Class #4874

Present Moment Awareness

35 min - Class


Where can we find the Double Leg Stretch in all of the exercises on the Reformer? Join Regina Santos in a moderately-paced class where you will explore this two-way stretch concept, along with staying in the present moment. Regina beautifully weaves flow and positivity within challenging Intermediate exercises. You will feel more aware, centered, and present.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

Feb 15, 2022
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Hi, my name is Regina, and today we're gonna focus on present moment awareness. It's a great skill that we wanna develop in and out of the studio so that we can live a happy and fulfilling life. We're gonna focus on our reformer today, an intermediate reformal level class, but today we're gonna first start with a double leg stretch, Joe Pilates would say, where can you find the double leg stretch in all of the exercises in the reformer? And today we're gonna explore that as we focus on the present moment. So grab your box.

You're gonna place your long box just on top of the reformer, just to start so we can explore what the double leg stretch is like. Lay down on your box, and then go right into the double leg stretch. So bend your elbows and bend your knees, lift the head and the shoulders up. Now, stretch your arms and your legs away from one another, find that two-way stretch, exhale, bend your knees in. So you really explore the two-way stretch here.

Your stomach is pulling in, the arms and the legs are reaching away. Right, let's do a couple more of those. And stretch, reach, and in, find your focus in your center and stretch your arms and legs away. And let's take one more of those. Okay, so come on off your box, place your box off to this side and let's get to work.

I'm on three springs. I like to do three springs on my reformer footwork. So that's what we're gonna do. You're welcome to do four if you'd like or drop down two. Make sure your headrest is up.

Make sure your shoulders are nice and snug in the shoulder blocks and let's get to it. So we're gonna do 10 repetitions on your toes. Pulling the belly in and finding the two way stretch. Reach your stomach in as the legs reach away. Reach out with your arm, and pull the stomach in as your legs are reaching away.

Let's do a couple more. Now arches. Again, present moment awareness. When we start with our footwork, we feel the belly pulling in and really connecting to the center with the assistance of the shoulder blocks and the foot bar. Let's do two more.

Okay, now let's go to our heels. Stretch your toes towards the ceiling and pull the belly in, again, continuing find that double leg stretch. (exhales sharply) Focus on your breath. And focus on moving from the center of your body. Let's do three more here.

Okay, now for tendon stretch, bring your toes back on the foot bar, lift your heels up, pull the belly in and resist the heels as they go down. So as the heels go down, pull the stomach in, really find that two way stretch here, right? This is not just about the calves, this is about the whole body and lengthening your spine by pulling the stomach in as the heels reach down. Feel your whole body waking up. Let's do a couple more.

Raise your heels, come on in, and then lower your foot bar down for your 100. Already connect. Find that double leg stretch here and lift the head and the shoulders up as the legs reach up and let's go for it, in two, three, four, five, exhale. We're gonna do nine more sets of those, that makes the 100. Deep in the stomach.

(exhales sharply) Try not to move your head. (exhales sharply) And focus on moving from the center of your body. (exhales sharply) You're gonna hear me breathing deep, because that helps me connect. (exhales sharply) We're halfway there, keep going. Oh, you feel that internal fire rising, (exhales sharply) creating more heat.

Let's do a couple more. And last set. (exhales sharply) Okay. So come up to sit. You're gonna drop down to two springs.

We're gonna just do an overhead prep where we find the two-way stretch in the overhead exercise. You're gonna stretch your legs out. The arms are gonna reach to the ceiling, already connect to the center. All you're gonna do is lift the legs up from your belly and you're gonna push the arms down and then lift the of legs up, pulling the stomach in. Now, reach the legs away, reach your arms.

Can you see the double leg stretch here? I hope you 'cause I can feel it. And again, push down, legs up. Pull the belly in as the arms and legs reach away. Let's do two more.

Push your arms down, lift your legs up, keep your tailbone down. Keep the belly pulling in as the legs reach away. Last one here. Press and then keep reaching the legs away and then come on back home. Both handles in one hand, swivel around and we're gonna drop down to one spring for your back rowing preparation.

Make sure you're about palms distance away from the front of the carriage. Holding onto the handles. Elbows are out, palms are facing down. Round your spine. Find your two-way stretch, find your double leg stretch here and then roll back up, tall spine.

Again, two more, round, pulling the belly in, reaching your legs away. And then coming up to sit. Last one, round your spine, keep reaching your legs forward. Use your legs to stabilize your lower body and then come up to sit. Now elbows are greater than 90 degrees.

Leaning back, this time your back stays really long. Find that two way stretch here, exhale. And again, reach. Maybe go a little further back if you can for the last one. Keep reaching with your legs as the belly pulls in, and then that's all we're doing for that.

Place your handles back down on the carriage. Front rowing. You're staying on one spring. Your thumbs are inside the handles, make sure the handles are in the middle of your hand. From the chest, hands go from here, press up, double leg stretch, push your arms down.

From your stomach, reach your arms up, up, up, up, up to the ceiling and then bring yourself back home. We're gonna do two more of those. Press up and down. Reach from the center. Find the center as the arms on the legs reach away and then come back in.

We'll do one more. And lift, breathe, lengthen, and then come back to center. Now from the hips, flex your feet. Slide your fingers forward and round your spine, reach and lift your spine up. Open out, come back home.

Really round your spine and breathe here. Exhale, up, (exhales sharply) inhale open. Oh, that feels so good to open up the back one more time and round and stretch. Lift, lift, lift. And then come back to center home.

Bend your knees, cross your legs. Fingers flip through the handles now for your shaving. You can have your thumbs and your index fingers pressing together to find your back connection and you have to work really hard to keep the knees open. Can you just do one more? That was like a set of five.

And then you come back and you switch across (indistinct) of your legs, you open your arms for your hug and we do four repetitions of these. Pulling the belly in as the fingers come together, (exhales sharply) and breathe. Okay, now you're gonna take your box, just place it on top of the carriage. We're gonna go right into the long box series. You're gonna keep your spring on one for now.

And then you're gonna lie down on the box. For the interest of the shoot, I'm bringing my hands through the handles and then you're gonna walk your thumbs to where the divots are on the straps. Keep reaching your legs back and pull the tummy in, even though, on your tummy, you're gonna find your two-way stretch here. Pull the tummy in, open up the chest, keep reaching into the straps and reaching the legs away and then lower down with control from the center. We'll do two more of those and exhale, open up your heart and inhale, come down one more time.

(exhales sharply) Keep reaching your legs away as you lower your arms and your upper body down. Now slide your hands outside so that they're at the very edge of the straps for your T-pull. Pulling the belly in and then opening up the chest. Squeeze your shoulder blades together if you can, keep reaching your arms out, two more of those. Keep reaching your legs away.

Open up the chest. Exhale. We'll take one more, and reach out in a way. Whoo. All right, handles back on the screws.

Now you're gonna add one spring for your backstroke. Laying down on the box as far to the edge as possible. Hold onto the handles, lift the head and the shoulders up. Curl the head and the shoulders up as the knees come in, just like your double leg stretch. Stretch your arms and your legs up, circle out and reach for your toes, bend your elbows and your knees, come back home.

We'll do two more of those and reach, exhale one more. Stretch your arms and your legs up big circle. Now let's reverse it for three, press forward. Open your arms and your legs up, reach to the ceiling, two more of those, breathe. And up.

Really focus on your center. And up and bend your elbows and your knees. If you'd like, you can teaser up and then lower your feet down to drop your spring to one. Speaking of teaser, we're gonna go right into our teasers. We're only gonna do two sets of teasers.

The first set, we're just gonna pump the arms. Circle the arms out, stretch your legs out, now find your two way stretch here. Now just bring the arms down and then lift them up. Keep reaching your legs away. Can you see the doubles with legs stretch in this shape?

Yes, I hope you can. And I hope you can feel it. (exhales sharply) Let's do one more. So that was a set of five. Keep reaching into the handles as you lower your whole body down to help you connect to your center.

All right, one more a set. We're gonna pump the arms and we're gonna pump the legs. Rolling up into your teaser. Just bring the arms down and lift, make sure you're breathing. Finding your two way stretch here.

(exhales sharply) One more here with the arms. Now hold the arms there. Just lower and lift the legs. (exhales sharply) Keep reaching those legs away. Keep reaching into the handles as you control your weight down, and lie down on your back.

Replace the handles back and come up to sit, and we're gonna put the box away for now. We're gonna go into our long stretch series. Grab your pad, place your pad right where the headrest and the carriage meet. Add your second spring, so you're on two springs. Lift your foot bar up.

You're gonna place your right hand on the bar, your left foot on the pad, your left hand back on the bar and your right foot on the pad. Your spine is nice and long. Find your two-way stretch here, push out and then come forward, keep reaching your heels as you go towards the foot bar. We'll just do two more of those. Keep reaching your heels as you go towards the foot bar, one more.

Keep the stomach pulling in and keep breathing and then come down to the knees with control. Lift your chest, open up your heart, push back from the center and then keep reaching your heels back as you push your arms into the foot bar. And again, two more of those, and exhale and breathe, open up your heart, (exhales sharply) and inhale, exhale, stretch, stretch, stretch, stretch, stretch the front of your body as you keep reaching the heels away. And boy, don't you feel that back there. Now we're gonna go up into our up stretch, hips up, heels stay up against the shoulder blocks.

From your tummy, push the legs out and then come forward over the foot bar and round your spine to come in. Two more of those, push out, keep pressing your heels into the shoulder blocks. One more. And come forward, and then lower your heels down for elephant. Rounding your spine, pulling the belly in.

I can really feel my double leg stretch here as I open up my back and I dig my heels down into the carriage and I'm using my stomach to pull the legs in. We're doing 10 of these. So I have four more left. And breathe. Two more.

Keep your carriage in and step off. Now we're gonna stay on two springs. We're gonna go into our long back stretch. So you're gonna place your right hand on the bar. Your right heel is against the shoulder blocks and your left hand goes on the bar as your left heel goes to the shoulder blocks.

Open up your chest, you really gotta use your hands and your feet here to find that two-way stretch. So you lower yourself down. You push out, now try not to move the carriage as you reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, and lift your hips up before you come back home, okay. Two more of those, down, try not to move the carriage, lift your hips up, find your two-way stretch and then come back home. We'll do one more this direction and up.

Keep reaching, reaching, pushing your heels in into the blocks and then come on back. Okay, here we go for the reverse, press out, hold and then keep the carriage out as you lower your body down and then pull yourself back up. Again, push out, hold, keep the carriage out and then lower down. Let's do one more, press out and then lower and then come on back home. All right, I hope you felt that, I'm feeling really warm and groovy now.

So we're gonna go into our stomach massage. So adjust your pad, bring it to the center now. So you can sit on it, add your third spring for your stomach massage round. Holding on to the front of the carriage, lifting your heels up, pulling the belly in and stretch your legs away as your tummy pulls in. You're gonna hear me say that over and over again, because we're gonna change the shape of our body as we have been, but we're gonna still find that two-way stretch no matter what.

And you're really pulling your hands into the carriage so you find that back connection, and you're fully connected from your center. We're doing 10 repetitions of these. So let's maybe do two more. And then now you're gonna do a reach back. Hands go back, lifting your spine.

Your back is nice and tall. We do 10 repetitions of this. (exhales sharply) My spine is still tall, but I'm still thinking about pulling the belly in as the legs reach away. If anything, that two-way stretch is that much more important here so you're not collapsing in your spine. (exhales sharply) And you keep the work coming from the center.

Let's do two more. (exhales sharply) Now we drop one spring, reaching between the legs and stretching your arms up. And this time we just straighten in, bend the legs five times. Keeping the belly pulling in and really finding that two-way stretch again. Now we add the twist, we straighten and we twist to the right, straight and twist to the left.

Now all we need is two more each direction. All right, come on back home. We're just gonna practice the tendon stretch today, so you're gonna keep yourself on two springs. And it's really just about building that present moment. It's the first time where we're gonna be like, kind of like upside down.

So you really gotta focus on your stomach and pulling yourself in. So you're gonna place your right foot right on the pad. Make sure your arch is in the middle Or I should say, your arch is at the edge of the carriage. Hands are on the foot bar, you're rounding your spine. And all you're doing is pulling the belly in and pressing your hands into the foot bar and reaching your heels away.

So find that connection first, right, as you push your arms down, scoop the belly in, push your heels down. Now, if you feel good about it, go ahead and push yourself out from the stomach, okay. And then pull in. Right, I'm not going that far because it's really coming from the stomach. The legs are starting from the belly.

I'm continuing to pull my belly in as the legs reach away. Okay, keep practicing that at home. We'll have another class where we'll do more variations of those. Now we're gonna go right into our short box. So you keep your two springs, lower your foot bar down.

Let's take your handles down inside the well, and let's take your box. Oh, make sure the headrest is down so you can put the box down. Okay, add your pad, place it on the box and then grab your dowel. Hold onto the straps so that you can immediately put your feet inside the straps. You're gonna pull the feet away from your seat, and then you're gonna give yourself a nice hug around your waist, rounding your spine, so keep those legs reaching away and rolling back.

Only as far as you can control, right, keeping your belly in. You can actually find your rowing exercise in this too, right? And rounding, keep reaching your heels away. Remember we're developing that skill of present moment and awareness. So really find that presence as you move from the center of your body.

Keep reaching your heels away, pulling the belly in, there's a constant push and pull and then come back in. So you're pushing your heels forward, as you're pulling your belly in. Now, we're going to flat. So adjust if you need to, you hold onto your dowel wider than your shoulders. You're gonna pull against the dowel to find that upper back connection, keep reaching your heels away.

And then now you're gonna lean back as far as you can in a flat back and then come back up, make sure you breathe. And again, can you find the two-way stretch in this shape that I'm making? (exhales sharply) Right. Pulling the belly in as the arms and the legs reach away. (exhales sharply) Let's do two more just because it feels good and reach.

Last one. Okay, the dowel goes down. Now, whoops, forgot. We have to do a few more things here. So the arms go back up.

We're gonna do side to side. So that was a classic example of me not being present. (chuckles) I forgot, right. So when we're present, we stay connected to our purpose and what we're doing, what we're supposed to do. Okay, one more each side.

(exhales sharply) And my purpose is to show you the full short box routine. So from here, you're gonna add a twist now, twist, keep reaching your legs away, I'm twisting to the right, sorry, you can't see my face. And then, but now I'm gonna twist to the left. Keep reaching the legs away as you twist, we're just gonna do two more each way. (exhales sharply) Stay connected to the center of your body.

And then you can stretch even more. Last one here. Okay, now we're gonna do our tree. I wanted to do the tree. Yes, I wanna stretch my legs out.

So this is my right leg so you're gonna take one leg out, make sure you're not nice and (indistinct) in the strap, elbows are open. Straighten them, bend the leg three times. Find your two-way stretch here while you keep your spine tall. Walk your hand up to the ankle. From here, round your spine, bring your nose forward to your knee.

Keeping that leg reaching away. Walk your hand down, find the double leg stretch as you walk your hand to your thigh. You don't have to go all the way back for now. I want you to still stay connected to the center and then walk your hand up to your ankle. Pulling the belly in as you're pushing your legs forward.

Remember that constant push and pull keeps us centered and keeps us present. 'Cause all we really have is this present moment, and why not maximize it. And then now round your spine, bring your forehead down to the leg and then come back up. Okay, switch legs. So you're gonna slide that right foot underneath the strap, elbows are out wide and we straighten and bend the left leg three times, keeping your spine tall.

Walk your hand up to the ankle. Round your spine. Come forward towards the leg. Now keep the belly in. As you walk your hands down and you reach the left leg away from you, (exhales sharply) and feel the openness in the front of the right hip.

And we'll do two more. And use your breath to feel your movement. Last one. And then I walk on all the way up to that ankle, lifting your spine even taller if you can, and then bringing the leg in towards you to get that final stretch here. Ooh, that feels great.

Okay. So now we're gonna go into short spine. So let's put our box away. We're gonna put our pad away and then we're gonna put the dowel away. And then you're gonna stay on two springs.

So now you're gonna take your leather loops and then bring them through the handles like this and then hook 'em right here on the screws. And then we'll do that with both, right. So you wanna put 'em here and not over the shoulder blocks because when they're over the shoulder blocks, they get caught. So they're safer here. And lie down on your reformer again.

And then from here, keep the carriage in, holding onto the leather straps. From the belly, lift the legs up. Okay, try not to pull yourself in 'cause you're more present in your core and your center when you lift the legs up from your stomach. Now we're gonna do you short spine. So we're gonna do like four repetitions.

So you're gonna press your legs out, find your double legs stretch, lift the legs up from the center of your body and then bend your knees and then enjoy the articulation of your spine as you lower your hips down. Press your legs out from the belly, keep lifting yourself up and reaching those legs away and reaching your arms down and lower. Two more here, pressing out, lifting up, bending your knees, lowering down. And we do one last one, that two-way stretch is happening everywhere. My arms are reaching down, my upper back is anchoring down on the carriage and my belly is pulling in.

Okay, let's come on off, lower yourself back and place your handles back on the screws. Now step on off, we're gonna do chest expansion. You're staying on two springs. Hook your toes in front of the carriage, this time you're gonna turn face away from the foot bar. You're kneeling and you're gonna hold onto the leather.

Now hook your toes as I mentioned, and then keep your lower body stable and find your two-way stretch as you pull the arms down towards your legs. Hold here, turn your head to the right, and then left and center. Now with control, bring your arms back forward. You really gotta stay present here, pull the arms down. (exhales sharply) Breathe, turn left, and turn right and turn center, and then bring your arms forward.

We're gonna do two more each side, okay, because this really engages the center of our body and we really find a nice two way stretch here while we're keeping our upright. (exhales sharply) Lengthening the spine left, right? And one more time, each way, really open up your heart, expand the chest, just like what the exercise is saying. Fill your lungs with air. Last one.

Boy, can we all use that, right? Opening the chest, come center and then bringing your arms forward. Okay, both straps in one hand, you're gonna lean back, you're gonna add your third spring for a thigh stretch. Walk your knees to the shoulder blocks, your knees and your feet are hip distance apart. You're gonna choke up as far as you can to maintain tension in the straps.

From here, two-way stretch, as you lean back, the arms start from the stomach, and then pull your belly in as you come back up. So again, pull your belly in as you lean back, stretch, stretch, stretch, and come up. (exhales sharply) Let's do two more of those and lean back. Maybe go a little further back. Just make sure you're coming from the center and, come on back up and then place your handles down.

Okay. Now this is a true test of present moment awareness. Arm circles, we're gonna be on one spring. If you're not present, you're gonna eat it. So you gotta stay present and stay connected to your center.

Holding onto both handles behind you, coming onto your knees, you're flexing your feet, your heels are against the shoulder blocks and then you're gonna pull up, as high as you can find your two-way stretch and then bring your arms down. And we'll do four more of those. (exhales sharply) Keep reaching. Can you see the double leg stretch here? (exhales sharply) Two more.

We'll take one more. Now if you'd like, you can reverse it. It's a little bit more challenging, but we'll try it today. Find your two way stretch. You need to connect or else.

(exhales sharply) You have to keep that relationship with that reformer here. Right, the reformer is there to help you. Last one. Okay. Now we're going on to frogs and circles.

Okay, so add your second spring. Make sure your headrest is up. Grab your extender straps. It's a good time for me to chat a little bit here because I gotta put the extender straps her and I place the extender traps through both the loop and the handle, right? And then hook the clip, place it back on that space that I told you about so it's not on the shoulder blocks.

Right, when we have that present moment awareness, we really are able to live that more fulfilling life, right? So 'cause that's all we have and we wanna make the most of it, whether it's with our loved ones or you know, with our coworkers, and doing what we love to do. So frogs and circles. You're gonna place one foot inside each of the straps. Okay.

And almost we're going back to where we began, right? But this time, your feet are in something less stable. So it's really a nice way to really reconnect back to the center as you're lying down. Okay, keep your heels together. Press, reaching your legs away.

(exhales sharply) It's a nice time to just really enjoy the work that you've just done for yourself here. You've built some strength, you've deepened your connection to your center so you can find it outside of the studio. Let's do two more here. Press reach the legs away as the belly pulls in, and then on your last one, keep the legs out, bring them up to 90 keeping your sacrum down, open the legs out for circles. (exhales sharply) You can really tell if you're moving here from the center of your body here, 'cause then it'll be a nice smooth ride.

And how analogous is that to our lives, right? When we're connect to what centers us, we have a smoother red in life. (exhales sharply) We're gonna listen to what grounds us and what centers us. And then let's go the other direction. Do you ever notice that if you feel like, you know, things are not really working out all the time, it's probably because it's not really on your path, right?

Tends to work out that way. (exhales sharply) Two and one more time, and then bringing the legs together, bend your knees. You gotta enjoy the gift that is you and that unique gift you share with the rest of the world. All right, let's step on off. And then we're gonna add your third spring.

I'm gonna go back into my running and my pelvic lift and I've lifted my head rest up and my foot bar up. Lifting your heels and enjoying again that centeredness. (exhales sharply) Breathing here. We do about 10 repetitions each leg alternating, running in place. (exhales sharply) Now lift both heels up, bend your knees and come in for pelvic lift, lift your hips up, push out and in.

Keeping your spine nice and long. (exhales sharply) And then come on in, lower your pelvis down. Okay. Last exercise is the thigh splits. So we're gonna find that shape of your spine here in your two-way stretch.

You're gonna come down on the carriage. Let's take the left foot forward on the foot bar. Your toes are pretty much lined up between the fourth or the second, the last and the second to the last spring and you're on two springs. Now you move with the back leg, so you gotta use the back leg to straighten the front leg to find your two-way stretch here. Push back, pull the belly in and then come back up, open up the chest, and again.

(exhales sharply) One more here. And then come on up, and then we switch sides. Left knee down, right foot goes on the foot bar. And then again, you activate the back of this leg first. And then from there, that's how you push and straighten the front leg.

Take the head with you. Last one. And then that's it for your present moment awareness, intermediate reformer exercise. I hope you found a connection to your center. I hope you found your double stretch, and we'll see you next time.


Erin T
4 people like this.
Fun instructor but this class is a 3-4 level not a 2! There are multiple moves that are too advanced for a beginner with not enough upper body strength. (Like myself). Pilates Anytime may want to re-appropriate the level of this class to a higher level.
Katie M
3 people like this.
Agree, great instructor but the class was more like a 3.  I look forward to more in this series.
Alyssa W
1 person likes this.
Really enjoyed this class! Good pace. 
1 person likes this.
Ohhh I loved that! Great pace and really good me feeling strong, lengthened out and most importantly living in the moment for each repertoire . Thank you!
Erin T and Katie M ~ Thank you for your feedback. It can be difficult to decide the level because it is so subjective. After reviewing this class again, we have decided to keep it at a level 2 as all of the exercises included are safe for an intermediate practitioner.
6 people like this.
As a fan of classical Pilates, and a bigger fan of Regina's, I loved this class.  My biggest takeaways are: maintain my relationship to the reformer.  And my awareness while working out, will impact my awareness in life.  Lastly, the two-way stretch in "double leg stretch" truly is everywhere on the reformer exercises. 
1 person likes this.
Absolutely love this class.  I have been doing pilates for over 20 years and this is one of my favorites.  Great cueing!
2 people like this.
Enjoyed the two way stretch theme - thank you!  
2 people like this.
Hi Regina, I loved your cueing. One that was very helpful was on the long back stretch to keep the reformer still while flattening the body (on the first direction). Thanks so much! I really enjoyed how much you fit into a short amount of time.
1 person likes this.
Thank you for this mindful movement session, Regina! The theme of the double-leg stretch was lovely - and I appreciated your cues and reminder of the two-way stretching throughout the exercises as they flowed nicely from one to the next. I enjoyed the pace, and this got my heart thumping. Feel incredible now! Much gratitude
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