Today I'm going to do a classic BASI flow. Let's just get started right away. I've got my springs set up for footwork so I've got three reds and a blue on, certainly you could work with three reds if you'd like or whatever spring makes sense. So I'm gonna lie down on my back here and settle in for a pelvic curl. Start with your legs together and your chest open, arms long by your side, find a place on your foot that it feels good to put your foot on the bar, and then separate your legs just a little bit.
Inhale through your nose and with an exhale engage the abs to flatten the low back and just hover the pelvis up a little bit, not a lot of movement to begin, and then lower back down. And again, engage the abs to sort of just hover the pelvis up. And then lower back down. And this time let's go through the full pelvic curl. So engaging the abs.
And then find the hamstrings and articulate up through your back all the way to the bridge position, just gonna move my feet a little bit here, that feels better, and then an exhale to peel down. So for me to not overwork my hamstrings in the beginning it feels better to have the bar resting just above my heel or on my heel, I find if I put the bar on my arches or up by the balls of my feet my hamstrings are not quite ready for that position this early in the session. Lifting the pelvis nice and high and then lower down one vertebrae at a time. The muscle focus here is abdominals and hamstrings and you really wanna feel yourself articulating through your back, staying open through your chest and peeling all the way up here. Nice big lift and then gently lower down.
I'll tell you one time I did just the pelvic curl for Rael as a demonstration, for Rael Isacowitz, and boy my hamstrings were sore for like a month after that. So really pay attention to using your hamstrings here, softening the glutes a little and find that hamstring engagement with those abdominals engaged as well and lower down. Beautiful. So here, hold on to the pegs by your ears perhaps or the frame if that's better for your shoulders, if that's comfortable, and let's lift the legs to tabletop position. So squeezing the knees together, so using those abdominals to support the spine, we twist, and keeping those legs glued together we exhale back.
It's an inhale to twist and an exhale to pull back. So continue to make sure that your shoulder blades stay down, so you're twisting really your spine, and more importantly it's nice to remember that your rib cage is primarily or your thoracic spine is where the majority of the rotation comes from so that's your upper spine, not your lower spine. So just pay a little attention to that feeling of twisting or spiraling at the rib cage here. One last time. And back to center.
Reach your hands up to the ceiling here, let some blood flow to your shoulders again, inhale. With an exhale we'll lift our head and chest up nice and high, feel the low back rounding, and an inhale to lower down. And again, exhale to lift, and inhale to lower down. Exhale to lift and hold here. I'm gonna use my hands on the backs of my legs to stretch my back and get a little bit more height and then I'm gonna take my hands up beyond my knees, so here we're setting up for the double leg stretch.
The arms and legs reach away and then we pull back in, and we reach maintaining the height of the curl and pull back in. We're trying to extend the legs straight out and pull them straight back in and reaching straight out and straight back in. One last time here moving into a single leg stretch. Let's hold the left leg in and send the other leg out and exhale to change and change and change. So try to pay attention to your legs grazing by one another and reaching straight out with the feet as opposed to going down and up too much.
So here with the bar up you mind find yourself landing just gently on the bar, just touching it a little bit, one more time each side. Both legs are actually gonna come in here, find a higher lift if you can. Slip your hands behind your head and let's twist to the left first here for criss cross. Same thing with the legs here, you want them to slide past one another and reach straight out. Last time.
Both legs in, I'm gonna just find another big stretch here through my back, pull your knees in toward your forehead, and then lower your body down. Settling in now for the footwork. So the heals are on the bar and the center of the heel, and neutral pelvis, neutral spine, abdominals engaged, softness through your neck and shoulders. And then use an exhale to press out and then inhale to control in. Exhale to press out and inhale to control in.
So remember while the breath is very important it shouldn't cause any stress. So make sure that if you're finding that the breath, keeping the pattern of the breath is confusing you ever that you just sort of let go of that and breathe naturally 'cause really the most important part is simply that you are breathing. But generally we like to exhale on the exertion or the hard part of the movement using the inhale to control a little more. One more time here. And then let's shift to the next position, so the toe position.
The balls of the feet are on the bar about hip width distance apart, try to focus on hip extensors or hamstrings working as you press out. And gently come in. Using both legs equally. So pay attention to the end of your exhale and see if you can lengthen your spine yet a little more. Lengthen your body yet a little more.
Oftentimes with BASI our magic number is 10, but somewhere between eight and 12 is always good as well. I find myself as I've practiced more and more that the numbers are a little less important to me, it's how I feel in the movement. If I need to do fewer one day that's great or a couple more and that's a good idea too. So I'm gonna do two more right here, paying attention to my inner thighs and pulling up to the kneecaps and also the control as we come in. Sliding the heels together for your small reposition, we wanna squeeze those heels tightly together and feel the inner thigh connection as well as the abdominals.
Stay open through your chest and we press out and inhale in. One of the things I find myself thinking about a lot is really spending a little bit more time with the spring stretched here in this long position versus more time with the knees bent. So I find that a lot of times my clients will find themselves wanting to linger at the bottom and instead I'd like them to linger at the top. So I'm suggesting that to you as well, feel this idea of lengthening, really enjoying the stretched spring and the lengthened body as well, and we'll do one more here please. And then coming all the way into the stopper we'll put the heels wide on the bar in your open knee position, flexing the ankles back you want the knees stacked over the feet in the same direction as the second toe about.
So kind of eyeball that your knee is going in the same direction of your second toe. Here focus on the inner thighs. So the inner thighs as if you could draw your heels together and controlling in and drawing those heels toward one another, beautiful. Find the breath. Softness on your face.
Softness on your face, make sure that your brow is soft and your jaw is soft. And one last time here please and we'll come all the way in. Now let's place now the toes where the heels are. So you've gotta find that spot where it feels like you're in the middle of your ball of your foot, so probably the ball of the big toe is for sure on the bar. That pinky toe, that fifth metatarsal may or may not actually be touching the bar depending on the width of your bar, the size of your bar I should say.
And exhale to press out and inhale to come in. Again, we wanna find this wonderful flow with precision and integrity of movement here, but as you get more and more comfortable certainly you could pick up this pace a little bit and maybe do a few more repetitions in this time. As long as you're in control picking up the pace can be quite satisfying and good for the nervous system as well. Do one more for me here all the way out to straight and gently come on in. So now we'll bring the feet all the way together.
I usually suggest that so you can look up at your legs and see that they're centered and then separate a little bit and then here we'll press out using the legs, lower the heels under the bar and press back up. So using both feet equally to control down and up. Also try to feel that you're quite engaged in your core the whole time. Pay attention at the top of the movement of pressing kinda through the ball of the big toe and at the bottom of the movement make sure the pinky toe is in fact connected. So I'm talking about the metatarsals not so much the digits there, but try to feel that your weight is actually equal across all five, but oftentimes we do some rolling around on the feet so those cues hopefully will be useful for you.
And then moving into some prances. Both feet are working equally to press up and to stretch here. So this bench leg is working just as much as the stretching leg. So now we pick up the pace, inhale. And exhale.
Inhale. Even though the movement is pretty vigorous there should be quite a lot of control with this movement so I'm not bouncing around, I'm using my body. And one last time please and let's hold this stretch, so moving the foot just to a position where it feels you can really enjoy that satisfying calf stretch, breathing in... And breathing out. And then change sides and breathing in.
Pressing high up onto both feet, bend your knees and come in. So for single legs I'm going to keep the spring the same. Certainly if you'd like to have less spring for your single legs just get up and take a spring off. I'm going to start with my left leg, that's my weaker leg so I usually like to use it first, the heel on the bar. The other leg is first at table top.
So we'll exhale to press out to straight and inhale to control in. And exhaling out and inhaling to control. So the goal here is to keep your pelvis completely still, right, nice and stable in the neutral position, but also what's really nice about single legs is once again, you can feel the difference between your two sides. Let's continue on for five more with a straight leg up. So I've got my toes pointed, my foot long, but I'm not really curling my toes hopefully.
So that would be curling my toes, I'm reaching up with my feet. And one last time here. Gently come on in and change legs. So we'll put the heel on the bar again supporting through the core, lift the other leg to a nice clean tabletop and then out we go using the back of the leg and controlling on the way in. So just try to sense the difference between your two legs and see if there is one, I think most of us have some imbalances, it's nice to try to minimize those a little bit and with practice become more balanced.
And then here the leg will go straight up to the ceiling, just getting a nice little stretch to the back of the leg and try to keep those toes more long than curled. And just one more time please, nice and controlled on the way in, nice. So usually we'll do the toes as well, but for the sake of time today I'd like to move on to some more abdominal work. So I'm going to shave down the springs to one red spring. If you wanna work a little bit more zesty if you will you can use a red and a blue or you could use a green, but one works for me.
So retrieving the straps with my hands I wanna make sure that I'm not too close to the shoulder rest here so that I can lift up with ease. First set, your arms just above your shoulders, engage your abs, then lift the legs to tabletop. With an exhale we're gonna lift the chest up nice and high and with an inhale we lower down. And an exhale to lift up nice and high and gently lower down. Trying really hard to keep those legs nice and still, we're doing 100 prep here, and lower down.
And lift this time and hold, stretch the legs out to straight, pull them back in and lower the body down again Stretching out, pull them back in, and lower down. Stretch the legs to straight, externally rotate the arms and the legs, and we're gonna open and pull in, and open and pull. Last two. Last one. Gently come on down from there.
So sitting up real quickly again, this is one reason that keeping a red and a blue on would've been good, I wouldn't have had to get back up, but here we go. For hip work a red and a blue are one and a half springs. I'm gonna lie down again here, put the feet in the straps and settle in. So our basic hip work series with BASI begins with frogs always, so really try to stabilize your pelvis, engage your abs, feel the ease in your body, but also be in control. Exhaling out and inhaling in.
Ooh, my inner thighs are quivering a little bit today. So the idea here is that the legs are traveling along, basically the feet are traveling along the same plane. So they're not going so much down and up in space, but the feet are kind of going out and in. So here I'm at like a tabletop position, but with my legs in external rotation. Using the exhale to press out and trying to feel both the inner thighs and the hamstrings working.
Take the legs up as high as you can comfortably with your pelvis still down and then we come down through center for circles and around to the top position. So here are down circles. In external rotation it's an exhale down and an inhale up and around. So here feel your abdominals engaged and try to really feel that you're setting your pelvis each time you bring your legs back up. I like to call out punctuation if you will, that we're going to punctuate this position right here where we're squeezing the heels together, feel that they stay together till you actively part them to finish the circle.
A lot of times the circles are a little sloppy and I like to really get them to be a little more organized if you will. Let's reverse, open the legs here and circle around and together to the bottom position and then come up through center. And open here and around in together. So my suggestion to you as you pull your legs together is to slightly soften the knees and see if you can really tap into those inner legs a little more. So just a very slight, slight knee bend as you rotate the thighs more and try to find the inner thighs.
So that's when you're stretching the spring in this range, squeezing right here, and opening, inhale, opening your legs wide, slightly softening the knees to find those inner thighs, and again, inhale to open wide using both legs equally. And again, inhale, and using the exhale to draw those heels back together. We'll do two more openings here. One more time please. Go ahead and bend your knees and let your knees open and your feet come together for just a moment.
And then set your legs at frog position again in preparation for the short spine. So we pressed the legs first to straight, we folded the hips, now here allow your pelvis to scoop up a little bit, but see what part of your back you can still keep down, and then you find yourself at the stopper, engage those abs to roll up onto those shoulder blades, bend the knees nice and big, and then roll down through your back with control, flex those feet as you pull back to that first frog position and then press out to straight. Fold with the hips, use your abs here, feel which part of your back is currently down and then roll up from there using your abdominals. Bend your knees big and then roll down. Once you start to move the carriage that's where you're gonna kinda flex your feet and pull through and then press back out to straight.
Let's just do one more short spine today. Folding at the hips. Whoops. And rolling up. Bend the knees and rolling down.
And we pull through. So gently taking your feet out of your straps, one foot first, find the foot bar, take the other one out. Put your straps on your pegs and then climb back up. So now we'll move into a stretch here. Let's go with our hip and hamstring stretch just on the side of the reformer.
So we have the one foot up near the foot of the reformer and the other leg back and we'll take a nice lunge here. So my front leg is bent quite a bit here and I'm really standing on my front leg quite a bit lifting up through the crown of the head, soft through the neck and shoulders, and really stretching through the back leg there. Breathing in. And breathing out. For the sake of time today we're just gonna sit with this for one more deep breath and then switch sides.
And we'll get to the hamstrings when we get to a standing position. So on the other side a nice big lunge and still on one red spring here. I actually may not have suggested that you make that switch so for that I apologize, but a red and a blue would have felt quite heavy here. You're on one red spring for this. So I've got a lot of weight on my front leg and my back knee is light but it is down, and then going really deep into the stretch here, getting a nice stretch through my hip flexors, breathing in.
And breathing out, oh, I love hip flexor stretching, makes me so happy. This feels so good right now. And let's come up from there. So I'm on one red spring, I'm gonna keep it there, and you could use a green for this series here. Let's step up for our upstretch one, so the heels are lifted, but there's weight in the heels.
Stretching out through the arms, the neck is long, the abs are active, we inhale to slide the carriage back, and we exhale to pull in. Try to really feel that it is the legs that are moving the carriage back, it is the legs moving the carriage back, not the body. A lot of times I see people moving with the entire body and I really want it to be the legs moving back and pulling in. So the pulling in comes from the gut or from the hip flexors, the pushing back technically comes from the hamstrings. Hold here, engage your abdominals and shift down to a plank position, my hands are a little narrow, here they are.
So feel your plank position here and we'll go into the long stretch. So we pull forward to the stopper if possible and then use an exhale to push back. Inhale forward to the stopper. And exhale to push back. All the way to the stopper here lift your hips up nice and high, keep the carriage in if you can, lower your feet flat for an elephant position here.
So again, we want a nice flat back if at all possible. Now if you can't flatten your back bend your knees a little bit and work on flattening your back here. If you can flatten your back and keep straight legs, even better. So inhale to slide back and exhale to pull in, inhale back and exhale in. Again, we wanna feel those hamstrings working to actually push the carriage back.
And the gut working to pull the carriage in. The gut meaning the hip flexors. Hold the carriage at the stopper here, walk your hands if you can first to the reformer bed, relax your head forward, and if you're comfortable here into a deep forward fold. In my forward fold I always like to bend my knees just a little bit so I can really let my head dangle, my whole back is relaxed, it feels really quite wonderful here, I'm stretched through the back of my spine. And then from here we'll bring our hands back to the bar and gently step off of your reformer.
Still one red spring for arms kneelings. We take the knees all the way up against the shoulder rest, certainly if your arms a little less strong you could go in, you could use a blue spring here. I'm holding the tape part or the ropes above the buckles and I wanna ground down through my shins, lengthen through my crown of my head, feel my abdominals working, my hamstrings working, nice straight elbows, and exhale to pull back. Chest expansion. So hopefully the front line of my body and your body is flat, so you wanna kind of avoid letting your pelvis go back in space, but really feel that straight line, keep doing your chest expansion right through here so you're looking for an openness here.
Give me two more there, exhale to pull back. And one more. And then we can rest this. The rest of the series is facing the other direction so let's change the springs to a blue spring. Everyone should begin here with a blue spring unless you happen to know a red spring works for you 'cause this is quite a bit more challenging.
So we'll arrange our feet so that the toes are tucked up against the shoulder rest here, holding the straps, I'm gonna draw those abdominals nice and active and sit up nice and tall here. So exhale, arms go up and around, and back to where we came from. So it's a circle, exhale up and around, up and then around. Up through center, once again, I'm looking for that straight line through the front of my body. And two more like that.
And one more please. And then reverse your circles. Here we rotate and the knuckles come down through center, the arms stretching wide and open, and then the knuckles down through center. I'm just gonna do a couple more here. And down through center.
And just one more time. Here, thumb and first finger together, aim to go straight up with your arms keeping your body long, bend the elbows, and we press straight up. And bend the elbows. And press up. Catching a couple of hairs with my fingers, that's gonna look cute I'm sure.
Maybe we could make that part of the exercise, what do you think? One more time here, up, circle the arms around. Take both straps in one hand and add a red spring. So I'm gonna be on a red and a blue spring here for my bicep curls. It's gonna feel pretty zesty for many people, but give it a shot.
Go to one if you need to, but again, we want that straight line through the body, the elbows are back and the arms begin in a straight position. Exhale to bend. So when you straighten your arms back really actively straighten them with the muscles on your back body and then actively bend and actively straighten... And actively bend. So I'm looking for this feeling of reaching to like a chest expansion position with my arms before I begin the bicep curl.
Yeah? Yeah. Let's just do two more there. And one more. All the way to straight.
So we'll put the straps away here and it's time to move into a little bit of oblique work. So let's work with the mermaid today. I'm going to do a classic BASI mermaid here, so I've got my, my leg is lining the shoulder rest here, my other leg is lining the reformer bed here, and I'm sitting up as tall as I can doing my very best to get both sides of my pelvis down. For most of us that's going to be a challenge. My hand then is outside of my shoulder, maybe slightly forward.
And then inhale to reach away, my arms should be right out from my shoulder, exhale, we rotate around, so both hands touch the bar, and look down at the spring, wonderful stretch. Inhale, opening up, the carriage is staying still, and we exhale to sit tall again. And again, inhale. I have very fond memories of the first time Rael taught me this exercise as well. My obliques were sore for quite some time.
Amazing how hard a person can work doing an exercise that's seemingly just a stretch, but this exercise is so much more than just a stretch. That I have to say. Inhale, reach away. Exhale, both hands on the bar, we're gonna add a little variation. So just open your hands up a little, meaning I want my, I opened my right arm out to the side so I'm shoulder width with my arms, both arms are on the bar, we're gonna bend the elbows, and the tip of my head may touch the bar, and push out.
So yes I'm moving with my arms, but I really wanna think about this with my abs. Yeah, I'm thinking about my abdominals here. And press out. And just one more like that, both arms go to straight. I'm gonna move my supporting arm back toward the center, unwind, keeping the carriage still, and then sit nice and tall.
And just for a final stretch here stretch in reverse. Beautiful. And we'll change sides so you get the other view. Oh I get to look at the ocean, well that's nice. Maybe we'll see some sharks jumping.
So here we go, I've got my leg lining up against the edge of the reformer, I'm gonna pull this in just a little so I can get my pelvis down as best as possible. My arm is just out from my shoulder, so here we are. The carriage does not need to be at the stopper, but you want your body to be upright and your arms straight. Inhale to reach away, I'm gonna put that there. And exhale rotating around, touching the bar, looking at the spring, keeping the carriage still as we inhale, and we exhale to sit tall trying to square the pelvis or sit down equally.
Inhale. I say trying to because most of us are not going to be able to sit flat on the pelvis there, myself included, my hips are a little tight and in internal rotation. So the leg that's behind me is inhibiting me from sitting all the way down, but I feel a nice stretch. Here we add on, inhale. And exhale, both hands are on the bar.
Take the left arm out to the side so your arms are shoulder width and looking at the spring we're gonna bend the elbows out to the side and press back to straight. So again, this is an arm movement, but I want you to think of doing it with your breath in your abs. And you'll feel more information, more sensation hopefully by doing it that way. Last two. And one more time, use your breath.
So bring your arm back in toward the center, unwind keeping the carriage still, and sit yourself down. For that reverse stretch. And one final exercise today my friends, we're going to do some pulling straps. You're welcome to put your bar down if you'd like, but you can also leave your bar up and make it a goal to keep your legs higher than the bar. So pulling straps happens to be one of my favorite back extensions.
I'm on a red spring which I'm gonna work on today. I think for a lot of people a blue spring is a better choice. But let's see if I can rise to the occasion here in front of all of you. So I'm holding the ropes above the buckles and you can wrap your hands around so that you get more range of motion, and this way your arms are kinda more out in front of you when the tension starts here, it's nice. Lift those legs up nice and high, engage your abs, as you lift to back extension the arms come up, but make it more about the back extension than the arms please.
Lower down. So again, I'm pulling my shoulders back onto my back body and lifting my back to extension as my arms lift up by my side... And lowering back down. And one more please. And gently rest.
Place your straps back on your pegs, slip off of your box, and from a standing position let's enjoy a few roll downs please. Feet underneath your hips, exhale to peel forward, allow your back to relax, your arms dangle. So you're not going necessarily to your maximum stretch, you're going to this place where you feel a stretch rounding through your low back, I like to let my shoulders really hang here by my ears, and as I roll back up I let my shoulders, I maneuver my shoulders back to my back body so that they'll settle down away from my ears. And then again inhale, exhale to peel forward, equal weight on your two legs, let your head dangle, let your fingers dangle. Feel free to bend your knees here a little bit so you can feel that rounding through your low back.
And roll back up. Thank you for playing.