Class #4229

Putting it all Together

60 min - Class


Now that you've explored every aspect of movement in your spine, it's time to put it all together in the final episode of Maria Earle's Happy Healthy Spine with Maria. She teaches a Mat class influenced by the exercises outlined in Return to Life by Joseph Pilates so that you can incorporate everything you have worked on. Enjoy the length, strength, and flexibility you've cultivated throughout this series!
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Oct 05, 2020
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Hi everyone. Welcome to class. I'm so glad you're here for our last class of this series. So today, I'd like to start sitting cross legged. And let's just place our hands together and rub them vigorously, until you've created a lot of heat in your hands.

And once you've created a lot of heat in your hands, you're gonna cup your palms over your eyes and close your eyes for a moment and just receive the heat into your eyes and let your eyes relax. Let your gaze soften into the darkness. And then I want you to keep your eyes closed. As you bring your hands down and place your palms on your knees. And with your eyes closed here, I want you to lengthen up out of your seat, thinking about the crown of the head and how the crown of the head is rising up.

And I want us to think for a moment about this lengthening concept, of this growing tall concept. And then, I want you to think that there's like kind of an empty cylinder running from top to bottom. And in that cylinder, you have energy flowing up and down. And I want you to think that surrounding the cylinder is going to be your breath. And we're going to be able to inhale three dimensionally around this cylinder and then exhale and feel everything coming in towards the cylinder, towards your midline.

So let's take three deep breaths here together. Feeling expansive as much as you can three-dimensionally, and then exhale (exhales) and feel everything coming together towards your midline. And maybe it feels like a hug. Maybe it feels a little bit like there's a, there's a toning. And then there's an inhale that's big and expansive and full as full as you can make it.

And then exhale and let it all come to center. You're just gonna kind of flutter your eyes open let the light come in and we're gonna take the right arm up towards our ear. And then the left arm is going to inch out towards the front corner of our mat. The Palm goes down, the elbow softens, the shoulder softens and we're gonna side bend here. So we're taking this lifted cylinder that's internal and we're taking it over to the side, but I want you to anchor down so that you're sitting evenly on both hips and at your side, bending here and picking up the ribs and breathing laterally as much as you can.

And then push a little with the bottom hand help you come back upright. And we're just gonna switch sides take the arm up, walk it out, place your Palm down. Let's do a little side bend here, soften at the elbow, right? So you don't need to extend too much, right? But you also are not curving.

You're really reaching. And then you're sitting the hip down, you're picking the ribs up and you're breathing into this side and then push a little to bring you back up again. Let's go for a little twist. So we're gonna twist to the left and we're gonna do both sides. So if you've already started to the right it's perfectly all right.

Bring your hand to your knee, and then can you think about that lifted cylinder internal line. That's the crown of your head down in between your sit bones and you're gonna rotate the chest around that inner tube and you breathe. And as you breathe, you wanna try to breathe 360 and then come back to center and then we're gonna do the other side. So you're lifting, you're inhaling. (inhales) You're gonna squeeze the air out. Don't really push it all out, all out, all out.

Don't let there be anything left and then inhale back to center. Let's take the twist again. Okay. I'm actively pressing my Palm into my knee and my back arm is pushing down into the ground to help me rise taller. And then I'm rotating.

And I'm thinking more about my rib cage and less about my neck. I'm not so worried about taking my head around. I wanna take my chest plate around and I wanna breathe as expansively as I can. Now I'm gonna take my back arm and lift it and bring it up and over shoulder, down to me. Now I'm turning my head to look down at my knee, but you could look straight ahead.

You could even spiral and look up towards the ceiling. Breathe here, sit evenly on both hips and then come back retrace that big arc that you did with your hands and then come back to center. And we'll do the other side. You're gonna twist. You're gonna lift.

You're gonna grow tall. We take the back arm, we lift it up in arc up and over bringing the shoulder down to the knee. You can start by looking down at the floor, you can look straight ahead, you even can spin your chest open towards the ceiling as much as you can, but keep anchored and keep breathing, inhale, (inhales) exhale, (exhales) and then lift back to a sitting position and bring yourself forward again. Place your hands right here on your sternums. Take a deep breath fill and feel where the breath goes.

Remember that your lungs are all around here, right? From here, back down right here in case by your rib cage. So as we move through our practice today, I want you to think about how moving our spine and moving our ribcage in these different positions are helping us to breathe more fully, more expandedly or really using our breath, breath mechanism the way that it's designed to function. Okay? So remember Mr. Pilate said, in return to life, he said, "above all else, learn to breathe correctly".

So I'd like us, I invite you to start thinking about how moving our spines helps us to breathe better and trains our breathing mechanism to function better. Okay? So we're gonna lay down on our backs. Pull your knees into your chest, give yourself a little tug here. Inhaling, exhaling, feel where the breath is today. Feel where it's moving into what parts of your body.

Let's place the feet down. Place the arms down next to you. Take a deep breath here. Feel the weight of your pelvis into the floor. Feel the softness of your belly.

Feel the weight of your spine in the points of contact that the spine has with the floor. Just become aware of where you feel heavy in terms of what is connected to the floor. So for me, I feel quite heavy at my hips. And then I feel lighter at my low back. And then I start feeling heavier across my upper back.

And I feel light at my neck and I feel heavy at the back of my head. Let's take another deep breath here (inhales) exhaling it all out. (exhales) Feel how you exhale and you tone and you draw everything towards your midline. Let's take a little pelvic tuck and then release. And again a little tuck inhaling and then a little release exhaling. And then we're gonna curl the pelvis and we're gonna lift it up.

You're not gonna come too high. I want you to still stay soft with the chest. I want you to feel anchored through your feet, down into the ground. So don't pick those toes up, that's my bad habit. Get those toes down.

Put the big toe across to the little toe across to the heel, press it into the ground stamp down. Tip that pubic bone just a little bit. Can you imagine that you're zipping a zipper here. You imagine that you're putting on a tight pair of pants and then I want you to soften at your throat soften at your chest and roll down. And as you roll down length and like, you wanna sit down on your heels.

So you're sort of just giving your spine a little decompression. We're gonna go up again. You're gonna step down through your feet. Nice and strong. I want you to also think about those inner thighs.

They're not touching, but I want them like I want them to kind of magnetize towards one another, right? And then here spiral your shoulders back without popping your chest up. Right? So it's quite active here. Can you tip the pubic bone a little bit more?

Can you find the buttocks? Can you press the heels towards your buttocks? Can you drag them in without actually moving them? Then release that drag, soften at the throat, soften at the chest, lengthen out like you wanna reach for the heels with your tailbone and then rest it down. Feel soft, feel smooth, feel easy with yourself, today.

We're gonna focus on how we're gonna let the breath guide us. Okay? So I want you to extend the legs out on the floor. Reach those arms along squeeze the legs together, flex your feet. You're gonna curl the head forward and I want you to look at your toes.

I want you to slide your hands onto your sides and see if you can kill yourself up just a little tiny bit more and then roll yourself down. Ask yourself, are you flexing from your big toes, only? Or are you also flexing back with your little toes? See if you can get those little toes to reach for the outside of your knees, touch and just things a little bit. Pull the outside of your feet towards your outside of your knees.

Don't stop doing that and see if you can curl up just a little bit higher and then take it down. We're gonna do that one more time. You can take a deep breath. You're gonna feel your ribcage. And then you're gonna exhale.

You're gonna take the bottom ribs down towards the floor. As you pick your head up, you're gonna bend right at the base of your sternum, and you're gonna breathe laterally into your elbows, into your underarms. So make sure they're bent and then lower yourself down. Alright, so we're gonna go into the hundreds from here. I'm gonna pick up our heads.

You're gonna reach the arms to the side of your legs. Pick yourself up. Now, right where your hands are, can you squeeze the buttocks and pick the legs up, wrap and squeeze, hold it here. You can point your toes. You could be in term out.

You could be in parallel. Whatever makes you feel like you're strong right, in this area here. And the go again back down. Okay. We're gonna do that again.

So we're gonna take a deep breath. The exhale as how we lift our heads. (exhales) We bend at the ribs. We pull ourselves a little higher. Take a deep breath here. (inhales) on the exhale, you're gonna squeeze the buttocks, hello. Those legs right up off the floor, six inches.

Hold. Inhaling, (inhales) exhaling. You can start to pump or you can just hold your position. So inhaling for five, exhaling (exhales) for five and roll it down. We're gonna try inhaling for five and exhaling for seven.

So let's pick our heads up on the exhale. Squeeze the buttocks, lift and start to pump two, three, four, five, and exhale. Two, three, four, five, six, seven, inhale, (inhales) exhale. (exhales) Inhale, squeeze. Exhale. Push that air out.

One more deep breath, inhale. Pump those arms vigorously, exhale. I could probably pump a little more vigorously myself and then lower it all down. Take your arms behind you. I want you to give yourself like a big stretchy, yawny kind of motion here.

I'm kind of hauling my hands. I'm stretching right hand, left leg. Not simultaneously doing it contra laterally or something. (laughs) And now squeeze the legs together, flex those feet. And we're gonna pick our heads up on the exhale. (exhales) We're gonna reach our hands towards our toes. Squeeze the legs together.

Push the heels back. Flex, flex, flex, or reach the arms forward. Now right here, hold it for a minute. If you have it available to you, hold the tops of your toes. If not pulled by your knees.

And I want you to pull back. So we're pulling the sternum and the ribs back and we're allowing the shoulders to melt forward and we're gonna send the breasts there. Expanding this whole back area, then let go of your legs. Keep expanding the back, flex your feet and start to roll down. I unfortunately take my rug with me, which is sticky.

And you're gonna roll down and reach the arms back behind you. Okay, we're gonna do it again. Just take deep breath, (inhales) on the exhale, pick your head up. Flex your feet. Reach your legs long away from you and squeeze them together.

Float the arms up and over your legs. Take a deep breath here. Are you pulling your ribs in as deeply as you can to expand the back? Can you send your breath back there between your shoulder blades and then lower yourself down. (exhales) Flex your feet.

Reach your legs out. Reach long with your arms. And one more time. Inhale. Flex.

Can you bring those baby toes back. Pinky toes, pinky toes, Pinky toes, pull 'em back, pull 'em back, pull 'em back, reach the arms forward. Curve the spine, lift the palms up. Lift, pull the waistline back and then roll down, but keep energizing by reaching the arms and the heels out towards the front wall. And then take the arms back.

All right. I might have to scoot down a little bit so that we can do the rollover. Okay. So with the rollover we're here, right? Arms down at your side you can pick one knee in and followed by the other, right?

And then kick your legs up and over we go. Or you could start from the bottom, squeeze the legs together. Find that one leg sensation, push down with your arms, pick the legs up. And we're gonna tip the hips and take it over. I want you to flex and bring your toes to the floor.

I want you to slide your feet open, a little bit wider than your mat, perhaps, and then lower yourself down, but really reach through your arms. Can you think about your roll up here and how round you hot your time. Open the heels. Flex those heels. Push down with your arms.

Keep flexing your heels and roll yourself down. And then where your legs together, we're just gonna go into the reverse already. So press down, use the whole arm, flex your feet, fly them together and then use your arms and push your heels away. Okay, so another thing that I'm doing here is I'm taking my hands a little wider than my mat surface and that's helping me connect it down into the floor from the back of my arms. Flex once you're over, slide your legs together, roll on down.

Take your left leg to the floor, keep your right leg up. Bring your hands to the base of your leg and let's climb a tree. You up here, you with me, stay here. All right. So my spine is in a C curve and I'm going to soften at my elbows and soften at my hip.

And I'm just gonna do a little pulley thing. I'm trying to do this as easefully as possible. I actually don't wanna be gripping too much in my leg at all. Then I'm gonna hold my leg out here. Lift the spine as much as you can.

Soften at elbows and bring your nose down towards your knee and then breathe into your back. (exhales) Keep floating those elbows up and breathe across your shoulder blades and then pick yourself up. I have my right leg up. So my left hand is gonna cross and I'm gonna do a twist. I'm gonna breathe here. Two deep breaths in my rotation.

I'm thinking up and I'm twisting. And then back to center. I'm gonna lower my leg just a tiny bit and rock back. So I'm on my upper part of my pelvis. Open my arms at this leg, gonna squeeze from under and they're gonna pick it up and then take the other one down and we'll do climbing the tree, taking it up, trying your best to keep your level, your shoulder, sorry level, take that and then take it down.

That bottom leg, the one that's on the floor, still staying active. I'm doing my best to pull my pinky toe back. I'm really challenged here in my parallel and then go down. (exhales) We're gonna go up one more time. This time we're gonna stay up there.

All right. I'm just gonna do a little pull in, keep it easy. It's just a tiny little movement. That's happening from deep down in here, right? Let the arms do it.

Let your leg just go along for the ride. All right. And then come on up. Now let's reverse it. I'm gonna take my leg like shoulder width and then cross over, over, over as big as I can cross over my midline and down and across.

My bottom leg is still trying to kind of anchor into the ground. But there, you know, there is give, there is play. I am a human organism. (laughs) and then hug that knee and right, everything is like connected. So everything. Yes, okay, that's it.

We'll save that conversation for another moment. All right. So we're gonna do rolling like a ball. So I want you to start by pulling your knees nice and tight. Okay.

Like how tight like a lot, like really tight. Pull the heels as close as you can to your buttocks and then pick your ribs up and take your head forward. Do you remember this moment? Okay, it's that, right? So you gotta lift and come forward.

We're gonna tip the pubic bone. Roll back, exhale, come forward. That was a little tough on my part. Okay, exhale. Okay.

Gotta focus here, right? And so push your legs up into your hands and pull your hands into your legs. Like create a little bit of tension between your extremities and see if that helps you find the roundness of your role and then use your breath. Inhale to initiate, exhale to bring you up and to stop you. One more time.

Inhale, exhale, pause. All right. I'm gonna scoot back just a little tiny bit. You stay where you are. All right.

Bring your right knee into your chest. Extend your left leg and keep pushing your leg up into your hands. Now just hang out here with me for a minute. All right. Hands, you have right hand to right ankle, left hand or right knee, right?

I want you to gently push up with this right leg, but pull down with the arms, okay? You got that? So that you should feel like arms connecting into your shoulder sockets and then this leg squeeze the bottom reach the top of the leg, like give it energy, give it something to do and then draw your stomach away from the reach of that leg. And then switch without lifting your abdomen up away from the floor. Something like that.

Okay, stay there. Hold it. Wait for me. Push your leg up and draw your hands down. You feel that locking like that close chain situation.

Now squeeze the buttocks, top of the leg, working hard and then draw your belly, away from the leg that's reaching and away from the leg that's pushing up. So the belly is kind of dropping down and wide and then we're gonna switch and switch. So I like to think about the belly, like a trampoline. And I want you to draw your belly down wide into that trampoline circle. And I want it to be a fun trampoline.

So it's gotta be really pulled wide but there has to be like bounce to it. So you can't think that your belly is rock solid, hard like this. 'Cause that's not fun to jump on and then hug your knees in. Look to the right, look to the left. All right. So we've got to do double leg stretch.

Keep thinking about your internal trampoline, okay? That the muscles of your abdomen are pulling wide to the side and like clicking onto the round edge of your trampoline. Okay? Stay with me? Curl up, pick your head up.

Pull your knees into your chest. Like pull 'em, pull 'em, pull 'em. Where's you're rolling like a ball. Pull, pull, pull, get tighter, get tighter, get tighter until you cannot get any tighter and then spring out inhale. Circle the arms around.

Pull yourself tight, tight, tight, tight, get tighter, get tighter, get tighter, spring it out. (inhales) Exhale. (exhales) The spring out should feel amazing because you're really creating a lot of internal tension here and then spring it out. Squeeze those legs. Come around, (exhales) take both legs up to the ceiling. Drop the left leg, pull the right leg in.

And then here, don't pull your leg to you. Curl up, push your leg away from you. And now do a little pull, pull, switch. Let's push that leg away, see if you can get up a little higher. hold, Pull, pull, switch, kick, pull, pull, switch, kick, pull, pull, switch, kick.

So I'm doing my best to keep curling forward rather than getting like all fancy up in my leg here and bringing my leg to me, right? I gotta get up. Actually bring your arms down at your sides. Don't even hold onto your legs. Get up there.

Bend your spine. Think about the roll up. Could you roll up right now? Could you teaser, right now? And then both legs up.

Put it down. Turn your head side to side. I won't make you go into teaser, right now. (she laughs) Okay. Now we're gonna do double leg lower left.

So switch your legs together with your hands behind your head. Pick your elbows up and then I want you to curl forward and get your tailbone anchored into the ground. Squeeze your legs together like you only have one leg. Trampoline belly but get draw down and wide. Find the connection.

Take the legs down exhale. And then down. (exhales) Lift with that exhale. Can you curl forward a little bit more? Can you breathe into your lateral side ribs here? One more deep breath.

Take it down. Squeeze your legs, pick it up, pick it up, pick it up, pick it up. And then we're gonna twist and twist and twist and twist and hope. Stay right here. Where's your straight like?

Like can you energize it a little bit more? And then can you rotate yourself around just a little bit more and pick up your right elbow to not go to the knee, but above and beyond and then switch and hold it here. Fire up that leg, the straight one that's reaching, and then pick your elbow up and reach it, reach it forward and then switch and switch. Don't roll back onto your shoulders. Stay up, stay up, curl into it.

And then you get to rest. But not really. Come on up to a sitting position with the sneaky rest, like a pause. Flex your feet. (laughs) All right, so, you know, fluff the hair. All right, so arms are gonna stretch out straight in front of you.

Crown of the head up towards the ceiling. So I'm gonna drop my chin towards my chest and I'm gonna let my weight of my head, bend my spine. And I'm gonna reach my arms long in front of me, but I'm not gonna come off of my sit bones. I want to imagine that someone has me around my waist and is pulling me back, but I'm reaching forward. And then from as low as I can connect, I'm gonna engage and start to lift my spine, zippering my zipper, and come up to a tall sitting position.

Go again, drop your head down. Think of the crown of the head going down between the knees. If you have it available, grab your toes. If not grab the outside of your knees or actually don't do that. Bring your hands to middle and you're gonna push back.

Grab those feet if you're there and pull back and breathe. Drop your head down, breathe into your back. Feel the stretch in your spine. Breathe into the stretch and then lift the arms up and come on up to a sitting position. I don't really have enough room.

So I'm gonna scoot forward a little bit and we're going to bring the knees in for Open Leg Rocker. All right. So you can do one leg at a time, it's like a little warmup or you can just go ahead and do both. You can start your Open Leg Rocker with your hands right here. Otherwise, reach up and grab here at your ankles. We're gonna tip that pubic bone inhale, and exhale.

I still need to go a little bit farther forward. Hold on. All right. Hope you're still moving. So push your legs into your fingertips.

As you rocker, pull them back, keep pushing legs into fingertips. And then I want you to take your gaze up away from your belly and go up towards the ceiling. I want you to think that you're shifting your gaze here up to the wall in front of you. Well, I have a wall in front of me. So push legs into hands.

Take your gaze up. Now, squeeze your legs together. Teaser. Hold it. (exhales) Gaze. You gotta look where you're reaching.

Now, stay here, squeeze your legs together. Feel the engagement. And then we're gonna roll down away from your legs for our Corkscrew, arms down. You can take them a little wider that might help you feel more broad across your shoulders. We're gonna take it over to the right, circle down around and stop at the top.

And then the other way, circle down around, Stop at the top. We're gonna keep it a low Corkscrew today. If you're feeling like you want the challenge go ahead, go do your high Corkscrew. You got three more to do. Inhale, exhale. (exhales) Inhale, (inhales) exhale.

Can you play around this last one? How big can you make it? (exhales) Hug the knees in. Come on up to a sitting position. Alright, I'm gonna do the Saw.

Take the arms open. Twist. I'll go towards you. Reach forward. Bring the crown of the head towards the knee.

Now here I want you to still sitting on your sit bones, right? Don't shift off. Now, stay here for a minute and pull the bottom ribs back and then take your back arm and lift it higher so the front arm drops down. So it's like a seesaw. And then come on up, twist, go forward, take the head more to the knee and then take your back arm, palm up and seesaw up, up, up, up, up, up, up, and then the front arm gets to kind of drop down to the outside of the leg.

Here we go. Drop your head down turn your gaze so that it goes underneath the shoulder. Can you open a little bit more? Can you find more rotation? And then can you breathe there?

Inhale. (inhales) Use your exhale to squeeze the breath out and then rotate a little bit more and Seesaw a little bit more. Take a deep breath. (inhales) Use that exhale. (exhales) Take that back arm up, up, up, up, up, rotate, rotate. Turn your gaze. Look under your shoulder. Look behind you.

Lift. Oh, down. All right, we're gonna lay on our stomachs for the Swan. Alright, so dear Swan, ode to Swan. I want you to take your legs and reach them long on the floor.

Depending on how you feel today, right, you could roll your legs in, a little bit. You could take your legs a little bit apart, right? There's all kinds of cool things to do to feel more open across the lower part of our back. So if you got a trick that works for you, go ahead, do it. I'm gonna ask you to not prep your shoulders today.

Don't draw your shoulders up, back, down. Don't do any of that. (laughs) Bring your hands directly underneath your shoulders. I want you to lengthen your toes along the floor. Like they have little wheels on them. I want you to reach the crown of your head forward and like a Xerox machine or even better, let's think about a jet on a runway, and you're gonna link them forward, the crown of your head, like the nose of your airplane.

And there's gonna be a moment here where you're gonna take off and you're gonna keep going forward on that runway. Don't use your arms yet. Can you pick your chest up? Can you like pull your tray table to their locked, upright locked position. (laughs) Now, lift your nipples. Lift your ribs.

Don't use your arms yet. And then come on down. It was only like a test lift off. Okay? So we're gonna do it again.

We're gonna reach the toes long. We're gonna reach the crown of the head forward. You're gonna slowly start to lift off. You got to take your nipples up. You gotta take your ribs up.

You gotta see how high you can come without actually lifting your wheels, your hands up off the floor. How high can you get? How high, how high, how high, and then go down. (exhales) Alright, we're gonna do it one more time. This time we're gonna come all the way up but I really want you to initiate the movement because you're reaching forward to the crown of your head. We're not doing a loop-the-loop, right?

(indistinct) forward like pick a destination. Where do you wanna go? Reach it, reach it. Go. Now start to push down with your arms, but only the 10%.

Use your back. Keep lifting, gain altitude go, go, go, go, and then bend the elbows and lower yourself down. That's all arms, down, all arms, the up should be your back. So let's do that again. Reaching legs.

I want those legs powerful here in your lift off. I want your legs powerful as you come up. I want your bellies drawing in. I want your upper backs and chest full of air. Fill it, fill it with your breath.

Fill, fill, take your nipples forward. Take your chest forward. Fill with breath and then lower yourself down. Use your arms (exhales) like a car Jack. Use your arms like a car Jack.

And then go all the way down. Alright, come up onto your elbows. We're gonna take your elbows a little wider than your shoulders. If you can make fist and sort of knock them together you're gonna take your chest forward. Gaze forward.

You got to take your ribs forward and then you gotta breathe forward like you have to fill the front spot. Okay, here we go. (laughs) Breathing into the chest, we're gonna kick the right leg toward the butt two times. Kick kick, take it down. Kick kick, take it down. Inhale, (inhales) and down.

Exhale. Where's the breath? Can you feel it? Can you move it forward? Can you feel the stretch in the front of your thigh?

Like from the knee all the way up to your chin. Pull the belly in. Push down with your forearms and then we're gonna do Double Leg Stretch. So I'm gonna face you. We're gonna circle the arms around.

Place one hand on top of the other. I still need you to breathe forward into the front of your ribs. Okay? Squeeze legs together. We're gonna kick the heels towards the buttocks three times.

One, two, three, slide the hands down. Pick up your elbows, reach those legs long. Pick your head up. Turn. Look the other way.

Three kicks one, two, three, take a deep breath lift your ribs, fill (inhales) and then exhale. So right down. I want you to feel like your inhale is actually helping you lift up off of the floor. And then your exhale brings you down. One more time.

Three kicks, one, two, three, inhale here. (inhales) Exhale down. Good, okay. Tuck your toes under. pair up your legs. Bring your hands under your shoulders.

We're gonna go for a pushup here. (exhales) So my trick is that I really push my thighs up. Okay. (laughs) See if it works, draw your belly up. And here we go, lift. I push it so hard for me. All right.

So we're gonna take a little shift to the front, a little drop back to the heel. A little shift to the front, and a little drop back to the heel. I'm trying to stay as like long as I can. I'm thinking like a moving sidewalk. Forward and back.

You can pick up a leg up. Take it back, take it forward. I hit the wall. (laughs) Lift, take it back, Take it forward, take it down. Lift, take it back, take it forward, take it down. One more, lift.

Keep breathing. Stay here. Flex those legs. And then we're gonna go down. Slow, slow, slow, slow, slow, slow, slow. (exhales deeply) Reach your right arm out.

Lay on your side. You're gonna pick yourself up. We're gonna do some sidekicks. So I want you to take your legs forward So front corner of your mat, your elbow, your underarm, your hip push to the back. You place your hand behind your head.

It also could be here. It's perfectly fine. All right, we're gonna pick that leg up. We're gonna flex to go forward and then point to go back. Flex to go forward.

Stay here, push that heel away. Draw your abdomen back. Point the toe. Pause for me back here. Can you zip the zipper?

Like, can it come from here, zip, all the way up. I'm in a little bit of an extension here, like play around with it. Like how far back can you take your leg? (exhales) Does your belly feel like a trampoline? Because there should, and then come forward flex and then reach it and breathe. And then exhale, feel the tone.

And then come back. All right, we're gonna take both legs long and the hand's gonna come down. All right. I'm just gonna use my kickstand on here. Squeeze both legs together.

Pick it up, stay here. All right. So I don't have this problem (laughs) but some of you might be real bony here. So you could kind of rock back a little bit off of the bone but you also could try to pick your legs up a little higher. All right. So keep thinking about that trampoline belly.

You can draw it in. Feel the tone, but it's not hard. It's not like a rock, it's like juggling. And then we're gonna scissor kick. Breathe. (inhales) Fill your lungs and then squeeze all the air out of your lungs.

Right? Fill and squeeze all the air out. And then let's bring the legs together and take them down and then come on up to, I'm stuck to my mat. Come up to a kind of a mermaid position. Okay.

And then we're gonna take that mermaid. Oh, because that feels great. Take a deep breath. (inhales) Open this rib cage. Pick it up. Shine.

Like if there was a lantern inside your ribcage, it would be shining that way. Breathe. (breathes deeply) And then up. Ah, I love that stretch. All right. (laughs) To the other side.

Alright, so we're gonna lay on our backs. Oh, sorry. No, we're gonna lay on our sides. And we're gonna take the legs forward and we're gonna zip our zippers. Okay.

And also organize our, organize our costume. All right. (laughs) So pick that leg up. I'm gonna flex that top leg and bring it forward. Now, reach that heel in one direction but then draw your belly back in the other direction. Point that foot and take it back and then kick it front.

Point, reach, take it back. Kick it front. Point, reach, take it back. Kick it front and stay. Hold it.

Oh yeah, that's work. All right. So holding that leg here, right? You're using the top of the leg. I want you to draw that belly button back, back, back, back back. Now you're gonna point your toe, swing that leg to the back and pause here.

Like how far can you take your leg back? Can you zip your zipper? Right? So that you don't actually take your legs so far back that you fall forward or that you fall backwards. But I do want you to like activate that back leg up here, buttocks, hamstring.

And then swing it to the front 'cause I think we did that a few times and then back, this is the problem when you don't count, and yeah let's take both legs long. Pick the arm long kickstand arm right in front of your sternum. All right. So squeeze your inner thighs together, nice and tight, and then reach your legs long away from the zippering up action. Wooh, falling over, zippering up action of your abs, soften up the shoulders you don't need to use all that.

That was mostly a note for myself and then get up off the floor with your legs. Like how high can you go? Right, so you're actually kind of doing like a side bend a little bit, right? You're right here on your obliques. (breathes deeply) You're gonna feel like this whole lower quadrant. And then we're gonna scissors.

You're gonna breathe. (laughing) And you're gonna think how much fun we're having. (laughing) Yay buddies. And then bring the legs together and then take it down slow. And then we're gonna lay on our stomachs, reach those arms out our front. Now remember how much you use your back of your legs here. And we're gonna lift the back of the legs and lifting arms, we're swimming.

And we're gonna paddle, paddle, paddle. (breathes deeply) And we're breathing as much as we can as full as we can, filling our lungs, keeping our heads above the water and then lower everything down. Bring your hands underneath your shoulders and sit back into child's pose. Drop your heads down. Breathe. (breathes deeply) Okay. Come on up.

Onto your knees. All right, we're gonna go into a side bend here. All right. So no, no, if that was just me, get back there. All right. We're gonna take the right leg out.

To the middle of your mat, flex the foot, bring the metatarsal onto the floor and then slide your other leg out. Now, you could go legs together and you're gonna stack your legs. One on top of the other when we go into our side bend, or you can have your feet hip width apart. I'm gonna start hip width apart. I'm gonna take my left hand, place it in the middle of my mat and I'm gonna rotate and breathe.

And I'm just gonna go right back to where I was. (exhales) And then my left hand comes to center and I rotate and I breathe. Push that floor away. And then come back to our starting position. I'm gonna now bring my legs together for that other version that I mentioned. And then I'm gonna place my right hand to the middle.

I'm gonna stack my legs. This time, I'm gonna bring my arm down. I'm gonna look at my hand and my foot, and then I'm gonna come up and over, I'm gonna breathe into my ribs, and I'm gonna come down. I'm gonna do it again. I'm gonna lift, I'm gonna breathe into my rib cage.

And then I'm gonna come back to you. And I'm gonna start all over to the other side. I'm gonna keep my legs together 'cause I'm gonna stack 'em. Take my right hand in the middle and I'm over. I know it's not the best view but anyway, we're gonna go up here.

I'm gonna lower the arm lower the gaze, lower the hips and then bring it up, up and over. We're only gonna do twp. Take it down, wooh, you gotta push that floor away with your bottom arm and then get yourself level, and then take it down. (exhales) Put your knees down, sit back, child's pose. (exhales) And then we're gonna do the last, the last little twist, where you gonna place the right hand, sorry, I'm gonna place the right foot in front of your left leg. And this hand needs to be out just a little bit. You need space here.

Okay so we're gonna take the arm up, prep first. Just take the arm through. Stretch, stretch, stretch, twist, twist, twist, to inhale, and then exhale, (exhales) and then up. Okay, now we're gonna try lifting the butt up and the arms do that little sequence, right? So step strong into this right leg and stand strong into this left arm.

Here we go. One, two, three. (laughs) And up. Now stay here. Can you twist a little bit more? Can you breathe? And then come on down.

Oh, and then again, so we're gonna inhale and then exhale to finish off that twist. (exhales) And down. We'll do it one more time when you could come up onto the tippy toes of this foot if you wanted, the metatarsal line. Inhale. Exhale. (exhales) Oh, see if we could balance up here. Oh, that's really tricky. And then wooh. (laughs) If you fell down, please tell me because I wanna know.

All right. (laughs) Let's go to the other side. So my left leg is coming in front and my right leg is tucked back behind. I give myself a little space between my Palm and my hip. I'm just gonna do a little prep. Twist under, through, open.

Again, twist it now. Really exhale. Get off that air out. So that that inhale is full and delicious. Now we're gonna, we're gonna go for it, right? We're gonna take a deep inhale, and we're gonna exhale, shoot it through.

Balance on one hand, one leg, rotate, and then come down with control. You gotta really tuck your tailbone under. It's like you gotta curve in. It's a little bit like what we do when we have to do, you know, a tendon stretch and go go, go, go, go, twist, twist, twist. And then come under. (breathes deeply) So we got one more to do, and you can rise up on your metatarsal as well if you want.

Up you go. Oh boy. Let's see. I don't know if I got it today. Oh, not really. (laughs) Hey, but you know what?

If we can have a good laugh during our practice, well, I don't know where that was gonna go but I like to have a good laugh during my practice. Put your hands to your knees and just pull back for a moment. 'Cause laughing is definitely an abdominal exercise (laughs) and it feels good. We don't have to take ourselves so seriously all the time, do we? Go for a little rotation?

Take a deep breath. How the heck we're supposed to grow if we don't, you know, challenge our limit. And then come back to center. All right, we're gonna take the arms over. Check it out, we're right back at the beginning where we were.

Drop that elbow, soften that shoulder. See how it feels. Do you have a little more range? Does that breath feel fuller? Soften your shoulder.

Soften you shoulder, your elbow. That's the word I was looking for. Elbow. Sit evenly on both hips. See how far over you can go.

Come on up. I'm gonna go side bend one more time. And this time I want you to flex your palm and reach it out like this. And a lot of those old archival pictures of Mr. Pilates, he's like this and then come up, right. I think he's trying to like get a little more lift and a little more stretch in that side body.

And then, come on up. (breathes deeply) and breathe. We're gonna actually not end there. We're gonna do the core we're gonna do. Crab, Seal. Both if we can. Okay.

So (laughs) wrap your hands under, grab your feet. Okay. So curl that tailbone up. Doesn't your back feels so much more open? Are you ready for this?

'Cause I think you are. You're gonna like fill the back with air. As you roll back and then exhale come forward and use your exhale to also help you stop. We're gonna clap the feet here three times. One, two, three, roll it back, inhale, come forward and clap three times, one, two, three.

That clap is really happening because my arms are doing it. Not my legs. One, two three. You can clap overhead, too. Go for it.

And one, two, three. (laughs) And then come forward one, two, three, and then go over, one, two, three. And then come forward, one, two, three. Criss cross for your Crab. We're gonna go over, uncross recross, come forward. I really didn't test this one out.

Oh, I thoroughly right off my mat. I don't know where you guys are but I need to move back a little bit. Now, go back, open close, come forward and lift yourself up. Can you lift up from the bottom ribs and then take it up and over and then lift where your bottom ribs to come forward to tap your head lightly, right? Don't, no banging your head on the floor and then come forward.

And one more, take it back, (exhales) take it forward and then come to a sitting position. And that my friends is where we are going to end class today. Thank you so much for joining me for this series. It has been a pleasure. And I would love to hear from you.

So let me know how it went for you.

Back Care: Happy, Healthy Spine


1 person likes this.
Amazing! You are a good teacher. Excellence class, precise commentary. Thank you from Slovakia. It would be nice to meet you and take part in your workshop.
Julie Lloyd
Great class and a beautiful teaching style, thank you xx
Jennifer E
Each episode of this series has been so much fun! Thank you!!!!
3 people like this.
Happy spine, happy heart. Thank you, Maria - I really enjoyed this whole series. I hope to see more of your classes on here. Hugs from Portland, OR
Josephine C
One of the best classes and breathing sequence I've done. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Your voice is beautiful! Nice teaching too!
Lina S
Thank you for this enjoying class! I like the images you used (trampoline, plane taking off). I like the way you started the practice by emphasizing the importance of breath. It reminded me the way I start my yoga classes. I agree with you. Laughing is fun. We should never be too serious
Thank you thank you thank you! Love the trampoline image, I can't wait to use on my peeps! Love the laughter! We keep ourselves light and happy with laughter and it brings joy to our practice. Thanks again!
I loved it! you are just such an amazing teacher and and I loved all the laughter and thank you Maria for being a wonderful, openhearted and original YOU! 
I really like Maria's starting position prior to Side Bend Twist.  But I'll share what helped me get around: pivoting my front foot in and applying a little internal rotation to the femur first to prepare for the twist under in the pike.  Then pivoting on heel and rotating back out to bring sitting bones to floor.
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