Class #4479

Upper Body Release

55 min - Class


Shift your focus upwards with James in the fifth class of Curious Movement. You’ll explore ways to release tension in your hands and arms through Pilates. Unravel stress to unlock potential in class five with James Crader!
What You'll Need: Mat

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Welcome everybody to "Pilates Anytime Live". I'm James Crader, and this is curious movement, all about restoring self-trust. This is week five. This class today is my version of an arm day maybe. Today we're gonna be exploring hands to shoulders and sort of how their relationship, how we create relationship with them and to the body.

I think of the arms as the curiosity limbs. These are how we express ourselves. These are how we touch, and move, and explore the world, so we're gonna have a practice all to do with that. This practice and all of my practices build upon each other, so if this is your first class with me, welcome. I highly recommend you go back to two weeks, one through four to get ya here at some point.

As always we're gonna start with a little bit of a breathing practice, going through a movement practice, and we always wrap up the same way, you'll know it when we get there. So today's breathing practice is hand breathing. I want you to just pick a hand and take a look at it. And I want you to just admire your hand for a moment. Just kinda take a look at what it looks like, the curves, how it moves, your relationship with it, and just kinda go that's my hand.

That is my hand right there. Then I want you to take an index finger on the other side, you're gonna put it at the bottom of the palm kinda on the pinky side. Then you're gonna trace up, and you're gonna take an inhale as you trace up. As you go down the mountain you're gonna do an exhale. Inhale, trace up, exhale down, inhale, exhale, inhale, got it.

So everyone together, I want you to admire your own hand as you trace the outline of your hand and just do a breathing practice. Inhale, exhale, down the inside of your pinky. (exhales) Inhale up the ring finger. Exhale down. (exhales) Inhale, exhale. (exhales) Inhale, exhale. (exhales) Inhale, exhale. (exhales) Other hand, take a look at it. Index finger to the outside of the pinky, this is a really good breathing practice to calm yourself. It's an embodiment breathing practice, and I find it so good for clients who can't do the big breathing practices.

This is so soft and subtle that pretty much everyone has access to this breath. So inhaling, exhaling. (exhales) Inhaling, exhaling. (exhales) Inhale, exhale. (exhales) Inhale, exhale. (exhales) Inhale, exhale. (exhales) Then just take a look at your own hands, and then just lay them down wherever they go, and I want you to just imagine or envision, maybe even embody your hands. Often when we embody, and we're gonna get more into this exploration next week when we do the spine and the trunk, often when we embody ourselves, right now when I say be in, or imagine, or be aware of your hands most of us are doing it from an outside in perspective, like you're hovering above your body looking at your hands or you're just sort of like cognitively aware of your hands. So I wanna give you a practice to embody your hands for just a moment. Imagine your hands as gloves, and you're just going to keep envisioning the gloves.

Call 'em glove hands. Now feel your hands slip into glove hands, and notice how your hands fit perfectly into the gloves of your hands. It's like they were tailor-made for you. So that there's an inside of your own body sensation. And even as you wiggle your fingers it's like you can feel that there is, that you are covered by yourself and inside of yourself at the same time.

It's like the sensation of being in perfectly fit gloves. Just kinda be there for a moment, just appreciating that. Then see if you can pull the gloves up to the elbows, and this is all in your imagination. This is just an embodiment practice. Those gloves go up towards the biceps and triceps, up towards the shoulders, and sort of become a jacket body that you put on.

Feel it on the backside of the body, kind of bridging the two shoulder blades together, and just appreciate that feeling. If it's hard for you, you are so normal. We don't practice embodiment. We are not culturally taught how to do that, so yes, this can be very, very difficult, but it's so worthwhile to spend some time figuring out how you feel in your body. Now if that feels good for you, and you're like, oh man, this is a revelatory practice for me maybe stay there, maybe do that, maybe just do the hand breathing.

For the rest of us let's do a little bit of hand warmup. I want you to take your hands together and just get 'em warmed. And then the two hands are gonna clasp each other, then they're going to open back up, and they're gonna clasp the other way. Open back up, clasp, other way. So as you do that what I'm looking at is right now my left index finger is close to me, and then when I switch it my right index finger is close to me.

And switch, and switch, and switch, and switch. In the odd way, the way that you would not normally do that, and just do some wrist movements there. And then go back to the familiar way, and do some wrist movements there, good. From there stretch and push the palms away from you, and bring it back in. Make the palms go up, make the palms go down, make the palms look at you, and then just flick the fingers as if you're flicking off water from your fingers.

Think about really strongly doing that. What we're working here are some back of the hand extensor muscles, which don't get used enough. So if you're someone who suffers from some wrist congestion, some wrist and hand pain this is great exercise for you. Then hold them still, this one is a Lolita exercise, this is flamenco hands, well, this is, she calls them flamenco hands. I don't know that she, I'm sure someone else invented this, but this her description flamenco hands.

Then reverse those, just kind of articulating and moving through your own hands. Then just shake your hands, and then I always like to add in a little noise. Noise for me brings up aliveness, so clap. (James clapping) And then just kinda feel your relationship to your hands. What feels different now?

What did you not notice to begin with? Then from there want you to just imagine winding up an elbow, and you can do both of them at the same time or you can just do one, it's up to you. You're just kinda winding up an elbow and then a reverse wind. Good, then we're gonna just wind through the shoulders. Just kinda getting a little movement into them.

And then reverse wind there. (sighs) Then kinda just shake the arms all over. Kinda waken them up a little bit. Good, then pick a shoulder, either one, lift that shoulder up to your ear, and drop it down. Lift it up to your ear, drop it down.

Then the other side. If you are someone who has not thought about your shoulders an awful lot or has some shoulder pain, congestion, lack of relationship with your shoulder maybe, maybe this is where you wanna start. You can do both. If you are a little more familiar with working with shoulders 'cause they can be tricky, they can be difficult, here's what I want you to imagine, want you to just for a moment be with the back side of your ribs, and imagine the back side of your ribs like a white board or a chalkboard, and there's stuff written all over it. Your right shoulder blade, your right scapula is now an eraser, and that right shoulder blade is going to try and erase everything on the backside of those ribs.

It can go up high, it can go down low. Now you can stay over there or you can come to the left. And thinking how do I move that shoulder blade in some really interesting ranges of motion that maybe are outside of my comfort zone or outside of my regular? I can do both at the same time. Now if that practice is stretching your mind stay there.

Here's what I like to do, I like to imagine my right shoulder complex is sentient or has its own brain, its own mind. So I'm just gonna let that shoulder start to move. I know it looks silly, but I want it to just, I wanna almost be surprised with how it's gonna move. Then that's gonna start to bring some ribs and some body along for the ride, and it's just sort of like look at that. Then it can start to move my arm.

And you're just sort of letting go of control of oh, it has to move perfect, it has to move pretty, it has to move right, and instead going, well, how does it wanna move? Can I almost shock myself over there? And then maybe it's the other side. You're just sort of doing that. So many different ways to approach that practice whether it's just movement, it's the eraser on the chalkboard or it's like look at that, like my arm can just move, can surprise me.

Then quiet that down, we'll have lots of arm movement today, but for now let's get the hands warmed. We're gonna put them on the front of our throat, on the neck area, and just be there. Hand integrity requires elbow and shoulder integrity, which is all connected to neck and throat muscles. So we're gonna just for a moment have a release for the throat and the neck, so that our arms move a little bit better. Now I can stay there or I can take my right hand, left throat dragging it to midline as I twist.

This is two for 'cause it's also a nervous system warmup. (James exhales) (James exhales) Beautiful. You can warm your hands again. Let your posture shift, just be comfortable, and this is my new, I was exposed to this idea in a podcast this week. Sit comfortable, and then I want you to think, am I really comfortable right now?

And how I will know I'm comfortable is would I watch TV for an extended period of time in the way that I am right now? (chuckles) And if the answer is no, you are not comfortable, friend, so go ahead an make yourself comfortable. We're gonna get these hands warmed. Right hand goes onto left collarbone, and I want you to just kind of trace the collarbone for a moment. We need to form better relationships with our collarbones. From and embryologic perspective your hands, your arms, your shoulders are reliant on collarbone movement, not scapular.

It is not about the shoulder blades, it's about the collarbone, and in particular or more so it's about lung integrity from an embryologic perspective. Then you can do the other side. Embryologic perspective, and if you are here taking this class with me we all went through the same cleaving and folding embryologic process. Our arms sprout from our lungs. I know be with that for a moment.

My arms sprouted from lung tissue, and the collarbone is the bone that relates to all of that, so I gotta wake up these collarbones. I can just rub them, I can tap them. I can do a little massage under and above it. Where the two collarbones come together in the sternum that's called the manubrium, it's unimportant, but I can palate, or touch, or tap right there and just kinda wake it up. It's gonna be really important here in a moment.

Good. From there pick your favorite arm, whichever arm it is. I'm gonna use my left today. And we're gonna have a little exploration. I want you to just take your left arm and lift it up, and then bring it back down.

Left arm lifts up. It can even take different routes, meaning it can go out to the side or it can go to the front, or it can bend, and lift. I can lift elbow first, and come up, makes no difference. There isn't a right way to lift your arm, you're just lifting up that arm. Now put your right hand on, or put the opposite hand on your collarbone.

I'm using my right, you're probably using something different. Left arm lifts or your arm lifts. Sorry, I'm teaching as if I'm teaching myself. From, (laughs) from there in order to lift that arm higher I want you to imagine or allow, embody your collarbone on that side lifting up like an elevator toward the ceiling, and then relax. (exhales) For me it automatically brings up an inhale, which I'm not shocked because my arm is connected into my lungs from a cellular embryologic perspective. They know each other.

They are in relationship together. (James exhales) If this is my collarbone as my arm lifts I envision it lifting, lifting, lifting, lifting, lifting, and then the elevator goes back down. (James exhales) Let's do the other side. Just practice for a moment like what does that feel like to just lift my arm? Then how is it different if I lift from the perspective of the collarbone?

(James exhales) We did this last week with pubic bone, and the public bones relationship to the legs. Now we're just saying, oh, look at that, maybe my arms aren't so dependent on my scapula. Maybe it is more dependent on something I've never even thought about or barely thought about. Maybe you have thought about it a lot, I don't know, I hadn't. Now whichever side felt easier to do let's turn that into a little bit of an exploration.

So I'm going to take that arm, I'm going to lift it up, that elbow is going to softly bend until my fingertips try to touch the opposite ear, back up, and relax. Let's get more specific. Lift, collarbone lift, my collarbone to my arm keeps lifting. I decide to relax at the elbow. All of this is still actively lifting, and then release, (exhales) and relax.

Again I'm going to lift, collarbone lift, touch my ear, hold. I'm going to allow my ear to rest into my hand, and it takes me over, huge stretch, back up, (exhales) and release. Other side lift, and again it's not just I touch my ear and I go over, right, there's some intension there, there's some lift. There's some look at that I'm connected into my body sensation. So if you're not feeling that maybe that is the thing you look for versus getting the shape of something right or wrong.

Let's lift it up. Collarbone, I feel that my arm is connected into that. I relax at the elbow, I touch, I lift. (exhales) Again, I'm going to lift. (James inhales) (James exhales) One more, we're gonna go up, and ear goes over. Up, and relax.

Let's take this all and make it mean something. I'm gonna have my right leg in front, my left leg is gonna go to the side. I'm gonna move my arms behind me, and I'm gonna revisit an exercise that we did, in fact I'm gonna kind of turn like this. I'm gonna revisit an exercise that we did last week where I put my arms behind me, and I do that hip opener. So I'm really just trying to keep my feet down and move through the hips.

I'm gonna notice that it takes my pelvis and my spine along for the ride. And then you're gonna pick a side to pause on, so I'll go over here. Whichever side has the leg to the side over there, that arm is going to lift, the elbow will bend. You already know the drill here, get into that collarbone, and then I'm going to do my tilt over. I'm going to take that elbow, (exhales) open back up, lift, arm goes behind me, over to the other side.

I'm going to lift, collarbone does its thing, breaking at the elbow soft, ear leans over into hand, then twist, (exhales) opening up, lift, repeat, arm finds the floor, moving through that lifting up. Where is my collarbone? Break, let my ear soften over, (exhales) then just rotate into that, opening back up, (exhales) opening up. One more over here twisting, lifting through the collarbone, break at the elbow, touch my ear, relax over, twist, lift, open. (James exhales) Slide your legs straight, put your hands on the front of your legs, and just stretch forward, and back up.

Just take a moment and appreciate what you just did. You literally woke up your arms all the way into your body, you found your collarbone and you turned it into an exercise. Seems pretty good for a early morning discovery if you ask me. Here in a moment I'm gonna have you lie all the way down on your back, and I want us to transform from that very adulty do this, now this, now this moment, and take us back in time to being in the crib. So this your time to now embody being so little that you are in a state of curiosity and discovery.

We did something very similar last week where we took a leg up and we sort of discovered the leg. Here's what I want us to do, I want you to lift one hand up, and again you're gonna just look at your hand, and I want you to start to make shapes. This is an exercise I do a lot in my MoveLab class. I do this a lot with new students because it lets me into how it is you believe your body moves. What I know is that there's two versions of how people will tend to move here.

It's either robotic, where it's like open, close, move, move, circle, circle, circle, circle or it's kaleidoscopic, and that is sort of like a baby discovering. It's like look at that, look at all of these like really interesting things that I can do here. I can squeeze my own thumb, I can flare open, I can move, I can squeeze, I can play. And becomes an elbow. Look at that my hand can reach over there.

My hand can lift up. It can move over. Then when you feel like you've had enough of this one go over here, and play over here. Can you just decide number one, how is it that I move? And is there value in moving the other way?

I'm a natural kaleidoscopic mover, so sometimes I practice, well, can I just kind of linearly move. But if you are someone who just opens and closes, can you get lost in like oh, my God, look at that, that is my hand? It's connected into my body. I, that is, I don't own that, that is me out there. And maybe both hands, and they can touch, and they can move away, and one can pull on the other or push.

They can reach, they can explore. I am my arms, which become really important right now. Want you to reach your hands up, and we're gonna do sort of like a classic crunch exercise, so I'm gonna lift my head, and I'm gonna come up. And there's no need to sit up, I'm just gonna do that little bit of a crunch, and then back down. And I'm gonna come up, (exhales) and back down.

Think of it this way, crunches equal sign teaser. So this is a good prep for how do I hold my spine in the trunk of my body in a teaser shape. And back down. Now chances are if you're a Pilates person that your preconceived idea of scapular neutrality, of scapular stability, broad shoulders has activated. I want us to play a little bit differently today.

Reach your arms up, look up at your ceiling, and literally allow your arms to reach for whatever it is. Like I'm a baby reaching for mom out in front of me. I'm really reaching for that. Let your head be lifted with that. Let the arms begin to pull you, reach, reach, reach, reach.

As you come back down stay reaching, stay reaching, stay reaching, ah, relax. My arms do the reach. And back down. Chances are you have a deeper abdominal contraction, why? Arms are connected into shoulders, which are connected into serratus, which become the abdominals, so I don't need to squeeze my abs more, I need to figure out where I am in space more, and what am I doing?

I wanna reach for something. And back down. Now I can do it crisscross style by reaching for something over there or reaching for something over there. I reach for it, and then I come back down. I keep reaching. (exhales) Now I don't stop reaching as I come back down, I keep reaching, I keep reaching, I keep reaching, and then I come back down.

I can come up through middle, and change my mind and go over here or change my mind and go over here. And back down. (exhales) One more wherever you want to take that. (exhales) And relax, back down, bring your knees into your chest, just rock a little bit. Find your center, rock forward and back. Three, two, one. From there we're gonna end with our knees bent, and we're gonna have our arms go behind us here.

I call this movement day at the beach because everyone knows what this is. I'm at the beach, and I'm not up, I'm not in proper alignment, right. If I'm comfortable it's how I would watch TV. It's how I would chit-chat. It's how'd I relax.

So it looks a little more like this, right. So here I am I'm at the beach, I'm fully relaxed. Then I decide I kind of, I'm interested in something out there, so I'm gonna push down with my arms to bring my chest up, and kind of look out into the horizon. And then oh, that was nothing, I can fully relax. I'm gonna push.

Which beach are you at? What are looking at? Is it a dolphin? Is it a surfer? Is there someone you're interested in out there?

And then relax, again. You can tell I'm not a parent 'cause my immediate thing wasn't my child. I'm like dolphins. (laughs) Then relax. Push, (exhales) and relax. Now switch where your hands are, maybe you wanna bring them closer.

Maybe you wanna bring them wider. Maybe you wanna stagger them, one arm back, one arm forward. And I can push, (exhales) and relax. I can push, and relax. Switching it, push, (exhales) and relax.

Switching it, push, (exhales) and relax. Two more of whatever it is you're doing there. Remember we are just creating relationships with this part of our body, and relax, so that we can move through these tissues, move through these landmarks in our body better. Now choose whichever version of that was most comfortable for you or that you felt solid in. Coming up, hold, left elbow or left shoulder softens, and you do sort of a sweeping circle.

Then the right sweeping circle. Left sweeping circle. You come back to fully alert. Right relax, fully alert. Left fully alert, right, (exhales) left, (exhales) right, left.

Now right into the left. To me this feels like an infinity symbol or a eight turned onto its side. You might register it differently. We're just moving through some shoulder tissue, which tends to get kinda congested for people. Now hold, fully erect.

If you need to go back to either day at the beach or the circles, do that thing. For the rest of us we're here, we're fully erect. I'm now gonna be very aware of my feet. I push my feet down to just hover my bum off of the sand, and then relax. I push, I push with my feet, I hover, and relax.

I push to hover, and relax. I push to hover, and relax. I push to hover, and relax. That might be enough for you or you might wanna push to hover to keep pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing. My shoulders do not get a break here.

Back down my shoulders are fully active, and then I relax. I push, (exhales) I keep lifting, lifting, lifting, lifting. What are my hands touching? What are my feet touching? And back down. (exhales) Maybe I allow my collarbone to be wide and relaxed.

My collarbone is wide and relaxed as I lift. Wide and relaxed, wide and relaxed all the way back down. Shake out your hands, they probably need a break, mine do. From there you can always stick with that exercise. I'm going to take it in a different direction.

Slide your legs straight, put your arms behind you, slump, day at the beach, lift, (exhales) hold. Looking out over the horizon I start to push my feet down to hover, and I keep lifting, back down, (exhales) and relax. Lift, (exhales) lift, (exhales) down, down. Now that might be enough work for you, stay there if you want some more. Lift by pushing, wide collarbone, all of the usual suspects.

Lift, my feet tick tock left and right, left and right, left and right, center, down, shake it out. If you have access to all of that let's play with liberating one of our legs down below. Going back into that, I'm not gonna talk you through it, I anticipate that you the process. (exhales) Hold, one leg gets to be liberated. It can move wherever it wants to move.

Relax, other leg. (exhales) Relax, down. (James exhales) Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out. (James exhales) Familiar shape, maybe a new avenue to get there if you will. From there let's go to our stomach. I'm on my belly, I'm gonna pick an arm to move behind me.

Now if I didn't have a mic on I'd probably rest my chin or my cheek down onto me, so figure out what works best for you. Put one arm behind you, from there palm up, and I want you to try to lift that palm or the back of the hand off of your low back, and release. Lift, release, lift, release, lift, hold, sweep it out to the side over your head. Where's the collarbone? Back and relax.

Lift. (James exhales) One more, lift, sweep, back, relax. Let's do the other side. Hand goes behind me, lift, release, lift, release, lift, take it out to the side. How does it fit into the collarbone? (exhales) Bring it back, and relax. (exhales) Lift, sweep, bring it back. (exhales) One more, lift, sweep, bring it back, (exhales) and relax.

I'm gonna turn to face the camera, this one I call, we've already sort of played with this but for me being on the belly just gives it a really distinct feeling. So you are going to come into this shape, from there totally relaxed and slumped, reading a book, watching TV, day at the beach, from there I'm going to push my arms down. (exhales) And look at that I've got shoulders that are active. And relax. Push, (exhales) and relax. Push, it's like I'm turning my shoulder machines on, and then they're off.

And then they're on, and then they're off. And they are on, and they are off. They're on, left one turns off, (exhales) back on. Right one turns off, back on. Left is off, on, right is off, and on, off, on, off, on, both off, both on, left off, and on, right off, on, both off, on, right off, on, left off, on, both off, on, hold.

Now you know what it feels like to really be in your shoulders, so when we did the abdominal exercise, the abdominal reach, I should of mentioned this then, to me that sensation of using my arms to find my abs, here in my studio I call that my arms have abs. So that I don't have a right arm and a left arm anymore, I have a pair of arms that are connected through my abs. So it's not like what am I doing with the right, what am I doing with the left, then I gotta find something in the middle. It's a continuum of feeling. So we're gonna have the same thing but from the back side of the body now.

My arms have a back, so instead of being connected through the front they're connected through the back. Let's come down. If you put your hands underneath your shoulders you ain't gonna find it. Your hands have to be somewhere underneath your armpits, elbows have to pull tight into the body without overly efforting. Then my elbows need to try their best to touch my heels.

You will automatically feel, oh, yeah that activates some back muscle, and then relax. Again my elbows are narrowish, doesn't need a lot of, I'm not trying to make 'em touch, I'm just allowing them to be in streamlined relationship to the body, and then they actively reach towards my heels. From there I use my back and my arms to lift me up into some version of extension. My elbow are in communication with my heels regardless of where I go my arms have a back. I can liberate my head, my legs.

(James exhales) One more, my arms have a back. (exhales) All the way down. Push yourself up to a hands and knees position, from there we are going to have just a moment to appreciate my favorite exercise genre, push-ups. Now push-ups are not a dude's exercise. Push-ups are a where are my arms, how do they relate into my body exercise. Here is a helpful pro tip, we already have an exercise in previous classes that will help you with this, it's called favorite exercise.

So we're here, I'm not gonna revisit favorite exercise that lives on a different video. I can't recall which one right now. From there I'm looking down at the floor, day at the beach, right, here I'm gonna push the floor away, I'm going to pull my nose away, and I'm going to be here. First version of exercise we've done this a bunch on this series already, heels pull towards my butt. Kitty cat push-ups, from there imagine you've got a bowl of water in between your two hands, you can go down and drink your water and back up.

Where is your collarbone? What is the relationship going on? Maybe collarbone wide. Maybe I'm pushing through the collarbone to push through my arms. Then I can move the bowl of water forward.

I can move it even more forward. I can move it wherever I want to move that bowl of water. Then take a moment shake it out, relax. That is a very good base push-up. We're going to keep the form of that push-up, and just change our arm orientation so you can explore some different stuff.

Instead of having the hands here, take them wider, and make the fingertips look away from each other. This is sort of a bicep push-up now. Everything is as it is. The hand orientation alone changes what works. Where is that bowl of water?

Maybe it's over to the side, over to the other side, in the middle, and relax, shake out your hands. Diamond push-ups, bring the thumbs together, index fingers together. Here we go, everything is as it was. Bowl of water, (exhales) bowl of water, (exhales) again. And shake it out.

(James exhales) Good. Maybe you need a little arm roll there. Maybe you need a little tapping. Maybe you need to go into hand gloves, flamenco arms. So many different explorations of things that you can do there, (exhales) beautiful.

From there pick a side to lay on. We are going to have a Kathy Grant-ish moment. We're gonna do a version, I don't even wanna say that 'cause this is not a Kathy Grant moment, she didn't do this. This is inspired by what I know of a Kathy Grant side push-up, we'll put it that way. So we're gonna have our knees bent today, heels in alignment with tailbone.

The arm that you are lying on gives you a hug, the other hand comes in front of the elbow. From there I'd like us to burst, just push with this front arm into the floor. That's it, just feel the contraction and then release. It's like I'm pushing, (exhales) and releasing. As you push can you really be active through the feet?

Can you be active through the pelvis, and the legs, and the neck? And if you've got that keep pushing. (exhales) And then back down. (exhales) Again active push, and back down. Here's where, here's the big deviation, you're going to push up. If you can get that arm free, you push, and you twist. You come back down, relying on this arm, give yourself the hug, and escort yourself back down.

Push, (exhales) twist, (exhales) twist, (exhales) and down. One more, push, twist, (exhales) twist, hug, down, open up, relax. (exhales) Woo. Sometimes you teach stuff and you're like why did I just teach that? I'm not even, (laughs) I'm not even good at that. And then other side.

Okay, that's the joy of it, right? Like just, let's just explore and play. If it's grimy, it's grimy, whatever. Here I am, here I am, here I am. Hands down, what am I touching?

Where am I? Gentle push and release. I can already feel that this side, this is my left side, and if you've been in this class you know James's left side has a mind of its own. So be compassionate with yourself and mostly be compassionate with me. (exhales) Here we go, we're gonna lift, (exhales) twist, (groans) open, big inhale, feet active, body active, retwist, escort yourself back down. You got two more of whatever these are.

Lift, (exhales) twist. (exhales) One more, here we go. (exhales) (James groans) (James exhales) And undo yourself, open up, ay-ay-ay. The good news is we get to end with the fun stuff now. That was the hard thing. And then we're gonna come on up, however you get there you get there. Now we're gonna revisit literally one of my most favorite movements ever, paper airplane.

So choose how you wanna sit. Your favorite hand becomes a paper airplane. We all know paper airplanes fly in one direction. They always fly nose first. They don't go up, they don't go backwards, they don't go to the side, they go here.

So wherever you want your paper airplane to go it has to go nose first. And your eyes are going to follow it. Now just continue to play paper airplane. There is so much, it seems silly, there's so much science behind it. We're working eye tracking.

We're working embodied movement. Think of all the cellular deformation or all of the really unique ways your arm and your body is moving that maybe it wouldn't have moved otherwise. Mostly it's fun, we're in curiosity, we're in delight, which is serotonin, which is dopamine, all really good stuff to release. So science, science, science that looks a whole lot like a kid game. From there I can start to move more.

I can let the other hand join in on the fun. Both hand regardless of where they go my eyes follow even if they move apart and I've gotta use peripheral vision. I'm just playing. I can begin to come up and sweep and play. I can go back and sweep, and play.

There can be one or the other one sweeping and playing. (exhales) Shake it all out. Okay, let's finish out, get a sip of water, grab your prop, your toy, your ball, your stuffed animal, your pillow, whatever, your rolled up socks, whatever you got. Water first, then toy. From there let's start off sitting since it's a familiar.

We're just gonna toss the toy side to side. You know we say a lot with Pilates about being human movement we don't play toss, we don't play games, we don't play catch and snatch in Pilates, ya are today. We are designed to interact with our environment in unpredictable and fun ways, so if you're new to playing toss with yourself go ahead and just do this. Maybe you go wider, maybe it's just one hand, maybe you look away from the thing. Maybe you close your eyes, and begin a little rock with it.

So many different options of how to anticipate, organize catching something. Like I just, I spent all this time working on my hands and my shoulders, and giving 'em a stomach, and abs, and a back, and a spine, now do something with it, play. Now you can do that or you can roll it like a little kitty cat roll here. If you've got someone in the room with you toss it to them. From there I invite you to stand up and do the toss.

For me I can't do the toss and not do the sway, so something I play with is if you watch you can see that I'm swaying to or weight-bearing to the side I'm catching on. So sometimes I like to switch it up and weight bear to the opposite side. I can put one foot forward, and kinda weight bear into that or back. I can choose one leg make it dynamic, other leg. Just getting used to interfacing with the ball.

Now for a lot of you that might be where you're comfortable, one of those versions. If you're like got it, James, I played sports, I'm ready for it, instead of tossing and catching, we're gonna do what's called the snatch. So toss as you're waiting for the ball to come to you. Snatch is I pull it out of the air. Maybe it's high, maybe it's low, maybe it's to the side.

But we're taking that paper now you can kinda see why paper airplane, right. I got follow something with my eyes and I don't always know, like right now I'm playing with myself, it's a little more predictable when you are tossing the ball up and catching it on your own, it's a one man game. But if I was playing with someone else I don't know where this ball's gonna land. I gotta be available and monitor it. Maybe one leg, maybe the other.

Quietly taking it back, just tossing. (James exhaling) Set the ball down. Now be comfortable, sit, stand, lie down, whatever works for you but whatever it is I invite you to take an inventory. What do my hand feel like right now? How am I aware of them?

Am I naturally more inside of my gloves or less? Where do the gloves end? What's the relationship to collarbone? Can I feel that I have a shoulder girdle? Do I feel like I have a right and a left arm or pair of arms?

Do my arms have abs? Do they have a back? What is my experience with that? Just take an inventory. Maybe let 'em swing, let 'em be there.

What from this am I gonna take with me into my Pilates practice? What did I learn and discover today? That's always the question, what did I discovery today? From there ending the same way we always do, put your hands on your heart, tell yourself thank you for showing up today, you did a really incredible thing for yourself by simply showing up. Take a look around your room, including the ball, tell your room, and your space, your world thank you we are shaped by the world we live in.

We are shaped by the environments we move ourselves into. Think about that. Then take a look around anyone you see on screen here with you, anyone in the room with you tell everyone in the space, tell your community thank you for showing up today, we could not do this without you. You couldn't do it without us. We are interconnected.

We need other people. So thank you for showing up today. Again, I'm James Crader, this is "Pilates Anytime Live". You just had a curious movement class. I'm so grateful for you being here and I'll see ya next week.

Thank you so much.

Mindful Movement: Curious Movement

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2 people like this.
great class, to learn how creative and simple movements became so important to be a mindful mat practitioner and teacher
2 people like this.
Thank you James! That class was a revelation, my arms have abs and a back. Eureka moment. 
Sylvana M Thank you! I'm so honored to have your interest, support, and curiosity around my work. 
Etaine AWESOME! Thank you!
2 people like this.
Thankyou James always insight and new discoveries with your sessions. 
3 people like this.
I have woven your exercises into my 'traditional' Pilates classes, and  my clients have LOVED them -  the sense of 'safe' freedom they give to the body, the excitement of a fresh, creative approach. They bring smiles of enjoyment to everyone's face. Thank you James!
Melanie S Thank you!
Marianne N You are so welcome! Glad you and your students are finding them valuable. 
Ruth A
3 people like this.
I searched for an upper body session and your class was suggested. What great ideas and variations James. Thank you. I will be watching all your earlier sessions next. 
Firmpoint Pilates
Thank you James.... your simple movement is not that simple if we understand the meaning behind it. Love it♥️♥️
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