Class #4065

Embodied Anatomy Reformer

65 min - Class


Now that you have completed these tutorials on the lower body, it's time to put everything together with this detailed Reformer workout by Lesley Powell. She starts with the feet and builds all the way up to the hips. By the end of the class, you will have better placement and alignment in your lower body.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video


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Hi, I'm Lesley Powell, and we're gonna do an embodied anatomy Reformer class based on all the tutorials on the legs. We're gonna build from the foot all the way up to the hip, and if you have any questions about what we're doing, just go back to the tutorials. So the first thing I want my colleagues to do is just stand, close your eyes, and just observe where you feel the weight on your feet, observe where you feel your shins, observe where you feel the weight of your pelvis over your legs. The first thing we're gonna do is we're gonna come to a lunge on the foot bar. We're on one red spring.

So bring your right leg over, and you're gonna lean into the foot bar. So really find the right placement. So bring your left leg back, Noelle, and put your right hip forward, even more, both of you. So what I want you to observe is as much as you can, those hip points are evenly forward. Can you put your heel on and put your hand on your quadricep?

Now, both of you gotta pull that greater trochanter back so that we wanna get the quad to do the work. And what's happening with Nicole is she's leading forward with her hip. So take your left leg back more and sit on the bar on your right hip, there we go. So you're gonna straighten that knee, and she wants to start it here, and we wanna get her to get that idea of those quadriceps helping to straighten the knee, and then bring it back in, great. Keep feeling the right sit bone in the same alignment as the left, even though they're doing two different things.

There we go, and great, one more, and it's really hard, 'cause we need to get the quads really stronger around the kneecap and not so much the hip joint. Switch legs, and really have your left sit bone on there. You could also maybe even press your left thighbone down into the carriage to find that connection of the hamstring. So, put your hands on your greater trochanters, or your femoral folds, and make sure that when you straighten your left leg, parallel, there we go, your hip is not advancing with it. It's just the knee that's advancing the carriage.

Great, and then bring it back in. Bring your left greater trochanter back as you straighten your leg. So you're differentiating the pelvis from the movement of the leg, and then bring it back home. Now, come to standing. Just feel what that feels like, see, and we're gonna constantly build the foundations for standing and see how it comes into standing, 'cause standing has a little bit of a different feeling.

Come lie on your back, two red springs, and you're gonna have your balls of your feet on. We're gonna do a training for the flexor hallucis and the flexor digitorum. So you're gonna push out halfway, and you're going to put your right big toe on the stretch. So you put it, no, you're gonna dorsiflex the toe, and you're gonna pull it down. So you're just putting that whole line on the stretch.

Then I want you to imagine your left leg is doing work. You're gonna go up on pointe shoe, and then you're gonna slide that big toe over the bar and hug it, and then bring it back. We're gonna do that two more times. So you put the joint on the stretch. You're gonna pick up the MP joint, and you're gonna curl your toe over that, and then bring it back, good.

You're going to put it on the stretch, and you're gonna lift that toe up, great, and you're gonna slide it across. Now we're gonna go and put the digitorums on. So that's your four digits. It's a little turned out. Imagine you could go up on pointe on those four toes, and then you wanna shape it over the bar, so you're shortening it as well, there you go.

Do that two more times. So you put it on the stretch. You could do it a little more turned out on this one, and then lift the MP joints, and then hug those toes around there. That's it, great. And one more time, there you go, and hug, there you go.

Other foot, okay? It's a lot of work, yes. (Lesley laughs) So come a little lower down so you can put that whole joint on the stretch. You're going to pick up the MP joint, and then you're gonna slide. Be careful you don't curl the toes.

So we want get, if that was my big toe, I wanna get it over. I don't wanna scrunch my toes, and then bring it back, and go up on the big toe, flexor hallucis, and then go around it, there we go, and there we go. One more, and go, that's it, and great. Then we're going to do flexor digitorum. So you put it on the stretch, you think of going up on pointe shoe, and you stretch over that.

Try to have your toes a little longer, Amy. So come back down. And I can use my right leg, so I just wanna find how I could hug those toes around the bar. Wonderful. Now, we're going to take, on the right foot, the big toe, and we're gonna put the extensor hallucis on the stretch, this way, there you go.

Then you're gonna take your toe, and you're gonna dorsiflex it under. I call it my "peekaboo moment," and you're gonna dorsiflex your ankle, there. Do that again. So come back, put it on the stretch, wonderful, and then slide it, dorsiflex the big toe and your ankle. Great, one more time.

Good, there you go, there you go, and go. Okay, great, other side. So you're going to come a little higher there, so you get that stretch, and then you're going to peekaboo the big toe, extensor hallucis, there we go. And of course, you're working other muscles in the ankle, but there you go. Try to see your toes a little longer, there you go.

That's great, good, one more of this, and then go ahead, good. Now, you're going to put it on the stretch here, and you might have to go a little turned in. So you're gonna take your toes under and try to flex the extensor digitorum. That's it, good, that's it, and go ahead. There you go, and great.

That's great. Are you guys even? You're on different legs though. (Lesley laughs) So you're going to the digitorum, and you're gonna slide that foot underneath. That's wonderful, great.

Two more, and that's great, there you go, good. Come up to standing, once you finish your set. Wonderful. Then you're gonna put on a blue spring, but just stand up and feel what that work has helped you find. In the cameras, you're gonna start seeing their leg alignment starting to change, because a lot of us, these two ladies are a little hyper-extended, so it's great.

So add a blue spring, and you're gonna put your heels on parallel. Now, what I do here is I'm going to ask them to stop in the middle of the movement. I want them to put their hands on their sit bones, and I want to point the sit bones down to the floor. So any time they feel they're tucking, we're gonna ask them to stop, and we'll get them more into their legs. So push out, hold, and are you on the inside lane of your ankles?

Outside lane, evenly. Now you're gonna push out a little more, there you go, hold, and I'm gonna ask you guys to dorsiflex your ankles and pull your little toes up. Push out more, go ahead, great, great. Say, how's the femoral fold, front of the hip? Is it relaxed, on vacation?

Then you're gonna push out all the way, and you're gonna keep flexing your little toe up. That was great, that was great. Come in one third, hold, come in another third, hold, and come in all the way. So we're gonna do that two more sets, and it's great, because you kind of discover, sometimes we use our backs, we use our shoulders, we use our hip flexors, and it's trying to get the work happening just in the leg, not to say that other things are not working, great, but your little toe's better. There we go, and then come in, great.

And good, wonderful, nice, nice. And push out. And they are really working, because you can't cheat when you do it this slow, and pull your little toes up more. There you go, there you go. And then you're gonna come back and through.

So now, I want them to put their foot right in front of the heel, okay? And then you're gonna push out and straighten your legs. So we're gonna talk about the stirrups of the ankles, which is your fibularis and your tibialis anterior. So you're gonna rock to the outside, and then you're gonna think, what you feel on the foot bar, try to pick that up and go to the inside. And now I want you to make sure, so she's doing a lot of work in her forefoot, and I wanna get it right here, your ankle foot.

There you go, little less, and then you're gonna, feel where my hand is? Try to pick that up. That's it, there you go, great, and then bring the whole thing back in, great. Now, you're gonna go right before the ball of the foot, and I'm using the minis. You could use a yoga block, you could use balls, and I'm gonna put it between their shins.

And what I want them to try to find is getting the outer shin to squeeze into the block, but I don't want them to move their heels into the block. There you go. So push out all the way. So this is gonna help train more the gastrocnemius and the soleus. I want this really tiny.

It's not about a stretch. They're gonna control the heel underneath, half an inch underneath the bar, even less, and you're gonna pull the heel up to the back of your knee without any changes in your forefoot. You're gonna drop. So your gastrocnemius attaches to the heel, comes up there, and I'm visualizing it sliding shorter to there, and then I'm visualizing that line sliding long. And she's doing a lot of work in her forefoot, and I just want it very specific, there you go.

Now, bend your knees, hold, and you're gonna lift your heels up, there you go, and lower your heels down. So it's soleus, bent knee. So that attaches here, and you're doing still a lot in your forefoot. Drop your heel down, and feel my hands trying to lift your heel up. So I'm kind of picking her calf up.

There you go, great, there you go, great. Come in all the way, and I started doing this series this way because my clients were going up on the outside of the toe, and you say, "Press your big toe." I started thinking how important the calves are in the alignment of the foot. So you're gonna go up on a high-heeled shoe, good, there you go, a little, there you go. Push out, swing your heels out a little bit. Your ankles are in, great.

Drop your heels down, good. You're going to go up on a high-heeled shoe. You're gonna keep up on your high-heeled shoe and bend your knees in. Knees in, Amy, there you go. Now, both of you, I also want you to think about, as if we could pull tighter tights around your knees.

Push out, so you're pulling your quads up, you're keeping some work happening in back of the knee so it doesn't hyperextend. Drop your heels down, there we go. Be soft in your hip flexors, there you go. Go up onto a high-heeled shoe, bend your knees in, come on, great, great, great, and then you're gonna push out, and you're gonna drop your heels down, and you're gonna push out up on a high-heeled shoe, and then come in all the way, great. Now, come up to standing and just feel what that feels like.

And the great thing is as you get into your foot and your calf differently, it starts getting you to the top of your leg differently, yes? So now go to two red springs, and we're gonna do a little bridge-y. And I want you to stay in the back body, okay? So your sit bone-hamstring connection can bring your pelvis into a posterior tilt. I see a lot of people using the front, which will kick out the back, okay?

So your legs are parallel, and you're going to bridge up over the foot bar, and your knees are parallel. Oh, I think they need some minis. (Lesley laughs) Now, what's really important is when you tuck and you start the pubis, it will tend to turn the legs out. So I want you to just not even move the legs yet. Just energetically pull your heels down.

Feel how you fired up your hamstrings. Then to bridge up, I want you to send the sit bones closer to the foot bar. That's great, that's great. Push out two thirds, great. Keep that sit bone connection, and you got 10 counts to let your spine just drop.

Don't push, breathe. It's like a hammock. It's like silk falling into the carriage. Great, great, and nice, and easy in your hip flexors. Both of you put your hands on your femoral folds.

Come in, vacation. Sit bones connect to your foot bar to bridge up, good. Push out two thirds, great, great. Keep pulling the sit bones closer to the foot bar, as if you're pulling the carpet out to lengthen the fabric down, and there we go. You should be very soft in your femoral fold.

Come up to standing, and just feel what that feels. Now, put your hands on your sit bones, feel the weight back on your heels. Feel the sit bones slide shorter to the heels, and notice that connection can get you to the front. That's great. Now ladies, go to one red spring, and we're going to do, I call this a "peanut pattern," using one strap.

So you're gonna use your right leg and put the left strap on, and your left knee is flexed at the hip. So it's kind of perpendicular to the ceiling, and you're gonna have your right leg in a long attitude. You're gonna keep that shape. You're gonna rotate outward, and you're gonna bring your foot close to it and then bring it. You don't have to cross, though.

Then keeping that rotation, push back out to me from that gluteal fold, good. Then you're going to come back. Bring the whole attitude, good. And now put your hand on that right sit bone. Really feel.

It's very easy for us to start from the knee. I want you to get to the top of the leg, there you go. Then come back in. Two more of these, and press out, great. Bring your knee in just so that it's there, there you go, and come back in, good.

Great. Now, bring it in. You're gonna push out. Then you're gonna turn your leg in, without moving the machine. Turn out, and then bring your foot towards your face, but without letting the sit bones come off.

Push down, turn in, that's great, great. And you'll notice, they have different rotations. I have real trouble turning in, so that's my challenge, there we go, and turn, keep it bent, there we go. Now you're gonna come back to turn out, come in, you're gonna turn in and press back, and you're gonna turn in and open out to the side, and press out. You're gonna turn out and bring your leg up, and then back to attitude.

You're gonna go out, attitude, turn in, extend out to the side. You're gonna turn out back to attitude and up, one more, and you're gonna go turn out, turn in, extend, and take it through. Good, okay, switch sides. Wakey, wakey, eh? (Lesley laughs) There you go.

So this is a great exercise, 'cause it's gonna strengthen your piriformis, your hamstrings, and also take it through mobility. So gimme a long attitude, a long knee bend, and you're gonna turn out and bring your foot towards your face. Put your hand on your left sit bone and press the thighbone down towards the well. There we go, and then bring the whole thing back. Keep better turnout.

So think of bringing the greater trochanter closer to the sit bone, to the opposite pubis, and notice that get your low abdominals working differently. Great, good. And you're tending to push more from your knee, and I want you to get right from your gluteal fold. Say "vacation" here. Bring your knee here and push, push.

So you're gonna observe, you wanna push from here, and we wanna get you way back there. Press out, turn in, without changing too much, and turn out, and then bring it back in. Good, and now turn in, there we go. Turn out, and if you want more challenge, you bring the foot to your face without unleveling. And press out, turn in, and then bring the whole thing back, and there we go.

Now we're gonna add on. So you're gonna go out, you're gonna turn in, you're gonna extend out to the side, you're gonna turn out, bring it in, attitude front towards your face, turn out, good, good, turn in, extend out to the side, so you get it, there you go, turn out, front attitude, nice, and come back in, last one, and you're gonna press, and you're gonna go turn in and extend, and then you're gonna bring the whole thing back and through, good. Okay, come up to standing, feel what that feels like, and we're gonna do side. So you're gonna go to a blue spring, but stand up. Oh, that's lovely, there we go.

And what I saw is they tended to be more forward. They're starting to get more back. So go to a blue spring, and lie on your right side. Now make sure, you're gonna stretch your left leg over the foot bar, and your first goal is right now, she's more into hip flexion, and if you want, you can put your right hand underneath your head, or we could, is that not working? I could also give her, I'm gonna give her a block, there you go, so that might be more comfortable for her, 'cause she's tall.

So I'm bringing her hip points in line with her bottom hip points, and she wants to live here. So now ladies, put your hand towards the greater trochanter, and if you were to draw up towards the iliac crest, that would be your gluteus medius. She does not like hip extension. So you're gonna lift the leg up, a millimeter up, hold, and then push a little bit off with your bottom leg. Push the machine out, and the whole purpose is not to move the top leg.

Then bring it back in, and then lower down. And again, this is what I called LBM's, "little bitchy movements." It doesn't look like a lot of movement, but this is kind of the work that we need to find in standing. Then come back in, and good, and one more. Lift up, and there we go, and then bring it through, good. Great, so now we're gonna do the same pattern of the peanut that we did supine, no strap yet.

So bring your left leg into front attitude, and long, and I want you to make sure your hips are in the same alignment. She's pulling her hip up. So you might, especially as women, we might think of floating the waist up to get our hip points together. So you're gonna turn out, and you're gonna turn in, and imagine you're just turning the thighbone. We're not adding hip flexion.

There you go, and turn in. That's it, great, and turn out. Good, now turn out, bring it towards you, towards the floor, bring it back, and turn in. That's all we want, and now swing it forward and turn out. Bring it more towards your elbow or to the shoulder rest.

Press out, turned out, turn in, and now you're gonna extend backwards, up, up, up. Swing your leg forward straight, plie, attitude, and turn out, turn in, and then take it back high. Great, that was the easy part, right? So now you're gonna put the leg spring on, and we're gonna do the same pattern. So they're gonna bring their left leg in front attitude, front attitude, knee a little more parallel, down more.

Bring your top knee in line with your bottom knee. So all I want you to do is turn out and turn in, without lifting up. So you're here, so your foot is gonna go more to the floor, and then you're gonna turn in. And both of you put your hand, greater trochanter to the sit bone. That's kind of where the rotators are.

And I want you to observe, we can change our hip to make it look like rotation. Good, now you're gonna keep the turn out, and you're gonna press back a little bit and turn out, attitude. Then you're gonna swing the leg forward, and the more they can bring the foot to the floor and the knee to the shoulder rest, it's gonna be quite a stretch. Then you're gonna bring it back, turn out, and they're gonna bring it back in. We're gonna add on.

You're gonna press back, turn out, turn in, and then reach up high, and reaching up high makes you avoid getting hit by the strap. Swing your leg forward straight, turn out, and bring it forward. See if you can bring it up this way so that gets a stretch. Turn out, attitude, turn in, go back high. Good, swing your leg forward, there we go, and turn out, and you can take the strap off.

Now, they were dying, so I didn't do high reps, because they were working really hard. Stand up and feel what that leg feels like. We should have done, what was it, your left leg? So stand on your left leg and lift your right leg up, and feel what you feel. Stand on the other leg.

That's probably really solid now, right? Yeah, okay? Okay, lying on the other side. So you're gonna stretch your right leg out, and you wanna make sure your hip points, your top right hip point is in line with your left hip point. You're gonna come this way, there you go.

So if you put your hand at your greater trochanter and you draw up to your iliac crest, that's kind of the gluteus medius, right through here. Right from there, lift your leg up. There you go, much better. Bring your hip point forward. Push back out with your bottom leg a little bit.

Bring your leg back home. Good, let it rest. Lift your leg up, and you're gonna observe, there's no reason for the front of the hip to be working. If you feel that, then I will even bring you more into hip extension. There you go, great, and lower down.

Lift up, don't tuck. Once you get these gluteus medius working, especially in standing, it's gonna change where your pelvis is on your legs, great. Okay, now, swing your leg forward in front attitude. Make sure, you might lift your bottom waist up, and your knee is a little bit in line with the other knee. You're gonna turn out, and you don't wanna lift it up.

You just wanna think of it turning in the hip, and turn in. So I kinda think of it, it's parallel, and I'm turning it like piston, but you have to be careful. So what's happening is she's dropping her hip, and I just want her to turn from her hip joint, there we go. Now you're gonna turn out, you come a little bit, the foot towards the shoulder rest, you're gonna press out, you're gonna turn in, and you're gonna reach it back high, and you're gonna bring your hipbone forward, there you go. Swing your leg forward, turn out, bring it forward, bring it back a little bit, turn in, and take it out back, high.

There we go, and swing it forward, turn out, there we go, last one, and swing it back, turn in, take it back. Great. Now put the strap on. So they're gonna bring the top leg in a long front attitude, so it's a long bent knee, and your knee is in line with the bottom leg. So you're gonna turn out, and you can let it come towards you.

Then right from the rotators, you're gonna press out, staying turned out. So it's gonna be like a little bit of an attitude. Yeah, so attitude front, attitude a little down. Go back, good, and make sure, ladies, that you're pushing from the gluteal fold, just not your knee. Put your hand on your gluteal fold.

See what's happening there, there we go, great. Okay, we're gonna add on. So you bring it forward, turn out. The more you can get the heel down, that's gonna accent the turnout. You're gonna press back, and you're gonna turn in.

First let's just do it bent. Swing your leg, front attitude bent, forward, swing it back, first turned out, and then just turn in, attitude, attitude, attitude, there we go. Swing it forward, there we go. Now I know you can't wait 'til the end. (Lesley laughs) You're going to turn out, turn in, and then swing back, and you're gonna go up high, so that way the strap doesn't hit you.

You swing forward, straight leg, turn out, come back, press, turn out, turn in first. You gotta learn the turn in part better. You just wanna jump over that, there you go. Then come back. I know, I hear you.

I have the same problem. But even my spending a half second more there, doing turn in, especially with dancers, it can really open the sacrum, yes? Okay, okay, (Lesley laughs) and take that thing off. Great, and stand up and feel what that feels like. Whoo. (Lesley laughs)

Whoa. Yes, great. Wonderful, okay. So go to a red spring, and we're gonna do semicircle in second position. And I like to keep the load not a lot to try to get the legs working, and I don't like it pressing into my spine too much.

So open out into second. Push out through the shoulder rest, and put your arches to the corners of the machine. Drop your tailbone into the well, so you're in anterior tilt, healthy. Press out and stay the tailbone into the well. Keep going, straighten those legs without using the front.

Visualize your sit bones are gonna slide shorter to the foot bar, and you're gonna push, straighten your legs, straighten the legs, and now use your femur head like a spatula, lifting up. Yes, there you go. Then come in, grande plie, come back in. Drop the whole thing down. So it's kind of like how we did the other bridge.

I wanna get the back of your legs to do the work. The hip flexors are relaxed. Come up higher, and you might even extend your upper body, there you go, and then come back. Great, one more, and you're gonna drop your tailbone into the well, there you go. Send your sit bones away from there.

Now, I want you to send your sit bones. You're gonna push harder. You're gonna let your spine extend. Yes, there you go, great, there you go. Lift, and then bring the whole thing back in, and great.

Good, very nice, that was great. Piece of cake. Okay, come on out of there, and we're gonna go to chest expansion. First one, we're gonna do without any straps. Come to kneel stand.

So ladies, I want you to put your hands on your sit bones, and I want you to, you know, a lot of times, to get our pelvis forward, we tuck and push. So you're going to do a straight-back squat, and you're gonna feel the line between your sit bones and the back of your knee slight a little longer. Your goal is to slide the sit bones closer to your shins to come up into kneel standing, and you might not go so low. And so, you're gonna think, stay, you're gonna pull that flesh down, there you go, and lift up, great. And squat, just a little bit, there you go.

Hold. Now, notice as your sit bones go down, your hip points go up. You're tucking ever so slightly. Go back. So it's a coordination.

She's starting, her femur head's going first, and we want it to work together. Yes, there you go, there you go. Now grab hold of the straps, and the more you keep that coordination of your sit bones going down and your hipbones going up, you're gonna press back. So she's doing a little bit off buttock squeeze, and I wanna get right there for her. That's it, there you go, press back.

This is great. So what I'm looking at is sometimes, people are doing too much of this, and we wanna get right to the back. Amy has great little pockets. I can put my hands in her pockets to help her find her thighbones. There you go, great.

Now press back and hold, and just give me a little extension. So you move your gluteal fold forward and lift up and arch. Great, and then come back. Great, and then come back. We're gonna talk about this in swan.

The more you get the legs to go do their work, your spine will have a very wonderful support. Then bring the whole thing back in, good. Okay, let's go to swan, and let's go to either two red springs, or blue, whatever, and your box. So we're gonna do swan a little differently. We're gonna start it bent-knee, and we're really trying to get that the movement of the spine is happening from the legs.

So go to first position. So you're gonna push out just a little bit. Put your hands on your gluteal folds, and you're gonna think of the thighbone moving to the box and the sit bones to come into hip extension. If I bring my pubis under, more, more legs, more legs, more legs. This is great.

She's getting some really good definition, that's it, and then bring it back down. And right here, move that to the box. Yes, more, right there. Yes, very good, very good, good. One more just plain, I mean bent knee, great, and push out, and now, keep that tone into the box and straighten your legs.

You might send your heels backwards to create that length, don't tuck, and then come back in. Bend your knees. If I tuck, it's gonna drop the spine down. So push out. So this is what's moving, higher.

The higher comes here. Yes, yes, that was great, that was great. There we go, and good. One more, just straighten, go out bent knees a little bit. Once you're out there, just lift your arms a little bit forward front, but more legs, more legs, yes, and then bring the whole thing back in, and through, good.

So take the box off, and we're gonna start bringing this into standing and getting this coordination happening. You're gonna bring the foot bar up high, and we're gonna go to a yellow spring. If I go, and it just depends. These ladies are very strong, but this feeling of this posterior leg is a new experience, and if I go heavier, most, probably, they will jump to the place they love. So you wanna step into the well, and you're gonna have one foot on either side.

It depends on your spring. Yeah, both legs are in the well. And I just want you to get up close to the foot bar, and your goal is to imagine, just like with the box, that those thighbones are magnets moving to the foot bar. Now put your right arch on the foot bar, and you're probably gonna have to find a place. There you go.

You're gonna have to have some load on the machine at all times. Now, I could get my hips forward, 'cause I lean forward. I'm gonna put both hands on both gluteals, good, good, and you're gonna imagine that shin coming forward, there you go, just tiny. You're gonna make your bent knee match right in the place of the other knee, so it's small, and both gluteals are working. There you go.

That's it, there you go. (Lesley laughs) Great, that's it, and lift up your breastbone. Yes, that's it. And the hard part of this as a dancer, this was a problem, yes? I tucked and I pulled my ribs down.

When I get my legs going, it's gonna bring my ribs in a really great place. Other side. So, feel your connection, find the place that is workable. There you go, put your hands on your sit bones. Imagine the sit bones are moving lightly towards the foot bar and down to the floor.

Lift up your armpits so that you're not pulling down, nice. Push back, that's it. Now imagine, what I'm seeing is that sometimes people push back, and they jam up. So visualize that knee is reaching down to give you space in your hips, that's great. Good, okay, let's go to the first side.

So you're going to have your right knee on, but we're really gonna pay attention to the left leg. This is my standing footwork. So push back, bend your left knee, and push back a little bit, and I'm really pushing back with the left leg. Now, you're gonna wag your tail out to the side. You're gonna visualize the greater trochanter coming in and reaching to the opposite pubis.

So wag it out to me, I'm the wag, and you're gonna move the greater trochanter, and then bring it towards your, there you go, right there. Now look at your leg, and you might put your hand here. Can you push and straighten your right knee by bringing all the principles that we worked on? Pull up through the quad, but pull this hip back, there you go, and bend your knee. Push back a bit, bend your knee more.

Good, pull your greater trochanter back, good. Now, straighten this knee. Keep pulling this back, thank you. That's it, that's it, great, nice, and then come back in, good, other side. So that's bringing in that closed chain action that can really help knees and alignment, 'cause it's a very different coordination, yes?

So bring your greater trochanter closer to your sit bone, to the opposite pubis, even more. Wag your tail out to your right. Good tail wag good, and now move the greater trochanter in and pull it towards center line, there you go. Wag it out, yes, and then bring it in, good. Now, keeping that tail wag left, straighten your right knee, pull up through the quad, pull your greater trochanter back.

But be careful. It's not me pulling my hip back, but it's the tone of my leg that pulls me back, there you go. Bend your knee, great, and then you're gonna push out and straighten. Wonderful, there you go, great. Come in, and we're gonna do another kind of exercise to get aware of where your shins and your femur hit.

So I want you to stand inside the well. You can do it, facing that way. Yes? And you're gonna walk forward, and you're gonna stand up, and I want you to imagine your calves are meeting, that's great, great. Now, you have a choice.

You could either do it flat-back or roll. But I want you to feel how your leg alignment, your legs are perpendicular to the carriage. So you're gonna roll down, and your goal is not to let the legs move. There'll be some movement, good, and then widen your sit bones and put your hands on, that's it. Now, put your hands on your sit bones.

The first action, you're gonna straighten your knees. You're gonna feel the calves move into the carriage. Your sit bones are gonna slide down closer. You're gonna come up to standing, 'cause you see the sit bones slide to the back of the knee, and they're going to move down, down, down, down, more, more, more, yes, that was great. Good, be careful, Amy.

You're doing a little bit of a lean. Feel the calf go forward, the sit bones go down. Yes, roll down again, curve, there you go, and widen your sit bones, there you go. Now, put your hands on your sit bones. You might come up a little higher to find your right place.

Straighten your knees, move the calves forward, bring the sit bones down to the calves, more, more, more, sit bones, and notice, it's like the swan. You're gonna bring it down, right down there. There we go, even more. So she has these beautiful pockets, and we're gonna get her hands in her pockets. There you go.

Beautiful, that was great, wonderful. Great, okay, come on out of there, and we're gonna do elephant. So we're gonna do a flat-back elephant. So you could do maybe red-blue. Elephant's a great place to observe leg alignment, and I want your shoulders a little, because your sizes are different.

If you feel you need to walk your heels forward, that's fine. I'm gonna bring your foot bar down. Now, both of you lift your toes up, and now I want you to look at your knees. Are they turned in? Pull your greater trochanter back to your sit bone, that's it, that's great.

And now, bend your knees, and gimme a flat back. And now I want you to think about straightening your knees, pulling the quads up, and sending your gluteal fold to the back of the room. So what happens is we tend to get this fired up. I want you to think of what you did in the leg straps of that top of the gluteal fold moving backwards. There we go, bend your knees, and then you're gonna press out.

Good, straighten your knees. Now, press your legs out an inch, hold. That's your begin and end position. You're gonna press out a little more. Then you're gonna come in one inch.

You're gonna press out, and now I want you to really think about how the top of the leg is pushing towards the ceiling, and you're pulling your quads up. That's great, good, and come back. Now, come on off of second, and we're going to go to a blue spring. We'll come back to that, but I wanna get the psoas working a little bit, and you're gonna bring your foot bar down. You're gonna come onto your forearms, but you're gonna be more on your right forearm, 'cause we're gonna be more on the right knee.

So, in this exercise, we wanna have a flat back. So we wanna arch, come down on your forearm and arch your back, and more weight on your right arm. That's it. Cross left left leg over your right, and the psoas, now, she's starting to tuck. No, other way, flat back.

The psoas attaches to the inside of the right inner thigh, lesser trochanter. I don't care if you move today, but I want the spine quiet, and no Watusi. So pull your right knee forward, good, and now she's doing the strategy of rounding her back, and I want you, a millimeter, pull forward, without changing your spine, that's it, and good. It's another LBM thing, there we go. Great, let's do the other side.

So just cross it, great. Then you have to feel your greater trochanters move back as you pull the lesser trochanter forward on your left leg. What's happening with Amy is she wants to use her femoral fold, and we wanna get right into the midline. Isn't that hard? There you go, great.

Now, go to the first side. This time you're up on your hands, so it's quadruped. Widen your sit bones. So neutral spine is about your hipbones in line with your pubis. Do a small lateral shift to your right.

Now, move the greater trochanter closer to the sit bone, just energetically, yes? So that just sets you up, because that's your gluteals, that's your rotation. Slide your left leg back. Adduct your left leg in. So you're gonna lift it up.

Now, you're tucking. So she's having trouble lifting. No, don't, that's it, that's it. Pull your right lesser trochanter forward, but keep your both greater trochanters going back. Even more.

So, she wants to use the front, and I want her to pull from her, there we go. There we go, great, good, and that's it, good. Do the other side. So, widen your sit bones, and slide the right leg back. Pull the greater trochanter back on this side.

Wonderful, that's great. Lift your leg up higher. Now, you're gonna visualize her frontline being long, and this working. Pull your lesser trochanter forward of the left leg. There you go, lift your leg a little higher, but adduct it in.

Adduct both hips in. Yes, there you go. Very nice, that's great. Wonderful, there you go, great. Good, now stand up.

Sometimes getting the psoas, so we really were working the psoas more in what we do in gate, so that neutral spine. Okay, go back to elephant. (machines clattering) And stand on, yeah, again, flat back, and you're gonna push out an inch backwards. Move your greater trochanter back to your sit bones. Observe your right leg.

You're gonna adduct your left leg in and touch your left foot back on the shoulder rest. How is the alignment of your right leg? So you're gonna pull your quad up. Yes, that was great, switch sides. So I'm paying more attention to the alignment of the standing leg.

Pull the greater trochanter, yes. Be careful it's not your hip, there you go. She's gonna keep pulling that back, that's it, and do it one more item. And great, that's much better, that's great. And other side, greater trochanter, that's it, good.

Now, this time, you're gonna lift your gesture leg up, but you're gonna keep aware of your standing leg. Lift it up, pull your greater trochanter back. Now, push back with your right leg. You're gonna touch your left leg down. You're gonna lift your left leg up, and you're gonna pull the carriage forward with your psoas, but you're gonna lift this leg up, there you go.

And push back, greater trochanter, touch your toe down. It's like a back battement, and you bring your right leg forward. There we go, one more time, and touch, that's it. Pull your greater trochanter back, and then lift. You're here.

I need that. Lift your leg up higher, and now pull the carriage in. There we go, good, other side. We got one more, there we go. They're dying, I'm sorry.

There you go, great, there you go, great, there you go. Wonderful, yes, there you go, good. So let's go to side splits. Yeah, I said that right, okay. And, feel what that feels like?

Thank you, that's great. Okay, we're going to go to one red spring. (machines clattering) And so, stand in the middle of the platform, and your foot is just on the edge. Now, I want you to put your hands right, if you feel the greater trochanter, go a little lower, right where that gluteal fold line is. So really, it's that you're pushing out from there.

Go ahead, push out, and you're gonna get, that's it, and come back in. So what I want you to get aware of is I wanna get the push from here, not a butt squeeze. There you go, it's a different phrasing of your gluteals that we need to get to. Go ahead, great, that's great. Now let's do this.

Come in, flex your toes, and feel the weight on your heels, but don't lose your toes, and push out. So that's starting to organize the calf that got you to the top of the leg differently. Now, bend your knees and squat. Push out with the carriage, good, hold. Using your gluteal folds, you're gonna turn your pelvis towards that.

Your left leg straightens, great. You're gonna use, keeping the carriage there, you're gonna turn the other direction. One knee bends, one knee straightens. So this is a slow-motion version of skating, and then you're gonna bring the whole thing back up. Straight legs, up straight, home.

Squat, push out with both legs, hold. Feel, from your legs is what's initiating the movement. So really get this to push your pelvis to rotate. Use your gluteals to change your pelvis on your femur heads. Straighten your right leg, and then bring the whole thing back home.

One more, squat, great. Push from your side seams. Feel your left gluteal fold turn your pelvis right. Feel your right gluteal fold help you push left. I'm not saying the other one doesn't work, but then bring the whole thing back in.

Great, come off and let's do the other side. Great. Now, let's lift your toes up, and you're gonna bring your calves, yes, that was great. So what I said to Noelle was the feeling of her shins are back. She has to get the calves to work to bring it over her feet.

Push out with both legs, that's great. Wonderful, wonderful. Now pull up through your quads. So sometimes you need to think, I like to think my leg muscles are like tights, like Amy's tights. Both of you have tight tights, that I'm really hugging the bone and getting support throughout the whole structure, three-dimensionally for movement.

There we go, pull up through your quads, yes. Push out one more time, great, nice, nice, nice, and then come back in. Now squat. Push out from your side seams. Hold.

Your left side seam is going to turn your pelvis and straighten your right leg, and then turn the other direction, there we go, and straighten that other leg, and then come back in. Now ladies, what I want you to think about is a lot of times, to straighten legs, we whang the knee backwards. So you see that goes out. I want you to get that this is what straightens my legs. So push out bent knees.

Feel the tone. This pushes that leg straight, wonderful. Switch, turn, and there you go, great. Then come back, last one and squat, and good. Feel this tone.

You're doing spine first, and I want this to be straightening your leg. There we go, and then come back in, great. Okay, very nice. Stand up, come off the thing. Feel what you observe.

Great. Go to one blue spring. We're gonna do, I call this Marika's lunge, 'cause it was a part of the thing I learned in PhysicalMind, part of the Gate course. So you're gonna put the box right in line with the frame of the carriage, yes? You're perfect, and you're gonna step your standing leg close to the frame in the middle of the box.

Good, and so you might step back a little bit so that your knee could start a little forward. Put your hands on your sit bones. So I first, it's kind of like when were inside the well. So I'm gonna try to straighten the leg, but I'm staying on my standing leg. So what I'm seeing is you're doing more learning back.

This leg stays here, and I'm extending back on tendu. Keep your gluteal fold to me. Both gluteal folds are smiling at me, right? Go ahead, there you go, good, good, good, good, good. Great, now push back.

As you push back straight on the carriage leg, you're gonna bend the knee, the standing knee. Now, straighten the back leg, straighten the back leg. You're wagged out. So you're gonna pull that greater trochanter in, knee over the foot, then come back in. Get high up on the standing leg, way up high.

Push back the gesture leg, carriage leg, more. Then push back, so you're gonna split your inner thighs. Straighten the back leg. So the glutes are working on both sides. Greater trochanter on the standing leg, there you go.

So come back in, get up on the standing leg, stretch your arms away from your wide hips, and now do a tango coupe, that's it. Then touch back, push back into a lunge, keep the greater trochanter on the front leg, but you're trying to do it more from your hip. Thank you, there you go. Then come back in, get high on that standing gluteal fold, stockings up, do a little passe. That was great, wonderful.

There you go, good, other side. (Lesley laughs) So you're gonna stand in the middle of the box, and you're gonna put the other foot on the shoulder rest. So get up high on both gluteal folds. So you're sending your knee back. Your knee is straight, thank you.

(Amy laughs with strain) (Lesley laughs) We'll do a little dance, okay? So push back with your shoulder rest knee and try to keep this going forward. There you go, and push back, and you're gonna pull your quads up. Yes, that's great, that's great. Lift up your breastbone, good, great, and good.

And now, push back and go to a lunge. Pull your greater trochanter on your bent knee. That was great. No, you're tucking. Get this to go under.

Lift up your armpits and come back in, and go back, good. So what's happening is they tend to go here, and can you get that coordination right away, which helps the whole alignment of my knee right away? There you go, push back, straight back leg, straight back leg. That's it, there you go. Reach up, come in, get high on your standing leg, feel that gluteal fold come in, and you're gonna do a tango coupe.

That's great, that's great, wonderful. Push back, pull your greater trochanter to your sit bone to the opposite pubis. Straighten your back leg. Pull your greater trochanter, yes, there you go, and then you're gonna bring it back, you're gonna get high on that leg, and you're gonna lift up. Wonderful, good, good, good.

Last one of this, and then we'll end with our kind of stretch. (Lesley laughs) There you go. Pull your greater trochanter back, there we go, and then you're gonna bring the whole thing back in and through. Great. Okay, you can come down.

No, you don't have to bring the foot bar up. You can stay on a blue. So you're gonna stand in front of the frame, and you're gonna put your right heel on the carriage. Now, again, don't lean into the frame. So feel that standing leg, and both legs are working, yes?

So sometimes if I know the hip up high, you're gonna activate, you push out just an ounce, you wanna push from here, and you're gonna push out with your straight from your quad, and you want vacation, vacation. Now, lean forward at your hips to put that right leg on the stretch. Now, pull your greater trochanters back on both sides and notice how that changes the stretch. Great, put your hands on your sit bones, and to come up, you're going to slide the sit bones to each heel, even though they're doing two different things. (Lesley laughs) Bring your thighbone, there you go.

One more, push forward. Good, you're gonna keep this spiral. You might just energetically send your thighbone towards your hand to try to kick out the hip flexor. There you go, very nice. Lean forward, good.

I'm more interested in hip flexion than spinal flexion, and then pull your sit bones down and come up, great. Wonderful, stand on two legs, feel what that feels like, great. Pull the sit bones shorter to the back of these knees, knees to the heels, heels to the feet. Wonderful, other side. So feel the sit bones reach towards each heel, even though they're different in space.

Bring your brain back over your heel. Notice that got a different phrasing of your leg. Push out. Feel the quad lift, pull both greater trochanters back as you lean forward at the hips. Great, wonderful, wonderful.

That's as far as I want you to go, 'cause I'm more interested in this pulling back, which'll stretch you differently. Now, move the sit bones down to each heel, wonderful, to come up to standing. So you're gonna get a little more leg action, wonderful. Bend your knee, push back out, lean forward at your hips. Much better, that's much better.

Good, you now give me a little pulling back this side, but don't lose this side, there you go. Come up to standing, sit bone to the back of your knee, back of your knee to your heel, and then bring the carriage in, and good. Now, go out on the floor and just stand in the middle of the floor, and observe where you feel your weight on your legs. That's great, turn profile so they can see, and notice, their calves are in a different place. You wanna pull up your quads, Noelle.

But pull up, not press back. Look forward, come forward, reach forward. Open, yes, and face forward, and now stand on one leg. Yes, think passe, good, not high. Really good, ladies, really good, and now the other side, and lift up, good.

Get more into the side dimple than the back gluteal cleft, that's it. There you go, oh, much better, that's great. Thank you, ladies. (Lesley laughs) Thank you. (women clapping)

Embodied Anatomy: Lower Body


2 people like this.
R3ally really interesting and effective highly recommend 
I enjoyed this work out, very effective.
Isabel A
1 person likes this.
Thank you, Lesley, for the wealth of information in this video and for pointing out such subtleties in movement. I really found it formative and will surely come back to it!
Very helpful and interesting work. Thank you, Lesley
Some of the alignment movements bmreminds me yoga Asana but deeper approach. I really appreciate. I wish we can see some of the leg movements and the placement of the blocks better so that we are doing what we were supposed to do at home 
Dawn P
Liked the anatomical ques Thank you
This is truly a master class! Thank you.

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