Class #3268

Day 2: Breath

30 min - Class


Welcome to Day 2! Today we focus on the principle of breathing and how important it is to your practice. Meredith uses the Magic Circle to help you visualize your breath and to add resistance so you can get deeper into the center of your body.
What You'll Need: Mat, Magic Circle

About This Video


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Welcome back to day two. So, so, so grateful that you are all here with me. Hopefully back for day two and I'm here with you. And today we're going to talk about breath. So breath is a super important principle, concept, part of Pilates.

Why? Because we need to breathe. And we breathe in Pilates in a really specific way, right? So what I'd like to do is we're gonna take this magic circle and we're gonna use the magic circle to make, envision, imagine. So when you think about your core, the center of your body, you can think about it like a cylinder, it's cylindrical shaped right? It has a side and a side, a side and a side.

It has a top and a bottom, right? A top and a bottom, and a side and a side so with every breathe, that we take, we can imagine what's happening in our body. So I like to think about the bottom of my circle, my cylinder being the pelvic floor and the top of the cylinder, being the diaphragm, right? Which rises and lowers. And then the sides can be the abdominals, so the sides can be the ribs, what are the ribs doing when we breath?

And also we have a front and a back right? The abdominal muscles and the back muscles, so without further ado, if you have a circle, that's awesome. If you don't you can just imagine that you have one. So let's just come into a Pilates stance. A small V shaped position and then just draw in on the abdominals and lift and stand tall.

So holding the ring in your hands, what I'd like for you to do is bend your elbows and as you bend your elbows, pull the ring apart. And see if you can make your ribs expand in the direction that you're pulling the ring. And then as you exhale put a little pressure not from the hands so much but from the upper arm and close the ribs and send the arms forward. And inhale, pull the ring apart, so there's an expansion and then can we find all of those points, the pelvic floor, the front and the back body connecting the diaphragm right? Which as we exhale is floating.

It's floating, it lifts on the exhale and as we inhale it drops, it drops and that's why we widen, we widen the ribs to make space. For that air, for that air right? Where we'd normally be letting our belly pull in and out, so we're making space right? For the air, I didn't say that very well but we get it right? So usually the belly pulls out and pulls in that's a natural action of the body when we're doing diaphragmatic breathing with lateral breathing, we're trying to bring our awareness into that expansion and contraction around the trunk.

So with that in mind come to the mat. Rest the ring just underneath your knees. Lift your spine tall. What I want you to feel is that you're drawing your upper arms down where it's to apply downward pressure into the underside of the knees, the underneath of the kneecap, inhale. As you exhale, round your spine and feel that you're drawing your abdominals back so much and rounding so much through your spine that maybe you're even enabling yourself to get a little bit of a back stretch and then press the ring down into the shins, the knees and lift the back and inhale.

And exhale, round. So the ring is acting as resistance and pull away from it. And then pull it apart so you're not gonna feel a lot there you'll feel sensation, bring awareness to that sensation and then press into the ring as you contract. We're gonna do that one more time with the ring as it is. Inhale, open the ring, open the body.

And exhale, close the ring, and from here, lift the ring off the knees. We're gonna continue to round back. Let's use an exhale. So finding the lower back against the mat. Let's inhale to lengthen the arms up over head, challenging the height of the curl.

Exhale to bring the arm down in front of you. Inhale, fill up, do that pulling apart that gentle pulling apart of the ring. Inhale, exhale, contract into an upper arms press in. Deepen through the spine, deepen as you come down to your lower back. Pause there.

Inhale, arms reach up, exhale, arms reach down. Inhale for nothing, or just to pause. Exhale curl up. And inhale, I just changed the breath on us but that's okay. I might change it again just for fun.

Exhale it around. And roll back. And let's inhale and exhale to roll up, up, up, up, up, up. And lift the body up and inhale. And exhale reach forward, round we're gonna take some rotation right now.

So here we go, on the inhale. We're gonna take one arm over the other arm, or one hand over the other hand like the ring is a steering wheel and center. So can you imagine as you're rotating from side to side, that you're ringing out through the center of your body you're ringing out through the trunk. And what, could we just keep our eyes right in the center of the ring, so the ring is moving around the spine is moving around, but the eye sight, or the gaze stays consistent. One more time.

Center. Center and then come all the way down onto the mat. So we're gonna scoot the feet in a little bit and what I want you to do now is to bring the ring in between your knees and we're gonna play with, can we use the legs to bring the awareness to the center of the body or the awareness around the breath to the center of the body? And I'm gonna make a suggestion that we can. So let's let the ring separate, inhale, think of all that same thing you were doing with your arms, your ribs, slide together your abdominals pull back, and you apply pressure on the ring bringing the knees into alignment, so they're just over the ankles, parallel.

Inhale open. Filling up and exhale press. And inhale open, and exhale press. And inhale open, we'll do two more. And exhale press.

And inhale open, and exhale press, now hold the press, hold the legs parallel. Standing on the arms meaning long, strong arms, begin to roll the spine up. So we reach the ring out in space we lift the hips up high inhale, and exhale and remember that everywhere you're putting that inward pressure on the ring happens from the center of the body. The awareness around using the breath to create contraction into the center of the body and release and inhale and exhale, press and curl rolling up, standing equally through the feet. Hold and inhale and exhale rolling down.

Down, down, down. Down release the tail and open and three more exhale, long arms, where are your feet? Where is there tension in your body? Is there tension in your body and if there is, can you let it go? I mean there's muscular tension for sure we're squeezing our ring and it's not easy.

But I mean like, a unnecessary tension. So we just be present, we check in. Bringing our self into the space completely. Letting go of everything except for the ring. And release, last time inhale.

And press, and roll out, and inhale, and exhale and articulate the body down, long arms, spine, elongating. Tail bone drops, open the knees, pick up the ring, bring the ring into the hands, lift one leg, lift the other leg. So we're gonna start by just holding the ring right over the front, right over the center of the chest. We're gonna take the knees over to one side on the inhale, and exhale to come back. So spine twist supine.

Draw the abdominals back towards the spine, take the knees off in the other direction. And exhale, so you might notice here, that you're range, might be smaller than what you're used to. If we're trying to allow the ring, or if we're trying to keep the ring holding the ring so essentially says that we're still on our shoulder girdle. And inhale, and exhale, so what's fun, what'll happen next. Is as your knees go to one side, send your arms in the other direction oh look at all that range now.

And then exhale, press the knees and the ring back together. And then inhale take the ring and the knees the other direction. And then exhale press the ring and the knees back together. Let's do that one more time to each side. Inhale, and exhale, and inhale, and exhale.

Okay, so from here we're gonna curl the head and chest up. Send that ring right over the shins. So see if you can get it nice and close to the ankles, that's tough, and then we're gonna inhale and come back down. And so press into the ring a little bit. Remember the upper arms press, not the hands and we curl.

And we come down. And inhale, draw in, find your depth, find your concentration. And back. And last one, exhale to lift. Hold here and then we're gonna reach out and pull back, double leg stretch.

The ring goes overhead, the legs stretch away, how high can you keep your body? Or how still, how consistent maybe is a better word, can you keep your body as your legs and your arms are moving through space. We're gonna do two more reach out lift. And back. Reach out lift.

And back. Last one, reach out lift and back, hold there, take one knee into the nose, one leg away, and change, one knee in and the ring just hovers but you're, I don't know, I'm almost imagining that its pulling me up. Is that possible? Sure, anything's possible. If you use your imagination.

So pull up. We're gonna do two more, here's two, two to me means two on each side so here's one. And here's one, bend both knees, reach back, put the ring right at the base of your skull. Let's take the head down so we can get a organized well. Right at the edge of the skull, hands just opposite the forehead, curl the head and chest up again, so now the head gets to rest into the ring.

Let's take the right leg out, left leg in and then reach that elbow to touch the knee, come center. Other side, touch. Come center and switch and center and switch and center two more. Switch and center, and switch, stay in that tight little ball. And one more.

Center and then four repetitions without stopping in center here's one. One, two, two, three, three, four, four, knees in, head down, one leg out straight, the other leg out straight, bring in the hands, inhale, lift the head and chest. Press the abdominals into the mat, round forward so that the shoulders come over the pelvis, and then bring the ring into the body and lift the spine. And then exhale press the ring away, round. Keep the head above the body, meaning not dropped into the middle of the arms.

And exhale round, letting the whole spine have a chance to come down. Breath and lift the head and chest, bring your awareness into your breath, start your exhale first, and then continue exhaling out all the air so that when you're at the top you need that inhale, you need that expansion. And then exhale, round the spine, we'll do three more and roll back, rotating the hips under reaching arms up, taking the body back. And inhale, remember to start your exhale and you can bring into that upper arm awareness that pressing into the ring and inhale build the spine back up and I believe there is two more, so round. And it's nice to make a rhythm with the breath too.

Allow the movement the rhythm on the movement, the tempo of the movement to be arranged or dictated by the breath and lift. Last time, exhale. And back, oh yes, and up. And inhale. And exhale.

And sitting up, bringing the ring against the center of the chest so I have it just right on the outside of my chest, we're gonna flex he feet, breathe in, exhale press into the body with the ring. And twist, one, two, find center. And one, two, find center, always fine to bend the knees. Do that if it feels better on your back. Do that if it feels better on your hips, but if you want the challenge you must press the heels away.

Keep the legs nice and straight. And now we're gonna change, we're gonna twist, send the arms forward, reach up, arms down, elbows in, center here's your breath pattern, inhale, exhale arms forward, inhale, arms up, we get taller. Exhale arms down. Inhale bend, exhale center again inhale, exhale arms forward, inhale body goes up up up up. Inhale arms down, back exhale center, did I get it wrong?

Maybe, but, what does it matter? You're breathing right? You're creating a breath, I'll give you suggestion again. But you could also create your own pattern. We could inhale.

And exhale. Inhale and exhale. Inhale, and exhale or you could do whatever you'd like. Last time. Because life is full of choices, and it's fun to make our own.

Put the ring over your feet, bend over, stretch forward, you can pull right, use the ring to pull. That should feel good and then change the orientation of your hands you can use the front or you can hold closer to your body. And pull your back out long, navel to spine, in that nice extension through the body, and then rounding back down, unhook the ring, roll up, separate the legs. Spine stretch, inhale. Exhale, round down, I want you to allow the ring to come down, I want you to push down with your abdominals, not with your arms, with your abdominals and with your breath at the end of the exhale and then inhale, and then exhale, so the rings a little heavy, right?

Not super heavy but there's weight, you can just bring it with us as we come up and inhale, and exhale. We lift up, knowing that we're gonna apply pressure, knowing that we're wanting to think up and over. We press down and inhale, and exhale. Building up. Up, up, up, and inhale.

And exhale reaching up and over, we'll do three more. So we're hollowing, reaching out to press down, inhale, and exhale, stack, up, up, up, and two more, lift first, then continue to lift as you go down. And inhale applying pressure abdominally, and lifting, and one more inhale, and exhale reaching down. And inhale. And exhale rolling up.

And we're gonna do a little saw variation here. So let's rotate towards the left foot, turn the ring so that the left arm goes on top and the right arms goes on the bottom and then round the spine forward, reaching for the left foot with the right hand, and then roll back up, return the ring to an upright position and center. Inhale rotate, the bottom, the opposite arm to foot comes onto the bottom, roll back up, stay twisted as you bring your ring up right? And center and inhale. And exhale.

So now we focus, we bring ourself back to our breath we have the choreography, inhale, and deep and back into the spine as you reach the spine and the arms forward and inhale. And exhale one more to each side, inhale and reach. And inhale, and center. And inhale, and reach, and lift, and center and let's bring the ring into the ankles. And lay all the way down.

Okay, so we're gonna push down on the ring, press down on the ring, now press up on the ring without lifting the bottom leg and now lift the ring oh yeah hold, two three and everything comes down. Press down on the ring, pull in on the abdominals, lift, use your breath to squeeze the ring. Lift the ring and everything comes down, push down on the ring. Lift up and then pick the legs up hold, two, three and down. Two more times, press down on he ring, center, bring your awareness to the bottom leg, use your breath and your abdominals to lift the legs up, hold, and down, simple movements, there's lots going on.

Bottom leg lifts and we press up. And then come down, so I'm gonna take us through a little transition here's how it goes, I'm gonna roll the ring forward until you can slide your bottom foot out, this is the first time you've ever done it, you might feel a little fancy, but it will take, you'll do it again, and again and again, and we'll just feel easy, k, so now we've got the legs on the inside of the ring. And push the bottom leg down, lift the top leg up, keep pushing the bottom leg up and lift the top leg 10. Nine, breathe, seven, six, small breaths this time, so they can be long, they can be short, but they're always in our focus, and we're gonna take the leg over the top, we're gonna touch front, touch back, touch front, touch back, touch front, touch back, touch front, we're gonna do this six times. This is number five.

And back, last time, front and back. Let the leg reach back, take the arms forward, and then bend the knee so you can just keep the ring, gonna pick it up, bring it with you, we'll just change to the other side. I'll face you guys this time, just feels a little more personable. So we lie down and that way you can watch the transition again if you need too, here we go, we press down through the top leg, just up through the bottom leg. So know it's just awareness without moving yet and now breath, lift the legs, hold.

Two, three, and lower. Top leg presses down, abdominals dry and bottom leg presses up. Lift the legs hold one, two, three, and down. Three more, top leg, stomach, breath, pick up the ring, soft shoulders, soft through the rest of the body, and down, last two, down, up, lift, hold, and down, one more time. Down with the top leg, inner thighs working, bring that inner thigh awareness all the way up to the rib cage.

And then down, so here's the transition, the top leg goes forward far enough so the ring can just rest on the mat or the floor. Then use the top leg to bring the ring more upright, take the bottom leg, slide it through, take the top leg slide it through, and there you are. So if it was your first time it was probably easier on the second set. So the top legs, sorry, the bottom leg is pressing down, stays pressing down all the time. Now we do little lifts with that top leg for 10.

Nine, breathe, eight, every time you breath you drop in, on your abdominals, and that's five. Four, kind of tricky to count and talk. Here's one, we're gonna bend that knee, it's gonna go over the top it comes front, and back, oh this is a different side for me. So we focus on stability or bring our awareness around our stability. Is one side harder than the other, probably.

Three, if you're balanced, completely on both sides, this is one, I would like to meet you, write to me, seriously. Reach, find a stretch. And then sit up, pick up the ring, so we're gonna just turn over. Gonna take the ring, just into the, I have it in, just in the heel of my hand is in the center of the ring. So, lifting the abdominals up away from the mat, energizing through the backs of the legs, what I want us to do is just lift the head and chest, then we're gonna start to bend and you're gonna, lift and just hover that ring up off the mat.

I'm gonna pull it underneath us, so this is an inhale, can you feel how maybe you can think about the expansion of the ring even though you're holding it. Exhale, press the ring back forward. Lower, and take the body down, so we lift the head and chest, we lift the ring. Let's pull the ring in, so the hands are reaching in but the elbows and the ribcage are stretching away 'cause it's an inhale, now everything near us, exhale, arms reach forwards, ring comes down, body goes down, three more, inhale head chest, exhale pick up the ring, inhale bring it through, lengthen over the top of it, exhale, press back, inhale, and exhale, two more, inhale, head and chest, exhale pick up the ring, pull it through, lengthen forward, stretch it out. Take it down, lower the body, here's our last one, inhale, lift, pull through, stretch out, place the ring down, turn it on it's upright position, hold it at 10 and two position.

Wider if you need to to create space for your shoulders, be light on the ring, lift the head, send the nose to the center of the ring, think of drawing the ring backwards towards you as you lift your body up. Now we're going high and exhale send it away. We'll just do this three times. So the nose reaches out, we slide the scapula back, we reach the top of that, the legs are strong, there's breath, and exhale. So let's do that one more time.

Breathing in to lift. Feeling the expansion, feel what it feels like to let the arms be lighter now push down. Oh it might be easier. Kind of counter intuitive but true for me anyway. And then lower down.

Let go of the ring, sit up into your rest position, we're gonna finish with one very fancy trick, one of my favorites, so for now you can rock from side to side, stretch the spine, stretch the hips. And the what we're gonna do is we're gonna come forward, so you're gonna take your ring and you're gonna put it underneath your chest right at your sternum, and your hands are on the mat. I gotta move a little forward or I won't stand on the mat. Floating in space is not my specialty. I like to learn as well so if anyone can help me with that, so we step one foot back, step the other foot back, so the ring is there right?

If you drop on it, so I want you to feel almost that you're lifting your ribs away from the ring, lifting through the abdominals, strong through the legs, and now we're gonna bend the arms, oh and what does the ring do? It helps us to absorb some gravitational effort in and then we push. We bend and allow the ring to help. And then press, also what you'll feel is, if you just let your belly hang out, you'll feel it on the ring, so try not to do that. Let's do three more, bend, and push, two more, bend, and push, one more, bend, and push.

Knees down. Set the ring down. Sit back. Okay, and then roll all the way back up. And thank you so much for making it to the second day together, write to me, tell me what you think.

Let's all communicate together, we're all on this journey together. I'm so excited to be with you all. See you next time. Balance.

Return to You Challenge: with Meredith Rogers


3 people like this.
I feels sooooo good! Great workout
3 people like this.
anyone know when the timing for when your next challenge gets unlocked? Not much info on the website about this. I did day one yesterday but day 2 is not unlocking for me.
1 person likes this.
Maryann ~ Thank you for your forum post. You signed up to receive your videos on Saturdays and Sundays, so Day 2 will be available to you on Saturday, December 30. If you would like to change this, you can restart the challenge and choose different days to receive the videos. Please email us at if you have any questions.
2 people like this.
Awesome - thank you so much for these great workouts! Some really great concepts and challenges for me here and also wonderful new ideas to share with my students. Love the sidelying sequence and the push-ups are inspired! ❤️
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much!! It is great!!!
1 person likes this.
Beautiful use of the magic circle!
3 people like this.
Can’t unlock day 2! Tried yesterday, today, doesn’t work,! Very frustrated!
That was soooo nice. I don't have a magic circle. I used a pillow instead and my imagination. My abs are burning. Love it! Thank you.
1 person likes this.
Loved this one too - really helping reconnect to my practice - thank you xxx
Thank you all for being here.
Eva T, I think the videos are unlocked according to the preferences you set regarding video delivery when you started the challenge. Perhaps you could check on that or restart and set new parameters. Hope that helps!
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