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Welcome to day one of the 10 day challenge. This can be for a lot of reasons for you. It could be to discover Pilates, hopefully. It could also be to rediscover Pilates. At the very least I hope you discover a little bit more about yourself.
So let's get going. I don't think we'll need anything but you might have your props nearby, the towel. Maybe the Thera-Band for assistance but let's just lie down. We're in it together. I think it's worth it to just feel where you are in any movement session you do.
Whatever the case may be. Right now we have our spines, our whole body, hopefully relaxed with the knees bent, feet flat. Point the knees straight ahead. I have mine a little bit apart. My knees are aligned with the feet and with the hips as best as I can.
In other words I'm not just letting anything go. I'm kind of aware of that. My arms are down, I feel the whole backside of my body and we're just gonna begin to move the spine. Joseph Pilates talks about how the spine dictates your age by it's flexibility so let's just play with where we're at today, it could change quickly. Inhale, on the exhale just allow your low back to press into the mat.
You can use your feet, use whatever it takes. There's no right or wrong. That's actually what you're going to probably find out. Inhale, let yourself go back to what feels natural. Maybe not even totally natural.
How often do we lay thinking about how we're laying? Exhale, do it again. And notice as you go to press your low back into the mat or tuck or round your spine, you might have more pressure on your feet. Inhale, release. Does it move your head?
It's okay if it does. Let's do maybe one or two more, exhale. You might notice that if you didn't focus on the feet driving the spine into the mat your abdominals, the front of your body could do it for you. Inhale release, one more like that. Just prepare here at the bottom.
Inhale, you're back to level. Start exhaling, notice sort of some version of tension or action is probably a better word that allows the pubic bone, the bottom of your pelvis to come towards your chest. Let's stay right there. So you have a little bit of a curve, yes? Then we'll inhale, we'll just continue on.
We're gonna keep curving. You won't be able to actually do anymore curve but you're gonna keep it there. You're gonna keep trying so it stays there and go up to your shoulder blades. Notice here that you have stretch at the front of your body. Inhale and then melt your way back down.
It just means put your upper back down. Put your middle back down before your butt touches put your low back down. What does that mean? You probably have to re-tuck and then you can let everything go. You're back to the start, inhale.
The inhales, just let 'em be. Fill up and as you exhale let that move you. We're going all the way, we roll through the waistline. We roll through the lower ribcage. We kind of pass through almost to the very top and then we're gonna hang out here for just a second.
Just so we can maximize what we're doing. Take a peak down your body. Are you dropping the hips? Don't do that. Let's re-tuck 'em so it feels like the front of the body's being pulled up toward the chest and step into your feet so you can use them.
Feel the back of your legs. I know it's not a hard thing to do but you probably feel it. Inhale when you're ready. And as you exhale it's as if you're rounding down but also pulling your hips closer to your heels. Letting go, play with that a little bit more.
We're at the bottom for an inhale, we don't go anywhere. Start exhaling and let that breath take you up or roll up. It's not to say you're not doing anything. You've gotta step on your feet. You can use your hamstrings you can push into the ground.
You can do anything except try not to pop the ribs up, if you look down and you can't see your knees cause your ribs are so high, make that adjustment. It feels way better. I want you to like it, you will like it. Your body will love it. Come on down, you know the breath now.
A word about breath, I'll tend to tell you what to do. I like to do that. It doesn't really matter. Just breathe, exhale go up. Trying to give you something consistent to fall back on.
Inhale here at the top. Exhale and it's almost a softening in the front, maybe. A rounding through the back, finding each bone of your back whether you know how many are there or not doesn't matter. Just feel your whole backside. Let's do two more, inhale.
Exhale, roll through so don't just pick your hips up right away. You wanna press the low back in. However that happens for you. You keep the knees where they started. They're not splaying to the side.
Are they? Are they? Check, inhale. That's the way this works. It's self induced vitality.
Exhale come down. Giving you one more shot. Just to massage the spine. Really inhale. You can't really go wrong but if hurts I would ask yourself, what's not working for ya?
See what you can adjust. Up you come. And we're there, right, we're at the top. Stay here, inhale, can we make it anymore? For me, I know I could tuck more and push into my feet more to feel the back of my legs more without feeling my actual back.
Oh, you know what else you could do. I know this is torture, or it can be. Not torture, it's kinda nice. Stand into your arms, press your upper arms into the mat too. Inhale, exhale down we come.
Again it's about exploration. Let it be interesting at least or get curious. Alright, you're at the bottom, phew. Bring your feet together. Maybe bring 'em a lot closer to what you can stand and then you can even lift up on the balls of the feet.
I'd recommend that. Slide your arms out to a T position. If I had a full floor here my arms would be resting on the floor. I'm not holding them in the air. I am paying attention to the back of the knees.
We're gonna take the knees. They're glued together as if you had one leg. And we're gonna take 'em over to one side. Right, the opposite hip did come up but take a peak at your knees, they're still lined up. In other words one is not reaching out further than the other, exhale come back to center.
Don't over think it, I'll just quit talking as much. Inhale to the other side. I'll call it the front when I'm going towards our window. And then I exhale. It's almost like the legs of the weight against my breath.
So it starts to feel more like a sway rather than a return. Inhale to the back. Knees are lined up that means the outside edge of the foot closes to the front came up. Exhale center. And again finding some sense of suppleness or maybe you're not finding suppleness.
Today's about discovery. Maybe you can just start to allow our sense of sway. My first teacher talked about palm trees swaying. I always get nervous when palm trees sway. They're so tall, but it's that idea of the base is anchored and the rest is flow.
Let's do one more each way. To the back. And to the front. Just feeling that rotation separating the upper body from the lower body. Bring the feet back to the center.
You can just leave them together once they're there. Flatten 'em, you may just move 'em away or bring 'em closer, whatever's comfortable. Slide the arms overhead. And they don't have to be on the ground. I'm gonna recommend that they're not.
So that you resist the temptation to let the ribs come off. Let's make sure the back of the ribcage is down. I'm not so concerned about your low back but the ribcage is down so the arms are probably floating for now. Just inhale, the arms are absolutely straight. As you exhale you're gonna bring your arms up.
When you start following your hands with your eyes pick your head up, curl up and reach down. Like you're gonna push on something solid but let's just stop before we get to the mat. Inhale, hold, squeeze the inner thighs closer together. I know they're touching but do it anyway. Exhale, come down.
All the way, arms and everything goes back. Inhale. You start the exhale and if you recall that feeling, that sensation of the breath coming first that will almost automatically bring the abs in. You curl forward, look forward, reach forward, voila. Inhale hold it, maybe reach more forward.
It's not so much to do with the lower body but it might effect it and come on down. There's that exhale. Hold at the bottom, inhale. Exhale as you come forward. I kinda like to imagine I'm pressing through a solid.
Not with my hands but with my upper arms. So if push too hard with my hands I feel my shoulders pop up. If I push with my upper arm I feel my hands are just there. And come on down. Starting to heat up those abdominals.
Starting to think about an exercise called the hundred. We're not quite there yet, but we will be next time. Exhale, curl up. When you're here you can reach more forward. It's not so much with the shoulders even but with the spine.
It's just shortening that distance between the ribs and the hips. Inhale if you haven't already, exhale back down. I know we could do 'em a lot faster but we'd have to do a thousand times more. Exhale, curl up when you're ready. And notice just the action itself.
The shape of the body can actually force the air out. Inhale, hold. Inner thighs are still engaged. Glutes a little is fine and come on down on the exhale. We're adding on, inhale, exhale up we come.
This time bring your arms one hand over the other. I've got my right hand over the other one. Fingers are lined up, my collar bones are wide. Can you lift any higher, inhale. Exhale, slide just outside that right knee.
Inhale come through the middle, skim the tops of those knees and exhale just outside the left knee. Same thing, you're trying to keep the height. Inhale and exhale as you pass that right side. Keeping the lower body still so it's truly, it's not a big rotation but it's a significant one if you're doing it right. And exhale.
Inhale coming across. As you exhale you're not dipping down, right. You're not rotating down. We'll get there, not now. Just seeing if we can maintain the position.
I'm doing two more, inhale, exhale to one side. Again the breath it's not super critical, just don't hold it. One more each way. You could put your hands behind your head. I should've told you that earlier but, nah, you can do this.
Inhale come back to the center. Separate your hands reach them back behind you. And release. Bring both knees into the chest. Hold onto your left leg, extend your right leg up.
And then as much as you can let the leg sit in the pocket there of the hip joint, right. Then what I want you to feel is the low back is on the mat. Keep it there. Head's gonna stay down right now, keep it there as you start to float the leg down you're gonna stop when the back starts to lift. That's about it for me today.
It's just an awareness thing. If I went any lower my back would start to pull me off. So that's where I'm, just knowing that that's a good spot. Alright, bring the leg back up, the straight leg back up. Put the leg you were holding on the mat.
It's flat, you can pull it away from you a little bit. Arms are down, maybe slightly wider than directly next to you. These are single leg circles. We're just trying to stir up the hip joints. So you're gonna cross the leg actually across the midline.
Lower it down, it might skim across that inner knee. Come round, you shouldn't be going lower than the spot you just found a moment ago and you stop on a dime. It goes a little quicker though. So you cross, skim, come around and pop. Same direction every time.
Cross, skim, come around, boom the lower knee doesn't move. Cross, touch, skim around, hold. It's a little bit about control but it's also about isolation and disassociation. Last one, cross, come around we're gonna go the other way so you take it out a little bit. Try not to move the lower leg, and up.
More accurately I should say keep going. Exhale, up, you're trying to keep the hip still. This is just the first lesson in that. You could also straighten your leg, that is where it heads. We're doing two more, here's one.
Come around, up, and here's two. Come around, up. No big deal, but I'll tell you what it leads to a lot. Keep holding that, I hugged it in. Bring the other leg straight up.
Hips are nice and square. Feel your back into the mat start to float the leg down. I'm not tightening the leg that I was straighten leaving me. But I'm just noticing that it's different. Where does it go, what's about the length I can do?
I pull it back up, put the front leg or bent leg down. And here we go, cross the midline first. We come across, touch scoop around, stop. Oh, this side's harder, isn't that weird? I find my lower knee wanting to counter balance it.
So I'm gonna try harder to act like it's not really there helping me, two to go. What I'm doing is inhaling as I cross, I exhale around. Let's reverse that. Go outside, there's my inhale, come around, boom. And around, boom.
It's reteaching our bodies what it can do. Let's do two more. With these same exercises and I'm giving you some modifications today. That's good, bend the knee, hug it in. Bring the other one to match it.
So you have a hand on each knee and probably ever so slightly lower than the knee. Closer to the shin. Think about this, you're gonna push your knees into your hands, curl your head neck and shoulders up like we did earlier in that ab curl so that you come into almost a tabletop like position. Take an inhale, you're gonna keep holding on for now but look at your abdominals. Elbows are wide, shoulders are a bit down.
As you exhale press the belly button or the entire front of your body into the mat, blow out. Inhale, it's okay, if it inflates. Don't worry about it. But as you exhale this time push you knees into your hands and press down, I pushed to hard there. This time don't move the legs but let go as you inhale and keep your body where it is.
Just reach the arms forward, there's your inhale. Grab on, on the exhale and sink the abs. You can push those knees into the hands but push your belly button to the mat. Do it again. Inhale, let go, body doesn't change.
Grab on, push, exhale. Inhale, you can stay with this one or you can slightly change it and it's kind of significant I should say. Keep the knees where they are but instead take the arms behind you when you let go. The body doesn't move. Exhale grab on, sink the belly, inhale reach back.
Exhale, grab on, sink the belly. Use that kind of ability that we can with our bodies to leverage our own self and grab on. One more like that if you're up for it. We'll do it a little bit different. Now you're gonna allow the knees, I should say the thighs to travel a little, I'm going slow.
Your thighs travel as the knees do but the low back doesn't move. Nothing does in the trunk. Exhale grab on, sink the belly. Inhale, reach, squeeze inner thighs, squeeze everything and blow out all your air, that's kinda more the point. Inhale this particular part of this exercise comes up over and over again in Pilates.
It's like what can we do to mess up the strength of the abs. We can do one more can't we, yes. Just say yes in your mind. Hold it, put your head down. Look from side to side.
We're still here, you're gonna do it. We're gonna make it, switch. Press your knees into your hands. Curl up again, let it help you, right. Then from here you're gonna take both hands to the right knee, let the left toes touch.
You can pull the right knee in a little more but if you do, really do. Extend and strong without dropping away from it change. Just doing a little inhale on the change. And exhale and change. Your goal is am I dropping my body, am I moving my body?
And by body I really do mean the trunk not the arms and legs so much. Let's do four more, we'll go one. Blow out your air if it helps, two. Bring both knees up, put your head down briefly. Take your hands laced behind your head.
Support your head, squeeze those inner thighs together. Curl yourself back up but this time you have a little pillow. Not to say you're gonna relax 'cause you're not. You're gonna put that left toe down. Turn toward that right thigh, what's up?
Change, same thing. Keeping the height, try not to drop as you change. I'm just exhaling each time my toes touch and I find an inhale somewhere along the way. Stay up on it, don't let your knees get so close to you you're down here thinking why am I doing it? You get up there, you get to your knees.
You maybe need to stop 'em at 90 for now. A few more here, press rotate, rotate, rotate. Come back to the center with both legs. Let your upper body go down, you can hug your knees then. Great, so put your feet back down, they're apart.
Much like that pelvic curl. Let's reach our arms overhead. Remember we're not letting the ribcage flare. It's not to say it's not relaxed but it's not flaring. You can, if you can, rest your arms.
If that's too uncomfortable you can put 'em by your side. It's not a huge deal, it's just a nice test. Feet are apart we're gonna roll up like before. Inhale, prepare, exhale up we come, we roll. Bone by bone or whatever that feels like to you so that when your up, and again there's some weight in your feet if you feel like it's all in your shoulders literally drag yourself just by that contraction, your butt towards your heels.
There's an intention there that makes this much more fun. Well, or something. Maybe a stretch to the front of the hips. Can you stand into it more from here? Just inhale, it doesn't really matter how you breathe.
I'm gonna say it anyway. Exhale, pick up your right heel, that's all just your heel. With the ball of that right foot can you kinda drag the foot toward the heel. I don't mean actually move it on the floor but just activate the back of the leg. If it goes to your back I'm suggesting that if you were to push into the ball of the foot and tuck the pelvis more you might cramp but at least you'll be in the right spot.
Set that heel down. Pick up the other heel, breathe however you want. There's a subtle sense of I'm posteriorally tucking my pelvis. Pubic bone towards chest, long lower back. Draw the hips toward the heel, put it down.
From there let's just bring the arms down by our side. Stand into them, that just means put pressure in the upper arm, I don't mean fingers. Although they'd be down, that'd be good. Inhale it's gonna be your right leg. Exhale, nothing else changes, you're gonna first lift the heel and then put that right leg up.
As high as you want it, doesn't straighten. Put it down, same leg is gonna lift three more times. Exhale two. Maybe you'll notice in the next two that you do that when you exhale you feel the abdominals kick in and that leg somehow feels connected higher than the hip joint, somewhere below your chest, last one. Try not to swivel.
Means that left leg is working hard, I know. Put it down we're changing but know one else is gonna know it. Other side, pick it up. 'Cause it's seamless, you can use what you need but no more. Inhale down, here's three what are the ribs doing?
Did you drop your butt? No, here's four. This is it, put it down. From there just inhale, maybe engage your arms a little more into the mat without thrusting your chest and roll down. Round your back let it feel good.
Pick up the knees one at a time or together. Hold on behind, pick your head up and create a space here that isn't gonna change. In other words you're not gonna bring the thighs closer and then toss 'em away. Your elbows are wide, you're just gonna get a little rocking going. It takes a little bit so what I do is I inhale back.
Exhale and somehow that exhale gives me a little more energy and if I keep the shape it's kinda a smooth ride and it feels kinda good. So when you go back let your butt come up. Let your butt go down, two more, we'll stay seated after this one. Up we come, hold. Find your way to the middle of your mat.
I'm separating my feet a little wider than my hips. That's all, don't get too wide. Arms down by your sides and I'm using them as a leverage. So what I can find difficult is sitting up straight. So if I have my whole arm not my hands so much but my whole arm somewhere around my mid lower leg I can use that as leverage.
Now I have to push my knees into my arms too but there's that sense of lifting. We're doing what's called the spine stretch. So we inhale on your exhale you're going to round forward, not collapse forward. But you're gonna round forward. You kinda keep your hips where they are but you're sliding the body forward.
Your arms will move of course. Inhale and just come right back up keeping that oppositional resistance and by that I mean the legs into the arms, the arms into the legs. Inhale, you're tall. Exhale, we go down. It doesn't feel like much yet but it will and this ends up being such a wonderful way to expel the breath and just get it right back.
I'm gonna add on since this is a modified version. We inhale, we're tall, we're just give it enough space to fill the lungs. Exhale, we come down. Then we're gonna lengthen our backs on the diagonal from the base of the spine up. So it's like you stick your tailbone out.
I like to bend my arms, they're kinda long so that's part of why but I'm grabbing on anywhere I want. And so should you. To find a long line, if you have a mirror check it out, right? If not, feel for it. Is your neck long, is your back long?
It's not about going forward. I actually had to back up to get long there. Somewhere in there inhale and exhale and when you're ready round forward again. And we stack the spine. It builds to something that feels really amazing and I'm just giving you the basics.
Inhale, we're at the starting position. We just round forward first. Just round forward, it's as if you're going up and over a ball but yes you're gonna end up probably on your legs. From this point you start to stack your spine on the diagonal line. I hold on so I can give myself that traction.
It should feel kinda good. You might feel your back muscles working. If your abdominals support it a little bit, you'll feel it even more. Exhale, re-round forward, almost like a collapse but not quite. And then come back up.
We'll just do a couple more. We'll get, I'll really work this more for you in day two. There's our inhale, exhale down we go. Can you imagine kinda holding those hip bones back so that you're really trying to give the lungs more room. Inhale into your diagonal, hold the ankles, the shins, the feet, whatever you need.
Nice long line and exhale round and up we come. Trust me on that one, it ends up being, well, my favorite exercise. We'll see what you think. Either cross your legs, I know that's not real accessible to everyone, I actually like it with a diamond position too so I'm gonna do it that way. It's a little easier than what I started to say.
If that feels too uncomfortable and your knees are high, I would sit on something. Okay, so from here this spine twist, we gotta get it all. We're looking for all these ranges of motion so you can go and do your day, do whatever you like with a little more energy no matter what it is. Arm over arm, doesn't matter which. I've got right over left.
And we are going to your right. We're tall and I'm pushing them in. Inhale, rotate to one side. Your weight is equal on your butt bones. Extend your arms from there.
I'm gonna get further, so are you. But I wanna make sure that my arms are opposite each other not one in front of the other. Go a little further, I'll give you breath in a minute but I'd trust your breathing. We come back to center. If you remember, change which arm was on top.
To the other way, left. Inhale, rotate, think up we're not going down, we're up. You stop before you go down. Exhale, extend the arms. There's not a lot of tension here, you're just doing it.
Inhale, twist further, not the arms the spine. The arms just go with it. Exhale, come back to center. And you're not gonna lean back like I think I just was. So we'll watch for that next time.
To the right, inhale rotate. Extend the arms. Inhale twist a little further and maybe up is a better way to think of it. Exhale come back to center. Oh you know that feels good.
It's not easy but it feels kinda good. Inhale rotate, we're not worried too much about the actual choreography of the arms other than that they're not making us feel like we're twisting further. And center, I'm doing two more with just the actions. Inhale, rotate. Exhale, extend.
Rotate further on your next inhale, taller, taller, taller. Exhale back to center, last time. This one will change your life. Or maybe that was just me. And back to center.
Okay, turn onto your side lying all the way down. Just hitting it all, that's all we're doing. With your head on your arms. Your feet ever so slightly forward of your hips but the rest of you straight. Front hand is down, we're just gonna think about working this topside with some support from the bottom.
We inhale, on your exhale lift both legs. Yup, you can lift as high as you want but you're not allowed to roll back. Right, so it's not gonna look very high. Semi unsatisfying, just do it. And inhale, lower.
Exhale lift again. This is one of those places where you know that when you start the breath first you really do feel the middle of the body and it just makes everything else not easier, maybe even harder but it makes it more effective. Again, exhale. And down, you might feel the lower leg pressing the top leg, just two more. And down.
It's the basics and it's key. Day two through eight, two through 10, you'll know. Okay, from there let's just come on up and switch sides. Lying down, lay it out. All aligned, feet in front 'cause you don't want 'em to get behind you.
Really you're trying to feel the front or side of your body more than the back. Exhale lift. And down, and again. Thinking long. I get teased a lot by saying, think proud.
I know I'm not the only one but if you did wouldn't you kinda be longer or taller or with a little more attitude. Two more. It's not about the legs, I'll get your legs next time. Let's get the key stuff, this is it. Almost totally it, turn over, face down.
You're gonna rest your forehead on your hands. Draw the shoulders down. Not excessively just make sure you can breathe. Elongate, try to feel the front of your hips on the mat. And it's as if someone were pulling your legs to the extent that they're already engaged.
They are not gonna bend at any point in this. From there lift the right leg. I'm gonna invite ya to look at it and make sure you didn't bend it 'cause sometimes we do and we don't know we did. And we lift from the glute, just five slow, one. And two, and as you go to set it down you don't let go.
You just don't, you're just still reaching and only two more so what would you do if you knew that was all you got? One more, you're not feeling it in your back. If you are something's changing that shouldn't. Probably not holding your pelvis down. Change sides, get long to lift up, one.
The foot can be relaxed, here's two. Oh I just caught my shoulders up, how bout you? Here's three already. It's from the glute where the leg meets the butt. One more time.
And for your grand finale for today, you take your hands right by shoulders. Your elbows are very close. You can put your forehead down. And it just goes like this, it's as if we had both legs stretching like before. You're gonna start to look forward.
You're gonna leave everything on the mat until you start to lift up with your back muscles. You're not pushing with your arms. You are looking forward. When you've gone as far as you can with your back muscles you can push into your hands and forearms, only go as far as you can. Keep reaching those legs.
I'm gonna stop here on the first one which is not my full straight arm. And then as you go down it's as if you're pulling yourself forward. I'm putting the ribs down. I'm still stretching my legs. I still have activity there, finally my forehead goes down.
Inhale. Exhale, starting to look forward. When I run outta air I'm just gonna inhale. Let's not get too caught on that. I'm lifting to the extent I can with a curve and then I do push and I do reach.
And maybe I'll get further, maybe I won't. Kinda happy here today. But as I go down I'm dragging myself forward. I'm creating that flexibility so I feel younger. Like Joseph talked about.
Only as young as your spine. Let's just do one more, this is it folks. You've tapped into it, you've tapped into the front the back the side. You tapped into yourself and that's sorta the key of these kind of challenges, isn't it? Oh you gotta milk it though, milk it, what'd ya need?
And then bring yourself down. Let yourself settle, you can kind of loosen everything. I'm gonna push us back into a resting position. Whatever that is for you. If your knees don't like this position you could be on your back.
It's not just hanging out, it's meant to be a rounded spine from that last position. Take a breath. And then however you're most comfortable to sit up and give yourself some acknowledgement that you did day one, it's only nine more to go. You can do that. See you next time.