Class #4150

Magic Circle Mat

55 min - Class


Kristi Cooper enhances this fluid Mat class with the incorporation of the Magic Circle in each exercise. You will start with a standing sequence and then come down onto the Mat during this full-body workout. She offers creative ways to use the Magic Circle to intensify familiar exercises, and modifications to use a firm pillow if you don't have a Magic Circle.
What You'll Need: Mat, Magic Circle

About This Video


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Here we are, hardest part is over. Garage Sessions is what we're calling it, and I'm saying that specifically because I just saw a spider, and if I scream, it's not a cue. Okay. Today is Magic Circle mat, and I love using it. You don't have to have one, if you do, great.

If you don't, a firm pillow is really the thing, and by that, I'm thinking you want something that isn't really big, but something that is firm, that you can kinda squeeze and it doesn't just deflate on you and now you've got a bunch of pillow all around you. So I'll do my best to offer up other modifications, but it is designed for the Magic Circle. So, if you have one, I'm gonna assume you do, put it nearby, kind of like right in front of you. We're gonna stand a little bit, and the intention for today is to use this Magic Circle as an assist, in some cases it will make it more challenging. So at any point you need to know that you can just bail it, get rid of it.

Yeah, and above all, as usual, decide how you want the outcome to be at the end of class. What do you wanna feel when you walk away? And let's aim for that all together. I know I did, I'm not tellin' ya today what mine is. Okay so, standing with your feet apart.

Root yourself into the earth, we're gonna go down and pick up that ring, so maybe put it right in front of you. Checking yourself out, as usual, your outer edges of your feet are parallel. If you hyperextend your knees, don't. Stand up over your ankles, over your foot. Build, sort of, the structure of your body through the skeleton, and then let the muscles relax.

It turns out they don't do all that much until they're in the right place, and that they can do it with ease, they're better that way. Okay, from here. Just sweep forward, shift your weight back. Shift your weight forward. I'm really happy right here.

I wanna say good morning, but I'll just say good day, and I'm really happy right here. Here we go. Find that middle ground, where you're a little maybe more in front of the center of your foot. Taking in, I like to turn my hands up and kinda collect the energy that maybe need it, go ahead and look up, why not? Oh, grab it from up there, and then just let your arms come down.

Deep breath in. (inhales) And exhale. (exhales) Next time we'll roll down. Take an inhale, lift up. Lift up, you're still coming forward on your feet, and then as your arms come down, they'll hit about shoulder height, let your head start to reach forward, go forward, roll your spine, follow the weight of your head.

Your arms are really just hanging. Your head is hanging. I noticed I shifted back, 'cause it feels really good, so try that for a second, then get back over your feet. If you can touch the ground do, if you can't, bend your knees, and then all together, let's bend our knees, but take your whole body with it. And straight.

Bend your knees, and if you imagine the knees reaching forward, not just to your forehead, but forward, and your spine curling with you. And straighten. Maybe you'll get a little looser each time. One more for now. And straighten.

We're here. Again, it doesn't matter if your knees are bent, in fact, it might be a good idea to keep 'em bent. Let your head go. If you can, at the start of a class. And then maybe hands to shins, or just draw the belly in, tuck the tail.

Start to restack, but you know where you're gonna land, so restack, restack, restack. (exhales) Okay. Again, I'm not quite where I'm gonna be with my intention, so forget the arms, just inhale. (inhales) And exhale, as if something was pulling you forward a little bit, so you're not just dropping your head, you're using your body to go, "Okay, here's where I need the support, "here's where I need the energy, "here's where wow, what's that?" Whatever you're feeling, feel it. Bend your knees.

If you can, straighten them, or go a tiny bit straighter, but keep that fold. Two more, inhale. And exhale. (exhales) One more time. Either with bent knees, or straight, you inhale, and you start drawing up, just like right here, can you feel that sense of drawing the belly up, up, up, up up?

To restack your spine, right over yourself once again. Same thing, we're gonna pick up our ring on this one. So here we go. Inhale. Exhale, take it forward.

And really, can you get any more room? Can you get any more space between the bones? I don't know if that's even possible, but you can try to feel for it, and I tell you what, that's where the muscles kick in and really help. You have your ring hopefully nearby, or your pillow, and we'll just contract it, actually don't do anything with the ring, just bring it with you. Come back up.

(exhales) There we are. Okay, and a few more words about the ring or the pillow, whatever you're using. It's really not about the ring. It reminds me of a YouTube sketch, it's not about the nail. (laugh) We're gonna use it, and it's really meant, there's never gonna, as far as my plan so far, we're not squeezing it hard ever.

So for the guys that are here, for the girls that are here that really wanna go for it, I'm gonna encourage you to use it as an assist to find the rest of you. That's what today's about. So, we have the ring, heel of the hands, better not to do it with the fingers, heel of the hand, and just standing parallel, et cetera, just breathe. (exhales) And squeeze in, but when you lightly squeeze, can you still feel your arms on your back? Can you still feel that you're growing up?

Ooh. Or are you hunching down? Like expand, so it's such a little thing that allows us to feel our arms on our back, as you sometimes hear teachers say. It allows you to feel like, "Right, there's the front "of my body, the back of my body." I'm barely squeezing, if I squeezed a lot, it would be all in the front, right? Obvious.

Let's do just a few more so we know where we're at and we know kinda how the rest of the class is gonna go. I'm gonna do my best to not talk to much. Don't count on it. That's what I think. I can't help it.

(exhales) Just squeezing, if you can't see it, I'm just lightly squeezing, and each time I do, I'm like, "Yup, I'm up, I'm upright, "I'm up at 8:30 in the morning." (laughs) And with you, so there we go. That's what I got for that. All right, again, still in evaluation mode. We're gonna get to the glutes and the arms, I promise. Trust me.

From here, all I'm doing is I'm gonna start to squeeze, I can squeeze more at the beginning, and reach it forward. At the end I can't squeeze as much, but I am trying a little bit. Not from my hands, but right now it's from the upper arm. Bring it back, inhale. Exhale, and just think about that original alignment.

You're ever so slightly forward on your feet. (exhales) Bring it back, like nothin's goin' on here, just so you know. That's not true, somethin's goin' on, but I'm not working it both ways yet. Exhale, push. (exhales) It's subtle, it's not about the arms, or the ring.

And bring it back. This time, we do the same thing, but we're gonna try to rise up on the toes as we go. Just a little, just a little bit, not a lot, not a lot, it's not a calf raise, it's just like, "Can I hold my balance?" Bring it back, fall down. Okay, so you know where I'm going, a couple more. A little bit of pressure, and by that I mean, just connect to yourself.

Breathe as you wish, I'm exhaling. Hovering the heels, like barely. Bring it back and drop down. Easy, easy. Light squeeze, chest up, I'm proud, I'm happy to be here, so I'm gonna show it in my body.

And then as I lightly squeeze and extend my arms, you can squeeze as hard as you want, as long as you don't change that sense of upwardness. And down. I might've already said one more, but I'm gonna say it again. Here we go, last one. When does it feel right to just hover and stay connected to yourself?

Wobble is normal, so wobble all you want. Don't go too high. And down. Okay. Here we go.

Stand wide on your mat. I'm gonna do just a few, well not just a few, a fair amount standing, and then we'll get to the floor and the rest of the classical stuff. So, you're standing on your mat wide. Again, feel your feet, some of us roll in, some of us roll out. I think you should just find the middle.

Reach the arms up. And so the way I hold it, just so you know, right now, I have my thumbs just inside, and that's partly a reminder not to overly grip, but right now I'm not doin' anything with the ring, it's a spacer for me. And for some of us that's gonna mean I can't straighten my arms. So if you can't straighten your arms up, you might get rid of the ring on this one. We are going up and over.

Yes. And just hang out, just hang out. Can you step into that opposite foot? And exhale up. And I'm not worried about the shoulders, don't worry about shoulders down, ribs in, all that right now, not right now.

Find space. Over. Look at your space, can you take up more of it? And come back up. (exhales) Up and over.

And lift. Going up and over to the left, but step into that right foot, if you're followin' me like mirror, step into that right foot, then lift the ribs, and reach further. If it's too soon, then it's too soon. Up and over. Step into that left foot.

Lift the left side of the ribcage, reach the arms further, oh I will take care of this plant better, I promise you. I know, I promise you, you've been so good to me. And up. (exhales) Up and over. Step into it, reach it, reach it, reach it.

And back. Up and over. And back. Okay so, shake it up. Just so it hopefully loosens you up a little bit there.

We're gonna go into, follow me. Take your ring, for me it's gonna be your, what is that? Your left hip, I think. Again, heel of the hand, you're gonna lose the ring if ever it starts to build tension in your neck, promise me that. Toes are ever-so-slightly turned out, you're gonna squat a little, we're gonna pretend we're on the Reformer, kinda.

Here we go, we're gonna squeeze the ring as we go into whatever this is in the dance world, or just bend your knees. And come up. Come down. Something that I do think is notable is if your elbow is down here, pointing to the floor, or to the ring, or to the pillow, it doesn't do as much, and it's not nearly as satisfying. So pop that elbow up, do drop the shoulder down, and let's go down.

As I go down I'm squeezing. As I stand up I kinda lighten up a bit, but I'm ready to go again. Do one more and stay down there in the squat. So go as low as you can, but check out how low you are, well not as low, go to a point where you don't pitch forward. How 'bout that?

And now pull the ring in, pull the ring in, it's a pulse. Three. Four. Five. Six.

Seven. Eight. I'll go for 10 and somebody will tell me when I get it. Oh, here we go. Full squat, squeeze the ring though.

Go down. Come up. Go down, do whatever you want with the other hand. Go down. Come up, I'm pulling, don't let that elbow drop into you.

Again. Next one go down, stay down, check out your feet though. 'Member? I just said member. That's how lazy I am.

(laughs) Remember what we said in the beginning, even out your feet, it'll change your knees, and that's important. Look at 'em. Pulse in 10. One, two, three, four. Five, six, seven, eight.

Nine and 10, and come up. Let's do it again, only once more. Of course we have the other side. Let's go down, squeeze. Lift up.

This is like tapping into, well you'll tell me. Three. I don't need to tell you what it's tapping into. Hold it down on this one. Pulse it in.

One, two, three, four. Eight. And up. Cool. Take the ring.

Lift it up. Reach over to one side, reach, reach, reach, reach. Come back up. Ease the shoulders, get cozy with like, "Oh it's like I'm allowed." Over on this side. And come back.

Place the ring at your hip again, and where I am placing it, it doesn't, you'll kinda know. For me it feels like greater trochanter, or just the butt, it's where it fits. Put it where it fits. Here we go. Squatting down, pull.

Check yourself. Ooh, Kristy, come on. I was just rolling my shoulder forward naturally, so do check that. I doubt you could see that, but that was my natural, I was rolling it forward, pull back. And up.

'Cause remember, we don't have to squeeze so hard. Let's call that two, since I jabbered. Three. Okay, work the legs. (exhales) Next one go down, stay down.

Hold it, and maybe it's just like this, "Um-hmm, I got this." Little bit of a pulse, it's not from the hand, it's from somethin' else, figure it out. Um-hmm. Ooh, go lower. Don't rise up. How 'bout three.

Two. One. And up. Bend again, let's go down, squeeze. Now you know what you're doing on this side.

Sometimes you have to talk to both sides differently. Stay down on this one, and just hang out with it. If you need to widen your feet, do. If you need to pitch forward a lot, don't. And pulse one, two, three, four.

Five, six. One more time, come up. Ooh, and down, squeeze. Up. Down, squeeze.

Up. This is it, stay down. And here we go, find like the whole side of your body. I hate the word flank, but I'm gonna use it. (laughs) Find the flank of your body.

One, two, three, four. Five, Nicole and Julie are like, "Oh my god, "she needed more sleep last night." (laughs) Stand up! Okay, so far so good. From there, we're gonna do a little bit of one, and then we'll get back into the more traditional situation. What I'm gonna suggest is that you take the ring and put it, again pillow can work, it's gotta be firm, otherwise you don't have to use it, the ring doesn't do much. Don't tell Joe.

It does a lot in that it guides you, so that's what we're looking for today. Whichever hand, or shoulder that you put the ring on, it's right in between, so let's say, your neck and the shoulder, but it should feel comfortable, don't pinch off anything. And the opposite foot is forward, the opposite foot to the arm that's in the air is forward. Okay, so I'm gonna just turn to show you what I'm kinda goin' for here. We're gonna just squat straight down, it doesn't have to be far, but it could be.

Oh, I wish, okay, up. But then you're gonna pull with the ring too, so you're gonna get a little bicep outta the deal. Let's go, we go down, it's the same sorta pattern, let's say five and 10. Two, and up. Three, and up.

Four. Oh, five we stay down, here it is. Now just the bicep. Enjoy it, but don't shrug the shoulder. Two, three.

Five, six, seven, eight. Nine, and 10, stand up, stay there. We're goin' again. We go down, squeeze, come on, use that bicep. And up.

Down. And up. Three. (exhales) Now you can kinda pull it as hard as you want, for the record. Whenever five is, stay down, and one, two, three, keep that shoulder down.

Eightish, nine, 10. Let's do one more, I know. Shake out your legs, but don't. Come on, let's challenge ourselves. Let's go down one.

Lift up, you're just as tall as you were in the beginning. Two, if not taller. Three, come on, pull whatever it is you want. Pull that palm to your shoulder. Two more.

(exhales) Here it is, stay there. But it is the last one, just go, "Yup, I got it." Shimmy, four, five, six. Go lower if you want, come on up. Other side. Putting it on, again, that little divot between your neck and shoulder.

For some it's harder, 'cause it's tense up there right now. A little more than it used to be for me right now, but that's okay, 'cause I know what to look for, which is to say, I want it to be easy there, and for girls, we're, so the opposite leg is forward, hips are square, blah, blah, blah. Here we go. Heel of the hand on, not your fingertips. We squat, pull, pull.

And up. (exhales) What, everyone just does with their hand. One more time. Let's stay down there. Before you pulse, what's your spine look like right now?

Nevermind that, where does your spine feel like? Is it arching? Is it thrusting? Is it upright? Can you, anyway, pulse for one, two.

Ask yourself a lot of questions. Or don't. Two more. Stand up. Breathe.

If you have to shake it out, you will. You're your own teacher. We go down one. And lift up. Go down, two.

And lift up. What we have, three. You're not leaning forward in these lunges by the way, we're goin' straight down, both knees almost equally. Shoot. If I needed one more I'm gonna pause, okay, one, two, three, four.

Five, it's like easy, easy, easy, easy, easy, one more time. Or it's not, whatever it is. Let's go down. And up. And down.

And up. Do your best to not go forward. You don't want the knee heading over those toes. Hold it down. Put equal weight in both feet right now.

Align your spine. And now the 10 little fun things. One, two, three, four. Ooh, make that last one good. Okay, stand up.

Step wide again, 'cause it will feel good, reach your arms up again, 'cause it might feel good. Stretch over to one side. Check our your spine in here, we all have our habits. Line yourself up. Exhale, center, or breathe however.

I'm trying really hard not to cue breathing, but it's like choreography, I tell you what. So bear with me on that, but you are intended to breathe when you need to, and always. And up. Ooh. And up.

Shall we go to the floor? I think so. I think it's time. I did class with Mary and I went uphill, I'm not doin' it again today, I'm goin' downhill. I live on a hill, and it happens to be on a downward slope this way, so here we go.

I'm all for efficiency. (laughs) All right. Your feet are parallel, flat as much as possible, you might need to bring them in or out as we go. Hands are on the ring, again at the heel of the hand. And I'm using it now kinda like I use it when I hold my knees, as I roll back, as you roll back.

And you can then grab with your fingers, and pull to help yourself come back up. I don't know why it works, but it does. Change the energy, light squeeze. Light squeeze, it's not massive, it's just enough to go, "Right, connect me to my middle." Feel free to grab the ring with the rest of the four fingers. Pull apart as you come forward in that curve.

Shoulders over hips, sit up tall, let the fingers go. Roll down. I'm thinking pushing the ring forward. It just helps me, what do you need to do? I'm grabbing it, I'm gonna pull, and my elbows are popped out wide, I can't talk and do it.

Oh you should talk. Three more, push, roll. Grab on, it's not a hard grab, it's just like, "All right, I can change my energy, "I can shift my focus. "I can decide where I am in space." Grab, pull. It's the truth.

I hope I take that advice later today. One more, here we go, grab, pull, pull, pull, pull, pull, pull. And sit up. (exhales) Ring or pillow between the knees. I do it, just if you have a ring in particular, right above the knee.

I'm gonna lie down, lay down? Where's Grammarly when I need it? Arms out to the side, pull the knees up. You can do that, right? So you're ready before you do it, so we don't have to do the one leg at-a-time thing, you're just gonna engage knowing you're gonna pick up your legs.

Easy, light squeeze. To the, towards me. Light squeeze. We come over, that opposite hip comes up, the shoulder does not. Exhale, come center.

There's nothin' else goin' on with the ring. Other side. It's just the awareness of, if I don't use my inner thighs, I'll drop the ring. That's it. Super exciting, but helpful, I like help, it turns out.

Okay so milk it, here we go. We inhale as we go over, upper body is completely planted, with exception to the lower ribs. Start the exhale, maybe squeeze a little more there for fun. Other side, inhale. But trust me, it's not about the legs right now, it's about, is my spine ready for the rest of this?

Oh yeah. (exhales) And over. It's kind of a fun thing to do. Let's do a couple more, just so I can say it as much. Over, and before you come back, you know you're pulling on that ribcage that's up, but lightly, and I do mean lightly.

Press into the ring from the lower leg, and also think of the ribs. And you breathe harder. Imagine you can hear that same thing, the lower leg presses into the top. But it's gotta be light for it to be fun. Last one each way.

(exhales) And again. (exhales) Yes, right. Taking that ring. This, I bet you love it, right now. (laughs) Put your feet in it.

Bend your knees. Here's the tricky part is, can you set the ring down without your feet being on the ground? That's the tricky part there. Take your arms back behind you, hold onto that ring. Try to keep your feet kinda parallel, maybe slightly turned out is cool.

It probably is. Bring your head, neck, and shoulders up. So my ring is on the ground, just so you know, the lower edge. My feet are not. Reach forward, look at the ring.

Look at the top of that ring or pillow, and here we go. No arms right now, just low pulses on the ring. It's in, in, in, in, in. Out, out, that's breath. Two, two, three.

(exhales) Like you're gonna grab the top of that ring. You can do the arms too, I'm just not that coordinated this morning. (laughs) And out, two, three. And. (inhales) (exhales) One more only, I know.

You're welcome. (exhales) Pull the ring in. Replace it to your hands, extend your legs out. Same position except for there's no ring in there. So they're together.

And arms now, in, two, three, four, five. Out, two, three, four, five. It's not a big push. You can raise your legs as high as you want, or even bend them, or you can not do it at all. (laughs) Feet, come with me.

Keep reaching for your feet. Push, push, push, push, push, push, push, push, and ah, bend your knees. Let your head go down. Take the ring, for the people using a pillow this'll be a little tough, but you could do it in ways I don't need to explain. We're just stretching our hamstring.

If you do have a ring, put the ball of your foot in that ring with the knee bent. Square off your hips, use your arms, elbows wide, I know it's not stretched yet, but it kinda is. Depends on who you are I suppose. I also notice what my foot does on that handle. From here.

Oh wow, look at that. What's your other leg doing? I got all lazy on that. Stand on the other foot, only to know it's there. And then stretch and straighten your leg in the ring.

And bend, and help yourself, pull the ring. Broaden the collarbones. See what your body does. It doesn't have to be this or that, but just see what it does. And then straighten.

And then look for the path of most resistance. (laughs) And gentle when you go there. Bend. And straighten. There's somethin' about knowin' y'all are here that makes me say weird stuff.

I'm like, "Oh I'm gonna learn from that," I hope you do too, I hope that we're all exploring ourselves. Let's just do one more. I already got lazy on that lower leg again, what about you? And as you go up on this last one, before maybe you hit full straight, and for the ballet dancers, if it's way over your head, good for you, but find a way to get an actual stretch, and then reach the tailbone down. Cool, let's just switch legs.

You know what we're doing so, again, do my best to let you do it. You're anchored, your foot is down, your hips are squared, blah, blah, blah, here we go, we're gonna bend. (exhales) I can't help it, I have to tell you something. I think of reaching my tailbone, I think, or whatever that way, opposite to the knee bend itself, and it makes a difference for me than just bending. Okay.

Straight, to the extent you want. Bend. And straight. Bend. Straight.

I so badly wanna cue more dorsiflexion, 'cause it kinda keeps us all alive, so I will, but it's tough. Okay. Good. From there we are on our way. Stretch out your legs.

Adjust yourself on your mat. Your hands are just holding the ring. Again, almost for just spacing. If it's too small for you, you can bend your elbows a little, but I would aim for straight. Here we go, we're going to look forward.

We bring our ring forward. We exhale, you can squeeze the ring here, it may or may not help you, but I think it will. Forward, and reach forward. Now as if someone were pulling your ring, you'll reach away from it in your spine. Wendy Arbuckle taught me, remember the fun thing?

If you draw the thumbs inside, you can start to feel the outside of your body a little bit, it just allows you to go down a little smoother. You have to ask here exactly why it works, but it does. So now, inhale, curl up. I'm slightly squeezing, up, up, up. You can flex or point your feet, it's up to you.

I know have put my thumbs inside those handles, I've drawn, I broaden my back, I've created a sense of outward pull so that the middle has room to move. Inhale up. Exhale. (exhales) And now be a little more fluid with it. And back.

I'm going a tiny bit faster. (exhales) Light pull on the ring as you go down, go ahead. Go ahead. And inhaling up. Squeeze yourself, get there, stay there.

Be happy about being there, and let's put the ring between our knees. Rolling like a ball. This one I do want you to squeeze it, a little bit more than everything else I've been saying, so squeeze it a bit, don't let it pop up in your face. Pillow is gonna work really well on this. Hold onto our ankles or your knees, and if you can, put your forehead on that ring.

Walk your feet in close enough that you can, but know that wherever you start, you stay, so depends on how you wanna go with it. Heels and feet stay together. I'm gonna give myself a little breathing room and not touch it. Here we go, roll back, keep the resistance, and up, be careful. Roll back.

(inhales) Up. Toes tap is fine, I'm gonna try not to. It's like finding my space. (exhales) Can you bring it closer? Squeeze a little more.

(exhales) Keep the shape. (exhales) One more. (inhales) (exhales) Hold it there. Hold it there, you can set your feet down. Take the ring out.

Put it aside. Lie down. Leg furthest from the screen goes up. Hold onto it, and think, maybe, of adjusting the hips a little bit, to make them level I guess, why? Okay.

Arms either to a T or low V, that's what I'm doing. I'm just gonna leave the foot relaxed. We're gonna cross the body, the hips are still down. Exhale down and around, up. Inhale.

Exhale. Inhale. Exhale, single leg swirl. (exhales) One more. We're gonna go the other way, but check yourself out.

You are your own teacher here, and you may or may not be a teacher, but that doesn't matter, you're your own teacher. Ooh, that got a little sloppy Kristy. (exhales) And last one, hold it up. Reach for it, grab it, pull it. Can you level out the hips more, even as you stretch your hamstring?

Put your head down. Switch legs. Crossing the midline of the body first. Keep that lower leg stable. Let's go, down and around, and up.

(breathes loudly) Let's go the other way, outside, down, around, up, boom. Down, around, up, boom. It's like, find the end point, right? Two more. Or don't, but try.

Hold it up, find it, the leg, probably not behind the knee. Find a stretch, and then I think of reaching that sit bone toward the opposite ankle. (exhales) Cool, bend your knees. Just rock yourself up, grab that ring. How you doin'?

So I think you set a goal, are we heading there? God I don't wanna hear that answer. (laughs) We're gonna roll down. Maybe not the whole series of five, but most of it, in this order. I have the handle, my hands on the handles, we're gonna just stretch the legs out, reach the ring back, I am not squeezing the ring, although I am holding it, which is an accomplishment in itself.

And inhale out, exhale, pull in. Inhale out, exhale, pull in. Inhale out, exhale, pull in. Inhale out, exhale, pull in. This time, we're gonna inhale out, exhale, put your feet through the ring.

(exhales) Yeah? I'll give ya time. Pull it back in and reach back. (inhales) Exhale, if you can, put your feet through the ring, and reach forward for those feet. And back.

And. (exhales) Breathe however you want, keep your upper body still, with exception to the arms. I'm not squeezing the ring, I'm using it as a prop. Truly a prop. One more time.

(exhales) And back, bring your knees in. Rest through it. (exhales) From here, we take the ring, this is one option to put it right behind your head, what I call the occipital ridge, or where the mic goes. (laughs) And then again, with the heels of the hands on the handles of the ring, elbows wide. Otherwise, if you're holding a pillow, you're just holding the corners, right?

But you're supported, the point is, support your head, let it fall into the ring or the pillow. Curl yourself up. Decide what you're gonna look at, and keep looking at, no matter how tired you get. Extend one leg out, pull that other knee in, like literally just pull it, pull, pull, pull. You can't use your arms, pull it, pull it in and in.

Switch it. Can you pull the thing the other way? Don't turn that knee out, let's go. It's in. In and out.

And that means breath, right? But you can breathe out ever you want. Hold yourself, if you're workin' your neck, you're not using the ring as you could. Let the ring be your pillow. (breathes loudly) Pull, and pull.

Can you get any higher? I don't think I can, I am trying though. (laughs) All right, both feet in, let your head go, but stay ready. We're comin' right back up. So again, this is one of those positional uses of the ring, come up.

I do like to put a little pressure, now that I'm up here, elbows wide, extend one leg. Rotate. So it's the same exercise but with a rotation. Let's go. Press, press.

Hold yourself, support yourself, but make sure you're not just using your arms. Let your head fall back, if you're gonna use your arms, let your head fall back. Whatever the breath is, we're gonna do. Four. Three.

Two. And one. Come back in, release the ring. Take it between your ankles. Put your feet on the floor, and adjust as you need to.

(laughs) Life in the time of isolation, my bum is hitting my ring more than it used to. (laughs) Okay, arms are down, we're doin' a pelvic curl, essentially. But before we do, lightly squeeze the ring, not just from the ankles, but the entire inner seam of the leg. Imagine the ring was at the upper inner thigh and start the light squeeze from there and see if you can't feel your abdominals. Remember, it's not about the ring.

That's what I should've called this class, not about the ring, but it helps. Here we go, exhale, roll up. Let it align you, let it bring you back to this part of your body. Inhale. Do you feel the back of your arms?

Exhale down. Just a couple more. It's kind of a break, but it's also important. Exhale up. (exhales) Reevaluate.

And down. And again. Up. And down. And while it's in our ankles, we're just simply gonna roll to face the screen.

Do it slowly if you're not used to the Magic Circle. (inhales) Lie down. Top leg reaches long. Try to rest your head on your upper arm, and look straight ahead. Do not use me as an example, 'cause I'm dealing with a little mic.

From here, two fingers, somewhere around your abs, I would encourage the higher side, to the ceiling, dig in and exhale, start to press the ring down. I have my legs parallel. Lift it up. Start the exhale first. (exhales) Then press.

And just find that connection, that's gonna be so important to everything. (laughs) If you engage prior to trying to do the teaser, trying to do anything pretty much, it's kinda good, engagement is good. It's a blessing and curse of Zoom, I'm engaged, I'm so happy, and oh my gosh. It doesn't always go as planned, does it? So let's go back to ourselves.

Or whatever, wherever you want, I like to know I'm doin' somethin' sometimes, so I do dig in a little bit. On the next one, dig in, then go down, put your hand wherever you want, and then just add to it, so it's just a little. (exhales) (exhales) (exhales) I'm just pulsing it down. Pulsing is not quite the right word, is it? Press, almost release.

Press, almost release. Press, almost release. Staying engaged. One more, hold, hold it, you're engaged. You've got it, you're committed.

Lift the lower leg, lower it down. It doesn't matter how big it is, it's not gonna be. And down. Keep a modicum of a contraction in the legs. And down.

Lift. And down. Lift. And down. I can feel my lower foot trying to help.

It can't, but it's so trying, so I'm gonna consciously think about it relaxing for two more. Oh! Okay, stay committed. Here's super fun part. We're gonna turn onto our bellies, but we're gonna keep the ring where it is. Promised you a little bit of glute action.

So, for me, I lift up a little, I bend my knees, I still have it. Do you still have it? If you don't, call your friend, call your husband, call your dog over to help you. You're gonna roll, do it slowly, 'cause you are in control, this is contrology darn it! Put your forehead on your hands. Draw your belly up.

If you could, you'd reach your knees, lift your knees up. Knees are however, pelvis is anchored completely. Squeeze it in, again, not from the ankles, from the entire inner seam. Bring the feet up higher than you think most likely. In other words, they're gonna wanna be stretched out, bring 'em right above your knees.

Let's go four, six, five, squeeze. Whole leg, and surely your glutes. Okay. Let 'em come down for a second, just to regroup. We're going to draw the belly up, squeeze while the knees are down, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.

Lift them up, they're still squeezed. You're gonna squeeze harder as you stretch the legs out. I promise you only four. You're still squeezing, it's okay if the ring touches the ground, but you're still squeezing. Rebend and kinda relax.

Forehead down. You squeeze the whole inner seam of the leg. You lift, keeping the pelvis on the ground. You squeeze a little more as you stretch those legs out, come on, you know you love it, but don't let it get to your back, if so, you might be more flexible and not need to go that high. And bend and relax.

Two more. Squeeze on the ground. Lift off the ground. Stretch away, squeezing as much as you want. And then rebend, last one, sort of.

Squeeze. Lift. Straighten. Once you get to straighten, squeeze 10 times, upper inner thigh, two, three, four, relax your feet. Six, seven, eight, nine, and 10.

Rebend the knees. Take the ring out. Take a moment. (exhales) Help yourself up. Take a little stretch back, and we'll go to the other side.

I'm not sure if it's easier just to transition, or to replace the ring, but this is what we're doin' today so I get to see you, so to speak. Ring is in between. Go ahead and start to press down. Remember, your head is totally relaxed ideally. And release.

Press down. And release. Down. And release. And can you kinda feel how that lower leg is a bit of an anchor?

Even as you're using the top leg, go ahead, keep going. And up, and down. And up, and down. And up, and hold it. And now we add those pulses.

We press down, down, down, down. Hopefully all lined up. Hold this next one down, a little bit, right? Again, it's not all of your energy, it's enough to know you're involved. Exhale, lift up.

Both legs, so the ring came off the floor hopefully. And down. And again, lift. And down. If you're tempted to look at your feet the whole time, don't.

Just know it, you can look, sure. They shouldn't be behind you, but then line yourself back up. I have a very light squeeze on the bottom leg. And then just lifting up. Two more here.

Lift. And lift. And lift. Cool. All right, bend the knees.

Don't worry. Reach back, grab onto the ring. Free yourself of that. And put the ring out in front of you. Now some of you, some of us, I should say, will want the ring flat to do any version of this, or maybe not the ring at all, that's probably the easiest way of saying it.

Some of you will enjoy this other version, which I'm gonna teach, so let's try it. If your shoulders are really tight, I would put your hands just outside the handle. I have the ring, handle-over-handle. If you can do one hand over the other, go for it, if not, just outside the ring. I'm gonna go just outside the ring, I mean the handle.

So from here, our heads are down. If you can get your arms straight, you know you're cool. If you can't get your elbows straight, you might need to get rid of the ring altogether. My feet are almost together. From here we lightly, and I mean lightly, like barely rest on the ring with our hands.

We look through the ring. We start to pick our spine up to see if we can lift our eyes, our heart, above that ring. And then we go back down. So it's not about the ring. (laughs) Have I said that?

We're just using it right now to go, "Right, okay, can I extend my spine above that line?" If you can't, you can't. That's cool too. Here's another option, which I did for years when I hurt my shoulder. Hands on the ground in a wide V, keep going everybody, you just allow the hands to slide toward you. And that can almost be better, 'cause you can really nail it.

And go back down. I'm gonna change the next one. If you're more flexible, you can go hand-over hand on the handle. Here we go, up. Then, you're at that point, you're at your high point without the press on the ring.

Now press down on the ring, but don't move your body. Let the ring up, don't move your body. Press down on the ring, you get the point. (breathes loudly) Try not to let the legs super flare. Stay connected to, ow, find the line, from the back of your head down to your tailbone, and maybe even further.

(breathes loudly) And. Holding it in a press, or if your hands are on the floor, can you extend your chest more forward? Not up necessarily, maybe up, but more forward. What does that mean to you? And then come on down.

(exhales) So much more I wanna do, but for now, let's just press ourselves back. Take a little rest of our backs, into a rest pose, or child's pose. (inhales) I'll do one more thing for us, which is practicing our pushups. (laughs) I'm gearing up for it, hang on, just letting it settle. Okay.

So. With the ring, what's kinda cool about this, and I'm gonna tell you right now, I have long arms. So, it's a little hard to get into it. But it's cool when you do. So, there's a lot of planking going on in the world, a lot of pushups, there is a pushup in Pilates.

So what I'm doing is I'm just gonna do my best to set the ring near the center of my chest. I'm not gonna make myself sick, it shouldn't do that. If it does, move it, or don't do it. But if there's a spot that kinda works when you put a little pressure, just to go, "All right, you got this." So we're gonna practice pushups. Here's how it goes.

I'm putting one foot back, and again, I'm looking for that spot, I don't know exactly where it is, but you'll find it, you will, if you wanna do it with me. I'm gonna practice the version that's a little more Chaturanga, or elbows closed, the traditional Pilates pushup, but you can also do this wide, okay? So, we get into our plank, we hope our ring is right where we want it and not making us sick. Okay, that's better. You can adjust, right?

All right, here we go. We're gonna bend those elbows, we're gonna reach through the feet, lengthen through the head, oh and it looks like I'm never gonna get back up, but guess what? You have a little bit of help, boom. Come down. Come up.

(exhales) If you've got really long arms, I don't know what to tell ya, 'cause you have no help from the ring when you get to the top. That's okay, as long as it stays in place. Bend, keep the neck long. Don't roll those shoulders forward. Can we do four more?

I was gonna say two, but, that's cheatin' ya. There's one out of four. (inhales) Two. (exhales) Three, you can almost bounce off it, but don't. One more, we got this.

And you're gonna let the ring just drop, who cares, just let it fall. Walk your feet in just a touch. Walk your hands back towards your feet, let your head hang again. Let it all fall. Bend your knees, straighten your knees, whatever you need right now.

This is that kinda moment of, "Hmm. "How can I continue my intention, "even after class ends?" I wanna feel more, what? That's up to you. All right. Depending on how you feel, hands are on the knees, or you just leave 'em where they are, and as you start to roll up, you restack, you build the structure you know you walk on as you leave this class, as you walk out into the world, as you hopefully walk out into the world.

(exhales) And you know you've been fortified. You've been fortified, you can use assistance with the Magic Circle, or otherwise. I'm gonna just face you, but just stand there, take a deep breath in. (breathes loudly) Let's use the arms, 'cause somehow it just feels like we can collect something, anything more that we might need. Bring 'em up.

(inhales) Let 'em come down. (exhales) I'm gonna do just one more, and you'll know that'll be the end. And it's your time. (inhales) Exhale. Thank you so much for being here.

Really, really happy about that. (smooches) 'Til next time.

Garage Sessions with Kristi - Playlist 1


Kristi, you crack me up! "Member" I'm so lazy today! Ha ha also, "I can't help it I have to share".......  So freaking funny! You make it hard and easy to workout with you because I'm laughing so hard but it's so fun! Great class. Felt muscles I forgot I had. Thanks so much for letting us in to your private world. Absolutely love you, wish we were friends! Lol
Margie, I think we must be friends if you think I'm funny! I'm sure I don't set out to be in a class, but I definitely believe movement is play! Maybe someday we'll have the chance to be in the same playground!  Thanks for taking my classes and laughing along with me! 
Thanks Kristi for another great Class, full of interesting variations with the Magic Circle!....
1 person likes this.
Oh my...just get on with it! All this talk, and the hesitation- hahaha! It’s a Pilates class. Not a Ted talk! Thanks though for other good classes.
1 person likes this.
Thank you Kristi, great class!! Greetings from Ireland, you'd fit in very well here with your great sense of humour. Keep laughing
Cecilia  Thank you. You offer me great feedback. 
2 people like this.
Over the years Pilates Anytime has become my favorite part of the day. :) Thank you for so many wonderful classes, with infinite variations, and gifted teachers giving strength, peace of mind, and freedom of movement! Great class!
1 person likes this.
Really great class, thank you Kristi. Definitely set my intentions for the rest of the day!
Thank you SO much --- This was an amazing Magic Circle routine --- had me break a sweat! I cannot wait to take another class that implements this, or even another prop, like the Pilates ball.  Cheers!
1 person likes this.
I will remember your advice: "It's not how hard you squeeze the ring that's important. It's about using it as an aide to help you get in touch with the rest of your body".   Like Anne Marie, I also sweated a bit.. and had fun and feel much better. Thanks Kristi:) 
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