Class #4566

Reformer Tune-Up 1

45 min - Class


You will work on the functional transferral of exercises without losing the concept of flow in this Reformer workout by Sarah Bertucelli. She gives your body a 'tune-up' that allows you to find better alignment and technique in your practice. By the end of the class, you will be ready to take on the rest of your day.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

Jun 08, 2021
(Log In to track)


Read Full Transcript

Good morning. Welcome to Zesty Reformer Flows, this is class number 4. I'm so excited to be here. Today the focus is on tuning up a little bit, but being mindful of where your body is and how you're moving hopefully, and feeling things a little differently with an emphasis on the low back and the hips. So let's go ahead and get started.

I do have my reformer set actually on a lighter spring today. So whatever spring you normally use, take a half or a whole spring off. We're going to be doing some hip lifts, so be mindful of that. And then I'm sitting here about in the center of my reformer and I'm gonna move my hips forward just a bit so that I'm sitting right on the edge. Both feet are grounded.

Allow your arms to rest down by your side, hollow your belly in a little bit and grow tall. Let's breathe together, inhale and exhale. Try to really breathe in through your nose and out through your nose if you're able to. Otherwise in through the nose and out through the mouth. With your next exhale, draw your chin in and roll down one vertebrae at a time.

So we're doing a seated roll down. Allow your arms to relax, maybe your arms will move in the direction of your feet. Inhale here, exhale. Use the abdominals to facilitate the roll up. Sit nice and tall, we're not standing, are we?

Inhale here, exhale, nod the chin in, roll through your neck, through your upper back just to assess where your body feels today. Use your belly to support, your arms are dangling and exhale to round and roll up. We'll add on just a little bit in that position, seeking stretch please. Exhale, peel down. And then when you find your forward fold position, bring your hands maybe to the outsides of your lower leg and push the knees together a little.

Using that push, pull back a little bit with your belly to stretch your low back. Perhaps your forehead is touching your knees, perhaps it's not. Sway side to side a little, stretching, maybe something through the back of the body. Scratch an itch, do what you need and then roll up. Using your breath to fuel the movement, one more time, please inhale.

Exhale, peeling down. Just assess where you are today in this moment, find your forward fold here and then place your hands somewhere, maybe on the outside of your lower legs sorta push the legs together, pull the belly back a little and perhaps sway side to side, being fluid with your body. I can get some nice little stretches through the middle of my back, through my low back. And I'm also using my abdominals here, and round and roll up. This time sitting nice and tall, clasp your fingers together and place your hands behind your head.

Think for a moment about the picture frame that your arms are making. With clasp of the hands, think of stretching your collarbones east-west, out through your elbows. So you've created a powerful picture frame with support in from your upper back. Also soften your shoulders away from your ears. Don't pull them down, but soften and think of opening through your underarms.

Inhale and exhale, let's twist. Inhale through center, twist. Make sure you're at your A's, make sure your eyes are going with you, so see if you can actually lead with the eyes as you rotate. Be mindful of keeping your picture frames still. So you're not moving your elbows around.

You're really rotating your spine and your head and your arms, kind of are staying stable as a picture frame. Last one here, come back to center. Go ahead and make sure that you're far forward on your reformer, if you're not already and take your arms forward, inhale. Use an exhale to round through your low back. And now if you're tight through the low back like me, you might find you don't get very far before you need to help. (laughs) Round and roll back up.

If you've got looseness through your low back, perhaps you can go down a little bit deeper. Exhale to peel back again, so I want you to really be mindful of your spinal flection of the low back and rounding back up. Also be mindful of keeping your feet grounded. Let's do one more exhale, peel back. Now I'm gonna find my point where something's got to give and I'm gonna allow my heels to lift.

I'm going to hover my legs, trying to keep the shape and then I'm going to roll myself down one vertebra at a time. Good, bring the legs to tabletop. Lift the body a bit more. Let's go into our single leg stretch here, exhale out and out. Using your hands on your legs to help ground through the low back, see if you can really feel that grounding sensation.

Remember a hint of a smile across your cheeks because we are having fun. Good, let's just do one more on each side here. Draw your two legs in, and now I would like you to find this idea of a little rock and roll. Just like we've been doing facing the other direction, but here you've got a little bit more room because I do want you to come all the way up and find your balance, beautiful. Take your shins parallel to the ceiling, curl yourself back one vertebrae at a time.

We're gonna take the right leg in both hands come to the outside of that right leg, stretch the other leg out. Feel that support, arm helping, more abdominals more stretch feeling. You can reach with the other arms, so the cross arm stays connected. Now check it out, we're gonna try to keep flection of the spine and do just a little rocking and rolling. Try not to throw the leg around, to get the rocking and rolling to happen, but see if you can use your breath and then maybe come all the way up, put one foot down, put the other foot down.

Inhale, exhale, curl back. Feel the flection, lift the feet when you need to, don't be shy about needing to do it. Just keep the shape of your back, legs come into tabletop, twist to the other side. Use your arms, don't be shy about using them. Slide the other leg to straight hold and breathe, feel.

And then see if you can get a little rocking and rolling from the inside out. Try really hard to not throw your legs around keeping the shape here. Ooh, a little slower getting up on this side. For your teacher put your foot down, put your other foot down. Roll down one last time, release, relax, let your chin be soft, your jaw be soft, your arms be soft and then roll back up.

Let's move on to our footwork. So again, I'm on two reds and a blue right now, you can be on two reds and a blue or three reds. I wouldn't be on anything heavier than that because I do intend to have you do some lifts while moving the legs. Settle in for a couple of moments and try to feel that your heels are on the bar. Pelvis is grounded, rib cage is grounded, abdominals engaged.

Tap into your breath please, inhale and exhale. Let's just go right into the footwork, pressing out a couple of times, trying to feel the backs of the legs engaged. Feel the neutral pelvis. Don't be shy about using your fingers today, your hands to help you really find your alignment here. So making sure that your hands can help you keep your pelvis still or assess whether or not it's in the right position.

Come all the way into the stopper, stay here. Use your abdominals to flex your spine and then curl all the way up through that pelvic curl position. Inhale here and exhale to lengthen down. Make this about spinal flection, inhale, exhale, flex the spine, feel that. As you curl up, I don't want you to go so far up that you expand your ribs and you lose the shape here from the abdominals, and exhale to curl down.

We're adding on this time, inhale, exhale. To curl up, we stay in that lifted position, keep the shape of the spine as you press out just about halfway tho. Try to really wake up those hamstrings. Last one please, just breathe. Hold the carriage at the stopper, lower down one vertebra at a time.

Listen up, pelvis stays neutral, press out. Use your abdominals to flex your low spine. I'm not asking you to lift, I'm asking you just to ground the low back. Come in so the pelvis slightly scooped, tailbone down. Repeat neutral pelvis out, scoop, use your abs, feel the hamstrings controlling in and lower down.

One more time, exhale out, scoop and control in. Beautiful, let's move the feet down to a middle position. So for some of you that might be more near the heel, for others it's gonna be more near the balls of the feet but kind of a prehensile type foot here. Let's press out and in a few times keeping the feet pretty soft, allowing the foot bar into the feet and finding a flow. Same pattern as in the previous position.

One more time here and then hold, we're gonna take a breath. We're gonna feel those phenomenal abdominals and we're gonna scoop up. Find the backs of the legs, feel both legs contributing and we lower down. And if you're like your teacher, you might be experiencing an extreme hamstring. Bit of work here, bordering on a hamstring cramp, that's okay.

Breathe through it, work through it, mine has passed. (laughs) One more time, we're gonna lift up and we stay, beautiful articulation through the low back and we press out, tap into the backs of the legs. Feel that you're maintaining flection of the low spine as you come in, keeping that flection with those abs. One more time please, keeping that stretch in the low back and lower down neutral pelvis, press the legs out, flex the spine just a little bit. Grounding through the low back, pull in. Do it again, tailbone down, press out.

So it's a small movement, but for me it really helps loosening my low back. One more time, press out in neutral, flex and we come in and we find neutral. Let's go ahead and put the toes on the bar in a more classic, active foot position, and we press out and in a few times. Again, check in here with your pelvis. Sternum is, I don't want to say sternum is heavy because I think that's a bit of a tricky cue but I do think about my sternum going down but then also up at the same time.

So see if that makes sense. One more time here. Hold the carriage in, we're gonna do those same pelvic curls, inhale. Exhale to curl up feeling those hamstrings. Gets a little bit more interesting on the hamstrings each position that we change, and exhale to peel up.

And peel down, and one more time. So closer to the foot makes it more interesting on the hamstring, yeah. Now we'll press out three, use those abs and two, backs of the legs. And one more time, all the way into the stopper keeping the shape of the spine. We articulate down to neutral, we press out, we flex the spine.

We gently come in, we drop the tail. So when I say flex the spine, I really just mean that low spine grounds, slight adjustment come in and tailbone down. Very small movement, but super powerful for me at least. Come in and lower down. So let's move into the open V position with the heels together.

Try to feel the rotation from your hips, supporting your core, we press out and in a couple of times I just want you to feel this and then we're going to try something to feel it more. So as you press out and in without a lot of cuing, notice what you feel working. Try to feel the backs of the legs and the hip rotators. Come in and let's change. So we're gonna let the legs relax over the bar.

My knees are bent, I'm in an open position, so this is kind of like the hip opener we do on the window chair. I want you to really feel this idea of spinning the hips outward. So pressing down slightly into the bar, grounding into the bar through the legs to create more of an open feeling through the front. Now put your fingers around the tissue of your hip crease in your quadricep and really make sure that that is fully soft. A lot of us will have quite a lot of feedback in that area when we try to engage those hip rotators.

So now I want you to put your attention on your left leg and just kind of shake a little bit there, and then try to relax that front and ground down through the back with only as much effort where you're not using the big glutes but something deep underneath and without any tissue on the front kicking back at you. And so it's a very small movement, it's more of a sensation. And then with that sensation, can you think a little bit about tucking the pelvis, flexing the low spine, relaxing back down and can you feel a real flossing of your hip joint if you will, or a deep connection to the backs of the hips here? Takes some time, it takes some practice. Release, shake it out a little, let's bring your attention to your right leg.

So we're grounding through both but I want you to put your fingers on the quadricep tissue on the hip crease tissue and soften, soften, soften and see if you can wake that guy up. If I don't think about it, I get a little bit of kickback, a little bit of crustiness in the front. But when I think about it and I practice, I can really wake up those rotators in a way that feels delicious. So once you've got it, you'll try moving your pelvis just a little bit, moving your pelvis just a little bit and see how that feels. And then we're gonna come back to our small V position real quick.

Heels together, hollow the belly in a bit, squeeze those heels together and press out. And do you feel that you've got a clear path to those hip rotators? Do you feel when you straighten your legs, that there's an openness across the front of the hips? A softness in the hip crease, I hope Good, let's do one more here. And then feel that same pelvic curl here, so keeping the small V position, scoop your pelvis up lifting high, try to feel those deep rotators contributing to the half-way press out.

Still supporting with your abdominals, and then come in and we lower down articulating through the back. Good, let's move on. Take the legs to the open V position, heels on the bar, just feel this. Then take your feet just on top of the bar. So you're in this hip opening position, but wider.

Maybe your legs need to be a little further away on the bar, that would be okay with me. Meaning the bar is resting more on the outside of the middle of the calf instead of the foot, but find a place where once again you can soften the hip crease, you can press down, you can press down. You might feel like for me on my tighter side, I'll oftentimes take my hands and hold the tissue of my belly to actively create the stretch across the front of the hip that I need in order to be here. So now we've got, I hope, okay. If not, you'll revisit this class.

You're gonna curl your pelvis just a little bit, press down through both hips, feel a deep connection to the inside of the hip, lower your pelvis back down. One more time with both legs feel that, press down through both legs and come back. Let's bring our attention to our left foot, the other foot, just rest somewhere on the bar. With the left leg we're going to do that same movement, maybe lifting up a little higher, focusing on this idea of grounding down through the leg, scooping up through the pelvis, feeling the work on the back, not in the front. And then you can kind of play with that movement a few times, lifting and lowering, feeling something interesting.

Same thing on the other side, right? Leg relaxes, other foot just connect somewhere. So we're just feeling the difference between the two sides. Press down, feel it. Lift up with the pelvis, maybe you'll just hold this position.

Maybe if you don't feel anything yet, you'll work on moving around a little bit until you feel something, maybe you'll lift bigger. It's really up to you. Hold it, feel it, iron it out a little and then come on in. Put your heels on the bar for your open V position now and see if you just feel a little more connected to those juicy hips of yours, I know I do. Exhaling to press out and inhaling to come in.

And we'll just do a handful more here, really using those muscles that we've awoken I hope. Breathing and moving my friends, feel your pelvis in neutral here. Perhaps you want to try the spinal flection where you flatten your low back. I'm gonna choose just to keep mine in neutral here today. One more time please.

Gently come all the way into the stopper, hug your knees into your chest, feel the release in your low back and let's make our way up to sitting please. So we'll roll up however it makes sense to you, and let's move on to a little bit of abdominal work. So one spring for that, I'm using a red spring and I'm actually going to keep my foot bar up and perhaps use it. If it feels like not a good idea to you, you can certainly put your foot bar down if you need to but I'd like to entertain the idea of using it. So I'm sitting with my hips close to the back edge, but not to the point where I'm totally at the edge because I want to be able to roll back.

And then reach in and put your hands on the straps and allow your hands to just kind of hold. If you need more assist, you can reach up and hold the tapes above the buckles. Otherwise, here we are, sitting up nice and tall we'll inhale. With an exhale, you're gonna curl your pelvis back. So this extra bit is spring should make it, so you feel very assisted here.

That's what I'm looking for, and if you keep going and you feel like the bar is in within reach, I actually want you to rest your head there. And then exhale, flex your spine a little more as you come back up. Sitting nice and tall just like we did at the beginning of class, inhale, exhale. Curl your pelvis underneath you, flex flex, flex your spine. You can always adjust your body so you can have that little cradle for your head here.

Use the cradle to create a little more flection actively, and then pull yourself back up. One more time, and then we're adding on, inhale, exhale to curl back, flexing the low spine, feeling a bit of a stretch. If you can put your head on the bar, use it. Bring your feet in a bit so that the knees are a little more bent. Use the placement of the head to ground down a little more through the abs.

And then here float one leg up, float your head off. Keeping the flection of the spine, we change the legs, we change the legs. We come up with the body as we change the legs, change the legs. We lower down with the body as we change the legs, change the legs. Up a little bit, breathing my friends and down a little bit.

Finding this just a little more challenging than I remembered it last night. So make sure you're breathing and managing your own body. Come all the way up, two feet down. Now here, you're going to want to scoot back so you're at the very edge of the reformer, and I hope you consider this to be a treat. You're going to place the straps on your forearms for me, clasp your fingers together.

Sit up nice and tall here, equal weight on both sitz bones and then place your hands behind your head. Now, if you feel this spring is too much for this position, feel free to lighten it. Here, I want you to open through your heart. Don't send your arms, your elbows behind you but let this feeling of east-west happen out through your elbows, so you're spreading your collarbones and your shoulder blades. Now we're gonna allow the spring to pull us forward, flexing the spine, curling through the back of the neck, the upper back, the low back.

Go as low as it feels good, allow your elbows to come forward a little, inhale. Use an exhale to stack your spine one vertebrae at a time, coming to an upright position feeling that upper back. Inhale, now we extend the upper back, opening the heart staying engaged in the abs. Come back to center and curl down with a nice exhale. Inhale, deepen your stretch.

Exhale, curl yourself up. Inhale, open and exhale to curl down. Let's do two more like that. This is one of my new favorite exercises, having this little bit of feedback to feel my upper back working and flection is just so wonderful. And one more time, please friends we're gonna round down.

Feel that nice stretch, perhaps in the back of the neck, stay here for a moment. Sway side to side, get what you need, stretch your back and then curl yourself back up. Extend the spine, so upper spine is in extension, lean back, maybe a little more, stay here for a moment. Sway side to side perhaps, check it out, breathe, wiggle room. Come back through to center, upright and gently release those straps.

Let's take a little stretch before we do that in reverse. So I'm simply going to come to the side of my reformer and take whatever side I'm on that leg forward, into kind of a pigeon shape. So the knee is bent at about 90 degrees and then the other leg is just gonna crawl back as far as it feels good. And then here, I want you to just play a little bit with what you're feeling and what you need to feel. Can you ground down a little bit through that front leg, maybe by pushing with your hands?

Maybe you'll reach your arm up and you'll enjoy a little bit of a free stretch here. Maybe you're gonna be compelled to fold forward over that front leg. Maybe you want to do everything I've mentioned, while I'm doing it as well but I want you to be curious about this position and how it feels and enjoy the stretches. Gently come on to an upright position and let's just scooch to the other side. And you can just move over the reformer there.

So again, set your other leg up so you're in a nice hip stretch position. So about 90 degrees at the knee, I'm stretching through the outside of my hip here, I'm swaying side to side. I'm walking my back leg back a little which gives me a nice hip flexor stretch. It feels nice to me. I want you to be curious about the position and do what feels good.

Maybe you'll reach the arm up and you'll stretch a little more through your front body here. Maybe you'll push that front leg down, you'll breathe and you'll stretch swirling around and maybe you'll fold over that front leg, stretching and relaxing and enjoying. Wonderful, so let's come to an upright position and then sit on the reformer once again, with the legs of this time straight out in front of you. So spend just a moment scooping any flesh out that needs scooping and trying to feel that you're sitting equally on both of your sitz bones. You can reach back and retrieve your straps.

This time you'll keep the straps in your hands, lengthen your legs fully with pointed toes if you want or keep your legs relaxed if you have tight hamstrings and a tight low back, your choice. You're gonna clasp your fingers together, with the straps in your hands and place them behind your head once again. Focus first on sitting up really tall and again, avoid sending the elbows back, we want this stretching outward east-west. Inhale here, exhale, curl your chin in. You're pulling the spring now with those core muscles, feeling the ropes on your back body equally placed because of where your hands are.

Inhale here, exhale to peel yourself up. Good, feel free to go into just a little bit of upper thoracic extension where you look up and exhale to peel forward. And exhale to crawl yourself back up. Look up, inhale, chin in and roll yourself down. Nice stretch through the back, it feels very different, pulling the spring rather than having the spring pull me.

One more time please, enjoying that spinal stretch, enjoying the abdominal engagement and then enjoying this opportunity to feel. Hold your forward fold for a moment, perhaps sway side to side or rotate a little bit and just kind of feel the difference between your two sides. And then roll yourself all the way back up please, sitting nice and tall. Put your straps away, and let's set up for our hip work. A blue spring and a red spring for hip work is ideal.

So you'll lie back down on your reformer for me, and then retrieve your straps and put your feet in your straps. Make sure to spend the time that you need to be sure that you're centered on your reformer and that you have equal distance between both sides of your neck. Press your legs out to straight and settle into your neutral spine. So remember, we're trying, first and foremost to keep the pelvis still, the sternum is kind of down, but the heart is also open. So there's a two-part process to that cue, bend the knees in a few times and press out a few times.

Just a few frogs here, finding your breath. And one more time here, keep your legs straight for a moment and then bend your knees to a long diamond shape. I want you to take that same feeling we worked on on the foot bar and really soften it across the front of your hip crease and your quads, and play with this idea of creating a little more rotation. And then we sort of lock the legs like this as we work up and we are down with the feet. So the range of motion for you is going to be determined by your ability to stabilize and also to be connected to the back of the hip.

So if you're comfortable, this can be sort of a quick rocking action. If you're just figuring this out, and staying connected to those hips is important to you, perhaps you'll go a little bit slower. Exhaling down is the breath I would recommend and inhaling up. And let's do that just one more time, hold your up position, keep your left leg exactly as it is, bring your right leg down, match the heels together, change sides. So see if you can feel the difference between the two sides, perhaps use your hands on your own pelvis to be sure that it's not wobbling around too much.

Changing sides here, each time each breath and perhaps putting your fingers on your hip crease area and making sure that you're actually resisting the spring as you come up with the back of the leg rather than feeling a whole lot of kickback in the front of the leg. One more time on each side please. So feeling the difference between the two sides, hold here. Stretch the legs in the direction of straight, and now we go down and up again, that same arcade. Now I really want you to keep the rotation.

What I see a lot of times for people is that we don't keep the rotation as we go low. So you can go lower with the legs if you're able to support and keep the rotation. But perhaps you'll put your fingers again on your upper quads and try to feel where things kind of fall apart a little for you or where it's sticky and ask for that stickiness to soften, creating intention somewhere else. Just do this one more time with breath, breathing and moving. And then same thing right, left.

So legs are up, one leg goes down, how does that feel? The other leg goes down, how does that feel? Do you feel that one leg is more challenged, contributing on its own than the other? If so, feel free to work that leg a few more times or continue to alternate. Hopefully at some point the two legs will be balanced out.

Just do this one more time on each side, please breathing, hand moving. And then here bend the legs, allow the feet to come together and the knees to open. Now you can keep your feet kind of up in the air if that suits you and your body shape. If you're comfortable with your knee bending, you want to try to bring your heels right on the edge of the reformer, also, if you're not too tall. Then that's a nice little different stretch there with the hips open, breathing in and breathing out.

Then lift the feet up into the air for me, we're gonna hold two straight legs in basically parallel alignment to begin. One leg goes out to the side, the other leg bends. We did this early in the course here or the series, one leg bends in toward your groin, that thigh reaches away. Feel the stretch, feel what you feel. Gently come out of it, two legs go up to the ceiling.

We do the other side. So your one leg goes out, the other leg bends in toward the groin area and then you push the thigh away from you to feel the stretch across the hip crease, while also perhaps stretching the inner leg. Feel the difference. What I feel when I do this, so alternate sides, is that when I go to the left with my straight leg that's where I feel the stretch mostly. And then when I go the other way, I still feel the stretch in my left leg, in the front of the hip crease there.

So for me, I'm much stickier on the left side of my body and what I'm trying to do as I make these changes is actually keep my carriage somewhat still, so I can really feel the difference between the two sides here. And just try that one more time for me, and then we'll move on, feeling that openness or asking the stickiness to loosen. Beautiful, allow the legs to bend, just give your low back a moment of pause here so I'm hugging my knees into my chest and the straps are kind of pulling my back into just a little bit of flection. Take one foot out, find the foot bar, come on in and let's get up right please. Moving on.

So we'll keep these spring exactly as it is or actually we will not keep it exactly as it is. We're going to take one blue spring off and be on one red spring piece. And let's go ahead and come into our more traditional lunge position here, quick little stretch. So you're gonna tuck the toes under, the front foot is by the front foot of the reformer and you're just gonna bend in and find your beautiful hip flexor stretch. You do you my friends, breathing into your hips.

Maybe you're going to lean a little bit toward the center of the reformer, getting a little more side body stretch, maybe not. Just another breath or two, feeling that beautiful openness through the front of the hip. And then let's gently come on in and change sides please. So on the other side, tuck the foot under, the other foot is by the foot of the reformer. We bend into the position and just settle and enjoy.

Certainly if you want to really focus on making a perfect shape, that is fine with me but I'm going to encourage you also to figure out what your body needs in these stretches and go to it. So I'm feeling some stretch in my outer hip by pressing my pelvis to the side, and it feels lovely everywhere. Definitely feeling some sticky spots that I'm breathing into, and hopefully releasing. And then gently come on out of that. Beautiful, we're going to do a little play on the scooter here now.

So same red spring, playing with the concept between pushing and pulling. So my standing leg is standing right in the middle of the reformer about, the carriage about. The other foot is tucked, so the toes are tucked, you can hopefully see that quite well on camera. I'm going to bend both legs, so my standing leg is a little bit bent and I'm flexing or rounding my low back. Oh, look, I can use my reflection to check in here.

Always use what we have available to us. Keep this shape, as the leg goes back, we inhale and exhale in. You can keep the other hand connected or you can choose to do whatever you want with it, but know that the majority of the support here is coming from your standing left leg, in this relationship for me and your right arm. Just do this one more time, and gently come on in. And now we do the same thing in reverse.

So this time you're gonna take, you go to the other side of the reformer and you take your same leg that was moving up against the reformer shoulder rest, this is not the headrest. Lean into your arm, okay? Have your other hand rest somewhere on the headrest so that it's not that available, it doesn't need to be that available to you. Bend your standing leg round through your back, lift your knee off so that you have your thigh up against the shoulder rest, flex your spine. I'm actually gonna go forward just a little bit because I want my leg to be behind me a little bit, and we're going to pull in and control back.

So the knee is lifted, pull in. A lot of hip flexor work, try to avoid overworking your quad in your mind. Think about really using your gut, your hip flexor to generate the force to come in. Much harder than you think, I think this exercise. Last one please, and then gently bring the carriage to rest.

And then let's go ahead and do this the other side. So we stay on the side of the reformer we're on, tuck the toe under so now my left leg is my moving leg, my right leg is standing right centered between the frame of the carriage if you will. Round through the back, feel your body and we inhale back, we exhale in. So I can have my other arm just kind of free standing, hanging or it can stay connected to the bar. You choose, focus on keeping your breath and your abdominal stability.

We'll do a handful more here pushing and controlling and pushing, and one more time, please. Now we go to the other side, same leg is working to move the spring but different relationships. So take the knee up against the shoulder rest first, take your other foot forward a bit so that you feel like you're in just a little bit of hip extension. Lean into your arm, the other hand is gonna go down on the headrest for me or somewhere, and then you're going to pull in and control back, flexing the spine, pulling in and controlling back. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful deep hip flexor work, trying to keep your spine flexed and we'll gently and carefully rest that please.

So for the next couple of exercises, we need a light spring. We're going to use a blue spring, some quick arm work with your knees right up against the shoulder rest. We'll have a seat on the feet and find comfort there, walk out until you can hold onto your risers. I put my head rest up because it allows me to pull all the way in, you may need to do that. So I'll place my elbows on my shoulder rest and sit here for a moment, trying to ground down through my low back, trying to feel that my shoulders are free here so I'm not gripping for dear life.

Then I'm gonna hold this arrangement supporting with my abs, take my arms out to the side, allow the elbows to straighten and bend. I want you to think of breathing air in your underarms at the bottom and initiate the pull forward, not with the underarms in your mind but with the idea of bending the elbows and opening through the heart. We'll do this one more time here. Holding this position, can you keep your right arm anchored and put your left arm down somewhere else? Allow your elbow to straighten, we're working just the right arm.

Three and two, and one more time. Change sides, a little hard to change sometimes. It is quite challenging to work one arm at a time. Remember to stay connected to your abdominals here to maintain that feeling of flection of the spine while using the arms here. Pull forward and stay, two hands around the frame and slowly walk yourself back with control.

Just take a quick moment in child's pose, resting your forehead, swaying side to side maybe and then gently come on up from that. So moving into the shoulder push now, I like a zestier spring, so I'm gonna say a red. Perhaps a red and a blue, maybe a green, but definitely a zestier spring. Take your knees off the edge of the reformer three or four inches if you're able to, sitting on your feet two arms on the bar, we press out to straight. Once again, you want to try to feel the pelvis stays grounded, opening through the underarms but softening through the neck.

That's tricky to get, bend your elbows as you come in and press out. Really think of this idea of pulling the bar like he-woman or he-man or he-her, or he-she or he-anything and press out. Inhale in and exhale, press out. And let's just do one more there, holding just one arm on the bar, place the other hand down and can you give me a couple of single arms, maybe three. Feel the difference between your two arms here.

You may find that if you chose your strong arm, you're in for a surprise with your less strong arm. So here we go three, I changed arms. Two or three is good I think here, just to feel the difference between the two sides. Two arms are on the bar, gently come on in and let's move on. So time to move into the side overs.

Let's take the bar all the way down, so it's out of the way. And you're gonna want to add quite a bit of spring to lock your carriage down. And let's go ahead and get our boxes please. Whoops, I am bumping things all over the place today. All right, so my short box is up against the shoulder rest.

I'm gonna sit up onto the reformer and then I'm gonna reach down and grab the strap. Hook your foot in your strap and take a few moments to set up here. You may certainly choose to stop wherever you need to stop in the side over, but I want you to be aware that this is more than just your waist. Ground down through your leg that's bent out in front of you and notice my foot is not tucked under my other leg. Press up through the foot strap and try to feel an openness again through that hip crease and energy back through that leg, while the pelvis comes forward a little bit.

With your hand resting, perhaps on your headrest or on your shoulder rest, whatever makes sense, be fully committed to this position before you lift up. Take your top hand behind your head if that suits you, take your bottom hand up and hopefully you were able to do that without changing anything. We're gonna inhale, reaching, overstretching that side body and exhale, lifting back to that straight diagonal line. Repeat, stretching over. Try to really feel that the stretch is coming like through the underarm as you go down and as you lift up, you're initiating, really from that low waist.

This time we're gonna reach over one last time and allow the body to find a stretch. So you can put your hands wherever it feels good to you. I like to work my hand toward the floor and my other hand on the frame, and create a little bit of rotation. That feels so wonderful in my side body. One more breath, gently use your hands to kind of prop yourself up and let's change sides, please.

So we'll just change feet. Find yourself facing the other direction, I get to look at the ocean, yay for me. So pressing up through the heel, engaging the abs, feeling grounding through the other leg, hand is down, fully committed to the position before you lift your arm. Nothing changes. Inhale, we reach over.

Enjoy that stretch through the side body and we lift up, just three. And inhale, reaching over, and exhale, lifting up. And again, inhale, exhale. This time we're down and we release into the stretch. Again, find the placement for your hands.

I used to think my arms were not long enough and that's why I couldn't touch the floor but took me some time to realize my waist, my side body was sticky and tight. So I appreciate that I can touch the floor with my fingers, that's nice. Bring yourself up using your hands very carefully and coming out of that nice and gracefully and mindfully. So let's move on to back extension. You're going to want a light spring for this.

I'm going to suggest a blue spring or if you don't have a blue spring, try to make it as light as possible with your arrangements here. I've turned the box around so that I am on a long box and I'm going to climb onto my box and allow my chest to be off a little bit. Here, I would like you to spend just a couple moments organizing your pieces. You'll sort of walk your hands out until you feel like your shoulders are lifted, and you're stretching a little bit, maybe through your back body. I'd like you to press down a little through your pelvis, using your abs and try hovering those legs up so the base is very secure here.

My head is relaxed at first. The first feeling is pulling the shoulders into socket, shoulder blades back, I keep grounding through my hands to pull my body forward to whatever back extension suits me. And then I control back down. Repeat, so I'm pulling the spring but my arms are really very straight the whole time so my back extensors actually get a little bit of an assist here, which is quite nice I think. This time we're gonna pull forward.

Really feel that grounding down through the heels of the hands. The arms can move just a little bit forward and back, quite a lot more tricep work when you do that especially if you really keep your elbows straight which is very difficult for me to do with my left arm, the one that you get to see. Good, one more time, very difficult to do and gently rest. So now we take this same feeling in reverse, working on pushing rather than pulling. So I'm going to simply lie on my reformer in the other direction, and I'm going to have my chest off just a little bit.

My hands are on the frame, now if your reformer doesn't allow you to touch the frame, you could do this on the foot bar or whatnot, it's just a little different. And then I'm gonna push my arms in the direction of straight. So now my arms are pushing against the spring straight. Same action here, the spring assists me as I come to that beautiful thoracic extension and I push to lower down. And here I am, beautiful thoracic extension and then I'm pushing with my arms, really actually using the arms a little bit in a slightly different way than we would normally when we do our back extensions here.

And push, and just one more time, please. And then gently come on in, slip off of your box. You may want to add a spring or two just to keep the carriage stable, and we're just going to finish with a quick stretch or two here. So I'm going to have you just rest your leg up on the box in a pigeon shape. Yeah, the other leg is just back there.

It's not doing anything fancy or special. I'm just going to sit here for a few moments and swirl around, and enjoy the stretch of my hips. My back leg is just sort of helping me find the swirl, and then take a breath, roll down, relax your head, roll yourself back up and roll down, enjoy that beautiful stretch through your hips. What's really nice is I've taken the back leg out of the equation, so you might feel just a little more in your hip here. Let's change the legs.

So simply bring the other leg up, just a real simple, simple shape here. The back leg is just back there, nothing fancy, not doing anything. My goal is to get the front leg grounded, so see if you can kind of ground down, use your hands. Be curious about where your body needs to go, what you need to do to be able to get that grounding sensation. Breathing in and breathing out, folding forward and rounding up.

And folding forward, and rounding up. And one more time folding forward and rounding up And just kind of, sit back on your box for one last moment, here with your feet resting on the reformer. Just like we started except my feet are on the reformer instead of the floor. And just roll down one time, feel your body, relax, roll up. Hopefully you feel a little looser and more ready for your day.

Thank you so much for playing.

Zesty Flows with Sarah: On the Reformer


3 people like this.
I adored the reverse scooter you taught. This was my first time ever trying that! I’m going to add it to my repertoire.
Clemencia Puerta
Sarah!!... Thanks.... I love your classes!.... love the variations.... specially because even having them, you work with all the BASI´s Blocks!.... please do 60 minutes classes!!!!!
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much Sarah I absolutely love all your classes!! Loved the reverse scooter!
Christine S
1 person likes this.
Thank you for fantastic session Sarah. Love the spine stretch forward with straps and feeling tuned up :)
Nelly C
I can manage to do some of my pilates eyes closed, fully connected with my body and breath, your voice is the best for that practice. Thank you for being so good at what you do, really good for us x
Helen S
2 people like this.
My first class with you, I loved the melting sensations in the hip opening, thank you so much, just lovely!

1 person likes this.
Great class Sarah!  My body thanks you!!!
2 people like this.
Loving the 45-minute classes, Sarah. Not too long and not too short. Perfection. Great flows. Maybe a deliberate pace on the next one?? Thank you!
muy lindos ejercicios, creativo reformer!!
3 people like this.
Ok.. totally unrelated to Pilates... is the shirt you’re wearing from Old Navy? (Grey & Purple oversized Camouflage tank )... I have that exact shirt & love teaching in it. I REALLY am a Pilates instructor but often distracted by clothes, shoes & pretty things & Amazon.  Great class.. I was watching while I was getting my roots colored... always the multitasker... will borrow  some of your ideas in my class later today! THANK YOU! 
1-10 of 39

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