Class #4809

Movement Exploration

30 min - Class


Join Amy Havens in moving outside of the lines, feeling into your body, and connecting inward. You begin with warming up your entire body with a standing sequence to create space in your spine, open your side body, and stretch your major leg muscles. This is a restorative class with mindful touches of strengthening exercises. Enjoy exploring movement on the Reformer with Amy!
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video


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Hi everyone. Amy Havens here again at Pilates Anytime. Such a joy to be here, such an honor to be here, a treat to be here in the room and also presenting material for you. This class is, again, some of the things I'm doing these days with my own work is kind of movement exploration if you wanna call it that. And when I was putting this work together, for me, it felt a bit like a dance, right?

So of course, I'm pulling from some exercises that we know. But the way I've put them together is just a little outside the lines of the structure. So allow yourself to step into that less structure, some new ways of looking at the exercise but most importantly feeling your body move and connect to you, okay? So here we go. We're on a yellow spring to start nice and light.

Standing in front of your foot bar, I want you to lightly put your shins right near your foot bar. You're not leaning, you're touching. We're gonna take our arms nice and lift it above our shoulders, take a breath (inhales deeply), lengthen and round. So let's use this as somewhat of a seamless one movement bleeding into the next, stretching your carriage out, inflection of your spine, bringing the carriage back, deepening the flexion in your lower back spine. And again, my shins are nice and light, my knees are a little bit bent, allowing your low back and time to lengthen and curve.

We'll go again. So as you're moving the springs longer, lift your tummy up away from the floor a little more. Just feel the current of the spring and the carriage moving with your breath (inhales deeply). (soft music) See if you can elongate that flexion just a little bit more. (Amy exhales deeply) Okay, we're gonna start layering in some extension.

So when you're ready, just a little flip of your tail, I'm gonna undulate into a flat back spine and then recurve to bring the carriage in (exhales deeply). From flexion to extension, feel how your heels really root down into the floor. You can look forward. You can lean into it a little bit. Now, inhale and curve (exhales deeply).

I'm gonna do one more like that everybody. Just feel yourself change the shape of the spine from a curve to a lengthened position, round. Keep those knees bent, curve your tail even more, roll yourself up. Just stand here for a moment, lightly taking your hands on the foot bar and just pressing the shoulders open, little upper back extension. Okay, we're gonna add on to that.

Adding some spinal rotation when we're upside down, curve over again. So I'd like you to rebend the knees, lightly press them, touch them against this carriage or the frame. Move the spring out a little bit, elongate through your spine. I'm gonna move my back hand just a little bit more toward the center of my carriage, not completely. It's more in front of my shoulder now.

I'm gonna have you put your other hand on the side of your ribs right here where your external obliques are, intercostals et cetera. So as we're in this nice extended spine, lean into your arm to stretch the spring and rotate at the same time. Let's take an inhale, exhale, just derotate to kind of a flat center position. Inhale as you extend the spring, open your body toward the side, feel this line stretch and exhale return, couple more. And I want you to pay attention to the placement of your shin bones is even one shin hasn't come off which could have made you cause a rotation.

So your shins are still touching. How much can you stretch this spring and stretch yourself open and return. Okay, one more time on this side. Let's use the breath. (soft music) Oh, and exhaling center.

Take your hand to the bar and I want you to come all the way up. Little transition between that rotation on the other side. Just keep it moving, little upper back extension. Arms to the sides all the way up, breathe (inhales deeply), coming down (exhales deeply). Little soft knees, little curve of the spine to start, moving the springs out and then lengthen your tail, your sacrum and your back.

You're in a flat back. You may need to reposition this hand slightly. Take the other hand onto the rib cage. Two things happen, we move the carriage and we rotate toward the hand's side where your hand is on your ribs. That's a breath in.

Let the exhale bring you back to facing the floor. Inhale as you stretch the spring and turn your body, knees or even, exhale return, linking your breathing and your movement together. If you feel like you wanna turn more or maybe breathe in more (inhales deeply) and exhale center. Last two, remember your shin should be touching the carriage evenly or the frame, okay, or an extension and rotation of your spine, whoop (giggles), hand center. Take your hand there and everybody roll all the way up.

Now, want you to take a nice, easy upper back extension. Step back with one foot. On the ball of that foot, this shin is still lightly in front and hands on the bar and I want us to curve that lower back spine again. I'm gonna pull on the bar a little bit, more about opening my low back and then step in. I'm just gonna change sides.

Step back, shin forward, bending the knees and we're rounding our back. Gonna add to that. Step back with the first foot, okay? Take your arms up, little back extension. Lean away from the leg that's in the back, curve over that foot bar, round up into that little back extension, arms up one more time, circle, curve, little bit of back extension and step in.

Just keep on moving. Lightly touch the foot bar frame with the shin, back extension, lift those arms, lean away from the back leg, round over the bar. Flexion into extension. Arms rotate, round extension. Ah, feels so good.

And step. Back a little bit, squat, pull on the bar a little bit, standing up. Again, and squat, rounding your back and stepping up. Turn side facing to your bar, cross your outside foot over. Outside our mat, you're gonna do a side bend, leaning away.

I'm slightly pulling on the bar but I'm focusing on my hip and my side opening. Let's take a big breath. Exhale round, touch this hand under the bar, little rotation, circle back into side bend and rotation. One more side bend. Go for opening that up and rotation (exhales deeply).

Little squat transition. Let's come into the other side. Outside foot over, arm comes up, leaning the hip and the side body. You elongate into rotation, the hand touches the bar. Side bend, breathe in, lengthen rotate (exhales deeply).

One more inhale and exhale. Okay, good. Pivot, one more squat, good Okay, everybody stand up, okay. Want you to add a spring. I'm gonna change from the yellow to the blue.

We need just a little more support now but not a whole lot. Sit down on your foot bar. First position with your feet of Pilates stance and just extend the carriage. So we're sitting. I've got my bar locked in.

If you're on a reformer with a unlocking bar, you have to just be a little more mindful of how you move, but we're already mindful. So everybody look at your feet. Do you like your alignment? You should have all parts of your ball of your foot on, okay. I want you to engage into the abdominals.

You've got a nice lower back curve and just lean forward a little bit. I'm gonna bend and straighten the knees eight times. So I'm gonna blue spring (exhales deeply). Nice and fluid and just slow. Let's keep your alignment in check, four more.

So by sitting perched on this little bar on our sitting bones, we have to be pretty connected in our abdominal, in our, right? You might be feeling that. So what I'd like us to do now is take the legs out, hold for a moment. Now, just press your hands down, press your shoulders low and just suspend your tail off of the bar for a minute. Let's just scoot it out a few inches, let's scoot it back.

(soft music) Trying to curl the tail the whole time. Last one, come back and sit on that bar. Pivot your feet to parallel. Now, I want you to straighten the legs and just let your calves get a stretch. Make sure as you're looking, you're not locking your knees, your toes, you're even.

And let's just do a little up and down heels. Still have some awareness here, little prancing. Oh yeah, one heel at a time. So when we normally do our footwork, of course, we're relying on our back. We can't really ever see our foot alignment.

This is a great way to just watch your feet, watch your alignment, right? All those cues we know, you can see them now. Let's do four, three, two, and one. And then I'd like you to bend both, bring your knees in. We're gonna step to second position.

Same thing, extend the carriage. Now, as you're looking at your feet, you're not twisting your ankles. You've got your big toes, all parts of the metatarsals planted on the bar. Just bending, straighten your knees a little. So I'm leaning forward for two reasons, safety, but also I feel like at any time I'm at the ready to get my butt up off the bar or my sit bones off the bar.

Okay, couple more. Now I want you to stay there, sit taller, center your feet, come on in. Now, we're gonna change the spring even lighter. Let's go back down to yellow instead of that blue or the lightest spring you have. We're gonna challenge that (giggles) moment we are playing with.

It's a little like tendon stretch. Do you see how this is a little baby tendon stretch? We have hardly any help from the springs. So we have to pick ourselves up, metaphorically also. We have to pick ourselves up.

So two ways we're gonna do this, hands facing this way. I want you to really strongly press your hands down. Start right away, pick your hips up and you're gonna length and be mindful. I'm not rushing. I'm gonna try to elevate my pelvis.

Look straight ahead. Breathe, curve your way back, curve. Come on in, sit on the bar. Again, stretch, anchor your hands, flex that spine, secure your shoulders. The farther we're going, let's uplift, keep pressing and return.

Who said this was gonna be an easy class. One more time. So with hardly any help from those springs picking us, bringing us in, we have to do it. Pick yourself up, move yourself forward, look straight ahead and come back in, okay. Let's just check it out with a slightly different hand position, either palm this way or on the side.

Let's see if we might be able to get a little different wrap of our upper shoulders. I bet we can. Be mindful, okay. Take a breath, same beginning. It may allow you to open an upper back extend a little bit.

Oh yes, got it. Hook into those shoulders. Come back in with flexion (exhales deeply). We're done with that. You can always go back and do it again.

Come on down everybody. We are gonna change the spring and I'd like us to do a blue spring again. Sitting on your carriage, move it out and put your feet up on your bar wide. You may have to wiggle into position. Hands underneath your knees, bring that carriage all the way in and I want you to get to a place where your back is upright and strong.

Look straight ahead. From here, move the carriage back, lean forward, set your hands on your feet. Really wrap your hands, go into a soft flexion of your spine, come in bending the knees, pull yourself up tall. And two more times. Lead with the hips.

(soft music) Coming in, lengthen up, look straight ahead to get the carriage all the way in. One more time, we're gonna add on to it here, everybody. You may have to move your hands. I want you to get to a place where your back is in a forward hinge. Reach your arms forward, bring your arms up.

We're not locking our knees. Take your hands, fingertips behind you, wrap your shoulders, bend your elbows, extend your chest. Again, forward, do a little bend and stretch here, lengthen out. It's like spine stretch from the mat work in a way, right? You get that flat back.

Reach, upright your spine. You're not locking your knees. Open your chest, put your fingertips behind you, bend your elbows, wrap your shoulders, look up. Okay, bend your knees to come in. Center your feet, extend yourself out, climb tree-ish.

(Amy giggles) Okay, so take a hold of a leg. You can do parallel please or turn out if you wish, and just work a little extension and flexion of that knee. We're not locking this knee. Okay, interesting to do this sitting rather than on a box. We don't have support for the body really, except you do.

It's in here. You have your support, okay? Yeah, bend your elbows, lower your elbows. Bend, feel the stretch in those hamstrings. Third one, bend and lift.

Can you flex toward that lane? Go, go, go, go, go. Now, as you're holding on, lower the foot to the foot bar. It feels like it's far away. It's right there.

There's the solid ground (exhales deeply). Other side. Holding onto that leg, extend and flex. Trying to sit up tall through this very intense stretch of the hamstrings. (Amy exhales deeply) One more time, and we'll take our hands to our ankle.

(soft music) Bend and straighten the elbows. We're not locked in the other knee. Feel the support from within your core muscles, your abdominals and your back. Hold it here, bend forward, lift the shin toward you. You bend toward the shin.

Hold those abdominals deeply back against you and lower that leg. (soft music) There it is and then come all the way in. Okay, good, let's change your springs. Now, we are gonna use some support from our springs. I'm gonna do two red springs, everybody.

Little knee stretch combination. Let's get into that curve of the back which probably feels very, very nice right now (Amy exhales deeply) after all that extension work. So here we go. We're gonna ripple through opening the back, ripple through into down stretch. Just the position of down stretch, (soft music) ripple back.

I'm gonna dive my head, curve. I'm driving my tailbone under so much my hands leave that bar. I'm gonna come back here, fingertips on the shoulder blocks, wrap the scapular, thigh stretch, maybe a camel if you're a yoga person. I just think I'm stretching, right? I'm moving my body.

I'm gonna pull my hips forward. From here, you're strong. Lift yourself up, catch your hands in the bar around. Ripple through that back extension down stretch again. You don't even have to move the carriage.

We're moving us, move back. Stretch those quads, open your shoulders. You might have to climb up on your fingertips, lift your heart to the ceiling, squeeze your bottom, up you go (exhales deeply). One more, move that body from flexion to extension. We're doing lots of rippling today, lots of rippling.

Stay in this quad stretch just for a second here, okay? Just stay back there. Let's get those hands. So before we go into that big back extension again, I want you to stay in the thigh stretch moment of it. Center your gaze straight ahead.

(soft music) Now go. (soft music) Open the shoulders, rotate them wide. The whole front body is ready. Use your inner thigh and your buttocks. Lift (exhales deeply) and flex.

Okay, lovely movement for I feel for myself (giggles). I want you to keep your head rest up. We're gonna throw in now a really delicious exercise called semicircle. Okay, you can choose your springs. I think I'll do a green.

(soft music) You can keep your bar up, go down or all the way down. I'm gonna keep it up. I want you to loop your knees over your bar. Most of us know semicircle, right? Don't rush your brain.

You know, I ask you to just be patient. What if this was a big part of it? This moment right here, right? To allow this expansion. Let your belly have some freedom here for one or two breaths, okay.

Now, semicircle we've done all the components of it, thigh stretch, articulation, some weight bearing. Here we go. Want you to take your hands back, there the heel of the hands are, push the carriage out. You could even just come back into your bottom being down but it feels really nice when the feet go higher. So we're just gonna step those feet up into your Pilates V.

You might wanna peek and make sure you're centered. And I want everybody to come into that thigh stretch place again. Just feel for a moment, your end points, your hands and your feet. Take a breath, here we go. Down from the upper back (exhales deeply) through your middle back.

There's that thoracolumbar fascia junction. Open that, elongate your lumbar. Ah, press back, use your hamstrings. Don't go all the way. Stay right there.

Let's really curl our tail. No rush, wait for your Pilates to show up, wait for it to happen. You've really gotta get that lower back flexion first, right? There it is. Then we come up.

(soft music) Use our hamstrings to come in. They help with bend knee, inhale and going down. (soft music) I'm pushing with those hands and kind of getting greedy with how much stretch I'm getting in my body but it's exactly what I need. Push with your hamstrings. Pause, curl, curl more, carriage stays still as you leave the carriage mat with your back.

Take a breath everybody (exhales deeply). Come in, okay. Let's go the other way now. Let's do two each direction. Hold, just as important as the other way, wait for the Pilates.

So take that upper back, mid-back. Base of your ribs now starts to extend, such a juicy moment for your diaphragm, your pecks, your lats, your triceps. Come all the way as close as you can here. You've got it. Now curl.

Your legs are strong. They're there for you. Pull those hamstrings, use them, I mean. Use them, use them, use them. One more time.

They're there for you. Take a breath, curl it down. This is a place to use your arms and keep the carriage open. You're strong, push it. Let it support you.

Ah, lengthen into this extension. Come all the way in, deeply breathe. We've got one more rounding to curl up. Come into this nice high lifted bridgey position. And what I want everyone to do now is just take your hands off of the shoulder blocks, find or feel for the side of the reformer.

You can walk your hands in. This is what I was hoping to feel is the side flat bar. Okay, we're gonna be here for a moment or two. I want you to just evaluate how wide your knees are and my guess is most of us can narrow them a little bit. Let's go, narrow them in, feel what you feel, okay?

I want you to curl your tail more. Feel what you feel (exhales deeply). You may need to rise up a little bit. Yes, Amy, this is intense (laughs). It's good for us.

Hang out there, one or two more breaths. Sometimes the uncomfortable place are where we need to stay for a little while. Yes, that's metaphorical. It's okay. Take your hands around to the shoulder blocks.

There they are. Bring yourself up. Never very graceful. Okay, yeah, now just land, land. We've moved a lot.

I want you just to set your feet on top of that bar. Feel what you feel. I'm not gonna tell you what you feel. But I wanna do one more movement and it's a hug. So bring your legs tightly towards your chest.

Wrap your arms, cross them across you, might even put your hands underneath your shoulders. Lift your head up for a moment is as if trying to get your elbows right there to your thighs and then roll yourself down. (soft music) Exchange arms. (soft music) Deeply breathe. Here we go, curling up.

(soft music) Deeply breathe right into the space between the scapular and roll it down. Okay, now the arms come around the legs. Ah, it's so good and curl yourself in. Feels nice to pick up the head. Let's get inside yourself for a second here.

Can rock a little side to side. (soft music) Take another breath or two (soft music) and then just kind of place those feet on the foot bar, everybody. Before we come up to standing, to finish, just let yourself kind of feel that solid mat, okay. I think it's nice to roll to the side. So just roll to your side and just get yourself up.

Close your eyes for a moment. Just feel your feet on the ground. (soft music) Yes, thank you for joining me. I hope you feel wonderful, calm, stretchy and accomplished. We did some hard little bits in here.

I had to sprinkle them in. Sometimes we hear those hard exercises that we get (exclaims) but we didn't need to. Nice and calm, collected and strong. Thank you. I'll see you next time.


1 person likes this.
Thank you for the dance, Amy! I waited for Pilates, and it came....
Simply wonderful, impeccable cueing in an inviting and nourishing way. Loved the fluidity and the blending of one movement leading into another, a smooth dance of the mind, body and soul! Loved the subtle sprinkling of the stronger moves! Bravo!!
Christine S
Thank you Amy for drawing me in gently to more complex movements that I often avoid. The sprinkle method provided an opportunity to ease into this strengthening work without fear and definitely worked for me :)
1 person likes this.
Always enjoy your classes Amy ... this one I LOVED with the music playing in the background!  Can you do that more please? :)
2 people like this.
Jennifer H Christine S Catherine M Dorit T  Thank you so much everyone!  You all really do "get me" and know that the Pilates is always there, mixed in/sprinkled in with some other goodies too.  Movement --- that's the key, yes?!!  Happy you all enjoyed this movement exploration!  Thanks for taking class with me.
1 person likes this.
That was divine! Thank you Amy
1 person likes this.
This was absolutely everything my body didn't even know it wanted and needed!!! LOVED IT!!! 
1 person likes this.
WOW-My body feels so good after doing this class I hesitate to move out of this wonderful relaxed state!! Loved it too! Thanks oAmy
Thank you so much Fiona S E. Melisa G Karen M  Thank you for taking class and moving with me!

Carol D
1 person likes this.
Ooh la la. That’s a beautiful routine. Even got some earthquake shakes in my legs toward the end. Thank you!
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