Class #4818

Finding Your Flow

45 min - Class


This is the final class in Erin Wilson's beginner Pilates series! The hope is that you are now familiar with the exercises and know what modifications and/or variations that work best for you. The focus is to flow and move fluidly through and in between each exercise. You will feel energized, strong, and ready for more Pilates!
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hi, I'm Erin Wilson. Thank you so much for joining me today for a mat class. This is the last class in this series, and today we'll be focusing on the Pilates principle of flow. The hope is by the time you get to this last class, you're familiar with the exercises, and you're familiar with how to set yourself up to perform and do the exercises well in your body. So we'll begin laying down.

Go ahead and make your way onto your mat. And if you know that you need something behind your head to support your head and neck, go ahead and organize that for yourself right now. We'll place our feet and legs in a comfortable distance apart from each other, and also a comfortable distance away from our glutes. Arms are gonna open out slightly wider than our mat. And we'll take a few seconds just to settle into the surface that's behind us.

So if you're working with a more soft mat, you might feel there's a little more cushion underneath you. If it's a thin mat, you might sense more of the floor. And allow your bones and all of the muscles around them to settle in. Starting to focus on some breath. We're gonna inhale, make that long and big throughout your whole body.

And allow the exhale to come all the way out. Don't hold anything left in there. So huge breaths in, thinking of maybe a four or a five second inhalation. And then perhaps an even longer exhalation. Get all the oxygen in there and out of there.

Focusing into more abdominals on the next breath. So we'll breathe in again, fill everything up. And as we go to breathe out, try to sense your pubic bone curling up towards your chest and the lower back, imprinting a bit heavier into the mat. Inhale is gonna send our pelvis away from our chest, and we'll sense that bit of space underneath our low back again. Exhale's gonna contract into those abdominal muscles, and pull them deep into our lower back until our lower back can sense more of the floor.

Inhale again, releases our pelvis down, and we find that normal curvature in the lumbar. On our next breath out, we'll curl the pubic bone towards our chest, and we'll start to put some pressure into our feet, contracting through our glutes, and just barely lifting our pelvis off the floor. Begin to roll your lower back down. And as your tailbone begins to tilt towards the ground, take a big breath in there again. Exhale, we gather our abdominals into our low back.

We contract a bit through the glutes, through the backs of the legs, and just barely pick the pelvis up off the floor. As we roll it back down and allow the tailbone to tilt, take a deep breath in there. We'll give ourselves one more. So just sensing how our lower back, how our pelvis is feeling today. Are things tight? Are things loose?

Come down on the last one, relax your pelvis completely. And we'll organize our feet, walking them into a more fist width apart position, and possibly walking our heels even closer to our glutes to put more weight into our feet Deep breath in again. As we exhale, we curl that pubic bone towards our chest. We take the wheels of our pelvis, and continue to roll them towards our upper body as the rest of our back continues to lift off of the mat. Balancing more towards the tops of our shoulders here.

We deep breathe in, finding your next exhale, and just allowing the chest to sink down in between your shoulder blades. Feeling the back ribs spreading wider as they touch the floor, moving through the lower back. Inhaling at the bottom just to open up our pelvic position again. And we'll just give ourselves a couple more like this. So you can go at your pace.

As always find a breath that works best for you. Make sure the breath in is happening, not just holding our breath, and not just focusing only on the exhalation. Continuing to come down and just giving ourselves one more. And it's at the high point of this next bridge, we're gonna hold the lift. So we're balancing on the backs of our upper arms, the backs of our shoulders.

We feel our feet start spreading the toes out. Sense where the big toe is, the pinky toe, and the heel. Pressing into those three points, we shift our weight onto the right foot, and lift the left leg up to a 90 degree. Placing that foot down. We transfer the weight, picking the right leg up to a 90 degree, and placing that leg down.

Feeling the rest of our body remaining still. And just that seamless transition as the legs lift side to side. We could always inhale as the leg lowers, exhale as the next leg lifts. And give yourself one more on each side. Trying to stay open in the chest.

Long behind the back of our neck. And once we find that we're even side to side, placing both feet down, soften through the chest. One more time, find your next breath, and follow that down to the floor one vertebrae after the next, until our pelvis is back in neutral. We'll walk our feet and legs completely together from here, and start sliding our arms more out to the sides. Palms can be up or down.

Palms up always feels a little nicer to me. I feel like I can open my chest area a bit more of my shoulder area. Keeping the legs glued together, honing in on the inner thighs, squeezing. We tilt the knees over to the right. That left foot's gonna come off the floor if that feels safe on your back.

Breathing here as we exhale, we press that right knee into our left knee until both feet are flat on the mat. Inhale again, sends the legs over to the left. The right foot comes off the floor. Keep squeezing our legs together. Exhale, presses the left knee into the right knee, and both feet find the floor.

And just two more to each side like this. So take our foot up and it's the idea that as we go to the right, can that left knee reach a little bit past the right knee? Press the right knee against it as we come back to the center. And as we take our legs to the left, can the right knee reach further past the left knee. Exhale as we come back to the center.

Finding the middle here, we're gonna pull our abdominals in, pull the lower back into the floor first. Both legs can lift if that feels safe on your back. Otherwise just lift one at a time. Connecting through the inner thighs, we take our legs over to the right again. That left lower side of our back and hip come off the floor.

Exhale, squeeze the legs more together as we find the center. Things that might be helpful, we know to drop the lower legs down. You could also lift them up a bit higher than that 90 degree. Find your way back. And we'll get one more to each side. So definitely a less range of motion here, but we're waking up and honing in on our oblique muscles a bit more intently.

Last one to your left. And as you exhale to come back to the center, we'll leave the legs here, but we're gonna drop the lower legs down if they're elevated. Arms reach up to the ceiling, fingers interlace, sliding our hands. Being intentional about using our arms, and using our hands to support the weight of our head. They're not just decoration.

Take a breath in. As we exhale, we think of sliding the back of our head away from the mat, and then lifting and curling our upper back. Starting to roll down. You want to lay each individual vertebrae in the upper back on the floor just like we do in the lumbar. Exhaling again, the back of the head slides a bit first behind us, and then the rest of our spine comes up, and then allow that upper back to lower.

Think of the back of your neck would be touching, even though it isn't before the back of your hands. And we'll curl up one more time. So as we lift, this could be an exhale. As we come into our next breath, we can lower down. That could be your inhale.

We're gonna curl up one more time to stay. From here, the shins are gonna lift so they're parallel to the floor again. And as we lower the left leg down, we're gonna rotate towards the right leg that's still in space. Bring the leg up as your head and chest come to the center. As we lower the right leg down, we rotate to the left and find the center.

So again, this could be an exhale as we turn, and an inhale to come back. Another exhale as return and an inhale. Something we didn't really do in the previous classes, but just another way to explore better range of motion and getting more mobility in these kinds of positions is to let go of one of your hands. So if we go towards the right leg again, take your left hand on the right thigh, press your thigh into your hand, and allow that to help you curl not just up higher, but possibly to rotate further. As the left leg comes up, the left hand goes behind our head again, and we can try that same thing.

So as we rotate to the left leg, we can take our right hand to the thigh, push it into your hand and that brings you up a little more, but it also helps us rotate a bit further that way. Let go of the leg, bring the right leg up, and we'll do one more like that to each side. So we can grab on again, curl into it a little bit more, bring the legs together. One more time, grab onto the left leg, press it into your hand, bring the right leg home. And once we're here, we're gonna be letting go of our head, finding the backs of our knees.

From here, we're gonna kick our lower legs up, and try in one swift motion to roll up until we can balance at the top. Rolling like a ball, knees can separate, or they can stay together, scoop into the lower stomach. That's gonna help roll us back. Breathe as we come up, trying to balance for a moment. We've got our wide elbows, our wide shoulder blades, and we're looking for a smooth ride.

Especially to that lowest part of our back. Coming up, and we'll give ourselves one more here. We're all gonna have different timing. And on your last one, we're gonna pause. Extend one leg down on the floor.

We're gonna keep holding onto the back of the other leg, getting into some assisted roll-ups. So as we keep pushing this leg down, the elbows are gonna stay slightly bent. That helps us not just completely thrust our shoulders forward. And as we roll down, we're gonna let our head land on the mat. But pull the knee up towards our chest, and stretch the opposite leg further away from us on the floor.

Start pressing this thigh into your hands again, curling the head and chest up with it. And then just continuing that pressure as we roll back up behind the tailbone. Foot can always come down. You can feel free to hover it in the air. We do that again.

So as we roll back, wide elbows, wide shoulder blades, but a nice relaxed feeling in the upper parts of the shoulders, not lifting up towards our ears. Hug that knee in close. Stretch the bottom leg further. Start pressing our leg into our hands again, bringing our head and chest up, rolling ourselves back up and lengthening that leg down. Grabbing on behind the back of the other side. Same thing, press that leg down.

Open the chest, open the upper back. As our head lands, we'll draw this knee up a little closer. Make sure it feels comfortable in your hip joint though. If you get anything funky there, feel free just to stop before it gets weird. Head and chest come up.

We continue to press into our arms to roll us up the rest of the way. And we get one more here. So if this version works well for you, keep that going. We're gonna add on with another variation. Next, bring yourself up one more time with the same leg.

And as we get to the top, we can take both knees, slightly bent, feet not very close to us at all. And then allow our arms and our upper body, everything to round over our legs. Scooping back in your abdominals, we squeeze the inner thighs together, and we try to roll through that lowest part of our back first before the rest of our spine comes down. Arms are overhead, as they pick up, we breathe in. As we continue to exhale, we roll our spine off of the floor, rounding over the legs, but keeping that lifted feeling through the abdominals.

As we roll back again, maybe this time we start straightening our legs a bit more on the way down. Keeping them long as our arms reach over head. And then as we pick our head and chest up again, maybe we bend the knees, and make it almost dragging our heels towards our glutes a bit to help us come up. Either way, we're coming down one more time. Let the knees extend out if you're in this position.

Grab behind the back of one of your legs again, and let your upper body relax. Pressing the thigh into our hands, we're gonna extend our leg up to the ceiling, wherever it's willing to go. It's the first one. Okay, so don't judge yourself too harshly if it's not happening that well. Bend the knee back down again. Plenty of opportunities. So all the time we're pressing that thigh into our hands, we're imagining this whole side of our pelvis staying really heavy on the floor.

So the movement is just at the knee. Bring the knee back down to a bend position. We'll extend it up one last time, and we're gonna hold it there. Feel free to flex the foot or just keep the foot relaxed. We're gonna open our arms out wide, crossing the leg over the center of the body with a breath in.

We exhale to circle it around and pick it back up. Crossing over, inhale, exhaling around and up. The whole time, we're trying to keep our trunk stable on the floor. And the leg that is on the floor is reaching long. One more in this direction.

Find the ceiling with your leg and we'll reverse it. So we breathe in as the leg opens out to the side, continue to exhale to circle it around and up. Open it out to the side, cross it around and up. And as if our abdominals have anything to do with it, picture that as your leg is lifting up to the ceiling again, you're pulling downward even more so in those abs. Find the ceiling.

We're just gonna let this knee bend, slide it down on the floor. Feel free to shake it out a couple of times. Grab behind the back of your other thigh. Start pressing that leg into your hands. And again, we try to extend the leg up, and let it bend.

And just recognize what's going on on this side, right? Both legs are usually not doing the same thing. One can be tighter, one can be looser. And day to day, that can be very different. Lots of days where it's like, oh, my left leg's talking to me.

Okay, on the next one, that's go ahead and extend up again. Hold it there. Feel free to flex your foot if you just want more sensation in the back of your leg. Arms go back out, crossing it over the center of the body with a breath in. We exhale to circle around, picking it up.

Crossing over, circle around and up, And just following the breath. Remember when I first was starting Pilates, this was a very difficult exercise, and it's still kind of is for me. (laughing) It's like, oh my gosh, I have to hold my leg up like that? Yeah, so think less about the hip, right? More about the abdominals. Pause on the last one, we go out to the side, breath as we circle around to come back up again.

Okay, other things that are always helpful, soften the knee a bit in the air. It is working your leg muscles, but can we pretend that yeah, it's still the center of my body doing most of the work. Most of the effort. Give yourself one more circle at your pace. After you're done, we're just gonna let that knee bend, slide the other leg in to meet it.

Hug both knees closer to your chest, wherever it's comfortable, and begin to feel the lower back opening up once more. From here, we take our legs down. If we're feeling up for a full roll up today, we reach our arms up to the ceiling. Get a nice running start. Head and chest curl up, squeeze the legs together.

Yep, it helps to make some noises. Continue to round all the way over them, and fix any reverse wedgies that might be present before we go into the spine stretch exercise. So I do not have my towels with me today 'cause I wasn't planning on using them. But if you know that they are working well for you, or sitting up on a thick blanket is working well for you, continue to do that. Same thing with the leg position.

If we need to bend them slightly today, feel free to do that as well. So I will show with a feet flex, you can also keep your feet relaxed. And we're gonna let our arms reach out in front of us, palms up or facing each other. Deep breath in, fill up your whole body again. As we exhale, don't forget about the back of our neck, right?

So chin tucked first, lengthen the back of the neck, and then just continuing to round, and peeling our back away from the wall behind us. Scooping and lifting up from the center of our body, we inhale at the end. And as we breathe out, arms just stay out in front of us. And we pull our spine back up right, with our head being the last thing to lift. Breath in again here.

Your exhale starts the movement. But every time we have to inhale, can we think of expanding the back part of our rib cage with that breath in. And every time we exhale, can we think of scooping, or hollowing out the front of our body even more? We'll start coming up. Relax your shoulders here at the top, let your neck feel free.

One more time, bringing the chin down. Rounding, try to find movement in between the shoulder blades before you get to the base of your ribs. Before you get to the lower back. And one last time. As we start sitting up, scoop in even deeper.

As we come up with our head, we're gonna bring our arms up to the ceiling. Figure out how far they can go before you just want to shrug and get kind of ugh, weird looking up there. Like we're not trying to encourage that right? Just feel tall. Feel really lifted here in this moment. Have some gratitude that we can even sit like this in the first place.

And then from here, we're all gonna dive forward. Let your arms relax, let your hands drop anywhere that they land. And just take some deep breaths. Okay, we'll sit back up right. Walking our legs a bit closer together. Same thing here, bending the knees, sitting up on something.

Feel free to try a straighter leg version though if you're feeling like you can stay on your sit bones. Maybe it's a looser day for the backs of your legs. Hands interlaced behind our head, elbows where you can see them. If elbows are too wide, this is what usually we look like, right? So we want to think of length behind the back of our neck, and a lot of width behind our shoulders and our upper back.

Finding your next exhale, keeping that idea of still lifting up tall. We turn to one side. Inhale's gonna bring us back to the center. Exhale, we lift up even more to twist the other way. Inhale brings us back.

And we'll get one more with this breath pattern to each side. It's always good to explore how the breathing can maybe change the exercise for us. Back to the center we go. And now as we inhale, we'll rotate to the first side again. Exhale's gonna bring us back to the center.

Pelvis and legs are trying to stay pretty still here. Okay, so if you're doing a little bit of braking and gassing with the feet, not the end of the world. But eventually you want to try to maybe keep the feet more still. This will be our last one to the second side. And breathe as you find the center.

And once again, we're gonna let go of our head, and just allow ourselves some time here to relax our back, and relax our legs again. As we sit up, we'll scoot down towards our feet, making room for our head. Hands are gonna go onto the fronts of our knees. Feel free to grab behind the backs of your legs, but can we slow and with control, roll ourselves down to the floor. Wee, it's that seesaw moment.

And then as we come down with our head completely on the mat, start bringing your knees right up into your chest. Feel free to separate them a bit if that's more comfortable in your hips. So as we start pressing our knees into our hands, we're gonna bring them over our pelvis, and we're gonna simultaneously curl our head and chest up. From here, if we can extend our legs out, and reach our arms down to our sides. We'll do that with a breath in.

Exhale is gonna grab back onto the legs, and hug them in a little closer this time. So we breathe as the arms and legs extend. Take another breath as they come back in. So oftentimes an inhale makes a bit of sense here as the legs and arms are extending. 'Cause when our knees come close to our body, holding all that breath in there, it might feel a little strange.

So feel free to choose any breath pattern that works well for you. These are just ideas, suggestions. Hug them back in. You can always put your head down right now. We'll do one more.

Bring them back home. We'll all bring our head down for a moment in between. Both hands are still on our knees. Start pressing them into your hands, moving them away from your chest. Curling the head and chest up if we're lifting our head.

And extending one leg out this time, keeping both hands on the top part of the shin for now of the bent leg. Breathe out as we change legs and pause for a second. Breathe again, hold the position. So that way we control where the legs are landing here in space. And every time we breathe out and catch leg with our hands, can we scoot or physically see our abdominal muscles dropping down more into our back.

Upper body staying still. And we'll give ourselves three more. And two, if you need one more to be even, do that. But as both knees come back together, bring them with you as you place your head down. Same setup as before.

Pressing your knees into your hands, letting that help you bring your head and chest up. From here the shins are gonna elevate so they're parallel to the floor. If we can hold our height and let go of the legs, interlace your fingers behind your head. Extending the left leg out, we rotate towards the right leg, and we simultaneously switch to twist to the left. Like criss-cross.

So it's gonna be the breath out and breath out. And breath out and out. Or it could be a double breath, exhaling for two repetitions, and then inhaling for two repetitions. Again, just make sure that you are breathing. The only things moving are our legs and our upper back.

Our pelvis is staying still. And we'll get two more. Last one, again, do another one if you need to to be even, legs come together. Feet are going to lower down, head and chest lower down, and we open our arms out to a T. Start separating your feet as wide as your mat.

You can always reorganize them depending on what this feels like to your back, and to your thighs in a minute here. Taking both knees over to the right. We're hoping to find a bit of a stretch in the left front of the thigh and the hip. You might also feel something in your lower back, or the top of your left pelvic bone. As long as it's just a nice pulling sensation.

That's what we're looking for. We're never looking for anything sharp. Okay, we're looking to breathe really deeply. Bringing both legs up. Same distance apart. If your feet are together as you're doing this, that's totally fine.

Just know that that's usually more of a backstretch, or you'll feel that more around the top of your pelvis. You won't usually feel quite as much in the front of the thigh. And that's what I tend to go for. Quads are always tight because I'm a human being. So that's just seems to be the case with all of us.

Bringing our legs back up to the ceiling, slides your arms in. We're gonna put a bit more weight and effort into them. We walk our feet closer together, fist width apart. Heels close enough to our glutes that we can put some good weight into our feet here. Spread the toes out. Deep breathe.

As we go to exhale, we're gonna scoop, pull the pubic bone up to the chest. Start rolling yourself up, finding the back of our shoulders. And now putting a little bit of downward energy into our arms. Not just the hands, but the upper back parts of our arms. We stand firmly into the right leg, and we see if we can extend the left leg straight up to the ceiling.

We also know we can keep the knee bent, and just go down and up like that. So we take the left leg down until it meets the right knee, and we kick it back up. And we go down and kick it back up. So it could be a breath out as the leg lowers, and an inhale pulls it up. Or an inhale as the leg lowers, and an exhale that pulls it up.

Let's add some motion to the feet. So pointing the foot to go down, and it'd be flexing the foot to come up. Point to go down, flex to come up. One more time. Point to go down, flex to come up. Bend your knee, place your foot on the floor.

Take a long exhale. We're gonna roll down through our spine, releasing our pelvis, reorganizing our feet if we need that. And then as we breathe out again, continue to curl up. Find the high points of your bridge. Soft chest, soft in the stomach.

Standing firmly in the left leg, we extend the right leg up. Nothing else moves, the right leg comes down knee to knee, and pick it up. And a breath as it goes down, another breath picks it up. Personally, an inhale on the way down, and an exhale coming up has always felt more natural to me. But sometimes the inhale coming up feels like it gives it more energy.

So play around with both of those. Let's add some foot motion, pointing flex to come up. Point, flex to come up, and we'll do one more, flex. Bend your right knee to place your foot down. Level things out one more time.

Pelvis, the weight in your feet, your next breath out will roll your spine. One vertebrae after the next. Nice little massage on the way down and release right there. Sliding the leg closest to your screen onto the floor, pushing into the back foot so that we can start rolling onto our side for the side leg lifts. So if I need an extra cushion, an extra support for my neck, we gonna put that here.

We know this is always one, and also this guy. Hands in front of us, legs are slightly forward of our body line. And we feel the whole back of our bodies in one straight line with the mat. Leg slightly forward of that, squeeze them together. Start lifting and honing in on the center of your body.

Pressing into the hand here a bit, just to help us initially lift the legs up, and then lower the legs down. And as time goes on, we want to see how much less we can rely on this arm. So if it wasn't there to help us out, what else would we need to get our legs to move like this? The movement is small and we're always checking in to make sure our pelvis is not rolling backwards every time our legs lift up. Anything that can touch on the insides of our legs is trying to touch together.

And we're avoiding the big toe kiss thing here. And we'll give ourselves two more. And as the legs lift, the side that we're laying on is also trying to lift away from the mat. We'll bring them down. Bottom leg can stay where it is.

We're just gonna let it bend. Top leg is gonna slide a little bit more directly underneath the line of our body, flexing the foot, holding onto our pelvis. Lifting the leg up to the height of your hip, and just making sure that again, this top pelvic bone is still stacked over the bottom pelvic bone. Feel free to keep your hand there. Otherwise we can go back to it being in front of us.

And we start kicking our leg forward with the flexed foot, point and pull it back. So this could be again, a breath out as the leg goes forward, a breath in as it comes back, or vice versa. And we're trying to keep the rest of our body absolutely still. And this is where we're shortening the leg into our pelvis. Think of pulling that pelvic bone back as the leg comes in front.

And we'll get two more here, bring it back, one more time. Pull it behind you, leave it there, flexing the foot. And just once again, we'll take the leg up a little higher like we did in the previous classes and down. Up a little higher, and down. Still thinking not so much of where's my leg going in space, but maintaining the awareness around your pelvis and the body not having to accommodate the height of the leg.

Let's do one more, bring it down, bring the legs in together. Help yourself up with the hand that's already on the floor. And from here, we're gonna take it right into the mermaid on this side, before we go into the other side. So the leg that was already bent underneath you is going to stay an extra rotation. It's the top leg that's going into internal rotation.

If you need to do something different with your legs entirely to make this work for you, feel free to do that. So taking our arms, stretching out, lifting up, getting tall first. We go back to the side that we were just on, place the hand on the floor. Pushing into it, we open our chest, and we feel our wingspan here for a few seconds before we take our free arm around. And it's not even just your arm, we're always maintaining the idea that the whole side of our rib cage is moving our arm towards the back hand.

As we disconnect, open the free arm again. We're gonna stay here and we'll take it into a little more extension today. So pulling the arm behind us more, but not necessarily just opening our chest more, and possibly looking up and back. Find your way back to the sideline. Continue to circle your arm around, rounding through the spine, rotating those ribs, breathing.

And once again, we'll reopen our arm. We'll pull our chest up and back, find some extension. And eventually we'll just bring ourselves up all the way, and swing the legs around to do the other side. Just like before, setting ourselves up so our neck and head are in a good position. Legs towards the front lower corner of your mat, body towards the back edge, hand resting in front.

Lift up through the center, start squeezing the legs together, using our arm to just help us lift up the first time, and then lower them down. Eventually what you can start playing around with is moving this leg shape further and further underneath you. So I'd move them back or migrate them backwards until I'm in one long line. And just notice the difference in sensation there. So again, we are using the muscles on the top of the body here in the waist.

But if you start feeling us a lot of grabbing and gripping in your lower back on that side, it might be a little bit too much too soon. We'll give ourselves a few more here, squeezing that bottom leg up against the top leg. And just seeing how much less I could maybe use my hand in front of me I'm like, you're using it a lot on this side. Yeah, this is my not so good side. I'm like, come on, arm down. Do less arm, it's okay.

One more time. Pick them up, bring them down. And we'll bend the bottom knee into that 90 degrees, just sitting in a chair. It's helpful if the bottom lower leg is not behind you, sometimes it can get in the way of the top leg. So make sure the foot's forward. Holding onto the top of our pelvis, lengthening the legs really long.

This time we flex our foot. We open up the waist. We hover our leg up the height of our hip. And as we take our next breath, we're gonna kick forward, shorten it in the socket, point through the toes, and pull it back underneath you. So flex as we go forward, pointing as we go back. So we always want to pretend that there's a wall behind us.

And if my heel hit the wall, I'd want to use that pressure sensation, and push back into the wall to try to really get the glutes to do more of the work. Push back against the imaginary wall. We'll get a couple more here, front and back, and just keeping the length in our spine. Not letting anything move in the trunk as best as we can tell. After the last one, our leg is directly underneath the line of our body.

Again, we're gonna reflex our foot, and then just taking it up from there, bringing it down to the height of our hip. You could go all the way down if that's feeling good. And just feeling the crease in the side of our hip. Maintaining the same length, or thinking of maintaining the same length in our waist. And we'll give ourselves a couple more.

Waking up these guys. Hopefully they're talking to us by now. That'll be our last one. Bend the top leg over the bottom leg. We'll push ourselves up.

We're gonna keep the bottom leg bent, doing the other side for the mermaid. Alright, here we go. Organize yourself on this side. We all have a leg. Am I right? This is my right leg. It does not like to internally rotate as much as my left one does.

So a little bit more interesting to sit like this. So just notice that as well. We take our arms out, shifting towards the side we just came out of, placing our hand down, push into the ground. So we're using the energy and the effort of the bottom arm and trying to shoot that through the top arm before we take all of that energy around. And we just let our hand land, wherever it can.

As we take another breath in, we can use that to find that long position. And then as we find another inhale, maybe we can pick our chest up, and imagine rotating backwards. Finding the side angle, lift up, bring your ribs around with your arm. Lifting up through the center of our body, and really breathing into the back of our rib cage here. Opening our arm one more time.

Find that angle, pick the chest up. Maybe bring your arms slightly further back. We don't look up nearly as much as we should these days. Find the side angle again, and we'll bring ourselves up from there. Moving into some planking positions today.

So if we need to fold our mat up to accommodate our wrist joints, or anything else that you might need, go ahead and do that for now. Same thing with the knees. If you find that your knees are a bit more sensitive to be on them, put a little cushion there. So we're gonna have our fingers on the floor, heels of the hands on the folded portion of the mat if you need that. And we're gonna take our legs and feet, and bring them completely together.

So hands are attempting to be under our shoulders, or maybe just a little bit wider. There's some space in between the fingers, and we're grabbing the mat with the tips of our fingers. So we don't just lock out in our elbows. With a breath in, we're gonna extend one leg behind us. Think of lifting the other leg off the mat first.

Find those muscles that it'll take to get it. And then actually lift it up to meet the other leg. Bring one knee down and bring the other knee down. They're still together. Extend the other leg back first.

Feel long, lots of weight and energy into the fingertips, into the toes. Think of lifting the other leg off the floor first, and then actually do it if you feel up for that. Squeeze the legs together. One knee comes down. The other knee comes down. Again, one more time.

We extend the first leg back, grab the mat, think of lifting the first leg off and then actually do it. Squeezing the legs together, bringing one knee down, and bringing the other knee down. One more time. The second leg extends. Think of lifting the other leg off the floor. In my opinion, that's actually the hardest part than actually picking it up.

Squeeze them together, bring one knee back down. It's like let's just do that the whole time. Bring the other knee down, separate your knees and feet. And then start sitting back as it's comfortable for you, and maybe even rotate your hands up to the ceiling for a few seconds. We're not quite done with that position yet.

If you're just absolutely spent, as far as the hand and wrist tension goes, feel free to do these next ones on your forearms. Otherwise, if we're up for more, we're gonna go one more position here, hands under the shoulders, walk the knees and feet together under our pelvis again. Other things to notice. If we let our chest slide down, and let the shoulder blades slide together, we're trying to avoid this. But we're also trying to avoid overly puffing up our upper back.

So feel where the center, where the middle ground is of both of those. Lock into that position. I don't like to use that word, but works in this position here. Stretch one leg back again, length through the neck, lift the other leg to meet it. And we think of bringing both knees down for a moment. Lift up to your stomach, squeeze the inner thighs.

Pick both knees up. If your pelvis has to lift to the ceiling as the knees come up again, that's fine. Knees go down, lift them back up. And on this last one as our knees come down, we'll untuck our toes and we'll just make our way onto our stomachs. We'll keep our forearms right here next to our body.

For now, feel free to let the legs, and your pelvis walk around, or wiggle around. Yeah, give them some walking around money. No, wiggle them around a couple of times, and we'll go right into some of her back extension. So less pressure now on the hands. A little bit more pressure now in the elbows.

So begin to find the mat with those elbow points, and then lifting up through our stomach a bit on the floor, sensing the pubic bone on the ground. Begin sliding energetically your forearms down the mat to let your chest reach through them. And as we release that pulling effort with our arms, allow your chest and face to come down to the floor again. So pubic bone to the ground. Abdominals are lifting. Start sliding your arms down energetically, stretching your sternum through your fingers to lift up.

And eventually we'll slowly take ourselves down, and we'll get that one more time. So elbows pressing a little bit into the floor, that allows the upper part of the shoulders here to relax a bit from our ears. And then there's still pressure on the elbow points, but there's definitely more of that sliding energy. As we reach our sternum out, pubic bone to the ground, lift the abdominals up underneath you, and then eventually let everything relax. Walking our feet and legs closer together.

If there's a lot of tension in your lower back, maybe keep them a bit wider. Focus more on the pubic bone sensation, the upper inner thigh squeezing sensation. We're gonna slide our arms out to the corners of the mat. Feel free to rotate your thumbs to the ceiling. If you have even the tighter shoulders, a lot of times that can be helpful.

So we feel the legs energized, picking the knees up off the floor, squeezing the upper inner thighs. Lifting our abdominals and then just picking up the right arm and the left leg and putting them down. Our chest and face are barely hovering off the floor. Pick up the left arm and the right leg, and put them down. And again, right arm and left leg, put them down.

That could be an inhale or an exhale as they lift. Possibly an exhale would make more sense 'cause that's where the effort is. As you're lifting your arm. And place them down. One more time, lower down.

Now, as we're ready, we're squeezing the upper inner thighs together. The knees are elevating. We're gonna hover barely off the ground at the tops of our feet. We're gonna barely hover our hands off the floor. Think of shortening your arms a bit in their sockets, holding for three more seconds.

Two more seconds. Last second. The hardest one, lower your legs. Hands under the shoulders, push away from your stomach. Let's walk our knees forward a little bit. Open them up, pressing anything that's touching the floor around your back.

Anything that's touching. Could be a couple of things, could be nothing. Breathing, levitating off the ground. And when we're ready to sit back for real, and rest. Go as low as it feels comfortable in your joints as always.

Just give yourself some gratitude. Your body is able to move. And as you're ready to slowly make your way up. I am truly honored and humble that you would even choose to do these classes with me. So thank you so much for joining me for this series.

Begin Pilates: Starting your Practice

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2 people like this.
Erin I have never done any of your classes but have seen you in many videos. This is a fabulous class. You have a great presentation and some lovely ideas to set up for an excercise. Loved this. Will share in my classes thank you 😊 
excellent! beautiful cues! wingspan!
Sharon C thank you so much for taking the class 🙏🏼 I am truly grateful for your comments and hope your students benefit from the ideas in this class 😊. Thank you again!
Candace thank you so much for taking the class! Spread those wings wide! 😊
2 people like this.
Another delightful class. It felt like a morning gift. I hope you and PA will consider having  you teach a series of level 2 classes to continue the learning and the fun.  
Lina S
Great flowing class. I like the plank variations as well as the balance of stretching and toning.
Great class. Lovely progressions but always in a safe comfortable way.
Martha Valentine
Wonderful class! 
1 person likes this.
Joni N hi! Thank you so much for continuing with this series! You have the most beautiful way with words! My heart is so full. I am happy to teach anything you and the PA community want, so that could be great! Thank you for your suggestion!
Lina S hi! Thank you for following this series all the way through 🙏🏼 I am so grateful for your feedback and happy you found movements you liked! Thank you again!
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