Class #4760

Mat with Pillow

45 min - Class


Learn how you can use items from your home to help your Pilates practice in this Mat workout with Blossom Leilani Crawford. She uses two Pillows to recreate the sensations you feel with other Pilates tools like an Arc or a Ball. She includes movements that will help you strengthen your body while also increasing the range of motion in areas like your shoulders and thoracic spine.
What You'll Need: Mat, Yoga Block

About This Video


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Hi, thank you for joining me on Pilates Anytime. And in my living room and with my friend, David Keith, and we're gonna do a bit of mat work with some props that I hope you have at home. So I have a couple of pillows from my couch. This was a prop I often use, especially at the beginning of, of the pandemic. Cause I knew that we could sort of arch over something and it just had to be something.

So if you can grab a couple of pillows, if you need more pillows and just grab more, you might want, or if you need less, just get rid of the pillow. So I say, start with two and you're gonna start with your rib cage on this, and we're gonna go to low for some easy circle. So find a place where you're comfortable and the legs are kind of up to you. So David find a nice spot, find a place where you're stretching. That looks almost too much, lift your head up.

Let me just use one of my other pillows. Oh, much better. So in this position, he's gonna actually put his hands on his shoulders. Let's go for easy, gigantic elbow circles. Yeah.

Sometimes it's nice to start with the elbows bent like this because then you can really just go for the range of motion cause as we straighten the arms, things get a little more complicated, one more and see how he's really keeping his elbows in and then opening. That's what we're looking for. Reverse those circles when you're ready down, and really go for opening, that's it. And then really bring those elbows in and up, thank you. This is where I realized how broad shouldered you are.

He's like, "Yes I am.", one more time. And then from there, how about bring both arms up to the ceiling, palms face in and just go for a single arm reaching back, correct. And then the other. So you're just getting some nice, the important thing is as you go to reach back, you're really keeping the arm straight and not letting it bend as you reach back, correct. And how far back can it go?

Go, go, go, go. Yes, one more side coming up and back, back back. And then from here both arms up to your ceiling and go for a big arm circles friends. Just nice big circles down around, that's at one more time and reach and actually I'm kind of happy. The couch is in his way because I know how far he could possibly go.

And I kind of want him to stay in a little bit of a smaller range of motion in that spot. Reverse those circles, reach back and around. Thank you, one more time. And let's sneak in a little thing. So from here, David, bring your palms together with your arms over your head.

Yes, just like that. And he's gonna straighten and bend his arms. So his fingertips are gonna touch the floor one more time and now stay here with your fingertips, touching the floor. Can you walk your palms onto the mat with your fingertips facing you? So you're gonna flip, exactly.

There it is, that's all. That's it, that's it, right. And so right now his hands are kind of close together. He's gonna try to separate his hands, but bring his elbows closer, exactly. He's thinking it, that's good.

That's good, do that one more time. Maybe straighten the arms, release it for a second and then reach back one more time, exactly. And then he's gonna, that's it. So he's trying to press down into his fingertips, but bring his elbows in-ish, I'm making a face like I'm doing it, but he's really doing it. ANd now breathing to that chest, a few nice deep breaths.

One more breath (breaths deeply) and then sneak your hands behind your neck. Exactly, and bend your knees, put your feet flat on the floor. So now we're gonna head into some abdominals cause that's what we're here for, hopefully. This is what I call my Irene doubt inspired extension series. So this is pretty good.

His pillow is kind of at the apex of his, the apex of the pillows is at the, his rib cage. I think he could scoot back a little bit farther and I'm gonna get rid of that nice comfy head pillow. So maybe walk yourself back a little bit more, yes. And now in this position, the want is to go for elbows wide. They totally get it, but I actually would rather have your elbow elbows in and you're really supporting the head as you go back and even look back there, yes.

So the throat is sort of exposed up to the ceiling. On your next exhale, lift your head up, look toward your knees. We'll build this slowly. Fabulous, and now staying here, lift your hips up to the height of your rib cage, awesome. But not too high for you.

That's exactly it. So he's trying to find a neutral lifted position with his hips hovering off the ground by using the pillows as like a fulcrum, look up to the ceiling. So I think, that's it just right there. Hold it right there. That's actually hard.

I find that looking up to the ceiling is harder than looking at the knee. So his head is gonna go back and up a few times, right? A few more. So in this one, I find that the tendency is for us to sort of tuck the pelvis. And I, David, I really would like you to not, ah, ha, which is harder almost.

He's gonna keep his head up now, but this time, look at his knees and lower your butt down. So stick your booty out and push into the feet, lift your hips up and do that a few times. So especially on the up behind you wanna tuck, right? So at the tie spot, you're gonna lift up, stay here and maybe untuck, untuck. Yeah, two more.

Yes. You got one more and now we're gonna put it all together. Stay here, head back, hips down, (breaths deeply) big inhale, head up, hips up. It's your choice, if you wanna look at your knees or end looking up to the ceiling, which is a bit harder. Oh, head back, hips down.

Inhale, let the rib cage go and exhale. Bring it on up. You got one more to go. And as you're doing a few more, so he's gonna do a few more. Make sure that one part doesn't get there before the other, oh that was better David, you got one more, right?

You wanna end there together and stay in holds from here. You're gonna bring, lift, sorry stay there. Lift your head up, look towards your knees. Cause I find it helps to look, bring one knee into the chest, change sides. So a little bit of a marching, right?

Yeah, a few more sets. Right, so I find it hard to keep the hips lifted and doing that. You got one more, thank you. Put the hips down. Let your head go back and stretch.

Excellent from here, come all the way up any way you wish. Go forward, take a little bit of a bend. And actually I like the knees open. If you want knees open, that should probably feel good, yeah. Or even soles to the feet together like you had it the first time David.

Cause that looks like it would feel good for you, exactly. Just stay here, breathing and with your head dangling just an easy little circle of the head and then circle it in the other direction. And now we're gonna take these pillows. So when you're ready, David lie on your back. I'm gonna use them almost like we would a ball between the legs, right?

So, or like some sort of yoga block. So that's the, so that is one way to use these pillows. Or if you do have a yoga block, you can take a yoga block and just put it between the thighs like so, either one works. So from here it feels so wrong to sit on my sofa while you're working out. (David laughs) But it is almost like a dream. (chuckles) Like, although I take it back, cause we did work from our sofas during COVID. I take it back, I don't wanna do that anymore.

When you already pushing down into your hands, lift your hips up, push it down into your feet and just stay up there. He breaths, you breathe. Just breathe naturally while you're there, just take stock. What are you feeling working? Feet I hope, maybe a little bit of hamstrings and butt and inhale.

And as you exhale, think of lengthening your chest away from your chin to come all the way down, down, down. Let's do that one more time, pelvic lift, keeping the hips lifted. And then let's add in a little rotation lift, let one hip lift higher than the other so, that's it change. Whoa, exactly. So as you do this again, your weight will shift around a little bit in the feet, but you can really keep weight in one foot.

Like one foot might have more weight, but the other foot definitely has some weight, not no weight, right? Come back to center hole here at center. Put your hands on the tops of your thighs. Hands pressed down, hips lift up. From there, both arms reach up and over your head reaching back.

And as you exhale, come on down, down, down. Thank you very much, and from there, you're just gonna bring your knees into your chest and give yourself a nice pull. So we're gonna skip around and play around a little bit. So David, I'd like to sneak you somehow into rolling like a ball if you're up for it. So anyway, he wishes.

He's gonna try to do a little bit of rolling. Exactly, just an easy roll for that spine. A few more. Yes, last one. Good balance up top, stay here.

And when you can just put your feet down and hang over those legs one more time. Maybe scoot your hips back a little bit David, open those knees up one more time and just get one more inner thigh stretch. In this position, as you hang over, there's a couple of things. So push down into the feet and send those hips back a little bit, yeah. That's more what I'm thinking of.

Right, so he's really getting that sort of back. That's it, and now keeping your sits bones there, then go forward and stretch, stretch. Oh, that looks so good. One more breath. (breaths deeply) And then from here, when you're ready, you're gonna go and lie on top of your tummy.

You're gonna go rib cage on this. So kind of like where you were lying backwards on it. Now we're gonna go rib cage on them. We're gonna go for a little bit of extension in the opposite direction. David come back a little bit more, yes.

So I want him there because I want his hips a little bit lower, especially when he comes up into sphinx position. Good, now that's right. So this is regular sphinx right? Just on the elbows, but because of the pillow, I hope that he has to almost lift a little higher. Yes, there, right there.

So he's almost doing that elbows in that's, yes. And can you feel that? Okay, so right now your anchor points are hands and pelvis agree? Or maybe even knees, keeping the pelvis still. Can you do a little cat cow of your mid back?

Fabulous, so this is a micro Pilates moment, right? And there's not a lot of moving, but it's subtle and it's maybe trying to move a part that normally doesn't move. Yes, just one more. There's no earthquake here is just, a little bit of internal shaking and come on down rest he's like, yes, please. (David laughs) Now come back up into that hovering Sphinx. Totally naming things as we go right here.

Now from here, David, you could put one hand behind the neck, please hold inhale. And as you exhale twist toward the, my sofa or toward your right, yeah. But again, don't move the torso, yeah. And come on down. So we're using the pillow a certain, do two more to that same side, if you don't mind, we're kind of using the pillow as a little bit of a leverage spot.

I'm kind of imagining the spine, almost like a Seesaw and I'm using this to leverage so that he has something to sort of twist that upper body against. And I really want this happening from your mid back and up. So for, I think for the dude, you could call it the bro strap or for ladies it's the bra strap department. One more, yes. And let it all dangle and relax hands underneath the forehead and sort of rest, okay.

Now we're moving on to the lower body part. So from here, David, you're going to just simply bend and straighten the legs. I'm just watching. Okay, keep the knees bent and stay, flex the feet. Now this is gonna be tough.

He might need to adjust the position. And so might you, when you're ready, can you simply push down into your hands and try to bring your heels in toward each other and lift those thighs up and down a few times? Woo, one more. And now I'm gonna make it even trickier, David maybe. No, you okay?

You wanna move? He's gonna move the pillows, yeah good idea. Cause yeah, exactly. Now there we go, now he's able to leverage it up. Thank you, one more.

And this micro-moment is good. Now from the next bit, he's going to try to, I'm gonna help you a little bit. You're gonna lift the thighs up and you're gonna twist. So this is the sea horse and take it down. Right, and again, I'm gonna get out of the way, lift and twist, yes.

So as you twist to the right with the legs, he's reaching out of his left elbow, one more set as he twists to the left, he's gonna reach out of his right elbow. Did I say that same thing? One more time, I did right? Legs to the right elbow left reaches, legs to the left elbow right reaches. I think that time I totally got it.

Maybe you do one more set, but if not, you can just straighten those legs and take a moment to breathe. Oh, he's doing it. He's doing it, it's going for it. That's the thing. Sometimes even though we get mad at how hard it is, we're like, "I want more." From here, come back up into that baby sphinx position.

And we're gonna try to put the two parts together. So when you can David, one hand behind the head, bend the opposite elbow, he's laughing already. Cause he's like, that's not gonna happen. So just lean, bend the opposite legs. So I said elbow I didn't mean it, yeah.

So David, either you're gonna do this maybe in thought rather than motion. You're gonna lift that thigh and twist to the right. Hey, pretty good. So you can feel, come on down. How much, how easy the torso is.

So do leg first, lay then at the torso, legs and torso, leg, leg, leg, leg, leg, leg, leg, leg, leg, leg. Yes, and rest. Ooh, other side. It's a micro moment, but it's kind of a fun, like way we don't normally move, which I kinda like doing every now and again, all right. So just do a first one.

Just don't think about it. Just think of lifting. Yes, and then same thing I think on this side, David leg leads the charge torso and rest it back into your child's pose. Please put your hands on the tops of the pillows. Right, so it kind of helps, especially for David with his tight shoulders.

I think that actually helps give him a little bit of a stretch and I'm gonna ask for a little something. So David come up for just a second. I'm gonna pull these pillows a little more forward. Walk your hands here again so so you have to, yeah. And so now I'm gonna keep them back here so that you have to really sit back and do palms facing in with your hands.

That's it, and get that nice stretch in this position, pressing down, lift your chin, lift your chest, big exhale (groans) and then reach forward and again, press down and really arch to this mid back, yes. You feel that difference? That's when like to use that pillow to sort of help lengthen. Now, here we go. Coming back into extension.

Now come halfway down, but stay looking up. If that makes sense, yes. In this position, David right arm up. Oh, change. It's a killer right?

Left arm, a few more sets, right arm. He's like I hate these pillows and left arm. That's enough and rest. Woo. Okay, I think we're getting there.

Don't you think? Okay, so from here, this is for you. So when you're ready, let's go and do, I'm just trying to, no, I don't want to do that. I have, I have things in mind. Let's do one more sort of warmup a bit.

Let's do some side lifting, right? So when you're ready, let's go rib cage again on the pillows, maybe facing out and lying over. Yeah, so if you happen to be on a mat that has a straps. Great, but if not, don't worry about it. Let's see how this feels for David.

Now, David, try to put your left hand on the floor in front of you. Do you see how he has to twist to make that happen? He doesn't have a lot of leverage. So we're gonna take that yoga block that we used earlier. Put it on the floor and you can use any, that's it.

So he has a little bit of leverage and David, hold on. That's why it's adjustable so to speak, you just turn the knob, okay. So you're gonna glue the legs together, push down into this front hand and try to lift that bottom hand up. But that's all it needs to be and come on down and he's like, "I hate you", inhale up. Hold it here, slowly down again.

Please inhale up. Hold it here. Slowly down. Last one, please inhale up. Hold and slowly down.

That's all I really want. But if you wanted to, you could try to do both parts together, torso and legs. He's like, "I don't think so." You wanna try? Yeah. Go ahead, Torso and legs.

Yes, and take it down now. I need a little more legs. Legs first, legs, leg, yes, David. So it's less movement, but it's a little more cohesive. One more, legs to torso, awesome.

I lied one more, cause I can't help myself. Yes, inner thighs, inner thighs. Thank you, come on down. Rest from here. Bend those knees way up into the chest and let's see how this feels.

David, both hands behind your neck. Bring that bottom elbows far forward as you can, oh yes. Look at that back elbow and try to twist. Yeah, so here's what, in this pillow, not only is he twisting, but he's also doing extension. So I love the twist.

Now let the throat kind of come up to the ceiling and let, that's it and in this position, the tendency is to wanna tuck the pelvis. So if you can think of, I know it sounds silly. Sticking your tush out, ever so slightly correct. And reaching the booty in opposition to that top torso or elbow, especially. Excellent, let's do those same side lifts.

On the other side, I move the pillows. You move your body. Excellent, and you have to kind of find your position. David seems to find it pretty easily. But if you have to adjust, adjust, right?

If you need more pillows, add another pillow or two. Okay, so here we are. On this side, just kind of play around and to make sure your hips are stacked right on top of each other. And this is your first sort of test or I call this the pancake moment. You know how you go to make pancakes and the first one's never quite nice.

You know what I'm talking about, right? Okay, good. I just had a moment like that's normal, right? So this is your pancake, by the way, I totally stole this term from somebody. So when you're ready to pushing down into that hand, bottom arm out, oh yes.

And take it down, David, make sure the arm is lifting your torso, not the head, right? So that you're not doing it in the neck. Thank you, it's so hard when you're strong. One more, he's gonna hold it up there. Stay here, David and lengthen to come down one more like that.

That's more like it. Inhale, lift, hold it here. And slowly down. Try both parts together. Legs and torso, oh yeah.

And come on down a couple more times. Legs and torso, yes. And come on down one more time. Legs and torso hovering here, hovering here more upper body. Thank you, oh my gosh.

And rest, from here, here comes the best part. The little cookie in Italian, it's called a biscottino, you're gonna twist that upper elbow back. And so I'm doing what I'm gonna ask you to do. So you're gonna maybe think of pressing your knees together slightly or reach that top knee forward in opposition to that top elbow, yes. And now the last bit.

So he, you all have the twist now, remember you're over the pillow. So let your chest rise to the ceiling, your chin go up and sort of open, let the throat get exposed to the chin, that's it. And then the other end of that is to baby butt or stick your tush out, yeah. Couple more breaths. And this is where gravity is your friend.

And David do this really nice thing. And I'd like you to think about it as well. So sometimes in this position, people just make the elbow, touch the floor, notice how his elbow is actually slightly lifted. And he's really twisting through the torso and not just doing it in his shoulder, which I totally get why we would like to do that. When you're ready, come up to sitting my friend, let's go for spine stretch forward, sit on top of these pillows.

So this is perfect for David because he has some tight hamstrings, facing in your direction, yep. So he's gonna sit on top of this and that way his hamstrings, he doesn't have to fight his hamstrings. He can really stretch his spine. So, Ooh, let's just stay here. So now, since we're not fighting hamstrings, that can be extra picky.

You see how a Pilates teacher's mind works. So in this position he's sitting up tall. A lot of us like to sit up right here. I really want you to sit up low, that's right. And maybe even think of bringing your rib cage back to me.

That's right, so how do you keep the rib cage back? But the low back lifted from here, he's gonna drop his crown of the head forward and he's gonna press down into the heels and go forward, go forward. And when he thinks he's at the bottom, he's gonna take a little bit of a moment and pause and maybe go further forward with a stomach drawing back and in pushing down into the heels, use your tummy as you sit up nice and tall. Let's do that a couple more times. Drop your head, yeah. And just go spine stretching forward, exactly.

And use the heels to come up to sitting up tall. Lovely, one more time. And the sitting up tall is just as important as the going down. Exactly, exactly. When you think you're at the bottom, take one more exhale and really enjoy those pillows, helping you.

It's kind of nice not to fight those hamstrings isn't it? And come up to sitting up tall, from here, let's bring your, come off of here and I know we're messing with the order. So just come along for this journey. So David, when you can, you're gonna kind of come onto your rib cage on the pillows kind of the way we started, where we know what we did, those elbow circles. So it's gonna support your rib cage.

Oh, and hold on one more second. And then instead of just stacking the pillows like this, you can take the pillow, one goes forward. So it kind of makes more of an angled stack. Cause I wanted to support him as he goes down, exactly. Oh, this is gonna be fun.

Okay, so from here, extend those forward along the floor. Bring the arms up to the ceiling and reach back. Okay, from here, bring your arms up to the ceiling, lift your head up. That's it, we're gonna just hang out here and I'm gonna talk shop. You're gonna open the arms out to the sides.

Yeah, that's it. And reach forward. How's it going? Great. Great.

He's having a great time, so yeah. So we're using the pillows now again, remember how I said, think of the body as a Seesaw. This is not a normal place. And so his body's like, excuse me, that's what, I'm sorry. His body going, excuse me.

Exactly, and then from here, reach back and stretch. Apparently my body is like a sassy. (both laughing) Excuse me, exactly oh really yours too? So let's play around a little bit with this. He's gonna come back up again. So we've just changed that.

Now if this isn't doing anything for you, maybe try the pillows in a different spot, but open the arms and we're gonna do this funny thing. So if you can, you're gonna reach one hand to the other hand. I don't care which one it is. And look toward the right hand and twist. So David's reaching his left arm to the right and he's loving life and he's coming back open.

So his torso isn't moving and he's reaching across the body. Yeah. So this is really great. If you're really trying to target the upper abdominals. You see what I'm saying?

He's like, yeah. I feel it, I feel it. Do one more, yes. Open back up and reach the arms up again and go back one more time, all right. I think that's enough wailing on the upper body. So we do some roll-ups inhale, roll up, drop your head, go forward and stretch, roll back.

Ah, ha and now go all the way back. Enjoy the stretch. Let's do a few of those. So he's and you, especially as you lie back, you're gonna really enjoy the stretching back, which is kind of nice, right? Often I feel like we hold so much in Pilates and sometimes it's nice to let it go.

All right, so now let's do that whole, that we do too much. Come back up, go forward. Big stretch. Now David only rolled back to the shoulder blades, yes. And come right back up again, oh yeah.

So we could play around and really now we're targeting more like rib cage and down, yeah. And then maybe just go halfway down, stop right here. Stop right there, okay. I kinda love it. We're just gonna do that same open and close in this new position.

So he is really drawing his waistline back to the pillow, which again is a different spot. And that's what we're using those pillows for, thank you. Reach forward, drop your head. He was like, thank goodness. Stretch, stretch, stretch, okay.

So now let's play around with the idea of open leg rocker and I'm gonna get rid of these pillows, right. But I'm gonna keep them there more as, I'm gonna go to one pillow. So David, when you can holding onto the backs of your thighs, you're gonna stretch those legs out to the side, yeah. And bend the knees. Just do that a few times. Bending and straightening, yeah.

Holding on wherever you wish. So I'm gonna leave the pillow there. Cause I want you to bring the chin to the chest to roll backwards. Press the legs into your hands, yeah. Good again.

I see just that like yeah. I touched it more like a touch point as opposed to yeah, exactly, last one. Cause some people are afraid of going to the neck. That's it balance up top, stay here, bring the legs together and lie all the way down. Now David grab the pillow and this part's gonna be fun.

So this is a little trick that Cathy grant taught me with the pillows, especially for tight hamstrings. So do pillow underneath the sacrum. Yes, now David has one pillow. If you need to you'll let me know. Cause I got the other pillow right here, right?

So staying there. That looks pretty good. Now when you can, can you show me 12 o'clock of the legs I'm asking? Yeah, so can I, I'm gonna hold your legs here for a second. So by doing this, it's a little bit easier on his hamstrings.

Do you want a second pillow? I think it could be nice. Yeah, let's go second pillow because it's okay. But it's still like a little struggle. I'd like to be a little kinder to you for a moment, yeah.

Oh, much better. Okay, so from here, he's just gonna do a simple corkscrew. Take the legs to one side, yes. And end at 12 o'clock hold, great. So this is a little Cathy Grant trick.

When people had really tight hamstrings, she would just pop a pillow underneath there, especially for the men, it really helps. Exhale, one more set, big exhale, center. One more, big exhale, center. Now, this is for everybody now, David, you're gonna check to bring those legs toward you as much as you can try to curl off the pillow for a second, yeah. That's about it.

So it's like bring it towards your bigger toe and you're trying to hold the deep curl and come on down. That's more like it. So a little something for everybody, right? Cause for the people who don't have tight hamstrings, this is hard for them, but David's gonna do all of it for fun. (laughs) One more breath.

He's gonna bring it toward him again and hold and hug one knee into your chest, extend the other leg forward. And now he's gonna stay here and really just get a nice stretch across the front of the hip. The exact opposite of what he was just doing. Feel good? Yeah.

Just breathe there. So he's actively pulling the knee into the chest. If this hurts your knee, you can hold on to the back of your thigh, he's like, yes please. No, he's just showing it. Thank you, (David laughs) excellent demonstration.

And then stay here David, can you now try this? It can be a little funky on the knee so let's just see how it goes for you. You're gonna bend your straight leg and put the, bring the heel as close to you as you can press down into that and kind of lengthen, yeah. So you're kind of almost lifting off the pillow a little bit. Are you getting a sort of little length across the front of that hip and quad maybe?

Hold it there. So he's doing like a tiny single leg, pelvic lift, lifting the weight of his hips off the pillow. That's it, and we change sides, hug the other knee into your chest or you straightened the other leg and you just get a nice, may I give you a little bit of, yeah. So ideally you get to pull out the teacher to push down on you. I would say partner, but that doesn't always work so well.

I don't, I don't teach my husband. Do you know this? It's one of the things my teacher told me, don't teach your husband (David laughs) not good for the marriage. One more breath. I'm always impressed by the way those of you out there, who do your spouse or partner, whatever.

It's amazing, all the props to you. Oh, a little bit more closer in. Yeah, so it's just saying here. So now you're really pulling the knee into the chest and you wanna do that little unweighting of the hips by pushing down into the foot. So it's a lot of booty work, right.

But it's also hopefully an opening across the front of the hip. You've got one more, exactly right. And let's transition to maybe playing around with this sort of idea. And let's go for shoulder bridge. You're gonna put your feet on the floor.

Bend the elbows, put your hands, that's it. So from here, let's play around, push down into the feet. Lift your hips up off the pillows. Yes, and take it down. Do you wanna adjust your feet, David?

I'm just asking okay, good. And again, pelvic lift little off, lift up off the pillows. I could barely stay it. I know (laughs) he was like, I don't know, do I? Lift up again and hold, yeah.

And come on down. Now, extend one leg forward along the floor. I don't care which one. And now lift that leg up a little bit. The straight leg up.

Exactly, try not to shift in your hips. Lift your pelvis. Hold it right there. That's enough if you wanna add on, you kick up. You flex down, yes.

So your hips are still unweighted off the pillows yes. Two more times. So hamstring stretch on the leg that's kicking, hamstring work on the leg that's supporting and then we change sides. And then yes, straighten the right leg along the floor, saying there you lift the leg first. You lift the hip second, right there.

And when you're ready, a little point up, flex down. Yes, point up flex down. One more set. Exactly, should feel really good. Thank you, at better transition.

Let's do one more set, left leg along the floor. And four more times. Point up flex down with the hips lifted, ideally. If not keep your hips down and really concentrate on the kicking, yes. Great change sides.

I always find the hard part is not the kick. It's the lift of the pelvis on the way down. So he lifts. He lifts his pelvis right here, yes. And two, I don't know why I'm squeezing my butt for him, three, yes.

You got two more, four oh no four's good. Yes, and rest when you are done from there, come all the way down and just relax. So now from here, let's do one more thing. David, how about doing some scissors and bicycles? So again, pillows to sorta support the hips, bring your legs up to the ceiling and straighten your legs up to 12 o'clock.

Can I hold you here? So in this position you want the down of the pelvis? Yeah, yeah. Thank you very much, doing your best you can keeping the hips down. You're gonna scissor one leg forward.

One leg towards you. Give me a little pulse, pulse and change, pulse, pulse. One, two, try to stay parallel in the legs, yes. One, two, maybe a couple more sets of that. And then if you can seek into a little bit of a bicycle yes.

Bicycling forward, yes. And as you bicycle forward, I want you to really think of lengthening the front of that hip, yes. Now go ahead, go ahead and straighten that leg towards you, bend this one now exactly. Only when this one gets to straight toward your face do you bend the other leg, exactly. The bending of the leg is a stretch across the front of the hip.

One more time stretch across the front of the hip. Bingo, Bingo. That was great, put your feet down. Now you can simply just lift your hips up and take the pillows out or you can put your hips down and roll over whichever thing you wanna do and just come on down. Now, however, you've come down.

Enjoy that for a moment. Let me take these pillows out of the view. Walk your feet to the width of your mat or a little wider than your shoulders, that looks good. Just let your knees fall in toward each other. A little sweet charity, yeah.

Kind of feels good, doesn't it? And just hang out there for a second. (breaths deeply) And then from here you're gonna take one knee over the other. I don't care which one, yes. And now let your legs fall over toward the leg that you took over, yeah.

So he's rolled to the inside of his arch of the standing foot and that feels so good. Now from here, he's gonna use the foot and use that waistline to come back to center. That's all it is. And just do that to the other side and let the leg fall over, oh yeah. Breathe through it.

And then using the foot and the waistline. Bring yourself back to center, all right, let's go for a little more extension David. Ready for me, okay. Come on to your tummy please. So we're using the pillows again as leverage, right?

And we're gonna try to do some single leg kicks. So come up and find that hovering Spinx position now that you sort of know it. So see in this, his regular sphinx is too low for cause I want a little bit of a diagonal, correct? And I love this. So David taking the focus up a little bit more, right leg bends, you go kick, kick, extend other side and a kick, kick extend again, and a kick kick extend and a kick kick.

A few more sets. 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1 2, 3, last one. And now I'm playing around a little bit. So David go-to wide elbows and lower the torso. I call this baby sphinx, that's it.

But not all the way down, yeah. Still sphinxy, but just the baby. Okay, first things first. And you might need to adjust your position on the pillows. Can you lift the legs up-ish?

Come forward I think David, I think you need a little, or bring the pillows back to you, right? Cause he needs to be able to have it up underneath his pelvis enough so he can lift his leg. Cause that's what we're going for. Now, we're talking single leg kick. You go flex, point, extend other side, flex, point.

Keep the leg off the ground and a 1, 2, 3. So it's flex, point, extend. It's a bit of a struggle if it's your first time doing it, but that's okay, that's a part of it, right? 1, 2, 3, and a flex, point, extend, one more. Flex, point, extend last one I lied, thank you.

Go to parallel elbows again, do one more Swan. Lifting your chin, lifting your chest. Yes, and slowly come back down to the elbows from here. You're gonna stay here now, David, you're gonna reach your right arm forward. You're gonna reach it up to the ceiling, palm faces out.

If that makes sense, so from here, that's it. And from there, that's it you're to look. It's like you're doing a backstroke, thank you. And bring it back down, other side. Left arm, backstroke.

Wow, oh yes. Just a few more. So this is just me trying to get him to twist and move around, but it's kind of nicer with the pillow. Cause he can lift up and not have to. It's hard, it's a hard twist.

I say one more set. So stop here for a second. So when you go to twist, you wanna just look for the torso, having to sheer too much to one side or the other. So one more time David, the right arm goes. Yeah that's your pretty good side.

It's his left side that I'm gonna, (laughs) yes. There you go, and now push back child's pose please, right? Cause on his harder side, when he went to reach back, he was sorta like, no problem. Right, on his good side, He could just rotate, on his harder side he had to shift to make that happen. Just one more breath here, breathing and another curve ball.

Let's go and do a little bit of saw seated on top of these pillows. Like we did spine stretch forward. Which way do you wanna face? Yeah, facing that way looks good. Open up those legs a bit past the shoulders.

Now let's start again sitting up nice and tall. Opening the arms out to the sides, okay. Staying here. So we practice sitting up tall when we were doing spine stretch forward. So the lift is really happening low, exactly.

And just be careful to bring those arms too far behind you bringing them forward still. Yes, and bring those mid back to me. Yes David, so just inhale, twist. I don't care which way you go. So he's twisting to his right.

He's gonna reach his right heel forward, yes, Stay right there, so this is beautiful. Dropping your head, press this arm up, pulse forward three, three that's it. Two, one sit up nice and tall. Lots of back tricep, yes David good twist. He's twisting left.

So he's really gonna reach his left heel forward. Easy does it on the shoulder, thank you. Three pulses and sit up nice and tall. That is the saw I'd like you to do, so he twists. He reaches his right heel forward as he twisted, right?

Straighten your back arm and look down at your right knee. If you went to the right, yes. Sit up nice and tall. You're gonna twist to the left. Reach the left heel forward back arm presses.

Now when you press the arm, David, do the shoulder coming up. That's not what I want. I want the shoulder rolling almost forward, which feels so wrong, and now pulse. Pulse, pulse, one more set if you don't mind David it's lovely, right? Yes, when you come up to sitting up tall each time, try to find the lift from the low back not the shoulders.

Thank you, especially for David. He has such broad, strong shoulders. It's so easy for him to wanna use them and sit up nice and tall, thank you very much. Well that should have felt good. So from here, let's do bring the legs together.

Let's just do a simple spine twist, David. So keeping that twisting happening, open the arms out to the sides. Luckily he's taller than this couch. And again, is he sitting up tall from his low back or from his upper back? So David made maybe bring your ribcage.

It's French, no it isn't, back to me. Twist to one side, yes. And give me that's it, keep twisting okay. Stay here, so here he is. He's gonna reach his left arm as far forward as he can.

Just the left arm that, yeah there. So he's twisted right? Again, he's gonna reach his right heel forward. And now he's gonna whip this right arm, whip no, no way. No, no, whip, whip, come back to center, yes.

And then twist, reach forward with the right arm. Yes, he's twisted left and I was gonna go reach, reach and come back to center. So it's this like lovely light moment here as he twists. And then he gets aggressive New Yorker reach, reach. Thank you, I've saw him drive.

He knows how to do it, twist. So it's like gentle and then whip, whip, yes. One more set. I like this sort of aggressive whip to open the chest. Yes last one, twist.

And give me a whip, whip and center. Drop your head, reach forward and stretch. One more time. (breaths deeply) One more breath. He's like, yes, please.

He's like really, I get to have another breath here? Ah, feeling good? All right, so when you're ready, let's come to a kneeling position David, facing forward, let's play around with these pillows in a side sort of planky position. So we could use pillows. You could just sort of put like kind of fold the pillows up and stack them, but we could also use a yoga block.

So if you were to sack the pillows, I would do one, two. And David, can you come up to kneeling? I'll show people what I'm wanting, spacing out. So he's gonna side bend over to the pillows and put his hand on the pillows and you're gonna compress the pillows. Yes, and that that's it, now extend the right leg along the floor to straight, that's it.

And now fine so, there he is. He's got this nice diagonal line and David put your right hand behind the neck. That's it, so inside kick kneeling, it's usually much more over, but this kind of feels good. Are you all right? And I bet this is usually hard for you, isn't it?

Send the hips away from the pillows, right? And you could also just use the yoga block, but I'll use the pillow. So from here point this top foot, good. And now you're gonna try to keep the torso centered and slide the leg forward along the floor, forward along the floor and back, yeah. Two more times, he's gonna slide forward.

Exhale, exhale, exhale. Correct. So we're kind of doing the motion of the sidekick kneeling, but we're making the emphasis be the torso. Now stay here David, take the leg back. Here's my question for all of you.

And it's a pop quiz. What are you taking your leg back away from? Thank you, David. He answered his own question, right? So you could say from your nose, I don't care, but think of what staying still and what you're taking the leg back from, one more.

I sound like a mom, right? Like make smart choices. Okay, from here, come up to kneeling when you can. Woo, so I hope you got a little bit of work in the hip, right, both hips without having to go all the way over. So I'm gonna pass back those pillows.

You walk yourself over, right? It's so funny. Okay. here we go. It is a stability challenge? It is a stability challenge, right?

Just enough, right? Cause the work, David just said it's a stability challenge. Yes it is, which I had another idea in mind. It totally didn't work, okay. So just stay here, breathing.

Well, this is interesting. Okay, I'm looking at, (laughs) that's not right. It's nice for me to have someone look at your butt and be like, that's not right. So see if you can, usually the bottom hip needs to come forward and that is definitely true for you, bottom hip. Yes, and then usually the head's a little higher.

So David on the side, maybe lower the crown of the head. That's it, and breathe into the taproom cage. Now friends, if this is what you have, that's enough. If you would like to make it bigger, you just, add on now and slide the leg forward and take it back. This is when you're like, damn that sticky pad (groans) yes, nicely done, one more.

I'm just simply, simply when I say I, David is simply sliding the leg forward and back, now from here, David is gonna think of what he's taking his leg away from. Add back to center. He's like I'm taking it away from a smile and it doesn't look like it. But I thought I saw a middle finger behind his back. I was like, is that a middle? No, it's not.

You have one more to go. So you zip and take that leg away, that's beautiful. And come on back. Now let's do one more thing. David is so go to kneeling facing the short end of your mat and put the pillows underneath your heels.

Yeah, I'm sorry. On top of your heels, under your bum. Yes, exactly. Right, and so now do child's pose here in this position. Yeah, and then with your hands, you're gonna push your hips back to your heels.

It just kind of helps accentuate the opening of this low back, do you feel that? Exactly, exactly. I like the wiggle and now stay here. Kind of keeping that pressure back. Walk your hands over to one side.

Good and just stay here breathing. So David has just simply walked his hands over to the other side. Now he's walked his hands over to the left. So he's gonna breathe into the right rib cage, yes. And the whole time though, he's gonna keep his anchoring of the sits bones back into the pillow.

I feel like sometimes when we do this, it's all about lengthening. Sometimes you want to do this in a rounded position and come back to center, go over to the other side. Oh yes. This looks a little stickier my friend. Yeah, so really.

So he has now gone. He brought his hands over to his right and his left hip is kind of coming up a little bit. So David, could I ask you to wag your tail to the right a little bit? And now he should have some new deep stretch going on in there for him. One more breath and come back to center, excellent.

And come all the way up to kneeling for just a second and hold. So just take a moment here and you could, you could so I'm gonna just bring it so David, if you can, you can hold onto this pillow behind you. Now, he's not squeezing it, thank goodness. You got it? His shoulders are tight.

He's just simply trying to hold onto it. Now, David, what have you tried to pull the pillow apart? Oh, thank, good. Yes, and release. So he's literally trying to pull the pillow apart and release, one more pull.

He's like, "I'm gonna pull this pillow apart." Last one. Now we're gonna add a little something, you ready for me? You're gonna take the thighs back and pull. It doesn't have to be big right there, that's it, that's it. And inner thighs to come up two more times.

It's small, that's it, that's it. And come up on this. Next one we'll add one more thing. Pull lengthen right here. Look up to the ceiling, exhale.

Look straight ahead. Inner thighs, thank you. Tuck all 10 toes underneath you get rid of that damn pillow. Yeah, and then from there, just get a nice stretch for those toes. I know, oh yeah that's good.

You can always tell the people who hate this are sort of like, yeah, I got it, right? It's okay if you're one of those people, it's nice to make your feet do that. And then let's go into a little bit of a squat. So push into your hands. And if you have to let, however you need to squat, but in this position, you're trying to relax the ankles and almost like what we did with the pillows underneath the heels, breathe into that low back, push into the feet and you're gonna come up to standing and then let's just do, Dave you're in a perfect position.

So staying here let's have you close your eyes and just sort of take stock, right? Where are you? (laughs) Brooklyn, by the way, I think he's like, I'm in Brooklyn and with a yummy water, and lift the toes up and feel it shift you back ever so slightly. Hopefully you have a new sort of sense of your body. You're gonna slowly lower your toes. Try not to go forward, open your eyes.

And that's it, my friends. So I hope you enjoyed some Pilates doing, using a very expensive prop. I don't know if you know this about me, but I love DIY props. Do you ever go to a toy store and just like check out the props there? Yeah, so anything can be a prop really. So I hope you enjoyed that and thank you for joining us.

We are now going to sit on the pillows and, cocktail? Exactly, (both laughing) okay. Thank you for joining us. (both laughing)


1 person likes this.
Loove it! Thank u 

1 person likes this.
Such fabulous deep work!  Thank you!
2 people like this.
Thanks Blossom, “never teach your partner”  one of the lesser known Pilates Principles 
2 people like this.
Hooray for David! Thanks, Blossom for selecting a demonstrator who, like me, is not a human pretzel. Really liked the helpful ideas for non-conventional props, too.
Hooray for David! Thanks, Blossom for selecting a demonstrator who, like me, is not a human pretzel. Really liked the helpful ideas for non-conventional props, too.
What an excellent class once again! You two rock!! So many interesting notions,  thoughts about gravity, extensions and directions,.... !I think I'll need to split it in 3 classes for my groups....Oh, and - thanks for the pancake hint - another person is stealing it! 
Everything about this class was a delight! I planned on taking it as a prep for  Blossom's Wunda chair class but this class left me feeling so  beautifully stretched Im going to savor that for today instead.  I'll agree that David is an excellent student to take my class with. And yes, I really do feel like I'm nearly in the room with you both. 
Nice work, David! Thanks for a fun one, BLC! :)

Really enjoying the at home series thanks!
Love this class! Awesome creative variations with the pillows, thank you!
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