Class #4817

Energize With Your Breath

45 min - Class
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Awareness of your breath is essential to your Pilates practice. You will use your breath to bring attention to certain areas of your body which will ease tension, create length, and build your skills of moving fluidly with your breath. Erin Wilson's intention of this class is simply for you to feel great in your body. Enjoy this expansive and energetic class!
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 fifth class in a series of six and we'll be focusing on the Pilate's principle of breathing or your breath. So, I'm sitting up on a couple of towels at the moment, feel free to prop yourself up on a thick blanket, towels, even pillows can work fine. We wanna be able to sit ourselves upwards, but not be uncomfortable. So, a lot of times if you're tight around your hips that can be an issue.

So, get that out of the equation from the very beginning here and just find a comfortable way to sit, it doesn't have to be crossed legs. We're gonna do a few breathing exercises just to hone in on the areas of our body that we wanna feel expanding and releasing as we're going through the Pilates work. So, find your setup right now and as we're just allowing our bodies to be in this position, I'll invite you to close your eyes for some of this work and we're gonna place one hand on the lowest part of our stomach area, the lowest part of our abdominal area, i.e., the pelvis. So, place one hand down here and just imagining your body being tall, but without a lot of tension. As we inhale, see if you can expand that breath into your hand, into your pelvis and as we exhale, allow that breath and that area under your hand to soften away from it.

So, we'll breathe in again, allow that area to expand into your hand and as we breathe out, allow that area to release away from your hand. So, we're intentionally moving our abdominal muscles here, there's so much emphasis in the work and most exercise modalities of always sucking your abs in, but we forget that they are meant to go in both directions, muscles in our body in general they're meant to fully contract and they're also meant to release. We'll transfer our hand now to the the upper part of our stomach, so where the rib cage is and there's that separation where the true stomach organ is, we're gonna be placing our hand right there just lightly and then same idea when you go to breathe in, can you feel that area expanding into your hand, we are opening up our stomach area here and then as we breathe out, that area softens. And as you continue to breathe, just notice what's happening in the rest of your body. So, usually as we inhale, we should feel that our chest and our shoulders, everything kind of lifts with that inhalation and then as we exhale, everything up there softens down.

One more breath right here, expanding your abdominal muscles, expanding the stomach area and then exhale, softening those areas away from your hands. Final position, we're gonna take our hand up towards our chest, feel free to switch hands anytime, same focus. So, as we breathe in here, can we expand the area of our chest into our hand with our inhale and as we exhale, can we feel the chest softening down and away from our hand. Now, I want us to do that about three or four breath cycles, trying to breathe in and out of our nose as much as we can, but feel free to breathe in and out of your mouth. There's a lot of great science out right now about nasal breathing and all the benefits that we get from doing that, so if your nostrils are willing, try to inhale and exhale out of them and the last little bit is going to be into the lateral breath.

So, with the Pilates work, we're mostly focusing on lateral breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, it's little lingo. So, the diaphragm muscle, which is this nice hood like an umbrella underneath the ribs here, that muscle is moving down towards your pelvis and it's also moving up to make room for our huge lungs inflating and deflating. So, when we work through all the Pilates exercises, we're gonna be focusing on just the breathing that's associated with a lot of them today. This is where we wanna try to feel more of that sensation. So, if your shoulders allow, take your hands, find the outsides of your ribs here and as you take your next breath in, we'll try to expand our lateral ribs, the lateral side of the rib cage out into our hands or just picture that happening and then as we exhale, feel them just softening down towards your pelvis, but also inwardly towards each other.

So, we will breathe in, think of the ribs expanding outwardly and also behind us and then as we exhale, feel the ribs softening inward and dropping a little bit down. Let me do that one more time. So, breathing in, the diaphragms moving downwardly making room for our lungs and as we exhale that diaphragm is moving upwardly. I'm way exaggerating this, your diaphragm is not moving that much. Take a moment here, let your arms relax and hopefully that has set us up just to recognize where breath is happening and just recognizing that our pelvic muscles are also respiratory muscles, so they are meant to also expand and contract as we breathe.

So, we'll be focusing mostly just on the breath cycles for all of the exercises in today's class, feel free to get rid of your towels if you're sitting on them and we'll go ahead and turn ourselves so we can lay down on our backs right away and we'll place our feet a little further apart than where we have been for the last several classes, we're gonna place our feet about the width of our hip bones here today or the width of our pelvis, so not quite as narrow as the sit bones are, but we want them to be parallel nonetheless. Arms are gonna relax by our sides, we're not putting a ton of effort there. And in fact, maybe bend your elbows and open them out to the sides a bit so that when we take our next inhale, we can picture our ribs expanding out towards our elbows and as we go to exhale, curl the pubic bone towards your chest, start rolling up into your bridge and feel the breath as you exhale, letting the chest soften down and picking our pelvis up. When we get to the high point, take another inhale, think of the ribs expanding laterally again towards your elbows and as we go to exhale, soften the ribs down towards your pelvis and use that idea to articulate through your spine and place the pelvis on the floor. Well, breathe in here, find that normal curve under your low back, the breath out connects us to our pelvic muscles, curls our tailbone, curls our body off of the floor coming up into the bridge, we just keep breathing as we move.

Holding the high point of the bridge, we breathe into the sides of our ribs, expanding them wider and then as we exhale, we feel them softening downward and inwardly towards the center of our body. Taking our arms and reaching them up to the ceiling, palms can face towards the end of the mat, they could also face towards each other. Sometimes that helps us keep the upper parts of our shoulders on the mat. Taking a deep breath, we do the same thing. So, as we exhale, we curl the pubic bone up, we lift our pelvis off of the mat, we're gonna find the high point of our bridge again and once we're there, just continuing the breath, we're gonna reach our arms behind our head.

Depending on how tight your shoulders are, the backs of your hands might touch the floor or they might just have to hover off the ground. Leave your arms back there either way, we're gonna inhale into our whole body and as we start to breathe out, can we think of reaching longer through our arms, even though they're not moving, there's just more energy and letting all the breath escape. Inhale again whenever you need to, take that long, long exhale as you continue to come down the rest of the way. Once our pelvis has landed we're just gonna bring our arms back up to the ceiling again. Back and the shoulders are heavy on the floor, we take our next breath out, we roll our pelvis, roll our lower back, continue to lift up towards the shoulders as we take our arms over our head, we find a deep breath in, expanding the sides of our ribs again, the sides of our body.

As we exhale, we soften the sternum, we soften the stomach, no tension in those areas. Inhale again when you need to and think of that breath in expanding the back of your rib cage more and once our pelvis has come back to neutral, we'll bring our arms back up to the ceiling and we do this one more time. This should feel good, that's the intention. So nice and smooth. We know the musculature that we're looking for hopefully by now if you've done the previous classes, so let's just let our breath do a lot of the work for us today.

Arms are transitioning behind, leaving them back there, inhale nice and big through your whole body. As we exhale, think of reaching even more energy through your arms, letting the organs, letting our abdominals soften down and eventually once our pelvis has landed on the floor, we're gonna take our arms, they're are behind us right now, we're just gonna slide them out to more of a T-position on the floor. You can keep the palms facing up, you could also choose to place them down. Walking our feet and legs together and giving a little squeeze or a little hug of the inner thighs. Deep breath in, we're gonna tilt our knees over to the right, the left foot comes off the floor, exhale again right here.

As we inhale this time, can we stretch or think of opening up the left side of our waist. As we breathe out, can we contract into that left side of our waist to pull the knees back to the middle. We'll take our legs over to the left, the right foot comes off the floor. Hold that position. Again, the next breath in, can we expand the right side of our waist, the right side of the rib cage and as we breathe out, can we contract in to the right side of our waist to bring our knees back to the center.

And these are just ideas, but use your breath, make that a big point here today with these exercises. We're going back over to the right, inhale again, how long can the left side of your waist get? Exhale, feel that effort now of the musculature on the left side of your waist to bring the legs up, taking them over to the left and just keeping the legs squeezing together. Deep breath into the right side of your waist, right rib cage. You can even reach the right arm longer.

Exhale, contracting into that right side. Pausing here in the middle, we're gonna go and take one leg up followed by the other, coming into a 90 degree, hug the legs together still, we take them back over to the right, much smaller movement. We're keeping the left shoulder blade on the floor. As we inhale here, we're gonna see if we can extend the legs out just a little bit. Exhale can bend them back in and find your way back to the center.

Try the opposite breath. We're gonna roll the legs a little bit to the left, try to exhale this time as they extend out, not fully, inhale as they rebend, exhale to find the center. So, we roll to the right, upper back stays firm on the ground, we can breathe as the legs extend, take another breath as they bend and the fourth breath brings them home. One more time, breathe deep, again it could be an inhale as they rotate, exhale, feel what happens, the center of the body, they're gonna kick on regardless, but especially if we're really focused on making each breath count. We'll find our way back to the center, we'll place one foot down at a time and we'll take a moment right there.

Reaching our arms up to the ceiling, let's interlace our fingers, make that nice connection to the back of our head, elbows where we can see them, legs and feet are still together, just a light squeeze going on and our pelvis feels relatively at ease. Take a deep breath in, think of the inhale expanding behind you now into the back ribs and as we exhale, feel the front of the rib cage softening down to curl you up. Pausing here, we take another deep breath in, can we lift the back ribs up even more with that inhale and as we exhale, we're gonna release our upper body to the floor. So, we inhale, think of widening your ribs, exhale softens the rib cage down and slides it closer to our pelvis. Our next breath in widens the back of the rib cage again.

Exhale, we just come down using that breath to release. Inhaling again, get wide in the ribs, wide in the shoulder area. The exhale, I wanna feel how that deflates and helps us come into spinal flexion. The inhale just kinda picks our upper back up more, use the top part of those lungs, pick your shoulders up a bit with them and then we exhale to come down. As we breathe out again, we come forward, holding the legs still, holding the pelvis still, we breathe and we think of expanding the shoulders even wider, expanding our back ribs even wider,, exhale to soften and release.

One more time here. Deep breath in, open everything up behind you, exhale, we're shortening the front of the body, but now as we breathe in again, we're trying to stay even wider and even further apart with our shoulder blades as we come back down and let all of that relax. From here we're taking our knees back into our chest, hands are gonna disconnect from the head, grab behind the backs of your knees focusing on some more percussive tight breathing just to do some rocking and rolling forward and back. We take the shins, we lift them up, lower legs and as we start to curl them down, we're going to take a nice, long breath out and make a hhh kind of sound with it. So, here we go.

Breathe in and one more time, we'll pause here at the top, taking our feet down and grabbing onto the front's of our shins or the ankles if we want a tighter rolling like a ball position. Knees can always stay separated, knees can also come together for an even harder variation. Opening up the shoulder blades, wide elbows, when we go to breathe in and roll back, can we picture the back ribs being so wide that it gives us this nice, smooth rolling motion. Here we go. Exhaling as we come up.

Inhale to widen the back ribs, exhaling as we come up. Three more times, inhaling back and two more. One more time, big breath in, long breath out and we hold there, feet are coming down. Taking ourselves into the roll up. So, you know all of the different variations from the previous classes by now, so we got the leg variation holding on, we've got the crossing one leg over, we've got the bent knees, we have the rolled up towel behind our lower back and today I'm gonna be doing just the full variation with straight legs.

So, feel free to do any of those other variations if this is not gonna work for your body today. So, we start in an upright position, we're gonna round our spine and bend forward over the legs, start honing in on where the adductors are and now with our deep breath in, we're gonna think of expanding the rib cage again behind us, the exhale is gonna connect to our abdominal muscles on the way down and then we have to breathe in again, we keep the idea of expanding our ribs both laterally and behind us, take yourself up. Breathing out as we work through that sticky spot in our back or the place where it's harder even abdominalwise to get through and we inhale again, get wide. So, sometimes it's helpful to even bend the elbows and take them out to the sides a bit if we're really emphasizing that lateral breath. We'll give ourselves one or two more if you're doing the single-leg version, holding onto one leg, make sure that you're switching every now and then because one leg can be very different to roll up within the other one.

We're gonna make this our last one either way and as we all make our way down onto the floor, if you have the towel behind your back, go ahead and slide that out. We're gonna bend one of our knees, fix your reverse wedges if you need to, we're gonna grab behind the back of one of our legs and if you're doing this version of the roll up, you're already where you need to be. Pressing this thigh into our hands, find your next deep breath, whether it's an inhale or an exhale, but use that breath to try to straighten your leg. Another breath is gonna bend it back down. So, without thinking, "Oh, my hamstrings" or even anything muscularly here, can we really just pretend like my breath in or my breath out is making my leg move.

So, we extend it one more time and let it bend one more time. As we straighten up again, we're gonna hold the leg in extension and we can definitely bend the bottom leg and keep the knee bent and you could even keep it there for the circles. Letting go of our leg, we can open the arms out to the T or if you want more of a challenge, bring the arms closer to the sides of your mat. Crossing the right leg over the center of the body or whatever leg is in the air, take a breath in here, big one. Exhale is gonna bring the leg all the way through the circle, big breath in here at the top as it crosses over, long exhale as it circles around again, so that inhale is moving our leg over the centerline of the body, the exhale starts once the leg is actually moving downward.

One more time, breath as it comes around, find the ceiling, take a pause. Breathe in again, the leg is moving out to the right, exhale takes it around and back up. Big breath in, exhale moves it around and up. I'm being very dramatic with my breathing here, okay, but am I really doing that in real life? It doesn't have to sound like that, don't get too nuts.

But just for the emphasis of it, yeah, we wanna really focus on overly using our breath maybe today. Find the ceiling on the last one, we're gonna bend that knee and just slide that leg down on the floor. I did my right leg, so I'm gonna grab on behind the back of my left one, grab on behind the back of the leg you haven't done yet and then we're pressing our thigh into our hands, this all goes back to the first couple of classes to try to bring that pelvic bone down and keep our pelvis level. So, again find a breath, inhale or exhale, make it big, straighten your leg because your breath is doing it, bending your knee because your breath is doing that and again, so inhale, exhale, doesn't really matter, just breathe into this, we're not gonna overthink it. That's almost the whole point of this class is not thinking so much muscularly anymore and just really focusing on how the oxygen can help us move through these exercises.

On the last extension, we're gonna hold our leg there, arms again can open out to the T, they can come next to you, crossing this leg over the centerline of the body we breathe in, exhale as it comes around and comes back up. Inhale as it moves across, exhale as it comes around and up and we're still doing the version where our pelvis and our body are staying relatively still on the floor, not going into rotation yet of our pelvis and spine. After your last one that way, find the ceiling for a moment, feel free to soften the knee any time, inhale moves our leg out to the side, exhale brings it down, crosses it over and picks it up. Inhale to move it out, exhale brings it around and just focus on the breath. There's not much to see here, I don't know what you're looking at at home, but you know, ceiling is not really that interesting.

So, feel free to close your eyes, make your last one happen and once it does, bend that knee, slide your leg down and just shake out both legs for a few seconds. Give them a little break. As they're ready to come back up, maybe bend your knees slightly, bring your arms up to the ceiling, take a deep breath in as our head and chest come forward with our arms and then if I need to hold onto my legs as I exhale and sit up the rest of the way, that's what we'll do. Transitioning into the spine stretch. Sitting on your towels at this point or anything else that you might need to do to make the position more accessible.

Fill the width of our mat, feel free to bend your knees, arms are reaching out, palms down or facing each other depending on how that feels for your shoulders today, lifting up through the front, breathing there, lifting up through the back and really thinking of the balloons that are our lungs. Those balloons are picking your ribs and picking the whole upper body up to the ceiling. So, as we inhale, use that imagery maybe to pick your body up first and then as we exhale, feel the expansion more muscularly now of those rib cage muscles behind you. Deep breath in, out here, now as we inhale, expand the back of your ribs laterally and also behind you again and as we exhale to sit back up, feel that the chest, the shoulders are softening down. Breathe in, let that pick yourself up, pick the ribs up with that inhale, exhale is gonna soften the chest, we get to stretch out those back rib muscles.

Find the bottom, take another intentional inhale here, expand behind you even greater with that, exhale is gonna move us up, relaxing the shoulders as we come tall. One more time here. Just another focus. So, sometimes it's easier to think of what our breath is doing for each exercise than to always only think of the muscles. They're gonna follow.

One more time, take your next exhale to stack your spine up, breathe and again when you need to, feel tall with that breath and we'll let our arms and our back relax here for a few seconds. Going into the spine twist. So, we're gonna draw our legs closer together and we know that the closer they are, the harder it is to sit upright, it's not easier. And here's the other idea. If I have a hard time extending my leg when we were laying down, this is essentially the same position, so back being flat.

So, it's another way to look at that like, "Okay, if I can't really do that so well, I can't necessarily sit up tall with my legs straight out as well either." So, just things that we can always draw our parallels from. So, I'm gonna choose to bend my knees slightly, feel free to do the same, feel free to prop yourself up on those towels again. Hands are going behind our head for now, we're gonna gently press the back of our head into them and we're just getting our arms out of the way because we're still focusing on this lateral breath. So, as we're ready to breathe in, let's use that inhale today to rotate us to the right or left and then as we exhale today, we'll find the center. So, inhale is gonna pick your ribs up out of your pelvis and then the exhale is gonna soften them back down.

So, again our breath in lifts us up as we rotate and the breath out helps us transition to the center. Inhale again, use it to help you lift, our lungs are huge, exhale as we come back to the center, use them, let them pull you up, lift you up and exhale to the center. One more to the second side, breathe as you twist, legs are staying still, exhale back to the middle and we're gonna be letting go of our head here, opening our arms out to a T. So, a bit more of a percussive breath this time or something that would be a different version. As we rotate to the first side, we're gonna take a double breath in and exhale to come back to the center.

So, we rotate, breathe in and in, find your way back to the middle, go the other way, breath in, breath in, find your way to the center, we'll do that again. So, we inhale to lift up, lift up a little taller, exhale to unwind. Inhale picks you up, picks you up a little taller, exhale to unwind. Take a moment here, relax your back, relax your legs and we'll reverse the breath. Find your position, arms back out, they're extensions of our body, the body is doing most of the work.

Now, with a double exhale, we go to the first side, so we exhale once, twice, find your way back to the center. Exhale the other way once, twice, back to the center. We're not necessarily twisting further with that second breath, but rather with the exhalation, we're squeezing more juice out of the center of our bodies. One more to each side, exhale, squeeze a little bit more out of it with that second breath, one more time the other way twice, find the center and again let's just collapse right there. Take a little break.

Scooting forward. So, we're gonna move our pelvis closer to our feet here, make sure there's room for our back and our head to lay down again. So, holding onto your shins or the backs of your knees, but either way bring your legs with you and we're laying down and we're always gonna take a few seconds here just to reacclimate to the floor and let our back really relax for a few more seconds. So, we'll be getting into the double-leg stretch, the single-leg stretch exercise and also the criss-cross. I'll give us a couple of seconds in-between for our break, but we're gonna try to move more swiftly through these exercises today and just thinking of the breath.

So, our legs are staying close to us. As we go to extend them, we'll start with them more up to the ceiling, arms are gonna reach down by our sides, you can always choose to keep your head down the whole time. Breathe in here to prepare. Let your exhale extend your legs, lift your head and chest up, arms reach down, let another breath pull you back in. So, we could inhale or exhale as we extend our legs and arms, another breath brings everything home.

Two more like this, stretching the legs, outreaching down through our arms, breathe as we bring them home. One more time, inhale or exhale to make it long right here, make it long as you come down. We're curling up once again and we're gonna stay. Head and chest stay lifted if they can, just grabbing onto our legs to pull them in with a breath out. Inhale to stretch our arms and legs away.

Exhale to fold our arms and legs in, inhale to stretch them away. One more time, exhale folds them in. Inhale, we stretch everything away and as we grab our legs, lower your head and chest down and take a moment here. Both hands go to the right leg, we're gonna extend the left leg out on the diagonal, low and long, pulling up on the right knee before bringing our head up, we'll curl the upper back off the floor, stay wide with the elbows today, wide with the shoulder blades. Inhale as the legs transition, exhale as the opposite leg extends.

Inhale, exhale it out. Every time we breathe in, can we expand behind us more with that breath, not just expand in the stomach area with the breath and we're just catching our knee every time, pressing down into that leg with our hands, pressing the knee a bit into our hands as well. Two more times here. A real two, not two on each leg and that's gonna be it. Bring your knees into your chest, let your head come down.

Still holding onto our knees, press your knees into your hands and as they come closer over your pelvis, once again bring your head, neck and shoulders up, looking straight ahead at the thighs, try to relax your pelvis here a little bit, letting go off our legs, hands are behind our head, elbows where we can see them, nice, wide shoulder blades. Shins are lifting, we're extending the left leg, we're rotating towards our right knee, inhale as we come back to the center with everything, exhale to go to the left side, inhale to find the center. So, we're gonna add the speed now, we'll exhale, inhale to the center, switch right away, exhale, inhale, center and we keep that going, breathe out, breathe out. Breathe out, breathe out. Inhale big, exhale and exhale.

Two more to each side and two, one more to each side and one, bring both knees into your chest, letting go and just resting here for a moment. We'll place our feet down as wide as our mat and you can also choose to reposition them once we get going. We're gonna take a good stretch here I hope for our thigh muscles and for the lower sides of our back and pelvis. So, as our arms are open, the upper back is gonna stay on the floor and with our feet wide, take both knees over to your right. So, this is meant to be a passive movement, but we can definitely make it more active if we want to muscularly, so if you push more on the inner edge of your left foot or think of squeezing your left glutes a bit that can also enhance the stretch, but more so than that let's think of the breath.

So much like we did before with this exercise and the legs were together, can we breathe into the left side of our body and those left ribs and really expand. On our next exhale, bring both knees back up. Keeping the width in between the feet, we let our knees drop over to the left, pelvis is gonna move with you so the right butt cheek is probably not on the floor and that's okay, it might be though too and then if we need a little bit more, we can push on the inner edge of the right foot this time or squeeze the right glutes, the two usually have the same effect but sometimes not. But more importantly, can we inhale into the right side of our ribs, the right side of our waist, the right side of our lower back. And on your next exhale, bring both legs back up to the center.

We're gonna walk our feet and legs towards each other, we're coming into that fist with apart position, feet fairly close to our glutes for the shoulder bridge. Arms are resting down by our sides for now, in a moment we're gonna put a little bit more effort of course into the backs of our upper arms, spread the toes out, deep breath in, expand everything with that inhale, let it all move. As we exhale, we curl the pubic bone towards the chest. We continue to breathe and we find the lift that our body needs to hold ourselves in the bridge. Taking a deep breath here, we're gonna extend one leg straight up to the ceiling right away and with a breath in, we lower the leg down knee to knee, with an exhale we pull it back up.

Inhale sends the leg away from us, exhale lifts it up. Inhale sends the leg away, exhale lifts. Two more times. Exhale it up. Last one, lift it with your breath, bend the knee to place the foot down, transition right away into extending the other leg up.

Feel free to keep the knee bent anytime and lower and lift from the foot or lower and lift from the hip. Take the leg down, again that can be an inhale, exhale, use that breath to pull the leg home. Lower down, big breath in, exhale brings it up. And we keep that going, everything else is still, we know what we're trying to feel for here muscularly now, so just use your breath to pump the leg, find your last one, bend the knee to place the foot down, feel that equal balance in your pelvis again, equal balance in the feet, inhale big, all the different ways we can move that breath, exhale, relax through your whole body as we roll down through the spine. Transitioning onto our side, we can just roll over to one side where you can face your screen, help ourselves up and we're gonna be getting into some weight bearing with a single arm today.

So, a modified side plank is what we're getting into next. So, we're gonna try to place our legs together in a stacked position and as we take our forearm and point it forward, we wanna look down at the elbow joint and we're trying to line it up underneath the shoulder. Everyone's anatomy is different, we have the same parts, they're not just necessarily in our bodies in the same way. So, there're plenty of times where if I put my arm out a little bit more, I actually get a better connection in my shoulder musculature versus if it's too close to me. So, ideally, we wanna put our forearm in a position where I can feel some good pressure downward on the elbow, but I can also still use my hand and feel that on the floor.

So, taking the free hand here, we're gonna find the underside of our body, the underside of our ribs and we're gonna let them drop down for a second and allow the shoulder to kind of shrug up here towards our ear. And as we take our ribs and take our hand and pull the rib cage back up, notice how that lifts you out of your shoulder. So, we wanna find a happy medium where we're not doing this, but we're also not overly doing that. So, figure out where the center is and then we're breathing into the top rib cage. Opposite hand can be on the floor for support.

Usually the neck likes to talk in this position too, so I always opt to place my hand on the top of my head and then think of reaching the top of my head into my hand. Squeezing the legs together, we keep pressing down into the elbow, we press the bottom knee into the floor and we try to pick our bottom hip up off the ground. As we place the hip down, we try to not collapse or lose the connection that we have here in the shoulder. So, once again we push our head out into our hand, lifting the bottom hip just a couple inches off the ground at the most, but as we lower the hip down, we resist against it. One more time here, pressing into the elbow, not too much though, we wanna rely on these muscles more, we can breathe in to lift our hip up and as we exhale, lower the hip down and we're gonna come off of our forearm and move around to the other side.

So, stacking our legs in the same way, coming onto our forearm, making sure the hand can feel the ground and if it doesn't, maybe the wrist is very tight and it's more of like a claw thing. Eventually, we'll see if we can get that wrist positioned a bit straighter, it's not possible? That's okay. It doesn't make or break the exercise. Elbow positioned onto the shoulder if possible, but maybe a little forward and then we'll do the same thing, legs are stacked, the knees are just a little below the hip crease line.

Allow the ribs to go down, relax, this feels so much better, doesn't it? And then try to pull them up and overly do it and then do it one more time. Get a little lazy there, ah, that feels good and then get too much lift and now find the happy medium between the two, keeping the chest open, hand on the floor if we need that help, pushing the top of our head into our hand, finding the fingertips, finding our elbow, lifting the bottom hip off of the floor and then resisting, putting the bottom hip back down. So, here's where the breath can be handy. If I inhale up into these top ribs and think of my lungs, pulling my pelvis off the ground, even though it's not necessarily happening, that might be an interesting visual and it might help take some of the tension that is not impossible to feel on this arm.

That's impossible not to feel rather on this arm, there's a lot of weight there. Give yourself one more maybe and if you're over it, that's fine. This is gonna be our last one either way, put your hip down and we'll come all the way back up. Transitioning into some planking exercises next with both of our arms. So, now that our shoulders, everything is primed from those last weight-bearing exercises, hopefully we're really honed in on what we need strengthwise in order to hold ourselves up with both arms this time.

So, making our way onto our hands, this is where if you know you struggle with wrist tension, we can always fold the front of our mat up and place the heel of the hand on the folded portion with your fingers on the floor. So, putting a little bit space in between all of our fingers and for now we're gonna have our hands more or less under the shoulders or maybe just slightly wider if you have a broader back. Bring our knees and feet together. We're gonna start stepping back with one leg, lifting up through your abdominals and pushing a bit into the floor. Keep the eyes at the front edge of your mat or just slightly out on the ground.

We're gonna right away pick that other leg up, squeeze them together and now from here, bring both knees down to the ground. So, now we're in our modified plank position. If this is too hard or you're just finding that it's not feeling good for you today, walk the knees slightly more forward and allow your pelvis to pick up more in the plank today. From here we're gonna pick our knees up, squeezing the inner thighs together, place the knees back down, elbows point towards our feet, we think of pulling our body through our hands as we bend our elbows maybe just an inch, pushing ourselves up. Lift up through your abdominals.

As the legs extend, breathe out. Inhale is gonna put them back down, exhale to bend the elbows, inhale to push ourselves up. Two more times, exhale to pick the knees up, inhale places them down. Use your breath to bend your arms, breathe as you push yourself away. One more time, legs are lifting for a moment and it could just be one leg at the same time, one leg only, one more time.

Use your breath to bend your arms, use your breath to push, we'll slowly sit back towards our feet and come off of our hands. From here we're transitioning onto our stomach for the adult tummy time and we'll be going more into the full swimming exercise today. So, we're gonna start with our arms, how they were in the last class, extended out towards the front corners of our mats, we have a nice, wide V shape and we're doing this mostly because tight shoulders are a big reason why this exercise can be very difficult and not feel as attainable. So, when our arms are closer, that's not helping anything. So, if you do have looser shoulders, potentially play around with having your arms slightly closer together today.

Legs and feet, everything's gonna come together back there, squeeze through the upper inner thighs, pubic bone on the floor and when it's possible, especially with the breath out, think of lifting your abdominals away from the ground. So, we're gonna slide our arms down the floor, just the sensation of plugging our upper arm bones into the sockets and then pressing down lightly on our hands, let's think of pulling our hands still on the floor and reaching our head and chest out into extension. Staying here, we're gonna begin to lift the right hand off the floor and the left leg off the floor, lower them down. We're gonna lift the left arm off the floor and the right leg off the floor, lower them down. So, we're not looking for the arm to go too high, especially if you do have very tight shoulders to begin with and then it's just the upper trapezius game.

The traps are involved, but they're not the only show in town. Opposite arm, opposite leg and same thing with the legs. If they're going a bit too high, it might be because you're overextending your lower back. So, as soon as that leg lifts up, that could be our exhale, draw the abdominals away from the floor, inhale lowers them down. Exhale, reach your arm and leg long, inhale to place them down.

One more to each side, low or away and when you know that you're even side to side, just let everything relax for a moment, bring your head down, you can also rest your forehead or your cheek on the ground. Deep breath. One more time, legs are squeezing together, not a ton of them stays on the glutes until that leg comes up, but the upper, inner thighs hugging those in. Hey, think of sliding your arms towards you without bending your elbows and then reaching your chest towards them, towards your hands, find that low, upper back extension. So, as our right arm and left leg hover this time, we're gonna see if at some point all of our limbs can be off the ground as we transition and pick up the left arm and the right leg.

So, we can breathe out during the transition, inhale here, exhale as they transition again. So, we just continue to breathe, it's a simultaneous movement and we're attempting to keep our pelvis fairly still here, keep the trunk fairly still and just move the limbs, we're finding that cross connection between the opposite shoulder and the opposite glute and hip. After your last one where you know that you're even, relax again, take your hands under your shoulders, push yourself off of your stomach, we'll walk our knees forward, can you tell this is how I like to end every time? Hands under our shoulders, give or take, push into whatever's touching the floor so that you can round your back at some nice leverage there to stretch. And then as we are ready to sit back, we will go ahead and sit as low as we feel comfortable, take a few more seconds and as giving gratitude to your lungs, feeling alive with our breath and as we're ready to sit up from there, just keeping that awareness of how wonderful breath can be.

Thank you so much.

Begin Pilates: with Erin Wilson

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Comments

1 person likes this.
Loved that class, thank you!
Aine B thank you so much for taking the class! 😊
This is a beautiful class, thank you Erin x

Breath is wonderful as you are; thank you so much for this wonderful class :)
For even the experienced practitioner.  Do the more active expression of the exercises but take enough time to see how fuller inhale or exhale contributes to your practice.  I found the strong exhale especially helpful in hip circles where I have a hard time bringing my weaker right side obliques into the stabilization when the left leg is active.  What will you discover?
1 person likes this.
Cigdem A thank you so much for continuing with the series! This was my favorite class to film. How amazing is our breath, right?!
1 person likes this.
Julie L thank you so much for taking the class!
1 person likes this.
Allison O thank you for continuing with the series! I also find a stronger breath on the leg circles to be very helpful 😊. Thank you for taking the time to comment 🙏🏻
1 person likes this.
Breath can energize and relax. Nice class. I've enjoyed the plank variation.
2 people like this.
Lina S I liked the plank variation, too.  When you can't do a full push-up it can be hard to know what to do instead that feels like a progressive sequence.  Erin's planks feel like you're getting somewhere.
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