Class #4155

Circle Magic

60 min - Class


Meredith Rogers invites you to enhance your Mat practice with the Magic Circle. You will use it to generate awareness and go deeper into your breath and inward contractions. The Magic Circle adds greater challenge and the incorporation of other muscles in exercises you already know. The use of a firm pillow can be used in place of the Magic Circle if you don't have one.
What You'll Need: Mat, Magic Circle

About This Video

Jul 29, 2020
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Hi, everyone. Welcome to my house. Thank you for being here with me. I wish I could see you, but I can't. But I know that you're there, so that's all that I need.

I'm so grateful to be here with you today. What we're gonna do is we're gonna play around with the magic circle a little. And if you don't have a magic circle, you can still take this class. You could use like a pillow of some description, kind of a big couch pillow, or something like that. It's not exactly the same.

Or, you know, there's always like, if we're squeezing, say, the circle, there's always opportunity just to do it without a circle and create your own energetic work. So a myriad of possibilities for today but I have the circle, and I want us to remember that as we do this class with our circle, that we're gonna use the circle in a number of ways with our arms and with our legs and many, many ways. But I want us to remember that we're using the circle to generate awareness, generate inward contraction, and always, no matter where the circle is in space, remember that in Pilates breath, in that lateral breath, there's that expansion and contraction of the rib cage in an effort to help us find our deep core muscles. So think about the expansion and contraction of the circle as you maybe pull it or squeeze it as just a representation or a way to feed into that idea of going deeper into your breath. So that is my...

Thought for the day. Let's move. Grab your circle. Sit up. Let's take a minute.

I like to close my eyes. You do as you wish. I'm resting the circle just below my knees. And I want us to just feel here that we can take a minute just to connect to our space, to each other, even if we can't see each other. There's many, many of us from many, many different places in the world.

So this is a worldwide class, my friends, and we are all here together today. And that is just for me, the biggest blessing of this world that we're living in today. So feel the ring gently press up against underneath of the knees, and as it does, lift your spine. So we're gonna pull that ring back. We're gonna lift the spine.

We're gonna open (jump cut) back, a round back. So create a round shape with the spine. And I'm not gripping with my hands. I'm holding the ring in the heels of my hands, so I'm feeling that I'm pressing more for my upper arms than I am from my actual hands. And then we're gonna press down.

Now, I am holding just because it makes sense. You could pull the ring apart there and inhale and exhale as we round and press back. And inhale. You can pull the ring apart as you sit back up. Let's do that three more times.

Exhale to round and press. So it's not big presses. I'm not really seeing much change in the dimension of my ring. But again, using it as an idea, using it to create energy. And two more.

Exhale, press and round and inhale, lift up. Oh, I'm having a cramp. Real life here. Exhale, press and round. Now this time, take the ring off your knees and go back as you exhale.

Inhale, reach that ring overhead. Exhale (connection issue) take it back forward. Pause to inhale and exhale, we roll up. And I want us to lift the ring overhead as we lift our body up tall, and then gentle squeeze with the upper arms as we reach, rounding the spine forward or back as the arms go forward, and rolling back. And then reaching up and reaching down and gentle press into the ring as we roll up.

Up, up, and lift the body, and reach forwards, and go back. So we can involve the legs a little here if we so desire by pulling the heels back towards the pelvis as we roll back, which is what's making me cramp, and then lift and down and pulling the heels back towards the pelvis as we roll up, almost using the legs to help pull us up and reach up one more time. Exhale, round and go back, and take the arms, and take the arms down, and inhale. What happens if you press into the ring a little? Can you feel how that generates more sensation in the center of your body?

That's the hope. Sit up all the way, inhale, and exhale, reach forward and go back. Now, we're gonna pause at the low back. We're gonna imagine that the ring is like a steering wheel and we're gonna drive it to the right and drive it to the center and drive it to the left and drive it to the center. You're welcome to squeeze that ring as much as you wish.

As much or as little as you wish. I, myself am holding with a pretty consistent upper arm squeeze, but my fingers are relaxed. Across and center. We're doing two more. Over, center and over and hold center and inhale, and lift up and sit up.

Oh, it feels good to me here to pull the ring apart. It's all just suggestion. I'm just telling you what feels good in my body. If doesn't feel good in yours as I suggest, choose something that does. So we're going down.

I'm gonna have us rotate towards me so that you can see I've put the bottom arm off the ring and the top arm is on top now. I'm just reaching that one arm through and we're gonna press down and curl, and back. Press down on the ring and reach through, and back. Imagine that you have something to reach for. And we're doing two more.

Press down and curl and back. Press down and curl. Go down. Take the ring, find the center, roll up. No, I'm not mean that I have to make us do both sides at the same time.

Lift up, and round, and go back. Rotate the other direction, though. The bottom arm reaches through the center, the top arm's on top. We press and lift and back. Press and lift and back.

Press and lift and back. Just two more. Press and lift and back. One more. Press and lift and back.

Pick the ring up, find the middle, roll up, sit up. Open the knees and stretch over your feet. So I'm just holding the ring at this stage. You can do whichever you want, but I'm just letting it stay in my hands. I'm gonna roll the spine up, bring the knees back and come all the way down onto the mat.

Once you arrive on your mat, just reorient so that you're prepared to do some bridging for me. On my mat space, I have to do a little forward and back moving to make it make sense for spatial dimension challenges. Okay, so what I've done here is I've put the ring inside of my knees, just underneath the knee, but I've left my feet kind of parallel, sit bone distance apart. Let's take the arms down, and what we're gonna start here by doing is just organize into a neutral pelvis and squeeze your ring. Now remember what I said about squeezing from the center of the body so it's not just a leg exercise.

And open, and exhale. Feel the abdominals pull down. See if you can create some space between your skin and your clothing. And squeeze and open So we could resist the opening of the circle, right? We could continue to squeeze it as we're opening.

We're gonna do just one more like that. Squeeze and open. Now we're gonna squeeze, trying to bring the knees over the feet, and we're gonna roll through the spine, and lift up. We're gonna hold it at the top and we're gonna do five mini squeezes. One, two, three, four, five and then we're gonna roll down.

Keep the squeeze so that you're squeezing evenly in both knees, both legs, I guess, is a better way to say that. Comes all the way to the tailbone, and... Release. You're welcome. Squeeze, and lift.

Checking in with the arms. I just caught my shoulders curling up into my ears. Hold there and squeeze, five, four, three, two, one. Holding the squeeze, we go down. Down.

Oh, keep squeezing. There it is. All the way down to the tailbone and we open. Do you think we can do that three more times? Yes.

Yes, I hear. One. Oh, squeeze and lift. And hold the lift and squeeze. Five.

Arms long. Four. Heavy head, ease in the neck. And one. Keep the squeeze as you roll down.

Maybe I was a little ambitious, but now I've said it, we've got to do it. So here's two. Squeeze, stepping into our feet as we lift up. Holding up, and tightening. Two, three, four, five, and we go down.

Down, down, and open. Okay, my friends, only just one more time. Are you ready? I'm stalling for us. Here we go.

Squeeze and lift and squeeze. Five, four, three, two, one. And keep the squeeze for this one last minute. As we roll back, I'm gonna reach for the ring with our hands and we're gonna let the knees drop open. We're just gonna pause here for a minute, sliding the feet towards one another on the mat and allowing the knees to...

Think here of engaging your external rotator, so just that firing of the muscles in the back of the hip will help you increase the stretch in the muscles that were just challenged, for me a lot. That was hard for me. That's just a fact. So let's come up into a tabletop position with our legs and take the circle over the chest. So what we're gonna do for the first moment is we're gonna hold that circle still as we go into a spine twist.

So lift off one hip onto the other, and then come back. So because we're holding this small thing, I'm gently squeezing with my upper arms. Small thing. We have a small range. Let that be okay.

And inhale, feel the legs pressing together. So we go over and center and the other way, inhaling and exhaling. And now we're gonna do one more like that. So kind of play with the edge. What's the range?

What's the range? Don't be conservative or be conservative if you want. No one can see. And the center. That was a joke.

And then over to the other side. But no one can see you if you really push the edges, and if we topple, that's not the end of the world. Now we're gonna take the knees to the one side and we're gonna let the arms just drift across, so that is gonna increase our range. I want us to squeeze the circle, pull back to center. And now go the other way.

Inhale, let the arms drift. Try to keep this circle kind of parallel to the floor and then pressing, use the press of the arms. Again, generate awareness in the center of the body as we come back to center and go the other way. Inhale. And back.

And go the other way. Inhale. And back. Let's do one more in each direction to both sides. So here is this first side.

Ooh, I went further. And (silence) the last one over, over, over, over, over. Knees stay side by side and center. And in the center, let's just place our feet down onto the ground. We'll take that circle, and there's that little spongy part on the insides of the circle.

We're gonna take that and we're gonna rest it just at the base of the skull. So there's gonna be some ab work here, my friends, and then there's also gonna be a little bit of arm work. So what I want us to do is take the hands just underneath the pad that's just above your forehead and then press up on it slightly as you pull down through your shoulder blade. So that arm connection is gonna be maintained. Now inhale.

And as we exhale, we'll keep that arm, we'll let the head be heavy. We'll curl up into our chest, Coming up, up, up, flattening into the lower back. Take a breath in here. And then as we exhale, we're gonna engage, we're gonna feel that we have some work happening as we go down. And we're gonna do it again.

Inhale. Exhale, connect into the back, into the upper back. Feel the shoulders drawing away from the ears. Allow the head to be heavy in the hands as we lift. Inhale.

And now elongate. So work your way down to the ground. And inhale. And exhale. Lifting up and inhale and exhale as we lengthen.

So I'm like lifting up on my ring as I'm laying down and it feels really good on my neck, so I just thought I'd share that idea with all of you. We're gonna do two more here. Exhale to lift and back. And exhale to lift and hold now. Inhale.

Exhale, bring the right leg in and put it down. And bring the left leg up. Keep lifting up and forth through the spine, and down. If it gets too difficult for your arms or creates tension in your neck, it's not worth it, in my opinion, which I have a lot of it and I will share. So if it doesn't feel good, put the ring away and hold your head with your hands.

Or simply put your head down. This works with the head down too. We're gonna do two more. And one more. And we're gonna come back and we're gonna lay back down.

Now we're gonna add some rotation. Inhale, prepare. As we exhale, we're gonna curl up again, taking an inhale. You're gonna take it to the right and to the center. And to the left.

And to the center. And to the right, holding yourself up as you're coming through the center to the left, through the center, and continue alternating side to side, center and go down. We're gonna do one more set. This time, as we (connection issue) lift up, we're gonna lift the leg we're rotating to. And center and lift and center.

And lift, rotate. And center. More moving pieces, the less difficult it is, I think. One more to either side. And then we're gonna come back to center.

We're gonna lay down in the center. We're gonna take the ring out from behind the head. We're gonna take it up over the chest. Position your feet for another bridge. You're gonna press into that ring, this time without the ring in our legs.

We're gonna roll up. It's a bit more satisfactory, isn't it, without having to squeeze so much? And then we're gonna hold, pressing into the ring. So I'm gonna make a change here. Here it comes.

As we lift our pelvis, I want us to bend our elbows and bring the ring to our chest. So we're lifting the hips, we're pulling the ring down and then we're gonna squeeze and stretch the arms back. So this is a pattern that we'll repeat in this class. In various different places. Maybe once again.

Pull in, lift up. Squeeze the ring, push it away. And we'll do that three more times. So pull in, lift up. All the things that you think about in your regular bridging, you can think about here.

The inner thighs, the control there, the back of the legs, the side to side equality. And lift, pull, and push, stretch. Pull in, this time stay lifted. Straighten your arms, take your arms overhead, no squeezing necessary and roll down. I'm even letting my ring just rest on the floor, although my arms aren't on the floor.

Just letting that ring be light for a moment. And we're gonna straighten the legs. And then we're gonna lift the arms, the head and the chest. We're gonna roll up. I personally have to do a little backward shift.

Thank you for understanding. And then we go back and take the arms back. So lift your arms, your head, your chest. Here's your chance to press into the ring, to bring awareness into that center body. Now we're gonna come from the round shape into a straight back and we're gonna bring the ring, pull it apart as you sit up.

Now as you round, push it away. So it's the same pattern that we did except now we're incorporating a different spinal movement. And back. And lift. And roll.

And pull apart as you sit up. And squeeze as you round. And go back. It's appropriate to squeeze with the upper arms here. I like to let my fingers relax when I'm able to.

And release, lift, head, chest. Press and lift up. Bring the ring to your body, lifting it, pulling it apart. The pull apart doesn't come so much from the hands in my imagination, but from the upper back. And then press and round and go back and reach back.

Guys, we're just gonna do that one more time. Head, chest, arms, roll up, bring the ring into the chest, pull it apart as you sit up. And then this time, let's just flex the feet, reach for it and hook the ring around your feet, and then you can just use the ring to help guide you into this stretch. So I hook my fingers over the outsides of the ring, but I mean, anywhere is fine. It's just something to hold on to.

And then we're gonna lengthen out through the spine, so reaching out into a flat back and then we're gonna come back and we're gonna remove the ring from our feet and bring it into our hands. So I'd like for us to start with our elbows bent and the ring is just on (connection issue), just about a couple inches from my body, just on the outside of my chest. I'm gonna sit tall, inhale, and we're gonna press into the ring as we rotate. So let's make it a double twist and center. And a double twist, and center.

So what I'm endeavoring to do is to not move the ring from where I've put it, but instead to create all the movement around my trunk. And as I'm creating the movement, as we're creating the movement around our trunk, we can think of all our normal things to think about. Is the weight equal over our sitting bones? Are we sitting up as tall as we can? Now, we're gonna go to the first side, we're gonna stretch the arms out, lift the arms, and lift the spine.

Go as far back with that ring as you want. Take your arms down, bend your elbows. I like to pull when I'm bending my arms. I like to squeeze when I'm returning to center. Inhale, rotate.

Exhale, straighten the arms. Inhale, lift the body. Exhale, lower the arms. Pull the ring apart as you bring it to your chest, and squeeze it a little as you come to center. We'll do that two more times through.

Rotate and reach. and lift and down and pull and squeeze and inhale and exhale. I'm just saying breath. Let yourself breathe. Create a rhythm for your own breath.

That's all just suggestions. And center and rotate and squeeze and lift and down and pull and center and rotate and stretch. And raise your body up and lower your arms down and bend your arms and come to center, and in the center, we're gonna bend the knees. What we're gonna do for our rolling like a ball today is we're gonna take the ring, down to the ankles. Now I'm just pressing into it a little bit.

I'm gonna tip back. We're gonna pick the feet up. Now can we keep this shape as we rock? Pushing the ring into the shins and balance and inhale. And balance.

I just tuck my shirt in so it doesn't flop around. And inhale. Balance. How about two more? Inhale, back, exhale, balance.

One more. Inhale, back. Exhale, balance. Well that wasn't a very good job, Meredith, but that's okay. I'll forgive you.

Pick your feet up. We have to forgive ourselves our imperfections, I believe. Go down, bring the knees in, so the rings are (connection issue) the shins. Here's our double leg stretch. We reach out and pull in.

And reach out and squeeze the ring as you take it back. And inhale and back and reach and in and reach and in. And five, pull in. And four, pull in and three and in and stabilize and in, one more. Out, and back.

We're gonna rest the head down. We're gonna take the circle once again. It's gonna go back behind the skull. Behind the head. Then lift up.

Lift the legs. We're gonna single leg stretch for five, five, four, four, three, three, two, two, one. We're gonna turn that single leg stretch into a bicycle. So bend and stretch. Two, two, three, three, four, keep curling, and five, five.

Bend and rotate. Five, four, holding onto the ring or putting it down, putting your hands behind your head, you decide. Three. I'm thinking elbow to knee. Two.

Elbow to knee. One. And now we're gonna bicycle. One, and stretch the leg that you're rotating to, and three, three, two, and one, one and bring the knees in, keep lifting the body, bring the knees under the ring and down. Bring the knees under the ring and down.

And under the ring and down. Two more. Under the ring. And down, last time. Under the ring, and all the way down.

Place your feet down. Take the ring out from behind your head. Take it in your hands, bring it up over your chest take an inhale, and step into your feet, exhale, lift your pelvis. So instead of having our arms on the floor today for our shoulder bridge, we'll just hold the ring there, squeeze it as much as you'd like. Set it down and...

Set it down and put your arms on the floor if you'd rather. We're gonna (connection issue) down and flex up and reach. And back and reach. And back, and we'll do eight. And back and five and six, holding the ring still.

Seven, and one more. Now hold that leg there, make a circle. Can you circle your leg and hold your circle still? That's actually quite difficult for me. Two, one.

Reverse the circle. The circle still. Two, keep the (connection issue), four, five. Take the leg down, fold it in, step into it. Reach your arms over your head, and roll down.

Taking the arms back as you articulate through each vertebra in your spine. We'll go in slow so that we can savor this because it feels nice to me. And go all the way down and inhale, and as we exhale, we'll step into the feet, we'll take the ring back over the chest again, and we'll lift the right leg up. And then it will go down and flex up and reach away. And flex back and reach away.

Just pressing into the circle, gaining a little activity in our arms and back. I think this is six, and two, and one. Now hold that leg up, keep it straight, and circle. Can you circle the leg without circling in your pelvis? All of these questions are questions I'm asking myself out loud.

One and two, we've reversed. And three and four and five. Reach down, fold the knee, and step into both legs. Reach your arms over your head, and roll all the way down. And just allow the shoulder blades to curl forward towards the ceiling as the ring drops back.

Maybe you'll get a little bit more stretch through your mid-back in that way. And then we'll come all the way down and we'll take the ring forward and we'll take the legs out straight again. And we'll lift the head and chest again, and we'll roll up. I'm gonna flex my feet and give myself one more stretch there because it's a gift from me to you. And then we're gonna lengthen out through the spine, get nice and long, and then we're gonna unhook and I'm gonna readjust on my mat.

And what we're gonna do next is we're gonna separate our feet and we're gonna take the circle between the legs. So depending on the length of your arms is gonna- The length of your arms will indicate where the circle will land on your mat. So you can do this with bent knees or with straight legs, but what we're gonna do is we're gonna inhale and we're gonna exhale and we're gonna push down on that ring and allow the ring to travel forward as you go forward, but think of continuing to press down on it, not just with the arms, but with the work in the center of the body and then inhale and then exhale, lightly pressing down onto the ring. It begins to come upright. Our bodies begin to come upright and we're back where we started with our eyes looking forward, and we'll do it again.

So exhale, pressing down, rounding forwards, allowing the circle to tip over onto its corner, onto its side, and inhale, and exhale as you press lightly down on that circle, lifting the body back up to an upright position and sitting tall. Let's say three more. Rounding down, pausing to inhale and lifting up. And two more, going forwards and inhale, and lifting up. So what I like to do in these more simple movement patterns is I like to look for precision and look for depth.

So here we're gonna make a change. We're gonna add on, gonna press down into the ring and lift the back out as we come up. So we're coming up through extension. And then we'll go forward inflection. Forward inflection and then out and up into extension.

So arching like a spinal wave. Taking it forward, pressing to arch back. And two more. Taking it forward and pressing to arch up. And one more, taking it forward and pressing to arch up and then lifting up the ring, holding it in our hands, we're gonna go into a saw variation.

So you're gonna turn, the hand opposite the foot goes on the bottom. We take the ring down. We reach out with our spine till we come up, return the ring to straight and return to center. So that's the thing. Inhale to rotate, opposite hand to foot goes on the bottom, reach forward, lift up.

As you lift up, return in the ring to upright and return to center, and rotate and reach forwards, and lengthen up returning the ring and returning to center and rotate and go down and reach out and return to center. And two more to each side. Rotate and reach and up and center and rotate. So here we discover that just simply holding the weight of the ring in our arms is enough to give us a little arm work. And then of course, the more you wanna squeeze it, the more you'll get.

If you want what I like to do, I like to just hold it and center. Now we're gonna go through center and we're gonna take that ring and we're gonna flatten out that back because we have the freedom. Now in the movement of the spine and the ring we're gonna roll back and we're gonna sit up and inhale and go down and reach out and go back and lift up and go down and reach out. Get flat, get flat, get flat. Go down, and roll up.

We're gonna do one more with a variation, here it comes. Go down, find your flat back, hold your back flat, bend your arms, pull your head through the ring and straighten and pull your spine and your head up and through that ring and straighten and pull and straighten and pull and straighten and one more, pull and straighten. Take it all the way back forward. Lay the ring down on the floor, hold on wherever it makes sense to you to hold on. Give yourself a stretch, and then lift up.

Okay, so we're gonna turn to our sides. I just have to move this microphone back a little bit so I can balance on my side. Bear with me. Take the ring. You're gonna put the ring in the ankles.

So the easiest way for me to do that is I just do it from sitting, I put it in and then I hold it as I make my way down onto the mat. But whatever works for you is, of course, fine. Okay. So let's look down, check that we're in a straight line. I like to feel that the knees are facing straight ahead.

Now, what I want us to do is just keep that other hand on the floor and take that top leg and press down and release. And remember that every time you squeeze that ring, it's an opportunity to find (connection issue) some center body work. So, by opportunity, I also mean that's a choice. We're gonna do four, and three, and two, and one. Now, we're gonna lift the legs off the ground, and the ring.

Now, as we lift the legs, I want you to think of lifting with the bottom leg, and down. So it's as though the leg is squeezing into the ring, that creates the lift in the ring. Now, of course we all know, that it's really about working the center of the body, right? We just have a prop here to emphasize sensation, to create new sensation. We have four more, lifting and down and lifting and down.

Last two, lifting, and down, and one, we're lifting and down. So this is the transition I like here, and this is how I do it. I take my top leg (connection issue), and I roll all the ring forward enough so that it rests on the mat. Once it does, so I'm in control of it with my top leg, I take my bottom foot out. I can now put the ring back up.

I can put my bottom leg through. I can put my top leg through. I can pick up the ring and move it to the front of the mat. So my legs are a little bit in front of me. We're gonna turn the legs towards one another, internally rotate in the hips, press up and down.

So one leg's pushing up, the other's pushing down. The bottom leg is on the floor, and it's not a very large movement, but you're definitely gonna feel some work here. We'll do four, three, two, and one. So now what we're gonna do is we're gonna bend that top leg. It's gonna kick over and it's gonna kick through and we have to use the leg that's in the ring on the ground to help hold that ring still.

Here's, I don't know. We're gonna do six. This is five, and six. And now take the leg up over the top of the ring. And now we're gonna make a big circle. We're gonna touch all the way to the front, lift, float and touch all the way to the back, lift, float and touch front.

So in my imagination, it's like a suspension and then heaviness. And we have three to go. Up, and fall and up and back, and two and touch, and lift and back, and one, and touch, and up, and back and bend. And then I've just kicked the ring away, bend the knees, let's sit all the way up. While we're here, we might as well just take this arm and reach overhead and then maybe forward bend slightly.

And then we'll collect the ring and we'll just change sides. So putting the ring in the ankles, putting the body down on the mat. I always like to look and check to make sure I'm in the best place I know how to be. And then the knees face straight ahead, and the top leg presses down and resist and press down and resist and press and resist. And you might find that one side's a little different than the other.

For me personally, this side's a little bit less stable. It's more difficult for me to hold the rest of myself still, but I think that's all part of the process, right? The noticing part, the thinking part. Last two, just adjusting my mic, and last one, and now we're gonna bring- remember, as we lift our legs, we all know that we're doing that in the center of the body, but I want us to put our mental focus in the bottom leg as we lift, up, and down, and up, and down, and up, remembering to be fairly light on the arm that's helping us support ourselves, and down, and out and up, and down. Last four.

Parallel in the length using the weight of the ring to create more sensation or additional work, three, and two, and one, and then we're gonna take the legs down. So here's that transition, and again, I take my foot forward, so I'm still using it to keep the ring in control just enough so I can slide my other leg out. Then I can put the ring back upright It's difficult if you have loose pants on, sometimes the pants get in the way. I have tights on, it works quite well and then just adjusting so I can put both feet in and then I just pick my ring up and I take it to the front and I feel here that, so what's important also to look for is that that top foot, hasn't slid back behind the foot that it's on top of, but instead the feet are right over the top of each other. That speaks to the orientation of the pelvis.

And now we're gonna push down and push up, push down and push up. So both legs are working, make sure that top leg doesn't sneak back up, sneak back towards you. You got internally rotated legs, and we'll do four, three, two, and one. And now bend, flex your foot, kick, push, like you're pushing something you don't want away from you. Push, so you create that energy for yourself.

And three of six, two of six, one of six. And here's our last thing. Oh, you have to make sure you don't kick your ring over, like I just tried to here, as we go forward, and up, suspend to reach back, and up, to touch front and up, to touch back. And here's our halfway marker. Kinda feels nice to have a little freedom in that leg, I think.

And we'll do three, touch and reach and two and reach and one and reach. And then what we can do is we can just take the ring, just kick it out from your feet, bend your knees, sit up. Scoot the feet in close, hold on. Take the arm, side bend. Okay, so the next thing that we're gonna do is we're gonna collect that ring with our hands.

I don't know why it feels the best to be shifted this way for myself. I think it's because I don't want to look at my television. So we're gonna put the ring in the left foot, stretch that left leg along and lift your back. So I'm bending my arms to pull myself into my ring and then just allow your body to start rolling. Start rolling back, and as your body rolls back, your leg comes with you, your right leg is reaching forwards, and you can come all the way down to your head.

So I'm holding onto the bottom of the ring. I've got my foot in the underneath pad of the ring. I'm gonna pull that leg back as far as we can. Now for my body, that's not very far, but go ahead and maximize your stretch. We're gonna bend that knee.

Now you can pull back even further if you can and stretch, and bend that knee, and stretch. So as we stretch that leg up, we want to think about pulling down with our abdominals, right? So there's another opportunity for opposition. As I'm using my arms, I'm thinking about wide elbows, wide scapula, so I'm creating sensation in my upper back as well. This is our last time, gonna push up.

Now we're gonna take that right hand on the ring. Allow the left arm to come out to the side, take the right, excuse me, the left across the body. But for now, let's just leave that left pelvis anchored into the floor, so that we can pull down and oppose the stretch. Now, if that's mostly a stretch in your knee, let your knee bend so that the stretch can come a little bit more towards your hip. We're gonna continue rotating.

Now I'm letting my pelvis leave the ground and I'm taking the elbow of the same arm that's holding the ring down towards the floor. Once I get there, I can pull back (connection issue) as I want. So all the same for you and anything in between. And then we're gonna pull the leg back, use your arms to help you take both hands back to the ring, lift your head, start pushing the ring forward, to roll through the spine and lift up, so you're in like single leg teaser shape. And then we'll pull that leg in, one last time and then we'll change sides.

So, right leg. Lifts up, spine is being lifted. And now we go down and we can allow the arms to straighten, using their ring to help us a little here and as we go down, down, down, taking the leg up and then bringing the leg back as far as you can. This side's much more flexible for me. And we're gonna bend and stretch.

So the leg- (laughs) Sorry, that word didn't come out as well as I would have hoped. The leg that's on the floor is pressing down and reaching. We all gotta laugh at ourselves in this moment, I think, and I am human, and sometimes my words don't come out right. Like us all. Two more.

And one more. So here's the end of that stretch. This is where we take the left hand to the circle and the right arm out to the side, and then we bring that leg across the body, and at the moment we still are connected with the pelvis of the right side, the right pelvis on the ground. And then slowly, slowly, we start to let that pelvis leave the floor. We start tipping over into a spinal stretch, a rotational stretch, and I do, what I do is I allow my left elbow to come down and rest on the floor so that I can use my arm there to navigate what I feel like I need for my stretch.

And I'm using the word 'my' right now, because really all I'm doing is describing what I'm trying to do for you so that you can do that for yourself. Ourselves, what we are all trying to do. I could use that word too, but you know what I mean. So now we're all gonna push our foot into that ring. We're gonna lift our head, we're gonna kick that ring away to help us roll up, and we're gonna bend, and lift, and then take that leg down.

So, the next thing that we're gonna do is we're gonna turn onto our stomach and start with your knees bent and just reach back and put the ring between your feet. So resting the hands down on- resting the hands, hand over hand, down on the floor, the head can rest on the hands. Feel a drawing down through the shoulder area. What we're gonna do here is we're gonna lift the legs up. Flex your feet.

Keep lifting your legs as you squeeze the ring. So lift, and squeeze. This is a perfectly appropriate time to use your abdominals, just help you support your low back. Got a little hip extensor work here, a little bit of inner thigh work here. We'll do four, three, two, and one, and we're gonna straighten the legs, let the legs point, point the feet.

Keep feeling that you're lifting your legs to the maximum. Let's turn out on the ring and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Very simple, not easy. We're doing five, four, keep lifting those legs. That's a reminder for me, and one, and now we're gonna bend our knees.

Let the knees rest down, reach back for your ring and put it in your hands. So the arms are gonna stretch out in front. This is a simple but not easy exercise, and here is how it goes. Energize through your legs and your abdominals, lift your body and the ring, bend your arms so the ring comes underneath your face, you can pull it apart, stretch your arms back, lower the ring and your body and lift the ring and your body and bend the arms, pulling the ring apart, straighten the arms, keep the abdominals working, take everything down. And lift up, and pull back and reach through, and down, two more times.

And legs are still energized. Imagine that you have another magic circle in your legs that you're squeezing. I have my legs on the floor, but I almost feel like I'm trying to lift them off. This is our last one. Lift up, bend in, stretch away, and take it down.

Now, we're gonna take the ring and we're gonna turn it on its upright position. Take the hands about 10 and two, and we're gonna lift the eyes. So what I like to try to feel is I'm not pushing down on my ring, but rather I'm trying to drag my ring towards me slightly as I lift up, lift up you can come up as high as you want, you can keep it down as low as you want, and then we go back down. And then we just guide the shoulder blades down the back. We take the ring towards the chest as we look up over the top of the ring and bring the ring back and take it back down.

And again, come up, and down, let's do two more. And come up, and down, and one more time. Come up, and down, and now what we're gonna do is just let the ring rest on the floor. Push up with yourself, lift yourself up off the mat, sit back towards your feet, and for the grand finale, I'll teach you my favorite trick, which many of you probably already know but if you don't, now you do. So, unfortunately this trick doesn't work for a very small percentage of the population who have very long arms.

So for this to work, you have to be able to have the ring underneath your body and also touch the mat, so I'm not actually, I don't have a ton of weight on the ring, but I can feel it and I've put it lengthwise just where my ribs connect, kind of under my sternum. Now, different people like different ways to put the rings. So you'll just have to play with it until you find what works best for you. So we've now stepped the leg, one leg, step the other leg. So what happens as we do our pushups and we're gonna do 10, is that the ring helps us control the weight of the body as we're lowering down onto it.

So it helps us navigate that idea that the elbows draw in and back. I don't know how many we've done, I've been talking. Let's say we have four more. We'll just imagine that that's correct. One, bend and press.

Don't rely on that ring. It also helps you to be aware of, are your abdominals dropping down onto the ring? One more for good measure. I know I'm off count. Bend your knees, and sit back on your feet.

Now, that's not the most perfect way to end a class, so let's sit. Let's sit on our mat. And let's sit in a diamond shape position, then let's enjoy having freedom of movement in the arms, as we lift our arms up, and open, and take the arms forward and round the spine and then roll up. Take the arms up overhead, bend the right arm so the right hand rests on the head. Take the left arm just out to the side.

Now, don't yank on your head. Just gently, very gently pull it to the side. So one thing I also know is sometimes if we do a lot of squeezing or upper body work, the neck tends to get involved, so let's open it up a little. Allowing the arm to slowly move towards the floor, allowing the hand to come in towards the side. I have to let my wrist soften in order to do that.

And then I like to help my head up instead of trying to lift it up. And then we'll go to the other side, take the head over, reach out and down through our fingers. This is a moment here just as we did in the beginning, where we can bring our energy inwards, and hopefully use the positive vibration from our movement practice today. Lifting the hand, lifting your head or helping your head, just to carry through into what's happening next in your life. Lift your arms up, lift your chest.

For some of us, it's dinner time. For some of us- bring your chin to the chest. It's just getting on with starting the day time. We're just rolling down, taking the elbows towards the knees, letting the hands assist as we find that spinal stretch. And then be very gentle with pushing on your head.

Just be soft with your hands as you lift up. And then once you're sitting up, press your head into your hands. Think of bringing the elbows out wide as you lift your chest, and then return back. And I thank you all so much for coming to class today. Thank you for coming over.

I hope that soon, we will see each other in person one day.

Pilates with Meri Rogers: Zoom from Meri's Living Room


Adam M
1 person likes this.
Fantastic and revelatory!
3 people like this.
Exellent job Meredith. I am in love with your classes. They   change my day:) Thank you 
Sivan A
2 people like this.
just what i needed after the day. please continue bringing more classes. Its gives me strength during these times.
Zsuzsi C
1 person likes this.
Very nice, thank you!
2 people like this.
A ring substitute I've used while traveling has been to use a hotel wastebasket.  It works!  Especially if its one of the wire mesh ones.
Lovely class Meri.  Thank you.

1 person likes this.
thank  you ,I enjoyed the lesson.
1 person likes this.
Thank you Meredith, great class again
Lina S
1 person likes this.
I enjoyed the side leg series. Thank you!
Thanks to you all for joining me at home for this ring class!
And thank you Joni for the idea about using a wastebasket instead!  Hopefully we will get back to traveling sooner than later!
Shannon B
1 person likes this.
Thank you Meredith for another wonderful class!
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