Class #4811

Running Your Show

50 min - Class
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Join Erin Wilson for the second class in her series, Begin Pilates. A key component of this class is staying in control of your movements, especially during moments of playing with your balance. You will add layers, along with fresh variations of exercises to deepen your mind-body connection. Feel strong, successful, and have fun with Erin!
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hi, I'm Erin Wilson. Thank you so much for joining me for a mat class today. This is the second video in a series of six, and we'll be focusing on the Pilates principle of control. We're beginning in a standing position, so looking down at our feet, we're gonna try to place them the width of our pelvis, so figure out how wide this area is more or less, and then we want the outer edges of our feet to be about that width apart. Things that we want to look at initially here, are the feet parallel or does one foot have a tendency to want to rotate more externally?

Does one have a tendency to want to turn more inwardly? So ideally we're trying to set ourselves up in a parallel position. If that causes pain or discomfort in your joints though, make those little adjustments that you might need. So waking up through our feet here, we're gonna be trying to spread our toes out, so if I can think of spreading and putting space in between each individual toe, I'm gonna attempt to do that, and we're just gonna recognize if that's possible, or if one or two or more of our toes don't like to do that so much. Feel free to mimic all of these movements with your hands.

It's very helpful. So, spreading out our toes as best as we can, we wanna try to sense some pressure on the big toes, and just notice what that does to the foot, how it senses the arch, and maybe other things can connect throughout the center of the body, and then sense where the pinky toes are and put a little bit of weight right there. So we have weight on the big toe for now, we have weight on the pinky toes as best as we can feel that, and then trying to sense the weight in the centers of our heels. Beginning to shift our weight forward, we're gonna lean our whole body towards our toes. I'm gonna turn to the side so we can see what's going on.

So as we lean towards our toes, we only want to go far enough that the heels don't lift, but now all of our weight is towards the front of the foot. Same thing in the opposite direction. We're going to lean back just enough so we feel more weight on the heels, yet the toes are still on the floor, so we're gonna do this several times, so we lean forward, and just noticing what has to catch us so that we don't actually fall, and then leaning back, what has to catch me so I don't actually fall back. So as we go forward, can we start to sense our abdominal muscles drawing into our back? And as we lean back, can we keep the awareness that they're still doing that?

And we'll get one more in each direction, so waking up our whole body here, just from the feet, and leaning back on that last one. Same distance apart is still there. We're gonna take ourselves into the sides. So we connect to the big toe, we connect to the pinky toe, connect to the center of our heel, and then we're allowing our whole body weight to shift onto one leg without the other foot coming off the floor, and then shifting onto the other foot, and just noticing if there is a leg that you prefer to go towards or that you're more comfortable going towards, and that's usually the leg that we maybe trust more to carry us through the day, and just noticing again if our bodies, our whole body is coming over that leg, or if I'm doing more of a side bend thing. If you're doing the side bend thing, you're smart, because you know, "If I just do this, it's easier," yes, so try to bring your whole body weight over that leg.

We'll do one more to each side, and we're just waking up the lateral edges and the medial edges of our feet, and then along with that comes the whole lateral chain of musculature in our body. And then we're also elevating our sense of control of where I can stop myself before I would actually fall over to that side. Sense where the middle is again, and hopefully we just have built more of an awareness of where our feet are underneath us and how they can relate to the rest of our body moving through space throughout the day. So now let's come down to the mat, and just get down however it's comfortable for you. If you think you'll need something to help support your head and your neck position once you're down here, make sure that there is a towel or a blanket close by to help you do that.

We're gonna place our feet in that fist width apart or that sit bones distance apart position, and not too close to our glutes. Make sure that it feels comfortable in your knees and your pelvis feels like it can be relatively level, so there is that natural curve underneath your lower back. We're taking our hands and placing them on our pelvis. So again, we're finding the heel area of the hand more or less, and we're trying to place them on our pelvic bones. Fingers are gonna weave in towards one another, pointing down towards our pubic bone.

Taking our breath in, the pelvis just stays relatively neutral, and as we exhale, we're gonna see if we can scoop our abdominals into our lower back and begin to feel the lower back imprinting into the floor. As we inhale, we're gonna release that lower back away from the ground. Exhaling, again, the fingers weave closer together as if our pelvic bones are coming closer together, and as we inhale the fingers slide further apart as if the pelvic bones are sliding further apart. And just one more time, so breathing out, we wanna find the abdominal muscles, that lower back connecting to the floor, and we're gonna see if we can hold that position. So we're definitely in a bit of a tuck here.

Notice if the neck tension is too great. Place a towel behind your head. Should not be the only thing that we sense. Keeping our hands on our pelvic muscles and on our lower abdominal muscles, we're gonna think of bringing one leg up as if it's originating from scooping or pulling those abdominal muscles even deeper into our lower back. Take another breath as we place the leg down.

So, the abdominal muscles here and our pelvic musculature is trying to be the puppet master of the leg, so as we pull that leg up, I'm pulling the strings that are gonna elevate my leg off the floor, and just place it back down. We'll get that one more time, so we're maintaining that lower back connection to the ground, that deep abdominal connection into the lower back. Place the foot down, and then just take a second, let your pelvis release, so it's gonna tilt slightly downwards, relax everything here in the middle, reorganize again, so as we take our next breath out, we're gonna slide the fingers towards each other. We're gonna slide the abdominal muscles into our lower back. Holding the lower back on the ground, we pick the other leg up as if the abdominals are lifting it, and we place it back down without losing the lower back to the floor.

We pick it up again, and we lower back down. So now it's a little more challenging to breathe here, of course, so if you find that it's very difficult, especially to take an inhale, allow your abdominals to relax for a second in between when you need that. And we'll place the foot down after our last one. Again, relax everything down in your pelvis, allow the space to be present underneath your low back again. So adding on, if that is enough challenge for you today, you're feeling that that is very helpful, and even just the concept of that is a little bit of effort, feel free just to stick with the one leg at a time.

Otherwise we're gonna attempt to pick both legs up off the floor. Walking our feet and legs together, we're gonna squeeze the inner thighs. Anything that can touch, definitely try to press those together. So finding our breath in, as we exhale, we're gonna pull the lower stomach, pull that lower back into the floor. Think of pulling your abs deeper.

We're gonna think of bringing both legs up if that's possible. Holding them here, one leg is gonna lower down first. Keeping that sensation, lower the other leg down. Squeeze the legs together. Again, as if our abdominals have something to do with it, we're gonna pull our legs up as if they're getting lifted from the abdominals.

Other foot goes down this time without losing anything, and place the second leg down. Relax in between here for a moment. So if that feels too heavy, too much neck tension, feel free, again, just to stay with one leg at a time. Going into the reverse, breathing in, we exhale again. We imprint that lower back into the floor.

We do that without pushing into our feet. Keep the feet light here, 'cause we're gonna lose them in a second. We're going to bring both, I'm sorry, excuse me, one leg up, we'll bring the other leg up to meet it, and now we take both legs down. Squeeze the inner thighs, and if I can't keep my lower back on the floor very well, I might find a position in space there where I have to put one foot down followed by the other again. Reconnect. Lower back into the floor.

Can I control my legs from my abdominals, even though that's a lie? One legs coming up, other leg meets it, find the inner thigh connection, and as we place our feet down, can I keep my lower back exactly how it is, and then let everything relax for a moment? We'll try one more, so if you like this one more, do that again. If you liked bringing up both legs and putting one down at the same time, go for that again. We'll get one more.

Bring one leg up. We can tell which version I like the most. I wanted to bring both legs up. Other leg's coming up. And again, if you're like me and you have a hard time keeping your lower back on the ground, just 'cause that's the way my structure is, this is gonna be very difficult to try to lower both feet to the floor without that lifting up. Adding on from here, we take our arms out to the sides.

Palms can face up or down. Depends on how tight you're feeling in the chest area today. Palms facing up is a little bit nicer. It helps us open and expand. Feet and legs are still together.

We're gonna be tilting our knees over to the right. As soon as that happens, the left foot is coming off the floor, so we're attempting to keep the knees connected, and keep the insides of our feet connected. The back of our left shoulder is still on the ground. We take a deep breath in here, and as we go to exhale, we're gonna press our right knee into our left knee, and simultaneously think of the left side of our abdominals drawing down into our back. Find the center. We take our legs over to the left.

The right foot comes off the floor. Legs stay together, the back of the right shoulder is on the ground, and as we press our left knee into the right knee, think of pulling the whole right side of our abdominals down into that right side of our back. We go again, so taking the knees over to the right, and just making sure this feels safe in your back. There's plenty of days where I can't go too far even myself without it feeling like a painful experience, or my lower back just doesn't want to go that far. Hey, rotation's a tricky thing, so make sure that it feels safe in your body.

We go to the left again, and as we press that left knee into the right knee, we just wanna find the connections here that the opposite inner thigh muscles have to those opposite obliques. We'll do one more to each side. Just take your time. You might go a little quicker than I am. You might go a little slower. It's all fine. Press the right knee in.

Feel that connection to the left side of the body. And the last one over to our left. And one last time, pressing that left knee into the right knee and finding that connection to the right side of our body. Moving into our bridging exercise, we're gonna separate our feet back to that fist width apart position, or perhaps even wider if that's more comfortable for you. Sliding our feet in closer to our glutes so we can put more weight onto them, we're gonna bring our arms down a bit closer to our body, so pressing into the upper part of our back a bit, sensing some awareness there, and again, spreading the toes out, trying to find that big toe pressure, that pinky toe pressure in the center of our heel.

We take a deep breath in. Our lower back has this normal curve, and as we exhale, we scoop the abdominals into the lower back again, and as we squeeze into the glutes, we're gonna pick our pelvis up just to the base of our ribs being on the floor. Holding this position for a few moments, just notice what we feel. If you have a lot of tension in the thigh muscles here, you might feel a lot of pull, but we're definitely trying to hone in on the gluteal muscles giving us a lot of effort. As we go to roll down, can we think of sinking our stomach even deeper into our back, and then unwinding completely at the bottom?

We'll do that again, so we breathe out. We feel the stomach, the lower back imprinting into the floor without finding a lot of weight on our feet initially, and then we stand into our feet, give our glutes that kick, and we pause right around the base of our ribs, so it's as if we're trying to tilt our pelvis even more towards our chest and open up that lower part of our back. Start rolling that lumbar section of your spine down again. Move through the sacrum. Let your tailbone drop last. As we exhale, we feel that imprint. Same thing.

That's always how we're starting here, and now we're taking ourselves up more towards the back of our shoulders, and the higher up we go, the knees are gonna wanna splay out more and more, 'cause that's easier, so here's where we wanna try to hug that internal space in between the knees or even press into the big toes more. As we breathe out, the chest softens down, the upper part of the stomach area softens, the lower abdominal region softens, and we take it down completely. One more time there, so just feeling where I can control the movement. Can I pause at the base of my ribs and hold that position? Can I go up a little further, keeping that internal space in between the knees, hugging something there?

And then as we roll down, can we try to find each individual vertebrae laying down one after the next, and releasing our pelvis to the floor? From here, we're gonna walk our feet and legs back together again. Hands are gonna reach up, fingers interlace. Try to place the thumbs at the base of our skull. Elbows are definitely where we can see them, and we want to sense our shoulder blades wide behind us.

If you notice that you're already wanting to over-tuck, you might wanna inch worm your feet a little bit away from your pelvis, and as we go to breathe out, fly the thumbs against the base of your skull and curl the upper part of your back off the floor. Okay, as we lower down, we wanna try to lengthen that upper part of our back, and even the back of our neck even more. Legs squeeze more together as we curl up, and as we lower down again, it's trying to open up those vertebrae in between our shoulder blades and in the back of our neck. We'll get two more here, so every time we curl forward, can we think of dropping our abdominal muscles down into our back rather than what they usually want to do? For me especially is to push up towards the ceiling, and almost try to leverage from them.

So can we pull them down into the floor as we pick our head and chest up? And then one last time lowering away. As we get into the rotation, we're gonna be adding a leg today, so as we lift our head and chest, we're gonna rotate towards our right, pick your right leg up at the same time, and as we place the foot and leg down, head and chest will lower down as well. Staying on that same side, we lift up, our right leg comes up, we rotate towards it, and as the leg comes down, so does our upper body. So we wanna sense where the flat bone is in between our pelvic bones.

It's our sacrum. Can that bone stay heavy and not tilt around side to side as we lift the leg? We'll get one more here. Leg goes down. Upper body goes down. Moving to the left side, so as that left leg lifts, can we, again, think right here in the center of our pelvis, can that stay heavy?

And the only thing that's really moving besides the leg is the upper half of our body, rotating again, and lowering back. So an inhale can happen here at the bottom, a long exhale can pick us up, and a long inhale can take us back down. One more time, thinking of bringing the whole armpit here of the right side towards that left hip, lowering down right there, and we can just let go of our head, grab onto our knees, give ourselves a little hug, moving into some roll-up variations. One leg is gonna extend down on the ground. We grab behind the back of the leg that's bent.

Start pressing into your hands here. Use that pressure to pull your head and chest up, and then just keep pressing into your arms to try to roll up a little further, and if you don't sit up all the way, that's okay. You might need to rock forward and back a few times. As we roll down, same thing. Keep pressing the leg into your hands, and as your head releases, feel free to bring the knee up into your chest and stretch the left leg or the bottom leg longer on the floor.

We'll do it again, so we curl up, scooping the abdominals back, trying to move through that lumbar section of our spine before it comes up off the floor, and we're gonna add on a little leg extension here, so we're gonna pull up on the back of our leg. We're gonna start picking our chest up and seeing if we can extend our leg out. Nothing fancy with the foot. You could point it or flex it if you want to. Just keep in mind, relaxed.

Rebend the knee. Keep that pressure in your hands. Rolling back, the elbows are slightly bent and slightly wide. That keeps our shoulder blades wide. Draw the knee up, and one more time. Start pushing that leg forward, peeling yourself off the ground or rocking forward and back a couple of times if you need to.

We're just behind our tailbone here. We pick our chest up. With that, we try to keep everything still but just extend the leg. Rebend the knee. Use that pressure into your hands to slowly and with control lower back down.

Changing legs, we'll slide the other side down. Here we go, pressing into the hands, curling up. Things that might be helpful, picture your inner thighs crossing over each other as you come up. pause at the top, whatever that is for you, might be halfway and that's okay. Keep the pressure the same as you lower down, and once again, maybe draw the knee up a little closer, stretch the bottom leg further away, because that usually feels good.

Push the leg into your hands again. Follow it up with your head and shoulders. Curling up, lift up through the chest, stretching the leg. This is just an option. Feel free just to keep going with the bent leg and not trying the extension just yet.

Scoop back into your abdominals, rolling down. Once again, we pull the knee up, and that's a maybe if you feel anything negative in your hip joint, maybe you skip that part too. We're coming up one more time, and if we're doing the extension, pick up your chest first, stretch the leg out one more time, and we're gonna pause right there. Bend the knee. So as we roll down on this last one, feel free to place something behind your head 'cause we're getting into some hamstring stretches more actively now.

So we keep pressing our thigh into our hands. From there, the elbows can go totally straight here. We're gonna extend this leg up, and we're gonna right away flex our foot back, and then try to actively point through the foot, so we keep that going. We flex it back and we try to actively point through it as well. Two more times, so if you notice that you get a lot of tingliness maybe in the foot as you're going into that flex position, possibly don't go as hard with that flex.

There is a nerve line that we're tugging on intentionally right now, but if it's too aggressive, that might not be a good thing. Attempt to go back into the dorsiflex position with your ankle. Now, we're still pushing our leg into our hands, but now we're gonna think of pulling our hands down our leg at the same time, so we're plugging the leg even deeper into our pelvis. Few more breaths right there. Feel all the feelings that are going on in the back of our leg, and then we'll let this knee bend, and we'll slide that leg down.

Other things that might be helpful, let's go to the second leg. If this is just a killer for you, tight back of the leg stuff, super common, bend this other foot, bend this other leg, put the foot down. This is a little bit easier too. If possible, we'll keep it on the ground. Pressing the thigh into our hands, we extend the leg up again.

From here, we flex through this foot, and we try to actively point, which means the toes are doing something. So how much can we flex back before it becomes a problem? How much can I point my foot without it becoming a cramp? And there's all kinds of potentials for these things to happen, so just listen to what's going on in your body. We'll try to flex our foot back one more time.

We're still pressing our leg into our hands, and now we want to think of pulling downwards on our leg at the same time, so we just made our legs shorter. The only time we ever want shorter legs. Take a couple more deep breaths, and we're gonna keep this leg in the air, but relax your foot again. Yeah, thank God. Soften the knee here as well if you need that.

Arms are gonna either come down just a little wider than the mat, or feel free to go a little further out for the single leg circles. So as we cross over the center line of the body with the leg in the air, can we go kind of quicker on the circle and take a pause at the top? So I'm gonna circle it around, pause, control the leg position right there, cross over again. Quick little circle. Hold it at the top. Cross over again.

Quick circle, hold it at the top, and we'll reverse, go out to the side, quick circle down, crossover lift, hold for a moment there. Out a little bit, circles around, control it at the top. Bend this knee anytime you need to. Bend the bottom leg as well if you need to. That's our last one.

We bend the leg, slide it down on the floor, grab behind the back of the first leg one more time. Same setup, let's press our leg into our hands. Extend it up. Keep the foot relaxed. Maybe I have to bend this knee a bit. Maybe this leg wants to stay bent.

All the things that you need, arms wherever they feel comfortable. We take the leg across. Nice swift circle around, hold it, control it. Cross over again. Circle around, hold. One more this way, circle, and hold.

And we reverse. Take it out to the side. Keep the opposite pelvic bone heavy. Cross over again. Hold for a second. Control it. Reach the leg out. Big circle around, lift.

One more, slow, and then, okay, let's get this going. Hold it at the top. Once again, bend that knee, let's slide the other leg in to meet it, and just give both legs a nice hug towards your chest. Holding onto the backs of our knees, we're gonna play with our breath and controlling how much we can get up and how much we can go down with the rolling back. Taking the lower legs up, we'll use some momentum here.

Especially if you have a tight lower back situation, it's a nice thing to do until we get things looser down there. So lower legs are up. As we think of kicking them down towards our butt, we're gonna lift our head up a little bit and then rock back. Lift up a little bit and rock back. So we're progressively making this bigger because we will sit up eventually, and just give yourself one or two more, and try to hone in on that lower part of your back, which is what we're always trying to get more movement into as we do the rolling back exercise.

So hands can continue to stay behind the backs of our knees. We're gonna separate them. Insides of the feet are connected, elbows are lifted, shoulder blades are wide, and we're looking down. As we breathe in, we're gonna roll back. As we exhale, we're coming up.

Try to balance, control it at the top. Breathe again as you roll. Hold it at the top. Control. Things, again, that might help, pull up on the backs of your knees with your hands, and maybe even squeeze the backs of your knees into your hands one more time. Coming up, and we're gonna hold it right there, placing the feet down, getting ready for spine stretch.

If you need to sit up on a towel or a blanket of any kind, now's a great time to grab that for yourself, so putting our pelvis on something if we need that, and if you're feeling relatively mobile today, don't think you need to use this. That's absolutely fine. Getting into the spine stretch, so finding a way to prop ourselves up here is the first thing. We're gonna leave our legs relaxed. A lot of different options you can take.

Definitely feel free to bend the knees, even if sitting up on something is still not allowing you to get right up on your sitting bones. Let the knees bend. Hands are gonna rest on our legs. So we just want to feel what's going on in the front of our body, but also what's going on in the back, so can we take both of those sides and then squeeze them together, and then with that sensation, think of lifting everything up. As we take another breath out, we're gonna bring our chin down, and as we let our shoulders round forward and our upper back begin to bend, start sliding the hands down your legs.

Keep lifting up through the abdominal muscles as if you're trying to really pull them up and under your ribs in a way. We're gonna pause right here. As we exhale, we're going to scoop back even deeper. In the abdominals we're gonna slide our hands along our legs. Head comes up last.

Try to open the chest here for a moment. Adding on with some arm movements this time, feel free to keep your hands on your legs if you need to, but we have our arms out in front. Take a breath. We're gonna bring our chin down, rounding the upper back. The front ribs are getting narrower so the back ribs can get wider, and that internal lift is always trying to be present.

Arms stay out where they are. As we breathe out to come up again, scoot back a little deeper first in the center of your body, and as our head lifts, take the arms down and feel the shoulders softening away. Once again, arms can come up. Let the head nod forward first. As we go forward, the arms are reaching, but not excessively.

There's always that two way connection, so someone's pulling your abdominals back, but someone's grabbing onto your hands and trying to pull you forward. One more time as we start to sit up. Hands can come down the legs if they need to. Start stacking up through your spine, and we'll stop right there, bringing the legs together for the spine twist. So we will bend our knees.

Very helpful to be propped up on something for this exercise, and we will also go into what we did in the first class, which was either hands behind our head here, or we're gonna attempt to go out to more of a T. So palms can face down, forward, or up, whatever's feeling good for you today, and as long as the knees are bent and the heels are down, think of almost pulling your heels towards your butt a bit, and that can also help us roll more forward over those sit bones. So, lifting up as tall as we feel possible, as we breathe out, the body is turning to one side. The arms are along for the ride. And then as we inhale, we'll find the center.

Exhale, the body is turning. The arms are along for the ride. Find the center again. So here's another moment. If we twist to the right and I press my right knee into my left knee more, it's gonna help me stay more level.

Find the center. As we twist to our left and we press the left knee in, that can help us stabilize better as well. One more time. This is a really easy one, right, to get the arms going? Yeah, you're not really twisting that far.

One more the other way. Feel like everything's originating from the trunk. We'll find the middle, let the legs extend out, take a few seconds there, maybe separate them, and just shake them out a couple of times. All right, if you are sitting on something, we're gonna get that out from underneath us, but you might find that you need them again behind your head for the next couple of exercises. So making our way back down on our backs, we're gonna be hugging our knees into our chest and just reacclimating to the floor once again.

Hands are going to interlace once more, and we're gonna slide them behind the back of our head, trying to find that thumb position at the base of our skull and our elbows where we can see them. So we're gonna keep our legs relaxed as much as we can against our body, but if you have to move them a little bit away from you, that's okay. As we breathe out, we're gonna peel our upper back off of the mat, and we're gonna look straight ahead at our legs the whole time. Starting to extend the legs up towards the ceiling, see where they're willing to go. It might not be perfectly straight, but wherever they are going, we want to do the opposite thing here, and imagine our abdominal muscles drawing down and away from our legs.

Bend the knees and bring them back in towards your chest. So we breathe in or breathe out as the legs extend, take another breath as they bend. Play around with progressively taking the legs further away from you as they extend, but only to the degree that our lower back can maintain its connection to the floor. So if I start going too low and all I see is lots of bulging here in my abdomen region, I might not want to go that low so soon. Squeeze through the inner thighs as the legs are extending, and we'll get one more.

Let the legs stretch out, and draw them back in. Bring the head and chest down for a moment. Legs stay where they are. As we exhale, again, we're gonna curl our head, neck, and shoulders off of the floor, looking towards our legs. One leg stays where it is.

We're going to extend the other leg out on a diagonal. As that leg comes home, we're gonna stretch the other leg out, and we just keep alternating, and we're looking for the pelvic position to stay really stable here. Inner thighs are brushing past each other. Even if they're not touching, I want to try to keep everything really centered and control the position of the legs, so as if that big toe is hitting the same mark in space every time. We'll get three more here to each leg, we'll go for two, and if your pace is a little different than mine, that's okay.

Give yourself one more on each leg either way. Bring both knees in, let your head come down, and we'll relax right there for a moment. Feet are coming back down, and we'll put them in our bridging position once again. So fist-width apart, feet fairly close to our glutes, and then we're gonna want to use our arms a bit more to help support us in this next exercise. So sometimes it helps to have your arms a bit wider in order to feel more of the back of the shoulder area and the upper part of the back sensing the floor.

Feel free to place your arms wherever they need to be so you can figure out where that is in your body. Spreading out through our toes, we take our breath. As we're ready to exhale like we've done forever now it seems like, we're scooping through the abdominals, we're imprinting that lower back, and then we're peeling our pelvis and spine away from the floor. So we have to find the height of our bridge that works for us. If you have a lot of tension in the thighs, you might not want to go up too high or might want to stay a bit lower.

Personally, I can't go up too high because of the way my back is curved. I will only be using my lumbar muscles, so I want to put my body and my pelvis in a position where I can hone in on using the backs of my legs the most, so feel out where that is for you. Pressing into the upper parts of our arms, we're gonna stand firmly into the left foot and try to bring the right leg up to a 90 degree without moving anything else in the body. From here, we barely touch the toes to the floor and pick it right back up. We barely touch the floor and come right back up.

The left foot, keep sensing that big toe joint. It's almost as if the inner part of the left knee is hugging against an imaginary wall. We'll get one more lower and lift here out of the right leg, and as we place our right foot down, organize things again, stand firmly into the right foot, figure out where the right glute, the back of the leg is. If you can't feel that, maybe bring the pelvis down a little bit more, bringing the left leg up. Again, as we lower the foot to the ground, can the rest of our body stay still?

And this is a great time to notice what side might feel stronger for you or where you might feel like you have more muscular endurance. I could do a thousand on one side, I can do two on the other. Two more here either way, and we'll get one more, placing the foot down, trying to feel equal against the sides of your pelvis, the front of your pelvis, and the weight in the feet. As we're ready to breathe out, soften through the chest, the ribs, all the way through our pelvis, and release down to the tailbone. We're gonna take a moment just to hug our knees into our chest again, relax our glutes, relax our lower back, so when we let go of our legs, we're gonna be rolling onto one of our sides, so go ahead and come on to the side that allows you to face towards your screen, and here's where if you have your pillows or your towel again, you can go for a long arm position here and maybe place a towel or two underneath your head.

You can also fold this arm and rest your head there. You could do this. However, it makes it a little bit harder to keep length in the top of the waist, and the last thing usually would be to fold your arm in front of you and place a pillow or something right there. So just get your head and neck in a long comfortable position, and we're gonna extend our legs so the whole upper body is against the back of our mat and the legs are more towards that front lower corner, hand in front of our chest. Squeeze the legs together, pull up through your abdominal muscles, push the bottom leg up against the top leg so they both lift, and we take them down.

So every time the legs are coming up, we want to think of reaching them longer, away from our bodies. We're using our hand here, and it might feel as though you have to picture the top pelvic bone pushing a bit forward if you recognize that you're wanting to roll backwards to get those legs to lift up. On the next one we're gonna try to hold both legs up, lower the bottom leg only, lower the top leg down. Squeeze them together again. They both go up. Bottom leg lowers.

Top leg comes down. One more time they both go up. Bottom leg lowers. Top leg comes down. Reversing it, we're gonna bring the top leg up. Don't go too high, 'cause you know what's going to happen. Bottom leg has to meet it. Bring both legs down.

Everybody just went like this. "Okay, this is my height right here." Top leg goes up again. Bottom leg tries to meet it. Two legs come down. Last time, top leg lifts, bottom leg meets it, and both legs come down. We're gonna be bending the bottom leg, just like we're sitting in a chair, so 90 degree give or take, knee coming out of the hip joint there, and then we're gonna hold on to our top pelvic bone, just to recognize where we are here with our positioning.

The top leg is now gonna be directly underneath our body line, and as we hold onto the top pelvis, we want to see if it's stacked over the bottom pelvic bone, or if it's already wanting to roll back or even wanting to roll too far forward, so if we can keep it stacked right on top, we're gonna flex this top foot. Lift that leg up. It might go a little higher than the height of your hip, but not by much. Bring it back down, and we'll pick it up, and we'll bring it down, so the leg is the only thing moving. We want to feel the crease happening here in the side of our hip joint, so as that leg lifts, that head, the femoral head, is moving inside the pelvis, inwardly and lowering down.

That's the only thing that's really happening. Everything else is trying to stay the same. So keep pulling up through the center of your body, and just notice what height you can work with, where if you went any higher, something's going to have to change. That's gonna be the end point. We'll do two more.

If you're getting sick of putting your hand here on your pelvis, feel free to place the hand back in front of your chest again. Last one there, and we'll lower it down. Go ahead and bend that top leg in, and we're gonna push ourselves up and just make our way around to the other side, so set yourself up in the same positioning, and if you notice that maybe one side has the sensitivity on the hip area there, that's where the towel can come in handy just to cushion that up as well. I had years where that was going on in my body and then one day it just wasn't anymore, so hopefully it won't be the case forever if that's going on in your body today. So legs are slightly forward, the body's along the back edge, and we've got our hand here for support.

Lift up through the center, take that bottom leg, start pushing up the top leg with it, and we bring them down. Then we just do about three or so of these, not necessarily counting. We just want to hone in on what this leg wants to do. If it feels stronger, maybe it doesn't feel as strong. This is my not so strong, adductor side, and we'll go ahead and move on.

So as we're ready to take both legs up again, we're gonna lower just the bottom leg, top leg stays still, control it in the air, then take it down. Both legs are going up. Bottom leg lowers first. Top leg comes after. We'll do one more. Both legs coming up, bottom leg goes down, top leg comes after.

The harder version now, in my opinion. We take the top leg up, we leave it there. We bring the bottom leg up to meet it. Both legs come down. Top leg comes up.

As the bottom leg comes to meet it, we're trying not to do the big toe kiss thing, right? We're trying to feel both sides, both of the insides of our feet trying to touch each other, or maybe the insides of our ankle bones. We're definitely thinking about the inner thighs. That was our last one. We're gonna bend the bottom leg underneath us.

Find that 90 degree angle give or take, and now we're going to take our hand on our top pelvic bone and make sure that it's stacked over the bottom pelvic bone. This top leg is now directly underneath us flexing that ankle. We begin to lift this leg up, see where it wants to go, and bring it back down to the floor. So it's all about the side of our hip right here, so finding that crease as the leg is lifting or picturing the head of the femur sinking into our pelvis every time that leg comes up, and then honing in on all these good hip and glute muscles that are a big reason why we can stay out of issues with our lower back. Abdominals are still drawing in deep, the neck is long, and we'll do a few more here.

Lower down, and just breathing as it feels right for you. It could be an exhale as the leg comes up. It could be an inhale as it comes down. We'll make that our last one either way. Stack that top leg on the bottom leg, and we're gonna push ourselves up, and we'll come right into the mermaid position, so if I need to take my towels or a blanket, prop them up underneath this glute, the externally rotated leg, we're going to do that, and if you're facing me straight on, this would be your right leg in the externally rotated position.

This would be the left leg that's behind us in internal rotation. So, taking our arms out to the sides, feel free to wiggle that hip around a few times, get some lubrication in there if it's feeling tense, and then shifting our ribs and shoulders towards the side we just came from, placing the hand on the floor, finding this open stretch through both arms. We're gonna take our top arm around, and as we place the hand either on the floor or maybe on the right leg somewhere, we want to try to actively press into both hands, feel the back of the ribs stretching apart, and trying to breathe deeply into them. Right hand stays on the floor. Left arm is gonna reach back up if you're mirroring what I'm doing, or whatever arm this is in your world.

Lift ourselves back up from there, and we do that one more time. So we shift, hand comes to the floor, push a bit into it, bring our free arm around, try to place it on the ground, relax the shoulders a bit away from our ears. Breathe deeply into the back ribs. Back hand stays on the floor. Our top arm opens again, find that stretch, and we'll bring ourselves up, changing the legs around to the other side.

If this doesn't work, this is not a position for everybody, you can definitely go into more of a diamond shape thing like this. You could also go into cross legs. So here we are, do a little bit of that motion if you need it, we're stretching our arms out. Same thing this way. Shift over. Place the hand down.

Take a second here to really feel how open and how long your arms can be. Where's the wing span? And as we take this top arm around, we're bringing that whole side of our body, that whole side of our rib cage with it and trying to breathe into this position a few times. Reopening the top arm, feel how long you can be on the diagonal first, and then pulling in deeper through the abdominals to help lift us back up. Shifting once again, hand comes to the floor, press, reach through both arms, take that energy around, trying to use both hands.

Of course the backhand's gonna have the most weight on it. Deep breath there, and as we open the top arm one more time, finish with that long stretch, and we'll bring ourselves upright. We're going to transition into some planking exercises next. Planking is a difficult thing for many reasons, but a lot of times what holds people back is wrist tension, so we're going to address a couple of ways that you can maybe get that out of the equation, so that's not the only thing that you're thinking about while we're trying to do these exercises. So we're spinning ourselves around.

We're going to be on hands and knees. For now, especially if you know that you struggle with some wrist tension or there's arthritic issues there in the hands, we're gonna place our hands just slightly forward of where our shoulders are. So just doing that alone, unless it feels kind of sketchy for you, it might be like, "Oh, I'm too far out there," walk them back where they're comfortable, but that alone is going to lessen the degree of flexion here in the joint. So spreading our fingers out, we're going to try to press into the tips of each finger, and for now we're going to walk our knees into that fist width apart and make sure that the feet are also fist width apart. Sense that the back is flat, and we're just trying to pull our abdominals away from the floor, but not so much that we start to round the spine.

So just holding this shape, pressing into the fingertips, pressing into your hands, lifting up through the center of our body, and then we're just going to sit back and release for a moment. We'll do it again. So we come towards our hands. They're still slightly forward of our shoulders. The back is flat.

Grab the mat with your fingertips to activate your forearm muscles more, activate the biceps a bit, and all of that helps to support our wrist joints and actually gives us a better connection into the deeper core muscles here of the body anyways, and then release all of that and come back. So if your wrists are feeling up for it, we're gonna slide our hands more under the shoulders. If that does not work, you can fold your mat up, place the heels of your hands on the cushion, let the fingers be on the ground, and that is another way that we can lessen the angle here of the wrist joint. Keeping the spread of the fingers, back is flat. Start pressing the fingertips into the floor again.

We're gonna step one leg back, press the toes into the ground, and extend through that knee. Think of what you would need to lift the other leg and the flank, but don't actually do it. Bring the knee down. Take the other leg back. Bend into those toes. Push back into your heel. We're still grabbing the mat.

Think of what it would take to lift the other leg up, but don't actually do it, and bring it back down. One more time. Leg steps back. Press into the toes. Press into the fingertips. Think I'm going to take this leg up, but don't actually do it, and bring the leg in. One more time. Other leg steps back.

Push into the toes. Push back into the heel. Feel the glutes kick on maybe. Think of lifting this leg off the ground. I'm almost doing it, and change your mind. Bring the legs in, and we'll sit back where we're comfortable in our knee joints there.

Come off of the hands, and we'll transition down onto our stomach, so organizing ourselves where we need to be, forearms are next to our body. We're gonna let our pelvis and legs wiggle around a few times here, just to acclimate to the floor being on the fronts of our legs as opposed to where they've been this whole time on the backs of our legs. So spreading the fingers out still, even though there's not nearly as much weight on them, we're gonna hone in on where our legs are. Start trying to slide them together, and then the very upper part of the inner thighs, we're gonna imagine squeezing something right there. If you have your towel, that might be a cool thing to check out.

Put the towel there. Pubic bone's gonna try to sense the floor, and then we're going to pull downward energy with our arms, so just start sliding your arms down the mat. They'll move like a centimeter, and then release that slide. Head is just hovering off the floor here. So we're squeezing that towel in between our upper inner thighs, even if it's imaginary, we're lifting up through the abdominal muscles here, and then we just slide our arms down the mat.

They're not really moving, but you know, and then relax all of that. One more time. Squeeze the upper inner thighs. Lift up through the center of the body. Start sliding downward with your arms, and now that sliding energy, we're gonna put a little bit of weight on our arms and start to take our chest forward and up so that our eyes will go along the floor, and we're gonna pause right here. If you need the support of your arms, we're pressing mostly into our elbows here, not the hands so much.

We don't want the shoulders to be doing that, so the elbows have the most pressure if anything. We're gonna attempt to lift the forearms and hands off the ground, but leave the elbows down, and take them to the floor. So our upper back extension is staying the same, forearms and hands lift, and take them to the floor. If we start to only feel our lower back, I know that I've lost my upper inner thigh connection. I just did, yeah (chuckles).

Come on, get 'em back on, and I know that I've maybe lost my pubic bone connection to the ground. One more time, elbows are on the floor, forearms try to lift, they come down, and upper body relaxes. Let everything else relax too. We'll try one more idea here. So same set up. Extend the legs.

Keep the tops of the feet on the floor. Squeeze the inner thighs. Start pulling downward energy with your arms, send the chest, send your eyes out along the floor. As we stay in this position, we're gonna try to pick up both arms just an inch away from the ground, just a centimeter, and lower the shape of them down. Nothing else is moving, just the forearms are lifting, hands are lifting, and take them back down.

Check in with that upper inner thigh connection. Can I still find them? Where's my pubic bone? Can I still feel that? One more time, lifting them, lower them down, and we'll relax right there. Elbows come off the floor here so we can push ourselves off of our stomach, walk the knees forward, and then just separating them the width of our shoulders give or take, round up through your back.

No right or wrong there, but before you sit back, try to allow your spine to flex, and then we're just going to sit back to a comfortable position for us. If your knees tell you to stop at a certain degree, listen to that. Hip joints, ankles. This should feel like a nice place to end, not more tension. Deep breath in, and whenever you're ready, take your next exhale, and we'll just slowly make our way upright.

Thank you so much for coming today.

Begin Pilates: with Erin Wilson

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Comments

1 person likes this.
Wonderful and clear instruction and progression for beginners!
Danita R thank you so much for your feedback and for taking the class 😊
Thank you so much Erin! beautiful gentle lovely class!
Mel S Hi! Thank you so much for your kind words 😊 and for taking the class! 
Thank  you Erin, this was great! I will try more  of your  classes!
Julia L thank you so much for taking the class! 🙏🏼😊
Great cueing!
Lina S Hi! Thank you so much! 😊
2 people like this.
Great class for discovering your starting movements/energy.  Erin is cues those activation movements we have a tendency to ignore when we just want to get to the big movement.  Whether it's starting with a press into the stance hand, a connection between the high inner thighs, or retraction of the femur, you'll find some movements that probably start deeper than you've been doing.
1 person likes this.
Allison O thank you so much for your incredible feedback 🙏🏼  I am so happy you found deeper connections in your body. That’s the hope! Thank you so much again!
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