Hi everybody, back for another Reformer class. This is the Reformer I keep in my office typically. I had the good fortune of being able to bring it down to the studio, so that's why we're here. My AeroPilates has bungee cords, so you'll hear me refer to the cords versus the springs. But really we're just trying to make the tension, or the weight, the resistance against our exercise match the point of it, so that'll be what we focus on today.
If your Reformer doesn't lock in, just be aware that you're not gonna really yank on it, but we are gonna use it for assistance. Your feet in parallel near the, or on the foot bar, the foot plate I should say, not the foot bar, and then sit up as tall as you can. You wanna be pretty close. If it starts to slide, you may need a sticky mat, but for this one, it's so cushy, it's pretty nice. Holding onto the edge of your bar, just use it to kind of assist you in a rise of the spine, and inhale if you will.
Do not worry about your legs splaying, I think they kinda should. The knees maybe need to come apart just to kind of loosen up there, and then exhale, and just kinda, not collapse, but fall back into it. Come back in, inhale, pull with the arms. Open this shoulder blades, reach the elbows wide. Open the knees if you need to, I do.
And then start to feel how you can initiate the rollback with the belly, with the pelvis. Sometimes it's easier to think in terms of the bony movements rather than the muscular. So inhale, pull those arm bones, lift your spine, your crown of the head to the ceiling as much as possible. And then as you rollback, it starts from those hipbones in front. Rollback, and really this is just to loosen up your spine, so you can inhale, lift up, and exhale.
Sometimes I even like to push with your hands, with your bar locked, it's up to you. Just sort of finding some rhythm, some wave-like motion in your spine, in your body. Inhaling as you come up maybe, exhale as you rollback (mouth exhales). I think the real point I would be making with doing it here, instead of standing roll down, would be coming from the pelvis, right? That's where it starts.
That's where you actually wanna get that rounding of the lumbar spine through the whole spine. Lift up, and exhale (mouth exhales). Next time you lift up, pull in closer. Again, if you need to separate the knees, it's not a big deal right now. Pull, elbows wide, lift up, and then rather than thrusting your ribcage through your thighs, think of maybe a subtle downward pressure, and go up for a subtle bit of back extension.
We're just waking up all sides of the body, and round. Alright, I'm gonna back up only slightly. You might not need to. I'm feeling a little tighter today from sitting, so I'm still, I mean I'm holding on for now, but I will be letting go. And from here, your knees parallel if you can.
They're not touching each other at the moment. Inhale, extend your spine as much as possible. Exhale, as you start to rollback, again, hip bones pull back, you go to the length of your arms, you might even let go, and here's where I have a subtle downward pressure. Maybe it's an upward pressure for some. So I can connect to the back of the body, take an inhale there, and exhale to come forward.
Grab on, inhale, extend, don't worry about keeping the knees together, make it feel good. Exhale, then come back to parallel. The hip bones rollback. You let go, you go maybe to touch the shoulder blocks, don't rest on them. Inhale, exhale, find that connection to the back of your body.
Sometimes your own cues are the best. Come forward, grab on, lift up, bend your elbows, or make it feel good, let the knees come apart, whatever, right? And exhale, we go back, and now start to find that rhythm. So it feels like all right, I can round my back. I can breathe while I do it.
I can extend my back, breathing however I want. And if I use the back of my body just subtly, or at least know where it is, I have better contact all around, lifting up. Let's do one more all together. Actually, I'll change it. We start with that rollback, exhale.
If you're not prepared to let go, don't. You can do the rest here, but you really wanna get that lumbar, the lower back curve. Exhale, a little lower if you can. Touch the shoulder rest maybe, not resting. Right arm goes up, inhale, nothing else moves.
No one said it was gonna be easy. Other side, first side, second side, either way. Left side, then we just inhale, hold. Get ready to come up. You can even use your toes for now to help you, but start to feel how.
For me it's more like a gentle push up of the foot on the platform to help me find that connection. Sit tall, separate your knees if it feels right to do so, or not, and inhale. Let's do it again without all those words. Pelvis rolls back, you let go if and when you can. Your shoulders are pretty wide, not a big deal there.
Inhale, right arm goes up. Feel the connection of the bottom of your feet on the platform, exhale, bring it down. Other side, so it's perfectly on the mat as well. (mouth exhales) Right arm again, just alternating, doesn't matter which side you started with, just make it even. And last one.
We hold the arms in front of us, we inhale. Here's the fun part. I like to gently push, don't move that carriage, remember how light it is. Exhale, but it's scope up in this case for me it turns out. Find the bar, sit up tall, no big deal, but we're not done.
So you again might have to back up. I'm gonna try to stay here for now. All I'm doing here is, actually the same thing, rotating towards me. Move the hand that was in the back a little bit more towards the middle. Okay, so my hands are a little off-center.
Inhale, sinking that waistline into the mat. Notice how much weight is going into the shoulder blocks, hopefully barely any and not more than when it starts. That's our third one, we'll stop there, take an inhale. Exhale, feel your feet, they not doing much, but feel how that connection to the rest of your body can help you back up. Move your arms the other way, just so you know which way you're turning, and that your knees are still pointed ahead.
Again, mine are not together, although it is possible to do it that way probably. We roll down, so I'm going down just that one side of the spine, all right? Both arms come up, inhale. You can, particularly for me on this side. The feet in the platform help.
One more time. I'm entirely sure why, somebody should ask Brent. Come back up, exhale when it feels right, to the center, and straighten yourself up. Ha, while we're here, I think we can keep this spring the same. My headrest is down.
From here I have my heels on the bar, so do you hopefully. We're long in our bodies, we simply inhale. Start the exhale and feel the bones, once again, drop into the mat, to peel your hips up. And just do what you can, going as high as you can, especially if that bar's really close. It might be different than you're used to.
All of this so far could be done on the mat. Arms are long, use the back of 'em, inhale. Exhale from the top of your throat, from your upper back. From your chest, you know there's lots of ways we can think about it. I see I pushed out a little, I'm gonna give myself a break on that, and do it again.
Inhaling whenever, start that exhale. So there's space, right? There's no clamping down here. Give yourself the room your need. There's no, the body moves, it's us that holds it back from what it's capable of.
So let's not overthink it, roll down. Two more like that. (mouth exhales) For me the exhale does soften me, otherwise I overthink and hold my breath. So I'm rolling up a little quicker and easier. I do feel my upper arms, 'cause I want to, and roll down.
And last one (mouth exhales). And then on this one, drop just a little bit down. For me what is a tuck? Think public bone toward chest, around your lower back, or squeeze your butt. However you have to think of it, to then press back into your feet.
Stand on your feet more, so that when you lift up and look down, you see at least a straight line across your hips, or feel a tiny bit of stretch there from that little big one, rather than being down here. Then dropped in the hips, inhale, exhale, roll down when it feels right. So hopefully that tapped you into the back of your legs. You gotta swing yourself up to put some springs on. And on this one, all of 'em, I would guess for almost every one, but there'll be reasons you might want it a little lighter.
But for all four, the trick and the fun part of this kind of machine, is that you're dancing with it, you have to work with it, you have to be with it. It's not gonna be the machine that you fight against and then it relaxes you back. You're gonna keep it with you, okay? So lay down. You can put your headrest up if you like.
And always thinking of keeping the feet flexed, but rather soft as much as I can, and going back to feeling the backside of the body, particularly the back of the legs in the motion. So sometimes you have to call upon it, that's the mindful part of some of this work. I'm gonna give you just one more here. Come all the way back in, both feet at the same time. If you can, switch it to the balls of the feet, and there you have a connection hopefully.
Off we go, we press out, we pull in. We stretch, and in, and out. (mouth exhales) You just notice sometimes it's just worth being on here with familiar moves, noticing yourself today and where you go with it. I'm gonna do two more. Come back in.
We're ready to go, all we're doing is from the hips, slightly turn out. It means drop the knees to the side a little, but engage enough that you squeeze your butt and round your back. Press the heels strongly together, keep the heels super strongly together, but press the tailbone back down, or relax the tucking of the pelvis. Off we go, all the way out, press the inner thighs. Stay here for one second and see about pressing the inner-upper-inner thighs together more than anything else.
All right, I'll meet you in about four more. Stretch (mouth exhales). Last one here, all the way out, come on in, and then take your heels to the edge of your bar. I'm gonna go wide today. You can keep them a little more on the parallel side, it's just a variation on either version.
(mouth exhales) Last one here. We're gonna do one more set, just come down, go to the balls of the feet in basically the same position. Now you now, off we go, out, in, and perhaps connect everything we were thinking of, or even the motion to the middle of your body. Not entirely sure what that means either. But you can, when you exhale maybe to push out.
Bring your feet back to parallel, almost together but not quite. Push back out, and then lower your heels under, under, under, and push back up. Lower them under. We have to be a little careful with how much we hyper-extend for those of us that do. Sometimes I have to do that thing again, where I'm subtly dragging my feet down in my mind.
And just back and forth. The trick for, the fun of this, is getting all the way to the top, where both knees are straight, then drop to the other. So do a few more and make yourself even. And down, okay, on this one there's no need to change the springs for going into the hundred. So that's what we'll do.
Reach into it, I'm working on a little grip strength too, so I'm actually gonna make those fists. I push into it, trying to curl up more, then it's as if my arms are just hanging out on the spring. So I do let go a little bit from there. Inhale, two, three, four, five, and exhale. Breathe, it's all you.
(mouth exhales) Feel the lungs expand. Raise the legs if you need to, it's not supposed to be tough on your back. If anything, it should help it. Play with it if you need to, inhale. For me, when it starts to get tough, which is right around now, I try to hold from underneath.
It's a cue for myself, it's like a saddle underneath. A sling, if you will, trying to wrap my legs around. About two more breath cycles. (mouth exhales) You can make it vigorous, right? Heat yourself up, and then bring it in, arms are up.
If you're wedged into your shoulder rest, a good way for the coordination using long arms today. Exhale, curl, right back up, open the legs, close the legs, bend the knees, reach deep into the straps, then come down, there's your inhale. Very long exhale (mouth exhales). Start your inhale here, push into the straps, and come down. The push in the straps kind of come from the spinal curve.
Am I getting what I need in? This one is, it may be the best way to think of it as mobility through the hip joint, all the directions ease, although it won't be an easy exercise ultimately. Stepping into it, I'm on the longer loops of my two options, starting with the frog. Settle in, feet flexed, off we go, we press. Now no matter what you've chosen, it should be relatively light, okay?
So this is not really meant to be strengthening everything you have, but rather there's some control, there's some intricacy to help you in other exercises. So we're just pushing out, we're pulling in. Coordinating our mind and breath with that movement. Let's do one more here. Keep it to straight, parallel the feet for now, press down a little bit, separate.
On this next exhale, as you go down, it's just the breath I chose, you can reverse it, which we will, inhale, lift up. Push out as if you're working against resistance a little, and come 'round, exhale, inhale, lift up. Push apart, exhale to bring it around. Make it fluid and as best you can, make it come from the top of your legs rather than where your feet are. One more time.
And then from here, we separate, they're just coming apart. Seems simple, stay there once they are. Check the rest of your body that you haven't arched your back, and that you still have a sense of reaching beyond where the straps are, then drag them, bring them back together, open wide. I like to use this sometimes as as reminder of starting the breath just before the movement, can be helpful. (mouth exhales) Checking in, nothing too complicated here, but absolutely good work when done with precision.
Hold onto the sides of the carriage, and then create that really deep curve of the lumbar spine. It's not meant to be a collapsing feeling, although it's a bit tough to get into initially, but there's a sense of I'm pushing my hands into the carriage, I'm lifting up but I am most certainty curved trying to get shoulders over hips. We push out, lower the heels, lift the heels and come back all the way in the best you can. It goes quicker than when I'm cueing right now, which we'll do in a second. I'd like you to get the sense that it somehow comes from the middle of your body.
Here we go, exhaling out, down, up, inhale, pull all the way in. Exhale out, down, up, trying not to lean back as your heels lower, you go with it. (mouth exhales) Use the upper arms into that carriage. Connect yourself to your dance partner, which in this case is the carriage. Let's go one more, really pushing out, find it coming from the middle.
All the way in, when you get in as far as you can, reach back to your shoulder blocks. If you can't reach them, you can put your hands on the front of them. Finger tips are fine, but really looking for the straights fine. I'm gonna give it a shot. I hyper-extend my elbows, so I tend to have to be careful there.
(mouth exhales) Come in, stay in, you can hold the bar for a brief moment to pull you in. If you need to back up a little, do arms are straight, push out, don't worry about the heels. Just come back in, and get in there, reaching, reaching, reaching, push out, two, and pull in and in. And that's that sense of how do I hollow the middle to get closer to the bar to stretch the spine? Lots of other things come outta this pose, or position, so that's a little bit of what we're thinking.
And push out. Don't go so far you can't get back in. Try to come all the way back in, connecting once again with the back of your legs. And out, just one more, in, in, in, in, in, and roll yourself down, quick hug of the knees to the chest, and come on up. Heading into the knee stretch series, so again I could leave it here, and I actually think I will, but this one will start with a heavier string tension.
Push out, then exhale, scoop the belly, so somewhere we're hugging in right under the waist to bring it back. Here we go, a little quicker now. It's out and in, out and in. You might feel some motion through the, or not motion, tension through the hips, that's good. Think abs, think in, in, and in.
Couple more if you feel like you just got it, that's fine. So that one's can be tough to get sometimes. From here we'll head into the up-stretch. Feet are gonna land on the same spot, so you just lift up. The heels will be part way up the shoulder rest, but still touching them.
Without changing through the upper body, bring that carriage back. Inhale, and back, and in, and back, and in. Trying to connect, once again the motion of the carriage from the middle of the body. One more time. From there, we'll turn into what we call up-stretch two in my BASI world, which is to just simply rotate around the shoulder girdle, come into a plank, then bring it back, find that pyramid.
Okay, up we come for the arms. So we'll go into arms kneeling. For this one, on this particular machine, I'm gonna go with two cords. Balance body, I would say maybe one red spring, probably two for stop, one full spring, maybe one and a half, depending on you. So grabbing on, I think usually in front of the buckle or the handle for this version of it, which is simply to have your knees against the shoulder rest, you're tall.
So if you are on a machine other than this one, you may wanna lighten it. I think my experience tells me not to on this, because I need it to move a little. So with the hands, the straps in the palms of the hands, we are going forward and up, trying to keep your body upright as you move through this evenly, right? The arms don't really get behind you, they ultimately stay to the side, or maybe even slightly in front. And down.
In other words, if they get behind you and you pull it, it kind of throws you off balance to a degree that's just not important to why we're doing it. And out to go up, and I turn the palm so I don't wrap those cords around my shoulders. Now to go up, looking for the smoothness of your motion, hopefully of the shoulder girdle. Next time we'll stay up there, so be ready for that when you get there. Thumb and index finger together.
I'm going one more. Let it come down. This is the one you might wanna little more resistance, but you're probably fine to leave it where it is, as well. This is the bicep version. You can either walk forward and let your toes relax, or keep 'em there for the support.
It's a good stretch too, isn't it? (mouth exhales) Ah, okay, let's go into mermaid, and back extension, and call it a day. So I'm gonna lighten mine by just one cord. I'm now on two, in case lost track. I could leave my cord here but I'm not going to, I mean my foot bar, I'm gonna bring it up again.
I found my fingertips, so I can grab it a little. I push with that right arm, pulling a little with the left. Not so much that I snap out of it, but when I let go, I reopen same path I took on the way in, and come on home. We'll just stick with that. Come on out, push, it's okay to use that shin.
It's a really good contact point, and especially right here. When you're rotating, make sure you have that anchor of the shin into the shoulder rest. Reopen it now, and up you come, and again, pressing out. Nice and long, there's the good stuff right there. I'm gonna stay here, I am gonna try and grab on with both, so you can move the backhand a little further.
A downward press of the hand to come in a bit of extension. Still thinking, especially now, the shoulder, the shin into the shoulder rest, take it back down. Let's do two more of those, and we'll just call it on that. Lift up, enjoy the stretch, can play with which hand holds more, but make it gentle on your spine, even if it feels like a stretch. Come up again, both arms straight.
We're gonna go back down, move your hand in the back, maybe a tiny bit forward, or in to the middle to reopen like it started, and come back up. From here, either grab your shin, the shoulder rest, lift the top arm, or the arm on the foot bar, stretch it, go ahead and let it come out, out, out, and over. That does feel good. Then just flip, other side. Do your best to get your hipbones down, or sits buns down, but I'll leave it at, do your (chuckles) best.
Push out to straight, make sure your shoulders are attached to your back, and off we go. We initiate from underneath that arm, knowing that the rest of the body always is assisting somehow, even if that assistance becomes compensation. So let's pay attention. Reopen, and come back in. I'll give you that little bit of time I did on the other side for a bit of stretch on this next one.
We press out, trying to line up really your ear, your lower ear, with your upper arm, and then rotate, just so you know where you are in space. Here's one I'll let you hold on a bit, and if you wanna move the hand back for a second, just to add to the stretch, it's up to you. Reopen, and come back in. One more like that without the additional stretch in there, but we'll do the back extension in a moment. Rotate, and open, come back in on this next one.
We'll adjust the hands when we get there, here it comes. Spin, that's fine. Find your hands on the bar, adjust how you need to, then it's almost a downward pressure, or push if you will. Both arms straight, coming into that rotational extension. Push back out, come back in.
Starting to feel the relationship between the arms and the spine maybe, so maybe look forward first. Feel the chest start to arch, I don't know you want to get that intricate on it, but it oughta feel pretty good. We're gonna go back out just to get out of it, so we go back down, adjust that backhand towards the middle, reopen to the mermaid side position, and come back up, sitting as tall as you can, hold on to either your shin or the shoulder block, something that allows you to rise up, and over. And with that, just spin yourself around, seated however you can on your Reformer, feeling hopefully a little bit taller, wider, meaning more spacious of course, and more open. So from here, hold onto your knees, hold onto anything.
Bind your hands where they're most supportive, sit up tall, find them where they're even more supportive as you pull yourself forward into a hinge, or just lean forward. Go as far as you can, where it feel like some part of your back could do it without your arms, and then finally just let go. Let your arms drape, let everything go outta your head. You can use your feet to help you rollback up, and then when you get to the top, either let your arms hang, rest your hands where you want, take a couple of deep breaths, and decide what you're doing next, and how you wanna feel. (mouth exhales) Hopefully you're in a better place to make that a good decision.
Last breath together (mouth inhales). (mouth exhales) Thank you.