Class #4636

Align on the Mat

45 min - Class


Align is in the middle of HEART and it's the perfect time to go back to your foundation with more traditional movements. In this Mat workout, Courtney Miller uses the Overball to mix things up with creative variations to exercises you already know. She keeps a continuous flow throughout the class so that you can feel the burn in every movement.
What You'll Need: Mat, Overball

About This Video

Sep 06, 2021
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Hi guys, Courtney Miller here, and I am bringing you my align class flow. It's part of my five class series, Pilates with Heart. And it's right in the middle of that heart because all of the other classes really stem from the traditional foundation of Pilates. You'll see me mix things up a little bit and also add some variations that might be new, but we're gonna be working on the mat, using the ball today. And I hope you'll see some of the traditional Pilates exercises that you love to take in your other classes on Pilates anytime.

So join me. I'm gonna start today's class standing at the end of my mat. Feet about hip width. Standing nice and tall, finding my Pilates breath in through the nose, out through the mouth, feeling grounded with my feet down into the mat. Inhale arms come up, exhale start with the head, nod the chin, flex the spine and let gravity do its thing, pulling you down.

Soften the knees and slowly begin to rebuild. Take your time as you do. And you're back at the top, rolling the shoulders down and back. Let's do that one more time. Lift the arms big breath in through the nose.

(inhale deeply) Exhale, chin nod. Spine is a rounding, flexing. The ribs are drawing towards the hips. The whole body is hanging down, soften in the knees, no tension in the neck, rebuilding, coming all the way back up. Adding on, step those feet together, reach the arms up, squeeze your inner thighs, nod your chin and peel down.

Peeling like you're just coming off of a wall, and then once those hands meet the mat, bending the knees if you want to, walking out into a plank. We're not going to do too much here. You'll see this position later in the day, but I want you to find this chest up position, focusing on protracting the shoulders and feeling our back body core, and then walking the hands back, bending the knees if that feels better. And then rebuilding the soft knees and getting a nice and big inhale. Let's do that again.

Nod the chin, dive down. (exhales loudly) So I really liked starting standing and you'll see, we'll finish the class standing as well. So we've kind of gone this full circle, push up through the chest, find length. I like it starting standing up because I feel like some of the cues that we provide, all the breathing and the connection to the core, kind of make a lot of sense when you're standing, right? You can feel it, feel the feet, feel the abdominals, feel the vertical nature of the spine.

Let's do one more. Draw the chin down, flex, and walk it out. We're connecting breath with movement. Push the chest up, thinking about our core as a three dimensional unit front, sides, back, and walking it all the way back. I also liked the hamstring stretch, rebuild your spine and come all the way up.

All right, guys, let's take it down to the mat. Grab your ball. This is gonna go underneath your pelvis. So if you don't have a ball and you're using something different. You could roll up a mat.

You could use a pillow. You could prop up a couple yoga blocks here. The idea is I'm getting my hips off the mat, head down, no tension in my back, foot those legs to table. Now only you will know if the ball's in the right spot. So it should feel supportive.

You can balance here. Not too close to the shoulder blades. All righty, we're gonna do our foot work, closing the ribs, pointing through the toes, pressing the legs on a low diagonal, and then bringing the knees back in all without changing the shape of the spine, knees come in and out. 10 reps. So these class flows really come from my Pilates with Heart series, which I do on the reformer, my studio.

And we will start with footwork in the align class to find that connection into our feet and into the lower body. Four. (exhales loudly) I'm really focusing on squeezing my legs together. Three, (exhales loudly) two, and one. From here, flex the feet and press out.

Try to push evenly through the big toe and baby toe. Like your foot's flat as if you're doing squats on the floor. And again, notice that the shape of the spine is not moving. So when I do this, I think about this energy, like a magnetic energy pulling my mid spine down towards the mat. Legs are squeezing together.

(exhales loudly) From here, Pilates V, point at the ankles, flex at the feet, (exhales loudly) getting the ankles warm, (breath shushing) squeezing the backs of the knees, finding that point where the legs are straight and then bending it. There's like a little bit of a pause, and then coming in. Yeah, press. Diamond shape is no wider than the shoulders and press. (exhales loudly) One more time and press.

Single leg. One leg presses out and in, other leg (exhales loudly) and in. So I'm thinking of my single leg footwork on the reformer, pressing out against that imaginary foot bar. Finding the connection into my back body and focusing on hip stability. (breath shushing) The lower the leg goes, the more abdominals you'll feel.

So do what feels best for you today, and let's go into calf raises, send the legs long, leave them there. Point and flex. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Bend it in and take the feet down. Nice.

All righty. Let's do one roll-up, just to get rid of that ball. (exhales loudly) Place it down beside you. You will definitely see it come back again. So don't let it roll away and roll all the way down onto the mat.

We're gonna go into the a hundred. You might have a favorite way that you wanna get into the a hundred. This is how I'm gonna do it. Reach my arms back, keep my ribs close. Pretend that I have my hands in the straps on the machine.

Activate for my lats, right? These muscles in here. Pull my shoulders down. On an exhale, I lift, float the legs and starts to pump. Now there's a reason the arms are pumping.

The idea is you're challenging your stability with these arm pumps. Complete breathing guys. Big breath out (exhales loudly) and big breath in. About five pumps per breath. You might choose to change your breath to staccato, which sounds like this (breath shushing) You do you.

But it should still be a complete breath. We have three more cycles inhaling through the nose, exhaling through the mouth. One more cycle. (breath shushing) I always like the hold and maybe deepen, maybe float the legs, and take it all the way down. Flex your feet.

Press through your big toes and on an exhale, feel the spine up and over. Pause here, everyone. Drop the shoulders, pull the abdominals back. You can pretend like this ball is under here. So take that shape.

Keep it, not so much about flexibility to the hamstrings now. See, we can leave that there, and then roll back. Nice. And again, exhale. (breath shushing) Now this is not the first time we've done this movement.

There should actually remind you a lot of our standing roll down. Except gravity is working in a bit of a different way, (breath shushing) but the sequence is similar. Bend your knees if you're having a hard time rolling through the low back. (breath shushing) Two more and (breath shushing) last time. Nice.

Take those hands down besides you and the legs to table. Squeeze the knees together as if you've got one leg and the legs long and exhale. (breath shushing) Roll over. Now from here, I like to keep my legs about parallel to the ground. If you have a lot of movement and flexibility you might tap those toes.

Separate the legs. Flex the feet, push through the heel. As you roll down, you're creating space between the heels of your feet and your sit bones. Draw the legs together. Repeat up.

(breath shushing) Focusing on that inner thigh connection. Separate flex, roll it down. Try to keep the shoulders wide, pressing into the arms definitely helps. (breath shushing) Separate flex. (exhales loudly) Okay.

And now it gets a little harder. Keep the legs apart. The feet flexed, roll up. Draw the legs together. I like to come into Pilates V squeezing the backs of the knees together.

Finding that inner thigh connection. Separate and flex, parallel hips width on the up. Together, Pilates V, point the toes. Roll down. Trying to keep my legs straight.

(breath shushing) One more. Up. Let go. Squeeze, finding that inner thigh connection. (exhales loudly) Rolling it down.

drawing the knees in. Rock up to a balanced position for rolling like a ball. Round your spine, scoop the belly. I feel like you either love it or you hate it. Grab those ankles, make a real small shape and rolls through the center of the spine as best as you can.

There's usually maybe some clunks, maybe slightly roll off to one side. No big deal. It should feel pretty good. Down, up. Notice I'm not rolling onto my neck or my head.

(exhales loudly) Inhale down, exhale up. I feel like it helps if you look at the same spot the whole time. Like towards your belly button or your chest or your thighs. One more. (exhales loudly) Last time.

(breath shushing) Roll down and hold. Now make the smallest little ball you can using the strength of your arms. I'm gonna pull my elbows up, lift my chest, try to use my arm strength to deepen that chest lift for single leg stretch. Hug the knee towards you. The opposite leg shoots long, exhale when you switch.

(exhales loudly) (breath shushing) Now, even though I'm using my arms strength to pull, I'm still trying to keep the shoulders down and back. (breath shushing) We've got four, and three, (exhales loudly) (breath shushing) two, (exhales loudly) (breath shushing) and one. (breath shushing) Hug the both knees in, use that arm strength to curl up a little bit higher for a double leg stretch. Take the arms back, send the legs long and hold it. That was your hundred position.

Here's your double leg stretch. Circle around, scoop. Big exhale when you scoop those legs in. Out, (exhales loudly) in, out, (exhales loudly) in. Five more, (breath shushing) four, (breath shushing) three, (exhales loudly) two, (breath shushing) one.

(breath shushing) But wait, there's more. Take your hands behind your head. Send one leg straight and turn towards the knee, that's bent, and right over to the other side for our twist. (breath shushing) Work the stability in the pelvis. (exhales loudly) Support the head neck and shoulders as you need.

(breath shushing) Three, (breath shushing) two, (breath shushing) one. (breath shushing) And let's take a little break. Little break. We won't be here for too long. Hold behind the knees for the next exercise.

Use your upper body strength help you to curl up. So I really like to emphasize that scoop. It's like when your hands are in the straps on the reformer, you're pressing through the straps to get into the lats and obliques and curl up just a little bit higher. Send both legs up to the sky. One leg goes down, reach up, grab your ankle, your calf, your thigh, pull the straight leg towards you twice and then switch.

Pull, pull. (breath shushing) You can really play with tempo here. If you wanna go faster, go faster. I'm trying to keep my pelvis steady and stable. (breath shushing) I'm trying to deepen, deepen my scoop.

So it's more than just my leg moving. Scoop, scoop, scoop, scoop, scoop, scoop. Last time. Bend the knees in. The next exercise is our single leg lower.

So I'm gonna take one leg down, hands behind the head. One leg up, flex. Sending that leg as low as I feel like I can stabilize the shape of my spine. Now, this exercise is traditionally done with both legs at the same time. So if you wanna do both legs, do it.

Do what feels fun and good and right. I'm doing a single leg. (exhales loudly) Lift it. (breath shushing) One more. (breath shushing) Lift it.

Switch. So draw the leg up. (exhales loudly) I like doing single leg exercises or single arm exercises in an effort to find symmetry in the left and right sides of the body. (exhales loudly) Sometimes I'm able to get out of some of my bigger muscles, like hip flexors wanting to dominate, (exhales loudly) get into my deeper stabilizers. (exhales loudly) Three, (exhales loudly) two, (exhales loudly) and one.

Nice. All righty, guys. Speaking of a single leg exercise. Let's do her one leg circles. One leg will be straight on the mat, the other leg will be up bent.

I like better bent. Lots of you can do straight. I've got tight hamstrings. This is how I like to do it. Without moving in my hips, the leg crosses across my midline.

I draw a circle with my kneecap or if your leg is straight with your toe. We'll do five in each direction. (exhales loudly) Cross. (breath shushing) Circle. Cross.

(breath shushing) Circle. Cross. Trying to keep my ribs closed. Circle one more, cross and circle. Time to reverse.

Cross. (exhales loudly) Circle. I'm doing my best to stay in parallel. So I'm not rotating my thighbone. (breath shushing) Two, (exhales loudly) one.

(exhales loudly) Quick little stretch. Send the leg up, hold behind the leg. Start to climb, climb, climb, pull. Kind of like climb a tree, and then climb down, down, down, and switch legs. Whoo! So find that, I like tabletop.

You do straight leg if you like it better. I took my arms out. So I've got a nice big base of support, which is gonna help me to keep my hips stable. When choosing variations, I often think to myself, well, what is the essence of the exercise? Why am I doing this exercise?

And then I do everything I can to make sure the essence is in the movement, right? Is in the forefront of the movement. So really working to heat my hips, pelvis, torso. Low back stable, as a circumduct the femur, other direction. (exhales loudly) And around, (exhales loudly) (breath shushing) two, (exhales loudly) one.

(exhales loudly) Grab behind the leg. Use your arm strength. Start to climb up, climb it back down. Look how much straighter that leg is. It's working in real lifetime.

Let's do some bridging. So bend your knees. So your heels are ran underneath, your knees about hips width, hands down by your sides. Let's do hip rolls guys. This is articulation.

So contract the front body, pull the hip bones towards your ribs, pull the left and right sides of the abdominals towards the center as you roll up. Inhale, stay at the top. Exhale, start by dropping the sternum. Not only are you dropping the sternum, but you're pulling your hips that way, towards your heels as you roll through the spine. Try to find that neutral, that little bit of space in between every rep.

Roll up. (exhales loudly) Stay up. (inhale deeply) (exhales loudly) This should be considered core work. It is. Your core includes your glutes.

You're back. (inhale deeply) (exhales loudly) Two more. Roll it up. (inhale deeply) (exhales loudly) Roll it down. One more time, roll it up, (breath shushing) roll it down.

The more you you do, the easier it becomes. Connections are made and the body is changing in real time. All right, let's stay up. Squeeze both glutes. Prepare to lift a leg off the ground.

So I'm lifting my right leg, which means I'm gonna squeeze my left glute. That leg comes up. That leg extends. Flex as it goes down, point as you go up. Reminds you of that single leg lower, right?

Lower lift. (breath shushing) Four, (breath shushing) three, (breath shushing) two, (breath shushing) one. (breath shushing) Pulse it up, up, up, up. Four more, Four, three, two, one. Take it down.

Take a second. Reset. I love doing a single side exercise also because you instantly feel how you work. It's instant gratification. So prepare by squeezing the right side, left leg comes up.

Eight kicks. (breath shushing) Trying to keep the right knee in line with my foot. (breath shushing) Eight lift. one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Place the foot down.

Take a deep breath in, hips up. Find center, hug those knees in a little bit and exhale as you roll it all the way down. Nice. Roll to one side, keep your knees bent. Grab your ball.

I like to place the ball here. Not to be nice, it's actually to be mean, to prop you up. So you have to stay in this position for longer, but you could also use the ball here, like a little pillow. So you choose and it can change from day to day as well. So let's go into a side line leg series.

I wanna stack my hips. Top hand behind my head. Send that outside leg long. Even though I'm using the ball. I'm still trying to stay lifted, small circles up and around.

(exhales loudly) My bottom knee is bent nice wide. Big foundation to keep everything stable. (exhales loudly) Reverse, up and around. It's harder with the ball there, right? Yes. (exhales loudly)

Filling it right up in here. Four, three, two. We're gonna go up and down. Flex down, point up Five, (exhales loudly) four, (exhales loudly) three, two, (exhales loudly) one. Stay up.

Swing the leg forward. Foot is flex, swing the leg back. This is more about the abdominals at this point. Swing the leg forward, forward, back and hold. Forward, forward, back and hold.

Boom, boom. Pull it in. Hamstring stretch. (breath shushing) One and two. (breath shushing) Two more.

One and two. (breath shushing) One more. One and two. (breath shushing) Bring it in, bring it down. Put out the fire.

Grab that ball, squeeze it between your inner thighs. I find that squeezing the ball between my inner thighs makes me feel like I've got more of this connection between the halves of my body. So if you don't like it, you don't have to do it. But for me, I'm really feeling that pull in, that pulled towards the midline. Cool.

Thigh stretch. I was just stalling before we did thigh stretch. Okay. So as my body goes down, my arms reach forward, (inhale deeply) and then exhale. (exhales loudly) I'm thinking about doing chest expansion.

On the reformer when I come up. So inhale (inhale deeply) and exhale. (exhales loudly) Inhale (inhale deeply) and exhale. (exhales loudly) Take it down, and up. (exhales loudly) Keeping the upper middle and lower abdominals pulling in.

Three, (exhales loudly) two, (exhales loudly) and one. (exhales loudly) Sit halfway back. So the hips are not actually gonna touch the feet. Here's gonna halfway back. You're thinking of your pelvis widening and your tail feathers lifting.

For me, I'm visualizing line prone on the long box, arms pulling straps. Reach your arms forward, bring your arms up, out to a T into the body. Down, up, out to a T, resist and down. Again. Up, open, pull, down.

Three more. Lift nice and high. Out to a T. Squeeze, drop. Two more.

(breath shushing) And one more. Up, out, in, and down. Lift up. Turn your palms up. Roll those shoulders if they're coming up, and pulse.

Up, up, up, up. We've got 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and sit it down. You feel your arms, right? I do. Let's do our side leg series on the other side.

So the ball is under to help to hold you up to remind you to stay up. Shoulders still needs to be strong guys. Down and back. Send the leg long. It's an extension of the torso.

You'll feel it, and start to circle. Anytime you circle, really focusing on stability. This part of the leg is moving or this part of the body's moving. Everything else is staying stable against it. Up and around.

Kind of just like the a hundred, right? Up and around. (breath shushing) Nice. Four, three, two, one. Flex to go down.

Point to come up. Down, up, down. I watched my foot. I feel like it gives it a little motivation, like I'm kind of cheering it on. But I'm also watching to make sure that I'm staying in parallel and not externally rotating, which I wanna do.

(exhales loudly) Okay, guys. Keep that leg up. Swing it forward. And then as the leg pulls back, queue that exhale, and then forward again. Forward, forward, back, squeeze.

Forward, forward, back, squeeze. (exhales loudly) (breath shushing) Forward for two and back. And the height of the foot doesn't change. So when you're on the reformer, when you're doing your sideline feet and straps, you know that exercise, and we say, "Keep your foot the same height as the foot bar." (breath shushing) Forward, forward. Squeeze.

Two more. Forward, forward. Squeeze. One more. Forward, forward.

Squeeze. And bring it on in. Nice job, guys. Pat it out. If it's feeling tight, pat it out.

Leave the ball. Let's go into some breaststroke preps. Preparatory movements to get that T spine moving. Lying down. You get to pick how you want your legs, legs together.

Adductor squeeze, legs apart, externally rotated, your choice. Take the hands down. Hands by your shoulders. Nose to the mat. Pubic bone down.

On a breath in, roll the shoulders down and back. Find a small lift. Find a lot of length. Inhale, hold. (inhale deeply) Exhale, (exhales loudly) take it down.

Roll the shoulder, press up. Hold. Exhale. (exhales loudly) Take it down. When I lower down, I'm pulling my abdominals up in opposition.

So the sensation here is length, head away from tail. The sensation is I go down is lift. (exhales loudly) Two more. (inhale deeply) Up. (exhales loudly) One more.

Up. (inhale deeply) (exhales loudly) Down. Nice. Now, I'm gonna hover the arms and keep the chest in a hover and kind of repeat a similar arm pattern that we learned earlier, which was reach, T, reach, bend. Reach, T, reach, bend.

Neck is long. (inhale deeply) (exhales loudly) Pull. If this is real challenge for you, you could do single arm and keep one hand on the mat and you can still do the exercise. (inhale deeply) (exhales loudly) Three, (inhale deeply) (exhales loudly) two. (inhale deeply) (exhales loudly) One more.

One, (inhale deeply) (exhales loudly) and bring it all in for swan. Okay? Keep the legs heavy, roll the shoulders open, getting a big lift here. Exhale as you find length to lower. (exhales loudly) Again, big lift (inhale deeply) and find length to lower.

(exhales loudly) If you're wanting to add on a more dynamic movement, you can do your rocking patch, which means your legs will come up when you go down and you'll shoot those arms forward. Let me show you what I mean. Catch to come up. Catch to come up. Catch to come up.

Three more. (breath shushing) Two, (breath shushing) one, (breath shushing) and press back for a moment, guys. Take a little breather and stretch the back. Nice. Okay, guys, we're gonna take this up to standing again.

I'm gonna stand off my mat, my mats real squishy. So you might want to do the same. Standing nice and tall. Draw one leg up, kind of like a tabletop position, and then just practice swinging that leg back and up. We're just gonna get those hips moving again.

Sometimes taking the opposite elbow to leg up helps to find that cross diagonal patterning. (exhales loudly) We'll do five more here. (exhales loudly) Trying to use or recruit as much of my abdominal wall as I can to draw that leg up. All righty, guys. Send that leg back.

You're gonna keep it back. Reach the arms up. Coming into that roll down, that standing roll down. We did the very beginning of class. Round your spine, find the mat.

Start to walk out, finding your plank. This time, boom! Here you are. Rock back, forward, back, forward. Three more. Back, forward.

Two, back, forward. One, back, forward. Keep the leg up. Start to walk back, trying to square off my hips, rebuild the spine (exhales loudly) and try the other side. So draw that leg up.

Kick, pull, kick, pull. Hips are staying pretty stable opposite elbow to arm. Up, back, up, back. Finding that front core. Back, side all working together.

Four, (exhales loudly) three, (exhales loudly) two, (exhales loudly) one. So good to feel how all those muscles are working. We just work them on the mat, helping us to stay vertical and strong. Reach the arms up, dive down. (exhales loudly) Find that mat. (exhales loudly)

Walk it out. (exhales loudly) Forward and back. (exhales loudly) (breath shushing) Four more. Keep pushing the chest bone up. That's four.

(breath shushing) three, (breath shushing) two, (breath shushing) one. (exhales loudly) Leg stays up. Walk it back, rebuild. Ooh, and coming all the way up. Nice job guys.

Anchor those feet around the spine. Take it down. (exhales loudly) Walk it out. (exhales loudly) Come up onto that mat. Drop the knees and take it all the way down for swimming.

Legs up, arms up, opposite arm and leg. Up, up, up, up, up. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Hold, and press it up. Cool.

All right, guys. Flip those legs around. Gonna massage the spine out after that and sit round the spine, find your scoop. (breath shushing) One leg comes up reach underneath, grab the ankle, other, grab the ankle. So one of the things that's really different about this exercise is you're locking in the position.

You're holding the feet together. You're holding the legs into this position. The spine is in that scoop and the gaze is downward so that the entire spine neck included is in a C curve. Inhale as you go down. Exhale as you come up.

If you're having problems coming up, focus on that big breath. Inhale down. (breath shushing) Exhale up to balance. Inhale down. (breath shushing) Exhale up to balance.

Five, (exhales loudly) four, (breath shushing) three, (breath shushing) two, (breath shushing) one more. Contracting the abdominals to go back. Contracting the abdominals to come up. Have fun with it. We didn't clap, that's okay.

We'll do it next time. Draw the knees in. All righty, guys. We're in a modified teaser position. So the back, the lower back that is, is scooped under.

The chest is lifted and I'll usually grab my legs and find that lift and reach. Arms are forward. I'm gonna try to keep my legs as still as I can, as I roll down to the mat. So I'm visualizing myself on the long box. Pulling the straps and coming up into my teaser shape.

(breath shushing) I have to really think about opening the chest, rolling from the lower back (exhales sharply) and I'm down. Exhale up. (breath shushing) Pause at the top. And roll it down. After looking to add more intensity, you can extend those legs straight.

Exhale up. (breath shushing) Finding that more traditional V. You can set those legs down as you roll down, and then exhale. What I like to do is come to my hundred first. Like I feel really rooted into those abdominals, then the legs come up to meet me, and then I roll it down, lower back first, sending those legs down, sending the arms back.

Let's do three more. So I don't just hoist myself up. I cam here first, but I try my best to pull the abdominals towards my midline as my legs and chest kind of come up towards each other, and then roll it down. (exhales sharply) Trying to touch my lower back down before my legs go. Again, (breath shushing) chest is open (breath shushing) and last time (breath shushing) and lower back leads all the way down.

Legs go down. Let's roll ourselves up (exhales sharply) and rebuild the spine. Nice, guys. All right. Come into some side kick kneeling series.

So kneeling on your mat. You need room to go off to one side. So your hand can go down. One hand goes down other leg comes up, before I do anything fancy. I just wanna make sure the hips are stacked.

Shoulders are stacked, top hand here. I'm gonna extend the leg. Tap it to the mat, lift it up. Eight times. (inhale deeply) (exhales loudly) Down and up. (exhales loudly)

Down and up. So this is a little bit harder than the sideline version that we did. We're off the mat. We have less of our body connected to a stable surface, right? More stability here.

Hold that leg up. Pulse it up. (exhales loudly) Good. We're pulsing for four, three, two, and one. Bend the knee in.

Kick through the heel. Eight times. (exhales loudly) (breath shushing) Four, three, two, one. And take a seat, and look at, you're in a perfect position to come into a side bend. Look at that.

Roll your shoulder down and back. That's important. Rest your hand onto your leg. The closer your feet are towards you, the more of a bend you'll get. So you can adjust as you go.

You will want your shoulder to be over your wrist when you come up. Tap arm overhead and sit to come down. So I always do that a little shoulder roll first. Squeeze my inner thighs. Make the rainbow shape and sit to come down.

Two more like this. Roll the shoulder, rise, and control. Let's add, roll, rise. Take the arm up, thread under, hips up, (exhales loudly) lengthen and take a seat. Couple more here.

How you doing? Roll the shoulder. Rise. Lift the arm up, thread. (exhales loudly) Lengthen and take a seat.

How about one more? We'll negotiate. One more. Roll the shoulder. Find the scoop, lift up, (breath shushing) take it down and all the way down.

Well-done, guys. Swing those legs around and let's do the sidekick kneeling on the other side. So you'll need some room. Knees under the hips, hand comes down, leg comes up. Set it up first.

Hip over hip, shoulder over shoulder. Hand here. Leg long, tap and lift, (exhales loudly) tap and lift. So because you now know that you're gonna go into those side bends. Really start to visualize yourself in it.

Keep the shoulders down and back here. So when you get to the side bend your body remembers it. It's like the seeds have been planted. Hold the leg up, little pulses. (breath shushing) Up, up.

I imagine a floor and I just try to go higher and higher. Bend it in. Kick with the heel. Kick with the heel. (breath shushing) Two more. (breath shushing)

One. (breath shushing) Take the leg down. Here you are if you need a break, take it. Remember the closer your feet are the more of a bend you get. You want the shoulder to be over the wrist, inhale to get ready. (inhale deeply)

Exhale. Focus on those inner thighs coming together. As you go up, over, drop the head, reach the arm. Find that bow and then take it down. Let's do it again.

Exhale out. (exhales loudly) So your energy is coming from underneath when you lift up, don't think about this side lifting. Think about this side lifting. (exhales loudly) Over and down. Let's do three more like this, (exhales loudly) and down.

Controlling, right? Control versus kerplop. (exhales loudly) Let's add the thread. So more dynamic. Here's the bow.

Arm up. Squeeze the inner thighs. Come out, (exhales loudly) take it down. Again. Shoulders down and back.

Up and over. Reach (exhales loudly) and length. The stability in the shape is really coming from my legs. Squeeze it in. Two more.

Up, up. (breath shushing) And one more. (breath shushing) And take it down. All righty, guys. Swing those legs around.

Let's grab that ball and finish using the ball. Place it behind your mid spine. The higher or the closer to your neck, the more support you'll get. Anchor the feet, coming full circle here. Let's lift, extend.

Find that Pilates breath. Circle around. (exhales loudly) Lift, extend, circle around, (exhales loudly) adding a leg. Tabletop, (exhales loudly) pull it in. Again.

Reach, (breath shushing) pull it in. Two more. Reach. (breath shushing) Pull it in. Lengthen and hold.

Other leg. So try one with that leg and tabletop. Find that stability and circle hug. Kind of like that double leg stretch, right? Reach, nod, (exhales loudly) reach. (breath shushing)

Two more. (breath shushing) Last one. (breath shushing) Help yourself sit up. Place the ball between your ankles. Roll down for jackknife.

You were waiting for it. Now's your time to shine. Just remember to use your glutes, your hip extensors when the legs go up. Send the legs long, it's an inhale to come here. Parallel to the ground.

Sometimes I'll set it up by holding my hips. Let's see how we do. Exhale. I'm not trying to come up onto my shoulders any higher. I'm trying to use my glutes to lift extend at my hips.

So my legs go up. I'm gonna try to keep that ball right over my chin as I roll down and then send the legs low. So do it again. Inhale here. Legs parallel-ish to the floor.

Exhale (breath shushing) here. Start to inhale and then exhale the rest of the way. Three more, okay guys? Inhale up, (inhale deeply) exhale. This is the jackknife part.

The straight up and down, glutes, hamstrings, roll it down slow and all the way down. Inhale up. (breath shushing) Squeezing the ball helps me find a stronger shape here. Upper spine, middle spine, lower spine, legs. Last one.

Inhale up. (breath shushing) Inhale, start to roll. Exhale, when it feels really challenging. Take it all the way down and bring it in. Rock yourself up to seated.

Guys, let's do a standing roll down and call it today. Rise up. How do we feel? Aligned? Yeah.

All righty, guys. Reach your arms up, on an exhale dive down. (exhales loudly) Soften the knees. Look how much further down we can get. Soft knees, rebuild the spine.

Two more. Inhale up. (inhale deeply) Nod the chin. (exhales loudly) Dive down, rebuild. Last one, last one.

Reach up. Nod the chin. Close the ribs. As you rise up, focus on those feet. Four corners pressing down.

Arches lifting up, rebuilt, coming all the way up to standing. Great class guys. It was really fun. Right? And I bet you can see the connection between the movements we do in this class and all the other classes in the series.

So make sure you do them all. Let's see you soon. Bye.

Pilates with Heart: On the Mat

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Sep 06, 2021
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Align on the Mat
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I liked the flow and way of your queing; thank you so much this is a great class
1 person likes this.
Awesome, Courtney you do such a great job explaining the “why” of an exercise.
Wonderful class, Courtney! I love your esprit and empathy mixed with humor. I really feel strong and aligned after your classes. Thank you so much! 
Priya D
Great Class

1 person likes this.
Great class and I enjoyed it, but it's a lot easier than the 1st 2 in this series (this is an observation not a criticism). Next time i take this class i'll just add some leg weights to keep a momentum in the series going. Thanks again Courtney:) 
Really enjoyed that Courtney.  You continue to be an inspiration in every way, thank you.
Really enjoyed this and love th over all for the additional challenge…
1 person likes this.
I liked the variation on the leg circles, much easier for me with my knees bent. Great class. Thank you.
Lina S
1 person likes this.
I really enjoy your teaching. Nice variations (leg circles, plank with one leg in the air, kneeling series, etc.).
Perfect just the right level - easy on the knees! 
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