Class #4501

Organizing Experience

40 min - Class


In the culminating class for Curious Movement, James Crader will tie it all together. He’ll lead you in an exploration of strategies for release, remind you of your sensory experiences, and affirm a generous self-practice. Trust your Pilates practice and find restoration beyond the Mat in the final class of Curious Movement with James!
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hello, hello, everybody. Welcome to yet another "Pilates Anytime" live movement celebration. I'm James Crader, and this is curious movement. This is week eight. This is the last class, the culminating experience.

You know, I designed this when I was asked to do this live series. I designed an experience that would take you from the nervous system to today. And today is all about your Pilates practice. So, surprise, we're doing Pilates, today. We're gonna drop into a Pilates practice, but we're gonna do it my way.

And what I want us... What I'm inviting us to organize around is not the historical rules and principles of Pilates. So, yes, there is precision and control, and fluidity, and all of that over there. And that's one way to organize your movement. But today, what I'm advocating is that we organize ourselves.

We make choices and have discernment about what is good for us in the moment, and we are organizing around ideas of internal safety. How do I support myself? And the big one for me is personal satisfaction. What feels good to do today? And if you're like, "I don't know, I don't know." And if this is your first class of this series, you have seven other classes to help support you towards today.

Because if this is your first class welcome... But you might get a little confused. You may want the support of the other seven classes 'cause today, we are not going to practice contrology. Not that I don't love contrology and the Pilates method, but today, instead of using movements to control ourselves, we're gonna use movement as catharsis, as expression. And today, we're gonna choose to practice what I'm calling careology.

How do I practice and discern, and investigate, and get curious about, what do I need in this moment? What do I want to do? How do I want to move forward in my life? How do I wanna feel embodied? And we got all these tools we've been practicing, and we're gonna drop it into a Pilates practice so that you can see, no matter what movement practice you choose to do, these ideas can live within them.

So I'm getting ready to take us on a journey today. If you are brand new to Pilates, we're just gonna do some Pilates mat work stuff. And if you are an old school Pilates aficionado, well, you gotta take all of that and put it on a shelf, and drop into your practice, a different way today; in the way we have been playing with it. So we're gonna start with a little breathing, do some nervous system warm-ups, and get right into mat class. So, whatever warm-ups feel good for you to do, we've had seven weeks of things that could be warm-ups.

If I make a right in my warm-up decisions and you want to go left, do it or follow me along. The breath I'm gonna choose to play with today is called listening for breath. So just take in an inhale, let out an exhale. (sighs) And just listen to the sound of your own breath. (sighs) It's like I'm alive.

(sighs) Then listen for when your body wants to take in an inhale. How big of an inhale does it wanna take in, right now? Pause, hold the breath for as long as you feel ready and able, and comfortable holding it. It doesn't have to be a specific amount of time. You're just consciously choosing to listen for how long you can hold your breath.

Then exhale, deep, dive into your exhalation. (sighs) Let your posture change, let your expression change. Hold your breath, pause. Take an inhale and rise up. (sighs) One more of those.

(sighs) I'm gonna rub my hands together and get them warmed. And I'm gonna do some of my favorite nervous system warm-ups. You can do yours. If you feel like you need to do a physical warm-up, some stretching, some pre-Pilates, do that. I'm gonna put my warm hands on the front of my throat and take a nice deep inhale.

(sighs) As we explore and play today, the framework is going to be: I'm gonna call out a Pilates exercise. I'm gonna guide you into it, in the way that makes sense to me, which is very practical. And then I'm gonna say, what's next? Where do you wanna take this exercise? And that's gonna be it.

Take your right hand, put it on the left side of your throat, twist your face, which can be really confusing for people who like structure. People who like to be told where to move and what to do. Well, I can't do that for you, today. What I can do is say, go back to the previous seven weeks, pick and choose some tools to explore and play with, and then maybe come back to this class and see what else the hundred can be. What else a roll up can be.

I'm gonna go into some tapping. Just some tapping there. How do you need to move today to express the story and the feelings inside of you? In America, at least this has been a very tough week for a lot of people. And I wanna hold space for that.

And I want you to have space for whatever your story is, today. Maybe you're having a great week, a great day. Maybe you're not. Let that in form and be within your practice. Let this be an opportunity to process through, or even just escape from whatever's going on in your life.

I'm gonna have my legs out in front of me. I'm gonna put my hands there, sliding forward. (sighs) And then back up. My hands have become paint in my imagination. And I'm just painting my legs, and I'm back up.

(sighs) I'm gonna come up, collect my legs. I'm gonna rock side to side and do a little seaweed spine. You can go into whatever you want. Maybe you wanna do hula hoop, here. Maybe for you, it's a cat-cow or a side bend.

You know what your body needs, right now. (sighs) A little seaweed and cat-cow, extensions, inflections. (sighs) Now, for me, my hips tend to get a little stiff. So I'm gonna go into a hip opener of my legs, here. If you want more of this, there's a whole lower body leg class you can go to.

(sighs) Right and left. And right, and left. From there, I'm just gonna roll through my shoulders, get very aware of my collar bones from the upper body class. How are they gonna want to move or not move, today? Other side. (sighs)

Now, you may need more warm-up, today. And if so, continue along. Follow us along later. If you're watching this on a replay, you can always pause it and do whatever warm-up you wanna do. Shake your hands out like you're shaking out stress.

Shaking everything out. (sighs) Then just look around your room. Working with that nervous system, a little bit, just spotting what's in the room. You can even just go into some objective naming. There's some plants, there's a reformer and a door, and a computer, and some lights, and a logo, and a ladder, and another plant, and a mirror.

You're just noticing what's in the room, letting that nervous system take in the experience. Move your left hand behind you. Take a look for it. Do a nice deep inhale. Exhale, come back.

Other side. (sighs) Just taking a notice of what you feel, where you're at today. (sighs) Good. Maybe take a sip of water. We're about to get started some mat work.

Lying down on the ground. Let's have you lie on your back. We'll have your knees bent, to start off with. And we're gonna start off with just grounding ourself. And what I mean by that is just be very aware that you have a floor, an earth beneath you.

And just for a moment, recognize that like, "Oh, I'm in a room. "There is ground beneath me "and I can feel it. "Can I breathe backwards into it?" (sighs) I'm supported by it. (sighs) Rocking a little to the left and to the right side, like kind of just nestling into your mat, a little bit. (sighs) And then, maybe one leg slides.

And the other leg. And you kinda ground yourself there. (sighs) One more big breath. You know that first exercise is coming up. I think Joseph Pilates put the hundred at the beginning as a, this is not a joke practice.

Like we start off with the butt kicker. (sighs) So from this great, big, relaxed, shape, organize yourself into a long, aerodynamic shape, and figure out how to pick your legs up, your arms up. Look for your own belly button, then make yourself long. Breathe into the back body. Be there.

And if you'd like, you can start to move your arms. Now, classic shape, right? What could this become? For me, I'm gonna hold that. And it's like, what if the arms just started to move?

What if I started to look around the room? Where else do my legs wanna go? (sighs) Maybe I wanna rock. Maybe I wanna make big shapes and little shapes. I'm not telling you how to move, I'm asking you to investigate the way your body wants to move, on its search for safety, support, and satisfaction.

(sighs) And then settle back in. So, roll-ups. Just rolling up to touch your toes, and taking your time to roll back down. Now, that is definitely one route to get there. You can think about using your arms to connect into your abs from the arm class.

Or what if you took a different route and came up through the left, or went down through the right? What if a leg came up to help guide you towards it or back? Maybe there's a reach. And forward. So many different options of how to feel supported and satisfied through your movement.

Then go ahead and lie down. Reach your arms over your head. However you get there, lift your legs and lower them back down. Lifting, maybe you come up, and you roll back down. Maybe you want your arms by your sides, and back down.

Maybe you wanna go so far over, you touch the floor. (sighs) And you come up, and you touch your toes, and you roll back down. You go back. All the way, come up. (sighs) How high do you want to go?

What feels satisfying for you to do today? Regardless, come on down. Lift your favorite leg. Take a look for your favorite leg and start going into circles. It's just a single leg circle.

Whatever feels good. You know the drill. Now, so many things you could concentrate on: keeping your pelvis still, your ribs still. For me, reverse. Think to yourself what feels good, what feels like an expression of me, today.

So I'm gonna take it over. (sighs) Come off balance. Other leg. Circles, circles. Decide how you want to express your circle.

For me, it's big. (sighs) I wanna feel moved, reverse. I wanna feel moved by the movement I'm creating. I want it to travel all the way through the body. (sighs) Then bring your knees into your chest, make a little shape, and start to roll.

Now, you can do rolling like a ball, nice and tight, or you can do rolling like a human being. And sort of may get joyful and playful. (sighs) Or you can go nice and small. (sighs) Settle onto your back. Stretch one leg, pull the other one into you.

Make the switch. Switch, switch, switch. You can keep doing that single leg stretch or maybe I touch a foot. It'd be the opposite hand touches. Maybe it's a wrist to knee, wrist to elbow.

Maybe I allow myself to rock and make a big shape, make a big shape, make the big shape. (sighs) Or go back into stretch, stretch, stretch, settle. (sighs) Find your way up. Stretch your legs out, in front of you. Choice; either hands on the legs or hands in between the legs.

My neck and head spine go off. I stretch forward into spine stretch, and I come back up. (sighs) Back up. Now, I can keep doing that or choose where I'm gonna travel to. Maybe I wanna travel over to this leg or this leg.

Maybe I want it to have a spiral in that. And I look up or over the other direction. Maybe I just want it in my upper spine or in my lower spine. Where do you need to move with this, today? (sighs) To more of whatever that is for you.

(sighs) From there, reach your arms out, in front of you. Can you keep your hands there and reach one foot up to touch that hand? Boop. And then the other. Touch and go, touch and go, touch and go.

One more, touch and go. Maybe that's enough work for you, today. If not, can both feet, both ankles, both calves, whatever you got, come up and touch your hands? Grab a hold and rock. (sighs) And up.

Think about, where am I gonna balance? Is it on both sit bones. Maybe it's on one in particular. To the right or to the left. And to the right, and to the left.

Good, find your center. (sighs) Bring your legs together, lying all the way down. Bring your knees into your chest, open your arms. Maybe just rock the knees right and left, and right and left. Right and left.

Maybe your legs are straight. Maybe they're open or asymmetrical. It's for you to decide. I think of it as sort of playing with gravity. (sighs) Maybe I drop it down and pick it up.

Maybe I even look for my own belly button. (sighs) Two, and one. Knees into your chest, come all the way up. Stretch your legs out, in front of you. Open your arms.

Right hand goes over to touch left foot. Other side. Classic saw. I can touch my pinky, my big toe, whatever the case may be. Or I can come up.

My right hand becomes a paper airplane. I follow with my eyes. It lands over on the foot. I come up, other hand paper airplane. (sighs) I can even watch the paper airplane in the back.

(sighs) How do you want to move today? One more. (sighs) Turning over onto your stomach, lying all the way down. Collect your arms, come up into your version of a swan, and lie back down. Maybe I'm guided by my eyes.

Maybe it's my arms. Where am I balancing and grounding? For me, it's hips. (sighs) I can come up. I can move to the right or the left.

And then, maybe even I practice a little falling, here. And up. I let go, fall, and come up. Maybe I wanna liberate a limb behind me, and go right, or left. (sighs) One more.

(sighs) And relax. Settle in. Notice what is grounded on the front side of your body. Let it relax. Settle in, stay grounded.

Right knee will bend, and straighten. Left knee will bend, and straighten. If you want, you can do the pulse-pulse, you can even do point flex, or you can just notice. Can I stay grounded in the front, long in the back, as I choose how to bend the limb? Maybe I even pick it up and make a circle.

(sighs) And reverse. And lay it down. Other side. (sighs) And lay it down. Bring your hands behind your back.

Get them relatively high. You can turn a cheek and lay it down or forehead down, your choice. Slide your arms towards your tail, let it lift you. Come back. Bend both knees.

Slide them straight, reach. Come back in, bend. Straight, and bend. (sighs) I like to imagine I'm giving myself a massage through my spine, which helps me up. Collarbones bones are open.

As I come back down, I relax and rest. And I bend. I'm up. (sighs) And then rest. Let yourself be fully grounded.

Maybe even a wiggle or shake. And then end up on your back. I'm gonna get a little bit of water. And we are gonna go into a little bit of an inversion practice or practicing switching our orientation to gravity. So you can be down.

You can go into some toe taps, here. That seems like a really foundational concept to embody. You can have your legs straight. They could kind of bend and explore. (sighs) Or you can get prepared.

You can come up and support yourself into a little bit of a shoulder stance position. So work your way up, grab a hold of whatever you got. One leg, and then the other. They can go into bicycles or just explore. You could even go look at that.

I've got toes and ankles, and feet. (sighs) When you feel like you're grounded in your shoulders, relax. Let yourself be there. (sighs) Now, last week, in the play class, we played with how to get balanced across the shoulders. So we're gonna use that in jackknife, today.

I come up, and I'm back. I go that way before I go up. Over, before I go up, 'cause I gotta find the support. Up. (sighs) Now, what if your arms made a different choice?

What if they went out to the sides or asymmetrical, or bent, or elbows? Try it out, see where that takes you. (sighs) (sighs) (sighs) One more. (sighs) Rest. Let yourself be grounded.

Right side, left side. Right side, left side. Let your knees drop over to the left. Work your way, all the way over. Now, choices.

I can lay here and do a leg lift, very contemporary. I can take my hands behind my head, kick my leg forward as I kind of roll back, and up onto my elbow. Little more historical. And up. Or I can play.

Reach, open, reach. Where am I looking? Where am I reaching too? (sighs) Open. (sighs) Push, pull, stretch, push.

Maybe it goes up. And release. Other side. Simply flip over to the other side as I navigate my mic pack, again. And decide on this side, what do I need to do?

Is it just an up and down? (sighs) Is it a back and forth? And back, and up. Or is there an element of reach. Pull-lift.

Where do I need to go today to feel like I've moved in the way I want to move? How do I take that Pilates brilliant framework and personalize it today? (sighs) And end up on your back, again. Now, the bane of so many people's existence is the teaser. And I think it's because we take it from the hardest portion and idolize it.

Meaning, how do I go from lying down to up, to lying down? (sighs) So that's a way. Or I could go little shape, big shapes, big shapes. Big shapes touch my toes. (sighs) Two, one, rest.

Move your arms behind you. Allow yourself to schlump. Change your mind. Up. Decide if that's where you want your arms, today.

For me, I want them a little more back. We're gonna go into a hip twist. How do I support myself? (sighs) Pick your favorite leg up. Make some circles.

(sighs) Lay it down. Pick the other leg up, make some circles. All hip twist is, how do I support myself and find some freedom in my leg? (sighs) Now, I can come back. I can even have one arm long, one arm straight.

Other side. These are rules for you to make up. And both. (sighs) Once I understand that it's my choice to move how I want, it's so liberating. I just gotta work my way up to trust it.

Bring your knees in, stretch. (sighs) Onto your belly. We're gonna go into a little swimming. Now, swimming to me... I heard my friend, Misty, give a cue the other day: it's swimming, not a temper tantrum.

Which I love because as we go through today, what I'm not asking you to do is throw yourself into chaos. What I am asking you to do is organize your experience, how you'd like informed, participating, making choice with this. I can do plain old swimming. I can lie down, stretch my arms, lift opposite limbs, right arm, left leg. Other side.

I can hover all the limbs above the ground, and lift. (sighs) I can keep my neck long. Or I can go into some version of parachute, some version of big shape, and lift. And lift. (sighs) And really explore that relationship of right side, left side, on the back side of my body.

Because that's what swimming is, how do I find the backside of my body in oppositional relationship? (sighs) Rest. Wiggle. Relax. Put your hands underneath your armpits.

Push yourself up. Stretch backwards. (sighs) Rest. Right into leg pull. Front.

What I want you to think about here is favorite exercise. Where's my nose, where's my ribs, where's my pelvis? So I go into that. Liberate one leg behind me. (sighs) Other leg.

(sighs) Then where does that leg actually want to go? (sighs) Can it move me through space? (sighs) And rest. Coming up, liberate your spine. Seaweed, hula hoop, whatever the case may be.

Shake it out, a little tapping. Flip your legs the other way. Then arms go behind you. You decide where they go. You already know from hip twist, what's gonna work the best today.

Shoulders on, open up, relax. Find your feet, push your feet down. Everything goes down to go up, and rest. (sighs) Again. (sighs) Now, here in a moment, we know we wanna liberate a limb, so you can have your legs wide or narrow.

Just know you're gonna be balanced on one leg, down there. Lift. Up, up, up, up, rest. (sighs) That's the framework. Where are you gonna take it?

I'm not even gonna give you any tips. I just want you to get creative for a moment. (sighs) And rest. (sighs) Shake it out, whatever that is for you. Take a moment and just feel, how was that for you?

What would you change next time? What would you do different? That's for you to decide. Then bring one foot in close. Bring the other foot in front of it-ish, and be here.

Now, rock your body weight to the arms, into the hips. Arm, hip. Arm, hip. Arm, hip. Make the choice to end in the arm, which means you have to organize the collarbone.

In order to lift your butt up and off the floor, you gotta figure out what to do with the legs. That's your job. How do I lift and hover? And down. Lift and hover, and down.

Lift and hover, and down. Lift and hover, and down. From there, we're gonna try to lift so much, we end up in a pike with our arm reaching behind us. Ready? Lift, rotate, stretch.

Back down. Lift, rotate, stretch. Back down. Beautiful. Where was your body weight?

In the arm or in the legs? How did you use arm and leg weight? Paper airplane your way through it and see where that goes. (sighs) One more. (sighs) Beautiful, other side.

Other leg goes in front, other one is in front of it. My arm is over and I'm just weight shifting. (sighs) Can already sense this side is different. So I'm gonna have to navigate differently. Choose my body weight.

Hover up, down. Up, down. Up, under, and down. Up, under, and down. Paper airplane.

(sighs) Two more. (sighs) One more. Stay under, both hands on the mat. Plank. Walk your hands to your feet.

Standing up. Be there. Right foot, left foot. Allowing my spine to move. Orienting myself in space as I get ready for pushups.

Head turns off. Spine. Arms have a destination. Walk out. (sighs) Plank.

Long shapes, wide shape, big shape. Walk back in. (sighs) Repeat, add three pushups in, this time. (sighs) Two, one, all the way in. So that's the framework.

I go down, I walk forward and do some pushups, come back up. Where are you gonna take it? Where do you need to go? What pushup feels right? Do I need to be more on the right or the left?

Is that where I want my legs? It's up for you. Rolling down. (sighs) And out. Two more pushups.

Coming back up. (sighs) Stretch, great big shape. Just take a walk around your mat. Notice what you notice. Notice your feet, your ankles, your hips, your spine.

Just keep walking. Notice your arms. Maybe snap, listen, stomp. It's like I'm here, I'm alive. (sighs) Clap. (clapping hands)

Shake it. Find your center. Ground yourself and just twist. (sighs) Find your center. Shoulders.

(sighs) Look around the room, locate yourself. There's still a wall. (laughs) There's still a door. There's still plants. Yeah, I'm in this space.

Feel your own body. I'm in my body. I've got toes. I've got hands and elbows. I trust all of this.

I'm curious about how to be a human and have more humanly experiences, how to express myself through my body. And now you have a tool set to do that. Put your hands on your heart. Tell yourself, "Thank you," for showing up today. Thank you for showing up to this series.

This is the last class of the spring series. This is the last of the curious movement classes. This Friday, restoration classes. Thank you for showing up. Take a look around your space; you could not have done it without your space, today.

Tell you space, "Thank you." You're interconnected with your world. Take a look at anyone on screen with you, anyone in the room with you. Tell them, "Thank you, dogs, cats, "small animals included, big animals included." Thank your community. You are in community and interconnected. Reach out to someone, hold space for someone.

And together, let's laugh. (laughing) Shake it all out. I thank you for your time. Again, I'm James Crader. This has been curious movement, the best series of classes, the most satisfying series of classes.

I think I've taught in a very, very, very long time. So, thank you so much. Thank you Pilates, anytime. And I hope you stay tuned for more live classes and revisit the ones you love. Thank you all so, so much.

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Mary D
1 person likes this.
Loved this class
1 person likes this.
James this was fantastic! Thank you! 
Nina C
1 person likes this.

Abeth F
1 person likes this.
Thank you for a beautiful class respecting the body and personal authority ❤️
1 person likes this.
Tapping to Laughing....James you are awesome!! hahahahhahhahahhaahhahahhahahaa
Mary D Thank you so much!
Iga S You are very welcome! Thanks for watching. 
Nina C Glad you enjoyed it!
Abeth F Thank you for understanding the point of it all! I appreciate your commenting. 
Keri Thank you!!
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