Class #4595

Reformer Tune-Up 2

45 min - Class


Get ready for another 'tune-up' with this Reformer workout by Sarah Bertucelli. She includes fundamental concepts that will allow you to remember your Pilates principles in every movement. Having clean technique will help you advance in your practice, so the reminders will definitely be useful!
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

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Good morning, and thank you for joining me for zesty flows tune up edition number two. I'm so excited about class today. The intention here is to focus on some hips and shoulders, both strength and flexibility, and being mindful of imbalances while keeping the flow as well. So make sure you listen to your body and enjoy. So we have, I'm set for my footwork, so for me, that's three reds and a blue that's three and a half springs if you have different equipment.

I'm sitting right on my reformer carriage, somewhere in the middle with my feet grounded and my knees together. Sit nice and tall, hollow your belly back a little bit, open through your heart, take a breath. Reach the arms high into the sky, look up, take the arms down and then roll down, head upper back. Feel the next stretch, feel the low back, let your arms just relax. My arms just are finding their way in the direction of my feet so I'm gonna put my hands on top of my feet, push it down just a little bit, pull back through my spine, through my abs, relaxing my head.

Take a breath, abdominal support as you roll yourself back up, take the arms up, looking up, opening the heart and repeat that. So your arms come down, you roll down one vertebrae at a time. I find it really nice to do the roll down seated because it gives me an opportunity to take hamstring flexibility out of the equation. Inhale here, use the exhale to hollow the belly inward and roll yourself back up. Your arms can just travel along the path that they'd like lifting up one last time with the arms here, arms come down and we roll down.

So this time when you go to that down position, let's hold for a couple of breaths. I like to put my hands just outside of my, the outside of my shins near my knees and push my knees together, pulling my belly back and I'll relax my head a bit here and stretch a little more through my neck, through my low back, I'm also opening through the back of my body, my shoulder blades, my heart. and then release the hand connection and roll yourself right here. Take your arms up high again. Now hold one arm up, take the other arm down, put it on the reformer behind you, lean into the hand with a bent elbow and stretch open and back and then lift up again.

So look the other way, take the arm behind you, palm of the hand is down, you can bend the elbow, you can lift and stretch, feel what feels good and then back to center, repeat. Opening the heart back to center and one more time, opening the heart and back to center. Gently come down and let's get onto our backs. So go ahead and lie down on your back, please. With your feet resting on the bar, find your center, so check in with your neck, check in with your alignment and settle in comfortable position for the feet, heart is open.

Inhale through your nose, exhale and ground through your low back, do a pelvic curl that suits you, maybe it's a mini one like mine, lengthen your spine and lower down. Maybe it's a full pelvic curl, it's up to you. Abdominals first, backs of the legs second, curl up. I like to work my way into a bigger curl by the third or fourth one. The point here though is to practice the timing of abdominals, backs of the legs curling up and then lower down, making sure that you're focusing on flection of your low spine, rounding your low spine.

Curling up one more time. So whatever range of motion you're working in is fine with me and then curl yourself down one vertebra at a time, stay there. So now float your hands up to the ceiling, bring your legs closer together, so they're just resting, backs of the the heels on the bar, inhale. With an exhale, lift your head and chest to a nice abdominal curl position and inhale to lower down, repeat. Exhale to lift and hold and inhale lower down.

Adding on we lift and hold, float the feet up, single leg stretch with flexed ankles. So begin to bring your knee in as far as you're able to maintaining the position of your pelvis. And then if you can, you'll start reaching your hands in the direction of your foot. And if you're able to hold onto the foot, actually get a hold of the first metatarsal and the fifth metatarsal with your fingers and work on stretching your foot a bit more. Just one more time, hold.

So wherever you're holding, whatever you're touching endeavor to straighten your knee, bend your knee, change. Hold wherever you're holding, straighten the knee, bend the knee, change. So wherever you're holding, straighten the knee, bend the knee, change. Straighten the knee, bend the knee, change. Two legs come in and lower your body down.

With your feet on the bar, take one foot off and cross that leg over the other in open seated position. Let your arms open and relax, take your legs side to side two or three times like this just see what you feel. So for me, I oftentimes will feel more stretch on the leg that's crossed, but sometimes I'll feel the stretch on the outer quadricep on the other leg. Just relaxing there, change sides. So we're gonna cross the leg over, just waking up those hips.

Notice the difference, is this harder, is this easier? Is it the same side to side? So for me it is definitely harder on my left leg when it's crossed over because, I'm tight in that outer hip and so I've identified that and I'm consciously working on it. So just rolling side to side and trying to loosen up some tissue there and then come back to center, pause, put your two on the bar for your footwork, settle in, heart is open, heels on the bar, center of the heel, press out for me when you're ready. Make sure you're paying attention to your pelvis position, make sure you're paying attention to breath.

The chest stays open and then think about the idea of pulling with the inner thighs as you go out and pressing a little into the outer hips as you go in. We've been talking about that for quite some time. Check in, feel free to use your hands, to make sure that your body is where it needs to be. Good idea to check in. Now, do a couple more here focusing just on one leg without letting me see that you're using one leg and then do the same thing on the other side.

So just do a couple and notice where you feel different. So something to pay attention to, identify if it feels different one leg than the other, then two legs together. Just one more time. Gently come on in. Slide your feet down just a bit so the bar is just above my heels.

We've been working on this position and press out and in. So you're finding your breath pattern, you're finding the pace that suits you. What I want you to be mindful of is this idea of softening the foot so that the bar gets into the foot and allows you to use the hips differently and then play with the idea of using one leg a little more, and then perhaps the other leg a little more, and then make sure you can even out the feel. So maybe you need to work on the weaker side or the awkward side, and then two legs simultaneously and gently come on in. So we'll slip the feet down again so that the bar is more on the ball of the foot, but I want that stretchy prehensile foot.

Go ahead and press out, make sure your feet are where they need to be and try to keep the feet actually somewhat stable in space. So I'm not as low as I can be with my ankles, but I wanna feel the idea with my heels, I should say, but I wanna feel the idea of keeping this sort of soft prehensile foot as I go out and in, but I'm not dropping into it just yet. So we're actually having to work in this position of stretch through the foot, but working the ankles and the hips around it. Again, check in with one leg or the other leg and see where you feel things differently. Hopefully you can begin to identify some of your imbalances and then balance out the two legs.

So again, you shouldn't be able to tell when you're doing one leg or the other, really with your body and then press out for me one more time and then come on in. Place now the balls of the feet on the bar in that active position. So pressing through all five metatarsal, we pull with the inner thighs as we go out and we press in. We're endeavoring to keep the heels still in space so there is ankle movement. Again, identify where you might have imbalances by pressing a little bit more with one leg and then with the other leg, when the time comes and then evening it out, breathing and moving.

Just one more time here and then let's press back out and find a beautiful calf stretch. So just arrange, I like to really put the whole ball of my foot in that more prehensile position on the bar so I can just relax into the stretch. And then remember, so whichever leg you're stretching, it doesn't matter, I'm on my right leg, you could be on your left, it doesn't matter, but whichever leg you're stretching, think of pushing the pelvis in that direction. So I'm pressing my pelvis a little bit out and I'm sort of angling my knees slightly in in my mind to receive the stretch a little bit more. Make sure you're breathing and then let's change sides.

So again, arrange your feet so you feel quite secure on the bar and allow that foot bar into your foot, feel the difference between the two sides. What happens to me on my other side? So I'm on my left foot right now is that, it tastes a little longer to get to the stretch because I'm actually tighter on that side. So I have to let the bar into my foot and then I'll really drop the heel down and start to breathe into the tissue. And then I bring my pelvis, I think of sending my pelvis in the direction of the left.

So stretching the left foot, pushing the pelvis in that direction, breathing, breathing, breathing just a little bit. It's not a big movement, it just brings a stretch up high for me as well in my hip. And then two feet are on the bar, gently come on in, hug your knees into your chest and let's wake up those outer hips a bit more. So rest the legs over the bar. So what I'm doing is I've got my outer calf is on the bar and we did this in the first tuneups.

So I want you to see if you can jump right into finding those outer hips by pressing down a little, weighting down, opening through the hip crease and feeling the rotation of the hips, so the quads are soft here. So I'm thinking of weighting down and then I'm just gonna very gently lift my hips up and lower down. So I'm lifting my pelvis up. You can articulate through your back if that feels like the right choice, lowering down, or you could just float your pelvis up, if that feels like the right choice and you can feel the backs of the legs working and then lower down adding on. So we're gonna lift the pelvis up again here.

And then if this feels like a good idea, you can just stay here or you can slide your pelvis in one direction. And then that direction that you slid, you're gonna drop that side of the pelvis in the direction of the floor, maybe tap the floor, come up to where you came from back to center, slide your pelvis in the other direction so it's lifted and then you're gonna lower that side of the pelvis to tap maybe, and then come back up and back to center. So the direction that I'm sliding to is the leg that I'm focusing on. Tap the mat, lift back up, lots of hip feels for me go the other way. It's creating a bit of a rainbow shape with your pelvis.

We come up and one more time over to the side, feeling free to move a little faster if it suits you. And to the other side, we come up, center, we lower the spine down. We settle into neutral and put those heels on the bar in a wide position. Stretching and opening through the inside of the hip, feel the rotation on the back of the leg, the back of the hip if you will, tap into the back of the leg and let's press out for our open V position, trying to kind of iron out some new space, if you will in the hip joint. So I'm looking for this idea of opening a bit more, but I'm really feeling in with those outer, I'm really like chipping in with the deep rotators to initiate each and every time.

So just a handful more here, pressing out and in, and that feels really delicious this morning after all the hip work we've done, hip opening, I should say. Last one for me. Come all the way in, please , bring your legs together, go ahead and hug your knees deep into your chest and then bring yourself upright, please. So here we wanna be now on one spring, I'm gonna stay on just one red spring and if you wanna get your bar out of the way, you can put it down, but I know I'll be okay. So you'll just be mindful of what's back there.

So we spin around and we put the straps on the legs above the knees. So I'm on the thigh, above the knee. And then I'm gonna set myself up, so I'm about in the middle of my carriage here. My feet are resting on the headrest and then I'm gonna lean back and I'm actually gonna lean back and just pay attention to where my hands are, not too wide, a little narrow, if you can. And I'm gonna press into my hands, straighten my arms, open my heart and gaze up.

So I want you to just kind of roll side to side a few times and try to feel the difference between your shoulders. Maybe your wrist stretch, take a breath here, exhale. Round through your low back, look toward your belly, bring yourself back as far as it feels good, getting the low back to connect down, inhale, exhale to round and roll back up, open the heart. Round and roll back, you got those hands connected, we're gonna roll back at that low back connected and round and roll up. Adding on please.

Chest is open here, big shoulder stretch for me. Round and roll back, hold here and actually push into the hands a little bit, push into the frame or the carriage a little bit with the hands, lift one leg up, keeping your core completely stable and lift it again, two more times, breathing please and then the other leg, please. Two feet are down, we round and roll up. We give our arms just a little bit of a rest by hugging the legs in front of you, perhaps letting your head sway side to side and let's add on now, adding a little bit of rotation to that, please. So sitting tall, once again, we inhale.

Use the breath, bring yourself back into that deep stretch, opening through the heart, take a breath round and roll yourself back, hold that shape. Try lifting two legs up and two legs down. Staying open through the heart, active in the abs. So we've got the knees pulling in as far as I'm able to against that spring, this time we lift and we hold one leg, taps down as you twist to the lifted leg and change. Finding your breath, finding that twist using your hand to help you create a little more resistance.

One more time each side, please. Remember we're having fun, a hint of a smile across your cheeks, my friends. Come back in, tap two toes down, two feet down, roll yourself back up, give your legs a hug. Feel free to open the knees if that feels better, it always feels better to me to keep them open when I'm relaxing. Let's take the straps off the legs, please.

Sometimes a little awkward to do this so just do your very best. So moving on here, we'll have a red and a blue spring or what feels like one and a half Springs. I'm using the same spring I would use for my hip work. I'm gonna lie on my back, I'm sorry on my side, I'm not on my back, I'm on my side here and I like to hold that rear peg with the one hand and then the other hand is on the shoulder rest that's in front so I can get organized. Place the top foot on the foot bar and press out.

Locate where you're gonna be able to support with the bottom leg to make adjustments. I like to put that bottom leg right on or foot, right on the wood part here. So say for a couple moments, paying attention to keeping your waist lifted on the underside, keeping length through your low back and then bring your foot forward in space and flex the ankle so you're really pushing through the heel. Make sure you're secure as you lift the bottom foot away, bend the knee, reach around, hold onto the foot and then organize your pelvis, your spine as close to neutral as possible with this beautiful stretch. We gently bring the leg in and we press out so I'm bending the knee.

So I bent the leg that's on the foot bar there, good. We're just gonna do two more in this position please and one more. I find it easiest to change when the legs are straight. So stay here, put the foot in the support position as you move the working foot underneath you. Heel is lifted, I'm in a slightly lifted heel here, a comfortably lifted heel, take the other leg out in front of you, 90 degree bend at the knee and the hip, bend in.

Feel your leg drooping down just a little bit, yeah, bend in, beautiful. Now hold here. The foot that's out in front of you lift it up, see if you can around and hold onto it and flex the ankle and continue on. So this gives me a nice stretch through my outer hip of the foot I'm holding onto, the leg that I'm holding onto of the foot if you will, however we say that, hopefully that made sense. Let's just do one more here.

So now, let go here, put your foot in a position where you feel you can adjust. Take that top foot behind you as far as you're able to so it feels as though you can press forward here. You're pressing your, you're pushing yourself forward. Bend the other leg out in front, reach around and grab the foot again. We bend the knee in and we press out.

So as you press out, I want you to think of lengthening the leg a little bit. What do I mean? I mean the one you're holding on to, so you're stretching in that rotation just a bit while working the leg that's pushing out and in. One more time, please, press. Gently come on in, roll yourself upright and let's take a quick stretch for that one that we were just using.

So put the foot or cross the leg basically, you're gonna do the open cross-legged position and just rest for a moment here. Feel free to lean forward, feel free to swirl side to side. Let this be just a breath or two, of what you need it to be. Let's go to the other side, please. So, we're gonna lie down on our side facing the other direction, set your working leg foot on the bar, the other foot has a place where it feels comfortable.

Use your hands, your body, everything, to feel that you're as aligned and as stable as you can be, flex the ankle of the foot that's on the foot bar. So you're really driving through the heel, lift the other foot up and reach back and hold on to the top of the foot so you're in a quad stretch. Gently bend the knee in and press out. So your goal here is to feel that you can keep your waist lifted, that you can also keep this idea of stacking the pelvis as well which is really tricky for me to do on this side. This really highlights some of my tightnesses, just one more time here, press out and stay, bring the foot, the supporting foot down support, move the working leg back a little bit so you're right underneath your body, that's your hope.

Your heel is a bit lifted, take the other leg out in front. So I'm in just a 90, 90 knee hip. Bend the knee in and press out. You can stay with this if it suits you. I'm sort of thinking about drooping the knee down a little, so I'm not an external rotation when I bend.

So reach around and hold on now, if you're able to the foot of the leg that's out in front and then we bend and we straighten. So I'm endeavoring here to keep a 90 degree bend at the knee of the foot I'm holding onto with my hand. So I'm not trying to straighten at this point. Just one more time, hold here, find the foot down and feel that you can make an adjustment here. So the leg that's working, it goes back in space as far back on the bar, as you're able to, and you wanna really tap into the back of the leg here.

Take the other leg forward again and you can bend in and out like this, or you can hold the foot and hold just that 90 degree bend, stretching the pelvis or the hip again. Or you can think about lengthening the leg a little bit, changing which tissue you're stretching. So just two more like this. You're choosing the position that suits you and we'll gently release the foot, find it place where you feel you can come in all the way and then just come on up to a sitting position. And the leg you were just stretching, we're just working is the one you wanna take a quick little stretch for.

So feel yourself stretching the outside of your hip, feel yourself enjoying that stretch. Swirling forward, swirling around, it's all about the people as your principal and finding tissue that you need to stretch and then we can gently release that. Moving on my friends. We'll keep that spring the same, lie back on your back and we'll go ahead and put the feet back and straps or feet in straps, I should say 'cause we haven't done that yet this class. Press your legs out to straight and make sure that you do feel that you're aligned and centered and all your pieces are in order here, do a couple frogs.

Again, trying to feel that both legs are chipping in, check-in, your breath is available to you. So now keep the legs straight for me, rotate to parallel alignment, lift the legs up a little bit and then press down. Inhale up, pelvis stays neutral, press down. So just kind of notice where you stop. We're gonna move into some single leg work and I want you to focus on your range.

So hold the up. I'm going to reach up and hold my left strap, the strap that my left foot is in and I'm gonna keep my leg as high as I can with a neutral pelvis. The other leg is working as we press down and we come up. So I'm using my hand like a marionette puppet to keep my stretching leg up and then the other leg is having to manage all the spring, trying to come down, not outward, but see if you can come to center, slightly feel like you're internally rotating with your leg to make sure that you're not going an external, hold it down this time. You're welcome to flex the ankle if that feels like a good idea, have your hands kind of walk up, choke up on the strap that's up and hold on where it feels like a good idea to you.

So you're stretching this leg now that's up and the other leg is actively stabilizing for you. So use the strap to pull back on your foot a little bit, maybe take the leg across the body that feels like an amazing stretch for me. I already know that that's where I need, but try taking it out to the side as well, see what happens, do you need that? Feel free to use your hands wherever want, come back in. Maybe go across, maybe go out, breathe and move, scratch an itch, be curious and find a stretch that suits you.

And then let's bring that bottom leg up, hold for a moment in a comfortable position. So you're gonna hold on to the other strap with your hand as you press down with the other leg. So try to be mindful of your pelvis, endeavoring to stay nice and neutral and be mindful of using the back of the leg, actually feeling the muscles hamstring, be mindful of going straight down through centers, slight internal rotation, so you're not going in external accidentally and we hold that leg down now. So we've got one strong leg straight underneath you, we're gonna choke up on the strap and find the stretch and just notice if this one feels different. If it feels tighter for me this side is always a little bit tighter and then we're gonna take that leg maybe across the body, wiggle the foot a little.

So I'm really conscious of keeping my foot relaxed and letting the strap flex my ankle for me. Maybe you'll take the leg out to the side. Again, use your hands on the straps as needed like a marionette puppet, you're a puppeteer. Bring your leg back up, take it across perhaps, enjoy that beautiful stretch, breathing in and breathing out. Gently bend two legs, stretch for just a moment your low back.

Take the straps off your feet. Here with your heels on the bar, kind of near the arch. So not right on the heel, but feet are on the bar near the arch, but still closer to the heel. Open the legs to the side, ground down through the feet and try pressing out a little bit. If that feels okay, press all the way to straight and bring your feet back to neutral.

Bend the knees in, the knees are touching. Open to the side with the legs, it's a hip little flow here, press out if it feels good and come back in. Continue that circle if it feels like a good idea, check in with your two legs and see if one hip is a little bit more crusty or challenged by this than the other. Maybe you're gonna focus on just doing it a few times with the right, and then maybe you'll focus doing it a few times with the left. Maybe this feels interesting, maybe it feels like not a lot, that's okay.

I feel feels very interesting to me specifically on my left side. One more time like that, please. So that's like giving my hips a bit of a hug. Take the feet just a bit wider now, so feel that you are comfortable to lift up here, we're gonna do a pelvic curl. So wherever your feet need to be so you can lift up.

Knees are facing upward, I'm in pelvic curl myself up as high as I feel comfortable here using the abs, using the back the legs, we're gonna bring the knees toward one another here, feeling those inner hamstrings internal rotation. We're gonna roll the spine down, open to neutral, curl up again, knees together and curl down. So if you feel strain in your knees or your back, smaller movement, smaller range, if you're happy here, play with this two more times please. Nice, beautiful. Hip work curling up one more time, knees together, we roll ourselves down and we're gonna hug those knees deep into the chest.

Perhaps lift the forehead toward the knees, breathing in and breathing out. Gently come on upright please. All right, we'll move into some nice arm work now, we're gonna wanna change the spring and I'm be on just one spring, I'm gonna suggest a red spring. So you could use a green, a whole spring is what you're looking for here just to feel like the next pieces are all set up. Now, I'm standing about in the middle centering myself in the middle of my carriage and then I'm gonna put one hand on the carriage, the other hand on the shoulder rest, okay?

And I'm gonna step back so I'm in a plank. Carriage isn't gonna move right now, hopefully you'll keep it stable. So I'm in a plank position and I'm gonna shift my weight away from the one that's on the shoulder rest, that's probably the easiest way to say it. And then I'm gonna lift the leg that is in line with the one that's on the frame here and just rest it behind. So I'm on one arm and one leg, opposite arm as leg and we're gonna try bending the elbows and straightening.

My focus is not on the one on the shoulder rest. So for me right now, I'm working my left arm, single arm push-up here, really working what it feels like on the two different sides, press up, two feet are down, shift yourself back, sending your hips back in space, your arms can just straighten and relax, taking the weight out of the hands. Bring the hands a little closer together, hands down, elbows down, and just sort of lean into the reformer and press back. So my legs are straight, if it suits you keep them bent if it's better, I'm just kind of loosening up a little bit my elbow joints and come forward just one more time, round yourself up and let's do that same thing on the other side. So you're going to set up so that your one hand is on the shoulder rest, the other hand is on the edge of the carriage there and you'll step back so you feel like you're in plank and I wanna lean into the arm that's on the edge of the carriage, not the one on the shoulder rest, it's just there to support me.

So opposite hand as foot support, so I've got to lift the other foot up, I'm gonna find my nice plank position, I'm spreading through my shoulders and then I'm gonna bend my elbows and I'm gonna put my focus on my right arm. The crazy thing here is my right arm is stronger, but this side is so much harder for me because of the relationship of the left leg that's needed and the core to support, this one's so much harder, it's surprising. Hold, take your two feet down, let your arms straighten just come back into a little stretch, your legs can press back a little bit, you can bend your knees, whatever feels good, you can wag your tail, you can round your back and then place your hands and your elbows down so you have to bend elbows and just shift forward a couple of times here. So don't think too much about what you're doing here, it's just kind of checking things out, one more time, meaning I don't need the knees to be straight, they could be bent. You could have your back rounded, whatever feels right.

Roll yourself upright and then there you are. Let's move on. So we're gonna work a little bit, shoulders and strength in the tricep dip position working toward the long back stretch. So that one spring is ideal. I'd like you to come and have a seat up on your bar, okay?

Lots of options here. So make sure you listen to your body and do what makes sense for you please. Your two hands are on the bar and you wanna really wrap the hands a little bit so that you support your wrists rather than having your wrists too bent back here like this. Take your feet to about the middle of your carriage and we'll start with knees bent. You'll just slip your bottom off and you'll stay here.

Now, if right away you feel like this is too much, you may just stay here and modify as needed. The rest of us are gonna open through the heart and bring the pelvis sort of back toward the bar and stay here. So feel that you're really supporting with your hands, with your arms, I should say, chest opener here. Bend the elbows, maybe we're gonna tap and come back up. What are we tapping?

We're seeing how far we can bend before you feel uncomfortable. If you can safely tap your bottom down, use your legs to help you lift back up if needed. If you can safely tap the bottom down, we're pushing our flexibility and we lift back up. One more time if you're safely tapping the bottom down, have a seat, take your feet out in front of you if this is too much, release one hand and just go into a rotated position so you can stretch your shoulder a little bit here, safely. Those of you that feel it's okay, you can keep those two arms back there and you can kind of push a little bit forward and back.

What do I mean by that? I'm rounding my back, I'm spreading my collarbones and my shoulder blades, I'm getting a beautiful stretch in my shoulders as I lean back a little bit. And then as I go forward, I'm trying to open a little bit through my heart and stretching here. So I don't care what your legs are doing just let them be comfortable for you. If you're doing a one-sided version, switch sides by now and then here, you should be sitting so on something.

You can just release your hands, you can shake them out a little bit and we'll do round two. Now, if that was plenty for you, repeat what we just did. Those of us that know that we can do some more powerful arm work, that's what we're gonna work on. So same setup, you're sitting on the bar, you have your hands on the bar and you wanna kind of wrap the fingers underneath, a little bit, this time though, take your foot all the way up against the shoulder rest, ankle is flexed, the other foot all the way up against the shoulder rest. Here, you're gonna press your heart forward, but simultaneously aim your tail back a little, so your back is endeavoring to be straight.

We're gonna try bending the elbows, keeping the carriage somewhat still, if not completely still and we press up. Heart is open. We bend the elbows maybe you can tap the reformer, maybe not. So you're doing what you feel comfortable with, good. If you're able to tap the reformer with the backs of your legs, do it.

This time, if you're able to tap the reformer, stay, make sure you feel comfortable with your alignment. You can press your arms in the direction of straight and bend a little bit. Now, I've been to my knees a little bit, because that feels better for me today. It should feel like a stretch, it should feel good on your joints. One more time and then you're gonna arrange yourself so that you're sitting on the reformer in a way that feels good.

Release your arms, shake your wrists for abs. Take a forward fold, relaxing, and let's move into some box work. So before we put the box on, let's adjust the spring to a blue spring or a light spring. If you know your shoulders needs some work, you may choose to use a yellow spring. If that's an option for you, but you want a light spring.

I think if your only option is a whole spring, you're going to have to do some modifying. So I'll warn you on that. We're going to put the box on long wise, please and then we're gonna use the straps to work and stretch the shoulders, hopefully it will feel lovely, okay? So I'm gonna come around so I can look right at you and you can see me if you need. So we're gonna hold both straps, even though we'll begin with just one.

So I've got my back arm, if you will, is holding the back strap, my front arm is holding the front strap and I'm gonna sit at the very edge of the box and let my legs dangle or you could put your heels on the carriage if that's better suited for you. So we're first gonna start here and just the forward arm is the one that's working. So we're gonna try to find that place where we're in a little bit of external rotation, sitting upright. My friends, you need to breathe a little air into your shoulder ball and feel your heart open, not compressed forward, so sit with that for a moment. And then here we'll find external rotation and we come all the way across toward the belly if you're able to.

So see if you can open your heart as you find that external rotation and back. So my elbow is bent and I'm moving my shoulder joint. You may feel some movement in your back body, but you wanna think about spreading the back body, the shoulder blades, rather than squeezing them together. So last one here, nice and challenging for me. So now we're gonna let the arms straighten across the body.

So feel that full cross arm, I'm in a little bit of rotation. And then I pull and open to a straight arm. The elbow bends, the wrist curls across, and I'm gonna look where I'm going all the way to straight and I'm gonna pull an open. Let's do a few more like that, all the way to straight. So I do lose the spring tension, but I like the idea of still straightening the arm, being able to feel the difference between the two arms.

We'll call this the last one and open, beautiful. So now you're gonna hold both straps in the hand that's a way if you will, or closest to the straps, I should say, and I'm gonna scoot to the very opposite end of the box so I have a little more spring here. I'm gonna let my arm be straight and I'm just gonna lean such light spring, so don't pull, just lean a little bit, wave in the wind, feel something. So I can actually feel some nice stretch in my neck, my upper trapezius. If I roll my palm up, I can get a little bit in my bicep and in through my deltoid here, it feels nice.

Sits tall, equal on both hips, pull the elbow in. I'm an external rotation, so the palm can be up or forward, but I'm gonna say palm up for me right now, but focusing on opening the heart as I pull across into internal. As I open, I wanna try to get a little more external rotation, opening the heart, maybe even looking up and pull across. So we're working that external rotation, but using the muscles that pull you into internal rotation. And we'll do two more here, please and just one more, beautiful.

So holding onto your straps, you're going to spin around so you're looking at the foot bar and you're gonna wanna make sure you have the correct strap in each hand, so the straps are not crossed. So here you can sit many different ways. If you need to sit with your feet in front of you, you can do that, you can sit with your feet on the carriage, or you can sit with your feet dangling. I like my legs dangling is more challenging. So I'm going to take my hands together, overhead in prayer position and allow my elbows to bend, okay?

So now my elbows are narrowing toward my face or toward my ears, if you will and I'm gonna grow tall through my spine, but lean forward a little bit, not so far forward that I feel unstable, but just that I can stay in this position. And then with an exhale, we straighten the arms, perhaps it's an exhale and we bend the elbows. So endeavor to stay open through the shoulders and the chest supported in the abdominals and feel that it truly is just an elbow movement doing this. So we're just bending and straightening the elbows here. Just two more like this, please try to use both arms equally, checking in.

From the up position, gently bring your hands a little bit in front of you and you can just flip to the other side, nice little flow here. So now we'll move all the way closer to where the straps are sitting on the opposite edge of the box, let your feet dangle. You're gonna hold the rear strap with this sort of the back arm, if you will and the front strap with the front arm and sit tall here. So we'll find first our rotation. So be mindful of not bearing down with your shoulder, but this idea of breathing some fresh air, if you will, into the shoulder ball, you wanna think of actually lifting the shoulder ball a little bit as you go into external rotation rather than bearing down.

So you should feel open through the chest, you should feel soft in the underarm in that deep rotated position, just one more here. And now the cross arm. So you're going to allow your arm to go all the way to straight across even though you'll lose spring tension, pull the arm in and stretch out. We come across the body, look where you're going. So look where the strap is attached to the reformer and then pull in and all the way out to straight, good.

So this is the one we do kneeling with the biccy work, we do this arm exercise kneeling, but this is kind of nice because you can iron out some of the edges doing it, sitting like this and this will be our last one here. So now both straps will go in the hand that's closest to the risers or to the straps over there and you'll move down more near the foot bar. So allow your legs to relax down if you want and allow your arm to relax open. So I'm opening through my heart a little bit, I'm turning my hand up, perhaps I'm leaning with my head a little and I'm getting a nice little stretch across my chest, into my neck and I'm just gonna wave in the wind for a moment, enjoy that stretch. And then try to bring the body completely upright, be mindful of your alignment here, pull your elbow in toward your waist, but it doesn't have to be jamming in because I still want this open heart and I still want you to feel like there's a little bit of a softness in your underarm.

And then we'll pull the arm across toward the belly button and we go into external rotation and we wanna let the straps help you rotate a little more, your job is to stay lifted and open through your heart, pull across again, opening through the heart, nice. And that should feel like you're working, but you're also getting a beautiful stretch, a beautiful chest opener here. So make sure you spend the time in that stretchy position, go a little deeper and then find the strength to pull back from there. One more time, please. Let's repeat the tricep thing that we did a moment ago and add on a little bit.

So again, you wanna make sure please that you have each hand in its own strap, that the straps are not crossed. You might stoop forward a bit more if you felt comfortable, your legs would be dangling if you felt comfortable, you'll press your arms up in the direction of straight hands together and then this time I want you to, as you bend your elbows, I want you to find a back extension. So I want you to feel that you're supporting with your abs with your any essentially a back bend. So you're pressing the heart forward, you can really feel that stretch, and then you're gonna press those arms up to straight. Now, if you find the spring too heavy, if you were to move back, it would get easier so I'm purposefully trying to find a deeper stretch in my shoulders and then use my muscles to kind of support that position.

So I'm letting the spring pull me back a little bit as I bend my elbows, pull my hands back and I'm pressing my heart forward, good. We'll do one more like that. It's a backbend actually, it feels really wonderful. On my shoulders, it feels wonderful. Gently come out of that.

In my back as well. So let's go ahead and put the straps away, stepping off your box. You're going to wanna have your spring for the last two exercises, so I'm going to recommend a red spring or green spring. So a zesty enough spring that you feel supported because the spring ends up assisting you in the back extension here and you want that extra assist. So on your belly with your chest off just a bit, okay?

We wanna hover those legs slightly, or keep them passive if that's better for you in your low back. But if you can glue those legs together and hover them, the pelvis is heavy, the belly is light, the hands are on the foot bar. So have your elbows be slightly down here and spreading through the collarbones on the shoulder blades, we wanna think not of pushing out right away, but actually pulling your heart forward, finding your beautiful thoracic extension. Released for the moment. Do that again. So with the hands on the foot bar and pulling my heart forward, finding that beautiful thoracic extension, release.

One more time. I'm gonna maintain that beautiful thoracic extension and slide the arms out and in. So the idea here is that I stay in that nice upper back extended position without too much kickback in the low back. So should you be feeling something in the low back, you might try relaxing the legs all together. One more time, or don't lift as high, good.

Now this time we'll press out to straight and we'll hold, walk the hands a little narrower so a little less than shoulder width, and then feel a straight body first. Let your shoulders lift up by your ears, let your shoulders shoulders be settled by the spring. And then continue lifting up to a full back extension, whatever feels good to you, the spring is actually lifting you, slide yourself down, so your resisting. Let the spring push the shoulders back, gently soften the shoulders away from your ears as you lift to that higher back extension, supporting with your belly and your legs and down. It feels so delicious to me.

Two more like that, please. Full back extension for you. Pleasure principle, remember they should feel good these movements. Last one. Gently bend your elbows, bringing the carriage to rest, bring yourself pleased to a standing position.

I'm gonna stand behind my reformer because I wanna use the box as a tool for stretching. My feet are underneath my hips. Take a big stretch up, good, exhale, rounding down. Find a box, let your hands drape forward, walk forward and then drape over the box. Your forehead can rest on the box.

Your elbows are relaxed, your hands are relaxed just kind of bend one knee and shift to one side, iron out anything in the hips and the hamstrings that wants to soften and then bring yourself to your elbows, so you're gonna lift your forehead, you've got your forearms, your hands, your elbows. We're gonna hold that arm position and we're gonna round through the back, let the head dangle and we're gonna extend and we're rounding, head relaxed and extension. Just one more time we round and then take that rounded shin sensation all the way up to standing, take your two arms up, open one arm down, lifting a higher and looking up, two arms up the other arm down higher, looking up, changing the gaze this time, changing the arm this time look behind behind you. Look up and look behind you. Look up, two arms down, soften your eyes, have your palms facing forward so your heart is open.

Find your breath, inhaling and exhaling. Equal weight on both of your feet. Feel that your knees are straight, but that they're easily bent. Feel yourself growing taller, finding the calm of your breath. I hear the sound of the waves so visualize the sound of the waves as you breathe.

Gently, open your eyes and I hope you enjoyed the class. Thank you so much for playing, I'll see you next time.

Zesty Flows with Sarah: On the Reformer


1 person likes this.
Thank you so much for this delicious and exquisite class, Sarah! I love your playfulness and curiosity. My body feels soft and strong and lean after the class!!!
Gerri M
2 people like this.
Great 👍 ideas

Hi Dorit T, Thank you for taking the time to write.  Playful and curiosity....YES that is what I hope to continue to share.  It fills me up to know this class worked so well for you.  Thanks again. "see" you soon:) 
Wonderful Gerri M !
Jane B
2 people like this.
Loved this class, prticularly the variation of feet in straps. Your cueing is so easy to understand. Thank you
2 people like this.
That was just lovely, feel great now Sarah thank you x 
2 people like this.
Another outstanding session, Sarah! THANK YOU! So grateful for this class today. I injured my lower back recently, and this class has me feeling so much better. Especially enjoyed the work on the box for the arms and shoulders, and the upper back extension towards the end. It all felt amazing! 
2 people like this.
Love your cuing so easy to follow. Felt amazing after the class. Please more )))
Thank you Jane B!  Creative use of straps is a great way to find new feels. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one.  Take care:) 
Thank you Nicola F!  Take care:) 
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