Hey, everybody. It's Kristi Cooper here today. We're doing a Wunda chair class, and don't always dedicate a class to someone, but today I am. This is for my buddy Jeff Mizushima. Some of you know him, but a lot of you don't.
He's the brilliance and the help behind many of our videos and also the Pilates Legacy Project. He's going on to do more and better things, and he got a Wunda chair, and he needs more classes. So I'm here to serve. I hope it serves you, too. What I intended to use today, I have the Balanced Body Wunda chair.
It's a split pedal, but I don't intend to split it. I do have it set up relatively heavy. For me, that's one heavy spring. This one has four. If you have a Wunda chair, even if you have this same one, you know it's different chair to chair, but for me, it's going to be suitable for my foot and leg work.
So relatively heavy. One heavy one at the top for me, and one heavy one just below the top. So I call it one and two, and I'll do my best to tell you what it is, but really, it's gonna be up to you to try and keep the same form we're talking about. I have a TheraBand as well. This one is inordinately long.
You don't need it to be this long. You could even probably get away without one. I'll fold my mine where I want to, and I'll lighten it up when I need to, and I hope you'll do the same. Sometimes you might have to just pull yours a little tighter. For now, we'll just leave it at our feet, and we'll do a couple roll downs to get into it.
So, I do have mine folded in half, and I'll probably lighten it once I get up, just wrap it around my hands. So, shift your weight forward. I'm standing parallel, by the way, shifting my weight forward. I just need to be here. Sometimes it takes a second, and it's like, the worst part, isn't it, to go. (Kristi sighs)
You just wanna get into it. I know. I do too. But if you're not really sure where you are, how can you know where you're gonna go? And this next part is for you to decide, what do you wanna get out of it?
I'll do my best to keep it clean. Arms down and in front. Find that center ground, and let's just take the arms out to the side, just to the side, and then when you think they're at the side, look. So much of this is really trying to find where we are in space, and easier done on some days than others. So reach further.
I tend to think of that Michael Jordan wingspan poster where you could just be here. My arms are straight and they're up. But I can also go for more. I can reach for more. I can, I'm not gonna get to 6'11" or whatever he is, but I'm reaching.
Okay, taller, take the arms up. Let the shoulders be soft for now. Take a breath. Raise the shoulders. Fill yourself up.
Let the arms just drop and go again, just right up. Inhale. Shrug the shoulders, stretch. You can get way up off the ribcage, and then just let everything fall, and just see where it does fall. Inhale again, up.
And exhale, bring it all down, and then just notice, if you found yourself in that center point, notice that you're upright through the head. Okay, we'll do a little exercise with that in a moment. We're gonna roll down and pick up our band and get going, just what you wanted. Inhale, exhale, we roll down. And we're thinking, oh, gosh, where am I today, right?
That was sort of the beginning of this. Keep the back round, and keep the knees straight if you can, but there may come a point where you can't. That's okay. Bend 'em. Let's all bend 'em.
I'll just turn sideways so we're all doing it together. Bend the knees. Send 'em toward your forehead. Make sure your forehead's not looking out in front of you. Exhale, see about straightening, and whether you do or not is not critical.
Bend again, inhale. And exhale, and if you can in your mind, think about when you bend your knees, connecting, obviously, the pelvis, but maybe even the spine to it. And exhale, try for straight. Maybe each time you get a little closer to your thighs, and maybe it's too soon. Who knows?
Get as straight as you're comfortable doing, top of the head to the floor. Take another inhale. If you need to bend your knees more, do, but come right back up. We're gonna do that again. Next time we'll come up with our band.
So, inhale, exhale, your head goes first, and feel that sequential movement, or look for it, if you don't feel it. Going down, make it okay. Make it feel decent. That's important. Feeling decent matters.
Feeling all right is good. Feeling great is our goal, or at least mine today. I'm grabbing onto pretty near the end of my band. We can adjust at any point. And we'll, once again, bend the knees.
And straighten. And bend. I'm getting pops and kinks and things coming out. I'm like, oh, wow, when did that hamstring get so tight? Just take notice of yourself.
That's all you can do sometimes. Get as straight as your body can without pain and with the knowledge that you're about to roll up with your band in your hand. Roll up, up, up, and when you get to the top, just leave your arms down. Simple. We're in it now.
I have to lighten mine, 'cause it's gonna be too tight for where I know we're going. If you have a shorter, sort of normal-sized band that you usually can buy, three feet or so, I think this one's six, just hold near the end. I'm gonna just wrap mine and unwrap as I need to as we go. All right. Here we go.
Shift your weight forward, shift your weight back. Find your, what feels like your body right over the center of your feet or pretty close, maybe slightly more forward. From there, I'm giving you a little more cue than you're gonna want. Think thigh bones pushing backwards, pelvis pushing forward, so that you have some sense of, oh, there's the back of my body, and then maybe that'll thrust your ribs out. Maybe it won't.
I don't know what's happening for you. But you wanna, I'm trying to look for a connection in my own body, and for you to find one in yours where you're engaged a little in the front, and you're aware of the back. That's it. That's all we gotta do. Take the arms up.
Take 'em up to where you can without a whole lot of strain. It doesn't matter where that lands. But look at where it is, okay. Is it in front of you? Is it way behind you?
Try for right overhead, and how I like to check it is to just simply, a little bit of resistance, pull on the band, tap the middle of your head. Where did it land? If it's in front of you, do your best to get your, not your head forward, that's not what we're going for, but your arms slightly back. See what you can do without pain. And up again, push.
I'm pulling on the band a little, but I'm not increasing that resistance. I'm just checking myself out. Sometimes I'm like, what? A couple more. Next time you touch your head.
Try for the middle, whatever you have to do with your elbows to make that happen, and then reach into the band. So I'm not pulling down on it. I just feel it, and I'm trying to stand into it. I'm trying to stand up to it. So that's a reference we'll use later, all right?
From there, just bring the arms down for a quick release, and so that you feel the back of your body, you might have to choke up on the band. Nothing changes with your body, assuming we're in the same position. You press straight back. Let it go a little. Now, this time, reach the arm bones downward a little, and press straight back.
Do it again. So maybe you start to feel the back of the arms, but can you become more aware of your upper back? You kind of have to think of, oh, I'm reaching up into that imaginary band. Do a few more as I talk. Just kind of find your way to looking for the arms on the back, the upper back, and maybe the crown of the head to the floor without the ribs changing much.
On your next one that you pull back, hold it there for just a second and glance at, what are your shoulders doing? It's super common to roll 'em forward. I think I just was, but I'm exaggerating it now. So I'm not gonna just pull 'em straight back, 'cause that's it's own problem. Rather, I'm gonna relax, I'm gonna reach down, and I'm gonna think about those upper arm bones turning slightly outward.
It has nothing to do with the hands, although the hands may change in relation. So it's the upper arm bones turning out. Now pull back, way back, without changing anything else, and you'll feel more, I think. If you don't, you can choke up on it. If your band's too light, stand against a wall and push into it.
But you're finding the sides of your body so that when we get really going, you have some reference points. That's what I'm doing here, or trying to. All right, that's enough of that. Take your arms straight up overhead. Leave 'em wider than your own shoulders, okay, so you're not gonna wanna be too tight with that.
Step a little wider here, and with that in mind, we're just gonna reach up and over to one side, okay. And it's not, the goal isn't just to get down. It's to reach far. If you've done that, you can push more into your right leg, right. You can push into that right leg and reach further from there and then come back up.
Same thing. Anchor the left foot as you go up and over, and check for yourself. As I go this low, are you rotating? Try to minimize that, and come back up. If it's too wide and it's too much strain, you can choke up, but be careful.
Here we go. We're gonna go a little faster. We inhale, reach over. Keep your feet anchored, exhale, lift up. Inhale, reach over.
Exhale, lift up. Keep that going. Remember how we touch the band to the top of the head? Keep going. We touch the band at the top of the head.
If you were to do that, and you can, see if it's still there. And up, here we go. Over, and up. And over, and up. You're tall.
You're not bearing down on yourself. Expand yourself. Take up your space. We won't be here that long. You'll be surprised.
Over, and up, one more time. Over and up. From there, I'm gonna choke up a little, 'cause I know what's coming, and I wanna have a little tiny bit more resistance. So let's go over to the left. From there, shoulders are away from your ears as much as you can, and now just press down.
Lift it out and up. Same arm. Press down, out, and up. Become aware of the side of your body, right? It all matters, it turns out.
And if you can feel the side, chances are the front and back are doing their job. Just one more. Come back out to the side, and lift up. Go to the other way. Take it over.
And you can look at it. You can look. Push down and up, and down. If you need more resistance, take it. If you don't have a band, you can pretend.
It's not so heavy we're gonna build our lats here. We're becoming aware. Last one here, and up. Let's go over to the left. Press down, lift up, come up.
Other side, over. Press down, lift up, and up. Down, arm presses. Reach out to come up. Over, reach down, out to come up.
From there, you're gonna turn sideways. See what you can do to keep the body straight. The temptation might be to arch to make the action. Instead, you wanna keep everything still. Let's just see what we can do about pulling the arms back.
One, taking 'em back, two, from wherever you started. Three, again, we're not bearing down on the hips. We're tall. Four. Last one, five, and then, see if you can go further.
Maybe you can go to the back of your head. You know what you can do to get there maybe is pull the band wider, right? You don't have to just go back from where you started. We're not Barbie. And up.
Back. And so you just kind of make it happen. Make it work. It's all right to do that. It doesn't all have to be torture.
Last one there. Can you go further? If you need to lighten up on the band, do. See if you can get to the shoulder blades. But when you do, remember the Michael Jordan image maybe, and keep reaching outward.
It's not just the goal of getting there. It's, how are you doing it, where you can accommodate both sides of your body, all of your body, is the reality there. I'm gonna do two more, no matter what the number is. Reach, being mindful of the ribs here. They really wanna punch out.
And if you got it in you, go all the way. All the way, all the way, all the way. If you don't, that's okay. You can bend an elbow and get used to it. Sometimes we just have to do it that way.
I'm coming over the top and taking a break, doing it again. Lift up. Pull and reach back, and as I go back, I'm thinking of the band above my head. So it's just all reference. We'll get into the abs and the core and the rest and the legs that we know we're gonna hit, but let's do it in a way that works for us throughout.
One more time will be fine, even if I said otherwise. Okay. So, so far, so good. You're ready. You can feel something, hopefully.
Let's put the band just nearby. I'm just gonna fold it up and put it on the left side. As I said, I have this heavy, so you might have to adjust it for this first one, but the point in this one, I have one more awareness exercise, and we'll get right into abs, is doing our best to keep the collarbones in a straight line. Okay, so when we had that band overhead, I could have included the collarbones. What we wanna avoid too much of, particularly when we go into flexion of the spine, is the thrusting of the shoulders forward.
I say that, and I'm gonna give you an exercise that requires it so that you can feel the difference. That's what this one's all about. Step very close to the edge of your chair. Make the adjustment if you need to. Just take the deep breath up, round over, put your hands on the chair.
I have the palm of my hand. I do it about shoulder distance, maybe a little wider. What I don't wanna do is shift back a whole lot, at least for now. From here, we're gonna drop our heads. We're gonna press those thigh bones back, but we're gonna also press the pelvis forward.
Did your head come up? Try not to. Look for your belly or your hips somewhere around there, and then you simply push down a little, get the resistance, it's kind of heavy, right? Don't go far, don't go far. It's just a few inches.
Now, without moving anything else except your arms, push the bar down. So you feel the shoulders wrap around the front. Hopefully your head and spine didn't change. Let it push you back up, meaning let the arms be pushed back up, not your spine. Nothing moves for a little bit.
Push down, let it back up. Keep that sense of, I'm pushing my pelvis forward, my thigh bones back. That means my back is very rounded. I'm just doing the same action. Push down, let it up.
Push down. Oh, there's my straight spine. I'm sorry, straight collarbones. Do one more, and find yourself in the straight collarbone. I'm gonna widen my hands a little more.
Not much, just a little, 'cause I need it today. From there, now, you don't move the collarbones. You move the spine. So, legs are pushing back, pelvis is pushing forward. Back is very rounded.
What can you get in terms of flexion of the spine? And up. It's not much more, probably. Push down, push up. I'm not talking a lot about breath right now.
I just wanna get that action. Your spine is doing it. It's okay to adjust. It's okay if you back up a little. That's just information.
I'm giving you a breath now. See if it works for you. It's not critical, but it's kind of fun. Inhale as you push with the spine. The arms are like wrought iron.
Exhale, pull the belly up, and come back to the top. Push again, inhale. (Kristi breathes deeply) Start to feel how that breath actually helps you. Inhale and exhale. If it's not helping you, reverse it.
It's okay. (Kristi exhales) It's just keeping everything where you started as much as possible. I just caught myself pushing my shoulders. How about you? Make it about your spine.
You'll feel your abs, I guarantee it. All right, we're gonna go down, stay there. I'll get you out of this in a minute. Go a little further if you can, all right? From there, you're gonna bend the right knee up to the balls of the foot, ball of the foot.
From there, if you can tuck more, round your back more, same position we were in. Watch those collarbones. Pick the knee up and touch your face. Touch the floor with the toe. Pick it up. (Kristi exhales)
Touch it down. Lift, lower. Keep pressing the pelvis forward. That standing left leg is strong. You're not leaning left, right?
Lift, one more time. Lift, set it down. Roll up, just to the top of the resistance. Then stick your bum out. Tiny bit of resistance on the palms of the hands as you flatten your back and keep looking down.
I caught myself. (Kristi laughs) And then, reround. So for me, I start at the tailbone. I'm rounding and letting my head come back into place so I don't hit it, 'cause I feel more flexible. Collarbones are wide.
We press down. From there, the left knee bends towards the face, really straight ahead. It's not crossing anything. The ball of the foot is up. Check those collarbones.
Recommit to the center of your body, as if you could take the hands off here. You won't, but you will take that knee off, maybe. Lift, and lower. And lift. Oh, that reminder that the two sides aren't always the same, even straight down the middle of the body.
Yeah, I'm just exhaling to lift, if that matters to you. Pay more attention to the middle of your body than you are your arms, if you can. How about one more? And then foot's down. You're grounded.
You roll up to the top of the resistance of the springs. Let your tailbone come out in that same fashion. Nice, long spine. This time, bend your knees a little bit. Stick your tailbone up more.
Know you're about to arch your back and draw the belly in a little to prevent a full-on release, and now think lats, like you're pushing this carriage bar a little bit, not to move it, just to feel the body. Then, straighten the legs, let your head round, your tailbone, round all of that, back to position. Press it down. Check your collarbones. Check it, check it.
I know it's tiny. We'll still, it's good stuff, I'm telling you. Pick up that same knee, but cross it over to the other side of your body, and touch down. Same side. Cross it over, touch down.
Try not to twist anything else. Over, touch down. Over, touch down, one more. Over, touch down. Just switch, over.
I'm on the other foot now. Feet are straight ahead, theoretically, or at least the supporting one. Two to go after this. Hips stay still as much as possible. Put it down.
From there, can you bend the spine more? Not from the arm strength, from the spine. From the abs drawing up. That's how you get flexibility in the spine. Roll yourself up to the top of the spring tension.
Bend your knees a little. Release the tailbone so it feels a little bit like you're sticking the bum out. A little pressure on the bar, just for that additional support, and go into that bit of extension, and then come into what we maybe call a flat back. Straighten the legs. From there, just tuck the pelvis and roll all the way up.
Come on down to the floor. So, still heavy. Nothing's changed, right? The positioning here is gonna depend on your length, and so you'll adjust. Basically, I'm gonna go heels on the bar.
So we'll lay down like so. And then we can play with that. If you feel more comfortable with your arches, some bars are different, some are round, that's not a big deal in this. What matters maybe most is that it's not all in your feet. So I'm gonna try from my heels.
I'm not pulling the bar down. My arms are down. I'm aware of that imaginary band or the wall behind me and from here, we're just exhaling, when you're ready. Of course, you have to inhale first, probably. Start exhaling, roll up, roll up.
Keep going up. You don't need to see it. I'm just going to the shoulder blades, or another way of looking at it would be trying to get a straight line from knee to the shoulders. You can look. If all of the sudden, you can't see your pelvis 'cause your back is so arched, that's one way to know.
Another way to know is if you feel it in your back. You might have to not go so high yet. When you get where you are, or where you're going, inhale and then exhale. Try to melt your way back down sequentially. Less words, more action.
Inhale, here we go. Start exhaling, roll up. You kind of have to pull on the bar a little, but it's not about the legs. Use the bar only as much as you need. Inhale, hold.
Exhale, roll. (Kristi exhales) Again, inhale. Things you're watching for are that your knees don't splay to the side, right? When you get to the top, stay there. Put a tiny bit more downward pressure.
Tuck your pelvis more. It's the same cue we used earlier. Push your thigh bones back and your pelvis up, and get into that more, so you feel the back of the legs. If you don't feel the back of the legs, look for it and find the cue that works. Roll down on your next exhale.
You kind of gradually let that go, right, until it's completely released. Two to go. (Kristi exhales) Ooh, there's just so much to say. I know we should just be quiet sometimes, Kristi, I know. But what about the collarbones?
Are they still long and wide? All right, inhale with the bottom. I'm inhaling in between each motion is what's happening here. Once I start exhaling, I move, in this case. (Kristi exhales) Inhale, check it out.
Can you get longer in the front of the hips? And exhale down. Oh, I'm off feathering down. One more to go up and stay there for a little more fun. When you're ready to exhale, do, and start moving.
Watch the toes, that they're not flaring to the side, or minimize it if you can. When you get to your high point, it's worth it, I think, again, I think of tucking, or some people think of rounding the low back, pressing the thigh bones down. Oh, if you cramp, come out. Pick up the right foot, knee, everything, and just touch it down. Same leg, do it again, and here's what you hope for, that nothing else moved.
Two, I'm only doing three. And again, if there's cramp, there's nothing you can do. You just gotta come out of it. I'm about a millimeter away. So I, what I'm gonna do for us is roll down, halfway, not the whole way, but to recommit, get out of the mind of, oh my gosh, am I gonna cramp, press those collarbones wide, go back up.
I think you know what's coming. Left side, lift up. Ooh, one. I might not get so lucky this time. Two.
One more time. Three. Oh, if only we weren't on a spinning planet, I would be equal on both sides. Roll down. All the way, this time.
Enjoy, and then hug your knees to your chest. Cool. Let that feel good. All right. From here, just lift your head, neck, and shoulders.
Try to get the knees completely together. Okay, so I'm using the inner seam of the thigh or the inner thigh muscles, if you will, to draw the legs together. Try to let the rest of the leg relax if you can. From there, extend the left leg, but keep that right leg in. You could even set it down.
Let's do that. Set it down with a mild thought towards pressing this straight leg down to the ground. Your body, your spine, I should say, doesn't move. You can bring it back and switch. Right leg stretches out.
You have the sense that I could try to push down, just to get some awareness to the back. We'll go quicker, and you don't have to touch the bar anymore. Pull, pull, pull. The idea is that can I mess with my legs and keep my body the same? Typically, or in my case today, we're gonna exhale, exhale, inhale, inhale.
(Kristi exhales) (Kristi inhales) Little quicker still. (Kristi exhales) Now you can pull the knee in closer, really squeeze the air out. (Kristi exhales) (Kristi inhales) Last set. Both knees in. Let your head rest briefly.
You can look side to side. Shake it out. It's not worth going back up into it if your neck is still full attention, and sometimes it takes practice, and sometimes it's just knowing where we're going. Inner seam of the legs are together. We curl the head, neck, and shoulders up by pressing the knees into the hands so there's some circle, kinetic chain there.
This time, let go of the hands. Reach everything forward, legs to the bar. You can, I can't actually move the bar, but I'm thinking, what if I could? I'm slightly pressing down. I pull it back in.
The spine doesn't change. That's the exercise. Inhale, reach forward. Start exhaling and suck the knees right back in. You can hug 'em close.
It's fine, but get the tailbone back down when they go out. Inhale, and exhale. They don't have to touch the bar. Inhale, and exhale. Let's do five more.
One, (Kristi exhales) and two. You could put your hands behind your head. It doesn't make you heavier, though. Three. (Kristi exhales) Four.
One more, and five. Pull it in, rest your head. Take your head side to side. From there, curl right back up. Take longer if you need it.
Extend the right leg up. Try for 90, but not more, even if you can. Left leg to the bar. Push the left leg into the bar. Again, I'm not trying to move the bar.
From there, you could probably let go of the top leg and pulse it one, two. Switch legs. Take your time on the first few. Push down on this bottom side. That's your anchor.
You want that in almost every exercise. Pull, pull. Some version of it. Pull, pull. Look straight ahead, not at the ceiling.
And, (Kristi exhales) again, you can support your head. It's fine, but it's not necessarily easier. A couple more. (Kristi exhales) Both legs straight up. Definitely put your hands behind your head.
Let your head go down, but leave your legs if you can. It's okay if they're bent. Like, they can be here, no problem. Come right back up to the chest lift, we call it, right, and now just start to reach for the bar, but maybe you're not gonna get all the way. I'm not.
Start exhaling, bring it right back up. If your knees are bent, keep them bent just as they were, so they don't change. It's just weight against your abs. That's all this is, right? (Kristi exhales) Same ab exercise, different leg work, or different leg movements, really.
It's not leg work. (Kristi exhales) One more time. (Kristi exhales) Hug the knees to your chest, rest your head. Last one here. I haven't mentioned it, but it's something I do.
It's a bit of a trick, not necessarily a cheat. I've got my hands. I'm firmly holding on the knees. I start to push into them, and then I commit to where my arms are, so I'm not just gonna go to straight. I'm kind of going into a circle with my arms.
I hold that, keep pushing, bring my head up. So now, I could even just rock here. Try it. You can touch the bar. It's okay.
I'm not gonna come up. Just touch and pull, and know that you're in charge, and then come back down. Keep that sort of sense of resistance. Pick your head up if you put it down, my fault. Extend the left leg again.
A little resistance downward. Pull the knee in closer. Let go of it without changing your spine. Put your hands behind your head. Wow, how'd they get so heavy?
Rotate toward that knee. Really pull into the knee, and then we pull both knees in, switch legs. I'll go quicker there in a minute, but I want you to feel each side. You're gonna stay up on it, pull that knee in, get towards it. Now we go quicker.
You don't have to touch the bar. Go one, one, rotate two, two. How do you wanna breathe? If we stuck with what we did before, we do two inhales and two exhales, or long inhale. Inhale, inhale, exhale, you choose.
One more set. (Kristi inhales) (Kristi exhales) Both knees in for reals. Hold 'em behind the legs this time. Do the same thing, though. Push the legs into the thighs.
Tuck the pelvis so the tailbone is off the mat. Get a little rocking action, rocking action. Watch for the bar. Just watch for it. It's okay to touch it.
It's okay. Just keep everything else the same. And then, we'll just settle in and help yourself up, or just tuck your feet under the bar to sit up. Right. Next, why do we have the band?
This one doesn't need it, quite honestly, but if you have it, it's kind of a fun way to do this. Again, mine's pretty long, so I'm just gonna double it and wrap it over the middle of the bar. And then, you could, depending on what kind of bar you have, you could be outside the frame. I think inside might be better, 'cause you can do a couple things with it. So I'm gonna go inside the frame with my feet.
My feet themselves aren't doing a lot, but what I'm trying to get is the sense of, if I push outward with my legs, and I'll make a case for pushing inward in a second, but if I push outward with the legs, it allows me this sense of lightness in the rest of my body. It is so okay to bend your knees, so do that, really. It's not okay to be back here as the start. Rather, bend your knees, get right up on the sits bones. We're doing what's kind of called the roll up into a spine stretch, eventually.
Right. So, there's an outer sense of pushing. Everything is still lined up, and we're just gonna roll back. I'm rounding the spine to roll back, roll back, roll back, just to the shoulder blades. Oh, Kristi, look at those collarbones! Get 'em wide again.
You can round your spine and still have wide collarbones, I swear. It doesn't always happen naturally. Keep the curve. You'll lose tension on the band. Go again, round it down.
(Kristi exhales) All the way. And, you know, when you lay down, of course, you can probably straighten your legs, so do. Leave 'em straight until you start to feel that tug that just feels like it's only in the one area of your body. Hold the ribs down. It's almost like you try to pin the spine as long as you can, and here, you can stay curved, and the knees might have to bend.
Go again, exhale. So that's the mechanics, essentially. I'm inhaling to lift up. I'm exhaling to continue. That exhale kind of helps me to pin.
Just staying curved for now. Inhale, hold, and exhale. Maybe you can think of drawing the sits bones or the pubic bone backwards or tilt it. I'm not sure how you might think of that. Keep that outward pressure, the whole outer seam.
I caught myself. I tend to roll out, so I have to be careful. One more like that. Roll back, just getting sort of a massage through the spine. Collarbones wide, head down.
And then come back up. And then we'll change it. I have this lovely lift on the chair that I think I'm gonna use, but you don't really need it. So I'm just bringing my feet together. We'll keep the back rounded initially again.
If you have the leg in front, some, I think, well, a lot of chairs have, you can use that too. We roll back. We're not going all the way this time. We're gonna go to about almost the shoulder blades. So in a way, I'm almost pushing that chair away.
Collarbones wide, back is still rounded. I exhale to come up partway, and I go back down. (Kristi inhales) (Kristi exhales) You start to see that you can play with this a little. The band helps me, right, but if I just let it help me, it doesn't do a whole lot. Rather, use it as a way to resist against something.
Sometimes that's good. I'm inhaling down. I'm exhaling, trying to pin the bellybutton backwards. (Kristi exhales) (Kristi exhales) Not a whole lot of change to the neck, but maybe some. Let's do two more.
Only use the arms to the extent that you need them. Know that we could do this and will, later on, not today, without the band. Imagine you didn't have it. That's it, come up. And now one more while we're here.
I'm thinking I might need to lighten up, but I'm not sure today. I needed to last night. We'll see. In this one, feet in or out. Again, I'm just gonna stick with the way I had them, knees bent or not, but now, choke up on the band as much as you need to or bend the knees as much as you need to to be absolutely straight to start.
From there, don't worry about the band right now. You're just gonna round forward, round forward, keep the band with you, but just round towards the floor, reaching past the toes, if you can. It's okay if the knees are bent. Don't let 'em pull to the sides, though. Keep 'em straight up to the ceiling, and then we roll back up, okay?
Again, inhale. This time, I think it might even be nicer, since we're holding it already, if you bend the elbows, pull toward you as you round. Round forward. Feel that resistance. The elbows are going straight back as much as possible, and then inhale, let everything go, sit back up.
Okay, maybe you hold tighter. It's up to you. It's just trying to create, what is the sense? Why are we doing this? We're growing tall in our inhale.
We pull, we exhale, trying not to roll backwards this time, right, where we're going forward, but it ends up in the same position. And then inhale, up. Later, we'll really talk about breath on this. It's this idea of, I just inhaled all this air, and now I'm gonna squeeze it out. I'm squeezing out the air by shaping the body, shaping the body.
Not collapsing, but shaping it, forcing it out. Fold in on yourself and then come back up. (Kristi inhales) One more time like that, and then I'll give you a different version of it. Pull, round. You're still sort of tall, but you're absolutely rounding forward.
I think this is one of the hardest exercises to learn, not to mention the actual position, sitting in it. But it becomes the best one, mark my words. Let the band drop. Again, bend the knees if you want. This time, arms straight ahead.
You're gonna inhale, pushing outward with the legs. You round forward. You might find that foot bar, right? Keep going. I'm not pulling down on it just now, but I'm just reaching past it.
Then I'm gonna try and straighten my spine on the diagonal as if I were gonna pull the bar down with wide collarbones. I know, I ask for a lot. And then you check it, 'cause you're not here. You're not looking up. If you're looking up, that's probably good for life, but not yet.
Let's think, can I keep my head attached to my spine? And then round and let go and just let go of the bar and sit back up. Inhale, as if you still had the bar, you're pushing down. We exhale, found forward. Legs are pushing sideways.
I'm just gliding over the bar for the moment, trying to get the roundness, trying to get my forehead on the floor, believe it or not, and then I push the legs outward. I start to come up on the diagonal from the base of the spine, lightly putting pressure on the bar to find some help where I can, and then exhale, reround. That's sort of the weird part about it. But reround and then let go of the bar and come back up. (Kristi inhales) One more.
Exhale, round forward, letting the arms glide over the bar. Thinking, maybe my ears are right between my upper arms. I'm holding the pelvis back. Then I start to roll the pelvis forward into that diagonal spinal position. I can put pressure on the bar for help.
I'm tall, I'm cool. I stay here. I let go of the bar, but I stay here with my spine. I take the arms up by the ears. Yes, you can.
You hold it, and you pull the upper arms back, one. Nothing else moves. Two, except if you can lean into it more. Three, keep those arms by the ears as much as you can. (Kristi exhales) I might be asking a lot on this day.
Who knows, let's give it a shot. Longer. Hold the next one. Just reach it, reach it, reach it. Exhale, round forward so the arms touch that bar, and just roll back up.
You will like it someday. You won't have to hear all those words, either. So, just leave the band there. Let's stand up. I don't think, we'll need the mat one more time, but for our purposes, I'm just gonna get it out of the way so we can do our foot and legwork, some back extension, and a little side work.
We'll be done. So, all we did was move the chair a little bit, get the mat out of the way for aesthetic purposes. Same band. We're sitting down. It's the same weight.
Nothing's changed. You might need a sticky mat. I just thought of that. So I'm just gonna do my form so good I don't need one. Your feet are gonna be on the bar.
It should be pretty heavy, so maybe come forward on the chair a fair amount. Heels are on the bar, where you might play with it a little as you get used to your chair or your body on the day, so that when you push, your feet don't slide one way or the other. You wanna feel secure, but I will change foot positions. As far as a band, again, I have a super long one, and for the sheer fact that I don't like it flipping around, I'm gonna hold it and wrap it as I need to as I go. We're just gonna keep the back and upper body involved a little bit.
So here we are. We find ourselves in the chair, right up on the sits bones, just like we started class. You don't wanna thrust forward. You don't wanna lean back. And sometimes, you don't know, so if you can do this with a mirror, that's awesome.
Ideally, palms are up. So I've got, you can maybe see a ton of rubber band wrapped around my hands, but if I can hold it upwards, that's just better for me, being on the computer a lot. All right. For now, just leave the arms out of it, and start to press, and go slow enough that you can feel if you're getting ejected one way or the other or if you're rounding your back. Theoretically, nothing changes, right?
You can take the band out in front. My arms are again just a little wider than the hands, with the band taut. I'm not doing anything yet, 'cause I have to think about the collarbones again and the head reaching up into that imaginary band. And then I'm kind of feeling confident, so I'm gonna pull apart as I push down. (Kristi inhales) (Kristi exhales) Sometimes I think of Pilates, don't tell anyone, sometimes I think of Pilates as like, all the different ways you can mess with the middle of your body and your mind and stay centered.
So, we don't need to use the arms. But if you can while you're working the legs, it just kind of brings your mind into it a little more. Do a few more. We're not gonna worry about count. We're gonna feel for ourselves.
(Kristi exhales) One more time. (Kristi exhales) Release the band, and now keep, or take the bar down if it's not. Back your feet up, I'm still parallel, and you're to the balls of the feet. Try not to grip the toes. They may naturally do that, but try not to grip 'em.
The tricky part is that we wanna leave the ankle still so that we can work through the whole chain of the body. So, where it can be really tempting to let the bar start to come up and then flex the ankle, and then, in an attempt to get it all the way down, start to point to push, and then you go through this sort of, it's challenging, but not really what we're going for. We're trying to keep it going through the whole body. So I push the bar down, down, down, lift the heels as high as I can. They're not gonna stay there.
They're gonna come into that no man's land. Gotta back my feet up for that. And then, they're gonna, I'm just gonna show the feet for a second. You're gonna lift up, and you're gonna lift down, and as long as I've been doing this, I still have to practice it, 'cause there's certain angles were I just wanna let go. And you really lose it, right?
It's just all in the feet, and that's no fun. It's fine, but it's not what we're trying for. Okay, so I'm starting over. I'm lifting my heels. I drop them a little, equal weight, and then I gotta do the rest of the body again.
Same thing otherwise. We lift the knees. We exhale and pull on the band if you can do that. Ooh, yeah. Maybe don't use the arms if you're working that part.
It's kind of important. If you get it, you're gonna feel your quads and the whole leg right away, and chances are, it'll start to rock your body a little more too. You can pull as wide as you want. Think of that Michael Jordan image. (Kristi exhales) Hopefully you know that image.
Hmm. Maybe I'll have to put it in there. Everyone knows that image. Couple more. Good, stay there.
Swivel the heels so they touch each other. Nothing else changes. Oh, okay. Now I'm just wrapping the hands one more time, trying to have the band overhead, keeping my body in alignment as before, and push down. Same thing with the ankles.
Two, I'm going a little quicker 'cause you know. Three, and up, and four, up. Your body's still. (Kristi inhales) (Kristi exhales) Don't make the toes work harder than they should. (Kristi exhales) Three more.
I'm not pulling on the band. You could, by the way. Come back and do it again. I think this'll be fine. Last one.
You can let the bar up. Let's for now get rid of the band. Just put it off to the side. You'll think of things you wanna use that for later if you do it again. Press the bar all the way down.
Adjust yourself so that the feet are wide, and everything is angled outward, somewhat like a, we call it a wide V at BASI. Sitting tall, check it out. This is a real easy one to thrust the pelvis. You're not gonna do that. And for now, we're just gonna go arm over arm, and we press down and up.
Two, and up. Three. (Kristi exhales) (Kristi exhales) Play with how the breath holds you. Five more. (Kristi exhales rhythmically) Next one go down, stay down.
You can use your arms as you wish. Switch it so you're on the ball of the feet. Let's try the arms out wide again. Just turn the whole arm up. Ribs are still contained, and we press down.
We lift up. We press and we pull. It's not really a pull, but it's a deceleration, right? So it's not press, release, press, release. That'll do nothing for you.
You'll get bored so quick, right? You're gonna control this. So how about five more? One, pull, two, pull, three, pull, four, one more. Here's five.
Good. Set the arms down, come off, turn yourself around for a little bit more fun, I'll call it. Step on the bar. Now, when you do that, it's heavy, right, when you're back here. Step on it, lean into it, put your hands on the bar.
I mean, on the seat. Ultimately, we're going to the arches of our feet, so you can start that way. I'm gonna make it a tiny bit easier for you for now to put the balls of the feet on. Just something to think about of where this heads and how that small change makes a difference. Move your hands to the forward edge.
The arms are turned outward. All right. You know what I'm gonna say about those collarbones, so I'm not, but just do it. You know what I'm gonna say about those thigh bones. You know what I'm gonna say about the pelvis.
So you're almost in a candy cane, right? You can lift the heels if you want, but, you know. See what you can do to leave 'em kind of hanging. From there, can you just exhale and let your arms take some weight and see if you can raise the bar a little and let your head go down and go back. You're not to bend your knees or your elbows.
If there are rules, that's it. You let your head drop. You let the bottom bend just under the chest, and your arms support your weight, and you go back down. Right? If you end up back here, it's gonna be way too hard.
You gotta get your thighs close to that chair. This gets really fun later. Round, lift. It's almost like levitating. I don't need a lot of arm strength right now.
And down. Can you go higher? Probably, but do it slow if you're not used to it, because it changes, right? If you don't bend your back, you're gonna get pitched forward. So see where you are.
Can you go more? Can you go more? Think handstand. And then you peel back down, right? You don't wanna just fall down.
You're too cool for that, Jeff. Round, and up. Up, up, up, up, up. And down, almost touch. Come back again.
Two. I count like I started at one, but anyway. How about one more? (Kristi exhales) When you get to the bottom, stay there. Keep your body weight forward.
Hmm, you'll have to back up a little, my fault. Press the heels down. Get the calf stretch. If you hyperextend, be careful that you're not just going through the back of the knees. Press the hips forward, and rise up, and press down, and rise up.
Press down. You could do this in a flat back too. I'm not gonna get picky about that, so do what feels better on your body. I'm just sticking with a theme for now, trying to stay parallel. I get to see my feet, and wow, that's interesting and different.
I can fix it a little. I can notice it a lot. Touch your heels together, either at the top or the bottom. Do a few more. Lift.
Make sure you're pressing the heels together from the upper inner thigh. So, maybe you'll even feel the back of the leg. Maybe. One more time. Good for the feet.
You gotta pay attention to the feet. Even if we put 'em in shoes all day. I'm switching my feet. I'm going inwardly-toed. We all have named for that.
I don't have one at the moment, so I'm just swinging my heels out and my knees and inner thigh bones, everything connected going forward or inward, and down and up. My range isn't as big, especially on one leg. It's just like, what? I don't do that. That left leg is like, I got you.
Don't you worry. So I'm trying to even if out. It limits the left leg a little. Just to feel it, all around. All right, take it down, or actually, lift a little, enough to make it parallel, and then bend your right knee and allow that left heel to drop.
I have some weight on my arms for sure, but I'm not trying to just collapse. I'm holding myself up. That's part of the point of all of this. Lift up both legs to straight to switch, or just switch, it's fine. A tendency might be to kick out one hip and get all lazy, or sexy, depending on how you look at it.
Let's leave that out of class for now. Straighten it out, almost like you're working within the frame of the chair. All right. Then, just when you thought we were done, arches of the feet on the bar, so it feels good, and once again, I just want to bend the knees like we did earlier or in the start, and elbows down with the back flat, and I don't know how to demonstrate this. I'm gonna use my words as best I can.
But I'm holding and I'm trying to draw the upper arm back as if I was gonna pull myself forward, and in fact, I am, but just gonna leave almost everything behind. I'm trying to think of the top of the head going forward, the tailbone staying where it is, and just get the back involved a little bit before I do anything else. Now I'm thinking downward with the forearms a little, just anchoring, and then just looking forward, forward, letting my back, upper back arch, trying not to change the pelvis. Not super easy to do or even cue, but that's the idea. And then, we'll just let everything round.
You can let your legs straighten, your arms straighten. When you step off, be careful. Remember, it's heavy, even though it didn't feel like it when you had all your body weight on it. Let it up. Come around, two to go.
Two more exercises. For the first time, we're changing our springs. I had, as you know, one at the very top. Just show you. I had for this chair one at the very top and one just one rung down.
I'm gonna take off the lighter one altogether and leave it, so I only have one relatively heavy spring, and it has to do with what I'm gonna do, which is put both arms on rather than both legs on. And a little bit of body weight. A lot of body weight. Okay? First, sit sideways.
Changing it from the original exercise, we're just sitting right on the side of the hip as much as you can, and you get to use that forward leg for help. So push it this way a little. So I'm holding, and I reach that bottom leg. If you're tall, you're gonna adjust, right? You're gonna be more over to the left.
If you're shorter than even me, you might need to put your foot on a box, or a stool, something to anchor. You wanna feel anchored here. That's sort of the key, so that we can stretch away from it. In between two plates of glass, we just take that top arm behind the head for now. Use it as a means for drawing your head back, and we stretch over.
Oh, find the stretch. If your leg came up, you don't feel anything, right? Put that toe back on the ground or on a box. Don't thrust the chin forward. Feel the back of your neck and let it be long, and then you get to come up.
So it's a stretch over, and a subtle resistance coming just up to that diagonal line. Inhale. If you need or want more of a stretch, you can take the top arm over. (Kristi exhales) Oh, it already feels good. I'm gonna hold it a little.
Stay there. And something to check for is again the collarbones, or maybe it's better to say the bottom shoulder. If it's down away from you or towards your waist, you get to feel more of that up and over sort of rainbow-like action. And up. And then flip, other side.
Just turn. You know what we're doing. You don't need to see me. I'm gonna pretend I can still see you, like before. Hand behind your head.
You've anchored. You're on the side of your hip. You feel crunchy on the underside, you just probably need to move away from the foot bar. Hand behind your head. I'm set up, I've checked things out.
My toe's on the floor. My shoulder's towards my waist. Inhale, we go down. And we exhale and let ourselves up, just to that diagonal line. Inhale, over, and up.
(Kristi exhales) Again. Things you can check for, is your elbow going toward the ceiling? It doesn't have to be straight up, but you don't want it way in front of you or way behind you. It's up to you if you'd like to add more weight as you stretch. You just take the top arm over your head more, and I'm coming up.
I'm exhaling as I go down, but it honestly doesn't matter. Just make it feel good. We'll do two to go. I'm doing one more down and up. And from here, I think I said two more exercises.
That didn't count. We had two sides. That was one exercise. Face down. So, same resistance.
Generally, I'm thinking hip bones are on, almost always. If anything, they might be further back toward the middle, depending on how long you are. Again, not super endowed in the height department. So just leaning into it, I take it to the floor first. This chair's a little big for me, so I'll have to start.
What we're all trying to do is start where our legs are straight off the back. Not hanging below, engaged, and not super high, either. Just trying for straight. Hands about, again, shoulder distance or wider is fine. I'd err on that side.
Fingers forward. You know the collarbone deal. And I'm gonna try to start where I'm level. I'm just guessing, I'm feeling for it. Again, you may start on the floor, but once we get going, let's just kiss the floor and not hanging out on it.
From there, I'm just pushing. Remember how you pulled with your forearms? I'm pushing my forearms back, my upper arms back, as I look forward. We've done all of this. And then I can travel up to the top of the spring tension, but don't forget the legs, and then back to where you started.
Shoulders down, arms are straight, looking forward and up. The fact that my shape is changing is what's lifting me, and back to straight. You've got it. Play with it. And then start minimizing what the arms are doing and try to make it all about the spine, as if you could levitate with that curve.
What are your legs doing? They're straight, they're strong. It will help you. There shouldn't be a lot of low back pain, or any low back pain. (Kristi laughs) You'll feel work.
Work and pain are different, right? Let's do a few more. I do kind of think I'm going outward and upward. Nothing wrong with getting high with that, so long as you're staying in those muscles and not just dropping into your back. Oh, we're cool.
Let's go down all the way. If you shifted forward, shimmy back ever so slightly. Everybody hover off the floor, or at least don't hang out on it. And from there, just flutter kick the legs. They're absolutely straight.
I don't care about the feet. They shift thigh, thigh, thigh, thigh, thigh, thigh, thigh. And then find a neutral spot. They're still engaged. Take your time.
You're gonna take off your right arm, but try not to get kicked off. I'm telling you that for a reason. I've seen it. You're reaching forward. It's gonna make one side work very differently.
Put it down. Readjust. It's not gonna be the same. It might be easier, it might not be. Feel the front of your body.
Ooh, wow. Interesting, Kristi. There's all sorts of tricks to help you with that, maybe holding a ball at the ankles so you kick in those inner thighs. Let's do one more each side, a little quicker. Right arm up or whichever arm up.
Nothing happening at the legs. They're just energized. Last time. And then we can set the bar to the floor, take one hand off to the edge of the front of the chair, help yourself drop your feet to the floor to roll up. Holding onto the front of the chair again, you can bend the knees, bend the elbows if you want, just taking a little low back stretch.
Round yourself up. Let's finish all together. No band, nothing else, just you and yourself. Shift your body weight. We'll do one roll down and be done.
Inhale. (Kristi inhales) Exhale, here we go, head. You know the cues. Just feel any differences, what you might wanna work on more or less, ways you can play with it. I'm bending my knees, 'cause it tends to feel really good right now.
And then I'm straightening 'em, and all together, last one. We inhale, adjust whatever you need to with the knees. Draw the tailbone down. I'm just rolling up to standing. That's all I'm doing, keeping my arms on my back, feeling the space, hopefully.
Leave the arms down and heavy. Tall. Take a deep breath. Just feel it. Enjoy the space you've created, and see you again, I hope.