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Class #4327

Awareness and Alignment

30 min - Class


Focus your attention on your alignment with this Reformer class from Gia Calhoun as part of The Pilates Daily. You will flow through a traditional class while Gia offers suggestions for bringing awareness to various parts of your body to ensure proper alignment. This is a great class for the middle of the week when you want to get yourself back to your center but still get a thorough workout.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

Feb 09, 2021
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Hi, I'm Gia and today we're gonna do a reformer class focusing on alignment and awareness. It's a good class for the middle of the week when you want to bring yourself back to your center and get yourself ready for the rest of the week. So we're gonna start with your footwork springs. I have three reds, one blue, and we're gonna start with your toes on the bar, hip distance apart. You're just gonna push all the way out and then push your heels under the bar.

Make sure you're not hyper extending or locking your knees. Pull up in your quads and just feel a nice calf stretch. You're gonna inhale. And exhale. Just bring yourself back to your body, inhale.

And exhale. Bend your knees. Come all the way in. And then I'm gonna bring my feet a little bit higher onto the balls of my feet, wrapping my toes around for a prehensile position. So as I push out, I'll inhale and push my heels under the bar and then keep pushing the heels under the bar as I come in.

So I'm really trying to wrap around the bar with my foot. Exhale to come in. Inhale, lengthen. Exhale to come in. So as I'm moving my legs, dropping into my pelvis, pulling my ribs down, pulling my abs up, keeping my chest open.

So we're thinking about the alignment of the whole body, not just the legs moving. Two more. Last one. Good, keeping the hip distance apart. Feet, we're gonna slide up to the heels.

Flex all five toes back, inhale, stretch long. And back in. So as we're working the alignment of the legs, try to keep the knees reaching toward the center of the big toe and the second toe. They're not opening out or coming in. They're staying nice and parallel.

Inhale, lengthen. Exhale to come in. Keep the awareness and what's happening throughout your whole body. Last two. Last one.

Good, coming down to your toes. Heels together, toes apart. Knees in line with the toes. Again, inhale stretch. Exhale to return.

Nice and fluid movements. Trying to keep that constant motion going. Pulling everything to the center and then expanding out. Four more. And three.

And two. Last one. Good, bring your feet wide on your heels right to the corners of the foot bar. We're gonna turn out again, not as wide as you can. We're just going to the corners of the foot bar.

Inhale, stretch and come in. So as I'm working the second position with my feet, I like to imagine that I'm drawing my heels together even though they're wide. Just kind of engages the inner thighs a little bit more. So it's like I'm sliding them together. Good.

Reach and return. Four more. And three. Two. Last one.

And then come all the way in, bring your feet back to parallel. Hip distance apart on your toes. You're gonna push out and hold. You're gonna bend your knees halfway in. We're gonna keep the carriage still here.

We're gonna move the ankles. So you're gonna lower the heels under the bar and then lift back up. And lower down and lift. So my heels shake every time I do this and if you're like me, that's okay. Try to get both heels down at the same time.

So it's not one and the other, it's both legs moving. The carriage is still. I haven't done this in a long time. So definitely lots of shaking going on in my legs. Two more.

Keeping that control. Last one. Now push all the way out and hold. Bend one knee, push the other heel under. Lift and switch for running.

Switch, passing right through the center. The knee is straight up to the ceiling. The hips are still. And bend and bend. Trying to keep the toes long so you're not crunching or gripping.

Fluid movement, we have four more sets. And three. Two. Last set. Now both heels up, both heels under.

One more time, get a nice little calf stretch. Keep pushing your heels under as you bend your knees. Come in, knees facing straight up to the ceiling. And then come on up. We're gonna switch to two red springs.

So take off the other two and then we'll lie back down on your mat. So shoulders away from the blocks. Grab onto your straps, legs in tabletop glued together this time. Hands right over the shoulders. So lock the shoulders in or plug them in, I should say.

Inhale the arms up, exhale. Just push the arms down by your sides. Inhale, arms reach up over your shoulders and then press. So everything is still, just the arms are moving. Try not to let the shoulders come up off the mat.

Keep them nice and open as you push the arms down. So you're opening the chest without letting the ribs flare. One more like this. Now we're gonna add your head. So next time as you push the arms down, head and chest lift up.

Lower back down, head and chest lift. Inhale, lower. Exhale, lift up. Get nice, fluid movements. One more.

Adding the legs this time. Stretch the legs out as you curl up. Bend back to tabletop and then stretch the legs out. Deepening the abs in and out. Two more.

One more. And rest. So, for our snow angels, you're gonna start with your legs out over the foot bar. Arms are gonna start down by your hips. So find that position, palms face in, head is down for now.

You're gonna open your arms and legs out to a V and then as you close, you're gonna curl your head and chest up. So you open, lower your chest. Exhale, lift your chest as you close. Inhale, open. Exhale, lift.

So inhale, expand. Exhale, contract. Open and close. Four more. And three.

Try not to go too wide with those arms, two. One more. And then bend back into tabletop. Arms come up. Hang up your straps and we're gonna come up for the long box.

So you're gonna grab your box. Flip the long box right against the shoulder rest and then put the foot bar down 'cause we don't need that. And then I'm gonna switch to one red spring. If you want to do one blue, that's all right as well. Just make sure it's centered.

You're gonna lie on your box. Chest just right at the front edge of the box and then grab onto your straps. I like to grab onto this taped part on the ropes. If you want to grab as high as you can, that's also an option. My hands tend to slip back to here, so I just start here.

So legs are long, try to keep them glued together. So again, everything's coming back to your center. Pull the shoulders down, arms are nice and long. Inhale here. As you exhale, you're gonna pull your arms back, lift your chest up.

And then arms come forward. Lower the chest, lift the chest as the arms come back. And then arms come forward. Try to keep your palms facing you. And forward, make sure the wrists are straight.

You're not bending them to lift the arms higher. One more like this. Hold it out here, turn your palms to face down to the floor. Open the arms out to a T as you lower your chest. And then lift your chest as you bring your hands back.

Good, for our T pull. So arms are reaching long. Pull your shoulders down the back. Open. Lift your chest, try to keep the low back long.

It's that upper back that's moving. Make sure it's not just your neck though. One more. Hold it here, turn your palms face in again, bend your arms and then stretch for a tricep press. Bend and stretch.

Then stretch. Two more. Last one. And then straight arms, bring them forward. Let your chest come down.

Hang up your straps. And then we're gonna straddle our box to come on up. So lower your headrest down. We're gonna place your feet on the headrest and then sit fairly close to the edge. So you're gonna grab onto your straps again.

If you want to choke up on the straps, that's an option. I'm gonna just hold the loops. And also if you want to make this a little more challenging, try a blue spring, I'm still on my red just to kind of keep it consistent. So arms out in front of you, palms are facing each other. You're just gonna roll back starting with your tailbone.

All the way down to chest lift position and then roll up. And then sit up tall. So the springs are only helping you in that spot where it gets challenging. If you need a little bit more help, definitely choke up. I'm trying not to use the straps.

I'm trying to just use my own body and control to move but they are there in case you get stuck. Two more. Tailbone under to roll back. And lift, last one. Good, sitting up tall, I'm gonna scoot back just a little bit so my legs are at a 90-degree angle.

Arms up shoulder height, we're gonna do a bicep curl. Trying to keep the upper arms where they are, just moving the lower arms. Again, I'm trying not to bend the wrist. I'm keeping them as straight as I can so it goes into the right part of my arm. I'm also trying to keep my shoulders over my hips.

We have four more. And three. Two. Last one. Good, now we're gonna combine the last two exercises.

So you're gonna round back into that seat. Again, we're not gonna go all the way back this time. Find a position where you can hold it, elbows lifted. We're gonna do our bicep curls here and then back out. Keep scooping those abs in and up, shoulders are away from the ears.

And I'm trying to keep my elbows parallel to each other. A lot of times what happens is they want to open out to the side and you want to keep them directly in front. We have four more. Trying to keep my chest open even though my low back is round. Last two.

Keyword is trying. Last one. And then roll all the way up. Arms are gonna be down to your side, palms facing back. So I like to keep my fingers reaching long just to get a little bit more of a reach down for that opposition.

So I'm gonna push down with my arms as I push them back and then bring them forward for a little tricep or chest expansion. Good. So as I'm pushing my hands down and back, I'm lifting my spine up while I'm trying not to flare the ribs or thrust my rib cage forward. I'm trying to keep everything stacked from my head all the way down to my hips. And then while I'm moving, I'm trying to open my chest.

So we're really working everything. It's not just the arms. We're thinking about the whole body. That's what I want you to think about during the whole class. It's not just whatever body part is you're thinking about is working.

It's everything working together. You have four more. And three. Two. Last one.

And then I'm gonna hang up the straps. And we're gonna turn the box around. So I'm gonna put my box behind the shoulder rest. You can put yours in front if you'd like. This just works better for my body.

I'm gonna add one more spring, doesn't matter which one. Just as long as you have more than one on here and then let me grab the strap. There we go. So I'm gonna put the feet under the strap. Make sure it's closer to your ankle, not just on your toes.

That way you can flex your whole foot to keep you in. Make sure all five toes are coming back the entire time. So I'm gonna wrap my arms around my stomach. Round over into a C curve. Make you're not a lower case C.

You want to stay lifted so you're an upper case C. You're gonna roll back starting with the tailbone again. And then round forward. So you're gonna try to keep this C shape the whole time. And roll forward.

Roll back, so even though I'm rounded, I'm not letting my shoulders hunch forward. They're still open. Roll back. What are your feet doing? Are you still flexing them, all five toes back?

Make sure you're paying attention to your legs too. And forward, one more. Good. Sitting up tall, stacking up the spine. Keeping the ribs in line, hands behind your head.

This time you're gonna lift up to lean back. And then coming back over your hips. So I like to think of squeezing my butt a little bit to lean back and then coming back up. And then I reset. Lift up to go back.

And forward. And then to keep my legs active, I keep pushing the back of my ankle into the front of the carriage, that way I'm not using my quads to lift me up. Two more. And lift, last one. Good, now we're gonna add a twist.

So you're gonna twist to the right and lean back toward that right elbow. Come back up twisted and center, twist to the left. Lean back. Up and center, twist to the right. And center to the left.

Good. So I'm trying to keep that long spine not rounding or arching to the left. One more each side, to the right. And up to the left. Good, take one foot out.

We're gonna face the side. So you can have this foot that's out, you can have it in front. I like to tuck mine underneath my other leg just 'cause it helps me get on top of my hip a little bit better. But if this feels better to you, that's always an option. Make sure the leg that's in the strap, you want that to stay parallel.

Keep flexing that foot again and then I like to start with my bottom hand on the headrest, top hand behind my head. And then I'm lengthening my waist. Once I feel that I'm stable in this position, I'm gonna bring that bottom hand up behind my head. From here I'm gonna dip down, try to get my elbow toward the headrest and then back up to that long line. And then back up.

So I'm not coming all the way up. I'm staying at that diagonal so I'm trying to get to a straight line from my head to my foot. And lower. And lift, two more. Trying to stay long in the waist.

And then bring that hand back down to the headrest and then stretch. If you want to bring your elbow down, that's also an option. Let's get a nice side bend and then if you'd like, you can turn to face the floor, one hand on each side of the frame and just stretch. Find that nice rotation. If you've come to the twist, bring your hand back to the headrest.

Come back to your side bend and then come back up. other side. So you're gonna bring the other foot under the strap. Turn to face the other side. Again, the leg that's out can be either in front or you can tuck it behind the other leg like I do.

The bottom hand is gonna go on the headrest, top hand behind the head. Find a long position from your head all the way down to that top foot. And once you found it, bring that hand behind your head. And then from here, you're gonna lower down toward the headrest and then back up. So as you're moving into the side bend, make sure you're not twisting to face the floor or twisting to face the ceiling.

You're at a true side angle. And lift. Two more. Last one. Bring your hand down.

You can bring your elbow down if you'd like and stretch into that side bend. Breathe into that stretch. Once you're ready, grab the frame, face the floor and find a nice twist. So if you rotated, you're gonna bring your hand back to the headrest, come back to that side bend and then come on up and then we'll take your foot out of the strap. And we're gonna move the box back to the side.

So I'm gonna bring the foot bar back up. We're gonna go into a long stretch. So you can choose the springs that you like. I'm gonna do one red, one blue spring. Ladder is a little bit more challenging for your abdominals.

Heavier is a little bit more challenging for your arms. Bring your headrest up and then hands on the foot bar. I like my hands a little bit more forward so I'm not bending at my wrist too much. And then the balls of the feet go into the crevice where the headrest meets the carriage. So I'm in a nice, long plank reaching my heels toward the headrest trying to squeeze my glutes, squeeze my legs together, finding a long line.

So I'm like a dart. So I'm gonna push back from my arms and then come forward. So I'm trying to stay in the same shape the whole time. The only thing that's moving is the arms pushing back. And forward.

So one, long line. Two more. Last one. Good, come on down to your knees with control. Feet are gonna go against the shoulder rest.

I'm pushing my heels against the shoulder rest trying to get a nice stretch on the arch of my foot. All five toes I'm trying to get onto the carriage. May not happen but that's our goal. And then you're gonna push your hips forward, again squeezing the glutes, pulling up in the abdominals to protect your low back. So opening the chest, you're gonna push back and then lift the chest as you come forward.

And pushing back, think of lifting your sternum up to the ceiling. Just two more. Pay attention to what your hands are doing. I noticed my hands like to kind of cup up. Try to keep all five fingers on the bar.

Let's do one more just for good measure. And then we're gonna stand up for an elephant. So feet are flat. Heels right against the shoulder rest. You can bring 'em up a little bit more forward if you'd like.

Lift your toes if you'd like as well, all five toes off the mat. Round your back and then you're gonna push the carriage back and in. So I'm really trying to use my abdominals to pull the carriage in every time. Then pay attention to what your shoulders are doing. Are they up by your ears?

I noticed mine where. So think of relaxing in the shoulders, putting all that tension into your abdominals. Let's do four more. Pull up in the quads to protect the knees. Especially for hyper extended, two.

Last one. And rest. We're gonna come on down. So we're gonna change to two red springs instead of a red and a blue. We're gonna lower the headrest down and we're gonna go into bridging.

So feel free to make this a little heavier if you need to. Our goal is gonna be to keep the carriage still. So, shoulders are open. Arms are reaching long. Feet are about hip distance apart.

A little bit wider is okay, just make sure your legs don't turn out. You want to try to stay as parallel as you can. Take a deep inhale down at the bottom. As you exhale, you're gonna roll up to a bridge one bone at a time. Inhale at the top, exhale as you roll down one bone at a time.

And then inhale at the bottom. Exhale, roll up. So again, we're not moving the carriage. Reaching the knees over the toes, inhale. Exhale, roll it down.

Two more like this, inhale. Just pay attention to what your feet are doing. I noticed my feet want to roll to the outside edges. What are your feet doing? And then roll down.

Just bringing that awareness back to your feet. One more. And also, what are your wrists doing? Are they lifting up or are you able to keep them completely flat? Reach those arms long and then roll down.

Good, roll up again and hold. This time we're gonna bring one leg up to tabletop. Stretch that leg up to the ceiling and point the toes. You're gonna lower that leg down to meet the other leg and then back up. Lower that leg down and lift.

Again, we're keeping the carriage still. Try to keep the hips lifted. Lower and lift, two more. Lift, last one. Good, bring that foot down.

Roll your hips down. Take a breath. Exhale to roll up. And then bring the other leg up to tabletop, stretch it up to the ceiling, point the toes, lower it down and lift up. Lower, make sure that foot's parallel.

Three. Four, two more. Last one. Bring that foot down. Roll down and hug your knees into your chest.

Rock side to side. You're gonna go into a little feet in the straps. So lift your headrest back up. And we're gonna grab those straps. You can push out with one foot.

Put the foot in the strap and then hold the strap with that foot that's in there and then bring the other foot in. So we're gonna start with the legs straight. We're gonna have your heels together, toes apart. Try to keep those heels glued together the whole time. You're gonna lift your legs up to the ceiling and then lower back down.

So you can go as far as you can up to the ceiling without letting your tailbone lift. So you want to keep that anchor down. So our focus is pelvic stability. And lift up. And lower, reaching those legs long.

Lift, try to keep the chest open. What are the arms doing again? Two more. Lower. Last one.

Good, now we're gonna open and close the legs. So you're gonna open and close. So goes as wide as it feels comfortable for you. If you want to go all the way out, you can. My hips don't necessarily like that.

So I'm just going a little bit wider than the foot bar. And open and close. Inhale, keep pulling into the abdominals. Exhale. Inhale and exhale, two more.

Exhale, last one. Now keep the heels together, flex the feet. We're gonna go into frogs, bend the knees. And stretch. So again, you can bend as far in as you can without the tailbone coming up.

So focus on that pelvic stability, inhale. Exhale, stretch. Pull into the abdominals, deepen as you stretch. Four more. And three.

And two. Try to keep the knees in line with the toes, last one. Let's point the toes again in for circles I'm gonna keep my legs turned out for circles. If you want to turn them parallel, you can. Gonna go up, open, round, in.

Again, go as wide as you like. Just make sure you're controlling the movement. You're not letting your hips wobble around from side to side. Everything's nice and contained. Four more.

I feel like this is most people's favorite exercise. It's definitely one of mine. It feels so good. Especially at the end of the class, it's like a nice little treat. One more.

And reverse. Open out together and lower. Open, lift together. Lower. Try to keep the legs even.

One leg is usually a little more open. So you want to make sure the circles are the same size on both sides of the body. I usually try to match the side that's more flexible to the one that's not just for getting a little bit more control in my body. One more. And we're gonna bring the soles of the feet together.

Open the knees out wide and pull in for a little frog stretch. So you can either bring your feet down to the carriage or if you want to have your feet in and you can use your elbows to push your knees out to the side. That's an option as well, whichever feels better for you. If you want to rock side to side, also an option. Just whatever feels good, just a nice little stretch.

Especially for the inner thighs. You can even let your tailbone lift a little bit. Just breathe. One more deep breath. And then one at a time you can bring your feet out.

Bring your foot onto the foot bar. Hang up your straps. And we're gonna finish with a little standing whirl down. So go ahead and stand up. You're gonna have your feet hip distance apart.

Arms just down by side. Make sure they're nice and heavy. You're just gonna roll down, starting with your chin to your chest. Roll all the way down, keep your knees loose. And just hang.

Shake your head no, nod your head yes. Make sure your head and arms are heavy. So starting with the pelvis, you're gonna start to tilt your pelvis back to neutral. Keeping the knees soft, your weight's toward the ball of your foot. Once your pelvis is neutral, you're gonna stack the rest of your spine on top of your pelvis.

Roll your shoulders back, stand up nice and tall and you're ready for the rest of your day. Thank you for taking class with me.

The Pilates Daily: A Class for Each Day of the Week: On the Reformer

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2 people like this.
Good  morning! Nice to start the day with you.
Elissa D
2 people like this.
Gia, I love these classes!  You get so much into a short time, without it feeling rushed!  Thank you!
Valentina L
1 person likes this.
Katie H
2 people like this.
Fantastic.  Your 30 min classes are amazing.  I feel like you calmly get done as many movements as in other longer classes.  So good, so efficient but relaxed.  I am a school teacher and these classes are wonderful after a long day at school. They are so pilates dense there is not time to think and wander off.   Thank you again.
Hello, thank you ,great class
1 person likes this.
Class 4327, class 4326. Good morning! It is good to have a reformer in my covid-prison. Nice, fresh...thank you.
1 person likes this.
Loving this series. Challenging workout in a time frame I can commit to. Eagerly await each new instalment. 😊
1 person likes this.
Gia, loving this quick reformer series. So grateful.
Thank you all for your wonderful feedback!
Sylvia M
1 person likes this.
Loved this workout! Perfect amount of pilates after doing a crazy HIIT workout! Thank you Gia! I look forward to taking more of your classes.
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