Class #4733

Free Your Spine

35 min - Class


The spine is such a complex part of our bodies. In this Mat workout, Ilaria Cavagna explores simple and complex actions to make sure we allow each segment to move freely and pain-free. She works on all segments from the sacrum to the occiput making sure that your breathing is strongly connected to the movement of the ribcage, diaphragm, and spine.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hi, this is Ilaria and today we'll free our spine. Sounds really good, right? So we'll work on flection, extension and so much more, even breathing. It's important to make sure we really free it up. So let's shake everything out.

I'll show you the sideways version. From here you're gonna drop your head down around your shoulders. Roll down a little bit and bend your knees. Very easy to start and then you scoop and you roll back up and again, head down, round, flection at the knees stretch, pull. This time as you roll back up, I want you to continue your eyes go up.

The chin goes up as well. Then eyes go down, chin down, round your shoulders and we go down to the bending position again, stay there. Now you grab the thighs. You keep your knees bent and you try to come up so that you get to open and create more space in between the vertebra. Then you release, relax the arms and unroll the way up to standing.

One more time. Eyes go up. Chin goes up, eyes go down, chin comes down as well. Round your shoulders, go back to the same position and we repeat the same stretch. So hug the back of the thighs, try to come up, keep your knees bent, and then you can release, shake off the arms again, say no with your head.

And then you pull into your stomach and unroll and stretch all the way up to standing. Now from here, lift up the front of the hip, just light, lace your fingers and lift. And let's do a little side bending to the left and back to center and side bending to the right and back to the center, shake out the arms, release and now head goes to the left, round your shoulders, bend your knees. So the same flection you did previously is now sideways. Then you roll back up and back to standing.

One more time to the right, head down, turn your shoulders bend your knees, and then you pull into your stomach and you slowly unroll back up. Inhale and exhale. Release. Now, quick thing before we go down, I want you to visualize the sacrum. We'll do some movement with the pelvis, so I want you to have this shape in mind.

This is the top of the sacrum called the base. This is the apex and it's basically pretty much in this position, okay? So as we lie down now, we'll put the hands over here and we'll play with a very slow motion and how it feels and how it moves the whole spine going up. So, in the front of the mat, you can cross. You lower yourself down and we lie down and we keep the knees bent and again we place the hands in that shape, just there in between the ilium.

Now, once you find a good position, I don't like this position because it curls the shoulders forward but we stay here for very little. From this place, I want you to push the tailbone forward and down. So you basically get to smash the fingertips of your index and then you'll change and you go back and you get to smash your thumbs. So that's the base of the sacrum, right? Higher up.

So you see how we're creating this very small rocking with the pelvis, thinking about the landmarks of the sacrum. So I'm pushing onto my thumbs now, and then I rock forward and I push into the index, the tip of the index. And then you go back to the thumbs and forward again. Don't use your glutes to do so. Just use your abs.

And one more time, you rock back to the thumbs and this time you continue, you continue, the tailbone takes off. The mid part of the sacrum takes off and at some point also, all the sacrum, also the base of the sacrum is the release and you can continue up a little bit, and then you unroll your lumbar spine down and you'll get in touch with your thumbs first and then slowly you rock your fingertips to the index and then again, let's do this one more time. You curl. I want you to focus on this subtle movement of the pelvis, because that's important to have, even when we get into more advanced stuff, I want you to take off and go up, to have more freedom because we accessed this, before the big movements. Beautiful.

Now you can release your hands. You can actually open them out to the side. And from here, we do similar action with the cervical spine. So, I want your eyes to go back, the chin to come up and then the eyes to go down and the chin to come in. And again, eyes back, chin up, eyes down.

Chin in. One more time, eyes back, chin up and eyes down, chin in. Now bring one knee at a time into your chest. Hug them in and from here we get into the (indistinct) and now we stabilize the sacrum. We curl up with the upper body.

We reach and let's get to warm up, inhale deep and exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale. And again, in with the air and pump it out exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale. I want those arms to move fast and big and again in and exhale out, out, out out. Again, way more than five, if you need to keep exhaling. I want you to fully empty the lungs and again in and pump it out, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale.

And again in and reach, last one. Deep inhale and now exhale, super slow. Super long. Empty, empty, empty, empty, empty, and bring them in. Now all the way up to sitting.

I want us to go back to those toes up to stabilize the lower legs, press the shins out, pull the thighs in. Remember right? And it's all about the base. So from here, grab the back of the thighs and now on to focus on three different stages. From sitting up on top of the sit bones, I want you to roll.

We skip one step. We're right away behind the table and then we come up and then we go back behind the table. You want to feel rolling on top of the tailbone, and then you come up and again, rock back behind a table and up now we go farther. This is the hardest one. I want you to go back behind a table and try to place the sacrum flat.

And now you reverse and you come up. I wish we could put the hands there, right? We can't. But we do, we try to remember that feeling, behind the table, sacrum flat, and then you pull and come up one more time. Back, sacrum and up, one more stage.

I want you to go behind the tailbone, sacrum flat. Now, the vertebrae behind the navel, wants to be down on the floor, L three and then we reverse, come up with a three, come up with a sacrum, rock on top of the sit bones. Two more times, go back all the way to L three, no further and then you curl and come up. Last one, scoop, roll back, L three and up. Now close the legs together, roll back down, find all those spot and continue and reach back.

Arms up to the ceiling, head up, scoop, little three sacrum and sit. Try to stretch the legs and recreate the same thing. Go forward. Then you go back behind the tailbone, sacrum flat, L three down and open, one more slow, arms, head, L three, sacrum and all the way over. Let's do two more.

Down and open and up and stretch. Down and open. Up and stretch. Last one and come up. I want to move forward a little bit.

And now from here, we roll down one more time and we bring the legs up perpendicular. My tailbone is still down, from here peel off the floor. Scoop, the tailbone, the sacrum, the base up to L three and you go back and stretch and stretch and slowly down and legs together. Overhead you go behind your head, separate and lengthen, lengthen, lengthen, lengthen, and again, lift and you go back and open, roll down, reverse, shoulder width, push the heels behind your head, lengthen the arms, length the neck roll down and lift and shoulder width, behind the head lengthen and one more. You go push together, roll down, lengthen, lengthen, lengthen.

Leave the right leg to you. Lower the left. Pull in for a little stretch. Let it be where it's comfortable. Press down, big circles today.

Let's go across, around and up, across, around and up. Let the hip come up and we go four around, pull. Five around, up, reverse, circle round and hold. Circle around and nose. Open around and hold.

Two more. Last one. Good. Let's give ourselves a nice other little stretch and we switch. Left leg comes to you, pull the heel for the stretch.

Let it be where it's comfortable and make sure the hip is down. We tried to stabilize and square everything up and here you go across, around and up. Across, around and hold circle and up. Four and up, last one. Five and hold.

Reverse, open across and up. Circle, hold and all the way around. Two more. Last one, stretch it towards you a little bit more and now you come up and we're going to roll in like a bowl. So scoop, scoop, scoop, lift.

Now, remember all those points. We go faster here, but I want you to think about them all and up and again, scoop, roll back and up. Let's close it a little more. You go rock and up. One more time, roll back and lift.

Back a little bit for single leg bend. You go pull and switch. Pull and in. Really pull in and out. Reach and be active with both legs.

One is all the way in, the other one is reaching out with intent. And again, pull, pull, pull, pull, both in, reach back and freeze, open the arms and freeze to the knees and in and again, reach, open knees and pull. Lengthen out, reach forward and in and now fast and pull and reach and in. Lengthen in and last one, head down for a second. Single, straight.

You go pull and switch. Make sure the leg comes to you. Make sure the abs are working to stabilize and the leg is active. It's not just the stretch. I could do it without right?

The arms and pull and pull and pull and pull, hands behind the head. You go down, down, down and lift, lower and up and again, reach, lift, keep down. Up, (indistinct) two, back stays flat. Last one, reach, reach, reach and lift. And now we go, criss cross, try to come up as high as you can and to move the back elbow behind you.

This is one of the hardest exercise ever and all the way up. Long lift. Inhale and down exhale, reach, reach, reach, reach, and roll it up, again in with the air, drop your head down, reach article A and you go over and up. And again, inhale up, head down. Reach, reach, reach, reach with your fingertips.

Reach with your heels. And then pull back one little bone at the time. Article A up. Now let's hold behind those sit bones, you scoop back, back, back until your legs float up. So you start with a little rolling like a boat basically to pick up the legs.

And now from here we go farther and you go back and lift and you go back and up and again, pull and up. Close the legs together and roll it down. Now, I want us to take a little break here because before we get into corkscrew, I want us to focus on breathing a little bit. So, first let's place the hands on the stomach, and I want you to breathe. Just trying to move only the stomach, not the rib cage.

So as you inhale, you inflate the stomach as a big balloon, and then exhale, you release. Let's do a few more. (exhaling) Your tempo. So you go and you inflate as big as you can and release. Now, let's place the hands on the rib cage.

Lower down here to the side, okay? On the side of the rib cage and I want you to breathe now only with your lungs, with your rib cage. So you go inflate, inhale. (inhaling) and exhale. (exhaling) And again in.

(inhaling) And exhale. Now keep one hand on the side and bring one hand up in front of the chest and now feel the different movement. Inhale. (inhaling) The top hand lifts up and the other hand opens to the side, right? So the rib cage opens in different directions.

So if we want to have a better, and if you want to free up the whole spine, we also need to think about the rib cage, the breathing and the articulation between the ribs and the spine, right? And release. Perfect. Now let's place the hands down, legs up. And from here we scoop.

We send the legs back and now we're going to corks. From here, send your legs to the right shoulder. Roll down on the right side of your spine. Circle the legs around, go to the left, roll up the left side of your spine and then you'll go back to center. Now, legs to the left shoulder, roll down the left side.

Feel that massage on the articulation between the ribs and the spine and center. Place to the right, roll down the right side of the spine. Circle the legs around and go up to the left and center and now go left, this is the last one. Roll down the left side of the spine. Circle the legs up the right and center, and slowly roll back up, to sitting.

Beautiful. When you go slow it's even harder, right? When you use momentum, we skipped parts, going slow you need to be true to the movement and it becomes a lot more challenging sometimes. Now, before we get into the (indistinct) sit up, I'm gonna face you. You can face me.

From here I want you to bring the arms, the hands behind the head, in neck foot position. From here try to stay stable at the pelvis. We go side bend to the left and we all open up the spaces between the ribs, below the shoulder, and we come back up. And now we go side bend to the right lengthen and come up. One more time, side bend left.

Make sure we don't compress, right? We lift and side bend and center and now same thing to the right, reach, reach, reach, reach, and center. Now we translate the hips stay. The pelvis stays and we go shift and shift. And here, I want you to bring your elbows forward, relax the shoulders and breathe.

Try to exhale more than what you usually do. Try to release the diaphragm from a little bit and allow more movement, more freedom at that area. A few more, just enjoy, just shift, move the body. And last one and back to center. Now, let's combine them both.

We go translation to the left, side bend to the left. Come up from side bending and come back from translation. Other side, translate out, side bend down. Come up from side bending and bring it back to center. One more set.

Shift, down, up and center. And you go shift, down, up and center. Now, lift whole turn to the left, drop your head down, go over to the left knee, curl it up and back to center. And now you turn to the right, head goes down, curl into yourself, articulate your spine with a little rotation. That's positive torsion.

Roll back up and back to center. One more time. Lift, turn, over and up and to the other side, turn, over, over, over, and roll back. Relax the arms, relax the shoulders for a second, long arms and we go for the whole saw. You go reach and lift and center.

Inhale, exhale as you turn and reach and then you come back to breathing again and twist and reach, reach, reach. Come up and center and again twist, reach, reach, reach. Come up and center. Now, let's go on the stomach and we'll work on articulating also from here. So, not because it's an arch there is any difference.

We did rolling like a ball and open like rocker. Same thing here. From here I want you to lead with your eyes, with your nose. You reach, you reach, you reach, and this is enough for now, you go back down. Let's repeat this.

You go reach, lengthen, lengthen, lengthen a little higher and then back down. And this time you go farther, you go eyes, nose, open the chest, reach, slide your elbows forward. You can keep the legs slightly apart absolutely, okay? Open the chest, let's do the first neck roll over here. Turn look behind your shoulder.

Chin down, circle the head around and center. And now you look over the opposite shoulder, circle around and center. Now, pull into your stomach, lift up and keep rolling up. This is a rolling, right? And let's do another neck roll.

You go look, down, circle and open and reverse. Circle and center. Now, from here, super slow. Keep the arms on the floor. Don't let them go.

I want you slowly to rock and up. So don't throw yourself down. You rock and up. Keep the connection, rock and up. Now we can dive and now we go.

And sit back on your heels, around your backs right away. And now from here, the arms are long. The hands are on the floor. I want you to slide your face, low, your sternum low. You do a snake motion to come back up to the sphinx position for single leg kick.

Open up the collarbones, lengthen one leg up. You go kick, kick, reach, and down, lift off kick, kick, reach down and up. Kick, kick lengthen, pull up the stomach. Kick, kick, lengthen, and double leg kick and you go kick, two, three and open, open, open. Other side.

Kick, two, three and remember that articulation, come up using the articulation and you go three, two, one and higher, higher, higher. Last one. Kick two, three, and open stretch, stretch, stretch. Sit back one more time and round. Cool.

Now we turn around for neck pull, long legs. Flex your feet all the way lying down. Let's start with the arms by the side. So head comes up, you peel off, you curl up, and then if you want, you can add your hands behind your head. You go over and lift up the sit tall and then deep down control, control, control, control, and open.

Now let's press the elbows down onto the floor. This is the best chest expansion possible. Everything is nice and flat and the posterior body is active. And then we come up over and you'll go stretch. You lift up tall and deep down control.

One more time. You go back up. Sorry. Over, you lift and slowly roll down. Now legs up and into jackknife.

Remember the peel-off, you go curl, lift, or lower slowly down, lower the legs. 90 degrees. Now peel off from here, table, sacrum, lumbar spine. Go back long ways. Reach up to the ceiling and then slowly melt.

Control, control, control, control, and lower the legs. 90 degrees last one. You go back, lift, slowly roll down and you float up to sitting for the spine twist. Nice and long and you go exhale and center. And again, exhale.

After all those preparation for the saw, now we can move and center. And again, exhale, exhale, exhale and hold. Now, pull back into your stomach like we did for (indistinct) and lift up. We just go back with the lumbar spine, just to articulate and up. We do a little teaser to transition to boomerang.

Last one down and lift. Cross the right over the left, boomerang your arms. Reach with a nice stretch and then you float down. Circle the arms around, reach for your feet. Now here, push the floor away, pull the stomach back and lift.

Now you go back and you will open close. Come up, hold. Boomerang, back over and float down. Circle the arms around. We'll do one more.

Push the floor away. Scoop up. You go back, open, close and scoop lift, boomerang, and the last stretch, float and release. Now, let's face the computer. I'm gonna face you.

I want us to work on some side plank, side bendings and mermaids. So, from here stack one leg on top of the other lift up and you go over to the legs and then you'll lift down with your hand. Just go up into a side plank, nice and easy. You reach, you push, you lift. And then we go down again and we side bend into mermaid again and lift.

Now we go back to our side plank. Once we have it, we dip, we go down and up and down and lift and down and up slowly go down to the sit and we do one more. This is nice, right? This is a little dessert after the hard work. And again, you go up.

This time, we lift the hips instead of dropping it and we're going to the biggest side bending possible. So, reach with the arm by the ear, push the floor away, lift your hips up. And then you slowly roll down, release down and we stretch one more time. We do a neck pole position with a top arm and you exhale with rotation. Now, snake.

I want you to place the hands in line with the short end of the mat. So place them in that position, push the floor away, so both arms are straight and that gives you already a little stretch in the spine, in the rib cage. So with this push, I want you to grow tall, table reaching down for the floor. And I want you to look back behind you. As far back as you can push in with straight arms, then the chin drops down and your PI can you scoop up.

From here, super slow on the first one, the knees push forward. The hips come forward. You curl the tail bone under a little bit, and then like a wave that propels up higher, higher, higher until you open, you push the floor down and the chin and the eyes go up without crunching the neck. Eyes down, chin in, scoop. Push the floor away.

Drop your head down. Reverse the action. Sit down, maintaining the arms, super straight. Push the floor away. We'll repeat a little faster.

Look back, chin down, pike, scoop and over, head down. Scoop, reverse, up and sit. And now one twist. So the hand is in line with your shoulder this time. You reach and lift.

Now lengthen, scoop, underneath the bridge, reach up, arm to the ear. Now, don't move the arm, move your chest. Sternum, sternum, sternum. If you want, you can open the arm, bring it back and rotate your body back and release. Let's do everything on the other side.

So, here we started with the little mermaid you lift and you stretch to the bend, arm down. The first little side plank, just hold it. Find your position, find your strengths on this side. Then down, stack your knees, stack your legs and reach for the stretch. And again, you go little plank again.

Now here we go down and up, down and up, down and push. Sit down and we stretch and release. Last one, we lift and from here, we lift more. We bring the arm down, we reach, we increase this arch and then we go back and we sit, this time from mermaid, we bring the hand back and we exhale with a deep, deep rotation. Now, snake.

We put the hands in line with this short side of the mat, press long, tailbone down, top of the head up. Look back behind chin to the chest, scoop pike, knees, hips, propel the way forward. Open the chest and look up, head down, chin in scoop, shoulder, rib cage, lower back, hips and release, arms stay straight. Lift and back you look, chin down, scoop up and just a little faster, you repeating, enjoy the sequencing of the events and up and release. Now, hand in line with your shoulder and we go reach, scoop underneath the bridge.

Bring it back to the plank. Now, bring move from your sternum, from the rib cage, then you open your arm, bring it back to the ear, come back and release. Beautiful. Now, let's go on the stomach and from here, I want you to grab your ankles and slowly lift, lift, lift and release. Let's do it again and I really want you to use the glutes and the feet pushing back.

Now, glutes, push back with your feet, feet, feet and release. We'll do one more time. I don't want us to rock today. I just want to find that reverse high bridge. So from here you push, you lengthen, you lengthen, you lengthen, active and easy down.

Beautiful. Sit back for a second. Always good to compensate and now, we'll lie down for a shoulder bridge and then for who wants to go for it, a little high bridge. Not mandatory. Only if you feel that after all this preparation, you're ready for it, okay?

So everyone from here, curl the pelvis and lift and then slowly roll down and again, curl the pelvis, lift and instead of just keeping it straight, if you can, you go up higher and you find a little more opening and then you slowly roll down. Let's do one more time. Scoop. Lift, lift, lift, open the chest, make sure it's not too much for the neck and slowly melt down. And now from here, if you want to go up for the high bridge, you prepare your arms.

You still curl up to come up, right? So we curl, lift and stretch. Now from here, reach back with your shoulders, stay active with the glutes and with the back of the body and then you go back to center, use your arms like a pushup. Slowly down, release and hug the knees in. And let's finish with a little easy seal to massage the back and to make sure that our body is happy when we finish the workout.

So just a nice and easy massage. You don't have to clap. You don't have to press, just enjoy the self massage that this rolling motioning is giving to the body. One more time. Back and up.

Very well done. This was very challenging. So just go step-by-step and do things only when you're ready.

Pilates at Home: Around the Body in 8 Workouts


Amy S
2 people like this.
A good challenge.  A clear instructor; I will take again~!
Thank you
1 person likes this.
After an international flight this class made my spine feel wonderful mans rejuvenated:) Thank you
1 person likes this.
Very well designed class and focus. Great work for the spine and body for 35 minutes. Thank you. 
Amy S Thank you! 🙏🏼
Beverly L Wonderful! Happy the class helped out. Thank you Beverly
Judy P Thank you! 🙏🏼 Happy you like it!
Laurie C
1 person likes this.
Appreciate a class that isn’t quite so long during the holiday season. But never the less an amazing and challenging class!!❤️❤️
Laurie C 🙌🏻 Yes! Time is so precious close to the holidays! But so important to get the workout in 😉 Thank you Laurie 
Nathalie M
1 person likes this.
Very focused, thank you
2 people like this.
loved it! calm but challenging... body feels great
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