Class #4802

Lower Body Magic Circle

30 min - Class


Join Wendy Foster for this prenatal class using the Magic Circle. Most of this class involves standing work with variations of squats and lunges. And with the Magic Circle, you will challenge your upper body just as much as your lower body. To end class, you will come into a supine position moving through restorative, feel-good stretches. You will feel balanced and strong.
What You'll Need: Mat, Magic Circle

About This Video


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Hello, I'm Wendy and I'm here with Anne, and today, we're going to be doing a prenatal work out using the magic circle. So, all you will need is your magic circle and a mat. We're going to start standing and Anne's going to bring the circle up over her head, holding onto the circle, just take a big inhale, scrunch your shoulders up towards your ears and then exhale, slide your shoulders down. Yeah. So, she's going to inhale, lift her shoulders up, moving that whole shoulder girdle and exhale sliding down.

Good. A few more as she inhales up, exhales through her mouth. Good, two more. Trying to release the tension in her upper traps. Last one, inhale.

And then exhale. Bring the circle down in front. Good. So, a couple as you inhale, reach up. Yep, beautiful.

Exhale, bringing it down. Nice. Inhale, reaching through the finger tips and exhale sliding down. Last one. Inhale, reach it up.

And right here, she's just going to slide her shoulders down, press through her feet and inhale, reach to one side, getting a nice stretch through the opposite side obliques, exhale, pulling back to center. And other side. Inhale as she reaches her shoulder draws down, and exhale coming back to center. Keep going, getting that nice length through the obliques, working those obliques, pressing through the opposite foot, inhaling, last one on this side and then one more over, inhale, and exhale pressing back. Beautiful.

Bringing the circle down in front, all the way down, rolling your shoulders around to release any tension. And then she's going to go ahead, bring the circle up one more time, sliding the shoulders down, a little bit of pressure on the circle and then she's just going to bring it over her head as her elbows go out to her sides. Yes, beautiful. Inhale, reach through the fingertips. Gorgeous.

Exhale, slide the shoulders down the back, just a little bit of pressing through the palm of the hand on the circle. And if you can, you want to try and press your fingers together, that really activates all those arm muscles. One more. Bringing the elbows wide and bringing the circle all the way down one more time. So, here she's going to reach down towards the floor and just bring the circle out in front of her.

Same thing, she's going to try and rotate her shoulders a little bit, bending at the elbows just slightly so the insides of the elbows almost go up towards the ceiling, and she's just going to start to activate her core and just give that circle a little bit of a press on the exhale. Great. So, inhale, releasing, exhale, imagining giving that baby a little squeeze with your breath, a little hug. Her shoulders or neck are relaxed and she's really trying to work these serratus muscles, so these muscles that go underneath her armpit to help stabilize her shoulder girdle. Last one.

Great. And then bring the circle down. So, now she's going to bring her right foot out in front and she's going to add a little toe tap, okay? So, if this feels unstable for you, you can omit this one or you can just bring your leg in a little bit closer as well. So, she'll have her toe out in front, rotating the shoulders or the insides of the elbows up towards the ceiling and she's going to exhale, bring her toe up and squeeze the circle and then inhale, tap down.

And exhale. Everything comes together. Good. Inhale tap, nice, gorgeous. It's hard to stay balanced on this one, especially in your third trimester.

You're doing great. Two more on the same side. She's bringing her leg up nice and high, but you might just bring yours a couple of inches off the floor and that's just fine. Last one. And then we're going to add the other side.

So, sliding that leg in. Good, bringing the other leg out. Shoulders are drawing down and you're just squeezing that circle just slightly. It doesn't have to be a huge squeeze. This is a long work out, so we don't want to have any tension in the neck.

Doing a great job activating these serratus muscles, activating the core and thinking about lifting up on the pelvic floor with each exhale. Great. Last one. And in. Bringing the circle down to relax for a second.

We're going to add some marches. So, same thing, it's up to you. You might just bring that foot up a couple of inches off the floor, you might be able to bring it up a little bit higher. Either way, she's going to have the circle in front. Yep.

And she's going to squeeze the circle and exhale, just marching the leg up. So, bringing it up. And she's really rooted through that straight leg. So, super strong, through the quads, through the foot. Her alignment's looking great.

And then she's going to add a little twist. She'll bring the leg up and at a twist to the opposite side and back to center. And exhale. Great job. A couple more on the same side.

She's doing a great job keeping her hips nice and square so she's not sinking her weight into one side. One more, you got it. Great. And bringing the circle down. Relaxing the neck, relaxing those shoulders and then we're going to go to the other side.

So, the circle will come up and she'll bring her knee up and squeeze the circle as she marches up. So, exhaling, lengthening out through the crown of the head, rooting through that opposite leg and remember to try and engage that pelvic floor, that can really help with balance and standing leg work. Last one, bringing it up. Good. And then she's going to add that rotation, so she'll bring, whoops, the circle over to the left and then center, yes.

So, she's working her obliques, her legs, her core, her upper body. One more. And back. Great job. Rolling your shoulders out.

So now, if this feels okay for you, she's going to come into a nice, wide horse stance, so you want to open up through your hips and bring your legs pretty wide, yep. And remember, you want to keep that alignment, so try not to stick your tail out as you come down. You want to try and keep your ribs over your hips as much as possible. Her weight's going to be on the back of her feet, engaging the back of her body and really pressing through her heels. So, from here, she's just going to bring the circle out in front of her and she's just going to come down to a little horse stance and then squeeze the circle and come up.

Yeah. So, warming up those legs, rotating all the way out, using those inner thighs, coming down as far as feels comfortable for her. Anne's coming down quite far. Same thing for you. You might just come down a few inches and that's just fine.

Push through the feet, yep. And then she's going to come down two more, using that core, engaging that pelvic floor, last one. And then she's going to come down and she's going to reach to one side, yep, and then come back to center. And then she's going to reach to the other side, lengthening and back to center. Gorgeous.

So, reaching out again, through the fingertips as the shoulders draw down her back, yes. Stay nice and strong like she's sort of thinking of herself as a star fish where all her energy's right through her core whether she's reaching out or staying centered. Gorgeous. One more on the other side. Nice.

And center. Sliding those shoulders down. How you feeling, okay? Feeling good. So, go ahead, here she's going to bring her heels together now and be in a little plie position and sometimes, during pregnancy, our joints can get kind of tight.

Sometimes we have some limited range of motion in our ankles. So, if your heels aren't touching, don't worry about it, that's fine, you can have a little bit of space in between your heels. The important thing is to really rotate out through the whole leg, right? Not just the foot. And to start the plies here, she's going to bring the circle right up against the top of her ribs, yep, and again, her elbows are out wide, kind of like hug a tree.

So, she wants to slide those shoulders down and almost try and get the insides of those elbows up towards the ceiling. So, just stay right there for a second and just again, give that circle a little bit of a squeeze, sending some breath to the back, inhaling into the sides of the ribs, really expanding, stretching those inner costal muscles which can really help if you're having any kind of back pain during pregnancy, especially as your baby grows. Last one. And then she's going to add a little plie dip down and then exhale, squeeze and come up. Yes.

This one is fabulous for pelvic floor work. You're working the inner thighs, you're working the outer thighs, you're working your hamstrings, she pushing through her heels and lengthening out through the crown of her head. She's stretching. Two more. Really working those inner thighs.

Last one. And then she's going to come down and she's just going to kind of hold it there, stay in that little work zone and just do little pulses. So, here she's working more the backs of her legs, she's really isolating. And again, she's thinking of lifting up on her pelvic floor, engaging those muscles as well as her core. Two more.

Great job. Bringing the circle down and reaching your right leg in front and your left leg behind you. So, you're coming into like a runner's lunge, and you want to hold onto the circle in front and then just reach the circle up as you bend that front knee, yep, and then come back to standing. Lowering the arms, good. Inhale, reaching up, opening through the chest.

Gorgeous. And exhale back down, yes. Couple more. So, inhale. Reach out through the front of your knee, yep.

And then also reach back through that back heel. And down, nice. And then you'll bring the circle up towards the ceiling and just hold it there with your shoulders down. Bend your elbows just slightly and just give it a couple little squeezes, yep. And then lowering the arms again coming down to a bicep press though here, you're just going to bring your elbows in, yep and straighten your arms.

And then see if you could straighten that leg as you bend your elbows and then come back, yeah. And working right through the biceps, good, staying open through the chest, trying not to pinch the shoulder blades behind you. Last one. And you'll reach the circle all the way up as you come up, yep, and then turn your back foot out so you're doing like a, kind of like a warrior one with your right foot forward, pressing through that back leg, yep, and then from here, you're just going to reach forward, lengthening out, again, through the side and exhale, come back up, perfect. And again.

Reach forward, getting that length, pressing through that left foot. Nice. Couple more, you got it. Keeping your ribs in line with your hips so you're not arching that low back. Last one.

And up. Great job bringing the circle down and we're just going to go to the other side. So, your left foot turns out and you're going to press through, yep, that back foot, you're going to bend the left knee as you reach your arms up and then arms come down. So, inhale, reaching through the fingers as it comes up and exhale lowering down. Great, keeping the ribs over the hips, good job.

Coming down just as far as feels comfortable for you. Good, last one. And then you'll hold it there, and just give it a couple more little squeezes, working those serratus muscles again, sliding the shoulders down. Two and one. And then lowering those arms down for some bicep curls.

So, exhale, keeping the legs straight, do a couple of bicep curls, keeping that 90 degree angle in the elbows and then we're going to add the bend of that front knee. So, as she's squeezing the circle, she'll bend that front leg. Remember to reach through the back of your heel. Last one. And then arms go straight.

Straighten your legs here, reach your arms up and open to the front and reach your arms to the left as you bend that left knee and get that length through the waist on the right side. Great. Inhale as you reach bending that left knee and exhale back, pressing through that foot. Reach to the fingertips, nice. Last one.

Reach, lengthen and stay grounded, come all the way back up, bringing the circle down and your feet together, and then you'll take that circle and bring it back behind your back, continue to reach your fingers towards the floor, yep, and it's just a general press, you might not even really be pressing with your triceps, it's more about just kind of trying to lift that circle up towards the ceiling, just a little bit as you squeeze and back, yes. So, again, trying to keep that weight on the back of your heels, trying not to pinch the shoulder blades together. It's more of a lifting and an opening through the sternum and the chest. Great job looking straight ahead at eye level. And then you can add a little bit of a hinge.

So, you'll hinge forward and bend those knees a little bit and then as you straighten your legs, squeeze that circle just a little bit and stay in that hinge. So, come in that hinge and just straighten and bend the knees. Yep. There you go, perfect. Reaching the fingertips back, try and squeeze those fingers together, pressing through the heels.

Two more. Open through the chest, last one. Great. And then you'll take the circle and you'll bring it on the outsides of your thighs. So, you might need to use the wall but you can also just step through the circle, you want to slide it up to the outsides of your thighs and open your feet about hip distance apart so you can hold that circle there.

Great. From here, you'll bend your knees just a little bit and you can put your hands on your hips, you can put one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly and you're just going to do some little squats as you press out into the circle, yeah. Perfect. So, this is great for the outer thighs, great for the hips, might feel good if you have some sciatica even. And then you can add a little bit of a hinge.

So, remember that hinge we talked about, keeping your spine nice and straight, just staying in that position or coming up and out of it or just staying with your hand on your chest and your hand on your belly if that feels more supportive to you. Three more. Using those outer thighs, using those adductors, working the glutes which can help support your low back, and then come all the way up, remove the circle from your outer thighs and get ready to come down onto the mat where we'll finish this series in a seated position. All right, for the seated part of this series, you're going to want to have a towel possibly to place underneath your tail bone. Helps lift your hips up a little bit higher which can really help if you have tight hip flexors, it can help to get you in the better position for this part of the work out.

Go ahead and grab your circle, yep. From here, we're going to start hinge. So, you've got that same alignment with the ears in line with the shoulders, the shoulders in line with the ribs and the ribs in line with the pelvis. You've got as much space in between your shoulder blades and back as you have in front. So, from here, you're going to reach your arms up a little bit higher and you're going to hinge back on the inhale.

So, inhale as you hinge back, just slightly and exhale as you come forwards, lower the arms and just hinge forward. Yes. So, inhale, hinging back, staying open through the chest and then just exhale, lower the arms and come straight up to that seated position. Great job. Keep going.

Inhale nice and long through the waist, keeping your ribs lifted off your hips and then exhale coming forward, lowering the arms just a little bit. A couple more, inhale, reaching out through the fingertips, open through that chest and exhale forward. Great, last one. Inhaling back, lengthening out through the crown of the head and giving that baby a little hug with your breath. Go ahead here, bend those elbows slightly and hold onto that circle.

From here, we're just going to do a little pelvic curl. So, the most important thing here is to remember to just really curl through the pelvis and not so much round through that upper back. So, on the exhale, a little pelvic curl as you roll back, you can look down at your pubic bone and then inhale travel through the spine and come right back up. Great job. So, exhale, tucking the tail, drawing that belly in.

Just a small pelvic curl, it's not a huge scoop. Inhale, coming up. Few more, exhale, rolling back. Gentle squeeze at the palms of the hands. Two more.

And two, great job. Inhale, reach your arms up, open through the chest, lifting from the sternum, gorgeous, beautiful. And then bring the arms down and you'll come onto your side doing a log roll to get down onto your back. So, pressing through your arms, using your arms to come down instead of your core, coming down onto your back, we can put a ball underneath your head. A deflated ball, if that feels okay or you can also put the towel underneath your head.

So, starting with this stretch, you're going to bring your right leg up towards the ceiling and hold onto the circle, yep. And just bring it onto the bottom of the foot, holding onto the circle, getting a nice hamstring stretch. So, reach out through the heel, lengthen down through the sitz bone and you can even really think of reaching out, sliding your shoulders down, yeah. The circle is great for getting these hamstring stretches because you can stay open through your chest without rounding and shortening. The ball is great to help support your neck and put you in that ideal alignment for your cervical spine.

Good. So, reach to the heel. You can pull the toes back towards you. Got this oppositional length happening as you lengthen down through the sitz bones out through the heel and then you'll bring that leg across for a little IT band stretch, and then back to center. And then across.

So, just kind of like a little windshield wiper going back and forth, keeping your hips bolted down, lengthening through the hips. Great job. You'll bring the leg across and just hold it there for a couple of extra breaths. Maybe relaxing your shoulders a little bit more. Relaxing your neck and your throat.

And then bring the leg back and we'll switch it out to the other side. So, starting with that hamstring stretch, you want to get all of those hamstrings stretched out, holding onto the circle, reaching through the heel. You want to try and keep that neutral pelvis so that you're not pressing your back into the mat, right? You want to try and stay nice and neutral so that the stretch is not happening through the hips but through the backs of the legs, all through the calf, nice job. Keep breathing.

With each breath, maybe get a little bit deeper into the stretch and then you'll go ahead, keep lengthening and bring the leg across and back. Yeah. Keep going. You might notice one side's a little bit tighter than the other. That's okay.

Just notice. Bringing the leg across. One last time. Hips staying nice and bolted down. And then you'll hold it there.

Same thing, maybe get a little bit more of a reach, a little more length. And bringing the leg back up, taking the circle and placing it in between your inner thighs. All right. So, this is the position we all know and love with this circle in between our inner thighs. Fabulous for prenatal and postpartum.

You want to make sure you're pressing through your whole foot, that you're not rolling to the outside of your pinkie toe and that you have the circle in the meat of your thighs, so it's not on your knees and it's not too high up towards your hips, yep. From here, you're just going to stay nice and neutral. So, take an inhale and as you exhale, just do a little pelvic curl as you tuck your pelvis under, and you can feel your back flattening to the mat and then inhale, come back to that neutral pelvis where there's a little bit of space in between the low back and the mat. Just do that a couple of times, keeping the shoulders nice and wide, chin's gently towards your chest. You may have something under your head like a deflated ball or a small pillow.

Last one. It's a little pelvic curl. Yep. And back to center. Great.

And then from here, you want to stay nice and neutral and just give that circle a little bit of a squeeze without bulging out through the core or pressing your back to the mat. So, little squeezes and then inhale release. Exhale as you squeeze. Last one. And back.

Great. So, relax, from here, we're going to take the ball out from behind your head, we're going to start coming up into a bridge if that feels comfortable for you or you can just stay and continue to do the pelvic curls. So, we're going to inhale to prepare, stay nice and long, and as you exhale, you're going to imagine rolling a marble from your pubic bone up towards your belly button, as you start to peel your spine up off of the mat and get a little bit more mobility. Just inhale at the top and exhale, just travel right back down. So reverse those moves, engage in the abdominals, stay nice and long, beautiful.

Inhale to prepare, shoulders draw down, press through those fingertips. Exhale, curl and bridge up. Pressing through the feet, the big toe and the second toe and then just exhale, roll back down. Great job. One more like that.

Stay nice and wide through the shoulders as you curl and bridge up. Reaching out through the fronts of the knees, stay long, exhale as you roll down bone by bone. And then this time, you're going to come up into a bridge. You know it's coming, some pulses. So, exhale curl and bridge up.

Get in the position first. Slide those shoulders down. Press through the pinkie finger and then you're going to exhale, give that circle eight little squeezes as that belly draws in and gives your baby a little hug with each breath. And then you're going to take a big inhale and exhale roll all the way back down. Great job.

We have one more, just like that. So, exhale, curl your pelvis, roll that imaginary marble from your public bone up through your belly button, all the way up to the sternum, stay nice and long and pulse. Five, six, seven and eight. Inhale and exhale, roll on down. Nice job.

Last one here, you're going to hold onto the circle, bring your feet about the width of the mat, so nice and wide, keep them bent, your knees bent, yep, perfect. And all you're going to do here is sway your knees over to the right side and reach your arms back up over your head. Just get a nice stretch. Beautiful. And then as you exhale, you're going to use those obliques on the opposite side to pull your knees back up and then inhale over to the other side as you reach.

Get some nice length through the hips, through the ribs and exhale, pull the arms back up. And again, inhale over and exhale as you pull back and last one, inhale as you reach, get a nice reach, sliding the shoulders down and exhale back. Great job. Go ahead and come up to a seated position, sitting crisscross. You remember you want to do that log roll, draw that belly in, every time you're coming up and down from your back on the mat, yep.

And you're just going to inhale, scrunch your shoulders up to your ears and exhale, slide them down. One more inhale, lift up, and exhale down. Great job today.

Prenatal Pilates: Mat Pilates for All Trimesters


Thank you for this class Wendy. I enjoyed the use of the magic circle. Could you say a little bit more about the choice to include supine work? 
Jennifer E
2 people like this.
I am not prenatal but love the magic circle and the fitness ball so have been doing the classes in this series. They are awesome! Thank you, Wendy! :)
3 people like this.
Thank you for your comments. This was such a fun video to put together and YES it can be for pre/post or anyone:) Charlotte F do you mean supine work while pregnant? For the hamstring stretch & adductor work you can absolutely do it seated if you are more comfortable with that. We only had Ann on her back for a few moments- you just don't want to spend so much time on your back while exercising during your 3rd trimester. The weight of growing uterus can put pressure on your vena cava which can reduce blood flow. So, if you start to feel dizzy or uncomfortable in the few moments on your back during this routine, perform seated or omit. Thanks for asking:)
Great workout thanks Wendy
Love the class, but I have a doubt.  I learned at a workshop that it is not good to use the magic circle in inner thighs to prenatal women.
Hello Geovanna! Thank you for watching this video. What was the reason for not using the magic circle during pregnancy? Just wondering:) It can be great for building strength for labor, toning the pelvic floor, overall alignment. I DO suggest less intensity ( of course no gripping/more subtle)  during pregnancy and to stop if it is uncomfortable. Thank you! 
Nice to see how the model aligns itself after a few movements.
Thank you both! 
Lina S
Nice balanced class with clear explanations.
Melissa D
I absolutely love this workout with the ring! 

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