Class #4168

Lower Body Cardio Dance

60 min - Class


Leah Stewart finishes her series Move and Bloom with Leah with this Dance and Pilates fusion. You will work your lower body and practice cardio safely with this movement class, incorporating the previous work you have done in her series. You will gain strength, control, and confidence in your movement while also maintaining a sense of freedom and release. There will be some balance work, so depending on where you're at in your pregnancy, make sure to have a stable object nearby.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Hi there everybody, welcome. I hope that you are having a fantastic day. I'm so excited. This is the fifth class in this five class series that I'm doing here during my fourth pregnancy at Pilates Anytime. I am now 34 weeks pregnant, and today we are going to be exploring kind of a fun, free, really kind of just a different class, something I haven't really taught here at Pilates Anytime before, a lower body cardio dance class, and so I'm really excited to do this.

The first thing I want to say is I'm going to start just like I've started all the other five classes, with a short little tutorial, just explaining what you can expect during the class. So when you hopefully want to do this class again and again, in the future, you can just kind of fast forward through this first part if you don't want to hear it again. So again, this is the fifth class in this series, and we're going to be exploring kind of a combination of some modalities that I have studied throughout my life and my career, and kind of bringing it together, and that is dance, mainly ballet and modern dance, contemporary dance, and then of course, Pilates, and I'm a BASI trained instructor. So that is kind of the style in which I teach and so this class is really going to be a combination of all of the other classes that we've done in this series. The first class we did upper body, then we did correct abdominal engagement.

Then we did two classes on pelvic floor. If you guys were here last class, if you did the fourth class in this series where we did standing pelvic floor mobility, we're going to be kind of, kind of emulating some of that sensation of standing throughout this class. So I want to encourage you before we start, if you need to have, if you are pregnant or how far along you are in your pregnancy, or if you're doing this and you're not pregnant, you just want a little extra stability, we are going to be working on some balance work. So make sure that you have a chair or a table or a wall, or if you're near your reformer or a stool or something that you can just kind of have close to you if you need to just place your hand out so you can steady yourself as we move and I very well may be doing it as well. So let's kind of talk into just kind of some of the reason that I'm including this class in this prenatal series.

So we need to have a lot of freedom in our movement, and I wanted to incorporate a lot of just flowy, rotational freedom sort of movement in conjunction with the control and the precision and the integrity of movements that we so hard to heart, we so hard, we work on, we work on in Pilates. I wanted to kind of combine those two elements. I wanted to include a lot of circles, a lot of rotation, a lot of releases, a lot of picking up, a lot of these sort of ideas that are going to be really kind of fun and different. So it's not going to look exactly like a Pilates class, and the next thing is, I want to tell you how this all applies to birth. So if you, at any time, you've taken my, in my third series that I did on Pilates, the time when I was pregnant with my third child which was filmed in 2017, I did a whole series on how to take Pilates and how to incorporate that into birth preparation, and this is a really great series and so this class, although it's a little bit different in its energy and its theme, it really kind of parlays into that same idea.

So when we're preparing for birth, which I am kind of in that phase now. At 34 weeks pregnant, I'm six weeks out. I'm kind of thinking about getting ready for another birth and another labor experience. I'm going to start to incorporate movement that is very free and very relaxed. So I want to have that strength.

I want to have that control. I want to have that sense of confidence in my movement, but I also need to have that ability to just kind of let it go too, and to just kind of trust my body and trust the strength that I've developed in my body, trust the mobility that I've developed in my body. So I, you need to feel that sense of control and competence, but also that sense of freedom and release. So you want to feel assured in that your body, you have changed your body to know what it's to do, and so that is really what we're going to be playing with in this class. So just kind of stick with me.

We're not going to have music, even though this is a dance class. I want you to kind of feel the rhythm of the movement naturally, and then use your breath as well. I will give you breathing cues, but if I don't, just remember to breathe. and so we're going to go ahead and get started. We're going to have lots of fun.

If you need to take a break at any time, you can go ahead and sit down, but let's take it together and we're going to work our heart rate up and bring it back down and go up and down, and that's kind of a nice, safe way to kind of practice cardiovascular work through movement, through dance and Pilates-inspired movement when we're pregnant. So let's go ahead and get started, ready? Okay, so we're going to start standing and we're going to be playing a lot with different leg positions. So hands on your hips here, and just kind of shake your shoulders out, shake your knees out, and I just want you to feel where your body is in this time. So if you're pregnant, you may be feeling like you're tipping forward here.

Just gently bring your pelvis underneath you and just relax your shoulders, and I just want you to sway side to side, just very gently, so just kind of shifting your weight from one leg to the other, just kind of feeling that sway, and just like we talked about in our fourth class of this series, I want you to feel really grounded through your feet and that's going to be a huge part of this is to try to connect that energy down into the floor in the same way that we're going to connect the energy up through the crown of the head. So that you know, my style is to kind of take our time to warm up nice and slow, and I do that on purpose. I do that, of course to keep our body safe, to warm up our joints, to warm up our muscles properly, but also to enter into this space, into this movement mentally. I don't know where you are in the world today, if you're in the more early morning hours like I am or the afternoon or the evening, but either way, I just want to take some time so that you can enter into your movement here and mental into your, enter into your mental and your emotional state as well. So from here, find your self-center, and then I want you to prance your feet back and forth, and as you do that, I want you to think of just kind of letting your arms naturally sway, and if you feel like you want to let your hips sway and kind of rotate side to side and your shoulders sway, go ahead and do that too.

So this class is all gonna be about just a different, I mean, Pilates is fun, right? A different type of fun movement in our Pilates and in our dance inspired movement here, and so we're going to kind of break away from some of the perfect alignment and structure that we're so used to practicing. That is all good and fine. I'm a big fan of that and I'm a big stickler for that, but I want you to feel a little bit more free here. So now I want you to stop with your foot that's closest to the screen with your heel up there.

You're going to bend your knee with an inhale, your knees rather, and exhale, straighten. Bend, and straight. So what I want you to feel here, is I want you to feel like your toes are spread out with the foot that's away from the screen and that if you were to move that foot, the foot that's grounded, you're going to really leave this beautiful, perfect imprint of your foot on your floor, on your mat, on your hardwood floor, on your carpet, on a rug, wherever you're moving today, and now hold that with that bend of your knees, lower the heel down that's closest to me and lift it up. Lower and lift. (deep breathing) Inhale, and we're just warming at the ankles, warming up the knees and the hips and last one and switch back and forth again.

So we're just going to take our time here, kind of getting those ankles warm, getting the feet warm, just feeling that groundedness. So now you're going to stop with the opposite heel up, so the heel that's away from me and the foot that's toward me or closest to your screen, you really want to make sure that heel is down and those five toes are spread out as you can. Inhale, bend, extend. So you're going to hear me huff and puff a little bit more during this class, and that's just the nature of being in your third trimester. So it might sound a little bit more breathless.

Just know that I'm okay and wherever you are in your body will kind of depend on the intensity of the cardiovascular effort that you feel during this class. Bend, extend, bend, extend. Now this time you're going to hold it down, lower that back heel and lift it up, and then just kind of keeping the arms free, now we're going to add the upper body in just a moment. Bend, or excuse me, heel downhill like the last one, heel down, heel up, and then go back again, back and forth, just regulating your breath as you move. Now, you're going to stop with both heels down and bend those knees for me.

You're going to bring the arms up with an inhale, exhale, take them down. Inhale, stretching the spine, stretching underneath the arms here, the sides of the body and down. So we're lengthening the latissimus dorsi. We're extending the spine, and as you bring those arms up, you're going to naturally feel the need to draw the abdominal energy in. What that does is that's just getting us connected with our torso support, our spinal support, our engagement, and then we're going to move inhale, exhale down.

So we did this in the previous classes, we find this beautiful C-curve. Our arms come down, inhale, straighten the spine, bring the pelvis back to neutral. Then exhale down and inhale. I'm getting a little bit of abdominal work here. Inhale.

I'm imagining that I'm drawing my rib cage down to my pelvis, and at the same time, I'm drawing my pelvis underneath, and up, two more, exhale. Up, now you're going to come up. Now, you're going to release the arm that's closest to me and you're going to drop it to the side. So I'll turn to the front. You're going to go exhale, actually inhale, exhale up.

Switch, inhale, exhale up. Inhale, exhale up. Inhale to now we're getting a little bit of a side bend in the body. Inhale, exhale up. Inhale, exhale out.

Let's go two more sets. We're just getting that torso warm. We're feeling that little bit of that work in the thighs and the legs, keeping the toes spread out as much as possible, building that groundedness. Two, away from the screen, and up. Now we're going to come here.

You're going to drop the arm down, so toward the screen. You're going to extend the legs and bring that same heel up. So you're going to accentuate that stretch and bend it down and try to get a little closer to the ground so you're getting a deeper side bend in your body, and exhale, straighten. Inhale, down. Exhale, straighten.

Inhale, down, feeling that beautiful stretch. Exhale, inhale down. Last one. That should have been four, down and switch over and exhale. Inhale, reach toward the ground.

Exhale, inhale, reach toward the ground. Exhale, reach up toward the ceiling and bend. Again, exhale, and bend, now hold here. Now we're going to go back and forth. Exhale.

(steady hard breathing) So notice I'm trying to keep my hips as stable as possible. My knees are bent and I'm not shifting my weight from foot to foot, but I'm staying centered and switch, and switch and switch. Last set, toward the screen, away from the screen and hold. Hold in the center here, hold it straight up. Extend the legs.

So now you're going to, this is going to be a little bit different, you're going to bend the knees. You're going to release the arm to the back. So we're doing this little bit of this back bend, and we're going to bring it back. Away from the screen, bend and up. So I want you to be very careful here that when you bend your knees and you drop the arm down, that you're kind of nearing a back extension and a little, just a slight hinge back.

So there's going to be a slight shift of your body weight onto your heels, not too much to where you topple over, but just enough to balance out so you're not compressing down into your lower back. So I want you to be really mindful of that. So drop and up. Drop and then extend your knees all the way through the center. Drop, I'm thinking of my hand going to the heel behind me.

Up, drop and up. Drop and up. Exhale and up. Exhale and up, and you'll feel that abdominal connection as you come from rotation to straight. Exhale and up.

Exhale and up, last one. Exhale and hold it here. Now we're going to kind of have the same idea. We're going to come forward. We're going to swing the arms and double bounce the legs and catch.

Catch. Catch. Catch, and just feeling that freedom in your body, feeling how you're nice and grounded. Let your head release with your torso. Let your arms swing very heavy, last two.

Up, last one, and hold it, and then I want you to come down here. So hands are going to go behind the head. I'm going to hold this position. We're going to bring the heel up closest to me. If you can balance, again, this is where you can hold onto something if you need to, bring the heel away from me up, then take that same heel down, and the heel closest to me down.

Heel closest to me, away from me. Away and close. So that's the pattern. So up and up, and down and down. Same pattern, closest to me, away from me, away from me, and close to me, and up and bend, and up.

So now we're increasing the intensity here a little bit. As you bend, we take those hips out and I want you to contract your abdominals, bring your pubic bone forward as you bring the pelvis underneath you. Feel that back connection. You can engage your glutes slightly here and bend. Extend, last one.

Bend, extend, and hold. Now we're gonna do the opposite pattern. Away from me, toward me, toward me, away. So now you need to find your breath. Feel the connection through your entire body.

Up, away, or toward me, away from me. Away and toward. Toward, away, last set. Up, up, down, whoops, I got the pattern wrong, down, and come up and bend, and engage those abs and bend. Try to feel your pressing up from your hip extensors, which are your hamstrings and your glutes, and bend, two more, exhale, and bend, last one and up, and hold to the bend here.

Now from this position, you're going to take the leg that's closest to the screen. You're going to bring it forward. So you're doing a little walk. You're going to bring your hips forward, shift them forward and come back into a little bit of a hinge. So you can see I'm in this hinge position.

Both heels come up. I want you to hinge back and step back to that squat. Other leg, bring it forward and hinge, drawing those hips forward, bringing that body back. Head pitching forward, bring it down and back, again. Forward, this is one movement.

Heels come up, hips come forward. Body comes back with control. Bring it down and back, and forward and hinge. Bring it down and back, last set, forward and hinge. Bring it down and back, last one, forward, hinge.

Bring it down and back, release over, widen your feet if you need to, if you have a belly and you need to make space for it. Relax your head. Try to keep your weight equal through the balls of the feet and the heels. Try to bring a little bit of hamstring connection in so you're not hyperextending those knees, particularly if you are pregnant here, you have a little bit more laxity in your body, a little bit more laxity in those joints. Shake your head here, and then I want you to roll up.

So facing forward here, we're going to do a little bit of a sidestep series as we keep working through this. I hope you're feeling good. I'm already breaking a sweat. I'm just going to grab a quick sip of water and we'll go onto our next series here. So hands are going to be behind the head, really that nice extension.

So we're going to side step. You're going to mirror me, so you're going to go to your left. We're going to go over to the side. Foot comes in, we go forward. Over to the side and up, so it's four steps.

Side and forward and side and up. So my torso is going side, it's a little bit flexion forward, side and up. I want you to pay particular attention to the side movements. I really want you to make sure that when you're bending to the side, the shoulders are stacked, the hips are stacked and you're getting that beautiful, pure lateral flexion. Then when you come over the top, the energy is up and over so you feel that abdominal connection through here, a slight tip of the pelvis.

You're really opening up that thoracic spine and then with the legs, you're going to stay very grounded into the floor. Then you try to get as much as when you dance what we call a demi-plie as much as we can, so as much as you can bend your knees without lifting your heels up. So let's go ahead and do that. We'll start with those little baby steps with the torso movement, and then we'll add some more fun to it. Okay, so here we go.

Ready, and side and forward and side and up. Side, exhale forward, inhale, exhale, and one and two and three and four, again. One and two and three and four. Keep going. Inhale, and up, inhale, exhale, inhale, last set, and side and flex and side and up, one more.

Side and flex and side and up. Now you're going to hold here. I'm gonna come a little bit to the center of my screen here. Hold there, and in this position, you're going to take your arm out, left arm, left leg. You're going to reach out, and in.

Out and in. Out and in, two more. Out and in, and hold this position. From here you're going to extend up and bend. Up and bend.

Exhale and bend. Exhale and bend, one more. Exhale and bend. Now here's your transition. You're going to circle over to the side.

Ooh, let's see. My arm was out and in. Reach and in. Three, exhale, inhale. Four, good and hold.

Extend, reach out and bend. Reach out and bend. Exhale and inhale, and inhale, and inhale and reach and circle and circle and up and out and circle, and two, forgive my little lack of new transition. Three, now we're only going to do four, and four and hold and reach and bend, and reach and bend and two, and bend and four. Let's go bend, around.

Reach and down, and two, and down, and three and down, and four, extend and up and bend, and two and bend, and three and bend, and four and bend around, and in and out, three, in and out, in and hold, extend and bend, extend and bend, extend, other side, and reach and out and two and out, and three and hold, extend and bend and reach as long as you can, and bend and reach and bend. Other side, and one, and two, hold and reach and bend and reach all the way around and in and out and in and hold, extend, bend, extend, two times again, reach around, bend, extend, bend and hold, reach and bend, reach through the middle and two more, and reach around and reach, extend and bend, extend, bend, extend, and circle all the way around and come up to the top. Hold here. Relief and up. Relief and up.

Relief and up, last one and hold this position right here. You're doing great. Keep that knee, those knees bent. Hold this position. Your hands are going to go behind the head.

So you're feeling that extension there. You're going to reach the leg, forward, side, back, in. Transfer the weight, other leg. Forward, side, back, and in. Forward, side, back, and in.

So I want you to really keep that stable torso and in. Forward, side, back, and in, last one. Away from the camera and back, in. So now you're going to go forward, side, back, switch, switch, switch, back, and in. Forward, side, back, switch.

So here you're really sticking your bottom out, flexing your foot. You come forward to a little bit of a hinge here. So hips underneath me, I feel that nice torso work. I stick the bottom out again. I switch up forward and then I straighten the body out here.

So forward, side, back, switch, switch, switch, and in. Forward, side, back, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, draw it in. Last set, forward, side, back, bottom out, bottom under, feeling that rhythm, under and in, again. Front, side, back, reach out and in and out and forward and in. Now you're going to go forward.

So here, we're going to get into a little bit a bigger lunge sequence. So these are going to go forward. You're going to reach forward. I want you to come into this lunge, reach back, side, come into a squat. So you squat with parallel legs and your bottom sticking out, and point and in and back.

Lunge, you can hinge back a little bit, bring it forward and in. So the idea is that you're shifting your weight forward and back. You're really finding that shift of weight, that balance in your body, that control in your body. So I want you to play with what it feels like to really kind of go for it, in a safe way of course, but also to feel that sense of controlling your body and confidence in your body, that you know you can make it and you know you can find your balance. Let's do the leg that's away from the screen.

So forward, lunge, back, and in. Side, squat, back, and in. Back, lunge, point, and in. Other leg, forward, lunge, back, and in. Side, squat, back, and in.

Back, lunge, point, away from the screen. Forward, shift your weight here, bring it back, correct it here. Side, shift your weight forward. Find that balance here. Find that big squat.

Shift it back to the side, point that butt out, and in. Back, shift, point, last set. Forward, lunge, back, and in. Side, squat, back, and in. Back, lunge, forward, and in.

Front, lunge, back, and in. Side, squat, side, and in, and back, lunge, point, and in. Now prance for me as we take a little bit of a break, just kind of depending on what your body needs here. Are you sweaty? Is your heart rate coming up a little bit?

Are you feeling that sense of control? Just let those arms swing here. So now we're going to play with a little bit of hip extension. So if you need to have something close to you for balance, go ahead and make sure that's close now. Whoo, I'm obviously getting my cardio work for the day.

So let's go here. So arms are going to be up, building that nice squat. Now, you're going to fold forward. That's a controlled fold, that's not a collapse, like we were doing earlier. You're going to transfer the weight onto the leg away from the screen, and you're gonna bring your arms up behind you, and you're going to find your arabesque here.

So hold that. Now you can bring your body up a little bit because I want to feel that sense of back extension here with hip extension, so hold that. Now you're going to release it and up. So controlled flexion of the spine on the way down, release, and grab it on the way up. That's going to be what we're going to do.

So exhale, transfer the weight onto the leg that's closest to the screen, lift up, hold it and collapse and up. Draw the rib cage down, make it one beautiful movement. Bring your torso up. Find that balance, collapse and down. Up and over.

Transfer the weight. Build that extension point, that foot, straighten that knee. Collapse and up, and curving over. Transfer the weight. Feel long here, feel the length, and then let it go, and up.

Up and over. So finding the difference between control and balance and focus, and then release, up. Up and over. Transfer the weight, feel that length, feel that power through your body, feel that connection, release, and up and over. Find it.

Using your breath, feel that extension. Release, and up. Now we're going to go over. We're going to find it here. Now, arms go out to the side.

Balance on that back leg, and up. So hold this in. You do not need to bring your leg very high. It can stay low, especially if you're feeling a little bit of tenderness in your lower back, but I want you to make sure that you're picking that leg up from your glute, feeling that nice link through your arms, and up. Two more, should be eight.

Up, and up, collapse, and bring it up. So again, the point is to feel the extension coming from your glute, from your hamstring in that leg, to really ground yourself in the leg that's bent and that you're supporting yourself on, and to feel the arms reaching out and up simultaneously. So let's go here. Inhale, exhale. Bring the leg up, find the arabesque first.

Bring the arms out to the side, keeping your focus. (steady heavy breathing) Three more. Inhale, and hold it, collapse, and up, and come over and do it one more time. Reaching, circle the arms out to the side. Inhale.

So notice how you naturally want to keep the abdomen drawn in to support your back. Notice how you naturally want to lift your sternum up to help keep that balance. Work hard to keep that back knee straight. Keep going. Two more.

You're doing great. Last one, and collapse, down, and over the top and bring that leg out. Feel that stretch, circle the arms around. Inhale. Knees straight in the back.

The front leg is grounded. Two more. Hold it up, collapse, down. Now bring yourself forward, widen your legs if you need to, and come out here to a nice squat position. How are you feeling?

Feeling good? Now we're going to stretch out that back. Exhale, curve. We did this in our fourth class, our standing pelvic floor class, and we're reaching out, feeling that extension. Exhale, and starting from the pelvis, let it trickle through the spine.

Three more. Push those hands into the thighs to get the opposition. Draw the belly button in, pubic bone forward, and extend, last two. Inhale, extend, last one, and inhale, extend here. Now holding it here, want you take your front leg, the leg that's closest to the screen, back and bring both hands onto the front knee.

Transfer the weight so that knee is directly over the ankle. You're going to bend, you're gonna do the same action of the spine. Bend the knee, draw that knee forward. Draw the pelvis underneath you. Then you're going to extend, but this scenario, you extend that back leg.

You're gonna feel that nice length. Exhale. Inhale, extend. Exhale, inhale, extend, two more. Inhale, extend, one more time.

Inhale, extend, hold it. Draw it in. Other leg comes back. Tight in that position, both hands on the front leg. Transfer that weight so that knee is over that ankle.

Exhale, flex. Inhale, straighten. Now when you straighten, really reach your hips out, reach the sternum forward. Exhale, forward, and inhale, extend. Exhale, forward, and inhale, extend.

Two more, and inhale, extend. Last one. Inhale, extend. Bring it forward and fold your body over as much as you can. Folding over, just letting your head relax here.

Again, drawing energy into your hamstrings here so you're not slamming back into your knees. Letting that head relax. Now i want you to bring your elbows, or your hands on top of your elbows. That's gonna allow gravity do its job a little bit more here. I just want you to sway back and forth.

If you feel comfortable in this position, if you need to come up a little bit more and sway here. This is actually where I feel more comfortable right now. You're just kind of releasing that. Then let your arms go and slowly come up. I am such a sweaty mess.

It's pretty fun. It's pretty awesome. So let's go ahead and shake those hips out and prance. Are you like, do you see this? This is a pregnancy glow.

This is like, sweaty lady sweat. So yeah. Good, I feel good. So go ahead and let that go. Kind of just swinging back and forth.

Okay, so now we're going to do some curtsy lunges with some rotation for our next series here. So let's go through the choreography first. So you're going to start in a little bit of a first position or Pilates V, however you want to think of it, and you're going to step off to the side, and you're going to bring your arms to that back leg. So you're going to your left. I'm going to my right and I'm going to swing here.

I'm going to extend the leg, the front leg. So this is very ballet-ish, and I'm going to swing around here. I'm going to go back and forward. Back and forward. Back and forward.

Back and step. So I go out to the side, bring my arms here. So swinging forward. So I transfer the weight here, I come up onto to the big toe in the back, and I feel that rotation through my torso. I bring the weight back to that back leg, feel that work in the front leg and I swing here.

Both arms are extended, so reach forward and back. So make sure you don't throw yourself too much. You'll lose your balance. Forward, back. Forward, back, and switch this time.

Back, forward. Exhale, inhale. Exhale, inhale. Exhale, switch. In, in.

In, switch. Side, so you can see my arms were just really kind of free. Now, I lost my balance, ahh! Back, forward. Back and switch. So now I want you to play with the rhythm.

So now we're going to get the glute working on that front leg. Switch. Back, forward. Back, switch. Side.

Again. Last set. Rotate, and switch and rotate and rotate. Rotate. Rotate and switch.

Now, hold it here. So hold this position, feeling nice and grounded. Then bring your hands behind your head. So you're going to press the legs up. So we're not going to transfer weight.

We're just going to extend both legs, and bend down, exhale, and bend, and bend, and bend, last one, and hold, now rotate to your left. To the right. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale, inhale, switch. Extend and bend.

Hold that abdominal energy in, holding that upper body up, and down. Down, exhale, rotate, and in, and in, and in, last one. Last set, and exhale, inhale. So again, making sure that your feelings of sensation of picking everything up as you extend the legs, pressing through the glutes. Down, up, bend, exhale.

In, in. In, and switch, last one. Up, so if you need to move your hands to kind of just feel that lift, you can, and extend, and bend. Two more, and bend, and hold. Exhale and in, and in, and in and forward and go ahead and prance.

As you take your rest here, let those arms sway from side to side. Now I want to do a little upper body work and a little bit of arm work here. In a squat, I'm kind of play with the leg positions as we work through the squat. So keep prancing, going to take another little sip of water. Prancing.

Okay, are you ready? So we've done some of this in the previous classes. So I'm just going to come up, bend the knees and out. Widen your feet if you need to. If you're pregnant, you need to make room for a belly, that's fine.

So shoulders are going to be drawn down. I want you to take your hands forward, palms facing in towards your body. You're going to bend and draw your elbows up as if you're tucking them back behind you, pulling your two shoulder blades or scapula together. Inhale, inhale. Now I want you to think about keeping your abdominal muscles active the entire time to help support the spine.

Keep going with the arms as I cue you here. Reach through your tailbone, through your sits bones, and feel like your sacrum is getting nice and wide, and up and down. Three more, and hold here and then bring your arms, your up, your forearms so they're parallel to the ground. You're going to rotate back and forward. Now, try to go past parallel and go into a little bit of external rotation here.

Rotate, forward. Exhale, exhale. I'm saying exhale. and I'm not doing it. I'm sorry. Inhale, exhale.

Excuse me. Sorry about that, and exhale. Inhale and exhale. Inhale and hold. Now you're going to extend those legs up.

Bring the arms up straight overhead. Then draw the elbows back and come back into the squat. Exhale and inhale, and inhale, and inhale. Three more, and inhale. How are you doing?

Two, and inhale, and one, bring it down. I'm going to face you so you can see me. Bring those arms back down, palms facing in toward each other. You're going to take your left leg, so you're mirroring me here. You're going to step out to the side.

One, two, other side, three, four. So as you lunge, the other leg extends. This arm bends and you can come a little bit past parallel to the ground is fine with me. So come here, but reach the arm out and bring it back. Bring it back.

Bring it back. So you're trying to stay as low as you can, grounding your feet, feeling that abdominal support. Now you're going to add rotation. Rotate and back. Rotate and back, so feeling that spiral through your spine, looking up at the top hand.

Rotate. How you feeling? Rotate, one more set. Rotate. Make sure you're using your breath.

Back to center, hold here. Now bring your hands so that they're on top of your knees. Elbows are back. Think of your elbows pulling down towards your hips. You're going to extend those elbows.

Straighten them. Then as you bend them, I'm gonna widen maybe a little bit here. I'm going to pull my elbows as far back as they can. Extend, inhale, bend. Extend, inhale, bend.

Just try to feel like you're pushing the heel of your hand into your knees, as if you were doing a pushup. Just kind of a modified pushup. Exhale, inhale. Three more. Keep your abdominal support so your lower back isn't doing the grunt of the work here.

One more time. Now I want you to bring your hands on top of the knee that's closest to your screen and take your elbows out to the side. Now this time you're going to flex your spine as you extend your elbows and then bring it back, and flex your spine, extend your elbows. Draw the pelvis underneath you, and then articulate back. Exhale and inhale.

Two more, and inhale. One more time. Exhale and inhale. Now you're going to switch to the other side. I'm going to turn around so I can look at the camera here.

So feel that nice extension and press, and this should release your back a little bit. It sure feels good on my lower back, and it's okay to feel your lower back muscles working. We want those muscles to stay nice and strong. We just want to make sure that we complement all of the stability that we're doing with some mobility, and extend. One more time.

Flex and extend. Now come back to the center for me and roll those hips underneath you. Lower the arms down and rolling up. We're going to go back down into that position. Take your breath in.

I'm going to face you and roll down. Now you're going to hold this and I want you to bring both hands over to your right knee, so you're mirroring me. Now the legs are going to go, forward, side, forward, side, in. Forward, side, forward, side, in. Again, forward, whoo, lost my balance, side, forward, side, in.

Forward, side, forward, side, in. Now we're going to add the arm so that same arm as leg is gonna go forward, side, forward, side, in. Forward, side, so make sure you have that sensation that when you push off that foot, you're kind of rebounding off the floor. So forward, side, forward, side, in. Forward, side, forward, side, in.

Two more sets. Side, side, in. Forward, side, side, in. Last set. Forward, side, forward, side, in.

Forward, side, forward, side, in, and roll those hips underneath you. You'll start to roll yourself up, and prance those legs. Oh my gosh. That was the last little sequence. So now just finding your heart rate, breathing, you can bring it down.

I want you to roll down. Bend your knees, and if you can place your hands on the floor, great. Place them on your shins, that's fine, or on your thighs, wherever your flexibility allows. I just want you to swing your hips back and forth here and then keep the swinging, and just draw your body up, and then I want you to step your front leg back. Very moderate, modest lunge here.

Stretch out that hip flexor, bring those arms up and down and up, bring that pubic bone forward underneath you, and down, one more, and down, bring that leg in, and take the other leg back. Arms come up. Just still keeping all the elements of support here intact. Up, down, last one, and just lean back and forth. Sorry, that was a short little cool down, but I just want you to think about when we're pregnant and we're preparing our body for labor and birth, there is so much strength and endurance and ability and confidence and assurance that we need to acquire, and I spent a lot of time on my other prenatal series talking about how, often we are conditioned to think of pregnant women as being super fragile, and in a way we are.

We are, we have a human being growing inside of us and need to take precautions, but we're also so strong and so vital and so capable as a pregnant woman, and we owe ourselves and our unborn child and just all of the wonderful women that have gone ahead of us and have given birth to just acknowledge the power and the strength that we have in that our body has been designed to grow life and to birth life and the way that we utilize movement as a way to understand that in our body and our heart and our mind and our soul is we have to make sure that we're being safe with our movement of course, and we're moving with integrity, but we're also moving with the intention that we need to challenge ourselves, and that giving birth is no easy feat and growing a baby is no easy feat, and raising children is no easy feat and we need to strengthen our bodies, strengthen them in every single way that we can in order to prepare for that huge event, in order to honor the event of pregnancy, to prepare for the event of labor and birth, and to obviously prepare for the event, the lifetime event of motherhood. So these classes are designed to challenge you appropriately as a pregnant woman. They are designed to show you what you're capable of, and they're also designed to reveal to you where your body may need some TLC, a little bit of extra love, a little bit extra care, and I hope that you felt honored in the class and I look forward to your feedback. You can always contact me at any time and I will respond as quickly as I possibly can. Thank you so much for joining me today.

I hope that you're sweaty. I hope that you feel good. I hope that you are as invigorated as I feel and I really enjoyed spending today with you doing a little bit of cardio dance Pilates love. Okay, bye. See ya.

Move and Bloom with Leah: with Leah Stewart


I really enjoyed this and I'm not pregnant!  I can see how I will incorporate some of the moves into my usual classes for something a bit different and interesting. Thank you Leah and good luck with the labour:)

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