Class #3144

Magic Circle Mat

35 min - Class


As a gift to Nikoleta in Greece, Meredith Rogers shares a Magic Circle Mat workout which focuses on the shoulders. She uses the Magic Circle to remind her of her breath as well as the circular nature of our bodies. She includes many different variations that will allow you to pay attention to where your shoulders are in space and a trick to help you do Push Ups with better placement.
What You'll Need: Mat, Magic Circle

About This Video


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This class is a gift for all of you, and specifically for a very beautiful person who I recently met whilst teaching some continuing education in Dublin. Her name is Nicoletta, she is from Greece, she wants to do the magic circle and talk about shoulders, so it's gonna happen. Nicoletta, this one's for you, girl. Sit up. Take the ring and just rest it right underneath your kneecaps.

So the feet are parallel to one another, and we're gonna draw the ring into the knees to build the spine up, and I just want you to pause there. Be there, either with eyes open or eyes closed and just take two breaths. The first breath is for you to let go of anything that you need to let go of in this moment and bring yourself into your body and into your practice. And the second breath is for you to set whatever intention you're bringing to your movement today. And now I wanna inhale and as we inhale we're gonna pull the ring, and think of not just pulling from the hands, think of pulling from the scapula and from the ribs so we expand the ribcage and the shoulders and then we soften the shoulders, not squeeze, soften the shoulders, press into the ring with your breath and with your upper arms.

Inhale wide in the ribcage, wide in the back, pull the ring apart. Exhale, press into the ring, grow taller and support that. One more time, inhale. And exhale. And now inhale, keep that inward pressure on the ring and as you exhale reach the arms away from you, feel the scapula going just slightly forward as the lower spine rotates and we round the spine, and inhale just lifting the spine.

Exhale, press the ring actively forward as you draw deep and inhaling as you lightly stack back up. We'll just do that one more time. Exhale round, pressing into the ring. Maybe we can inhale and pull the ring apart. And exhale, press into the ring, round the spine.

Lift the ring off the knees and inhale, so we're in that rounded spine now. We're gonna breathe in and breathe out, bring the round spine to the mat. Breathe in, pull the ring apart as the arms reach overhead widening the shoulder blades, they come up and forward. Exhale take the arms forward. Inhale, reach overhead, wide shoulders.

Exhale, press into the ring, press into the waist. So I like to use the ring to remind myself, let's press forward, let's inhale, to remind myself of the action of the breath, right? And then the cylindrical nature of our core, our corset of support, pause to inhale, so if we had a cylinder with the pelvic floor being the bottom and the diaphragm being the top and the front of the body being the front and the back of the body being the back as we, any time we press into the ring we're gonna lift the arms again any time we press into the ring we can think about that circular nature that lives within our own body, and connect into it, perhaps in a mental, certainly a mental way, maybe in an even deeper physical way. Just having that reminder. Hold and inhale. Exhale, curl forward and then as you lift your spine, lift your arms, soft in the arms, soft in the shoulder blades allowing the shoulder blades to rotate.

Take the arms forward, round the spine, inhale. And exhale, just a gentle upper arm squeeze, when I'm squeezing with my upper arms I like to try to let my fingers go so I'm not always holding, I'll only hold when I have to pull the ring. And now we're gonna drive, like a car, so we're gonna drive to the left on the inhale, and drive to center. And drive to the right on the inhale, and drive to center. And as you're driving from side to side, notice the rotation in your body is happening in and around your ribcage.

And inhale, and exhale, and inhale, and exhaling allowing the shoulder blades just to stay with the front ribs so they're abducted, they're wide. Oh, I think that's enough for now, take a breath in, exhale lift up, reach the spine up taking the arms overhead, inhale, exhale reach the arms forward, we're rolling back. As we come to the back we're gonna bend the arms and bring the arms ring just over the top of the body, we're gonna press and curl, and down. And press and curl, oh yes, using the ring to feel the ribcage dropping, the abdominals deeply engaging. We're going three, and back, and two, and back, and one, all the way back, and reach the arms up and just take a little stretch, lift the ribs up off the mat.

And then bring the ring back, scoot in or, I'm gonna scoot into my feet, you can either do that or scoot your feet into you. So then the arms sit just over the chest, inhale, exhale roll the spine up standing evenly on both feet, lifting the hips up, sending the knees forward, bringing the heels back. Inhale, take the ring overhead just softly holding it now, just using it as spacing, and then press it away from you as you feel the spine elongate into the mat, elongate into the mat, tailbone reaches down, arms come over the chest, take a breath. Exhale press down into the feet, lift up with the pelvis, knees forward, heels back, hips high, inhale arms just spacing, no squeezing for now, and exhale stretching that ring backwards, as you lay your spine down onto the mat and come forward with the arms. We'll just do two more, inhale, exhale to lift, reach the arms back, wide shoulder blades so allowing that rotation to happen, reach down, and arms forward, one more time inhale, exhale lifting, inhale sending the arms back lifting even higher in the hips, and exhale rolling down all the way.

Lift one leg and then the other. So just keeping the ring just over the chest can we move the knees to the left without moving the arms? I think it's possible, and then come back for your center. And then just notice where the ring is in space and then reach up with the arms, reach up instead of pulling the ring towards you, reach up through the arms and then coming back. And inhale as we reach over, and exhale as we come back, wide shoulders, ribs heavy, so can we rotate without lifting their opposite rib much?

And center, and inhale, and exhale. We're gonna go three more times here, reaching across on the inhale, exhale to come to center, reaching across on the inhale so one more to each side, and exhale to center, last one, exhale to center, place one leg down, place the other leg down. Let's keep the knees quite close or touching together. Reach back and hook the ring at the base of the skull. Put the hands just opposite the forehead, wide elbows, feel the shoulder blades actually coming around the front of the body, and drop the ribs in between them.

Then we're gonna curl the head and chest up, curl the head and chest up, imagine here that your feet are stuck to the mat but you're also trying to lift them up at the same time, and then lay everything back down. It's one of my favorite ways and it's super simple, so feet are stuck, abdominals draw in it just makes it so much more work, really is how I feel about it, and then release. Notice if you're pulling your head forward, and try to let the head hang our weight into the ring as you curl your head and chest up, and down, we'll just do two more, curling up, actively pressing the legs together, and down, here's our last one, wide scapula, ribs falling between the scapula, hold here, inhale, we're gonna come up and across, look just outside the thigh, inhale lift and center, exhale, just across, inhale lift and center, reach up to go over, lift up and center, reach up, sliding those underneath ribs inwards, and center, and two, and center, up and across, and center last time on each side, coming back to center, rotating, coming back to center, take the ring from behind the head, take one leg out onto the mat, take the other leg out onto the mat, press into the ring, scoop the pinky finger side of the hand under and roll all the way up, flex your feet, hook the ring around your feet and take a stretch forward. So bring yourself up, I'm gonna scoot back on that mat just a little bit, take the ring in your hands, the heels of your hands, we're gonna bring the ring just around the outside of the chest, inhale, as you exhale gently squeeze and rotate lifting the spine up. Inhale to come to center.

Exhale, gently squeeze lifting the spine up and rotate. Inhale to come to center. So just feel that inward, that inward dynamic, inhale, maybe as you exhale you squeeze the ring to find that squeeze in the body, and then inhale we find some ease and we let go, and exhale press, and inhale center, and exhale press and lift, and inhale center, and now reach across, stretch the arms out, lift the spine through like your top of the head is reaching out through the center of the ring, bring the arms down, bend the elbows and return to center. Here's some breath suggestion. Inhale, exhale to stretch forward, inhale lift up, top of the head reaching into the ring it's almost like the ring is pulling your body up, bring the ring down, oh now I've lost my breath but I'm sure you haven't and center.

Inhale, exhale arms, inhale lengthen, exhale arms down, inhale bend the elbows lift the back, exhale to center, inhale, exhale arms, inhale lift the body, exhale arms down, inhale bend the arms, exhale center one more time, inhale, exhale arms, inhale reach up, exhale arms down, inhale bend, exhale center last one, inhale, exhale stretch forward, inhale reach up, exhale down, bend, center, separate the legs, stretch the arms forward take a breath here. As you exhale reach like you're trying to take the top of the head through the ring. Keeping the shoulder blades on the back rather than near the ears, pause inhale and exhale, rolling the spine up, just holding the weight of the ring in the hands, and inhale, and exhale as we drop the head and stretch the spine forward, drawing the abdominals in, up and back. Exhale, feeling the spine elongate, lifting, and inhale, stretching forward, following the ring with the top of the head, pause and inhale, exhale, curling back, peeling and lifting, soft arms and shoulders, just one more time exhale as we round down, this time place the ring down, lengthen the spine out, lift the arms up, and press the ring back, as the ring is being pressed back the abdominals are pulling back towards the spine for support, one more time, sit up take the arms down, you're gonna rotate towards me, the opposite arm to the foot is gonna go under, we're gonna stretch forward, it's a saw variation, lift the body up, de-rotate the ring and come to center. Inhale as we lift and twist, exhale as we reach through, inhale as we lift, de-rotate the ring, and de-rotate the spine.

Inhale, exhale, stretch inhale, pull the spine back up, paying attention all the time to where are the shoulders in space, so using the ring to pay attention to that, keeping the scapula wide and stable, last time to each side, reaching through, lifting up, and center, over reaching through, lifting up, and center. Bend your knees, take your ring forward, sit back, lift the feet, so we're gonna keep the ring in the hands, we're gonna keep that spacing, the knees pulling into the chest, the ring reaching forward. We're gonna roll like a ball. Keep this exact position. Inhale, and balance, and knees in close, try to keep them away from the ring.

And balance, and inhale, and balance, and inhale, heels into the seat, and balance, last one reach back, reach forward, take the feet into the ring, oh, I almost got it, stretch the legs out, pull the heels through, pull the back up long, stay there, take the ring, you're gonna keep the legs as they are, we're gonna roll the spine down, bend the knees and into the double leg stretch out and back, inhale, and pull, inhale, and pull, reaching out, keeping the height of the trunk, keeping the stability of the trunk, last four, feel a gentle inward press, focusing on the breath, in, out two, and one, hold it here, one leg forward, one leg right into the nose. And switch, keep the straight leg foot just up near the ring, and the bent knee foot right up near the ring as well so we use the ring to feel where we're aiming, feel that the arms are reaching for the scapula, are abducted, pulling around the sides of the body, and we go three, three, two, keeping the height, one, one, both knees in, ring comes back behind the head at the base of the skull, find a heavy head into the ring, straighten the right leg, come across, touch the right elbow, and change, elbow to knee, so that might mean the knee needs to come across the body a little bit, make it happen, breathing, trying not to pull the neck forward, so the head just is resting, and five, five, lift as you twist, and three, two, and one, bend the knees, place the head down, feet down on the mat, parallel to one another, reorganize the ring so it's back into the hands, take a breath in, and exhale, we'll roll the body up and reach the ring overhead. Staying here, lift the left leg, bring the ring and the knee together, then straighten that leg, keep the ring as it is, take that leg down, come all the way back to touch. Take the leg down, come all the way back to touch, and down, all the way back to touch, and two, last time and one, bend that knee, reach the hips up, take the arms overhead, getting ready for the other side. Lift the right knee, stabilizing the pelvis, bring the ring and the knee together, straighten that leg, now keep that ring still and just take the leg down, flex and touch, away, flex and back, away, good, last two, one more, oh, and bend that knee, lift the hips as you stretch the arms, over your head, and then roll the spine all the way down, sending those arms long overhead, as the hips come down we'll stretch the legs out, we'll lift the body up, and we'll roll all the way back up again, flex the feet, hook the ring around your feet and stretch forward.

Okay, so we're gonna come around onto our sides, 'scuse me, I have an itch on my nose, we're gonna hold the ring in the ankles, lie all the way down so we're stacking the body long in a straight line, bringing the head down, and start towards the back of your mat, especially if you're on a really tall mat like this, definitely go towards the back. If you're on the ground it's not such an important thing. So just a gentle inward press on the ring and we're gonna send the legs out, and down, and out, and as the legs are reaching out, what you could do with your arm is you could create a little bit of a backward glide with the palm of the hand, so we're sliding the shoulder blade away from the ear on that side. And you're reaching your ring out and away from you. And we'll do three more, reach out and away, and two, and one.

So here's a transition that if you've taken a ring class with me you might know, but it can be a little tricky, especially if you don't have tights on, if you have real pants on. So what we do is we take the ring forward with the top foot, we take the bottom foot out, but you have to hold the ring with the top foot. We upright the ring, bringing the bottom leg through, bringing the top leg through, keep your body where it is but bring your ring in front of you a little bit. So now we've got a straight back, we're gonna turn the knees and the toes together, look down to make sure that the feet are on the same line, so typically what happens is that top foot and hip like to pull back, then we're gonna press down and press up, press down and press up, so we're stretching the ring with our hips now. Doesn't look like much, but you should feel it.

We're gonna do two more, so that's eight, bend the knee, kick up, kick through, the bottom leg is pushing down to hold the ring in space. I want you to feel as though you're trying to push something heavy away from you. Last four, and three, and two, and one, and now we're gonna go over the top to the front, over the top, careful with yourself as you go to the back. And up, touch, kick, back, these we're just gonna do five. I'm just gonna do five, you can continue if you wish.

That's four, and then just take that leg and that arm away from one another, and stretch. And then bend that knee and pull back and stretch. And then bring the leg across and as you sit up take the ring and bend the bottom knee, bringing the knee across the center of the body, breathing, stretching, feeling heavy, heavy in the hip, okay, other side. So we're gonna put the ring in the ankles, we're gonna lie down on our side, lining the legs up, here we go, the legs lift the ring, and they lower, and they reach out, so feel that length, the length in the waist, the length in the body is what you're thinking about. And then remember that we did that little backward glide, with the palm in relationship to the shoulder blade, we're gonna do that four more times.

Out and up, and down. Out and up, and down. Out and up, and down. Last time, so here's the transition again, we take the ring down, keep it in the top foot, bring it upright, bring the bottom leg through, top leg comes through, we pick the ring up and we send it forward, so the ring is in a slight diagonal with our body. Rotate the knees and the toes in, line the toes up on the same line and press down and press up, make an oval with the ring.

And two, reaching, so again, doesn't look like much, but you can create work here. Last two, one more, and then bend and push, like you're pushing something heavy. And reach, stabilizing the pelvis, here's our half-way. And four, three, two, one, and then we go over the top, and this is the funnest one, we go way out in front, drop, lift over the top of the ring and take it back. Drop, lift over the top of the ring so suspend and let it get heavy, suspend and let it get heavy, last two, up, and back, one more, and take it back, let the leg reach back, send the arm forward, and then bend the knee and take the ankle, and pull the knee back, press the pelvis forward, in the front of the leg a little bit of a stretch.

And then as you sit up, you're gonna take that leg across, just take the ring and rest it to the side for now. Bring the leg across the body, pulling the knee into the chest, letting the hip drop into the mat, lifting the abdominals or pulling back towards the spine. Okay so here's the home stretch, we're gonna bring the ring and we're gonna come over onto our abdominals. So finding a straight line with your body, send the ring out in front of you. So create this energy, it's gonna be like, what?

Almost like a very light pull apart and I'm using my pinky fingers to do it, my pinky and my fingers are wrapped underneath the ring, my thumb is on the outside of the ring. So what I want us to do is elongate through the legs and lift the abdominals up. Then lift the head, let the nose come slightly forward, lift to the arms, now bend the elbows, pulling, think about the ring coming towards you, elbows going towards the floor. The elbows are a little lower than the ring in space. Stretch the arms out, don't pull now, just keep it soft.

And take it down. So the back of the head lifts first, the eyes go forward, the ring comes up. The higher it lifts the harder it is, you decide. Elbows go below the ring as the ring comes under and we're pulling the ring apart at this stage. Now we're gonna take the ring back out, bring the ring down, and lower the body down.

How about three more, head comes up, ring floats up, bend and pull, elbows down, stretch the arms, lift through the waist, and lower the body and the arms. Last two, back of the head lifts, lift the ring, pull through, stretch out, and take the body and the ring down. Here's our one last time, head up, ring up, pulling through, stretch out, and everything comes down. And then take the ring and bring it upright. Take the hands and, I like the kind of 10 and two position, if it were a clock.

So I want you to think about being really light on your arms, and not pushing down on the ring but instead, drawing the scapula down, the shoulder blades down and pulling the ring in the direction of your lifting head. So we look through the ring as we slide the ring slightly closer to us, bringing it on the diagonal, and then press it away. And let's do that again, so starting with the shoulder blades, keeping the legs long, keeping the abdominals working, reaching, looking through the ring as we lift up maybe you'll lift high enough to look just above it, and then reach back and down. And then last time, shoulder blades softening, not a downward push, more of a backward arm glide, and then bringing the body down. And then just lie the ring, just put it on its side.

Press up, and sit all the way back. So I'm gonna share one of my favorite things to do with the ring now. If you've never done it before, it's quite a nice teaching tool and practice tool to get the support to keep the shoulder blades really still in the push up, so what you do is you get your ring and you can put it, kind of snug it underneath the ribs, it doesn't always work for everyone. Everyone has to find their own favorite place, or you could put it up underneath the breast bone, if you have really long arms the ring might not stay underneath your body, but let's try. So I'm gonna put it underneath my ribs, so when you step into your plank position you won't have a lot of pressure down on the ring.

But then as the elbows bend, use the ring to remind you to lift up with your waist, oh, I gotta go long ways if we're gonna do Pilates push ups, I forgot about that. So here we go. So the elbows coming into the waist and the ring decelerates you so it supports the weight of your body. And then pull up, inhale bend, let the ring hold you, remind yourself to lift your abdominals and your ribcage away from the ring. And bend, and reach, I'm gonna do five today, just so I can show you this nice nifty trick, but if you're excited about this and you wanna do a bunch of push ups I think you should.

Have fun.


Meredith, you are a great inspiration. Thank you for a great Pilates Ring class.
3 people like this.
I'm so happy!! You are here again!
6 people like this.
Meri, what a gift indeed! I have a deadline for handing in my PhD in exactly 3 months from now and am freaking out - BUT taking class with you is my daily break for sanity, health, and optimism.Thank you!!!
Would you be up for teaching a 30min class using two props at once, like the overball and the magic circle/foam roll...? I would love that!
2 people like this.
Every one of your classes turns out to be my next favorite! Just fabulous every time Meri. Thank you for keeping us all inspired. Sending you a huge hug! Nancy
3 people like this.
Love your classes Meredith! Can you do an advanced level mat class soon?
6 people like this.
Oh I was so so happy that you remember me!!! You are such a beautiful person too!!! You have a cute smile full of love of what you do, and that's why you are soo good!! It was my first seminar that teacher is really there, and wait for us to answer our questions, without a break! Full of inspiration for each one of us!! Thank you so so much for the great class once again!! I love it!!!!!
1 person likes this.
So nice, so interesting class! Grate gift!
3 people like this.
Loved this class with the ring, great tool for Pilates push-ups!
1 person likes this.
Great class Meredith, always love your inventive variations, using the ring for push ups is a real gift, Im sure students from around the world thank you, as I do, after they recover from your ring crunches that is!
1 person likes this.
Meri you're awesome! Love the 30 minute intend class as ever especially the bridging. Thank you so much 😊.
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