Class #4053

Lower Body Stretch Reformer

40 min - Class


You will stretch your tissue in a way that feels good to you with this Reformer workout by Sarah Bertucelli. She teaches a "work-in" experience, where she offers you ideas that you can use to stretch your lower body. She encourages you to be patient and curious so that you can get the most out of each movement.

Note: At the beginning of the class, Sarah uses 1 blue spring for the first exercise.
What You'll Need: Reformer (No Box), Bolster

About This Video


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I'm so pleased to share with you a work in experience around stretching. So it's important to know during this workout or work in rather that I really want you to adhere to the pleasure principle. I'm going to offer you lots of ideas so that you can hopefully stretch some of your tissue in a way that feels like a good idea to you. But make sure you adhere to what feels good to you. If it doesn't feel good.

Try something different. I'm also going to ask you during this workout or work in rather, to be patient and curious, because in the positions that I show you, you may not feel the stretch right away. But if you stay there long enough and breathe and explore and find something, you probably will feel something new and interesting. Let's get started. So, with your feet right underneath your hips in a place that feels comfortable to you, I'm going to say that this is kind of messy polities right now (chuckles).

Lift your arms up, look up, bend back. Just feel what your body feels like. Yeah, be aware of your abdominals just to make sure that you don't harm yourself. But be mindful also of where your body needs to go. I wanna go to the side and I wanna go to the other side just so I can feel my body.

And then we're gonna take the arms down and we roll forward, and we're gonna catch the edge of the reformer and take the cat stretch here. So we're gonna reach forward, flattening the back, feeling a stretch maybe in the backs of your legs, maybe in your back, maybe in your arms. And then round yourself in and fine breath that suits you. Relax your head and neck. I like to inhale when I reach forward but I may stay there for an exhale.

You can go at my pace or even slower if you prefer, and then round and roll up. Now this particular experience is focusing on the lower body so as you reach forward this time, will you explore where your pelvis wants to go. Maybe you tip it up a little more. Maybe you shift to one side, you shift to the other side. And then you round and roll back up.

And just sense what you might need to loosen up or where you feel perhaps a little bit tighter, a little sticky. I'm gonna shift again, I'm just kinda letting my legs respond. I'm gonna shift again my pelvis, and then I come back to center and around yourself in and feel what you feel stretch your body in a way that actually feels more animalistic than human. Go with that theme today. So let's put two reds in a blue on, it's a light spring for me for footwork.

If you happen to work with different spring load, you could do two reds or you could do three reds, whatever works for you, but but two reds and a blue feels light to me. So I'm gonna settle my feet on the bar. Right around the heels and just take a nice little pelvic curl and just see what that feels, like feel the pelvic curl, and then curl down. Now, I didn't do a full pelvic curl on purpose. I'm doing just the spinal flexion up and just kind of feeling what that feels like, before I press all the way through, and then lower down.

The purpose of that for me is just to loosen up more through my low back. So feel a little stretch through the low back, and then lower down. Now just for an experiment, press the legs out a couple times and just see what you feel in your legs, without really thinking very much. Of course, hopefully, you're aligned, and hopefully it feels like a good idea. And now come back in.

And let's come right back to that same pelvic curl where you're flexing your spine, using your hamstrings a little and stay here. Now at this point, I want you to slide your pelvis a little bit to one side, feeling what that side of the body feels like, and then slide your pelvis to the other side. And then slide again just staying in that one range real, not too high. And slide again. And what do you feel?

Do you feel that one side is perhaps a little stickier than the other? I do, my left side needs a little more attention. So I'm gonna stay there for a moment, come back to center, and then lower back down. And now we try that same thing again, but a little bit different. So I'm gonna ask you to curl up to that same place where your inflection of your spine but then soften where your pelvis is.

So it's going slightly anterior but not completely. My abdominals are still supporting for me. And then once again, I'm going to slide my pelvis to one side, and then slide my pelvis to the other side, waking up the hamstrings, waking up the connectors, but what I'm looking for is actually a feeling of opening on the outside of the pelvis, maybe or hip, perhaps a release. I have some stickiness that it's helpful for me to workout. And then we're gonna come down and I'm gonna add one more option here.

So let's do another pelvic curl, stopping at that point where you're just in flexion and then re-slaps the pelvis down just a little bit. Now here, slide the pelvis over to one side and then tap the whole pelvis to the mat, lift up, slide it to the other side and tap. It's kind of like a rainbow shape up. Notice if you feel a little more sensation on one side, or if you feel like you can't go as far on one side, I noticed it's quite easy to touch my arm on the right, that's a little harder on the left, so I'm gonna linger on the left. And I'm gonna do a couple more here, kind of trying to stretch and yon through my hip.

And then I come back up, and I lower down. And I'd like to do that sequence one more time. So scooping up just a flexion of the spine and then soften the pelvis and then go side to side and maybe you decided to go the other way first, this time, maybe not. We're trying to not rotate the pelvis here, but to just slide it around, right? And then now add the down and up.

So we tap down, we lift up, we go over, down, and up. So there's a hint of awareness in my abdominals certainly, but I'm not overthinking about them. I'm just moving. And then now we lift back up and lower back down, and soften into what feels like your neutral spine, settle your heels on the bar right in the belly of the heel and press out and in a few times. And what I know, for me, what I feel is my hamstrings and my inner thighs, and I feel my body just showing up for me, after warming up in that way, without having to think so much about getting my hip extensors to work.

So that feels really nice to me. So just a couple more here, using your breath. And then come in this time and slip your feet down a little bit. So I want the bar to be just above the heel, perhaps the bottom of the arch. Let your feet soften around the bar a little but not actively just soften, and press out and in.

Again, see if you can feel both of your legs working equally. And just notice what shows up. I'm actually not in my mind trying to engage anything. But what I feel right now after that pelvic curl experience is my hamstrings and the connectors of my adductors and outer hips really, really showing up for me without thinking so much. Go ahead and come in.

And we'll make another shift here where we're just gonna slip the foot down a little bit more. So you're kind of in the middle of the arch, let the heels be soft and the foot be soft, and really stay as soft as you can relaxing out. So I'm trying to keep both my heel and the ball of my foot sort of heavy around the bar. But I'm not doing it actively with my muscles. Feel that your pelvis is neutral.

And again, find breath that suits you. I don't wanna keep an organized breath here, but I do wanna remind you to breathe. (exhales heavily) And then come in and we'll do another position here. So we're gonna slip down again, so that the bar is maybe around the ball of your foot. You're somewhat prehensile here, but I really don't want you to actively grip the bar, I want it to be really soft.

As you press out, you're gonna drop those heels down, and keep those toes very softly around the bar, rather than gripping a lot. See what you feel. For me, I needed to stay at the top there for a moment and get the top of my hip to release a little, just felt like a good choice. You can move a little bit faster than I am if you prefer. I happen to really enjoy lingering in this straight leg position for a moment or two, with the purpose of opening across the front of my hips, releasing my quads a little bit.

Now here go ahead and stay straight. So when you land here, stay here and move your left foot so that the heel or the bar is above the heel on the arch and really let the bar into that foot, kinda sink in sit a little bit, use your other foot to perhaps reach the foot around or stretch the foot around the bar a little bit, and then gently push your pelvis in the direction of the left. And for me, that creates a beautiful little release, right up here in my hip, top outside of my hip, maybe it does for you, maybe it doesn't. Release, and then change positions, move your foot down again, so it's more in the middle or closer to the ball of the foot. Really drive or drop the heel down.

Do the same thing with your other foot if it feels like a good idea, and then you use that connection to press the pelvis out a little bit, very softly and stay there and breathe for a moment. Notice if you feel just even slight shifts or openings, that's what I'm feeling right now. And then we'll change sides. So putting the bar just above the heel of the right foot. Really let the bottom in kind of sit and relax, of course I'm a little bit aware in my abdominals, but I'm not working too hard for it.

And then you can let the foot relax over the bar and perhaps use your other foot to help you a little, and press your pelvis a little over to the right to the other side. So for me, I feel it in a slightly different spot. I actually feel some released all the way up here in my outside hip. While on the other side, it was on the top of my hip or pelvis really. And then change one again here so you'll put the bar more along the ball of the foot, and then find that same shape.

Now I'm going to encourage you throughout this work in, if you find a position that feels delicious, and you wanna stay there longer, pause this class and stay in breathe for a little longer. For the sake of time and making sure I can get through everything. I'm not going to stay super long, but you certainly can. And then put two feet on the bar and gently come all the way in. Roll yourself to one side, I'll roll this way.

Roll yourself to one side. And let's change this spring to just one spring. I'm going to recommend a green spring, if you have one. If you have a red spring, you could use that and if you decide you want to change it, you'll change it. And then we'll lie back down.

So with this very light spring, you'll settle your feet once again, on the bar as if you were gonna push out and in but that's not what we're gonna do here. Instead, I'm gonna ask you to open your legs into the hip opener. This is kind of like hip opener on the Wunda chair, those of you that are bassy trained, and then bring the legs back. So do that again. Open the legs and just relax here and check in with the top in front here.

This inner thigh area we wanna soften as we stretch and open and specifically the hip crease right around where your quadriceps would meet your pelvis here. You wanna soften that area so check in and feel that softening. Bear down a little bit through the bar and see if you can wake up the inside of the glute, if you will, or the deep rotators on both legs. So I can feel almost cramping on my right side and I have to think a little more about my left. We're gonna use that feeling now to tuck the pelvis just a little bit or imprint the spine, and then relax the pelvis down.

So do that a couple more times and what do you feel? I feel a lot more sensation when I'm using my abs and my pelvis is slightly tucked, or my back is imprinted. So that's where I wanna stay right here, a little tucked. Now I'm gonna bear down through my feet and press out and in a little. Now it's not about straightening the legs.

It's about the grounding down through the feet, to open through the hips to wake up the deep muscles in the hip. See how that feels. If that feels good. If it feels interesting, you can continue on. If you're not so sure, feel free to stay here.

It's about what feels good to you. So here I'm gonna press and as I press to straight, I'm gonna roll my legs to neutral that feels delicious. Bend my knees in neutral, and then I'm gonna open so it's a circular movement, feel the hips press out with ease, roll to neutral and come in. Please remember to breathe. I'm opening, stretching, pressing out and pulling in.

Now, if you're sensitive in your ankles, make sure you find a place that doesn't allow your ankles to feel sensitive or choose not to do the pressing out. For me, it feels like a beautiful stretch across my hips. And it feels almost like a massage on my outer foot and ankle. And I am supporting just a bit there, my ankle joint and do that just one more time and press out. Beautiful and come in.

So now keeping the feet where they are, relaxed your legs over maybe to the right first and just notice what you feel. And then relax your legs the other way and notice what you feel. So as you relax, notice the top leg goes into internal rotation. So I've changed sides again, if you're not looking at me, and allow your pelvis to rotate a little bit as well, so I'm in spinal rotation, and then come back through, and then go ahead and do that again. You're gonna get to the other side, you relax the leg, internal rotation, the top leg, and as I continue around, I'm going into a little more spinal rotation.

So let's do it another time to the other side. So I'm on my right and I'm gonna stay there for a moment. I've gone to the right. I wanna feel my top leg kind of spinning inward a little bit and I'm pushing down a little bit into the bar, animalistic here, checking it out, scratching an itch (laughs). Now I'm gonna play a little bit with my pelvis position for perhaps you tuck, perhaps you extend a little bit.

And for me, when I go to that slightly tucked position, I feel a lot more in my hip. So that's what I wanna sit with and feel. Try the other side. So we're gonna roll to the other side. If it feels like a good idea, don't hesitate to put your arm somewhere else.

I find myself talking with my hands. So I'm using them to show you. Feel that spinning in a little bit of the top leg. And then that that little exploration here of the pelvis tucking and maybe releasing and of course it's the low back is responding to that. And so I feel a nice little stretch and a little bit of something in my hip joint.

Feels good. Come back through to center. So we're gonna add on here, we go to that same twist I'm on the first side, the right side right now. I'm gonna bear down a little bit through the top leg and I'm just gonna very gently float out. Now this is more of a stretch, a feeling of opening than it is working.

So if it feels too hard to push out, lighten in your spring, no more than one spring on this. It's more of a grounding down to just kind of lighten out. And what I feel here as I continue to try to go a little bit straighter, is a really big stretch on the outside of my hips here and I find that I can't quite even entertain the idea of going all the way out, on this side, that's me. Now go to the other side and see what it feels like. So here, relax the legs feel that slight internal rotation of the top leg.

Focusing a little more on the top leg, slight posterior tilt, press out and in. And I know for me on this side, it's like a piece of cake. I don't really feel much. Feels interesting, but it isn't an issue for me to try to straighten my leg all the way and it doesn't bother my knee. It's something in my hip.

So you can play with little pulses, you could straighten all the way or you could not do any straightening whatever feels good. And then come back through to center. Just one time sway the leg side to side that should feel yummy and pause. So now we're going to put the straps on the feet, in kind of a different way than usual. So use your feet on the bar to press out.

Lift your left foot up and put the strap on your left foot, but take your other strap and also put it on your left foot. So you have two straps on your left foot. With your foot still on the bar, find your neutral pelvis position and you'll find that this arrangement, helps stabilize your leg quite beautifully. If you feel comfortable here really comfortable, you can take that foot that is on the bar and put it on the floor, standing on the floor with that foot. If you feel a little unsure, keep your foot on the bar for now until you are sure.

So I'm gonna go to the comfortable spot. I have my right foot, my bottom foot really standing on the floor grounding down and I'm using that hamstring to help keep my pelvis stable. And I feel a little bit of a stretch. I wanna take the stretch a little deeper. So I'm coming in a little more and it got pretty intense pretty fast.

Now I'm gonna do a pendulum side to side. (whooping) Real gentle movements. I warn you to or caution maybe is better than warn, I'd like you to try not to go to your deepest stretch here. But find a place where it feels like a little tug and then workout some of the kinks. See if you can scratch an itch somewhere where you didn't know it was tight.

Now we do a circle, we come across the body, we circle round just like we would do in mat work to the other side and we come back in. Now, as you feel comfortable, let the circle grow. I find that it takes a little bit of awareness to control this. And you may find that the spring is a little heavy for the circles single leg. So if it is to you just use the bottom leg to help you.

You're gonna appreciate that spring in the next exercise. So let's just do this last one in this direction and then reverse. So we're gonna go out to the side, find that deep stretch through the adductor. Circle down and around, all the way to the other side. Feel the stretch and come through.

Now I would like to have a nice neutral pelvis. But it's okay if you let it respond a little bit to this movement to give you more sensation, especially if it feels good to you. So what I mean by that is as I come around to the side, I'm letting my pelvis just not worry about keeping it too anchored in order to really get the stretch on my side leg there. Let's go ahead and rest that. Lift your bottom leg up, and we're gonna change sides.

So you're gonna bend that bottom leg, whatever. You're gonna put the right strap on the right foot first. Too much talking there, you know what you're doing (chuckles). Take the other strap and put it on now too, and use the foot on the foot bar to support you. Sorry about that.

I had a little bit of a moment where I couldn't get my words out. I hope you'll forgive me (laughs). So settle here and remember you can keep this other foot on the bar if that feels like a better choice to you. It's a little bit kinder. Feel free to put the other foot down on the floor and ground down through that foot.

Opening across the front of the leg there and using the hamstring to help stabilize. Start with this pendulum shape. (whooping) Nice and different on this side compared to the other side for me. And sometimes it's unexpected. So I'm trying to keep the carriage still, as I just explore the pendulum and notice where I'm a little sticky.

And for me what's really interesting is I'm getting so much sensation on my bottom leg. In case you haven't figured it out, my left leg is a little stickier than my right in general. So now let's find circles, we're going to do just like circles in math, we go across the body first. We circle down and around to the side and find home. So we go across again.

So I am making it a point to try to keep my foot grounded. So that as I circle I can use it whenever I need to. And I'm doing about three in each direction is what I like. But certainly if you need to linger somewhere a little longer, feel free to do so. You can always pause me and come back in when you're ready, reverse please.

Circle around, like I wanna just stay in one spot sometimes, but I'm keeping it moving for you a little bit here. I wanna stay there, yeah. And we'll do two more in this direction so I'm going out stretching the adductor, coming around, getting that lateral side here to stretch. And I don't wanna say just the hamstring because I feel it all the way down into my glutes. I feel it in my calf a little bit.

So there's a lot going on there. (exhaling heaving) Good. So go ahead and bend that leg, put the other foot up on the foot bar. It makes life a little easier to make your adjustment. That's what I was trying to say before (chuckles).

And then put one strap on each foot, press your legs out to straight. So I want you to find this spot where it feels like you're in a sweet spot. Where you can just kind of almost rest your legs. Can you be mindful that your straps are close to your heel, your feet will appreciate that, your ankles will appreciate that. So take your right foot and put it inside, underneath the strap and rest the heel on the outside of the leg here and encourage that leg to go into a little internal rotation.

So my left side is the side that I'm stretching. And I wanna be in a position that feels pretty easy to hang out in, without a lot of effort. Feel free to hold the pegs overhead and make a little karate chop with your left leg. So you're gonna go diagonally down until you feel some resistance or something wanting to shift. So right here, I can feel either my body wants to change or I'm a little stuck in my hip.

And then I'm gonna come back up on the diagonal. So a slight internal rotation and then I'm pulling down until I feel resistance and I'm a little lower. Now if you go straight down, the rope might hit you in the nose. So you wanna kinda go down on the diagonal. So we're going down and as you get more flexible, you continue to go on the diagonal and the rope should be on the other side of your face, but you can always hold it if you need to.

Feels delicious to me. Remember, pleasure principle so important. Don't go too far. Don't go too fast. This is an exploration.

It should feel good, kind of like a massage. Stay here I'm in a sweet spot. I can feel stretch in all kinds of places. Linger here for a moment, maybe tuck your pelvis a little bit. Maybe do little tiny oscillations with your leg.

If it gets too intense or feels like too much lift out of it. And we lift up. Now we're adding on if you choose, you can certainly stick with that if it's enough for you. Pull down feel that same position. It's like a little karate chop.

Reach through your heel here. So I'm pushing through my heel and I just got so much more stretch. I'm letting the spring take my legs around until I feel a gorgeous stretch through my whole side chain here. Feel free to hold on with your other hand, when it gets to be too much, or I want to move on, I'm gonna bend my leg that stretching and let the spring continue to take me around. I have two bent legs, and then I rock myself back to neutral.

So my pelvis is square. Let's play with that rock a couple times, I'm gonna go back to where I came from. So I'm going to my right, using my right leg as needed to help support, I feel a beautiful little glute stretch here, outer part of my leg, and I'm gonna come back through. Just do that one more time, just so you can feel that stretch. Maybe you feel it, maybe you don't, you could bend your knee more or less, beautiful, aah.

So let's do that whole piece again. We press the two legs out to straight. We find the internal rotation. We find the karate chop down and feel the stretch. There it is, aah, I can go lower now.

Now I'm gonna ride the spring around and feel the stretch. So it's not a fast movement. It's nice and slow. That's about where I wanna stop. It's not super big either.

Now in order to come out of it, I'm gonna allow my leg to bend, keeping a little resistance on the spring. Bring myself to that shape where I get that beautiful stretch in my glute. And then rock back to center. Let's do the whole thing one more time. We press out two straight, we find our internal rotation and using my right leg to help me find that feels delicious, use breath, come around, feel the stretch, feel free to change your neck, your eyes, and then bend your knee, come all the way in.

And we take just a little rock and roll here releasing. Good, press your legs too straight and let's switch legs. Okay, so straps close to your heels, put the left foot on the inside or underneath and then you're gonna rest the heel on the outside of the leg and encourage a little internal rotation. So please enjoy the difference between your two sides. We exhale and we find that karate chop down that first part of resistance.

That's where I'm gonna stop and I'm gonna reach and lengthen and be for a moment, and then come up. And again, we're gonna find that karate chop a little internal rotation, feel it, maybe you can go a little further, maybe you can't, maybe you feel something different. Good, so there's always a hint of support from the abs but not a vigorous contraction or connection. Vigorous isn't the word I would use. (laughs) A hint, a supporting.

So let's do the karate chop one more time, there's that bit of internal rotation, we take the leg down, we feel the resistance, and then we linger there reaching a little through the heel. And then maybe you move your pelvis, a little tucking might make you feel something different, or a tiny little circle might make you feel something different. And then we take that piece around. (moaning) (laughing) You can moan and groan too, right? Bend your legs, so your body, your right leg will bend and you'll come through to a bent knee position and come home.

So you have your legs crossed at the ankles, and they should look pretty symmetrical here, use your left leg now as much as you need to, to be able to support as you just rock and roll through that a few times. Feel that little... That stretch, you might get through here somewhere, somewhere around here. I even get it all the way up into my back, perhaps you do too. So now we press the two legs to straight and we go through that whole thing two more times.

We spin the knee in, come down on the diagonal, ride the spring around, enjoy the stretch. Feels different on this side. Allow the leg to bend, support with your other leg and come back home and press out again. So we're gonna spin the knee in, take the leg down, feel the stretch. And then come around feel the release side body glute, whatever it is better.

Bend the knee when you need to and come through. (moaning) Let's gently uncross the ankles. Take one foot out and take the other foot out. Now, I feel like I've had a massage in my hips. So I'm just gonna take a quick moment swaying my legs, just real restful and pleasurable, be here.

And then I'll ask you to come up to a sitting so we can do just a couple more things. Alright, moving on. We're going to get a nice hip flexor stretch here. So I'm going to suggest a red spring for that, if you were on the green for the other one. And I'm going to ask you to...

I'm gonna come around on this side first. And I'm gonna ask you just to do your hip flexor, standing lunge position that you might do normally first and then we have a nice variation. So I've straightened this leg purposefully because I wanna feel a little bit of I have an opening through the front before I go into it. And then what I would like you to do is bend the back knee and just find a place where you're not really, too stretched yet but you can kinda feel maybe where it's harder for you to move. And I like to do this because I noticed that on one side, it's quite easy for me to move side to side, forward and back, it's comfortable.

On the other side, it's a lot more difficult. So here, you could stay. But I'm going to encourage you to sink a little deeper, place your elbows down on the bar, allow your head to relax and sink into the stretch a little bit. My abdominals are supporting me a little bit, but I am trying to release and I'm not organizing my pelvis too much. I'm trying to release through my hip flexor here.

So here I'm gonna encourage you to sway a little bit side to side and notice if it's tighter on the standing leg out when you go outward or if it's tighter on the inside leg. When you go inward if you will toward the reformer. So for me, it's tighter when I go toward the reformer, so I'm gonna offer you a modification, or an add on, if you will. You can stay here, this is plenty for you. If you'd like to add on, you're gonna place your arm comfortably on the bar.

You're gonna take your other arm, same arm as leg and reach across to the frame, and you're gonna lean your pelvis in the direction of your arm. Oh, yes, very animalistic here. Nice pleasure principle, it should feel good. So I feel just a lovely release in an area that I don't feel if I hold my lunge with too much effort. So I'm looking to really release here, so that when I go back to a more organized lunge, I can hold it better and feel the release.

That's the idea. Breathing in and breathing out. We're gonna gently come on in here, and then try the same thing on the other side. And I do have a treat for you here to go even deeper. So let's put that foot on the bar, on the shoulder rests rather.

And the out standing foot is where it feels comfortable. And just notice here for me right away, I can feel my tightness in my front of my hip here, it takes me a moment to release, it's harder for me here. And then bend the knee and find a place where it's really easy. And just notice where there's restriction. I know for me, I've got a handful of places where I feel restricted here.

So I'm breathing into it, I'm feeling my pelvis, I'm not trying to go into a big stretch, I'm just kind of checking it out. And then as you loosen up, you can go deeper into the stretch. And if it feels like a good idea, I'm gonna ask you to try putting your elbows down on the bar, relax your head forward. And my dear friends, please remember that if you feel that you wanna stay here longer as I know I do. Don't hesitate to pause me and stay here a little longer.

Breathing in and breathing out. Notice if you were to go inward toward the reformer, what do you feel? And if you were to go outward, toward your leg that's standing, what do you feel? Do you feel more on one side or the other. I know for me on both legs, I need to go inward a little more.

So I'm gonna offer that add on, where you place your arms somewhere on the bar where you feel very supported. Place your other hand on the frame, pull your pelvis so you're reaching your pelvis across, you're reaching your heart across and you're just scratching an itch there, maybe right. Releasing, stretching, so I'm not thinking about organizing my pelvis, it's probably not anywhere close to square, but boy do I feel a beautiful stretch, all the way up through my waist. It's just delicious. So breathing in.

And breathing out. And gently release. Now, if that felt like a lot for you, you can always repeat that same position. But if you wanna try something different, here's an add on here. I'm gonna stand on my own left foot and it's slightly turned out.

You can see that really nicely here. So my leg is in neutral. I'm gonna place my other foot back on the shoulder rest and it's like a twisting lunge. So the option one here is going to be to have just one hand on the bar and just reach back like so. Kind of on the diagonal like this.

Okay, already getting a wonderful stretch. The next option is with support from the abs. I'm rotating my pelvis around so the leg alignment stays neutral, but my pelvis comes around. My two hands are on the bar, and I'm gonna bend even deeper into the stretch. And then I'm gonna lower my back knee down if that feels like a good idea.

Or you can keep it lifted depending on what feels good to you and see if you can sink and sink and breath. Abdominals are working. No torquing in my back, it's actually my hips that are quite stretched here. So if you're feeling torque, then come out of it. Breathing in.

And breathing out. Gently come to standing. And we'll try that same thing on the other side. So over here, it's the opposite of what you think. So you're going to take on this side, I have my right foot down and I'm slightly angled out.

And then I'm gonna look back and see where the shoulder rest is put my foot on. And then I'm gonna start just with one hand on and just feel this. This might be, just have to adjust this foot, it's a little bit trickier. There we go. So this might be enough for you, and you could stay here.

Now if you wanna intensify here, you're going to rotate around with your pelvis. So it's actually the hip that's moving as you reach back a little deeper. Now you can keep your back legs straight, or you could lower it down. Whatever feels like a good idea to you. For me, keeping it straight is actually a little easier, because it gives me something to I'm holding with my leg a little more.

When I put my knee down, it creates more stretch and potentially more vulnerability. So be mindful of how you're body responds and how it feels, pleasure principle, please. Breathing in. And breathing out. (exhaling heavily) Gently come on out of that.

So just two more stretches today. For the next one, please be on a green, not a green but a blue spring. You wanna be on a light spring. Just to make sure that you feel supported. So let's hook the knee right up against the shoulder rest.

The standing leg is gonna be pretty far forward. You take a hand on the frame, pull into it and a hand here on the riser. And then the idea here is that if you have a hard time kneeling, you can work on your kneeling here. Make sure that you're standing foot is comfortably grounded. So feel free to adjust it and use your two arms here.

So you've got two straight arms at first. So start the movement just by letting the leg go back as far as you can comfortably let your head relax. You're gonna curl your spine a little bit and pull the knee in and continue pulling the knee in and see if you can sit all the way down on your foot. Now, to do that my arm that's on the frame has to bend a little bit, but the other arm stays straight. And then do that three times for me.

Now, some people won't be able to sit all the way down. And this is an opportunity against the weight of spring to work on bending your knee more. And perhaps kneeling a little bit more comfortably. For those of us that have no problem with that, I would like you to hold in the sitting position, meaning I'm sitting on my foot and I want you to scratch an itch. So lean into the armpit maybe, lean into the hip a little bit more.

Figure out what you need. In order to really maximize this, let your head relax. Breathing in, be patient. Be curious, see what you can find. (exhales heavily) And then slowly stand on your bottom foot, bring your leg back and gently bring yourself out of that.

And we'll go ahead and do the other side. So I can feel that stretch all the way up into my lat. It's quite gorgeous. So, knees up against the shoulder rests, the foot is pretty far forward. I'm using my two arms to get a comfortable support system here.

So this arm is nice and straight and I'm nice and relaxed, the leg goes back. We're going to pull the knee in first, we're going to round through the back first, please and then pull the knee in and try to sit down on the foot. So those of you that that's challenging for that's an exercise to work. This is an exercise to work on that. And if right away, you have no problem pulling all the way in, see where you can stretch here.

Try to keep the head relaxed. And just one more time like that please. Then we can hold the position and find more stretch. So maybe you're gonna lean into your arm a little bit, maybe you're going to roll around on your leg and feel something in your glutes. Mostly, I feel this in my spine, in my back, I should say, my back muscles or my back tissue.

And then slowly, take yourself out of that. And for the final move here. I have a bolster down here, just in case you do have a hard time sitting on your feet and kneeling, you can use this as a prop, and I'll show you how to do it in a moment. But for those of us that have no problem with that, you're not going to need it. Add a spring or two just so your reformer doesn't wobble around.

And then we're gonna use the shoulder rest simply as a tool for stretching, in the deep squat position. So if you're able to come right into the deep squat position here, then you won't need this bolster. I think I'm a little too close. So you wanna be back enough so that you can actually come through to a kneeling position. So I'm gonna use my hands on the shoulder rest here and pull forward over my toes, put my knees down, use my hands to support a little bit, and then try to sit up and stretch those feet.

Now, if this is too intense, if this is like, "No way Sarah, I can't do any version of that." Then maybe you take a bolster that could be even bigger than this. So that you can do some version of it, 'cause there is always a way and this is a great way to practice this, okay? And this all show like this, because you can roll back through to the squat and just squeeze that bolster between your legs. And you may find that the squat position is more doable as well. And then you're gonna use your arms to pull you through stretching those beautiful feet.

Trying to keep them pretty symmetrical, as best as possible. And then sit up right. We'll do that just one more time. Again, please feel free to pause me and sit here a little longer, maybe explore your animal feet (chuckles). And then here we go.

Hands on the shoulder rest, you're going to push back to your feet, try to ground down. Relax your neck, feel the stretch through your arms. Now you can tell I'm really compressing my throat by the way I'm talking and that's actually what I want here. Sway side to side. Hmm.

Breathing in. And breathing out. So just very carefully bring yourself to an upright position. And just so that we can end up right and ready to go. Take a big breath.

Just feel the difference here. How does this feel now, when you reach from side to side? How does your body feel? Thank you for playing.


1 person likes this.
Ever since your upper body class I have been waiting and looking for this daily! Thank youuu I’ll try it
1 person likes this.
Sarah!! this is I wonderful class! I needed it so much and you made a difference to my body! I will do it again and again. sending love your way xx
Mel W I hope you enjoy the experience.  Many of these movements have become my "go to" body stress release these days.  So incredibly happy I had a reformer stored in my garage! 
MelitaB YAY!  Thank you for taking the time to send a note. Many of these movements have become part of my daily routine.  I was not sure if I would be able to articulate how to "find" the stretches/positions.  As long as one person gets something from  the work, it is worth presenting.  Very possible there will be more in the future. Hugs!  
Corinna S
1 person likes this.
Thank you, Sarah, so much for this class ! Loved every moment,your energy and all details about the exercise
1 person likes this.
Another gem from Sarah - all 4 classes in this series are regulars for me now! I love the innovative stretch variations especially. While flexibility is definitely one of my challenges, 'the usual' often just doesn't cut it anymore :)
Michele M
1 person likes this.
Thank you Sarah! My back and hips feel very good, zero tightness compared to before this class.  What a relief!!
Corinna Thank you! 

Julia R Thank you so much for participating in all 4 classes and seeing them as the series I meant them to be.  YAY!  I am just loving stretching and working outside of the norm. hugs! 

Michele wonderful wonderful news!  Thank you for sharing
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