Class #3198

Centering Reformer Flow

25 min - Class


Bring everything back to center with this Reformer workout by Kristi Cooper. There has been a lot of excitement at our studio with 'shark and dolphin watch' so Kristi designed this class to move and reconnect to the space. She invites you to play and explore your body so you can see what you need and what feels good.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

Sep 20, 2017
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Hi there everyone, we are just gonna move. It is an exciting time here at the studio. We're on shark watch outside, we got dolphins, it even rained a little bit today which is a big deal for Southern California. So I'm gonna come and bring it back to center as much as I possibly can. Join me, I have the balance body reformer.

I have one red spring on and I'm just warming up to loosen up the spine and kind of reconnect to this ground, even though my eyes are super fixated out there, but we're gonna come back and we're gonna just put all this aside. So, standing near your reformer, quite close, one spring, just enough that you can push it but you're really focusing on the center of your body. We turn the arm bones out, we stand on our feet, we somewhat push down into the Earth to raise the arms up. Find some space between the ribs, exhale and just stay tall, kind of be easy with yourself there. Rotate the arms out again, inhale, and on this one, we'll just go right into it.

We exhale round over, trying not to back up, find the heels of the handS to the edge of the carriage. I need to bend my knees almost always to start, just so I know where I'm at, head hang. So we're gonna reach the tailbone, straighten spine, elongate the spine, and bring it back by curling the spine. So once your hands have made contact, they're really just vehicles or reavers if you will, letting the spine kinda take over and just see where it's at. Breathe however you want.

What I'm wanting to do is inhale out, that makes my rib bones feel like they can expand. I exhale and not so much contraction that I really am working, but I'm just loosening, I'm doing a few more, inhale. And exhale. And if that's really easy and your spine feels loose depending on what you've done today, go ahead and straighten your legs, and keep them that way, either way is fine. You can really, you almost have to just play with it a little bit.

If you don't start investigating your own body as you go through these movements and you let me tell you what to do. You won't get quite as much out of it. I will keep you as safe as possible, and keep the rhythm as fluid as possible. One more time, but you get to play and see and explore your body. That's the benefit of having one.

Bring it back. If you've backed up, bring your knees near to the foot bar and roll yourself up. Turn those arm bones out, take the deep breath in, bring some energy in or decide what you need. Maybe you need to be really working hard, I don't know, but you can kind of play with tempo and energy that you go into it. I'm going right into actually some foot and leg work and I'll do a little bit more warm up, or not warm up but abdominals as we go on.

So I'm adding three red springs, or adding two red springs and a blue. This particular reformer I could make them even heavier, I'm not going to, you can. So the point really is that we've about to just use the legs, and I'm intentionally doing it for the purposes of warming up more. So I put the foot bar up to where I'm used to using it. My headrest for today, for some reason, I'm wanting it up a little more, not that I could see out the window but, anyway.

Feet, heels parallel, take a moment. No matter how long we're here, we're gonna take that moment, we're gonna find the ground again even though we just turned ourselves on our back. You can include the shoulder rest but try not to push into them. Let them just be there as a reminder to kind of let the shoulders be easy. Exhale as you push out, full extension, find it.

Inhale, pull in, and push out. (breathing) Just notice how even the movement of legs can be somewhat mimicking the breath. Not totally, because we're going faster maybe than a full breathe, but you can really kind of start to see how the actions replicate the pumping of so called pumping of the heart, of the lungs, of the legs, of the muscles, they all kind of work together, so just start to find what works for you and I will be quiet for four more one. (breathing) Stay out here for a second. Did you finish it?

Do you feel the connection to your feet? Are you rolled in or out on your legs, is your neck long? Ooo, I had a long way to go. I'm gonna come halfway down and do some pumping. I inhale here, I start the exhale as I pump out, exhale, exhale, now inhale.

Keep the back still. Keep the ribs, you know, mellow. And then press all the way out, out, out. Finish it, prove it, find the back of your legs. I don't know how to tell you how to do that, but it's not just I'm driving the knees down, you find the back of the legs, inner thighs kind of help.

Bring it down, both feet at the same time, slide down to the balls of the feet. The heels are lifted, but not to their high point. Somewhere in between where you have to sort of know where they are. So push out all the way, one. Pull it back.

(breathing) As we get into this I'm thinking breathe, not for the sake of when, but that it helps and the movement can match it so I'm blowing it out, and I'm letting it guide my movement. Do a few more. Stay out, pay attention to the placement of the feet, right? I can kind of see I'm tilted under, yeah. So my thighs are higher than they need to be.

If I let myself drop down, you might see that if you were watching it rather than doing it, but for yourself it's really flat to the front. Bring yourself in, there's that crease at the hip, and we press out, out, and in, in and out, out and in, in and out, go all the way, full extension, the heels hopefully didn't change much. Bring yourself back down, touch your heels together, the knees will turn out a little. Press the heels kind of firmly together, even as the hips are down in the mat. Not to arch your back but just to know where they started.

Exhale, full extension one, bring it completely to a close, but with lengthen the front of the hip. Inhale pull in, two. (breathing) And it really is just about warming up so you can go faster, you can even go slower. I'm doing my best to actually not count, 'cause that just gets frustrating, and really we just want to feel some heat in the body. So we can continue on, stay out on the next one.

Inhale come in, almost all the way, and here's our pulsing. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Go all the way out on that last exhale, boom. Parallel the feet, even while you're out here. Drop those sighs, Kristy, and we lower the heels, we lift the heels, we lower the heels, we lift the heels, and we're still thinking about sort of evenly distributing our weight through the toes, right? So we all have our tendencies, we all have one calf tighter than the other or maybe that's just me, but in any case try to balance it out as best you can. That's where some change happens.

It's also just good to pay attention. Next one stay up, lower the left heel, bend the right knee. Be careful that you don't just hang out on the joints. There's literally an action of trying to stretch. Use the foot from the bottom side to come all the way up to switch.

Don't you wish we would just stay here? No such luck, 'cause we're not gonna stay here long at all. It's just our running it, or walking it, or moving through it nice and fluid. Hips stay nice and still meaning they're not popping up to the side. If you feel nice and organized and you're wanting to just go for it, you can go faster.

Do it, make it work. I'm gonna give myself four more. Up down, up down, up down, up and from there, let's come all the way down. Right. Just sitting up.

We could do more leg work but this is gonna be a shorter one. So let's go into some abdominal work, which means for me, I'm gonna take off on this apparatus, I'm down to a red and a blue. Just heavy enough. If you're on a gratze or even one of the aero pilates, you probably want to keep all four or three, wherever you started. Lying back down, reaching back to find your straps, and the way we're gonna start this is pretty simple.

Putting a little resistance on this, not from the hands themselves but from under the arms and the armpits, the abdominals the core is already to go. And from here, no lifting, just reach the arms down long, and reach them long to come back to where you started. Just for a few of those, just to find that spot. Can you pull down but not roll the shoulders forward? If that's cool, and you are doing that, on the next one, we'll roll up and do 100's prep.

So it goes, exhale curl up reach hold. So that meant everything came up. We shot the arms forward, but we're still curled in the middle, and we pull everything down in one shot. Exhale two, and this idea of reconnecting really to what you can do. What your body might need.

You might not extend the legs or you might just stay up there, that would be okay too. I'm just doing two more. One more. We can stay up there like that. You can also raise your legs higher or pull them into bent.

Inhale, the arms come up a little, exhale, bring them down. Squeeze from behind the legs, inhale up. You can make fists. I'm learning how grip strength really really matters. I have certain bottles I would like to open easier.

I'll let you guess what those might be. It's not always pickle jar. Inhale up, and down, and inhale up and down. And now we're gonna pump it. It's inhale two, three, four, five, stay up, exhale, and inhale two, three, four, five, and exhale.

Just one more time. Inhale two, three, four, five, and exhale, two, three, four, five. Pull the knees way in, come on down. One foot on the foot bar, push it out to straight to step into it, to step into the strap with the other foot. So we're just carrying on, it didn't change the springs.

I'm adjusting 'cause somehow I'm over there now. And take a moment, I'm in a frog position. My heels are together the feet slightly turned out, and the knees follow that. Find the back of your body, really tempting to lift the pelvis. Leave it down as best you can and find that crease in the hip joint.

Let's lubricate that as we gently, with this light spring, extend, pull in, press out. (breathing) I had the privilege of teaching children this weekend. Their first lesson. And the power they had on the spring to do this is no different than any of us. And the fun of showing them how they could be in charge of it and how quickly they got it too, so I'm challenging you on one level and inviting you to remember to play.

Stay out there when you get there, raise both legs as straight as you can without changing your spine, you'll know if you did if your back gets jammed into the mat. Exhale, lower down, let the feet come apart. Don't go crazy and wide until you know how you are today, and bring them back together. Exhale, sort of the rule right now, or the guiding principle would be is my back changing a lot. Hopefully not at all.

And it might limit your range of motion, absolutely fine. I'm gonna go ever so slightly faster. It can be lower, it can be smaller, it can be bigger. If you go with that guiding principle we're all together. Last one, take it down, hold it there.

Check yourself, everything feels good, we're going back up. Inhale, open exhale around. For those of use who hyper-extended the knees, this is a really good place to watch for it. You'll feel nothing, except maybe pain in the back of the knees. So have some energy as if you're about to use the back of the legs, as if you're gonna bend them.

One more time, fully around up, and around, and then we flex the feet or slightly anyway, open just a part, just separate them. And then just sort of play a little bit with your hips. You can either look at them to see if they're even, but that doesn't always work, and just sort of feel what you can. You can just shimmy them every so slightly. When they feel relatively even, pull those legs back together, trying not to raise them or lower them.

In other words, this is meant to be really truly for the inner thigh, and not so much the hamstring. The hamstring kind of wants to naturally pull down. So we're gonna avoid that if we can. Whole lot of popping going on up here. Doesn't hurt, it's just weird, and it tends to get better as I continue but you'll be the judge of that for yourself.

How about one more? Pull it in, then allow the legs to come up to where you comfortably can, keeping your hips down, let the legs part again, and then if I'm really just going for a stretch here. You can hold the ropes and that can take some pressure off, or you can actually set your arms on top and oh boy, that's nice too, if you're up for it. Which ever you do, help yourself back to center by picking up from underneath, and we'll take ourselves out of there. Just when you thought we were getting up, we're not.

We're putting the straps back, we're still on one and a half right? Ooo, that's not very nice, but we're gonna leave it. If your head rest is up like mine is, put it down please. And let's just make sure we do some hamstring work right? Posture and back support, so much of it does come from the back of the legs, and the gluts working for us.

So, here's your mission. Heels parallel, I have my knees a little bit apart, just like if we were doing pelvic curl. So the feet are there, we're gonna use those hamstrings, we're gonna peel up, we're gonna keep thinking of drawing the hips towards that foot bar. If you cramp, you're just gonna shake it out, 'cause that just happens. But at the top there, and I'm feeling myself wobble, that's okay, it's really light for what I would normally do.

I just don't want to get up. Stepping into it, to feel the stretch in the front and feel the work in the back. There's nothing wrong with working, and roll it down. Roll it down, find the bones as best you can on your way down, and if you came away from it, bring it back in as close as you can. Here we go, exhale, roll up.

And guess what? You get to use what you can, in other words, you can press into, you can step into your heels but you can also press into your arms. And roll it down. Oh, that's really light. Anyways, you get better at doing certain things and then you change things up and feel free to make these heavier, or even lighter still, but I'm kind of working this one, sort of, it's working for me let's say.

And down. We're gonna add to it. Inhale, exhale, roll up. We're gonna do a little pressing out when we get up there, so just articulate your way up as best you can, find the bottoms of your heels, make sure you're secure, make sure the front of your hips is nice and long, 'cause that's gonna be our mark. Now push out almost all the way.

Yes, the back comes down, the hips come down, but they come right back up to pull you in. So you don't get to buckle or hinge at the hips. And in, push out, and in. And I'm actually noticing I can take one foot off, I shouldn't be able to do that. So I'm gonna work that side more.

I wanna even that out to see what you've got. Push out, and pull up. It's like the slant board of your body lowers and it comes back up, one more time. Up, come in in in, glue it, glue it, do your best don't turn those feet out, don't turn those feet out, and down we go. Hug your knees to your chest, and come on up.

Take off the blue spring, or the lighter spring of the two, and instead of doing what's sometimes is called the Eve's lunge, we're gonna challenge it a little bit, and we're gonna put the knee back at the shoulder block, all the way back. The forward foot is gonna be different pretty much for everybody. If you're on, if you don't have legs on your carriage, you may have to just do this on your knee. Or maybe build it up a little bit. Okay, so from here I'm just in what some would call not a runner's lunge but close.

Attempt to tuck, it's not gonna look like that but in other words, I don't wanna just let go of the back, attempt to tuck, then, push the thigh back, but the body kind of stays where it was. So that, in my case, the thigh closer or hip closer to the window is the one getting the real massive stretch. Trying to keep everything nice and square. And then from there, we're just straightening that forward leg, which has it's own little set of mechanics, and for me, that means in order to keep my hips straight I have to ever so slightly reach the tailbone up, so almost the opposite of what I told you a moment ago. Think flat back.

And then we can drop back into it, and then this one Sarah Verdichille kind of taught me. If I pull forward but I try to push the carriage back, it's a better stretch. Now I have to search quite so much, there's energy going back that way and this way. Yeah, I got it. And you're just trying to breathe into it, kind of let it go, if you will.

Help yourself forward, and up and walk around to the other side. Knee is as close to that shoulder block as possible. Arms are just kind of comfortable in front but relatively spaced evenly. This is gonna be a different side. Isn't it funny how we start on the side that we know we're gonna like.

Oh I like this though. So, again, as I press the thighbone back, you may not see a thing, but I'm also thinking about the rest of my body going forward and up. Almost feels like I'm trying to tuck, and then I let it go a little bit. From there, extending the forward leg. I do flex my foot, but you don't have to, it's almost harder not to.

And I'm just finding where I need to go. It's not a problem to put your arm down like I just did. I could go into reasons why I'm doing that but mostly it's 'cause I want to find the stretch and I want it to feel good. The rest is just a story, so, I'll spare you. Let yourself come forward.

Just step up. Okay, grab your box, we're gonna do some back extension. Little side stuff, we'll see after that. This is sort of your wake up to yourself workout. I'm putting the foot bar down just to get it out of my way.

I'm doing pulling straps one and two, so that means I didn't need to change the springs from the one, the one what I would call full. You are welcome to if you need to go lighter. You could go a little heavier but it usually doesn't take a whole lot. So, laying your chest just over the top, or just at the edge is how I like to do it, but it can be done other ways. I think the way I'm gonna do it, you're gonna prefer most of your chest on.

Feet together as much as possible, and I wrap my hands so I have something to hold, rather than just the rope. If you have leather you probably don't need to do that. This one always takes some psyching out from me because there's things I have to think about in order for this to go well. If you sit at the computer a lot, you're gonna need to know that your body is straight as possible before you start. Not overly arched and not dropped.

So, what I'm thinking first, I'm holding on, I'm thinking of my legs being straight. And I'm thinking of almost my hips into the box, so that there's some energy. I don't need to lift it, I just need some energy so that my back doesn't have to do everything. There's no part of us that should have to do everything when the rest is ready to help. Roll the shoulders open.

So that means to me collarbones wide and I pull down just a little to get ready. From that place, I'm talking to my head. I'm gonna stay in the straight line hopefully, and pull the arms right alongside the body but get it close to you, don't go wide. Don't drop down. Keep that shape as you start to lower the arms down, almost reaching them, not necessarily to the beginning of the tension, pull again.

It's almost like you're just a dart. You know, you're straight, you're strong, just a nice piece of rod iron, your abs are kind of working, not a lot, but some. And then when you know you can do that, and you know you have that for today, you do the same start. As you get near the end you can start to press yourself forward, to look forward, to extend your upper back. Doesn't mean the legs change.

So if your notice that your lifting hurts, you know you're feeling that in your low back. Don't let yourself do that. Pull. Squeeze those upper arms tight tight tight, might as well get the tricep out of it. And if I taught this a zillion times which I have, the thing that people never believe me on, is that they're bending their elbows on the return right here.

Stop it, look at it, trust me. Pretend you're doing it even if you aren't and make it so that you don't. One more. Long neck, add that extension if you want. And then back, and then just when you thought it was over, come back to that same position.

And if you're in the well, if you dug down, it's not gonna be fun. Bend your elbows but keep the upper arms in place. Extend, tricep five one. Take your time, don't power it. The deceleration matters right here.

Number three of five. Four. When did five get to be hard? Five, and down, with those straight lovely arms. Unwrap your hands, rerack it, step off the side.

We'll leave the box there, we'll leave the spring. We'll end how we started. Take a deep breath, rounding over, find the edge of your box. I'm on one spring right? We never changed.

We're just taking that stretch, but now we might be able to go a little further. Try not to let it just be about the shoulders. If it is, like mine just were, I did it on purpose actually for once, let them come back and make the spine be what moves your box. You can reach the tailbone, you can bend your knees, that's all cool. Find some suppleness in your day, in your life, in your body most of all, which is all the same thing.

I'm bringing it in, you can do more if you want. Bring it in, let your arms hang, find something to focus on. Hopefully you are at least how you feel. Or at least what's good about how you feel, and then just inhale for two collective breaths together. Maybe on the exhale let the bones feel a little heavier but the space in between be lighter.

And again, inhale. Exhale. Thank you for being here. Short but sweet, keep it up.

Spring to Life with Kristi - Playlist 2: Reformer Workouts


2 people like this.
Awesome! Thanks Kristi
1 person likes this.
Was a nice, short class! I feel like it was a more deliberate pace than moderate though. ;)
1 person likes this.
Love these short but effective classes. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Kristi, Thank you for this smart & effective well-rounded workout in under 30! Your insight and cues always give me a new perspective, and I learn something new about my body and how I move, each time!!
1 person likes this.
Thank you, this work out actually inspired me to work a little bit more on my own after!
1 person likes this.
Thank you! Loved the spring settings & the ques in the leg work 😀
1 person likes this.
Loved this! Thanks for creating a workout that both feels solid and is easy to squeeze in!!!
1 person likes this.
Just what I needed!
1 person likes this.
I love short workouts that get all of the big parts of the body and work them well. This workout does just that. Thank you!
Thanks for this wonderful short well rounded work out . . . love these 30 min workouts!
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