Class #3028

Breath and Endurance

25 min - Class


Welcome to Class 1! "Breath is how we mobilize the space in our bodies. Posture is how we stabilize our bodies in space." Amy starts this challenge by setting the tone and intention to breathe - really breathe - sometimes slower, sometimes with different rhythms, but always intentional.

Start with an image of opening (the tensegrity ball) but also being inside the space and creating more of it! Our breath fills us, expands us, massages us. Amy chose these exercises to bring us right into this number 1 principle.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


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Hi, everyone. Welcome to class number one of my challenge. So today I'm bringing a theme of breathing. The number one principle of our Pilates practice, of course, is the breath. And I brought a little imaginary diaphragm here, and I'm using this visual tool just for the theme of expansion and how our breath can mobilize more spaces within us, so that can be in our muscles.

It can be in our joints, the spine, of course, our brain, our soul. Anything that you want to mobilize more space with, let's use breath as our guide. So as a tool for us to think about the quality and potential of expansion, I have this toy. I use it a lot in some of my home studio classes, but use this, I encourage us to play with this thought today of expansion. So how much can you fill?

You might think that that's your normal fill spot or your inhalation potential, but in many of the exercises today, I want us to think about how many more moments we can spend filling up, so front to back, side to side, top to bottom. Alright? And it can be in any one. Maybe you know yourself to be a very good side-to-side breather. Maybe you're a really good front-to-back breather, maybe top to bottom.

Hopefully, you're trying to do all three with quality, but let's just have fun. Play with this image occasionally through class. I'll refer to the toy. This is what I'm referring to, okay? So let's get started, I'm gonna put this down, and I want to have us start with a standing roll-down.

So collect yourself. I'm standing profile because I'll have us walk out to a front support position, and then here we go, everyone. Enjoy your class, enjoy your breathing. Let's take one big breath together. We'll start our rolling down.

I wanna think of my diaphragm muscle coming right up under my ribcage to facilitate a nice, round spine. Walking out slowly four, maybe five or six steps, and just plant your hands. Hold your position, and focus on that toy, top-to-bottom, side-to-side, front-to-back breathing. Let's do three together. (inhales) (exhales) So I want my inhale so filled, so full, that I almost could levitate right up off of the floor.

That's super advanced Pilates. That might be in the last part of the challenge. Inhale one more time, and then just simply exhale and walk your hands back four to six steps. Stay upside down and take a breath. (inhales) Top to bottom maybe.

Exhale, roll yourself up, diaphragm coming way up underneath those ribs or in the ribs. Alright, I'm gonna stand and face you. Let's do a standing saw to wring out the breath a little bit. So I'll face you. You face me.

Here we go. Choose the side that you'd like to turn to first. I'm going to my left side on an inhalation. As I exhale and blow the air out and squeeze and contract the diaphragm, I'm reaching to the opposite toe. We're just doing one each side.

Squeeze out the air. Inhale, bring yourself up and fill up. Use that toy image. And exhale as you squeeze the air out. Feel that contraction in your abdominals.

Inhale, roll all the way up, and then exhale. Just lower the arms as if you close that toy. Alright? Sitting on the mat, so find yourself down on your mat. Everyone, just hold your hands behind your legs, and take a quick breath.

Just let it out. So here's an experiment of rhythm. Do this with me. You're gonna breathe in once and exhale once. (inhales and exhales) Two of each.

(inhales and exhales) Three of each. (inhales and exhales) Four. (inhales and exhales) Five. (inhales and exhales) We'll repeat that twice in our 100, okay? So come on down to your back.

I'm gonna break the rules a little bit and not always have to do the 100 the same way with five and five. It's about the breath, it's about the potential, and, again, the expansion, creating more space. Gonna bring my knees in. Gonna lift my head, my shoulders, stretch my legs on the diagonal. Here we go, one of each.

(inhales and exhales) Two. (inhales and exhales) Three. (inhales and exhales) Four. (inhales and exhales) Five. (inhales and exhales) Start at one again.

(inhales and exhales) Two. (inhales and exhales) Three. (inhales and exhales) Four. (inhales and exhales) And five. (inhales and exhales) Knees in.

Think about what just happened. Have you ever done that before? It's fun to play. You can mix up your mat routine with different breathing patterns. Let's try a roll-up.

Stretch your legs out. Stretch your arms long overhead. Want us to think about the breath as that buoyant, that opening, that expansion top to bottom, side to side, front to back. Inhale halfway up, and then exhale as you're finishing the roll-up to the top. Here we go.

(inhales) Exhale as you're finishing at the top. That nice, strong contraction of the diaphragm right here. Inhale halfway back. (inhales) Exhale all the way back. Let's do two more like that.

(inhales and exhales) That strong connection. Contract, contract. Fill yourself up. (inhales) Maybe that's a front-to-back moment for you. Maybe it's top to bottom.

Maybe it's side to side. (inhaling and exhaling) Okay. Similar with rollover. Bringing your legs up. Inhale halfway over, exhale at the very top.

Inhale halfway down, exhale at the bottom. Here we go. (inhaling and exhaling) Just keeping my legs pretty moderate positioning. (inhales) I'm focusing on my breathing. (exhales) (inhales and exhales) One more like this.

(inhales and exhales) Just like the roll-up. Only, it's inverted. (inhales and exhales) Now lower your legs. Let's do a little combo, a roll-up into a rollover. Okay, let's see if we can get through it twice.

Here we go (inhales and exhales) All the way to rollover. (inhales and exhales) All the way to a roll-up. (inhales and exhales) And one more to a rollover. (inhales and exhales) And to the mat. (inhales and exhales) Bend your knees.

Let's move into a single-leg circle, alright? Take one of your legs up to the ceiling. Use the toy maybe for an image of your whole torso, again, through the ribs and the thoracic area. Three repetitions each direction. Let your hip twist.

Want you to think about the breath coming into the back. Here we go. (inhales) All the way around. Front to back, side to side, top to bottom. (inhales and exhales) Reverse for three.

(inhaling and exhaling) One more. (inhales and exhales) Just a quick switch. So, in your Pilates practice, are you really breathing all the time consciously with commitment? And always you can have possibility of expansion within. Create more space, here we go, especially in the hip socket.

Inhale. Maybe in your lower back. Exhale. (inhales and exhales) Think of where you want more freedom in your body. Maybe that's where the breath goes.

Other way for three. (inhaling and exhaling) Pull your knees in. Rock yourself up. Let's do rolling like a ball. Perfect exercise for that image of that tensegrity ball or that toy.

Imagine that you have the ability to be inside that toy, and your inhalation is what stretches it open, and your exhalation's what closes it. I've yet to accomplish that. I'm trying, but it's my image that I'm working with in this particular class in some of the rolling work. So find the ball position that works for you. Alright.

Close your eyes for a moment, and visualize that expanding and closing ball. Let's breathe three times together without moving. (inhales and exhales) So, on your inhale, that will motivate the roll back. The exhale will motivate the roll forward. I think we're ready to go.

And. (inhales and exhales) Expand. (inhales) Remember, the breath is to mobilize more spaces. (inhaling and exhaling) And, occasionally, you have to recalibrate. I'm going for three more.

(inhaling and exhaling) Awesome. I'm getting a nice, little rush here. Let's move into single-leg circle, or single-leg stretch. Wanna challenge us. Instead of two movements, inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale, let's do four movements on an inhale, four on an exhale.

We'll repeat it four times. Pick a leg to pull in. Find the position that works for you. I'm gonna start counting as I change legs. Here we go for four.

(inhales) Did I do it? And exhale. Three, four. (exhales) That was better. Have to regulate the input and the output.

Two more sets. (inhales) (exhales) One more set. (inhales) And exhale three and four. Recover with your knees in and your head down. Double-leg stretch will have a similar idea.

Wanna inhale for four counts as the expansion, exhale on four counts on the closing. Be the ball, be that toy. Here we go, you're inside it. Here we go. Again, two, three, four.

And exhale three, four, two, three. Reach a little further. Two more. Stretch, expand. (exhales) Last time.

Two, three, stretch. Fill up the sides, the front, the back, top to bottom. Rest. Scissors. Nothing fancy.

Let's breathe. (inhaling and exhaling) So a little rhythm change is good for your brain, good for your muscles, good for your mind. (exhales) And four, three, keep going. Flex your feet. And in.

(exhales) Feel the rhythm of your breathing. (inhaling and exhaling) And four, three, two, that's all. Rest. Hope you're having fun. This is really fun for me.

It's nice to have a theme to challenge your mat work with sometimes. Alright. Spine stretch and saw combination. Open your legs to the width of your mat. If you like to go a little further open, you can do that.

So I learned long ago that the spine stretch was a breathing exercise. How much inhale could you do? How much exhale could you do? Okay? So let's play with that, and we'll also add our saw in there as well.

So find a tall position. Get your body tall, not rigid but tall. Take a couple breaths here. Front-to-back breathing, side to side, certainly top to bottom. Let's breathe in together.

Gonna use a nice, strong, long exhale to flex. It's a standing roll-down basically but seated. Inhale all the way up. (inhales) Open your arms and exhale. (exhales) Add a saw.

(inhales) You did this standing up, these two sequences of flexion and twist. Doing it seated is a little different. Exhale. (exhales) Let's do the whole thing again. Arms in front, take a breath in.

Be inside that ball. Exhale and pull the ball into your body. Pull it in, pull it in. Close. All the way up, arms go open.

(inhales and exhales) Saw. (inhales and exhales) Close the ball. Open it. (inhales) And close. (exhales) One more time through.

(inhales and exhales) You certainly could do more repetitions. (inhaling and exhaling) Feel free to stay with this. Go further if you wanna do a fourth rep. (inhales) Or not. See how you're feeling.

Come all the way up, and sit tall for a moment. Alright, let's keep that breath focused, going with swan dive with a little preparation, a little catch. A great place to think about the breath and how it can motivate the movement and create more space. Okay? So it could be that you create more space in your spine, the distance in the front of your mat and your chest, the freedom of doing a backbend or a subtle backbend.

Okay? So, everyone, put your hands right by your chest. Let the elbows and forearms be pulled up. If you work with your legs apart, that's fine. Pull them together, that's what I'm gonna do.

Okay, before we move, think about the movement action in your brain, and think about the ball, that toy. Top to bottom, front to back, side to side. Let's inhale as we begin our swan. I'm going to keep going, exhaling as I come up. I'm gonna take a full breath to come down.

Be the ball. (exhales) Let's do two more just plain ones before we dive. (inhales) Mobilize more space within your body. (exhaling and inhaling) Take up more length in your body on your mat. (exhales) Next one.

You can stay with these if you want. Next one, come along, and let's play with a little diving. Okay? Breathe in first. Dive in and catch on an exhale.

Close your ball. Open it. (inhaling and exhaling) One more. (exhales and inhales) And all the way down. Come back into a resting position that feels good for you.

And, yes, of course, visualize being inside of that ball. Take a few recovery breaths. (inhaling and exhaling) Sometimes thinking differently really improves your practice, kind of breaking up the normal. So that's what I'm intending to do here. Spine twist.

Legs together, feet flexed, arms out. Now, perfect place. You're inside the ball. You've just opened it up. This is on the inside perimeter here, this one over here.

Feet are in the front, your head's at the top. There's nothing back here, though, except energy through your lower back, so we don't wanna pop it forward, but keep thinking of expanding. One inhale, that's all you get to turn. Inhale, inhale, inhale. One exhale home.

(exhales) Other way. Fill it up. Exhale. Six total, maybe each one gets a little bit more around. Engage your range of motion because you're mobilizing more space.

Maybe exhale. This is it, last one today. Twist. Exhale. And your last one.

More, more, more. And exhale. Okay, sidekicks. I'm facing you. Flip right over, find a position that works for you.

You can be down, you can be up. I'm gonna stay up on my elbow. Taking my legs slightly forward. We're just doing front-back and up and down. That's it.

Take your leg up, though. Where you can inhale and exhale? Today, I want us to exhale the leg forward 'cause that nice, strong contraction comes up. The inhale is going to be nice, long expansion back. Ready? So we breathe to prepare.

Here we go, two kicks. (exhaling and inhaling) So the ball for me now, the image has shifted a little. It's smaller, but it's more housed here. Very centralized. Four more of these.

Front, exhale. Back, inhale. Front, exhale. Back, inhale. Last two.

Front, front. Open the ball, close the ball, and open the ball, legs together, up and down. Coming down a level. Taking my other hand on my head. This will be fun, turn both legs out.

So inhaling your leg up and exhaling the leg down. We breathe. Open, exhale, close. (inhaling and exhaling) That's right, get your leg up there. Exhale it down.

Let's do three more, just kick up and down today against the breath. Up and down. Last one, lift and lower. Nothing fancy. Let's go to the other side.

Keep breathing as you transition. Who said Pilates is not cardiovascular maybe should try this approach, their mat class. Okay, lift your leg. Inhale there, let's kick front for exhale. We go kick and kick.

Expand. Flexion is closing, making something smaller. Expansion is extension. And exhale, exhale. (inhales) Three more.

Exhale, exhale. (inhales) Last two. Exhale, exhale. (inhales) Our last one. Exhale, exhale.

And inhale, inhale, and down, changing levels. Hand on top of head, both legs turned out six times. (inhaling and exhaling) So it's like you're inhaling to smell your leg. That's what I used to think about in my work, that in my inhales, I'm smelling my foot for some weird reason. Lift, lift, lift.

(exhales) Think that's five. Got my brain a little off, and last one. Up, up, up, and down, down, down. And that's all. Turn over to front of here for a second.

Just relax and shake out your hips. Let's work on a teaser prep with a little bit of rotation to it. Okay? So here we go, guys. Down.

One leg out. Reach your arms out the ceiling. We're going to add a little rotation to this teaser. Let's inhale all our way up, the whole time up. Ready?

Expanding that ball. Remember, breath is to mobilize more space in our body. Let's go. Exhale as you twist it out. Twist and wring it out.

(exhales) Back to your leg. (inhales and exhales) I was planning three on each side. Lucky us. Inhale. To your exhale.

(exhales) (inhales) Exhaling down, mobilize that space. Last time. (exhaling and inhaling) How'd you do? Pretty good on the single-leg teaser, right? Here we go, other side.

Inhale your way up. Exhale to the other side to that straight leg. Wring it out. (inhales and exhales) Mobilizing space with the breath. Two more.

(exhales) So, yes, it's our abdominals. Absolutely. But what's behind that source is our breath. Number one principle of Pilates, breathe. And breathe better.

(exhales) That's why we practice. (inhales) And roll all the way down. Just quickly turn over onto your stomach for a slow swim. Okay? So a slow swim.

Yeah, we don't have to go vigorous all the time with the swimming. Once again, organize your legs. If you like them to be a little apart, I wouldn't go that wide, but I would pull them as close together as you can. So my idea here, everyone, is just four repetitions, right, left, right, left. Very slow, long.

Let's focus on the breath, head, top to bottom and front to back and side to side. Okay? Either arm can start, but the opposite leg will lift, and we're holding. Again, you expand in those three directions. And lower.

Other sides. And lower. One more for today. There'll be other swimming that you get to do in these challenge classes. (exhales) One more.

Being the breath right now. Fill it up, fill it up, fill it up. And lower. Bring your hands by you. Tuck your toes.

Let's come up into our long stretch positions and hold it. Okay, right on up. Organize. Let's breathe. Find the 100 rhythm that we did at the beginning.

(inhaling and exhaling) Turn to face me. Similar idea with the breath, kind of holding while you're in kneeling side arm position. Get on your knee, turn to face me, and extend the other leg long from your hip. The opposite hand behind your head. Perfect opportunity, all three dimensions.

Let's do three breaths together. Big breath in. And exhale. Top to bottom, front to back, side to side. I would say this one you may wanna do more front to back.

Breathe in to that back. (inhales and exhales) Okay, other side. Later you can move with it. Sometimes all you're really needing to just stop and breathe. Maybe so.

Let's go three times. And exhale. Builds endurance. Better oxygen intake and output. Building endurance for future classes in this challenge.

Little foreshadowing there. Exhale. Okay, let's finish standing on the ground. So just stand on up. I'm gonna face you for a standing side bend.

Take one of your arms up. Really reach it up and the opposite side down. There's our top to bottom. Side to side, side to side. Front to back.

Stretch, breathe. Bring yourself upright, and do a chest expansion. Press your arms back. Bring your arms forward. Other side, bend.

So I'm just feeling that top to bottom, the side to side, the front to back. And lower. A chest expansion, breathe in. Let's do one more each side. Great class today, everybody.

Wonderful work in class number one of 10. Each one will be a little different. I wanted to start with breath because it's our foundation of the Pilates practice. Breathing. Feel free to come back and breathe.

Keep going with this if you want to. And exhale, and finish with your hands up. Alright, we made class number one. I'll see you for number two. Thank you.

The Summer Fling Challenge: with Amy Havens


4 people like this.
Thanx, Amy! That´s fun and refreshing!!! looking forward:)
1 person likes this.
This was great timing I was looking for a Summer Challenge and this fit the bill perfectly! Just did the first class outside under a clear blue sky on this beautiful summer solstice day! Hope to be out on my deck every morning doing class with you... thanks for the fun variety
1 person likes this.
This felt lovely ! Thanks a lot Amy :)))
Hi [Ed.] , wonderful, welcome to the Summer Fling Challenge and looking forward to having you along for the ride!
Perfrect Gerri , let's have some fun!
Thank you Anne P. !! :)
1 person likes this.
Focusing on my breath really helped me with form. Thanks! 😀🐰
Wonderfu Laura !
2 people like this.
Thank you great class, looking forward to day2!
2 people like this.
Like always Love it Amy ❤️
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