Class #4255

Corps Basics

55 min - Class


Go back to basics with this simple Mat workout with Amy Havens. You will move consciously through slow, rich movements that will enhance your practice by working on key Pilates principles such as stability and positioning. Wherever you are in the work, this class will enable you to be present in your body and reinforce your connections and your understanding.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hi everyone (clears throat) excuse me, I go, hello, I should say I was gonna say good morning, 'cause I always say that, because I'm at my morning time, but some of you of course are later in the day. So, I'm just gonna say welcome, and thank you again for being here with me. Hope you're feeling good in your body, your mind, your spirit, your soul. I've got my raptor-eagle T-shirt on today taking flight, I feel like that's kind of a nice theme for me right now, and let's do that. And so, today's kind of a basic, when I say basic, I also don't mean that it's easy.

So, it's not a fast-paced class, we're gonna go deep and feel some of those really wonderful connections that we know our Pilates method is really all about in stability, positioning, just moving very consciously and kind of syrup-like if you know what I mean, kind of slow and rich in that, okay? So, let's go ahead everybody and start with a standing roll down. I just tend to like to go sideways just so I have enough room here to walk myself out. (clears throat) But any good practice is going to start whether your yoga, fitness, Pilates, getting ready to kind of put yourself being present into what you're about to do. So, let's just stand for a moment.

I'm closing my eyes, it feels right right now, just to take a couple deep breaths. And feel the floor underneath your feet, and I want you to get a sense that your ankles right now, are not just lazy, that you have a little lift in the arch of your foot. Yeah. And so, your arch is not collapsing and just resting, but you've got to lift in the arch. And that lift in elevation can carry itself all the way up your legs, up into maybe your pelvis pelvic floor region.

Some of you're probably feeling that relationship, isn't that cool? Up into the space between your pelvis and then ribs. If you're short waisted like I am, let's get a little more lift between those bones and then carry that length (clears throat) all the way up through the sides of the neck and up through the tip of the ears and tip of the head. Hopefully you all feel a little bit more elongated. So, as we're there now, let's take the head (clears throat) excuse me.

And around the neck and shoulder girdle forward. I'm not gonna go all the way down right now, I'm really going to stop myself right at kind of the base of that bra line or chest line, pictorial wall really, you should be able to see your feet. And check that your arches haven't collapsed, or your feet haven't rolled in, okay? And use muscles there to pull those arches up, and then let's restand. So, we'll roll back up to standing tall.

Let's take another breath in. And we'll sing the sing, neck cervical flection, adding that upper back flection. Now, as we're going farther forward or more forward, we're not collapsing over ourself, we're internally lifting up and in, which that up and in invites a little more over the legs, maybe for some of us. Check those arches, you've got a bird's eye view of them like literally (laughing) Look at those arches and make sure they're not collapsing. So, you're actually gonna really structurally work those feet, right?

Muscularly work those feet and ankles. Okay, rolling up. We wanna rotate that pelvis, so it's right up above those leg bones. Now, we'll do one more, let's take a big breath. And same thing, starting at the tip of the head tip of the ears, those roll forward.

Cervical flection, thoracic or mid spine flection, as you're entering the lower back area, really think support from the front, getting down. Okay, so, we've made it. If you need to bend your knees to get here, that's perfectly fine. What I'm gonna ask us all to do, is walk your hands out just enough that you can put weight on your palms, okay? And your heels of your feet.

And you're just standing there, and then just start to do a little minor weight shift forward and back to hands, and then back to feet. Once again, you can do this with your knees bent. Good, all right, let your head go. Well, we're just getting a little bit of stretch through the back of the body here everybody, okay? Now, I will have us come all the way down to the knees, and we are gonna stay down on the knees and do a little bit of that cat back, or reflection of the spine, and then some extension.

So, staying right where you're at, nice open-hand position. Just here. Abdominals up and in, but not making the flection of the spine yet. And concentrate on the length of your whole entire back, from the back of your skull, across your ribs and out your tailbone. Let's take a breath into that length.

And then I want you to think about the two ends, your head and your tail end coming toward one another, and what's in the middle of that, is that chest wall again. And right at the base of the ribs, really lift there, okay? Staying here, there's no rush this morning or today. In the front of our bodies, we've got those two hip bones. (ASIS) if some of you like your anatomy, bumpy hip bone, bumpy hip bone.

Can we activate the muscles by those bumpy hip bones and engage those muscles inward? Did you feel how that might've rounded your back a little bit more? Okay, I think a couple of you nodded, even though I can't see you, I feel it. Take that shape of your cat and your round flection, and start moving it back toward your heels. You're not going all the way down, I just want you to elongate the lumbar even more.

Get a great stretch, and then we'll return into neutral spine, where our shoulders are above our wrists, and once again, we're in that beautiful flat line, okay? Sometimes the throat or the front of the neck, drags you can take a look at what I'm doing, drags down, right? Like that, you see that head drop? That's not a great look and it's certainly not functional. So, I'm gonna actually lift my throat in.

I'm kind of the back of my throat back. There we go, now my head is more aligned with my spine. Let's take another breath in. Head to tail curl, and here we go, tip of head, tip of tail. Back of ribs, especially the lowest aspect of those ribs, those floating ribs they talk about a lot.

Now, you got to lift those to the ceiling. Those two front bumpy hip bone area in the front, those tammy muscles, really pull them in. And now, yeah, pubic bone, what's it gonna do? It's gonna pull, you're going to reach it towards your forehead, you can drop that head a little more, curl that head in. Let's take this flection everybody, and move it back a few inches.

And stay there, okay? So, some of us who know our reformer work, it kind of feels to me a little bit like knee stretch around. But otherwise you're just doing a beautiful flection emphasizing your lumbar spine, all right? And then moving back, we'll do it one more time, here we go. Elongate, think about the throat in the cervical spine relationship, breathe in, exhale, head and tail, curl.

It's not collapsing your strengths, there's a lot of support for this back of yours, just stretch, and the support is coming from your front. Those abdominal muscles saying, yes, I'll work for you to allow you to stretch that back of yours. And then move that shape back a little bit. We're actually gonna keep going all the way down, so that your sit bones meet your heels, and then, hello (laughing) And then come back in and we'll come back to our neutral spine. Okay, that's enough.

Let's come off of our risks you guys. Yeah, I'm gonna shake those risks out. So, just a good, nice little warmup of flection. I didn't do extension, I just did more kind of basic. But let's go ahead and go down on the mat, we'll go down on our back.

So, just find your way down, with my little audio pack a bit off the side, so I don't roll onto it, okay? And then place your feet in front of your sit bones. I'm gonna ask all of us to bring her heels kind of close to her bottom today. And then as you're lying flat, talk about awareness. Man, this is really like, what's making contact with the floor, okay?

And how is it making contact with the floor? I like that. So, let's start at the base of us, our feet, we know our tripod. Press the tripods of your feet down. So, the bottom of the heel or center of the heel, up and diagonal out to the base of the baby toe.

Okay, good. And then across to the big toe, and really stamp those landmarks down. You might've felt your hamstrings wakened note a little bit. That's good. Move up the landmarks to pelvis, of course, you've got that sacrum nice and level, your left hip, right hip pulling into the mat.

Your lumbar is your lumbar, some of you have a nice long lumbar, that's kind of already flat on the mat. Some of us have a short one that's domed. I'm gonna let it be there. Your rib landmarks, the shoulder landmarks the back of the shoulder, head, of course we're not flattening that cervical spine. And then everybody the pressing the back of the arms a little bit, okay.

So, as we breathe in, let's feel up the spaces in our body with the inhale. And as we exhale, I do want us to engage the abdominal muscles, pull them them in and flattening. When you use the word flattening, your lower back, as an exercise for your abdominals, really deep, deep, deep, deep, deep. Inhale, let them lift. So, just rock yourself to neutral.

And exhale. So, this very deep primary, but basic connection of flattening the lumbar spine because you can track this deep abdominal muscles. Not engaging the butt, it's just really coming from all of this here, inhale, rock to neutral. Three more, exhale. And as you're doing this, you're not getting short internally, can you feel yourself getting more in like elongated in the viscera area?

Like this whole gut region, like length and space, okay? Your back muscles in your back disc is really like the length. Inhale to neutral two more times, exhale, let's go into that imprinting, if you will, yeah. And then inhale into level pelvis one more time. Ready to add on?

Yes you are, I can feel it. Exhale, pelvic tilt. Okay, stay in that. So, here's these two hip bones, again, we're moving them in the direction of these abdominal muscles here. Curl the tailbone into your body more.

And let's all just roll up halfway up our back. And just halfway, okay? If you need to take a look and make sure that your pelvis is still level from right to left, that's a good thing to do, okay? That you haven't rotated as you've done so, it's okay to check. And then feel where you're at, pausing, you're just still here in this deep pelvic tilt, the little bit of pelvic lift off the floor.

Feeling those quadriceps stretch. Now, guys, we're gonna continue going up the spine, keep thinking you're curling your tail to do so. You're curling your tail behind you, in underneath your butt, okay? Now, your sternum in front is lengthening toward the tip of your head, that's one direction. And your tail underneath you is curling underneath you this direction.

So, you've got opposition, one form of it. Okay, let's inhale at the top. And then what starts rolling down of course is the back of the chest. Keep your chin away from your chest. So, your cervical spine is elongated and you're rolling through your spine bone, or joint by joint, trying to feel that mobility come all the way to neutral, inhale.

And rolling up again, starting at these two hip bones, they rolled deeply into you with your back flattens, you peel yourself up. Just feel those feet nice and strong. You can use the tripods to press down on the floor, and reaching your hips up, are you still curling your tail? I want you to curl that tail, okay? Stay with me here, everybody reach your arms now straight up to the ceiling, palms facing each other.

Now, as you're doing this, shoulder blade should still be flat on the mat. We're going to keep the arms there, wreath and deep, and roll down your spine. Keeping your arms steady and roll all the way down, okay? Once you're there (laughing) pause with your pelvis in neutral. Let's just do about three or four little scapular movements, arms reach up, and then feel the scapula come down on the mat.

And breathing with this, inhale. Creating more space now in the upper spine and around your shoulder girdle, inhale, arms up. And exhale to the mat one last time, we'll go up and down. Shoulders will stay back on the mat. Now, another pelvic curl.

So, deepening abdominal work. You don't have the back of your shoulders to help you like you did on the first one, but you're fine. Curling up all these beautiful basic movements, but deep connections, okay? So, here we are in this beautiful bridge line. Take those arms of yours, and reach overhead.

On this first one, let your shoulder blades really go up towards your lobes and with your hands and just feel that, it's okay. And then bring the arms back up above the chest. Now, let's do two more, and try not to move your shoulder blades as much. And just make a decision which one you need more. Some of us need the stability there, some of us need more mobility and stretch.

Last arm movement, go where you'd like to go, I'm actually going to let my shoulders come with me, I want this stretch and length. Keep your arms where they're at. Okay, get long and start rolling down your spine, shin off of your chest everybody. Keep that cervical spine, that airway open, so you can breathe fully, and get that lumbar spine, get the top of that sacrum down, bring yourself to neutral. But I do wanna see if you can keep the floating ribs anchored on your mat.

So, rib number 12 on your back. All right, interlace those hands behind your head. Let's get into some flection of the spine from down here working your tummy. So, interlace hands behind your skull, elevate your elbows up off of the floor, so you can see them in the corners of your eyes. Breathing in.

Ankles can come in together, knees can come together, let's flex the spine forward. Remember, your hands are not pushing your head forward, you are working your abdominals. I like to think of this cue, chest toward legs, okay? My head stays back in my hands, but I'm bringing chest toward legs. Just nice and clear and roll yourself back.

Only four of these, exhale and up head stays back, your hands are there holding that head, right? You're mortgaging your abdominal muscles, bring your chest toward your legs. Shoulders are low on your back and inhale lower. And again, we go up, back stay off. So, here's a nice chance to feel the floor again.

What part of your body is making contact with the floor? Use the floor, press your feet a little bit. Press your back ribs, your floating ribs on the mat just a little bit, curl up. And we'd go down, we're gonna add onto it now. So, going deep in these abdominal muscles, just staying there, I'm gonna have the, just keep her hands behind her head today.

Holding this position, breath in. Pick a leg, bring one to tabletop. And I know you're thinking so easy, Amy, stay there. We're not going anywhere, we're staying right here because (laughing) I'm asking us to, but go deep in this. Can you find dip deeper connection?

The foot on the floor? Yes. How you're using your back against the mat, yes. Widening the back of your back. Did you all feel how you caught a little higher on that?

Let's put the foot down and now bring the chest down. Use your floor, it's there helping you inhale. It's the grounding force, right? Exhale, chest lift. Hold this position with strength and integrity, bring the other leg to tabletop.

Right above femurs, right above that hip joint, it knows where to go. Sometimes we need to pause and really feel the depth of this basic movement. Are you evenly weighted on your back? Does your left back have more weight than your right back? If so, can you roll a little weight to the right of your back?

Can you tell that was my self cue for myself? Maybe you're the other way, maybe you need to do the other queuing, okay? And then roll down, lower your leg, let's do it again. Inhale. Chest lift starts, exhale and off we go, breathe in, one leg comes to tabletop.

Now, I'm gonna ask you to take the opposite hand off behind the head. So, my right leg is up, I'm using my left hand. And I'm gonna put that hand right on the inside of this thigh, 'cause I wanna use the muscles in this leg here, and I'm pressing that knee against my hand, and allowing myself to curl a little higher. I'm using my back on my mat to flex my spine more. So, I'm slightly pushing the floor, curling higher, hello abdominals.

Hand goes back behind the head, lower the leg and take your chest down. Other side, same story, breathing in. Curling up, nice and simple, but deep. Okay, second lane comes up. Keep yourself anchored, use that floor.

Curl a little higher, opposite hand right inside to the side of the knee. High part of that inner thigh, ready? And press the thigh against the hand, lift your chest a little higher. Use the base of your ribs on the mat to flex, widen your back, good. Take your hand behind your head and then set your foot down and your head down.

Similar start adding onto that, breath in. Exhale, curl up. Leg up. Okay, now let's add some rotation to that. So, I've got my right leg up to tabletop, I'm gonna take my left chest and rotate toward that side.

And then same thing, release the hand, this time it goes on the outside of that knee. Using the hand to press your knee a little bit, curl up a little bit higher again, stay there, stay there, stay there. And then return the hand behind the head, take the foot down, and one more on the other side, we'll breathe in, chest lift leads the way. Inhale, leg comes up, stay there. And then how rotate, right?

You're over onto the side of that shoulder blade, the opposite hand comes in outside of this knee. You're not resting on the back shoulder, you're trying to stay crew forward. Using your back, press it on the mat, this hand on the side of the thigh, press, press, press, deep, deep, deep work. Hand behind the head, foot down, chest down, everyone pause here, you can take your hands down by your sides. Deep inhale, let's bring both legs into tabletop, but before you do, I want you all, every one of us, to bias the pelvis to a little bit of posterior tilt just a teeny bit, and then bring those legs up.

And hopefully you felt why. So, they got you deep in your stomach and not just your hip flexors to lift your legs. From here, let's straighten our legs to the ceiling, okay? Hold those legs up there. Even if they're not perfectly straight behind the knees, I want your femurs straight up, okay?

So, let's just explore a little bit of external rotation in the femurs. In fact, I think let's all do this. Bend your knees a tiny bit and open your knees slightly, okay? So, there we've got external rotation in your femurs. Let the weight of your femurs just really sink into your sockets, okay?

And then hold those abdominals deep, let's try a little pelvic tilt from here. So, a little pelvic tilt. And then inhale, you can release it. Two more. And again, right from the muscles above the two hip bones here, try to roll those hip bones back or rotate them, you're light on your tail.

And then inhale the neutral one last time, exhale, and then holding there, take those femurs and roll them back to parallel, and out to turn out. And just parallel external rotation. So, you're just moving ball and socket. So, what I've done to make it a little more more fun, is I've let my feet separate. And I'm literally just wiggling my femur bones internal, external, internal, external, internal, external, okay?

Yeah, and keep doing that (laughing) And then everyone pause in neutral legs, but legs are separated in case I've got my legs about the width of my pelvis. Now from there, turn the femurs in a little bit, and to feel some interesting stretch on the back of your hip line here, and then out to external rotation. Okay, that's a long time to have the legs up for this. Put one down, take the other leg straight up to the ceiling, interlace your hands behind. Let's do an active hamstring stretch.

So, I want everybody to strongly press this leg into their hands. Let's also stretch the other leg long, it feels better. Okay, and I don't want us to pull the leg toward the torso, I want us to press the leg away from the torso, okay? And then study your own pelvis, are you truly leveled down there? Is this hip on this side sneaking its way into your ribs?

We want this length, you may need to adjust your hip on your own there, okay? Now, everybody bend this knee and straighten the knee a couple of times, just feeling the stretch in your hamstrings. Okay, now, let go of the leg, place your hands by your side, and let's take this leg over to the midline and beyond. So, it's ad ducting, we're doing abduction, abduction, adduction, and then take the femur out to the other side. Use your hand and kind of resist the leg from going too far, I don't want you to just be lazy and drop the leg, okay?

I've done this in class a couple maybe a couple of weeks ago. Just nice and slow feeling that, you wanna use the muscles of this leg to cross over your midline, and then use the muscles out here to move the leg out. One more time, cross over and press out. Pretty simple, nice and basic, bend the knee, stretch it to the mat, and let's bring the other leg up. So, again, you're back behind the thigh, interlace the hands, work to straighten the knee as much as you want or can.

But then focus on, okay, am I just holding my leg up here? No, she's asking me to activate something. Everyone press your femur into your hands, and how does that hamstring stretch feel? It should feel pretty good. And then adjust your sit bone underneath there, that pelvic half, make sure that it's as level with the other one as you can feel.

Sometimes it's nice to peak up and look, you're teaching yourself, you're in your practice, okay? Yeah, and pressing the legs. So, that's an active stretch of the hamstrings. Now, taking your hands down, take this femur over the midline without moving the pelvis, right? So, this is a pelvic, you're still in the stability of pelvis, but you're taking that leg into abduction, and then abduction out to the side, right?

Your femur, and what it's doing in the hip joint and crossing over, try to use muscles to do that. And then over to the outside, one more time, crossing over and then opening to the side. Great, everybody bring that knee in. I want all of us to take both knees to our chest, one hand on this shin, one hand on this shin, let the knees separate, so that there is wide is your own shoulder width. And press on your shins, everybody, okay?

And that should feel delicious in your lumbar area. Now, let's pick up the head in the chest, we're going to flex our spine forward. We were just here with all those chest lift movements, but now we don't have anything to support our neck except our own muscle. So, it's in the neck, the cervical muscles, and deep in those upper abdominals, okay? Bring your knees a little closer, and then shift your one leg straight.

I'm gonna take my left leg forward, and just sneak my left hand over next to my right hand. And I want everybody just hold a position, okay? What value can you feel here? Can you just square your pelvis? Press your hands on the shin.

Let's just do one slow one on the other side, here we go. And just hold, okay? So, what I want us all to think about too here, is the bent Lang here, the back of this calf, press it toward your hamstring flesh, really pull and press that in. Do you feel how you can get higher and your back is wider? I know your neck is probably getting some work.

Here we go, let's change it with some rhythm and we go, one and two and press your leg against the other leg, press. And just four, and three, and two, and one, both shins in, let your head roll back. Well done, you're still pressing, you're still active, you're still active in here, breathe in. Roll the head neck and shoulders up. Yes, we're Gonna double leg stretch.

So, get et into that upper abdominal wall there. Okay, arms back, legs forward, don't rush through this please, stay there stretch. Stretch, stretch, stretch. And it will circle and knees open, pull yourself in tight. Just two more.

Inhale, keeping your back down, stretching low. Circle and knees are open, press hose shins down. Get your back down, one more time, inhale. And exhale whole round. Really, really, really, really tight, small little ball.

Put your hands behind your shins, roll up. Told you, some basic connections, deep. We don't need to do all the repertoire all the time, there's another time for that, it's not today. Okay, let's explore side lying for a little while. So, lengthened out, just had an image of a cat, how they get so long.

How did cats get so stretched out? It's beautiful, okay. So, I'm making a choice this morning or today to put my elbow bent and set my head on my hand just so I can keep my neck a little supported, rather than letting my head be lower than my neck, okay. Check that your legs are right underneath you. And then I do want everybody to have this hand in front of them right now.

You can prop up on fingertips or flat hand either way, but let's do this, just roll forward a little bit. Almost like you're going to roll onto your tummy and then roll backward a bit just so you can feel where is between the two places. One extreme is too far forward, One is too far back of course. So, let's find your own position where you're right between the two, okay? So, you're on the greater trochanter, which is that bumpy bone on the side of your femur.

Some of you have a prominent bony landmark there, and if that's you, you probably tend to cheat a little bit and lean back during some of these leg exercises, which might make your back do more work than it should. We want balanced work from stomach and the back. So, trust leaning into that, and you can use the hand to help support you, but guess what else we have for support? Muscles, muscles that lift weight, right? We don't just get so lazy on the floor.

So, we lift our weight up. Yeah, I've got this nice lift here. So, it's all through my abdomen, I like to call it my abdominal band. So, it's everything here. Okay, take both legs firmly together, that's gonna engage adductors and hamstrings all around the hips now.

And let's bring the legs up off the mat, not very high, please, just an inter two, and legs down. So, it's this lift, this engagement, that you raise your legs, right? It's coming from all of the connection in your abdominal band, your back, your hips, raise your legs, right? I want this to start to, if it's not already feeling pretty easy, eventually it'll feel like not a lot of effort to lift your legs. All right, one more time, everybody hold here, get onto that trochanter, trust, trust, trust.

And now try to take your hand off. You can keep, if you're losing your balance, that's okay, it's probably pretty normal where you might be rolling forward, that's okay. Firm this up, it might help. But those of us who feel pretty balanced, let's go ahead and take our arm nice and strong up above us here. Hold, nothing fancy, just hold a connection, okay?

So, if someone were in your room with you, and they tried to move this arm, they wouldn't be able to, I don't want you to be able to move this arm. So, it shouldn't just be kind of up in the air. It's strong like a really big Sequoyah tree, just really rooted into your back. It's your back muscles kind of that are holding your arm up, right guys? It's not through here, it's your back muscles.

So, now, from there, lower your legs, 'cause they're probably tired. Take this branch of your tree and overstretch over your head, and then bring it back up just one more time. But then the arm is going to stay up again where it was, just here, very strong from your back. Your lats, yeah, hold, bring the legs up again. Now, adding the top leg, it's going to move up and lower.

So, again, we're doing Adduction of the hip, out and and in. You're still balanced on the greater trochanter of your bottom leg and the side of your pelvis. If you need to lower that leg, you can. Two more arms is still strong. All that abdominal band area's nice and strong too.

Up and down with that leg, okay. Now, take your both legs down, inhale, bring them both back up again. Now, the bottom leg goes down and up. It doesn't have that far to go, that's fine, down and up. Last two, down and up, right?

You wanna really work this last one, hold it up there, hold, hold, hold, hold, hold. Take your arm overhead again, okay? So, if you were lying flat on your mat, I would say similar things that are ribs don't arch to the ceiling or back stays long, same connection here as you're lying flat, you want your back to stay wide, the front of your ribs kind of inward, and your floating ribs on your back beautifully wide. That should also help your balance everybody, okay. Arm up, legs down, and let's bring the hand down, okay.

Come up to sitting now. And I'm so excited because there's a window right here, and the marine-layer fog is getting moved out. The sun is getting stronger, burning that off. So, it's nice. Okay, let's do the other side.

So, move yourself around. Good. Stretch out long like a cat, right? How they stretch themselves so beautifully long. I've got my bottom arm bent with my head there.

Check those legs. And again, your hand is in front of your waistline, and let's roll ourselves just like we did on the other side, testing where our or weight is, forward and back. Now, and actually getting a little bit of a fascial stretch on that it band on the bottom leg, might feel good, okay? And I know my own anatomy, this side feels so different, I don't have the same prominent bone on this side. So, I don't feel like I have it to balance on as well actually.

So, there it is, I've gotta be balanced. Okay, now, we lift this side, right? You've got your lift from your stomach and your back to support your balance on the side of your hip and leg, that's partly what that's for. And then fingertips here, let's exhale, both legs up, and inhale, both legs down about five times. Exhale, both legs up, remember, not too high.

You're working on your balance, the back of your ribs isn't getting shortened, or your back isn't getting shortened at the 12th rib here. You've got lengths, length, length, everywhere, and up, and down and up one more time, exhale, lift. Okay, holding there, let's take our hand up. Hold this balance, remember what we thought about, the arm isn't lazy. If someone were in your room, it would not be able to knock your arm around.

It's very strong, into the back muscles, into your lats. Hold, hold, hold. Now, from there, if you wanna take your legs down if they're tired, you can, but let's test the balance, taking your arm over and up. And one more time, arm over and up. And then we'll take a little moment, hand down and legs down, not for long.

Breathe in, exhale, both legs up again. Get the connection, get this band taught. Arm up if you're going for it, we went to leg abduction. So, now the femur moves out of your center, move it back towards center. Femur moves away from center, back to center.

Check your arm connection. The back of that arm and shoulder blade very snug on your ribs, last two, up and down, and up and down. Okay, legs down, but right back up they go. Now, it's the bottom leg that goes down and up, down and up. If this is too much work you put your hand down, keep the activity in the legs.

Down and up, strong arm, down and up. And now one more time to stretch out, hold your balance. Remember, it would be tempting to find balance by thrusting your ribs forward, that's just hindering your back, all right? So, bring the back body wide, wide through your back ribs. Stomach should be deeply in, get stretched and length, and then exhale, let's let everything come down, okay?

Wonderful. I'm gonna have us roll right onto our front right now. So, you're just right in the right environment. And what I want everyone to do first, stack your hands, put your forehead on your hands. And if it's doable for you, what I mean with that, is if your low back and your sacrum and this whole area feels okay, bring your legs really close together, all right?

If that right away just doesn't feel great, you just take care of it in and separate the legs a little bit. But there's some value for sure, in trying to keep the legs close, okay? And just take a moment and settle into this. Now, I don't want us to be just passive right here at all, I really want us immediately to get support from the front of the body, that abdominal band again, in up and long kind of through your ribs all the way through which should help your back feel longer, more spacious and of course not compressed. So, everyone just stay there, I think sometimes when we get face down, we speed through some of these prone exercises because it's hard to stay face down.

It's hard to breathe down here a little bit, but you can practice your breathing down from, I'm turning my head just mainly because they have a microphone on the side of my head, I don't want to crush it. But focus on the elongation of the breath, the expansion side to side of the ribs. And dare I say, almost float the front of your rib wall up off of the mat, so you're not so pressed on there. Yeah? So, you feel that it's actually back work (laughing) just to be here, breathing.

Okay, now, activate these muscles, which are in your hamstrings and your buttocks, and everyone press your pubic bone in your two hip bones more firmly on the floor. So, if that means you have to separate your legs to do so, do it, I did. I wanna make sure I'm getting my anchors right, my pubic bone in my hip bones. There, now I really feel similar connection. I'm gonna press my shins and feet down.

My feet, not my shins, excuse me, my feet, the tops of my feet. From here everybody, float your head, okay? Float your head, press your elbows down. Check that the front rib wall hasn't just pooped and fallen forward. Keep the front of that rib wall up, feel the abdominal band supporting your effort, keeping that tailbone underneath you long, and then set your forehead back down.

I'm gonna do that twice more, yes, nice and slow, I told you nice and deep today, inhale. What's the rush? Those are all the things you have to do later today, but enjoy this, it's effort, it sure is effort. Press your elbows, okay? I'm gonna cue your throat again.

Make sure your throat isn't a hanging out of you, you can pull that throat in. The back of the neck should be very long, the front of your ribs, not hanging forward, you've got a little lightness there, and then set everything down, we have one more, inhale. And again, exhale. Start at your pelvis, make sure it's level imprinted, your front rib wall isn't just resting, you've got a little pick-up there And elbows are pressing, tip of the head, tip of the ears are long, okay. I'm just going to ask us to stay in this position and go into single-leg kick.

So, one heel, or foot comes toward the butt for two kicks, one, two, put it down. Alternate sides, and one, two, put it down, keep going. Have you lost the front body connection? Pick up the abdominals, try to pick up the front of the rib wall. Yep, press the elbows.

And four more. Three, work your front, even though you're also working your back. Last one front, front kick, and then everything comes down, okay. From here, everyone separate your legs now pretty wide, I'm gonna feel for the width of my mat. Okay, and then I just want to have us all shake, well, shake is a strong word.

Wiggle, move your pelvis left and right, okay? Just let some of that work drop out for a moment, okay? Now, lift the head up, prop up on your elbows for a second, bend both knees and put the tips of your toes together. It's almost like we're at the beach and the park just getting ready to kind of hang out with each other, would not be nice? Now, what I'm gonna have us do is, looking over one shoulder, I'm letting both feet drop toward that side.

So, I'm looking over my left shoulder, both of my feet have just kind of drop to the left. So, one leg is going into external rotation, one's going into internal. Slowly do that to the other side, and just toggle from side to side. If this is too much in to do up on your elbows, you can certainly do it lower, I'm going to show that here. But I just want us to kind of play for a moment, right?

So, move. Just notice where your pelvis likes to go, and your internal and your external of your femurs. One side probably feels easy, one side might feel a little less. Just take note, okay? And then we're going to rest right there.

And then everyone just come all the way up onto their hands and knees and rest back into a little mini, what we know is our resting shape or the mini child's pose, okay? So, that little toggling, that little hip wiggle, we're gonna kind of do something similar up on hands and knees. I've learned it as wag the tail. Side view will look okay, if I want it to just really turn and show my booty to you, I would, I just don't think I'll do that because that might not be the angle you all wanna see. You'll know what you're doing.

So, come on to quadruped, and spread your hands wide, and again shoulders right above, let me get this way, right above your wrist, okay? So, in a neutral spine, knees are together. Let's just kind of approach it the same way we did. So, this is going to be working some lateral flection of us rather than doing like side bend and some of those harder lateral flection. So, we're doing our connections, right?

So, if I take my left sit bone and arch it left, and also look with my eyes over that left shoulder like that, I'm not gonna go any further than that. So, I'm bending my waist to that side, I'm even though on the knees, I don't want you to shift your weight off of your knees. So, keep the even weight, just wag that left sit bone left, okay? Go back to center, do your other side. And just take a moment there.

Your abdominal band should still be actively inward and upward your body, you're not dropping that out. Your weight is even on your knees, and then let's come back through center. Inhale, put a little breath with it, exhale. And left sit bone, left. Look over your left shoulder, can you see that sit bone?

If you can, my goodness, you've got a lot of flection on your side. You don't wanna go so far that you really swing that out to the side, right? Yeah? And then center, take your right side, and over your throat is up, your stomach is engaged, yes. So, now, we can pick up the pace a little bit, and maybe not think about it so much, but just feel that natural rhythm of sit bone out and side bending, sit bone out and side bend, sit bone out and side bend, sit bones, and four more.

So, yes, you're contracting your lateral abdomen muscles, but you're probably feeling some stretch also in your lower back. And then everybody restrooms sec, come off your hands. Yeah, so, it's a stretch for the muscles on those side of your lower lumbar spine like that. So, if your side, I'll show you just quick, if your side bending left, this whole right side should get that beautiful, it's like yawn in there, right? That kind of stretch, okay.

So, come back into your hands and knees, let's go one more on hands and knees. Okay, focusing on upper back extension, probably one of the hardest places to do it is here I think. So, let's do it, we can do it. Knees together, or a part, it's up to you. Focus on your shoulder girdle right now, put all your thoughts there with, well, not all, stomach up of course, okay.

Roll your collarbone back. Externally rotate your upper arms, and start to reach your chest forward. Reach your chest even more forward, and start using your eyes to look in front of you. You're not gonna drop your tummy out to do this, but you're thinking about your upper back rolling on your back a little bit. It helps to slightly think of pulling your hands back towards your knees, and uplift your sternum and your chest.

And then everyone just come down into a nice neutral line, inhale, exhale again, and connect. So, it's really a lot collarbone rolling back if it could, upper back is engaging, you're reaching your chest, you're not dumping your stomach out, you're not over losing your lumbar length, you're trying to keep that long and really work your upper back and one more time. I've been doing so much zooming, I almost said, let me watch (laughing) I can't see you. Okay, one more time. Gosh, I wish I could see you all.

Oh God, and then off, yeah. Okay, and rest, rest, rest, rest, rest. I honestly did, I almost said, let me watch, I forget that I can't see you. Okay, shake your hands out. So, we've done a lot, we've done forward reflection, we've done lateral work, We've done some extension, what's left?

We've got some rotation. We did a very sneaky, sneaky bit at the beginning, but we haven't done enough. I'm gonna have you just sit down comfortably. Often what feels comfortable for me, is this diamond sit, all right? So, that at my speed are together, knees are open.

And if you're doing this sit with me, press your feet together, suddenly you get some activation in your adductors, okay? So, let's all do it this way today, place the fingertips right on your sternum, okay? And just lower your shoulder blades. So, you're not gonna need to do anything with your arms on this rotation, this is really about. So, well, think about a foam roller for a second, I have one in the corner over here.

So, I just visualize like I'm inside the tube of the foam roller. Use my, I'm weird with my images. But if you rotate to your left, that's my left, what if you are the foam roller, right? And you're kind of inside your pelvic cavity or somehow, and you're rotating, right? It's not your arms, the foam roller doesn't have arms, it's a cylinder, right?

We can have our torso be thought of like a cylinder. So, your arms don't need to do anything, pause where you're at, fingertips are still on your sternum, okay? Your nose is still in line with your sternum and fingertips, that sternum is still in line with your navel. So, see, this is kind of like our little foam roller line, let's say that, okay? From there we could maybe do some choreography with the arms, why not?

Let's just do arms open and closed a few times. Don't move your cylinder though. So, if you can really keep that foam roller cylinder image, okay? And one more. And then ask yourself and feel, hey, I've actually stayed freely even on my sit bones.

Nice, huh? And come back to center. Look at all this sun in the room right now. And then other side. So, you don't have your arms out, you're turning your trunk cylinder.

Right? And hold and study the weight on your sit bones, okay? Holding there. Now, let's open, close the arms without coming out of that cylinder. I did three of them.

We'll do this a couple of times each side 'cause I have some thoughts to add in of course, okay? So, there it is, and then come back to center. Now, to make it a little more muscular if you're interested in that, which I'd like you to feel, is just, here it is, you're just going to think about like this overlapping, see what I did there? (laughing) External obliques toward the internal oblique, just a little bit more like a, yeah, I don't wanna say straight jacket, but nice wrap sweater, okay? So, feel that with your muscles.

See where else they connected toward, is the abductor. So, obliques to adductors, all that, keep that, hands here, rotate. Keep it, keep it, keep it, press your feet. Let's take the arms again out. And in, wrap your sweater, turn your little foam roller cylinder inside your body, all the images.

Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, hold, make a longer cylinder, come back to center, let's go to the other side, right away, turn. And open and close and open, feel the muscles supporting what you're doing. One more time, open, close, back to the center, we've got one more, rotate. This time, arms are gonna go open, but then up, this challenges that wrap sweater and that diagonal connection. Press your feet.

So, using these connections and all the other fancy hard exercises, hopefully, that'll make a wonderful practice the next time. So, when you're doing a bigger things like side bend twist or whatnot, think about these connections. Like, oh yeah, we were in rotation, she asked me to do all these weird things with my obliques and my sweaters and my rollers (laughing) Okay, sometimes it helps. And then come back to center everybody, and just hold right here. I want you to open your arms nice and wide, let's do it nice, easy, just release, just release.

Just release side to side. Let your brain just go, no more thinking for a second or two. I'm gonna say thank you to the sunshine, my God, look at this, lovely. (sighing) Yep. So, a lot of us students so much mat work these days, keeping it, and you can rest, keeping it interesting and spicy can be a challenging at times because there's so much repetition of the work, but that's where we get to just take the images, anything that's cylindrical, or round, or extended and just use those images and play with them and see how that filters through your own thinking of things.

Okay, last stretch for the day, or for me, well, it's not for me, but those will be for to class, oh my goodness. Take your legs open. And then as we've been doing the last several classes, is just good old fashioned straddle stretch. So, put your hands here in the front, lean in, as the phrase is so popular these days, lean into it. It's good for you, lean in, checking out, in other words, lean in, right?

Bend your elbows a little bit, feel that out. When you bend your elbows, your body weight comes lower, therefore you'll probably feel more of the stretch, if that's something you like, go for it. You don't have to go too far. And we can't leave out going from right to left, of course why would we do that? Take your hands to one side, lean in, super gentle, nothing wrong with gentle, basic, my goodness.

Basic is great. Okay, and then the other side, in. I almost went into a political thing, I'm not going to. I won't, promise (laughing) Oh, but I could, one more time to the front, walk your hands a little further if you're interested, couple deep breaths. (sighing) Good.

I so appreciate everybody coming. And for those of you who are here live right now, you're amazing, thank you for being here again, and with everybody, each other, if you're watching this as the recording, thank you for taking class with me as always. I just so loved teaching, I think you all know that. I love to teach all kinds of things, basic, fast, hard, props. I think the main thing for me, is just thank you, I can't say it enough.

And how much I love to share and to communicate and teach this beautiful work of the method of Pilates. But it leads to so many wonderful things in our own life, all kinds of movement, all kinds of great communication, and also just this internal sense of joy that we get, I think from doing this movement. So, thank you so much, have a great week. And of course, check into all the live classes because we know, we've got all these rock stars, all these amazing teachers. So, I thank you so, so much and we will see you next time.

Good bye.

Pilates with Amy Havens: Move with Amy


1 person likes this.
Thank you Amy! That was a wonderful way to close out my day here in Ireland. Simple is indeed good, really felt a deeper connection. I truly appreciate the thought that you put into your classes. I will most certainly do this class again. 
1 person likes this.
Lovely class!
2 people like this.
Amy, I love your attention to detail. I could do your work all day! 
1 person likes this.
It's clear you love teaching! I think it's a big part of what makes you such an exceptional teacher.  Thank you again Amy.
1 person likes this.
Loved this deeper workout, just what I needed to wake me up today
Agnese G
1 person likes this.
Amazon lesson Amy! It was really going back to basic and going deep. I needed it! Your teaching is great.
Agnese G
1 person likes this.
Sorry, it was amazing lesson (the device changes words) and I'm Italian! I've got to be carful! Thanks again
1 person likes this.
I really enjoyed this class!
Hannah J
1 person likes this.
Thanks for keeping us going Amy! Your warmth is as valuable as your expertise right now. Love the variety of approaches in your recent classes.
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much Amy. With our third version of a lock down in Northern Ireland starting soon I am missing my pilates community but having such amazing online instructors here on Pilates Anytime makes such a difference. Loved today's class, just what my body needed. Please send some of that sunshine our way! xx
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