Class #4122

Take it to the Wall

55 min - Class


Take your practice to the wall with this standing workout by Amy Havens. She plays with gravity, exploring how you can be in alignment and out of alignment with gravity. She also uses the wall to highlight places where you have imbalances so that you can understand your body better.
What You'll Need: Mat, Wall

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Hi everyone, I am back for another live class for us here at Pilates Anytime and again I want to start with a thank you for coming and being in your home with me in my home and us together in our wonderful global community of Pilates moving and sharing time with each other so thank you. So today is wall, take it to the wall and we are playing with gravity, we're playing with being in gravity, being out of gravity and I want to really remind us all that there's a practice, right and when I work with the wall for myself, it really highlights for me, places that I may or may be out of alignment more so than when I'm down on the ground so that's kind of what I wanted to bring in today is just some comparisons and how it feels to be up here in gravity doing the work versus down on the floor and connections that we feel and that we make so hope you're ready and near your own wall, I want us to start with our body against the wall. So take a measurement with about one of your own foot lengths and a half, okay, and stand that far away from the wall so one and a half, there we go. And I want us to start with that sense of alignment that you think you are in good alignment. So what I mean with that, and some concepts right now is if we were on the floor, we're gonna think of the wall like our floor, right, they're cousins, they're in the same family having the same relationships but just each one has its own personality a little bit different like that.

Okay, so I want us to start legs, heels together, Pilate stance, I'm working with that for sure and then I want you to anchor your sacrum, the back of your pelvis and your sacrum on the wall. Okay, where you think the center of your sacrum is now right at the base of your chest wall, bra line for us gals, men it's that mid spine right behind your (unclear) process here, put that against the wall and then depending on your own alignment of your shoulders and your neck and your upper back, you may not have your back, the back of your skull completely on the wall that's okay because on the floor, remember, if you have been doing your Pilates practice and if you need a pillow or a head cushion on the ground, you're not gonna be able to do one here because you don't have one, right not behind you so I would say your two primary landmarks are pelvis, sacrum especially, and the back of your T spine and then we can also include in that the shoulder blades and the end upper back so then just feel that feel what that is. Okay, so we're up in gravity and it may you might already start to be feeling that it's more challenging to keep those anchor points back on the wall. I'm gonna talk about this, gravity is a force that's above us and behind us wanting to push us forward. Let me say that again.

Gravity is above us, we're in it now and it's behind us somehow wanting to push us forward. So just by standing up in it, against it, right, we're going back against it our body is navigating the waters already on how to stand up in gravity. Now this is what's interesting right now we have our feet forward of our pelvis. I don't think you'd be able to stand this well with your heels against the wall. Okay, so remember, this is an exercise that I'm having us do standing like this, okay.

Now in the last couple of classes and I often do really talk about breathing let's just recap quickly the three breaths kind of styles we have, top to bottom breathing, that's meaning you're gonna take a breathe inhale and lengthen this long abdominal wall on the inhale and your exhale, you wanna maintain that length, right so you've got that inhale and exhale, top to bottom. We have our front to back breathing, how convenient is this because we have the wall to breathe back against and it's okay if your stomach comes forward, that's fine we're filling up this internal cavity of our viscera so it's gonna have volume, we're gonna have movement here. And then of course, we have our side to side lateral accordion breathing. Okay, so for right now, I want you all and it for me too I wore this dark color on purpose to contrast against the wall. Now I have a little bit of asymmetry and it's really showing up in this hip.

This is my mic pack so it's sticking out but if you're against a wall that you can see yourself, just notice what you see and love every bit of it okay, but I know I have a little asymmetry in this side of my pelvis that's part of my scoliosis, not gonna worry about it. I'm going to use this wall to teach me and give me the feeling of connecting where I might not always get it on the floor because again, I'm in gravity, gravity is the force that's educating me on how to stay organized up in it. Okay, lots of words, let's get moving. So let's take the concepts to a Pilates. We've got breathing, we've got centering, control, concentration, fluid movement, precision, all six are in every exercise all the time.

I think the wall work might bring in one or two things that might be more prominent than down on the ground, that's just my words for me and it is control. Okay, that's just what comes up so again, control of being against the wall. Still, are you still connecting? Yeah, I'm still connecting my heels together, my sacrum back, T spine back. Perhaps maybe you've worked the breath and you're getting taller.

Now last little bit, I'm gonna be moving from this view and using that little sidewall of mine just very minimally today on that side but just to give you a different perspective at some point, I'll let you know when that's coming. And there'll be some things where I'm down on the ground with my body facing the wall, I won't be able to see you don't take offense, I won't be able to see you like this, I have to face the wall for it. So I pride myself on cuing clearly, I do like to talk about the cues like right now and when it comes to that point, I'll be extra diligent to cue to the best of my ability so that you don't have any temptation to turn your head. Okay, here we go. So everybody raise your arms straight in front of your shoulders.

Let's move our scapula away from the wall so forward, away from the wall, back to the wall, scapula away from the wall, scapula back to the wall, keep going. So on the floor when teachers when we're saying scapula up and down, we might be meaning up and down off the floor. In gravity, I'm gonna use scapula forward and back so forward relative to my ribcage and back to the wall toward my ribcage, scapula forward toward my rib cage, scapula back. One more time, scapula forward and scapula back, right and now take your arms and just steady your scapula open your arms and take a big deep breathe in and exhale as we close that arm line, arms will come straight in line with your shoulders. Inhale and open, top to bottom breathing, side to side expansion, exhale and close.

Let's just do one more. Right now I want to make sure you can feel that your shoulder blades are staying flat against the wall they're not coming forward off the wall, they're not pushing into the wall anymore they're just against it. How about assessing your shoulder flexion okay, everyone's different so here's a big checkpoint everybody however high you take your arms is great checkpoints of this part of your rib cage on your back should stay against the wall so if you're lurched away or thwarted forward like mine did, I'm gonna be honest and lower my arm frame today and keep this part of my back back work the abdominal muscles to keep that part of your back back and then you'll probably notice you have more range of movement that's it. So let's take it down like this arms down, and arms up, keep your sacrum pressed back and your ribcage against the wall. Maybe your head is starting to get there okay, yeah, and again, arms moving up and arms moving down so we're just getting that nice scapular stability and more actually motion of upward rotation and downward rotation as you're raising your arms keeping that concept of your rib, pelvis staying aligned.

One more time. So right now these are kind of checkpoints and concepts, right? Relative to gravity, things are staying relatively stable. I'm gonna probably keep seeing that through class. Gravity is an external force right now working against us, we're working in it, okay and it takes muscle work, it takes muscle work so hopefully you're starting to feel a little more in your core and I'm probably going to estimate guess that a lot of us are feeling it in our back which is a very good thing.

Spinal health. (chuckling) Spilates talked about having spinal health, right muscles in your spine working as we're standing in gravity, it's genius. The wall is genius. Okay, let's do some leg work. Think Reformer if you know what the Reformer work is.

Now I want to have us focus, bend your knees just a tich everybody. You've got that small Pilate stance at the feet, right so your big toe joints are anchored, your toes are open, heels are pulled together and now as you start to bend your knees, think about this though as your pelvis going down toward your heels. Pelvis coming up, away from your heels. That's all we're doing down and up but keep pressing your pelvis sacrum back in the wall and press it against the wall as you stand down and up. I'm really thinking pelvis back against the wall and pelvis up here we go a little bit more we're going down and up, keep your rib cage also against that wall.

You might stick a little bit, it's okay up one more, keep yourself down for a moment lift your heels ever so slightly lower your heels, lift your heel slightly lower your heels. Now I want you to take your arm, see what I'm doing with mine. Open your chest and press your hands on your wall press the backs of your shoulders against the wall keep your heels moving up and down and as you're doing this arm pressing movements, connections, this doesn't move off the wall, this part of your back that's going against the wall same with your sacrum maybe your head right. Okay, now hold this arm integrity, straighten your knees, you're gonna stand up and I want you to move your legs to parallel you can keep a little bit of space between some of you like to come all the way together I'm gonna choose that one with a well no I won't today I'm going to do it here with the wrap I talked a lot about that last Tuesday. So this outer upper thigh wraps behind your leg you can track between the upper inner thigh bending the knees just like Reformer and up and lets lower and up.

I'm gonna choose inhale on the up exhale on the as I pull my heels down, I want a three way breathe on the way up and exhale I'm pulling my Reformer in if I were on the Reformer, inhale, stretching the springs out. Exhale, pulling the springs close. Maybe I get deeper in the squats you could too, feeling your legs okay? Two more times. I'm not doing the best at counting that's okay, I want us to stay down.

Everyone knows me sometimes I count great sometimes I don't, stay down here. I'm not fully at hips in line with knees, my pelvis is a little above my knee height, I'm working on keeping my sacrum back against the wall, my thoracic against the wall, my arms, pressed all of that connection. Okay, holding there, lift the heels again, lower the heels and nothing else moves except those ankle joints. Inhale and exhale. We want a nice leveled chin.

I like to consider the eyes like big laser beams they happen to be red usually, two straight laser beams for eyes going straight forward. Last two heel lifts. So I snuck that in. Last one and let's stand. Okay.

Good. Take your legs to your legs to Pilate stance again to that wrap. Now let's learn and feel chest lift what do you mean Amy, we're at the wall. At the wall it'll be forward flexion of cervical spine and upper thoracic spine relative to when we get to the ground chest lift right the 100 position of the upper body. So last week in the magic circle work we worked a lot in lifting the back of the skull, lift the back of your skull, the back of your brain up the wall.

That allows cervical flexion to start as I start rolling my neck forward, I'm not slumping forward I wanna think of sliding my back up the wall, the back up the wall to roll forward. My ribs are going up the wall to allow me to come forward. Now I'm in flexion I wanna reach my arms down to the floor, reach my arms forward a little bit out in the space in front of me stay right there keep the tips of your shoulder blades back on your wall. You all know that from the 100 position bring your arms all the way to the wall roll your body up. Twice more.

Let's inhale start lengthening the neck cervical flexion forward, upper thoracic forward that upper abdominal wall contracting reach your arms forward, test how far out you can reach them but keep the tips of your scapula back stomach in where's your sacrum where your rib cage is, bring your arms back and articulate to standing. One last time breathing in. Three way breath. Exhale forward flexion. Remember you're sliding your ribs up the wall, your arms down the wall, legs are really active, reach your arms forward, just try a few arm pumps from the 100 maybe the inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale.

Great way to teach the 100 if somebody cannot get to the ground, make them press their hips back you guys keep your hips back. I want you to leave your spinal impression on the wall. Your sacrum, your ribs, the tips of your shoulders four, three, two, one and arms against wall roll all the way up. Once again, I made the comparison contrast teacher. What does it feel like in your back, relax for a minute and just stand.

Hopefully you feel something different along your spinal column, mid back. Those are rector's, those spinal extensors that keep us up. Okay, so that's a little feeling just a little feeling of being up in gravity. Now let's play with the wall on the wall on the floor, okay, but I want you to do this, walk yourself, slide yourself down the wall it's gonna be a little curved plank probably when I get down here curved plank, no big deal. Let's take a look at seated spine stretch forward you just did it standing okay.

So I want you to take your sacrum and really wiggle yourself get your sacrum right against the wall, I need to move my mic pack. Wiggle in there, right you want that elongation between your pelvis and ribcage and your mid back right against your wall. If your head's there, fantastic, don't force it. Remember, head might not get there without being on the ground out of gravity with a pillow. Shoulders back of the shoulders more important right now.

Okay, flex your ankles. You can let's go for you can have hands on the ground for spine stretch forward. I wanna do it up here. I just want to, it feels really good. Shoulders are on the wall, right?

Now check your sacrum, did it leave the wall? Did your ribs leave the wall? Before we roll away from the wall we need to be on the wall. So interesting. When we're on the floor doing a spine stretch forward, we don't have that wall behind us but we cue it a lot, now we have it.

Inhale tall. Now here we go, you just did the cervical flexion, you just did that thoracic flexion, go forward which is spine stretch forward, but keep your sacrum back everybody. I really want you to keep your sacrum back, reach more with your arms and your spine forward without too much shoulder blade movement, but keep that sacrum back. Re stack should be a whole different feeling of spine stretch forward, two more times, inhale up the wall roll away from the head, shoulders, arms have energy rounding forward with that spine, shoulders on your back but your sacrum is back. How far can you go?

Feel the opposition, that concept of opposition. Now maybe it's making more sense to us right, because we have some ground force behind us that we're communicating to that we're connecting to which is the wall, inhale. Here we go rolling forward. My legs feel good, how about you guys? I heard that.

Yes, they do. Flex your ankles. Keep your sacrum back. Really good for those of us who know about our pelvic instability or if some of us have a pelvic rotation like you saw with mine at the beginning, you can lower your arms. Right, you saw my hip, my left hip is a little wonky.

This is so good for me because I can just be still and feel myself get organized and my sacrum back evenly. It might take me a few minutes, that's okay it's where the work is that's why I love the wall in relationship to the mat because you don't need to do a lot to get a lot, if that makes sense. Okay, I'll stop talking. Come on down to our back. This is where I have to look away from you, I want you all to get on your back, feet on the wall think pelvic curl 'cause that's about what we're gonna do.

Okay so, here we go. Yes, so you're on your back. You can have your heels directly in line with your shins and knees, which would be your true 90, 90 or you could have your heels just an inch or so higher than your knees, that is fine too. Please take one of your fists, put it between your knees as a space relationship cue. Let's try to keep our knees just that wide.

If you could reach up and put it between your heels too rock stars for you, I can't do that but I can imagine that same space. Okay, arms on the floor, but they're not pinned in too tight against our body. At the wall, we had a little breath, a little space between arm and body. If you open your arms a little away from you, you will be able to do your accordion breathing with much more integrity, your up and down three way breathing everything okay? Now here we go.

Pelvic curl. Beautiful, it's that feeling of the heels pulling down the wall to contract the hamstrings to get hips to rise up. Heels and hamstrings and hips oh my, you're up in your shoulder blade position, your chin is not resting on your chest. You keep your chin level, it's pointing to the ceiling breathing in, rolling down. We're gonna do just three pelvic curls everyone.

Enjoy the few repetitions. Enjoy the sensation and connections. Level the pelvis, take a breathe in. Exhale, heels pull down the wall to contract hamstrings to have hamstrings help extend the hips up. See how that works.

Heels, hamstrings, hips, breathe. We roll it down just like you were at the wall you keep your shoulders back. You feel that spine in motion. I've got my feet against the wall I'm not really pushing the wall too firmly. Come to neutral, breathe in, exhale, one more pelvic curl.

Okay, there we go. Heels can pulling down the wall, hamstrings contract in to extend hips up. Now, you can put your hands underneath your pelvis, you know, like that to help or keep them down, I want you to take one leg off the wall. Maybe it's that piston, that very slow thigh toward chest, work with control, bring it back to the wall. It's always interesting to replace your foot, you don't know where that floor is.

Okay, so as you take one leg to tabletop or piston in my world, you're just bringing your thigh towards your chest, you must control how it comes to you. Gravity is that force that's above us and behind us, it's gonna wanna push your leg to you. You've got to control that leg it's really the standing leg that's getting more workout. One more everybody, the standing leg at the wall, heel pulling down, hamstrings helping extend hip up, second leg (breathing loudly) there's my breathing, both feet on the wall and then roll down your spine. It's okay if your feet have taken a different position at the wall mine have really gone up high, that's fine.

I'm gonna reposition, I'm gonna bring them down. Just take a peek. Let's do it again. This time take your hands you guys to your knees and you know that I do that a slantward pelvic tilt so the hands will just slide down your thighs. Start extending your hips up into your bridge line okay, now you're standing at the wall.

Raise your arms straight up to the ceiling, your palms now facing one another you're in your shoulder bridge with support heels pressing the wall pulling down the wall, open your arms to a tee, take a breath. Exhale, close your arms just in line with your shoulder. Two more, how are your ankles feeling? Nice? It's helping your dorsiflexion everybody, it's good for you and it's good for us.

Arms open, keep those hips up. Arms close, now I want you to take your arms back overhead, I'm reaching mine to you, reach yours to me or somewhere, really stretched out, roll down your spine, slowly, slowly massaging through that position. Wonderful. Clasp your hands behind your head. Hope you're getting some interesting awareness moments here of like, oh, yeah, that feels different.

The wall is here for us to use to connect. Okay. Hands behind your head everybody let's go for chest lift we've already done it. Breathe in, roll your neck long as if your ribs were against the wall now they're on the floor I want you to think of rolling your ribs back and then curl forward and unroll down. Four of these inhale, you can bring your knees together if you want, you can bring your heels together, keep your knees apart.

I'm gonna go there. Sometimes if I do that it helps my hip flexors relax a little bit. So feel like you're sliding your ribcage back the floor backward to roll forward. There's some opposition floor goes back, you go forward. Last time, curl up, hold it up there now take your hands and reach your hands to the wall reach your hands to the wall.

Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale, yes you're pumping your arms now. Keep looking at the wall with your laser beam eyes heels together, toes apart start to walk your feet up the wall and straighten your legs. You're doing 100 guys as if you don't need the wall for your legs I'm gonna take my heels off the wall 'cause my stomach pulled in so much I let my legs leave the wall. I'm not counting, but I feel like that's enough.

Place the feet back on the wall bend your knees back into tabletop, lower your head, neck and chest breathe in right there, exhale, just stay right there. Let the head be back, the shoulders be back and check your containers like your rib container and your sacrum. Okay now hands behind your head again, let's play with a little spinal rotation from the chest lift. This is cool. This is great way to feel pelvic stability.

Okay, so your feet are equal just check in, your feet have equal pressure on the wall. They're slightly sliding down the wall not really but energetically and your sacrum is completely anchored on the floor. Breathe in, chest lift up. That's it. Simple, simple, breathe now rotate to your right or left side doesn't matter to me, as you go to that one side remember the sacrum stays level.

The space between the knees stays level. Go through center as you breathe in let's go to the other side exhale you're literally rolling to one shoulder blade come up a little higher, do one more each side I want you to feel like you're energetically pulling your heels down the wall and then center over to the second side and then center, relax your head back down. Breathing in, let's add on to that exhale, curl head, neck and chest up. Go to your first side please, hold that first side. Whatever leg your turned to piste in that thigh towards your chest a little bit.

That means just pick your leg up toward your chest put it back on the wall. Three more, exhale, pull piste in so I'm just thinking about moving from my hip joint right there to bring my thigh in. Pelvis stays level on the floor that's our goal. Come through center, go to the other side, rotate, exhale and piste in that opposite that thigh in. Inhale to the wall, exhale stomach pull, right and stomach pull and stomach pull and come through the center and everything comes down.

Okay, arms by your side, walk your legs up to two straight legs up the wall. Okay, single leg circle. Yes, it can be done here before we move on I want you to anchor your sacrum against the floor, your rib cage and the back of your shoulders raise one leg up off of the wall. You can have a straight leg or a slightly bent knee either one single leg circle cross the leg in the air over to the other one. Move that heel toward the wall do a small outward circle around and up just three times.

My birds are singing to me outside (chuckling) I love that. Feel your pelvis on the floor. Okay, other direction and we open, down, circle and up. Open, down, circle and up. And open and down and circle and up and exchange legs.

Here we go. Circle the leg toward the midline, down, a little bit opening up. Your objectives is to the landmark of your sacrum and ribs, nicely anchored on the floor. Reverse it for three open, down, inward and up. You can't go too wide or else that sacrum will move too much, right?

The goal is to keep it pretty dang steady. Okay, and then legs to the wall. Everybody reach your arms long as if you are trying to curl to the wall head, neck and chest to come up reach to it one more time. Reach to it one more time. Reach to it one more time, maybe the arms come up.

Maybe you can do just a stretch from double leg stretch, reach out and circle your arms around just twice more, reach back, the double leg stretch arm movement last time and stretch and down and then hug your knees in and then just roll your head, neck and chest from one or head and neck to one side. Okay, good you guys. I hope that's feeling pretty good. Now I want you to roll to one side, I'm just checking in to look at you but I know I can't see you and let's just feel something we're gonna do some hip Abduction the outside lateral hip, so I'm gonna just lie on my side and I want you to do the same thing and just stack your legs for just a second okay? Make a pillow with your bottom arm, that's fine and just be lateral on your side for a moment and this top hip, the ceiling hip, I want you to lift that thigh up, but not so high that you can't keep your heel fully touching the floor or the wall, which would be the floor, okay?

And then just hold that. Feel that energy of the leg reaching into the wall and then opposition energy out the top of your head now you don't have anything behind your back, but you're gonna feel your landmarks of your sacrum back and your ribs back right, that chest wall. Hold you arm up in the air hopefully you're feeling some good trunk stabilization and trunk work, lower your arm down toward the floor and raise it back up. Let's just do two more exhaling arm down and arm up, sacrum stays and rib cage stays and that's it okay, and then just rest and we'll do the other side. So just roll to your other side ah, okay so you don't have the wall you're pretending that you have it behind you, the floor underneath you or the wall behind you, you've got energy through your upper back and tip of head and then you take your top leg up just to the height of your hip and you press that foot fully against the wall to feel the work in your Abductor as your lateral.

Okay, we found out earlier when we take the arm up in the air or out from the wall that the ribcage may jazz around a little bit so we know that we keep our back back, back of the ribs against the wall and you lower and you lift the arm and we can exhale, lower the arm. I'm pretending that I'm at the wall and I'm feeling my back stay against the wall and feeling a lot of wonderful abdominal and spinal connection gathering up there. Okay. Kind of cool, huh? Now one thing I did not say at the beginning of class and the reference, I'm not like fully classical like Ramona teacher, so I didn't fully say it at the beginning and some of you might have already wondered why is she not talking about the box?

If you haven't wondered about the box, I'm gonna tell you just real quick that references shoulders square this way right, pelvis square this way and that top to bottom these match. I chose not to talk about that because A, I can't see you like I normally would want to, if I had my hands on you, I could really do a little bit more, but also for you to feel some other ways to connect. I might reference the box more clearly in another class okay, it's I definitely believe in the box I just didn't wanna bring it in today. Okay sidebar, now, (chuckling) we're up on, if you know the box, work your box, okay? So if you're up on your knees now and if your knees don't like being knelt on this way, roll up some of your mat and put your knees on the mat.

I do want to bring in and have us do thy stretch because it's extremely important for the standing exercises that we're coming next okay and it's just good for you. So we've been doing slant board pelvic tilt a lot. Slant board pelvic tilt again, hands here now back up enough you guys so your feet your heels are against the wall. My toes are tucked down like that and my heel is back against the wall. Just doing that what do you feel in your backside, your hamstrings and your butt?

They should be working contracted. Try to push your heels more without leaning your pelvis back and sitting back like that. Okay, so I'm gonna, we did it in pelvic curl at the wall, I cued it, heels, hamstrings, hips. Happy three things. So push your heels back, contract your hamstrings to extend your hips.

Now some of us wanna go more, I'm leaning back into my thigh stretch I'm leaning back, I'm gonna just let my eyes kind of gaze forward and up the window in front of me and when I come forward, I also come forward up this way. Hands on thighs, thighs pressing into hands the whole time. I don't let my hips go away from my hands that would be hip flexion, that's another exercise. Keep your hips pressing forward as you lean back. Two more times.

Kind of neat. This is thigh stretch. Now some of you certainly if you wanna go farther forward, walk your knees forward so you have more range to lean back to. I'm staying like this today this is perfect for me. I'm really concentrating right now on my heels.

Stay here, stay, stay, stay heels against the wall, hamstrings contracted, hips pressed forward. Now raise your arms and lower your arms, two more, raise your arms, lower your arms, it's a great place to practice some bridging if we were to go into bridging stuff, we'd have our hands go on the wall but not today. Later, okay. Guys let's stand up. Find a way up, now, we just got the work back here in our hamstrings and our hips, I want us to just do some good old leg stuff for a second okay, walk your feet now probably two of your feet distances out away from your wall, I've got about two fists wide and I will want you to squat down.

Let's build some heat in the thighs so if you can get yourself as low as hips in line with knees, fantastic. Hands on your legs for a moment, guys, sacrum back, this part of your ribcage back, shoulders back. Now heels firm on the floor. Use those heels on the floor to slide your sacrum up. We're gonna do it again, we're gonna this time hold it for about 10 breath cycles you ready?

Let's go in (inhaling) and out. In (inhaling) and out. (exhaling) Three (inhaling) and out. (exhaling) Four. (inhaling) Why did I say 10 and five.

(inhaling) Notice things that shift sacrum might tuck under, ribs might lift, you keep those ribs back, you're strong we've got this, this just really proves a lot about can you keep this container this integrity two more breaths, while there's intensity out here somewhere. Yes, you can, last one exhale, push your heels rise you've got one more round let's go down okay, this time I'm gonna add my arms out like this it just feels good and heels up and heels down, heels up, heels up, big toe joints stay down on the floor, five more and heels, ribcage against the wall, shoulders back, cue it out on, I'm cuing like crazy. Two more and up and down. And up and down and lower. Certainly hand weight someday arm circles, you've got the drill, Thera band, you can do all kinds of cool stuff against the wall.

I think we're getting the connection. Okay, I'm also now turning away from you again, no offense, but if we need to work our shoulder girdle and our push ups and some shoulder so the wall is the floor, right so I'm gonna turn around guys and get close to your wall. Let's check. Let's do some assessment just real quick. This is kind of nice for you and a good daily exercise for every single human in the world unless you have a little rotator cuff problem, you can tell me about that later.

Okay, let's reach our arm, I think I just opened a can of worms. (chuckling) Reach one arm as high up the wall as you can. I'm standing very close to the wall in fact, my big toes are touching my wall. My nose is touching the wall. My chest is close to the wall my pelvis is close to the wall.

Okay, I really want the underarm close to the wall. Your underarm. How the heck do you get your underarm closer to the wall? Well, your shoulder blade on your back if you think about the bottom of your shoulder blade, feel it, press in against your ribs. Your shoulder blade might get more into you, your armpit might get closer to the wall.

Okay, give that arm a rest to the other side. So just like we had our back against the wall and we stayed relatively stable against it, try to keep relative stability of the front of you against your wall. Okay, concentrate and feel your shoulder blade on the single second arm, the bottom of the shoulder blade pressing in on your back to get the armpit more open, shoulder blade presses in and kind of goes toward my pinky finger. Yeah, and then bring that arm down, both arms. Now how wide or narrow that's up to you, I like to have mine a little open.

My arms are up, I'm not worried about shoulder elevation at this point, I wanna feel the bottom of my shoulder blades which will take care of that shoulder elevation, press down against my back, in against my back I'm getting my body really close to the wall. Now I want you to the look up to the fingertips, turn your hands in such a way that the pinky finger side of your hand and wrist is against your wall and try to press those that skin against the wall. Don't lean off the wall, keep your body on the wall. Can you take one arm off the wall? I'm reaching my arm back behind to try to get to you, that's that shoulder flexion.

I think about it happening from my shoulder blade, the shoulder blade presses into my back to move the arm off the wall. Other arm for a second arm. The other hand still stays pressing the wall. So it's like we're kind of breaking down our swimming okay and then you could rest your arms for a second. We'll come back to that, but I wanna stand sideways for a moment okay, now when I stand sideways, don't worry, we'll do our push ups, I'm gonna use that wall okay, so you can see something.

So I'm coming over here and what I want to do is have you feel the heel of your hand, you can stay on your wall, is in line with the base of your shoulder or your underarm okay? Now if you lean down and try to get that elbow to the wall, you should be able to do that and then push away from the wall a little bit okay? But what I wanna work on here, stay there it's like an elbow plank almost on our side. This inside wall ribcage I want to keep taking these ribs away from the wall take your other hand to your hip and just practice some of your side leg raises the Abduction again okay. Yeah, and Abduction and close.

So like side race, side the thigh lifts and up and down you get what I'm trying to say, okay. Now guys, I want to stay here and let's try something, take the leg up let's move it front and back so we're gonna have a kick, kick and behind kick, kick, can't go very far. Okay, now rewind your brain while you still move think about your thigh stretch exercise that we just did kneeling on the floor and we had our thigh and our hip in extension, right so that when I'm talking about that, let me pause for a minute, I'm talking about the hips coming in extension. So if I'm doing my side work, I don't want you to have your hips back here as you do front back so take thigh stretch when your pelvis is nice and level, right and keep that feeling as you're doing your side work there. I'm back over here so we did front, back, and front back.

Now hold your leg out to the side this thigh is in hip extension, take your hand behind your head, take your leg forward and rotate your sternum to the ceiling a little bit, leg behind you sternum to the floor a little bit, twice more, leg forward, sternum to the ceiling, leg behind your sternum to the floor. One more, leg forward, sternum to the ceiling and rotate and take center, take three little circles of the thigh in one direction and the other way, one, two and three. Take the leg down. Let's do a nice easy side bend so this outside leg is gonna cross over and you can take the outside arm and side bend. Now I want more of the side bend myself.

I'm gonna get my elbow to the wall so I can really bend and probably even touch the wall. Open yourself. Now if your back was against a wall right now, think about your landmarks, you'd have your sacrum against your wall, back of your ribs against the wall, right try a little twist just to see what that feels like, you can rotate your rib cage a couple more and exhale, rotate the rib cage, just for some fun feeling there and rotate okay, so let's take those to the other leg. I'm gonna use my other wall now guys so the heel of the hand in line with the base of this gap under arm, lean, bending the inside elbow to the wall, let your other leg lift. Practice that a couple of times.

Almost like a gentle fall toward the wall. I did not mean to rhyme that it just happened and fall to the wall. Okay, there you go. You got my lateral view so my hips are stacked, I've got hip extension, I've got my rib cage relatively organized, I'm gonna take it front back. Can't move far.

The ribs that are closest to the wall, make sure you're keeping them away from the wall. Yeah, standing leg work now, take your hand behind your head, rotate your torso to the ceiling a little bit, leg behind you, torso forward a little. Two more the leg you're standing on, keeping that hip in extension and one more and back. Lean away from the wall, let's do our side, bend and outside arm comes up over you can bend your inside elbow to the wall to create a much bigger side bend stretch and then do another one taking the outside arm and rotate toward the wall. I haven't turned my pelvis because again the pelvis and ribcage relatively the back of those landmarks against the imaginary wall.

Okay, one more time. So much we can do, so many exercises, but I have push ups yet to have us do. Face your wall everybody walk back until your arms are straight the first one we'll have our heel of our hand right in line with the underarm okay, that height right there and then I want you to also have your arms shoulder width apart. So kind of a narrow push ups to begin, here we go. Who can bend their elbows and get their four arms completely against the wall without their sacrum pushing back or their rib bending back?

Right? So again is that you feel like you have the wall behind you, even when you lean toward the wall your sacrum and back ribs, stay against your imaginary wall. Keep going. Let's breathe in as we come to the wall. Exhale away.

Inhale to the wall. I'm gonna back our mind up onto the shoulder blades, I still have the sense that the bottom of the shoulder blades are pressing in on my back. Okay, two more times here, forearms to the wall. If you can't, don't even worry, get as far as you can without letting your shoulders elevate. Okay, now take wide push ups.

Let me take my hands pretty wide and I like to have my fingers go out just a little bit that's what I know about my shoulder blades and I wanna have my elbows bend out wide I need my hands to adjust like that, so that I keep my shoulder blades working correctly on my back. Just two more of the wide push ups everybody and then I want us to go between the two and jump between the two so I'm gonna land with my hands in narrow, bend into a tricep press, jump and land wide. Jump off the wall with your hands land narrow, jump, land wide. This is a great exercise to challenge your torso organization, ribcage and sacrum and head. Okay, a little extra fun, can you clap somewhere behind you or above you?

Jump, clap kind of find different places to clap different ways to land wide and narrow. Three more one, two, and three and just a little fun there we're not done we have one more exercise, okay. One of my favorite exercise is the swan. I love doing the swan on the floor and I used to love swan so much but I was overdoing it and I was really just bending in my lumbar spine a lot and I wasn't getting very much movement in my mid and upper back okay, so I started doing an upper wall and I started doing swan standing often and other exercises too, but I went to the wall because I wanted to make sure that I was not losing my hip extension and the strength in my legs, the strength in my front to back connection and not just bend in my low back, which would actually push me more to the floor in other words, right. So if we take thigh stretch and we think about the concept of thigh stretch at the wall and we think about our axial elongation and we do all of those things together, I'm gonna get close to the wall again and my big toes are at the wall, my chest is at the wall and I want to right now increase the work in my hamstrings and my gluteals to press my pelvis even more against the wall.

This is where you really just have to trust and listen 'cause you can't see what's in front or side of me, but that's fine. Okay? Okay, everyone, place your hands on the wall as if you were doing getting ready for your swan that you'd like to do, okay? Yeah, we're gonna do two ways your way then mine. Okay, so the first part, as if you're on the floor, you start looking forward with your eyes right now it's relative, they're gonna go up the wall, your chin is gonna go up the wall, your chest is gonna go up the wall.

I do not want you to push your arm straight because then you'd fall backward and that's an arm exercise when we're standing right now, what I want us to think about is press pelvis toward wall chest up the wall, let me say them again. Pelvis toward wall in front, the front of your pelvis forward, your chest forward and up. Okay, keep going. Pelvis forward, ribcage forward and up the wall and then come out of that standing swan. Try one more with your hands there.

Reposition if you need to. Here we go. Pelvis stays forward, axial elongation get a lot of space between your pelvis and your ribs and all the vertebrae if you can. It's a sense. It's a felt sense of more space.

Definitely going up the wall. What if you were a gecko and you could crawl up the wall it's that kind of idea in my brain honestly, it is. Go up. Up, the up will create a back bend it just happens, think of trees, think of willows, they go up and then they bend. See, feel your back, right, feel your back.

Okay, moving that spine. Now guys, try one, hope that feels good, try one more with your arms up like we were practicing the shoulder blade movements, I've got my arms in a little bit of a V shape, I'm turning my arm so my pinky finger side of hand is against the wall and here I go, I'm gonna do the same thing I'm not moving my arms, they're gonna come with me I'm moving my pelvis forward, I'm lifting my chest forward up the wall, I can't go back, I have to go up I've got to go up the wall, up the wall, up the wall. Now if you wanted to work your back muscles near your shoulder blades, you could certainly bring them back together a little bit more about your chest going up lets everybody take one more breathe in and exhale, return toward the wall lower your hands, turn around to face each other. Pretty neat. One standing roll down, I want you to stand against the wall.

I hope it's been interesting, if nothing else and informative on how you connect in gravity and out of gravity and your landmarks of the sacrum and the ribcage. For one more time you'll get to roll your head forward and allow your back ribs to go up the wall come forward, keep your sacrum against the wall everybody. Knees are strong, your heels pressed together your sacrum is back and I want you to just move those arms in those beautiful circular whisky whisk like movements. Keep your sacrum back reverse your arms, just loose. Yeah, bring the arms to stillness.

And as we roll up to standing keeping your heels still together, keeping your sacrum against the wall, your ribs against the wall definitely reach out and ask questions if you had some I feel like my some of well, I liked what I taught I hope you did, but I don't wanna discount the box so stay tuned maybe we will do wall part two, okay. Thanks, everybody, have a wonderful, wonderful week. I'm back here next Tuesday 11 o'clock in Pacific Standard Time, Pacific Daylight Time. Enjoy. And thank you.

I'll see you later. Bye bye.

Pilates with Amy Havens: Move with Amy


Julie Lloyd
This is fantastic, as always Amy!! Thank you so much.

1 person likes this.
Fantastic class, such good feedback on the wall! A little long on the intro but love your enthusiasm always 👍
2 people like this.
At the beginning, I could not lean my head on the wall.  At the end of the class, I could.  The power of Pilates!  Thank you for a great class!
1 person likes this.
So interesting to feel gravity in different places for some fundamental pilates positions, many thanks Amy, you provide lots of great cueing and chance to reflect on exercises we sometimes take for granted
2 people like this.
I love your wall classes and would love to see you do more , definitely brings more awareness and helps with posture ! Thank you Amy 
Elizna L
1 person likes this.
This was a first for me, but quite enjoyable. Thank you Amy
Julie Eva Ahuva bbitner Anne MKV Elizna  thank you for your feedback everyone.  Yes the intro was a little long .  Teaching Live is different than our usual filming in the studio that's for sure! 
1 person likes this.
Thank you! Helpful ideas for so many populations.
1 person likes this.
This is such a challenging class for me! It shows all of my weaknesses in my body and I learn to embrace it in this moment! Love it! 🙏 Thank you so much! It was already the 2nd time I was doing it and will definitely come back to it again!
Hi Jutta , the wall is so good at teaching us about our imbalances, short side, long side, rotations etc.  As dancers, I think we all have "that" side and the wall can really help guide us into the 'correct' or more optimal alignment or at least provide an invitation to explore.  I love the wall work, it's hard in that very gentle way!
1-10 of 11

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Pilates Anytime Logo

Move With Us

Experience Pilates. Experience life.

Let's Begin