we see that, for example, when you were doing the, coming up from this position, and trying to really get that pelvis up into the position, you know, how hard was it to get that straight line, or the bridge, and then being sensitive to the other people around you in the class. So even if you're watching from Pilates Anytime land, and you're all by yourself in the house, you're watching the class, this becomes your reference, this is what you reference off of. So you want to have the same timing, as what's going on in the class that the teacher's teaching, you want to have the same energy level, almost, as what you're seeing with the people in the class, the same direction of the hands, and the arms. And you'll notice that when we pair it up, a lot of truth comes out when you pair up, 'cause you think you're doing something that, you're staying right on your central axis as you're rotating, and you realize you're coming way over the to side, or you're leaning, and those kind of things. So it's a good way to get a reference, and that's why we always encourage you, that are doing the training at home, to make sure that you go to a professional.

It might only be once a month, if that's all you can afford, or once every couple months, but getting that feedback is so crucial to being able to really focus on alignment, and how to gauge yourself on how much load should you really be doing, and what classes are appropriate for you at this stage of your training and your conditioning. So we hope that this just brings a little bit of some common sense to our training, and keeping it simple, but understanding how important that central axis and alignment is, and we talked about alignment being that vertical axis, the body parts coming close to the central axis, and then sending that direction, right, so we're sending the direction, and we're trying to keep the space and the energy, and that's why we played with the Theraband, in the same way you could sort of feel that between yourselves, you could also feel it inside yourself, so focusing on what we feel inside our body, and having that increased awareness makes this all worthwhile. So hopefully you enjoyed some of the tips, and some of the ideas, and you can apply them in your other classes that you're taking, it applies any time, or anywhere else in the Pilates world, and I look forward to seeing you again on Pilates Anytime.


1 person likes this.
I absolutely loved this episode. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
It's a shame my daughter just woke up from her nap, so I'll have to pause. What an inspirational class, I can't wait to continue later!
1 person likes this.
Love the play of tempo and load. Definitely looking forward to more practice, especially the partner swarming. Thanks, Brent!
Hi Brent! I feel great after this class, thank you! Can you tell me another word for load? The partner practice reminds me of my teaching at school. It's so good to know, that somebody does it too! Bye - hope for more! Please at the chair! Greetings from 🇦🇹
Always so inspiring! Thank You
This instructor is so smart and his queueing is supberp. You cant do this class without a partner.
Thank you all for your feedback. Please feel free to share with your friends so they can experience as well. B
Hello Eva, load can also be considered a force that passes through the body. Gravity for example loads the body. In standing it is an axial load we receive from gravity or in other words the force of gravity pushing down on our body. When we lift heavy objects it too increases the load. As the load increases the range of motion and velocity should inversely decrease to minimize unwanted movement or harmful movement. This occurs naturally in the human body.
I love Polestar. Such a nice way to learn about what my body can do rather than just pushing it into an exercise. Thanks Brent! When ya coming to Charleston??? We need Polestar here! :)
HI Marta, thanks for the kind words. We will be having some events in the end of August beginning of September. I will be teaching some workshops in the state north of you. Chapel Hill! We would love to be in Charleston. Let's talk :)
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