Class #425

Pilates in Bed

30 min - Class


Layla continues her series of classes outside the studio with her "Morning Connections" workout. Begin to speak the language of Pilates in your body before you ever get out of bed. Start your day by increasing the range of motion in the joints, moving the musculature, and becoming more aware of the connection between the body, mind, and spirit as you move through your day. This workout is sure to get your day started off to a good start. This is a great workout for your iPod ...
What You'll Need: Mat

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Good morning. And before we begin this making morning connections class on Fridays, anytime I'd like to take a brief moment to speak about intention because the intention of this class is perhaps a bit different than most of the offerings here. And so I'd like to perhaps offer an exploration of thinking about what is the purpose here of this particular class. And in doing so, I'd like to think of it as speaking, opening up and beginning to speak the language of Pele's first thing in the morning and making connections to find the language of polarities within our lives as we move throughout the day. In speaking that language, I like to think of it as perhaps, um, a three tiered or three layered approach. The first being one of pure mechanics. And in this instance we're looking to open range of motion in the joints, the connective tissue and the musculature.

And the second layer would be to, uh, introduce the cognitive concept or the mind guiding and assessing and analyzing and improving the quality of the movement. And the third layer is that weaving back and forth between those two where the body is guiding, feeding back to the mind and the mind is feeding back to the body. It begins an interplay which is an intangible, a spiritual connection, if you will, where the body begins to sing it song and how myths tune. And so with that body, mind connection, um, I'm hoping that we can start our day this way and find that rhythm throughout the day. So let's open it up. All right, so I don't get down in here.

Okay. So what I'm hoping you have available to you is a bed and we can talk softly. You can even mute me later on if there's somebody right next to you and you don't want to wake them up. Um, but I'd like a pillow under your head and another under your knees to begin with. If you don't have that, a rolled up towel would certainly suffice. But if it's cold outside, keep the covers on. That's quite all right. We're going to begin quite slowly with our ankles and our wrists.

We're going to flex and extend. And it's not about the toes and fingers right now. It's about the wrists and the ankles and nice and slowly exploring the length and range of movement that we can get in these. And then let's, so we're circling the ankles and the wrists, finding the limit and the range of what we can do. Hold here and reverse it. And if you get really good at it, you can try to circle your ankles in one direction and your wrists and the other. I couldn't really do it.

Taking the fingers and the toes now and curling them down and then splaying them open and wide. So as you can see, the fingers are wide curling down, opening wide. So we're getting a lateral opening here in the fingers and toes, not something that we get a lot of in our feet every day. Extend the arms now up to the ceiling and simply reach the fingertips up to the ceiling. Scapula spreading wide on the back. And now we're attract the scapula behind you gently and extend and retract. Just getting some nice movement through the back of the body.

Make sure that the knees now are spread about shoulder with the part. As we begin to internally rotate both the hips and the shoulders, externally rotating femur and Humerus, and we're pretty much having to flop our feet to internal and external rotation to hold that external and you begin to feel an opening in the hips. Hold the internal and the external [inaudible] keeping tension out of the back and away from the shoulders. Let the legs quiet for a moment. Here we'll do some scapular reaches. So with the right hand, sweep the pinky to the inside and reach up to the ceiling as the opposite arm drops down and there's the scapula comes down into the bed and now switch it so the pinkies are sweeping to the inside.

Palms are facing back and we're reaching an opposition and you can really begin to feel this in the oblique as you work to stabilize through the oblique and reach higher with the arm. One more each side. So far we haven't woken up anybody next to us and that's good. Then the knees and squeeze that pillow or that towel between your bottom and your heels. And think of your two sitz bones and we're going to reach the left one down to the left hip, raising the right but not arching the back, keeping the spine in neutral, where reach the right to the right heel and now the left hip to the left heel.

So we're getting some nice lumbar lateral flection and there may be some pops and cracks or certainly is for me at any given time of day for some of these. Keeping your legs here and keep squeezing that pillow or that towel with your heels. Arms are down. We're going to remove the head pillow, so headdress down if you're on a reformer, same thing. Pelvic peels up. So we're tucking the pelvis under and lifting and rolling up, not too high. Keep the chest nice and open and soft. Inhale and exhale. Roll it down.

Start allowing the breath to expand any long gate the movement and start allowing our movement to Elongate and expand. Breath and this starts to feel really good. There's been no spinal articulation for hours and hours while we lie in bed or very little and one more, and this feels great to begin to get movement in. Now let's lift the spine up in neutral, so no articulation. Lift the entire picture up and now drop it down and the tailbone comes down. First lifted up, not tailbone, but really sacred.

Comes down onto the bed and up and down. Glutes are beginning to be aware and awake. One more time. Go ahead and take that pillow or towel out from underneath your knees and let's try to get a little bit of flection in the thoracic. So if we can hands behind the head, you can leave the elbows up towards your ears a bit. Straighten the legs and keep the toes softed softly pointed.

Inhale, lifting the head slightly off the bed and exhale. Flex the spine over to one side, but really it's lengthening of one side, not a collapse of the other. On the exhale, press the head back into the bed, open the shoulders and open the elbows into the bed and feel a length through the extended side. Reaching through that opposite hip. Inhale, lift, flex to the other side. Exhale down, open the shoulders and through the extended side. Inhale to lift and reach. Exhale to press and extend. Ooh, I feel a warmth in my waist. So great. Inhale, lift and reach. Exhale, press and extent.

One more time to the right and press and reach as you exhale. Last inhale and exhale, press and reach. Come back to center. Take your covers and fold them back until they hit about the top of your thigh with an underhand grip. Let's grab the covers and use them as a bit as a prop here. Before we do that, I'd like to introduce a concept if you can think of a Bungee cord attached to the inside of your elbow, running up to an islet in your armpit, down the side of your body, through an islet on the side of your hip, and then is finally attached to the outside of your ankle.

We have now on both sides of our body attention a spring that has been formed by this bungee cord, so let's remember that. And now as we begin the roll up, inhale to nod the Chin and extend the back of the neck. As we inhale, we're also lifting head, neck, and shoulders. The elbows are on the bed sliding down towards the feet. As we exhale, the elbows initiate the movement. The Chin stays the same, rolling towards the feet as the abdominals pulled back towards the headboard.

An opposition here. Inhale and exhale. The abdominals drop back to the headboard as the elbows drop down towards the bed and towards your feet all the way down. Let's repeat that again. Inhale, long neck, head, neck and shoulders up. Exhale, abdominals. Pull up to the headboard as the elbow slide down towards the ankles. Inhale at the top. Exhale, we reverse it so the abdominals are pulling us back and down towards the bed.

As the elbows are reaching down towards the ankles, let go of the covers. Same thing. Hands are in the same position. Inhale, long neck, head, neck and shoulders up and exhale, elbows reaching down towards the feet. Inhale at the top. Exhale the abdominals pulling back and up as we reached the elbows down and towards our feet. One more time. This way. Inhale and exhale, slide and feel that oppositional pool between the abdominals and the side. Body exhales. We roll it down. Extend the arms too in this direction. Same tension.

Elbows connected to ankles. Inhale, head, neck and shoulders come up. Exhale, the elbows lead the movement as the abdominals pull back. Inhale here and exhale, dropping it down the abdominal. Slow the movement as the elbows pull in opposition towards the feet. One more time. Inhale, head, neck and shoulders, no tension in the chin or the chest. Exhale all the way up and pull it back.

Gotcha. Take one knee up for a little single leg. Stretch, pulling, pulling the leg up to the ceiling so that the arms are straight and now pull the arms back but don't move the legs. So we have a tug of war. We have tension pulling in both directions. The head, neck and shoulders come up and instead of moving the legs, we flex and extend both feet. So the leg is pulling strongly as the arms are pulling in opposition, we're curled up and we're flexing and extending. One more. Hold it here. Head, neck and shoulders come down. No tension.

Changes in the leg and the hands and extend the spine. Yeah. Inhale, exhale, let it go. And let's switch legs. Inhaling, the leg comes away from the body. Exhaling as the hands pull the leg in opposition curling up. We inhale to flex and exhale to extend.

So my leg is pulling strongly towards the ceiling as my hands are fighting that in opposition, flex and extent tension is out at the neck. Hold the flex, come down to the bed and give me some spinal extension. Inhale. Exhale. Let's do a little leg work. So both legs out of the covers. I hope you're warming up at this point.

Flexing the feet and making sure you're not going to hurt anybody. Next to you abduct the legs and then point to come in. So we flex to go out and point to come in. This really isn't about where the challenges, pelvic stability. This is about range of motion in the hips and activating the legs.

Now hold it here and we'll point to go out and flex to come in. He out and flexing in feeling those hipbones fine their range of motion. Hold it here. Come into a pigeon toed but flexed foot position [inaudible] so we're pigeon toeing out. Then we turn and we duck foot in. So our heels meet, we switch here to a pigeon toe, come out, switch to a duck to come in and now you can really feel the rotators that you need to work in these hips and what that does to the bones right in the socket.

We'll pull it in and one more time and pull it up. Now we'll switch at the top. So hold it here we duck to go out and internally rotator pigeon to come in, switch here, duck and rotate pigeon. That's the hard one at the bottom to rotate internally in and so good for our rotators as my hip is popping and leg circles. And again, this is not about insisting on pelvic stability with our bodies. This is really about stirring this femur within the hip socket.

Hold at the top and reverse. Yes, it would be nice to not move around too much on the bed, but that's not the primary focus. Which legs circle to the inside coming out. So the intention and the focus is really with that femur. Deepen the hip socket and feeling the muscles in the strain switch and go. The other way that this momentum is placing on the pelvic stabilizers, it's okay to just note it not to necessarily fight it. One more good. Bring both legs up again.

What I like to call Peter Pan, so we're, we're pulling. For instance, the left leg straight down, the heel comes to the groin. As the right leg extends out to the side, come together and the heel pulls straight down as the opposite leg extends to the side and make sure that you are feeling a direct pull down with that heel. Otherwise it, the whole weight of the thing will carry you off somewhere. One more time. Each side. Let's do a little spine twist.

You can bring the arms up at the goalpost arms or wherever it's comfortable for you. The only goal I ask here is that you keep your knees together and we'll discuss that in a moment. So we're just going to twist to the side, but don't allow the knees to change. So however far you can move, that's your range. If you find yourself scooching down the bed, it's probably because the opposite oblique is not pulling you back strongly enough and you're using other musculature to do that. So make sure that you're really initiating the pullback with the obliques. And the reason I want to stay pretty strict with this knee is because I really don't want a lot of lumbar rotation. I'm really looking for more thoracic rotation.

Good. Hold it here and now we'll get it from one more angle. So come over to your side, make sure your back is straight up and down as your Shin should be. And your elbows should be a good six inches behind your knees, keeping the knees straight and together, matching the elbows. Take a slight pelvic tuck. So we're not going to come into back extension, open one elbow and now we're opening and twisting the upper thoracic area and clam those arms back open up. Remember keeping a slight pelvic tuck tendency would be here for some anyway to go into lumbar extension, which is not what we want here.

So you should feel this on the sides and in the upper back and now we'll do a few on the other side. Again, lining up properly so that the shins are in line, perhaps with the edge of the bed, the back is upright, the arms are a good six inches or more behind the knees open and that slight Tuck in the pelvis is going to help to protect that lower back and keep the twist where it needs to be, which is out of the lumbar. So make sure that your knees are not shifting as you're opening back and you may find that the two sides are very different. Mine certainly are. Let's come back onto our backs for a moment again and taking both knees into a tabletop position. The same thing as single leg stretch. We're going to pull the knees away from us as as we pull with our hands back into our knees and come up into a lift, pulling, pulling, pulling, and now extend back and feel spinal extension as most of the spine lifts off or lightens on the bed, depends on how soft your bed is. Hold here for two breaths.

Gently let it go. Crossing the right ankle over the left. If you can at least grab the shins and begin to pull this. Pull the legs down into the body and then up towards the Chin so we extend in length in the lower back. If you have the flexibility, you may grab the feet, but make sure you're not just pulling on the outsides of the feet. Pull the feet down towards the bed.

Shoulders are back and now both up, down and up towards the Chin and you find a wonderful opening in the lower back and breathe into that. Whatever flexibility works for you. Gently let that go. One more time with the oppositional pull of the legs and the hands. Curl up for a moment. Inhale here. Exhale, pull it still there and now we extend the spine, the spine lifting. Enlightening on the bed. Yeah, too long breaths.

Gently let that go. Crossing left ankle over right shins or feat for a nice stretch as we pulled down into the body and then up towards the chin. If you can, opening that lower back and breathing into it. I didn't go grab behind the thighs. Gently rock yourself up and swing your legs off the side of the bed.

Everybody's bed is a different height. This Cadillac bed is quite high. If you can bring your heels back to where they're almost in line with the bed and you're sitting on the edge of the bed so that when your arms are dropped, your palms are flat on the edge of the bed. So inhale, exhale, press the heels down to the floor, stretching the Achilles, pressing the hands into the knees and coming off of the bed, but keeping the knees or, or feeling like you're lifting off of the bed. Find your stretch depending on how high your bed is and how flexible your Achilles are. Pressing deep into the Achilles tendons and they're just wakened up so they may feel different. Sitting back on the bed with an inhale and exhale, press.

The palms were high in Relevate. Now press the palms into the side of the bed. Inhale lifting one leg and exhale straight out in front of you. Flexing that foot as we inhale and lift and too, and really engage the front of the bed with the palms here. Back is upright. Four and five come back into elevate.

Inhale, exhale. Press the heels back down again. Lifting and putting more weight forward and down, stretching that entire back of that ankle and calf and come back in relatively high and relevant. Inhale, pressing the front of the bed. Exhale, lifting and extending the opposite leg. Flexing the foot. Inhale two and three. Four back is upright. Come back high and [inaudible]. Inhale and exhale.

Let's get him up to a stand. Turn to one side. If you have a your towel or a soft pillow, if you're on a hard floor, if you're on a carpeted floor, it shouldn't be too much of an issue. If you're on a hardwood floor like this, you're gonna want a little something for your knee. So we're going to come into a wide scissor and I'm going to come here so that my knee is going to be above the pillow.

I'm into a wide scissor and come down, drop the knee down and lengthen the Baccto out. So now that from Nita Shin is on the floor, needed tow. Then we can press our hips forward, making sure that the knee stays over the ankle or behind it, but no for note no further than the ankle in front of it. Otherwise adjust your forward foot, pressing the hips forward. Inhale and exhale. So there's a good hip opener right here. Now on this inhale, press the heel of the forward foot softly into the floor and the entire Shin of the back leg into the floor. Inhale, that increases the stretch on this inhale, the pressure of the forward heel and the pressure of the Rear Shin pulls towards one another. Increasing the stretch further light on the toes, on the front foot, the whole back leg, top of the foot, knee and shin.

Pressing down into the floor and forward towards the middle of the body. And lastly, on this last inhale, reaching up, reached the shoulder, shoulders down, hand is up. Increasing that stretch one more time. [inaudible] slowly and gently pull backwards out of this. And we're going to come into a standing hamstring stretch.

So in the scissor position, you may find that just getting to a standing scissor is going to be a good stretch for you. That's where it needs to be. That's great. If you need more, flex the forward foot and feel that stretch and lengthen into it. If you need more, you can slowly flex the lower back and extend the spine alternating. Flex an extent and flex and extend. Come down gently bending the forward leg. Back leg comes over, the pillow softly rolls up, who we turn around for the other side. Again, making sure the knees going to be supported with something soft. If you're on a hardwood floor, come into the wide scissor position and then drop. Bend both knees, dropping the back one down to the floor and extend the toes out behind and now reach the hips forward.

So the knee comes over the forward ankle. Inhale, feeling the opening and the hip flexor on this inhale, the forward heel and the back shin press straight down into the floor. And on the next one, the forward heel and the backwards shin begin to draw towards one another towards the midline of the body [inaudible] and lastly, add the reach of the arm, extend up and long and inhale that slowly bend and come out of it into a standing scissor. And again, find your hamstring stretch range, flexing that foot forward foot if he needed more. Bend and extend the lower spine to increase that stretch. Good morning and the forward foot, bringing the back wind behind it and up to match it with bent knees.

Inhale here and exhale slowly roll it up. Inhale tall, placing one palm between just under the navel. Inhale here and exhale slowly rolled down over that hand trying to keep that hand vertical for as long as possible. And when the finally reaches up, point drop both arms as we roll down. Inhale here. Exhale, rolling back up.

Inhale, arms are overhead. Exhale slightly. Shift the weight forward onto the balls of the foot. Inhale again, as we traction our feet out to the sides of our body, so it's like as if our feet are trying to slide away from one another on the floor, but they don't move. Inhale tall and exhale from that position with those feet tractioning away from one another. We've been back and open the chest, sweeping the arms behind us and around in a circle. I'll stand sideways for this. Next one. Inhale, palm on the belly and exhale, curling the upper spine over the palm, keeping it vertical for as long as we possibly can.

Letting it go when we need. Inhale at the bottom. Knees are soft and not lock. Exhale, roll it back up. One Vertebrae at a time. Pull that hand back to the belly. How soon can you get it to go vertical and then uncurl over it. Inhale, both arms come up. Exhale, press the hips slightly forward onto the balls of the feet. Inhale, lifting tall.

As we slide the feet away from one another or feel like we are an exhale, bending back to extend and circle the arms around. One more time. Hand on the belly. Inhale and exhale, curling right over, holding it vertical, and then let both arms down as the abdominals continue to draw up to the ceiling. Inhale at the bottom and exhale. Pull that hand back. How soon can it get vertical? And we unfurl on top of it. Inhale, arms overhead. Exhale, hips shift, flighty forward. Inhale, lifting tall feet, pulling away from one another, and exhale, extend and reach.

Inhale up. Exhale, and inhale and exhale. I'm feeling it. The day's coming. Exhale, have a great day.


Great way to begin the day!!
Well i cant thank you enough for this one! I wake up alot of mornings with stiff feet and hands, I tried what I could recall of this on my feet before i got up yesterday and it helped so much. Next time I am taking computer to bed with me!! Thanks again!!
What a great concept Layla. Sure helped wake by body up this morning. I will be introducing this idea to clients who struggle to get up going in the morning. Thank you. ps one of my clients likes to do standing Roll Downs in the shower, the warmth up the water helps her back to get moving.... Pilates in the shower!
Jamie: Fantastic! So glad it helped If you have a "smart phone" you might try getting the mobil app version of Pilates Anytime on there. Then you could just play it on your phone... perhaps even using headphones to just listen. A bit more portable than the computer, but either will do the trick. Keep it up whenever you can... it seems to have more benefits as you become more regular with it.
Karen: Really glad you found the concept of value. Shower Pilates....intriguing, to be sure... not sure how to shoot THAT class
Love it! But I did it at night before bedtime- felt great!
I did this one in a hotel last night, after a cardio session in the gym where I was left feeling sort of tight and cranky because I hate hotel gyms :) It was great! Particularly the hip stretches, but all of it was good. This class works really well for a hotel room where there is not a lot of floor space.

One thing was you mentioned some poses that I didn't know - maybe that's for yoga people?
Thanks, Peggy. So glad it was helpful! Tight and cranky is no bueno. As for poses... not many of these are full Pilates exercises, or yoga for that matter... they are deconstructed to provide the essence of what the full exercises would require. Can you remember what I mentioned that you weren't familiar with?
Thanks for the reply! I went back and listened - as you were sitting on the edge of the bed, you said a few times something like "into relevay" and "high into relevay". Looks like it's a ballet term (releve), meaning rising up from the heels. I realize that I have a lot of terms to learn, and this class wasn't marked for beginners, so maybe it's something I should know.
No... you are absolutely correct... it is the ballet term "relevé", pronunced "relevay".. nothing to do with Pilates (Joe might have just said "rise up on your toes" in his German accent) . I realize I threw that term (and gosh knows how many others) in there without explanation. Thanks for helping me to focus more on clarity Sounds like Pilates is a new journey for you... I hope you find strength, peace and joy in it... I know I can't imagine my life void of the inner awareness I have gained from it
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