Class #3228

Creative Reformer Flow

50 min - Class


Create your own intention with this flowing Reformer workout by Kristi Cooper. She encourages you to think about your breath so that you can use it to move in a way that works for your body. She includes different Mat exercises, like Spine Stretch and Saw, to help you connect to your center in a different way.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

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Hi everybody, I'm really happy to be here and we're gonna do some reformer. So I have it set up almost for my foot and leg work. I'm gonna do three reds and a blue, which to me is very heavy lately, so I'm gonna do that but first we're gonna warm up. I have my foot bar down, my headrest down. Doing a bit of a floor workout and we'll get going from there.

So have a seat once you've set your equipment up. Get right near the edge, roll yourself back and take a moment to decide what you're going to try to get out of whatever I ask you to do. And I do think that that's pretty much an alternative or an option in any workout you go to or you give yourself. So I'm just finding my feet on the foot plate I suppose you'd call it, or the edge of the frame, toes resting on the foot bar that's down. Taking a minute just feeling where I'm at.

And these days, I gotta do that. I gotta know where I'm at so I can know where I'm gonna go. I have an intention. I'm not trying to impart that on you. I think you should impart one on yourself.

Where do you wanna go and I'll do my best to flow and not interrupt too much. Inhale, find your feet, find some sense of stability. Roll yourself up to your pelvis, warming up. I could tell you when to breathe. I don't have to.

It's a bit of a habit. Inhale here at the top, but find the inner seam of your leg, the outer seam of your leg. Find straight ahead and straight behind and roll down and then exhale. And inhale. Then re-looking at Return to Life, as I sometimes do, that's the book in your health pamphlet that Joseph Pilates wrote with help.

Inhale, exhale, a little down and somewhere in there I keep finding that the shapes and the breath matter, not just 'cause you have to breathe or it's a certain structure that, to the breath, keep going, just rolling up and rolling down. But the shaping can help when you exhale and when you inhale. And if you go so far in believing this method is about getting the stale air out and the positive air in to the breath that lets that happen. For me I inhale down here, I fill up, I exhale not so forcefully but I am trying to get everything out and that curve helps. The curve helps so that when I'm done with the exhale I get to inhale.

Not even trying it just happens. You can come back down. Let's do two more. It's not to add strain. Those exhales are not to add strain.

It is to get it all out though and in doing so you kind of start to notice things. Last one. I'm fidgety today. That's what I'm noticing. What about you?

Bit of an exploration. Okay that's enough of that. Let's take your arms around, I'm holding the post because I have them. You can take your arms up to a tee. You could hold on to the frame if you're that flexible.

You can even leave your arms down but I'm bringing the knees up to this side of 90 and just letting my knees drape to one side. Keeping them lined up, warming the spine up a little bit more than it was coming in and that definitely depends on where you are in your day. If you just woke up you might need a little more, you might need to do a little pre warm-up but for the most part it's just like checking things out isn't it. We don't have to go all out on any one exercise. We'd go where we want to and then perhaps we look for more.

Just keeping the knees together, reaching to one side. For me I have to think about almost pressing the ribs down or sometimes I think soften but today it feels a little bit more like a press to get the ribs and then the pelvis follows. One more each way. To the front, to the back, and to the center. From there just put your feet back down.

You may need to slide away from the shoulder blocks, I'm not sure. I'm gonna lace my fingers behind my head, let the elbows come up enough that I can see them. I have, well we need to know, I sometimes come in with stress so I'm just letting my head fall back and letting my spine move the rest of me. Inhale at the top, exhale, stretch yourself back down between those shoulder blocks. Inhale, exhale.

I'm just sort of checking in when I do this kind of a warm-up and what are the ranges I can accomplish easily. What are the things that make me feel stressed? What are the things that make me feel tight? So I'm just going to tap into pretty much a little bit of everything. Inhale and exhale.

You might take longer to do it. I'm not gonna spend a whole lot of time doing it but I do just like to go, okay, maybe I'll add in this or that, no matter what I've planned based on how I feel. Inhaling at the bottom is how I'm doing it generally. Exhale curling up. And I'm kind of getting stuck here so I'm gonna invite you to join me to reach forward, grab the legs, pull yourself more forward.

Oh yeah, now I know I can do it, I just wasn't. So now I know I got to let that enter into the equation and inhale. I'm coming up, I'm staying up, I'm doing the same thing just to get me there one more time. Pulling myself forward, take the arms up, we're going to keep the height of your body and we'll rotate toward the window so the elbows are where they were, slightly in front. You're supporting your head, going to the other side, your knees are still, your neck is long but it's curved if you know.

It's real easy to jut the chin forward. Trying not to fall back in the middle. One more each way, to the front, to the back, and back to the center. Reach forward, grab the legs, pull yourself up a little higher, stay there, let the knees come up but put them together, the feet together, reach everything back for the double leg stretch. One, pull it way and go ahead and pull the hips up.

Get that stretch. This is where you get to press the air out, right. Let it go. Inhale, fill up but not so much that you arch or anything weird. Exhale, squeeze it out, use your shape to squeeze out the air.

Let's go quicker now and in to go out, in, it's okay to let the hips come up but of course they go right back down. It's kind of nice to feel that a little bit of a hug too isn't it? Three and pull in. Two and from there hold it in. Extend the left leg, hold that right leg in.

Slide the shin, the skin of the shin right up to you but bring the bone underneath it with you. Reach the other leg long, switch, hold it. Just feel it, check your alignment, your kind of inner thighs are almost skimming past. Let's go quick. Let's go in, in, blowout.

In, feel that thigh bone pressing against you to force it out, come up to it. Elbows wide, in, in, out, out, one more set, in, in, out, out, both knees in, let your head go down. Take your breath, keep your shins and knees where they are, curl right back up against that, keep it, lift your hips it's okay, I know. Hands behind your head, rotate towards the front, extend the other leg but this time press the foot into the knee, rotate, go ahead and push against that shoulder block, bring that knee in, switch, feel it on the other side. Press, press, press, that means both legs are pressing into each other.

Oh my goodness. Switch a little quicker. It's in, in, stay up, out, out, in, in, get it in there, out, out, in, in, and out, that's it bring it together. Let your feet go down. Let your arms go down by your side.

We'll do another roll up so position your feet So you feel secure. Checking where my bar is. Okay and peel up. Now that you've done that we're a little warmer, right? Balance out your feet as best you can.

Push into your feet, use them, push the thigh bones up once you can't push down any more with the feet. Find that long line. Wherever your ribs are it matters, it does. We're not going for a back arch here. We're going for, oh there's the back of my body.

And down we roll. And again up. Step into it. Try not to grip with the toes too much. More from the thigh bones going upward.

Find the stretch in the quads. Knees still point straight ahead and down. And then just to kind of again I said wanting to tap into not just rotation and supine position, I'm gonna turn away from you, actually I'll turn toward you, you can turn toward me and we can just lie on our side. I'd like this one actually with my arm overhead. So see how you feel with that.

We have somewhat of an advantage and a disadvantage to having the legs a little higher if you have a bar like mine. You could move up or you could do all of this on the floor next time if you prefer. Hand is down or on the shoulder block. I'm having it down. We're just going to exhale and lift and lift and down.

Try not to tense up through the leg. I mean, sorry, through the neck. You're just finding that side body. So we're like telling the brain, okay, ready, Cause guess what? It all has to contribute.

Just two more. Not getting very high because we started kind of high, right? If you're flat on the ground, you get a little lift maybe. Cool, let's go the other side. Don't be fooled, we're gonna move.

We just gotta be ready. Exhale, lift and down and lift, not really looking for a big change in the waistline or anything like that. I'm just trying to keep it active even as it comes down. Sometimes I think the bottom like is pressing into the top and sometimes it's just like it's one leg and I really focus on the top of the waist. One more.

Right, Bend your knees to help yourself up. We'll do just one little back extension here and that is to come to quadripod position. Your feet can either hang off or just be back on the near the shoulder sorry the bar. From here extend your left leg out. Extend it long and then I just caught myself thinking about my next move and I was sort of dipping down so just be strong about it and by that I mean lifted really.

It's not pushing hard, I'm taking the opposite arm off and going for a reach. I don't even mind if the shoulder comes up though it doesn't really need to. Bring it down. Everything's square. The other leg goes out first, lift it keeping it totally straight.

There's so many exercises that require the hamstrings and glutes to be in part of. You want to feel that now if you're just lifting your leg, for one you're gonna hate class and be bored already but if you really think and reach out, oh okay, that's where it comes from my glute, my butt, my hamstring. That's the place you're gonna need when the exercises do get harder. Other arm is off. You're reaching, you're trying for level.

Don't let those arm or the arm and leg splay to the side either. Put it back down, that's gonna be enough for now. Turn around, have a seat and just straddle it if you can or unload your springs to probably a medium or a full spring. I'm going to put one red on. I'm gonna do spine stretch if that tells you anything about your resistance.

You could use no spring and still be on the floor for this part of the warm-up. Backing up just to be near the shoulder blocks but not to rest on them. This one could go heavier for some of you. I kind of like feeling it and working with the resistance as it is but I sometimes will go a little heavier for this one. All right so what I did is just put my hands in the strap sort of naturally, the thumb is the only thing out.

Sitting as tall as I can, flexing the feet, send the arms out and then feel how the straps connect to the hands, the hands to the shoulders. We're going to inhale from the mat work, exhale, you round forward, the arms don't really do much here. They're just a lever to the spring. flex feet, round forward, round forward, the arms can come down a little but more than anything you're just using your spine and you roll back up. Remember the shape and the breaths.

Exhale, it's not that you're reaching with your arms, they're moving and they are reaching but they're you're keeping those collar bones wide. Feet are strongly flexed, get your forehead down, get it down, get it down, and when you run out of air you can't help but come up and you know it's true when you do it. Thinking up and over up and over. I don't know what you think. Just get there, how's that, and see what happens.

I'm gonna do two more. By the way I'm somewhat engaged, well I'm very engaged with the inner thigh. Collar bones wide, check it, check it, check it, get your forehead down or your crown would be even better. Inhale, oh, almost makes you lightheaded when you do it. Last one .

It's like your spine is being pressed backwards almost like a cannonball to the stomach where everything else wants to go forward in opposition. And sit back up, come back in, I'm gonna lighten it a little bit more for this saw, I recommend it. It's not fun if you don't have a pretty light spring. If once you try it it feels too heavy still based on spring tensions of your reformer, just put these babies down and do a saw. Simple, all right, feet are flexed, I went a little wider with my feet.

I'm hoping I'm sitting up straight, I feel my sits bones, I'll find out later when I look it back if I do. We are going to rotate toward the front and that forward arm went loose on the strap but I'm still sitting tall. This one's really reaching. Oh, it's almost too heavy. Catch the tension on both, the spinal column turns you, makes you lose tension in that first one.

I said saw didn't I? We'll get there, got to get to the basics first right? Catch the tension, your hips don't move and that's why I like to lightly touch the shoulder block so I know how much I'm deviating at the hips. One more to the back, getting that twist, use the inner thighs, sit tall. Ooh, I pulled with my arm that time, I won't do it again.

So spinal column twists. When you get as far as you can don't worry about going all the way over. You start to hinge. I'm doing more of a hinge today. Turn the backhand however you're comfortable but you take it forward and you make it about the spine still, not just that forward shoulder.

Come back up, make sure you are upright, and then come back to the place you know you'll catch tension. Rotate again, spinal column. Don't use that arm Christy. Hinging forward, as you hinge forward with the feet flexed you can keep rotating but make sure it's coming from there otherwise you'll wrap yourself up in those cords. Two more, keep it, lift it.

No one said it was gonna be easy. Go, go, go. The truth is is I'm totally aware I'm rounding but if I think of hinging a little bit more I stay in both the hamstrings a little tiny bit of back extension but I also have a shot at keeping my hips still. Huh that's enough of that. Let's put those away.

Put your springs back on for the footwork. And again, I'm going to red and a blue which is it's heavy, it's heavy for me, pick heavy-ish for you with what you have to work with. And I'm gonna do something I don't always do but I have a reason for it which is how I like to do things usually, not always. I put my foot bar quite high for me and it's because I want to come in lower than normal so I'm at the highest position I can bring five four. It doesn't, that's not exactly gonna correlate to why or how it works but I want to get under there a little and make sure that I get closer to a squat.

It has its advantages and disadvantages but most of all I like to do it differently sometimes. Headrest up or down, it's up to you, mine is down. Feet are parallel. I've ground it, I feel already the hamstrings and the glutes and off I go. Press out and I come in and so I'm probably just getting to 90 maybe a little underneath that or further I should say.

And it just feels like good. What it does challenges me to work my hamstrings more because I could just focus on the quads but now I'm challenging that. Let's do a few more here. Pressing out, rolling in. I'm also trying to stay level in my trunk in other words I'm not rounding my low back or pelvis.

Next one come down, stay down, and go to the balls of the feet. So now if you're really tall this is not you're probably always work like this so you just stay where you normally are. Keep those heels still, you're gonna feel some shift in your ankle just because it has to hinge there now otherwise you're grounded. Get those hands flat, the collarbones wide, press all the way out, pull all the way in, press all the way out, please don't be afraid of straightening your knees but stay engaged right. You don't get out there and chill out for a second.

No, no time for that right. It's out and a placement and it's a pull back in. Out in place and pull back in. One more time. Out, come back and not much needs to happen other than you land and swivel from the hips, not by a lot, heels touch, off we go.

Out, hold it, check it out, I can tell I could go straighter, I don't want to because I think I'm there but I know me well enough now that I can lengthen out the front of my hips. How about you? It's okay if the heels come apart really. I mean get the knees straight. get the leg straight.

Hope the heels come together. So don't miss tricks but for now let's just make sure we finish the action, that you're still engaged in the end of it, that you're not dropping tension through the knees. I play with the breath here so I have no idea which way I started. I typically exhale going out but sometimes I inhale going out so I'd like you to choose that for yourself and I'll try not to make a big deal out of it. Come all the way in, take your heels on the outer edges of the frame, let's keep it not parallel because we couldn't but not super turned out either.

Ground yourself, recheck your spine, keep it that way, off we go, one, pull all the way. Find the adduction, the inner thigh connection that is not just drawing your legs in and straight but somehow traveling up into the trunk or the column of your body. Just give you a sense of standing, a sense of strength through the center line of your body. I'm doing one more time. All the way, prove it to yourself, kind of do a little shimmy, heel, heel, heel, heel, heel because you get one more chance on the toes and it's a little less grounded sometimes.

So you've got most of the toes on and off we go. From that point it's almost like your feet are just stuck there and all the I could say muscles but it's almost like the breath fills up the spring depending on which way you're going but either way it's not about just pushing on the feet and it's certainly not about riding home. Give yourself about four more of your own repetition and pace all the way though in both directions. I'm on my second of those four. And ah you know of the zillions of times I've done that series I can't wait to do the next zillion it just belongs.

I'm going to parallel balls of the feet. Push out all the way to straight. Prove that you're straight. Prove that you haven't dropped into your knees. How do you do that?

For me it's almost like I'm going to contract as I hyperextend, almost have to think like I'm gonna bend my knee. It doesn't mean I'm softening and I'm not. I'm active and then we lower the heels. We push up, we lower the heels further, we push up. The body's just going with us.

The carriage is going with us. Carriage is supporting us, that's the beauty of the reformer really and also the downside. Try this standing upright without a carriage, same exercise. Really take a few breaths, just feel the feet, move them around a little, move the toes. Can you wrap them around your bar?

Is it painful? What's going on for you? I'm just going to notice it. You'll find ways for yourself. I'm staying up on this one.

Next one stay up. Let the left heel go down, the right knee goes straight up, you did not shift your hips, use just the left side to push you up to switch sides. So you get all the way up to the top and down. We can go faster now if you know it. Go for it and up and down and up and down.

I'm on a wood reformer on a wood floor with felt on the bottom of it. I'm not pushing it, am I, I hope and the point I'm making hopefully is that it isn't about pushing from just the foot, it's a sense of lift. Of holding ever so slightly everywhere just to be ready. Up and down and up and down, up and down and up and down. I'm doing one more, here it is, both up, I got a stretch, take one down and just leave it there.

you could even, I'm not going to use, it feels heavy for me but you could even take this free foot and pull underneath it, meaning hook under the bar, it feels a bit plenty to me. I'm going to switch, oh, and then you could play with if you're gonna roll into the big toe or the little toe. And before we even come down for one sec let's put the arches on just no big deal, arches on right in the middle, give yourself a little accu-pressure. You just sort of almost like stomping and moving my feet out and in, getting the arch of the foot to feel something. I don't know my acupressure points but I'm hitting a lot of them I can tell you that right now.

Alright come on down. Let's lighten up the springs. I'm not going to do single leg today so let's do a little bit more of what we call the bottom lifted bassy. We'll make it nice and challenging. I'm lightening it but I take two full springs off from the four I had so I have a red and a blue.

You could go a little heavier. I probably should because this isn't, oh you know what else I'm gonna do? I'm lowering my bar unless you are smaller stature than five, five four I would lower that from where we just were if you were playing with it like I was because we're gonna do a bottom lift that means a pelvic curl on a light spring without moving the carriage she says. Headrest down please, no matter where it was, for this one. Heels in parallel, feet, my feet are apart, I gotta call up those hamstrings that's why I talked about them earlier.

I'm gonna peel up on an exhale just like how we started. Oh, yeah I moved it. I'll work on it. Stand on your arms, pull yourself back to the stopper if you moved away from it. Stretch out the front, inhale, hold it here, exhale, roll down.

Try to stay on the stopper. That's where the heavier spring helps right. So change it now if it's going to frustrate you otherwise just know it'll move a little. Exhale, peel up, the idea is that you're finding the space in your spine. You're standing on your arms and your feet.

You're helping yourself where you can. Feeling the hamstrings, inhale, exhale down, almost softening in the middle, softening where you can. Inhale, oops, exhale, roll up. So note to self, I'll have to practice this a little heavier next time. I'm kind of liking the challenge.

I do think I'm hitting it, I'm just not hitting it cleanly. And come on down. I can live with that. In, oops, exhale up, we'll add to it so we get to move it. This feels so satisfying.

Up we go, up we go, you're gonna want those triceps firmly into the ground, collarbones wide, push out, not all the way, you're gonna go three-quarters of the way, and your back does lower because if it didn't you'd be in a weird arch and then you pull yourself back in, re-lift that slantboard, go out again, and believe and you're working equally on both feet, you don't get lighter on one than the other so nothing gets to give up here. And out and in, don't turn those feet out. Don't make yourself have to put a ball between your knees, imagine it, one more, come in, all the way, all the way, all the way, hit it, roll down, stay on it, stay on it, stay on it or practice it next time. Talking to myself. Oh hug the knees in.

Yeah so whether you're on one and a half or two you should be pretty good for this next one. You might want to lighten it if you're a heavy. We're going into just a little bit of ab work here. We've done some so putting some resistance on the strap. We can leave the bar up or you can take it down if it's easy.

I'm gonna move on. Exhale, curl up, stay there, reaching out long. Reach so far that you really feel the shoulders move down then let them come back up. Like the straps are almost like you're almost like on a hanger and then turn everything out. The legs and the arms, open everything wide.

Don't let the arms dip below the carriage. Exhale, squeeze the air out, reach almost underneath your hips, try not to tuck your pelvis. Whoo, a lot of words for a little exercise. Inhaling open, you can flex and close, and open, fill up, and close. Feet don't really matter in this, I just got all fancy on myself.

Two more, stay up on it, come on. Blow out the air so it's easy to inhale, fill up, last one, stay forward with it, bend the knees, come on down, feet on the bar, step out to put one foot in, step into it put the other foot in. I wish I didn't have to adjust there but I did so I did. bend the Frog. Take a moment if you stuck a thumb or finger right in the crease of your hip and your thigh it gets wedged in there.

All right if you're really tucked, it's not so good. I find that there's a ball and socket joint there should be that space so look for that and let that happen even on this light spring. Let the springs work with you. Work against them and with them. That's what it's for.

Inhaling, Bend, exhale, straighten. You don't have to recruit what you don't need to recruit. You could even pretend you didn't have Springs on here at all or even try it with a very light spring but some. It's not easy so think of that maybe. Staying out with straight legs on the next one.

I just bring them up to kind of get my start position. My legs are still out. You can aim for 90, you could I wouldn't go much beyond it there's not a real strong point for that that I can think of but do firmly keep the legs together as they go down. Let them come apart as far as you want provided you don't change the hip placement much. Exhale.

Always reminding myself about those hyper-extended knees. I'm not softening them. That's not helpful. It's action. It's the intent to almost bend them but I don't that recruits that muscle I need to support the knee joint.

If I do that I don't have to overly tighten my feet. On the next one finish the exhale going down or once you get down just pause. Make sure you're where you want to be reverse. Inhaling up open and exhale. It's just a bit of a stirring up of the hip joint that I don't know where else we get this and for not dancers which we, me, are not, I mean unless you count my living room.

Drawing that big circle, feeling the bony landmarks on your back or whatever just enjoy it. That's even nicer, stay down on your next one. Just firmly reaching, it's the only word I have, and then get those inner thighs together. Try for the whole length of the leg. Open now, select or not, just bring it back together.

Try and touch the heels together but keep the D straight. Inhaling open. If you stay sort of on the same level and you don't press down or up, you gotta feel that pretty quickly especially if you don't try too hard. I know that's weird but true. It's so good at over recruiting, overdoing sometimes to the extent of missing the whole point.

Give yourself one more. Should we take a stretch? Go higher though if we do and then take the stretch out to the side. If that's too much already you can come out of it generally, if you let them come higher it's okay, you can even take the outside of the strap and either rest your hands on top, from inside it's actually the one I like, or you can pull from the outside sort of lets you feel like you're under more control either way but then play with keeping the hips down so they'll want to roll up and just sort of gently gently counterbalance that. To get out of it because it is such a big stretch I do hold underneath and I literally lift them up so I don't have to work myself out of that.

Bend the knees, uh yeah, and take yourself out. Put those away, come off the side. I'm leaving my spring tension. I'm heading into a knee stretch series. Now you could go lighter and really focus on the abs.

I'm wanting to focus again on the back side of the body or the hamstrings a little bit so that I feel more under control. Sort of the state of my being but you can lighten it. You can even go heavier, a little heavier, I'm still on that red and a blue. All right hands are pretty wide. I think just off your shoulders.

Sit back, got those toes curled under, and then from there just scooping underneath finding the round curve to the back, head down, arms are straight and strong, that's not going to change, using the legs to push the carriage out but not so much to change the whole spine. Exhale, pull in, and the emphasis is that in. Little strong position, it's sort of everything this one. Next one hold it in. From there just change your position to flat back, it looks a little more arched than flat but even out the pressure on the toe.

Same thing maybe a little bigger. Looking forward or slightly up. Pulling it in. Find almost a stretch and a contraction in your abs without changing the spine. That isometric, let's go four more.

One, hinge at the hips, two, three, and four. All the way in, you could lighten it, I'm just going to keep it like this today. Just shifting forward to bring myself up to what we call the up stretch position. My heels lowered a little. Looking for a flatter back so I'm not rounded over this brings like sometimes it's taught.

I'm intending to reach the tailbone up, lengthen the back, collar bones wide, push the carriage back, exhale and almost like you're gonna lift your feet off the carriage let the spring bring you home with assistance from your abs pull. For me the breath is kind of everything. Exhaling to pull in that's how I connect with my abs. Legs are actually quite relaxed other than staying straight. So push, you can look for a little glute or hamstring back there but it's light.

One more time. Changing it to what we call up stretch to we being bassy and we flip it into a plank. Just spiraling around those shoulders then we just go back. The hips and the shoulders hinge but the body doesn't travel a whole lot meaning I don't glide on the reformer. Hit it and pull it back.

Alright now that you kind of know the position you go a little quicker but really be strong with it. Boom and inhale and exhale and inhale. We'll change it on this one. We'll call it up stretch three, inhale to the plank, hold, glide forward all the way in that plank, hit the stopper, stay on the stopper, come back to the pyramid. Inhale to the plank, glide all the way and hinge back.

Again press and pull, pull, pull. That's where it's hard on that light spring isn't it? Reverse it so keep the kick stopper where it is, hinge forward from under those shoulders, armpits even, slide back and hinge around the same spots. Travel forward with the body, carriage didn't move. You glide, push yourself back, come in, again, last one.

Back, back, back and in. Lower the heels, lift the toes or at least in for a second so you can see where you distribute your weight and try to even it out then I don't really care about the toes from there just like the first position pull, push and pull. This one's almost better with the light one so just pretend if it's not already there. It's like someone's pulling you up at the waist. It's not the hips.

It's not right here in front of the hip joint. Try for higher, that's where you're almost hinging. This one's more rounded than that first one we did. So two more so you can look for that. Right, come down to your knees, adjust your feet, again back to the shoulder blocks.

Do your best to get the whole foot on there. That's new for me after 20 years. I think I've got it. Let's see if I can keep it. From there just keep it on the carriage, on the stopper as long as you can and then you come into the sort of reverse c position pushing upward and away from the bar.

Heels into the shoulder blocks, push back, keep the shape, and come in. This is one of those shapes again. It doesn't change but it does help with where you breathe. I'm exhaling back to keep it easy on myself. Push with the legs.

Exhaling back and then I inhale naturally and it just brings me home. The biggest mistake I made for years and years and years and years and years was as I came in I gave up on the legs. Right here push into the shoulder block. You almost don't need your arms and it becomes a whole different exercise. Push into the shoulder block as you come in.

Stay in on this one, keep the shape, come up to your fingertips, keep the shape, I'm serious. Arms up and just came down. Coming off to one side for a stretch. So for me it's my left leg, right foot is in front, and just going to, let's lighten it, make it easy on that part of it so I'm down to one red spring. And for me I want to I know I'll get the stretch in a second but I want to think of that last position we were just in, the down stretch, the arch, it's the same thing with one leg only we're going to add more to it for a stretch.

Push into the shoulder block again but from the pelvis up I'm going the other way in my head anyway. Might not look like that I'm even thinking of attempting to tuck the pelvis so I'm not just giving into it right so it's the leg bone going backwards from the pubic bone up the other way if you think that way otherwise just look for the stretch in the front of your left hip that might work too. Not all the keys. It's always going to be about opposition though I mean really always, not just in the studio. From there all I did was adjust my foot so I didn't slide and I've hinged back to straighten the forward leg.

I'm making it straight, I took my toes off the ground too. You don't have to do that part but I'm looking for a hamstring now on that leg that's on the ground. Flat back will matter, if you don't feel it what I would do is bring the carriage more forward close to the stopper and stick your butt up. You might have to even bend the forward leg to really feel it believe it or not. Alright you could repeat that, it would be a good idea.

I'll meet you on the other side, I'm not repeating it. I mean I'm repeating it on the other side but I'm not doing it twice. I often do just so the body would give into it a little more. All right I'm thinking down stretch again. My posture is about that and now as I push the thigh bone back I'm just trying not to let the rest of me go with me with my leg I guess.

Sinking into it I can think as long as I want or as low as I want to but not again you don't give into the range, you look for the stretch, you're the boss. I'm not done, you had another breath or so, fill up, and then the forward leg here all we did was just to take the position back, going to make sure your foot is secure sometimes I have to adjust that because I need a subtle change and then check out whether or not you're opening up the hips sorta toward the carriage. If you want to keep that as square and for most of us we have to actually think of pulling this forward hip of the straight leg back. Yeah and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention your foot. What's it doing?

Is it rolling out? Is it rolling in? Try for kind of straight ahead and up. All right come on back. And let's do a little reverse knee stretch.

This one you're gonna want light. I'm trying to, if I need our bar up any more, no I don't think we do so let's get rid of that. That down and I had the one spring on at that point. I'm still gonna be on one spring but it's going to be the lightest one I or the blue, pretty much the lightest I have. Okay, psyching up, knees on at the shoulder blocks.

walk yourself out if you have one full spring only in a four spring situation you just might need to do fewer but I think it'll be alright, I really do. So I take my hands out beyond my shoulders just so that I can engage the I guess lats. Pull myself over. Did I take off, is that that heavy? Oh my goodness, it is light but it doesn't feel like it.

Here we go. Drawing the shoulders down to get my shoulders now beyond my wrist. I'm not gonna go so far that I have to worry about my thumb's but it's not a bad idea to have them over the top too. From here remember our knee stretch. Make the curve of the spine include the head and then you deepen the curve of the spine to send the knees forward.

Oh good thing I moved my thumbs. And watch the shoulders, don't hunch up, it's literally almost like you're pushing down on the frame almost lifting the knees off to then bend the spine and of course the hip flexors are hugely involved in this. I'm not saying they're not. It's probably more involved but they send it forward. Trying to avoid the flat back on this one for a change.

And one more while we're out here, we can do it. Grab the ends, if you have the ends high grab them, if you have low grab there or go outside what were the straps are. I'll go low just in case, from here you've definitely flatten out your back and you use the arms almost primarily once you've established that the shoulders are down. Hold forward so it feels a little bit like I'm diving forward but in essence I'm not. I'm just using the lats, the triceps, biceps, everything so my elbows are pointed down for now and then you can go wider with them.

A little adjustment to the hand and you pull wide and almost like you're pushing away. Pull wide, pushing away. To do it from the top it's the same thing really, it's where I'm used to doing it so that's where I'll do it now for the last few. Two more. Try for straight, almost straight, or fully straight with the arms if you can.

Getting you ready for that cadillac pull up then you carefully bring yourself back. Ride it on home, sit tall and from here we're gonna finish up with a back extension so just grab a box if you don't have a box you'll go to the floor right now and do some swimming. Okay so this is the only box exercise I'll do and again you can do this on the floor. You can either do swimming which is to lie face down and alternate the arms much like we did in that very first series of exercises where we did one leg off and then the other. You can even repeat that.

I am gonna head into breast stroke and I'm gonna keep it light so I still have it on that one blue spring on this balance body. You can go heavier though it's up to you. It's not gonna be a high exercise meaning we won't get real high with it. I have my thumb's in, standing on the back just to lean into it so I want to keep the arms close because I want to be healthy and safe. Lying over the box, it's about shoulders just over the box is about how I'd say it.

I might adjust depending on how I feel today but it's you don't want to be too far over the box if anything be more on the back side of it. Elevate the legs not just because you have to lift them but because you've engaged them. You've reached them. You pulled the abs in and you've kept the legs strong. The forearms are right next to your upper arm.

Okay this is a great one to do on the floor if you'd rather do that with me and you're not using a box. It's a really really good one so from here we're gonna inhale, extend the arms, if they can get higher, do. I am thinking to lift my back, it's not gonna look like it. I come all the way around to my hips with those straight arms, my back theoretically lifted, and then I skim as if I were lying on the floor back to the start. Let's go, inhale, keep inhaling if you can as you lift the spine.

Exhale, bring it home and down. Inhale, come round, and so good for the shoulder, feels so good. If it doesn't, it's probably not good for the shoulders but it's a good one generally if you keep those shoulders away from the ears. And bring it home. Can we do two more?

Yes, inhale, come round, all the way, get there, get there, fold, make sure you're not dipping down, last one. The dipping down is the part right here. We don't circle down, you come right around the side. While I hold on to the box, step yourself off, let it glide back in and then we'll get rid of the box. Take it off to the side and let's just finish with a mermaid.

I think that would be a nice way to end this. I'll face away from you on the first one. I'm putting the bar back up. Goes to the mid-range for me and the springs will probably feel more solid on a full spring or a red spring in some cases for two springs but usually just one is fine. Lining up your shin with the shoulder blocks.

My front leg is just in a figure 4 position. I'll face you, that makes more sense doesn't it? Hand about the middle and then you can see it's not just because my long arms although I do have very long arms it's because I'm close so I want to make it where it's already ready. I'm off the stopper. This is my start and finish position.

Hopefully from there I engage under the shoulder and I'm just gonna lean out. I am using my shin, why would I not? I have one and it's connected to something and it helps me feel connected to the reformer. From there it's the spine, it's the spine, it's the whole calm, rotate, it's more than the spine of course, reopen, carriage doesn't do much. You come back and keep the arm straight and the shoulder down.

That's it, here we go, inhale, exhale. This way you start to get the feel like, hey, I did it. It took some time for myself. I moved what I have. I'm alive.

I'm just doing those three. Come all the way in, I don't have my hip down, I think about trying but not a force holding this shoulder block or something that helps you bring that arm up. If you can try to get the bicep to your ear without turning your head then go up to take your stretch. It's not as good if it's like this, I'd rather you'd be upright with a straight arm. Yeah, doesn't always feel that way but yeah.

Okay, yes, just say yes, switch to the other side. Get kind of comfy as upright as you can without any pain. Check how long your arms are. Maybe this one's shorter, I don't know, anyway we're off. It all feels good at this point.

I do have to personally remind myself about that shin. It's really easy to let that go and put it all in the arm and so even as I come in and up there's a sense of opposition. Number two. Pushing out, once I'm there I try to hold it and just rotate around and may or may not get to the foot bar with the other arm. Open and up one more.

Open and up. Holding onto the shoulder block, the post, your other knee, whatever you want. Find the most upright position you can with the straight arm and then it's up and over. It's trying to find the stretch. It's trying to feel good.

At least today it is where I put it. and unwind yourself. Roll onto the edge of your reformer and then just take one foot over the other you can stretch out the leg if it feels too tight but try to come to the edge where you can actually sit upright and that might be enough. It's pretty close for me but if it's not you can support your ankle and just guide the knee down but keep the back straight. If you start bending away too much it's your indicator to move the leg out.

Take a deep breath in and when you exhale let it all go out, out, out, out, out. You kind of have to force it but if it don't hunker down and so it's easy to inhale, everything lifts up and you change sides. I'm just guiding. It feels good. It's all right.

Pleasure is good. We worked hard enough I think, if not come back, do it again, there's more to choose from. And let's just set the leg down and just collectively take the breath. You set your own intention, I hope you fulfilled it if not you have more time. Come back, take a deep breath in, or just take it out into your day and exhale.

I'm doing one more breath here. I don't want to do anything with my arms or anything else. I'm just gonna take one more breath and we'll be on our way. Inhale. Thank you very much for joining me.

See you next time.

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Valya Karcher
Great workout Kristi! Thank you!
Even Kristi's casual conversation is insightful. Thank you.
Thank you Kristi, that felt really, really good!
Thank you Valya, HK and Dorit! I'm glad you like this class!
2 people like this.
Thank you Kristi! Love your classes! I normally dread knee stretch series and sometimes fast forward. For some reason your cuing was spot on!
1 person likes this.
Love love love!! Thank you Kristi! Besides being an awesome class loved having 50 min of Kristi time! T x
4 people like this.
Great class and awesome leggings
1 person likes this.
Love this class, especially the focus on breathing and connecting with the back of the legs. There are some great cues - i hadn't thought about pushing the shin into the shoulder blocks on the mermaid, but it feels great.
1 person likes this.
Love the creativity of this workout.
Love this class. Thank you!
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