This video is part of a course.

Class #4372


60 min - Class


Investigate the push and pull in each exercise with Danica through her Mat series. She'll inform your body how to work with and through gravity to graduate you to the next level. Get started with this fundamental concept and build on it throughout this program!
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Welcome to the Pilates Anytime Rise and Recharge challenge. I'm Danica Kalemdaroglu, and I'll be your instructor for the week. And I'm going to be looking at fundamental principles that I love to incorporate in my personal practice, as well as my teaching practice so that I can give the most effective sessions to my clients, as well as keep myself stimulated as an educator. So today's topic is opposition and I want us to all come up, standing on the mat tall. Let your arms just drop and swing by your sides and literally let them swing.

Let them swing. Let you feel the fact that if with very little effort, you can let the weight of your arms dangle in space, hang out of their shoulders. Right? But that's the reality that there is space around us. Let those arms settle.

Let them just hang easy on your shoulders. Let your head drop, chin drop to your chest. Let your shoulders curve forward. And just hang down into what may seem like a little bit of a hundred curve, a little bit of forward flection. In this hanging, take a deep breath in and expand your upper back.

And as you exhale, pull the abs up and in and just feel the fact that you exist and that gravity is pushing on you. Gravity is trying to keep pulling you further down into the floor. The real definition of gravity is the force that pulls two things together. And we are trying, it is trying to pull us down to the floor. Bend your knees and let yourself sink down into a full flection of your back, flection in your knees, flection in your ankles.

And then as you inhale, feel your back widen. As you exhale, the abs push back up into space, push back up into gravity, roll the chest back open wide, lift the head and oppose gravity's force trying to pull you down. But let's give it into it one more time so that we know that it's there. Take an inhale. And then as you exhale, nothing big, just let the weight of the chin draw down.

Let the way to the head come down, see the floor, let your shoulders roll forward. Hit your hundred curve. And just before you sway back and forth, go ahead and let your knees bend. Let your ankles flex. Let yourself drape over your thighs and let yourself feel gravity put you into the floor.

Now if you were to just collapse everything, you'd fall into a puddle. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, engage those abs. Push yourself back up. If you really keep your abs lifting up and your back curved, you'll already get a little bit of a stretch. And as you lift your chest and come back up, realize that it's not about stacking a perfect alignment.

It's not about being perfect at all. It's about accepting the fact that you must push down to go up and oppose gravity. We're going to talk about opposition now as we come down to the mat. Turn to the side. And I don't just sit down.

No, no, no. Cause that's just like giving in, right? Don't give in. Right? Let's take that same forward fold, okay.

Take a deep breath in. Exhale, let your head come down. Let it close the ribs. Let it pull those abs together. Do all the things that you're supposed to do in a Pilates class with your abs because it's a Pilates class.

Bend your knees. Let your ankles flex. Let weight come onto your hands and with control, bring one knee down and then the other. And you find yourself in the little quad position. Hands down, feet down, knees down, as much as the top of the foot down, and a nice flat back.

Now, if you give in, you'll find a hyperextension swan. If you let yourself open your chest, roll in the hips. Please do not let your stomach fall. Please keep it lifted, engaged with you, but feel the fact that gravity pressing into you can help you change that shape of your spine. Now let's fight back against it.

Breathe in. And as you exhale, curl from the tail, lift the lower abs to the mid abs to the upper abs. Find that contraction of your abs push and change the shape of your spine. But push it back up into gravity. Stretch back out into your flat back.

Let yourself feel how gravity can help, right. Don't think scrunch your back together. Just let gravity help you find a little bit of hyperextension, rolling back up through. And yes, you're curving, but don't think scrunchy my waist to curve. Think push back up and fight gravity because as we change this curve, that's what it will do in every position.

Go ahead and round back towards the heels. Let your arms reach out one time. Now you get two breaths here, and in that breathing, make your rib cage expand and widen and lift up into space. Exhale, deepen the abs up. So you're not sitting down into your hip flexors.

One more breath. Inhale. Widen, almost feel yourself pull back up into that cat. Exhale, be there nice and lifted. Lift up a little bit so that now you can go ahead and sit to the side, swing your legs around forward and come into a sitting position.

Okay? Now we've changed our orientation in space. We have a verticality through our spine. We're back into that vertical standing orientation with gravity and weight. It's trying to suck us down.

And our job is going to have to be to lift and fight our hip flexors to stay up, to lift and fight tightness in the back. Take both hands around the tops of the knees. And as you breathe, inhale, lift your chest, widen your collarbone, exhale, deepen and try and keep that feeling of push up. And on an inhale, we're going to start alternating arms and legs. We are going to reach the same arm and leg away from each other.

And really think away, toes out away, fingers out away. Don't just expect yourself to hang in gravity, push through gravity. Breathe tall. Feel yourself, lifting up out of that now more open angle in your hip. And then go ahead and bring it back in.

Get even taller. Other side. And the arm reaches, the leg reaches. You're working unilaterally, same arm, same leg. And then as you pull back in, keep that spine lifted up tall.

Feel your sitz bones, nice and anchored. Other side, one more time, same arm, same leg, breathe up. Feel the opposition of your limbs reaching through space. Don't let them converge and stay crunched into your hip flexors or your low back, and bring that back in. Now find what breathing feels natural to you but keep breathing.

And breathing is movement and that movement is helping us fight and oppose gravity. Bring it back in. Taking it bilaterally, opposite arm to opposite leg. So you choose. I'm not going to say right and left, because that's just too confusing for everyone.

One arm, make that brain find that opposite leg, and yes, your hand will change. Get tall, get tall. Find the diagonal that is now reaching through your center region, through your core. Bring it back through. Breath in.

One arm to the opposite leg, and listen to that change all through the front of the body. I'm already getting warm. You should be too. One more set, opposites. One arm, opposite leg, keep it tall.

Keep a tall. Breathe it back in. Inhale, reach up and away, fight that urge to get shorter, but hear how much you want to get shorter because that is not only tension in your body but gravity trying to win. Okay. so now we're going to take a few arm circles and if your hip flexors are getting at you, let your feet creep away and let your knees open up a little bit.

Bring your feet together, let them open up. So you get a little bit more space. Now the weight of your arms is huge on your thoracic spine. Inhale, lift both arms up, exhale, open 'em out to the side, circle them back down. Just two more, inhale lift.

And as you inhale, don't worry about your shoulder blades. Let them slide. Let them glide. Just keep your collarbone wide, wide, wide. I'm not going to tell you to put your shoulder blades down.

No, I'm going to tell you to feel how heavy they are and lift and the strength of you up to the weight of your arms and shoulders and back around, one last one. Reach them up to the top. Breathe up, exhale around, zipping up through your center, and arms and now on top of the knees, but don't hold with your palms really actually about wrist, forearm. And on an exhale, you're going to start to curl your tail and mobilize through your lumbar spine and curve back just a little bit until you feel your fingertips be able to wrap around your kneecaps. And that's when you use your grip and hold, and hold and notice now that your weight is moving back and gravity is coming at you from a new angle, vertically as well, but another angle.

And now don't fall back with it. Don't fall back with it. Pull with your arms all you want to, reach in with that ab work, get a hold of the weight of your back, and bring it back forward. Stack it back up at the top, let your arms reach out. So the fingers keep a nice reach, curl the tail, roll back.

You start to feel those abs wake up because you've come back into some flection. And if you don't scoop and do the Pilates, then you're going to collapse. And then gravity is going to win. Fight back, reach in, get it. And if you got a pull, pull.

There is no shame in that game. You have arms, use them. Come forward and then stack back up. Feel yourself push back up. One more of those.

Reach those arms out, and that reach again makes you keep thinking about how much you have to keep strong so that gravity doesn't fall. Breathe here, three breaths. Press down. Grab, use your grip, curl your tail. Look for some lumbar flection that is pulling back with gravity and find your legs.

Let them begin to reach. Let that reach allow you to rock forward towards your toes. Easy stretch. Right now, we're not doing a full roll up, but just curl back again, curl back again and find the moment where you lose the opposition in your legs because your hip flexors take over and they want a yank, and instead push arms into legs, push legs out through the mat and use that connection to push your abs back and then curve yourself right back forward, right. And maybe you start to feel, ooh, the right side of my back is tighter than the left side of my back.

Maybe that's a thing, okay. Curve back. Now this one, you just get to kind of feel good about it. As you go back, maybe you want to reach through that left leg, reach it, reach it, reach it. Maybe you wanna reach through that right leg, reach it, reach it, reach it.

Pull those abs back and just kind of let it floss your low back just a little bit, warming it up because it's going to do some stuff here in a little bit. And center that off, come back forward. And then I want you to bend those knees and stack back up to sit up tall one more time. That was like a little opening up your hip flexors so they don't completely scream at me. Go ahead and bring your hands up behind your head.

Now I like to do hand over hand. I don't like to interlace, but you know you do you. It's your day, right. So if you, if, if I do hand over hand, I can feel more of a press of my neck up into, so again I'm fighting the urge to fall forward and down and let gravity pull me down. Those legs are huge, huge factors in opposition.

So we're going to take just a little bit of upper body, a little bit of twist to the right. And I know I said I wouldn't say right and left, but it's a habit. But show whatever side you're twisted to, the opposite leg stretches out. Let it allow you to mobilize and twist a little bit more. Let it feel that fun, but that reach of that leg going one way allows the spiral to free and move some more.

Recenter, come back. And then you're going to twist to the other side. For me, that's my left. But for you, you know, whatever. And then the opposite leg reaches allowing you to mobilize just a little bit more.

Breathe tall. Listen to how much twisting wants to pull you down. And come back. Twisting is a naturally compressive action. Really hard to fight gravity.

One more of those. Spiral to one side. Find the opposite leg. And yes, let it mobilize your hips. Let it twist your low back.

Let it move your pelvis. Let it feel good, let it feels juicy. And then come back center. And then you're going to twist to the other side, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach and feel how much you have to fight contracting and pressing, pulling down and compressing down. And then come back center.

And shake that out. Give it a little wiggle. Get situated on your mat because we are now going to roll back to lying back to work our way a hundred because I'm warm. You warm? I am.

Hands back on forearms back on top of your knees, toes thinking long, stretch your fingernails. If you could only just make them grow to make your arms longer, right. Start to tuck the tail under, pull back through all the abdominals, not just your belly button, slide the hands up the thighs. Now right at that moment before your ribs touch the mat, try to let your legs lengthen, and feel your stretch, yourself stretch out long. Place your arms down on the mat and go ahead and bend both knees, bringing your feet underneath of you and shaking it out and giving it a wiggle so you feel like you can actually be you on the floor.

Now, the most important thing to remember is that gravity is now evenly pressing down on the entirety of, of all of you. And if gravity wins, it will splay you out from center, right. It is our job to pull together into our midline and then use all the choreography to move and push through space. Okay. So here we go.

You're going to reach those arms, both of them, up to the ceiling, fingertips. And now give it a feeling of what it feels like if you narrow your collarbone, close your collarbone, and yes, it kind of rounds your chest but it collapses you back into the mat. How are you going to lift and push against gravity if you're already giving in? Let your shoulder blades slide back down. Shake that out.

Shake that out. Shake that out. Right. Now, go ahead and pick up your head. Look down your body.

Lift the shoulders. Look at your thighs and keep those fingers reaching up, keep them reaching up. You should already feel the shake, right. Now, if you get into gravity and just fall, well, that's just falling. Feel your sitz bones reach towards those heels.

And one bone comes back farther away from your feet to the wall behind you. Notice your urge to take your arms with you. Try not to do that. Keep your arms right at 90, perpendicular to the floor. Super hard.

Curving up, pick up your head, let it peel the back of your shoulders. Let it peel your upper thoracic spine. Try to keep your pelvis still. Don't let it give you a little tug. Try to keep it neutral.

And then as you come back to the floor, think of really standing tall back up into vertical. Now you are standing tall up the mat, stretch your mat. One more of those. curve up. Right, and then you're gonna bring both arms down by your side and start the pumping of your hundred.

Breathe in a full breath, breathe out a full breath. (exhales) Breathe in a full breath, breath out a full breath. Do two more full breaths, ground through those hips. Really check and make sure that you're not giving yourself extra posterior tilt because you know, we're not teasering, we're just doing a little fun hundred. One more exhale.

Lift the arms back to 90 and really just 90, one bone back down at a time. Right. Now you're going to do another set, and we're going to take one hand behind the head. Choose the hand. Curve up.

One hand comes behind the head. The other arm reaches farther back towards your ear. Listen to that challenge now that your arms are differently weighted on your back. And then you're going to bring that arm all the way down to the side. Inhale, lift it all the way back up by your ear.

Exhale, bring it all the way back down by your side. Three more inhale, exhale. Try not to let it wiggle and shake you side to side. Use that hand behind your head. Last one, to support your whole waist, and then change hands.

Start with that arm perpendicular to the ground, level it across the front of your ribs, reach it back. And the farther back it goes, the farther it's reaching away from your center, the more you got to hold your center up yourself and then set it down. Inhale, lift, exhale, set it down. Three more, inhale and exhale, set it down. Last two.

And down. I'm trying to be so good about counting in the new year. Isn't that always a teacher's resolution? Bring that hand back up behind your head, curve up a little bit higher just to make it naughty, and then roll back down. Okay.

I'm already warm, so I can see how you might already be getting upset at me. We're going to do that again though and mobilize your legs. Cause you know, the more moving parts, the more fun at the party. curving back up. Keep both hands back behind your head.

Right. Now, albeit you see your legs scoop and pull to the wall behind you, one leg slides out on the mat, keep it on the mat. Flex the foot, press it down. Let it level your pelvis, not tip it. Look at it and make sure it's level.

Pull it back in, other leg, reach out, inhale, flex the foot, press that leg down under the ground, exhale, bring it back. Feel yourself getting heavy in your upper body. And one leg goes out. And bring it back. And the other leg slides out, and bring it back.

One more set to be mean and evil. Last one. And bring it back. And leg, and in, and roll back down. Did you notice that the longer you were up there, the heavier you got in your upper body?

I sure noticed. Right, we're gonna bring those arms back down by the sides. So we found that you can move those legs. We found that you can move those arms, and you can still keep this nice pole. We're gonna play with that a little bit more.

Slide one leg out, flex the foot. Now your heads down, press through the arms, through your upper back strong. Point the foot, lift it to 90. Flex at the top. Exhale, bring it down.

Now it's not just kicking down and kicking down. Reach, lift and feel your spine get taller. But as you flex and lower the leg, feel how much tug wants to come down with it. Fight it. Find the opposition.

You're reaching out to go up. Point lift, two more of this leg, exhale, flex, set it down and press it on the floor. One more up, flex, set it down. Now, reverse the action of your foot. Point at the bottom.

Right. Sorry. Flex on the way up. Flex on the way up. Feel how tight it is at the top.

Point, bring it back down. Flex, lift it up. Feel that nice stretch of your hamstring, point. Bring it down. Whoa, that one even give me a little cramp.

And lift, and then point and bring it down. Changing the action of the foot really helps you feel how differently the weight would be in you were standing in dorsiflexion versus plantar flexion, right. Send the other leg out. Let's start with pointing to lift it up. Point to lift it up.

Flex at the top, bring it down. And three more, up, flex and bring it down. And up, and you feel that femur moving inside the pelvis but that's the only thing moving. That's the only thing moving, and bring it down. Now you're going to reverse the action of the foot.

Flex and lift, and push through the heel, point at the top and down. Flex, notice you feel the tightness of the back of the legs. We're going to come for that and a little bit. Woo. It gives me such good feelings in my calves.

And two more up. And point and bring it back down. Feel your calves move. Mine are talking to me today. And then bring it back down.

Both legs come back into your bend. All right, we're going to go into your roll up, right. But we're going to do it a fun way today. Pull one knee to your chest, pull the other knee to your chest. Feel your back get tall.

And just in that, do you notice anything that wants to drop? Do you notice anything that wants to pull you down? Because that in standing would be you falling down to the floor. We want to feel up, right, as if you were on a trampoline and you tucked knees up and jumped and someone took a picture. Start to curve up, lifting your head, lifting your shoulders, find that hundred curve, and then find the reach of your legs.

Help bring the next vertebra, and the next vertebra, scooping, pulling the abs back. This time, do not touch your toes. Try to keep your arms pressed up by your ears. Okay? And here's the reason, if you touch your toes, you'll probably collapse.

It's not about that. Scoop, pull and lift your back into gravity that is pushing down on you. Flex your feet if you like for a little bit of hello for the back of the legs, and then roll back down, bone by bone. Now, if your feet are pointed or flex, no matter, push out away from them. Pull back as you come to the mat, arms can stop at 90.

If you want some extra, you can reach them back by your ears and really have to challenge controlling your ribs. If you choose that, and bring them back to 90, pick your head up, exhale. And if your feet come up, bend your knees. Hip flexors might be tight. You just saw it on me.

It's a thing. Curve forward, but don't collapse. Scoop lift, take an extra breath there if you need to. Pull together into center, rolling back one bone at a time, and to the mat, arms reach back. Three more, inhale.

Then exhale, peel, feel the arms and legs reach. And really the more you squeeze the legs together to feel one unit in the legs, the easier it is to feel the lever of them get longer as you pull your spine back away. And inhale. Flexed feet makes it more of a challenge, just like you felt when your legs were up in the air, one at a time and you felt that tightness in the back of your legs. Ooh, can you scoop and pull the low abs away from the front of those hips?

Then inhale, come back up. This is your last full one. You're gonna roll all the way back down, and then you're going to come back up, but you're going to stay seated. Rolling back up, stay seated. And because you know I like to break the rules, keep pulling those abs back, can it dive you?

Can you actually get to your toes from your spine coming around versus your arms just dropping and you collapsing? And now let's floss a little again. Take one heel, let it reach forward. Let it pull the opposite back. Let it twist and spiral your spine.

Let it feel good because you know it does. And then the other side, let it reach and pull, and let it stretch everything. And do one more side. Now make sure you're not tipping and lifting your bum. Keep your bum on the floor and really slide across the back of your pelvis, up into your lumbar.

Oh, the good day, it can reach your eyeballs. All right, you're going to scoot yourself forward on the mat. And instead of doing single leg circle, we're going to do tree. All right, both hands, take underneath one thigh. The opposite light stretches out.

Okay. Now, if your hip flexors are tight, your low back is tight, you've already grumbled and groaned at me and that's okay. I can take it. I don't want you to think curve back to make it easier. That's, it's not what I want you to do.

I want you to actually, if you have to go back, keep a flat back and lean back, pitch back up away, pitch back up away. Use your arms to support, right. I also like to pull the foot and the other leg together so you're working towards center. This leg, foot on the floor still, spine tall. from where your knee is, don't try to yank that sucker to you.

We're not going to the Rockettes, right. We don't need to be up here. From where the trajectory of your thigh already is, engage your quad and lift the weight of that shin. Stretch out. Use your upper body.

You should feel the weight trying to pull down. You should feel it trying to join gravity. And you say no gravity, I'm up. And put that foot back down. And respond to the increasing weight, and reach it out and pull back up away.

And then now of course, if you can stay dead at 90 perpendicular, you're awesome. I'm going to be back here. Try not to let yourself curve. Try not to let it be lumbar flexion, but tall. And down.

That's three. Give me two more. Look, I'm already getting better at counting. Two more and then one more. Right.

And up. Now you're going to just take your leg, hands to your calf. And if that means lower your leg, fine. And if now you want to curve, do it from above, bringing your spine over from the top, right. And flex and point, flex reach and notice the urge to want to recoil instead of push and oppose and point.

And one more flex and point. Three circles, one way, right. If you're getting, if your upper backs getting like pulled down into your chest, go ahead and take it into your curve but don't curve it out towards the toes. Reverse it if you haven't. Right.

And now everyone, come into your curve out over, not back away from. So I am pulling, right. And then I'm going to rock the whole shape back, curl the tail. Now we've gotten into some more lumbar curve and that's where you got to fight to not let weight drop unevenly on your lateral side body or into your hips. And then rock back forward.

Just a little rock and roll. Just a little rock and roll. Curl the tail. Try to keep that other leg planted on the floor. Lift and scoop and come out over the toes and forward.

One more. You're mid back should be very aware that it exists and it has a job. And it is being recruited by the pull of the arms. Go ahead, bend the knee. Let yourself roll down.

Give yourself a little thigh/hip circle in there. Let it feel good. Even give it a little shake. And your hands are still behind your leg, and notice that you just kind of like gotten all thrown apart from center. That's okay.

Sometimes we get thrown apart from center. Pick up your head, breathe, exhale, pull your ribs together, breathe some more, press that thigh into your hands. Let it bring your waist and then come back up. No big deal. Curve it back.

Let it recruit the full flection of your spine. Roll back down. Right. Try to keep it centered, but maybe it gets a little wonky. It's cool.

So as you come back up, pull into center as you move, press, lift yourself back up. Discover this opposition of the leg pushing to your abs pulling. Rolling back because wherever there is push there is pull. That is the magic of Pilates. Curving up.

I'm going to push through the back of that thigh, and I'm going to pull with my arms. That's clear, but I'm also going to pull and scoop with my abs. And look, yay. You know, you've earned? The other side.

Let's do the other side. So shift, wiggle, grunt, all the things, right. Right, I'm on my right leg now again. Maybe you're on your left. Feet and calf together, so you feel your midline.

Lift up tall. Give it a little lean back to open up the front of the hips. Try to avoid some flections, stretch the leg. Again, try not to let it lower. Use your strength, set it down.

Use those arms, use them. Reach. And set it down, and then reach. Hands just to the big bulb of your gastroc of your calf. Right?

Don't try to get to your ankles. We don't need to show off there, but keep that integrity of your spine as you point and flex, reach. And let all the tissue in your shin and your calf, let it mobilize. One last one. Check yourself to make sure you're not sitting down on your low back, cause I just caught myself sitting on my low back, particularly one side.

Circle that foot. Keep breathing nice and steady. It's really hard to breathe when you're talking the whole time. So, you know, just do it. That's how I feel about breathing.

Just do it. Right. Now, take a little curve. But again, don't let it be a drop back. Don't drop down.

Think of pushing up, out, over, around and yeah. Pull, use those arms. Make them work, curl the tail. Stand down firmly on that leg on the ground. That leg on the ground should really be working.

And then rock back forward. And yes, the leg might come down lower so that you can come more farther forward. And curve it back, and exhale, reach it back forward. Should you want to use the breath in a different way, that's okay. If you want to exhale back, okay.

Then use that inhale and lift yourself back up around. Let yourself go all the way back as far as you can, slide the hands, let it take you back. Right. And yes, we can get some good feeling in pulling that leg to the chest, right. And it might splay us out from center a little bit.

As you roll up, head comes around, ribs contract, abs scoop, you know all the things. Press the leg into the hand, feel it out, make it easier to reach in and get the weight of your spine. And rock back. Try to catch the moment where you break square. Try to fight it and control that vertebra instead of letting it rattle out of center.

For me, it's something and like T12, L12, you know, no man's land in here, right. Last one, roll it back. And then coming back up. Earlier in the week, that's the way I like to get myself into this next one that sometimes doesn't go so well early in the week, and that is rolling like a ball. Come on forward on your mat.

Right, cause sometimes I just roll like a brick, right. Today might be one of those days. You never know. So here we are in your rolling like a ball balance, right? So just, you know, nothing fancy, get on in this balance.

Try not to let yourself feel like your arms are just sitting on your legs. That's one of the biggest things I see, that the arms are just sitting there instead of doing the same pull they were just doing in the tree. And as well, the legs are just kind of perched into the knees. Push from the hips. As much as you just pushed to do this one bent knee roll up, find that same push into the hands and you really activate this opposition of the arms and legs, abs deepen.

Here we go, inhale, rock it back. Inhale, lift your hips. Curl over. Exhale. Come back home.

And inhale. Think of picking the mat up with your hips, and then diving to the wall across the room. And pick up the mat with your hips. Throw it over your head. Exhale, come back home.

Ooh. And rock back, and exhale. Come home. Give me two more and then we're going to have some fun. Rock back, inhale, and exhale, come home.

Last one, rock back. Exhale, come home, hold your balance. Slide the hands up behind the knees allowing the elbows to stay bent and lift them. Don't let them droop because you feel how that's gonna probably make it harder for you to lift your waist. Don't worry if your back doesn't stay as flexed as you want, fight, lift and stretch both legs, double tree, double tree, double tree, but your legs are apart.

Come back in, feet gotta touch. Right, and two more lift. Double tree, double tree, and lift your waist and back down, because you know, choose one leg. Now just do both, and lift it all and set it back down. We're not gonna do the open leg rocker today.

We're just doing some stretches. Lift both, hold them there. Only been one leg. Don't let yourself tip and rattle, stretch it back up. And the other, get some good quad work around those knees.

Lift the weight of the shin. One more each side, been your upper body getting tired. It should be. Use it and stand up. And then both legs bend.

Pull the knees into your chest as you roll yourself down, give yourself a little wiggle. Keep your knees pulled to your chest. Reach your arms back to your ears. In that don't let them fall on the ground, but reach them back. Right.

And then I want you to find one leg, toes drip to the floor, stretch, and let that whole side of the body lengthen out. You were just in that curve, that rolling like a ball, stretch out to the full length of you. Flex both feet. Point both feet. And when you go to draw that leg back in and bring it back up, try not to yank down away from the height of your spine.

Reach into your center and draw the weight of that leg back up. And then find your other leg. Now, if your quads are super tight cause this is getting to my right leg and it's just not going to be the same thing. If your quads are super tight, getting your leg straight is not the goal. As you can see, I've got some tightness here and it wants to yank back into my back.

And I want to keep thinking lengthen, lengthen, lengthen, lengthen, and I'm going to put it there. And then both feet flex, both feet point. Listen to the weight of your upper back on the ground. Draw that leg back in, reach in and find the weight of it. Now, if your arms are like, I do not like this, go ahead and bring them down to your side.

I'm going to leave them up. It's a challenge. One leg slides out. Now, how far does it go? Depends on tightness in the quad to work in the hammy glute, what I like to call your thutt, all right.

So now here's another definition of opposition, right. The work of the agonist and antagonist muscles that have to work to actually act on a joint. Reach and pull back in. And the other leg. And we know darn well, hip flexors and quads are way more excited to be at the party than hamstrings and glutes.

So find that conversation and as you find it, continue to lift up out of it because that's the work. I forgot the flex in a point because I'm feeling the feelings, and pull it back in. You're gonna roll yourself up into a spine stretch forward, roll up, let the legs slide, let that help you. Let that help you. Readjust.

Bring your legs out. So either stay on the edge of the mat or just go like right outside of it, okay. I, spine stretch forward really doesn't need to be about straddle splits because then it would be called straddle splits forward. It's called spine stretch. Pick yourself up.

And I like to give myself a little manual rock side to side like get everything in the center. Because again, gravity is like why don't you just spread out and just chill. No gravity, we don't chill. Arms reach. Actually today, lies.

Let's put fingertips down on the floor in front of us, right. Now, you'll feel how immediately that it makes you want to like close off, right. And some of us might have to like go around some things and your elbows might be a little bit bent. That's cool. Up nice and tall.

Flex your feet one time. Let yourself feel life in your quads. You are in hip flection. Don't try to just like relax your hip flexors. It's not going to work.

You're in hip flection. They are active. What you want is that your lumbar is lifting and strong. Woo, about to get the stanky leg over here. That happens.

You start to wiggle and shake. So let's move. Fingertips are out in front of you, on an exhale, head comes over just like we started class except now you're way more active. Don't just hang. And the ribs close.

The collarbone can still keep its width, let your fingertips creep out. Now being clear, are you about to go farther forward because you lunge your ribs down off your back? Or do you go farther forward because your arms and legs reach out and your abs pull back and that forces your spine to bend? Keep breathing, keep breathing. Lift your arms up by your ears.

Feel how heavy that makes your upper body lifted. Actually with you, stack up, keep your arms by your ears for me today. Feel how heavy your upper body is. Yep, feel how, ooh, how much your body wants to just give down and then go ahead and bring your arms back down. Keep your spine tall.

Arms go down, you go up, inhale. And as you exhale, head goes over, but you're letting those fingertips creepy crawly out reach 'em, reach 'em, reach 'em, reach 'em. If pointing your feet feels better, go for it. And then when you lift the arms, feel how the whole torso must lift up under that weight. Start stacking up.

Feel yourself stand down through the legs to go up. And I like to take a circle this time. You can just bring your arms back down, but here we go. Three more, inhale, exhale. Let the fingertips creep out.

Let them feel and get farther, farther away as you pull back, pull back. As you push through the arms and legs, you pull, and then stack up, breathe, breathe, breathe. And then arms come down any way you want but feel them actually come down as you stay up. And reach out and then inhale, lift up. And this time, bring your arms parallel to the floor, right.

If you pointed your feet, flex them. If you flexed them, point them. Try the opposite. Try to leave your arms parallel to the floor. Two spine stress forwards, inhale up, exhale, bring out the air, keep the arms lifted, dive through.

Inhale. Keep those arms parallel to the floor and up. And exhale, dive back over and out. And inhale up. One more time.

Up, over and out. Wring out all the air and then stack back up. Shake out those shoulders, right. Choose again which one makes you feel more active and grounded, whether it's flexor point, right. And you're going to bring arms back forward out in front of you.

We're going to do a little modified saw. A little bit more upper body thoracic rotation before we do lumbar. You're gonna keep one arm reaching forward. On an inhale, open the other arm to a point where your collarbone still has its integrity. Don't let the back arm flip over.

Don't do that thing yet. Just actually find the idea of spine twist in your saw and then come back forward. One arm reaches forward. It reaches forward so much, it pulls one ways forward. The other side reaches back.

Now pay attention to that back arm. Don't let it rotate like you're doing saw. Let it pull your chest and collarbone in two directions. And back center. And inhale.

Find the spine twist of your saw before you find those arms and those shoulders. And back center. And then one more over. And then bring it back. And now take yourself open as the back arm flips, the front arm should move forward.

Go right to the edge of that pinky toe. Dive over. Over. Now feel the legs push down and out, stack up, flip the arm, come back, arms forward. Open to the side.

Feel the spine twist in it. Then the arms change, giving you more. Go right to that outside of that pinky toe, and then lift and bring it back in. Now let's smooth that out and just let it roll. Inhale, twist flip and exhale.

Bring it up. Find gravity. Find it. Inhale. And exhale.

Feel yourself move forward through it. Pull back up. Feel it pushing down on you. One more each side, and over. Stack it up.

And last one, make it count. Reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, wring out all the air, lift and bring it back center. Pull the legs together. Take a round over. If you need to, readjust on your mat.

I keep getting scooched back. You're gonna lie back down. So we really got some nice thoracic initiated rotation. Let's get some nice lumbar initiated rotation. Now this is really where our position helps.

So you're going to find feet together, knees together. Bring your feet in relatively close to ya, right. But now we're in a parallel. We're thinking one unit, not just inner thighs, squeeze your knees, but magnetize into center. Engage to keep your scoop.

Don't let it corrode the vertical strength of your lumbar, which it's gonna be off the mat. It's okay. Right, more on that later. So it's not shift my thigh bones, although that does feel kind of good. Start with that.

If you just let your knees sway side to side and you let your knees shimmy, it entices your lumbar to want to wiggle and roll with you, right? It entices you to come with. But if you give into that, eventually it'll pull all of you, right. Eventually it'll bring all of you that way. That's not what want because how would we be able to lift that up in corkscrew?

So settle that, settle that, right. And that could have felt really good if your low back and your hip flexors are already mad at me, right. So now you're not going to let your knees rub. And you're going to find where one side of your abdomen deepens into the ground as the other side lifts in the spiral. Try to anchor back with the strength of your shoulders and your upper back.

Feel the weight of the diagonal of the legs, the pelvis and lumbar trying to get pulled towards your knees and fight back, pull back up through that waist. Bring both sides back. And now as you go over to the other side, yes, the opposite foot will lift. Yes, the opposite side of your body will lift. Yes, a little bit of your rib cage might lift but don't let it collapsed down.

Pull back and bring it back. Now we're going to make this harder because we're going to make it heavier with more moving parts. Going back over to where you came from, the top leg, remember knees are still flushed. They haven't shimmy, shimmy, squeeze together, stretch the top leg. Feel the weight of the top leg all the way into the under hip, point the foot, pull back up through the waist, bring it back, set it down.

Go into the other side, which is my left. (laughs) But over to the other side. When you get there and it doesn't matter, maybe you only went an inch, top leg reaches, more moving parts pushing through space, not recoiling back and falling down, reaching through, bent, and bring it all back with a straight leg because it is super heavy, and back down. One more set of that. Over to the side.

I'm going to choose an exhale to reach it out. I'm gonna find an inhale to pull it back together. And yes, magnetize one unit of the legs. And twist to the other side. Reach the top leg.

Feel that bottom leg. Does it give out? Does it give in? Does it let gravity win or is it working? And then pull back.

Bring it back center. All right, here we go. One knee to your chest, other knee to your chest, both legs, stretch them up as best you can, all the way tall. Flex your feet. Point your feet, bend through a table top and then full flection of knees and hips back in.

One more. Push up all the way. Squeeze together. Magnetize, don't worry about parallel or Pilates V, just together. Flex and point, bend through your table top.

It's a working position. Cause tabletop really wants to pull some weight down. Stand up. Flex and bring back in. Okay, so you know I lie, one more.

I said one more, but really do one more. And then reach up, right. Flex. Feel how much it wants to pull back. Stand through.

You've made this shape so many times sitting on your bottom already. Point, bend through a tabletop. Feel how hard that is. Now, hold your table top, hold it, hold it, hold it. Over to the right.

Ooh, and exhale, bring it back. Over to the left, reach and bring it back. Find that opposition. One more, each side. It's much heavier when both legs are up, and back center.

And to the left, and back center. Stretch them up one more time, flex them one more time, point them, bend them through, and all the way back into your chest. Wow. That was harder than I thought it was gonna be. Not even gonna lie.

(laughs) And then we're going to bring yourself up, all the way up tall, all the way up tall. And we're actually gonna, I'm gonna turn side so you can see. We're gonna find a little bit of a Z sit. Z. And I've got this front foot arch kind of wraps around the knee, right.

Okay. So we've done some spiraling. We're going to do a little bit of side reaching, side bending. Up nice and tall, right. Now you, you're not necessarily going to be level.

You're not necessarily going to be sitting down on that back hip. No biggie. But don't let yourself fall down into it. Lift yourself up as best you can. Reach arms out to the side, right.

You're gonna go side bend towards your front knee, and lift up over. Take an easy reach, take an easy side bend. But you're looking for how your front body still keeps this nice line zipped up, right. And then you're gonna lift that arm, find it come level with your collarbone. Don't overshoot it.

And then let it engage that whole top side to bring you back up and float you out of the ground. And going back over again. Reach and know the moment when the arm starts moving up top, that brings your waist, and yes let it roll your pelvis a little bit. Let it make you feel like oh, side planks are a thing. We're not doing them today.

Just saying, they're a thing. And now not use my head, but through your chest and lift yourself side body, float the other arm up. One more. Going over. Reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach.

Good, good, good, good, good. And now find that side body. Find it, find it, find it. Right. Feel how much weight could collapse on your shoulder and lift and let it draw up.

Go ahead and grab a hold of the shin. Go over in opposition to the other side. And yeah, now if you've got sensitive knees, a Z sit variation is always just here, and that's a lot easier on your knees. Okay? Swing that on over to the other side.

There's a reason we're doing this. You just have to wait and find out what it is. Right? Get situated. Now again, maybe one knee and one hip aren't like, okay with this.

Go ahead and go to a modification here. And it's still, you can hold underneath your knee if that bothers you. Okay, cause I'm all, I'm all about knees, knees be sensitive, okay. And there is a little press between the foot and the knee, pushing out over. Know the moment where the arm moving brings the rest of you.

Let it feel good. Let it feel nice. Let it feel happy. Let it feel like you could go somewhere sideways through space. Lift the arm, let it connect through your chest, making you use the pull of your top waist, top side body.

Inhale out over, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach. And then lift, pull, float the other arm up. I don't want you to press. I want you to float. Yes.

Don't you feel floaty? Reach, reach, reach, and then use your inhale to inflate up into gravity to help you come back up. Take a hold of the shin. Reach back over, over, over. All right.

Now we're gonna come onto your stomach for an easy swan. Now, I'm gonna come this way. For your swan, let your legs be in parallel as close together as possible, right. The closer together they are, the harder it's going to be, a little bit more open, a little bit easier it's gonna be. Hands, right?

You just did all this wonderful stretching of your side body. Nose, let it hover off the floor and hover your hands off the floor one inch. Two, don't push yet, right. Hover your hands. Suck your belly up.

Do all the Pilates. Reach your arms forward. If they have to stay on the floor, fine. If your shoulders are really tight, slide them. Otherwise, try to lift them.

Reach. How straight they get, listen to the moment where you want to collapse and then pull back in and into your sides. Fly forward on your mat. Reach. Let them go where they go.

Let them go where they go where you can still keep lifting your front body, engaged in your back body. But listen to how much it wants to shrivel you. Fight, fight, fight, fight, fight. Pull back in. One more.

Inhale. Reach. And then when you bring back in, find your side body, find it, find your side body and where it pulls your arms in. The side body you just stretched. Place your hands into the mat, lift your chest.

Now lift that side body with you and then bring it back down. You brought awareness to it in those side bendy thingies, right? So use that awareness and let it pull. Use your connection to the floor. Let it pull.

Reach back through your legs and pull yourself forward. And then coming back down, just like when your arms reached forward. It's not about back bending and smacking the back of your legs. Pull forward and peel the front body open, push yourself through space, come back down. You can tuck your toes if you like but you're going push yourself back into an adult pose.

Also known as a child's pose, but adults engage their core. Lift. Don't sit. Lift. (mumbles) a little bit over to one side and let your hips go to the other.

Just to stretch out all that extension work you just did, as well as lets you feel a little stretch out through your sides, right. And then you're going to bring it on back onto your back for some teaser. Teaser one, (chuckles) knees to your chest. Give it a good little wiggle for a second. Give yourself a hug.

You deserve it. We're almost to the end. You're getting through the class. You're fighting gravity. You're going to fight it the rest of the day.

Go ahead and reach your arms back up. Now, if you gave yourself a hug and it ended up really curling your tail, let your tail find the mat. Let your sitz bones and reach across the room. Not up to the ceiling. Not yet.

Right? We start with the upper body lift. And then as we start to lift the ribs let the legs start reaching to help counter and lever and lift you. Arms lift, challenging your body, making harder for you to not give in. Roll back, bend the knees is when you have to.

That is different for everyone. I can go ahead and put my head down for a teaser two, and then pull in. You know, go or you go. Four more, inhale, roll up. Feel the moment where your ribs are heavy.

Let that reach out through your legs, help you push to pull yourself up. Lift the arms, make it harder because why not, curling back, control it. When you need to, bend them in. And if you want to add a little bit more, you can add a little arm circle. Reach the arms back, scoop, close into center as those ribs reach the legs, lift the chest.

And then rolling back, challenge yourself. Can you leave them there? If you want to do a full teaser two with those legs there, can I do it? Hurrah, yes, awesome. And then rolling back, and then pull your knees into your chest.

And if I said one more, I lied, because that was hard enough. (laughs) Go ahead and bring your feet back down to the floor. And of course, if you want to do another one, points for being an overachiever. Go ahead and plant both feet, finishing with a little bit of pelvic curl. Curl it up, curl it up, curl it up to a little shoulder bridge.

Feel yourself, push your back body into engagement to open your front body, and then roll back down. And then just two more, lift it up. And then get it every little piece, every little bone. One more. Give it a little rotation at the top letting yourself feel a stretch out through the other thigh.

And feel a stretch out through the opposite side. I like that little twist. It's like another little bit of floss up in the air. And then roll it back down. And you're gonna bring yourself back around into your quad position.

All right. And in your quad position, plant your hands and feet. Go ahead and take a big inhale, on the exhale, lift up your abs, find your cat stretch, and then stretch back out through your flat back, which you should feel longer than when you were in this position 50 minutes ago. Reach out, open the chest and again feel your waist pull forward, back into your curve. Hold your curve, hold your curve.

Stretch one leg back. Feel yourself lengthen to your flat back as you lift the leg. Maybe you give a little swan. Maybe you don't. Contract the abs, pull it back in, pull it back in.

And the other leg, keep your curve, keep your cat. Send the leg, out to the floor, right. And you can feel it push up into your abdomen and give you just a little bit more curve. But then as you start to lift the leg, reach out through your spine, feel your flat back move through space. Maybe it opens your chest.

And then as you contract, you pull it back in. Tomorrow we'll be talking about initiation. I'm just giving you a little tease. Reach out from the back of that hip, right. And then as the back of that hip engages, pull through your center, find that opposition reach.

But when you come back, don't just drop. Contract and pull from your center. Initiate from center. Big scoop, one last one. Back of the leg, press into the floor.

Let it push up through your abs. Oh yes, it leveled my hips. Now as I lift femur up into pelvis, and reach through the back, through the chest, and then scoop and pull it back in. Tuck your toes, both toes underneath. Right.

And you're gonna press up into an easy downward dog. Now don't feel like you have to get your legs all the way straight. And please don't try like you're gonna push your heels all the way down, okay. What I want you to do is feel down to go up, and let it push the hips up. Keep reaching chest towards your hands.

Push your hips away from your chest and therefore away from your hands. Bend the knees, curling the tail, taking you back through your cat. Control it back down through the feeling of elephant. Knee stretches some things on the reformer. Here we go again.

Keep your curve. Press down. Exhale. Let it push the hips, but keep your chest reaching through to your palms. Don't push your chest back to your shin.

Reach it forward. Push your hips up away from that, creasing the front of the hips. Wherever your heels are, they are. Bend the knees, curve back through. And one more.

Bring it through your cat, press down, push the hips up. Now I like to step one foot forward. Step the other foot forward. Then move one hand back, other hand back, bend your knees. Easy bend back into that same forward fold, but remember, we didn't child's pose and collapse.

Lift, you're way more activated, pressing into the floor, pushing the front body into your back body. Rolling up one bone at a time, letting and giving yourself a second to let the blood flow down. You're going to take one more roll down, letting the head come over. Not so floppy as we were in the beginning. Now really active, really energized, really not giving in, but pulling ourselves through space, letting the weight work with the legs, push us around as our front buddy pulls.

Get to where you get with straight legs and let a bend happen. Let a flection happen. Let yourself be around and then keep that curve, stack up, stack up, one bone at a time, all the way up, all the way up. Go ahead and bring hands behind your head. And it, when I said one last thing, I meant one last thing on the mat, now that we're standing, right.

The whole point of everything we do is to get us up so we can oppose the pull of gravity. Pull one leg up, hold and balance, hold and balance, and then set it down. Test other leg up, and set it down. One more each side, up, and set it down. Last one, stand up, set it down.

And you guys are done for today. So I will see you all tomorrow. And we will again be talking about initiation. Another fundamental, fundamental that I use in my practice. And I can't wait to see you tomorrow morning.

Have a wonderful day.

Rise and Recharge: Recharge your Practice

This Video
Mat, Technique, Flow

Jan 19, 2021
Thumbnail image
Danica Kalemdaroglu
60 min
The Pilates Center
Watch Next
Mat, Technique, Control, Playful

Jan 20, 2021
Thumbnail image
Danica Kalemdaroglu
60 min
The Pilates Center
Mat, Strength, Control, Articulation

Jan 21, 2021
Thumbnail image
Danica Kalemdaroglu
60 min
The Pilates Center


1 person likes this.
Great energy ... 👍🇩🇰
2 people like this.
Incredible way of layering engagement and bringing it back to the purpose of each exercise. Love the cues and energy! Thank you for the fantastic class, Danica!
Danica, your cues were perfect! Finding my center was a helpful reminder when discovering gravity and opposition!
Christina F
1 person likes this.
Thank you! Perfect workout for today.
2 people like this.
WOW !! This was FANTASTIC !! Lots of deep work. Thanks Danica, I love your teaching style, energy and cueing :)) Very much looking forward to your next class !
Holly J
1 person likes this.
That was fabulous. Thanks, Danica!
1 person likes this.
If you are looking for a Beginner/level 1 class, with lots of cues, lots of time in between exercises, and lots of friendly dialogue, this class is for you.  Thanks Danica:) 
Wonderful, each movement so meaningful and solid. It really makes me feel the muscles work and the focus of each moment. 
Maria P
1 person likes this.
Fantastic work out Danica! Excellent series. Thank you!
Monta N Thank you for joining. Glad you enjoyed it!

1-10 of 43

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Pilates Anytime Logo

Move With Us

Experience Pilates. Experience life.

Let's Begin