Class #4906

Stretch Power

45 min - Class


Guided by Sarah Bertucelli you will utilize the power of your breath to discover more range, length, and connection in how you move. Sarah takes the time to iron out any tension or kinks you might be holding in your body before moving into strengthening exercises. Enjoy the power of stretching and learn how to increase your stretch with exploratory movement.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video


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Hi, thanks for joining me today. Let's explore the edges and enjoy moving, let's get started. So I have got one blue spring on my reformer, and I'm going to ask you to stand just at the back of your reformer. A little bit of space between you and the edge of the reformer, but notice it's kind of easy maybe to touch the foot bar, and you'll adjust as needed. And just settle into your body, feel the still point, still point isn't the right word.

See if you can lean forward and back on your feet a little bit and feel the place where you're centered on the fronts and the backs of your feet. And then maneuver a little side to side and let your body settle in to a place that feels comfortable for you. Perhaps, if you know, you have a tightness, you'll take a moment to open that tightness just in this standing posture. Inhaling let's take those arms up and go ahead and look up, as you do, stretching perhaps through your underarms, just checking in, seeing where you are today, and then take your arms down by your side, and start the roll down, feel your neck, feel your upper back, allow your arms to float forward of the foot bar here, and then reach around and find the frame with your heels of your hands. Push forward into a flat back and allow your legs to find a gentle graze or connection to something on the reformer perhaps the foot bar, or perhaps perhaps the edge of the reformer by bending the knees.

If you don't have a locking mechanism, don't lean into the bar, but just notice where it is. Extend a little further than you thought you could by allowing your shoulders to let go and perhaps move side to side, perhaps shift your pelvis side to side and iron out a few kinks. Notice where things are sticky in this moment. With breath round yourself in, keeping that connection or the legs where they are. Inhaling let's reach forward opening through the chest, finding a little sticky spot and loosening it up and rounding in.

And certainly if you don't feel any sticky spots, just enjoy the movement and try to increase perhaps a little more range, breathing and moving, extending into a flat back and then rounding. Now, when you go into that flat back, if it feels like a good idea to extend into a more extended position, meaning allow your heart to go forward in your gaze to change, feel free to do that. Curl your pelvis underneath you as you round yourself in, maximizing the flexion of the spine, the roundness of the spine, and then extending forward, ironing out the kinks for you and going to your edge, what feels good, and then rounding yourself all the way in this time. Try to bring the carriage all the way into the stop, but keeping the legs where they are, shift back into the feet when needed, and then round yourself up to a standing position. And let's get on our reformers footwork spring, for me is three reds in a blue.

You're welcome to work with what works for you, so set your reformer for that spring, and then let's lie down and settle in. I'm going to ask you to remember, to give yourself the grace today, to find your way, and also to find wiggle room and ease in any position that might be pushing your limits. So settle for a couple moments with your neck equal distance from your shoulder rest, feel your pelvis position, feel your ribs, feel your pieces and settle. I like to begin sometimes with my arms hanging off the reformer, palms facing up. I invite you to try that if that feels good, it feels like a nice stretch through my chest.

My feet are on the bar comfortable for pelvic curls, but I haven't begun yet. Find your breath, inhale, with your exhale, you can begin your pelvic curl, take your arms, maybe back onto the table or keep them open, if that suits you. Inhale and then exhale and lengthen yourself down one vertebra a time. Feel free to breathe when it makes sense to you, I do prefer exhaling when I'm flexing the spine, so I'll use the exhale to curl up, trying to find maximum range here by scooping the pubic bone, a little bit higher, feeling that nice ease, inhale here, and then use an exhale to lower down. So I invite you to use nasal breathing or perhaps you'll use traditional Pilates breathing, most importantly, please breathe.

Feel yourself coming up to that high curl position, holding this position, feel your abdominals working, feel the backs of your legs, lift one leg off the bar to a tabletop position, and then put it down and change. Just breathe when it makes sense, and see if you can do these marching actions with limited movement in your pelvis, hopefully none at all, but you may find that there's an imbalance, so you'll try to work it out. One more time, that was three for me on each side, whatever works for you works for me. Two feet are on the foot bar, scoop that pelvis back up, the feet fell down and then lengthen your spine, one vertebra at a time that feels delicious today. Again, I invite you to take your arms to hang off of the reformer if that feels good, as you sway your legs over to one side, loosening up through your hips and your spine.

Feel free to move your pelvis forward and back tucking and arching, ironing out any sticky spots. Use your breath to pull back to center and then go the other way. Allow your legs to relax, your hips to loosen up and iron out some kinks. What does that mean? Maybe you'll push a little bit with your legs, maybe you'll move your pelvis, just kind of find something that needs working out and then use your breath to come back to center.

Go ahead and reach your hands up to the ceiling, allow the blood to flow back to your hands. Inhale here, with an exhale we lift the head and chest, take a hold of the legs and lift up nice and high. Allow your shoulders to do what they feel like doing and your legs to do what they feel like doing. My knees like to open, my shoulders are all over the place, 'cause I wanna feel the stretch in my back body. I'm creating roundness in all directions and then I wanna start rocking and rolling and I'm endeavoring to keep my legs totally still, although I'm having a hard time right now, but the idea here is that I'm using my breath to get the rolling rather than throwing my legs around.

It takes some thought and it takes some practice, it also takes some hamstring engagement. And then if I can do so, I'm gonna roll all the way up. Hopefully you made it up, your legs will just rest on the foot bar, you're gonna use that connection to straighten one leg, to straighten the other leg. Again, I don't want this to be a neat open leg rocker or teaser, I want you to go with what feels good to you. My ankles are flexed, I'm gonna reach up and hold on to my feet and I'm gonna open my heart and extend my back and just kinda shift a little bit side to side.

So I'm kind of pushing into the foot bar to just feel some stretchy spots. Now, if you're not flexible enough to do that, you could hold any point on your legs and still work this position or you could keep your knees bent, just let your legs drape, whatever feels right. So now let's take a position that feels okay for you to roll back. If you need to use your hands, you will, legs are straight if it works and we're just gonna curl the spine down one vertebra at a time, just check in with our ability to control this movement today in this moment. And then settle in for your footwork, please check in with your body, your neck, your pelvis, your ribs, your feet.

Here I'd like your feet to be just above your heel, so you can play with that soft foot position. Arms are resting by your side, perhaps palms up, perhaps arms open for the first few. I'm gonna choose that choice right now, as I press out, I like the way the shoulder rests, press my shoulders down and give me a little extra stretch in my arms and gently come in. So we're breathing and moving, we're self-correcting as needed, pelvis is neutral. Once I've established that pressure on my shoulder rest, that gives me the stretch, I'll take my arms into a position where they're resting and I feel much looser in my neck and shoulders as a result of it.

And then when you're ready, you can feel free to put your palms down, but make sure that you're still open across your chest, when you do that. One more to time just breathing and moving, all the way to straight and then come on in, shift the feet so that you're in the middle of the foot, near the ball of the foot for that more prehensile position, feel the spiral in of the thighs, the backs of the legs, out we go, exhale. A little change on this position because I want you to work on making sure you're really using your hamstrings. Come all the way in please, keeping the carriage at the stop or do a pelvic curl in this position, keeping your heels dropping down. Decide if you can still lift just as high as you did earlier and then lengthen and lower all the way back down.

Press out and in two or three times. The pace is up to you, you can move a little faster or you can move a little slower if needed. I like a nice moderate pace when it comes to my footwork and then come all the way in, let's do another pelvic curl. Feel the abdominals, feel the backs of the legs, see if you can get the pelvis to lift just as high. It's a little hard for me to do that here, and I have to think about what's going on in order to make sure I'm using the appropriate muscles.

Pelvis home, two more like this out and in, again, breathing and moving my friends, one more pelvic curl, please. We curl up, feel that openness across the front of the hips and we curl down, beautiful. Let's shift to the balls of the feet, active foot and press out and in here. Now I'm gonna invite you in this more classic foot position to play with things that makes sense to you. So one of the things I really like to do is to change my gaze, to roll my head to one side, inner thighs are active, feet are active, maybe roll my head to the other side.

There's always one side, I need more, so if you can identify that, great and let this be the last one here, we slide the heels together, squeeze those heels tightly together, soft across the hip crease, engaged in the abs and the backs of the legs, out we go. Feel free throughout this workout and throughout this footwork to play with your arm position, maybe you wanna let your arms hang off, maybe you wanna reach out to the side, circle your hands, loosening up things that make sense. So my arms are stretched out to the side and I'm moving my hands around and I'm feeling a nice release across my front body as I'm doing my footwork. One more time, please, and then come all the way in. Let's put the heels wide on the bar, please, feel that nice open sensation, but also with rotation.

So some of us open and then lose the rotation, see if you can be sure you've still got your rotation, your external rotation heels are on the bar, chest is open out we go. So in the beginning when you're first learning Pilates, I think a lot of times we're just trying to find that kind of middle ground where you can stabilize and also have some flexibility and be safe. As we advance in the practice, I think one of the things, the goals for me at least is finding more range, enjoying the range and then feeling the freedom within that range. And that's what I am hoping for you to play with here in this workout today, that we're doing very familiar moves sometimes, and see if you can find a path to creating just a little bit more movement, a little more fun in the movement or feeling in the movement maybe. Come all the way in, please.

Let's go ahead and do the toe position here as well. Using your exhale, you might press out or your inhale, it doesn't matter to me, just make sure you are in fact, breathing and see if you can endeavor to breathe in and out through your nose today. And beautiful elongation all the way to straight each time, keeping the rotation and see if you can start to feel some heat growing in those legs and those feet. Come all the way in my friends, we'll move into some foot stretches. So bring your feet close together just to feel that you're centered and then separate just a bit.

Let's press out and do a few calf raises down and up with both feet and try to feel what you need to do. So if you need to organize your pelvis, if you need to self-correct, you're gonna just go ahead and do that for me without really stopping and asking you to do it specifically. Moving right into some prances, we press up and we change and we change and we change. So bending one knee and stretching, right? I'm getting a nice little ankle pop on one side, I don't normally get.

So let's go ahead and hold the stretch, whichever foot you're on is fine. Find a place where it feels easy to be and feel free to explore. You might maneuver the foot around, you might maneuver the pelvis around, you might drop the heel a little bit, you might bend the knee a little bit. Whatever you choose to do for your calves, I like to sometimes draw a circle too, so I'm like doing a little, almost like a circle with my knee. I bend and I roll to the outside little bit and then I pull myself through to straight and then I go in out.

And what happened there is I just got a really beautiful adjustment in my foot. Let's change legs. Anything I suggest that you do should be done though with ease and grace and comfort and wiggle room. So if I'm asking you to do something and your body says, "Hey, I don't like that." Please don't do it. So find the stretch that suits you again, maybe that circle.

So what I do when I do the circle is I bend, I roll a little tiny bit out to the outside of my foot and then I circle to the inside and bend. So I'm just kind of finding where I have stickiness and then enjoying a spot where I need it more. So that's just gonna give you an opportunity to explore perhaps a position you wouldn't go to. Let's come all the way in, we'll do one more thing here, a little variation, feet are pretty close together, comfortable foot position for you. Lift your right leg up into the air and cross it over your other leg.

Squeeze your inner thighs, rather a hooking with your leg, think of squeezing your thighs together and then allow your leg to relax. So my right leg that's crossed over is relaxed, but squeezing from the inner thighs. That shape is gonna stay the same when we press out and in, but let's just explore a little bit of rotation first. Go in each direction and notice where you feel sticky and just feel it and iron it out a little bit, move side to side a few times, and then center. Pressing with the leg that's on the foot bar, squeezing both inner thighs, and that top leg will keep its shape.

So as you come in, you're gonna squeeze your inner thighs and your top leg keeps its shape. So it's squeezing without actually moving it. And we'll do just a couple more just like this, and then we'll do a few more with a variation. So now I would like you to add on. So we squeeze inner thighs, we press out and we lengthen the leg, perhaps you flex the foot and then you bend and you come in, squeeze.

You lengthen, you're feeling a twisted action and you bend and come in. Feels so good for me, nice active hip stretch. You can flex your foot, you can point your foot, you can do whatever you want, really what feels good? What do you need? What can you handle?

And gently come on in, let's change legs. So you put your right foot next to your other foot and then cross it, drape it over, feel a little bit of inner thigh work, rather than hugging with the hamstring. It's more of a inner thigh squeezing together and then sway side to side and just notice where you feel tight. Where is it hard to move? What do you need to iron out?

And do this in a comfortable way. Keep the squeeze of the inner thighs, settle your right foot on the bar, feel your way, and then you press out. You're keeping the shape of that left leg and you're squeezing inner thighs as you come in. So there's a little bit of a sensation of twisting, even though hopefully you're not twisting too much. So if this spring were to be too heavy, certainly you could change the spring, you could have gotten up and changed the spring.

I like to work with some heavy spring for my single legs. Remember to squeeze those inner thighs when you come in, adding the straightening of the leg here straight and flex, woo, that one feels very different to me, come on in. So this is my tighter sides straighten and flex, feel the inner thighs and come on in. And we'll just do two more like that after this one, please. Breathing and moving my friends, and one more time, please, breathing and moving.

Good come all the way in, just give yourself a hug for a moment. Working hard, stretching hard, roll yourself up to a sitting position and let's move on. So for the next few pieces, we're going to use just one spring. I'm going to recommend a red spring, certainly you could use lighter or heavier depending on what you need, but I'll keep it on a red for me right now. So I'm going to swivel around and sit with my feet resting on the headrest.

I'll reach around and hold on to the straps, but I wanna thread my hands through and hold the ropes up above the buckles. And here we're gonna do a nice sloppy rollback. Yes, I know, Pilates is not supposed to be sloppy, but sometimes it's a good idea to just do things in a different way. So here, I've got the straps kind of pulling my shoulders forward and I'm letting that happen, it feels nice in my back. And I'm gonna take it even more forward and allow myself to bend until maybe my forehead touches my knees, maybe not.

So I've got just a tiny bit of spring pulling me and giving me a little more back stretch. And then I recover from this position sitting upright. Now, curling the pelvis underneath me I'm gonna keep that idea of letting the spring pull me forward wherever I wanna go and roll back. So it's not my intention, my motivation is not to use my abs it's to feel a stretch. So here's where I wanna be, I've got a place where I can feel some stretching on my back and I'm just gonna roll around a little bit.

If I go too far, I lose the resistance and the stretch. And I'm just gonna play with it and breathe, and then we're gonna roll back up. Keep rolling all the way up until maybe your forehead will rest on your knees, and then using your breath, we sit up and then we're gonna roll back. And after this one, we'll change it. So again, we're going for stretch, so let your shoulders be sloppy, if it doesn't feel good, don't let your shoulders be sloppy.

But I've learned that my shoulders need to stretch on the back a lot as well as on the front. So we're gonna roll around a little bit, feel the stretch, and hopefully you're feeling your abdominals show up, even though I'm not asking them to work, really, they're just working. Come forward, deep stretch and then let's sit up and think a little bit more about placement of the shoulders. I feel heat in my back it feels good. So I wanna plug my shoulders to my back body and I'm gonna keep that plugged, so I'm not gonna totally let go of the shoulders.

But still the same idea of curling down and getting maximum stretch through the back, so a more classic rollback. And we're gonna find that point where it feels like if we go down, we have to uncurl the back a little bit, so keeping flexion. And then I'm gonna draw my feet in and I'm just gonna hold balance here. So I'm gonna figure out where I can balance with this tension. Good and again, I just wanna have a little wiggle room.

So if there's no wiggle room, I'm not doing something as I need to be. We're gonna tap one toe and we're gonna change, tapping the other toe and change. Just breathe, my friends, breathe, just breathe, that song. Hold the legs lifted, put the toes down, roll yourself all the way forward. Keep the shoulders somewhat plugged, but allow the stretch to happen in your spine.

This time, stack your spine, look forward. Keep going, open your heart and allow yourself to come to a little back extension. You can let your neck open, curl yourself back forward and let's roll down one more time. Float the legs up, this time we're gonna do kind of like a single leg stretch leg, one leg out, one leg in, but keeping the balance, pa, pa, pa, keeping the pelvis stable, keeping the breath, maybe you'll move a little faster, maybe you won't, it's up to you, it should feel like a good idea. So make sure it does for you, one more time, two legs are gonna come in, toes tap and roll yourself forward.

Allow the straps to come to rest, please. And then we're gonna go into a sideline position and do some single leg hip work. Still one spring, I think is ideal, so roll yourself onto your side. I like to thread my arm through and get a nice stretch through my lat, reach around and hold onto the peg. You're welcome to do whatever arm arrangement you need to do, whatever works for you.

Make sure you feel comfortable, you can always put your arm in a different position should you need to. So you're gonna use your feet to help you get your straps on, you can use your bottom foot on the wood piece, that's a little more comfortable than the frame of the bar, but it works too. And we're gonna put the one strap on the one top leg. So I want you to use your body, your hands, I should say to self correct a little bit and make sure that you are not losing your way in your spine. So check in with your pelvis, bottom side is engaged, low back is long, and then we're gonna bend the knee and come into a 90, 90, 90 hip, 90 knee.

The rope is just above my knee cap here, and then I'm just going to extend my leg in the direction of straight and down with my body. So you might put your hand on your outer hip of the moving leg in order to help you feel for the muscles that we should be working here. This to me is more about the hip stability here than it is about the extension, although that could be what you're feeling. For me it's really the hip stability. This time, keep the leg in that bent position when you get there and extend with the leg, still the upper leg, where it is, see if you can extend your leg all the way to straight.

(exhales) Yes, this is my hard side, doing my best to be strong, but it is hard. We're gonna go all the way down, straight in alignment with the body and then forward again. So see if you can get a good hip hinge about 90 degree at the hip and then straight in alignment with your body. Good, so one more like that and then we'll add on. So feel that beautiful hip extensor work, feel your abdominals engaged, feel your breath.

Now you can take this into extension as well, so you'll go all the way to straight. And then I want you to let the strap come into the rope, come into your body as you continue it to extend. Use your fingers if you need to, to help open across that front of the hip, feel the glute working too, come forward. And we're gonna go all the way down and into the body to reach into extension, trying to stay in neutral alignment. Good, one more time.

So if you're like me and you have a hard time extending your hip without using your low back, you so might take your foot on your thigh there and just kinda push it back a little more, softening the quad, which gives me just a little bit more range in my hip, and it feels so delicious. Good, you can keep your foot there or you can take it away. So we'll do one more now and then we'll add on, okay? So do whatever you need to do to feel good about this, find that position and stay there for a moment, you can take that front foot out in front as well. So now we're gonna lift the leg up a bit so you can climb your other arm and shoulder underneath and allow that to support you somewhere and take the leg a little bit up and behind you, so you feel a stretch here.

So I'm supporting myself wherever it feels good, so I've rested my front foot on the frame and I'm not really holding on there, but I'm just letting it be so I can stretch a little across my front hip here. Now we can continue on if you feel safe here, you can let the knee continue to bend until you feel yourself in a supported quad stretch, which should feel quite delicious. If this doesn't feel good, just use your other foot to push out and get yourself out of this. Play with moving the knee down and up a little bit, play with taking the leg back more. You could also, if you have the flexibility in your shoulder, take your arm back there and hold onto the ropes to increase the stretch here if that feels like a good idea.

Please breathe, whatever it is you're choosing to do. Thank you. (Sarah inhaling) And then now to get out of this, use the bottom foot, the one that's not in a strap and push on that frame of the foot bar or on something, to kinda maneuver the rope back to the front. So you can remove the strap and can put the strap back on the peg. I find it easiest to shift sides by sitting up, so you're welcome to just swivel to the other side of your reformer, or you can get up and walk around if you prefer.

And then we'll slide ourselves in and do the other side, please. So we're gonna rest in that same position where you've got your head supported on your arm, or however you need it to be, and then you're gonna put the strap in the top leg, on the top leg foot and then we'll find that 90, 90 degree hip position trying to find length through the back, stability through the pelvis and let's press the leg down and up a few times. Finding breath, remember, I'm putting my hand on my pelvis on the outside of my hip, I should say, because that's where I wanna really work to feel more work, more support. And I actually find this to be quite challenging, I hope you enjoy the challenge too, I love this series. Stay here, your leg is at about 90 degrees hip flexion, see if you can extend your leg to straight, pay attention to what's working, what's not working.

And then take that straight leg down in alignment with your body and then forward. Let's do a few more like that, so trying to keep the legs straight as you move down, it's challenging for many of us, and doing your best to keep your pelvis still. Now this time, press down and stay and then see if you can take it into extension that leg. So you're gonna move back with the leg until the rope is pressing on your body and you're gonna use that resistance you have to create maybe a little bit more extension and then forward. So again, if you find that you're having a hard time feeling the openness across the front of the hip, if you're feeling grippy there, feel free to use your other foot to kinda push back a little bit, that helps me a lot, helps me engage my hip extensors.

You can feel free to use your hand on the rope too. So just make sure you're listening to your body and doing what you need to do to enjoy this movement. The other thing you can do here is you can extend that front leg and make it a split. So if you feel quite comfortable here, you can extend and make this a beautiful split. Let's hold this position and take the arm underneath the rope and take the leg back a little bit more.

Allow the spring to kinda pull your leg up a little bit, so you're getting a little more openness through the hip crease. Should feel nice if it doesn't feel nice, get out of it, should feel good though. I'm reaching through my foot and then allowing the spring to pull me up. And now moving into the quadriceps stretch or the two joint quadriceps stretch too, it's a little bit of hip flexor as well. You can bend the knee behind you and the rope should just stay on your foot and then allow yourself to enjoy this quad stretch.

So you should have wiggle room here. You can move your pelvis a little bit, if that feels good or you can move your leg up and down and find what you need. You can also, if your shoulder allows, you can hold onto the rope up and you can pull yourself into more of an extreme stretch here if that feels good. Just make sure you're breathing and make sure your body says, it's a good idea, mine really likes this a lot. I like how supported I feel, but that I can go a little bit deeper, 'cause I've got the resistance of the spring.

So to come out of it, you're gonna wanna make sure you use that bottom foot to support you, kinda untangle the rope and bring the leg back in front of you, take your strap away. Whoop, I got a little caught up, put it down and then you might come up to a sitting position. Now we're going to do semicircle, which requires you to lie back on your back. Still one red spring is I deal for that. For semicircle it's always tricky to get in and out of it.

It's not the neatest thing in the world, but if you start down away from the shoulder rest and you allow your legs to just kind of rest over, you should feel pretty relaxed there. Okay, you're gonna lift your pelvis up, put your hands on the shoulder rest and slide the carriage out from underneath you. And then you can arrange your feet up on the foot bar, lift your hips nice and high here, keep those elbows nice and straight. Heels are together and you're gonna try to bend your knees in as much you can, keeping that nice high pelvis. There is a lot of glute work, hip extensor work, so feel that.

And then we're gonna lower ourselves down, one vertebra at a time into the spring, dropping the tail, you're in hyperextension of the spine. Slide the carriage out just about halfway to straight with your knees, squeeze those heels, feel the glutes, hamstrings, everything working all the way up and we pull in. Breathe and move my friends, lowering down, endeavoring to keep the carriage still, but you'll know that it may or may not stay completely still, drop the tail, and we slide out supporting with the abs, supporting with the hip extensors as well and then come in. Let's do two more like that, articulating down, breathing my friends, pressing about halfway out. Use your abs, use the backs of your legs to curl yourself up and come in, and one more time.

Press out and then we're gonna lift those hips up nice and high, come all the way in and then slip yourself back into the reformer, come to rest for just a moment carriage at rest, and then roll yourself onto your side, and let's come up to a sitting position. We'll do some arm work now. So some creative exploration with the arm work, I'm going to keep the spring the same, I'm on one red spring. If this feels too heavy for you, you're welcome to change it. So again, I want you to explore this idea of just sitting differently and seeing how your body responds to working your body while you're sitting differently.

So you can start with your bottom right at the very back edge of the reformer and sit, and just let your legs relax. I think a lot of times we get caught up in keeping the legs perfect, and I want my legs to be where it's comfortable for my pelvis to be in the right spot and then work for flexibility from there, that's what I'm looking for. So I'm gonna reach forward, I'm gonna grab my straps and hold them at the strap part. You're welcome to hold just classically, you could also stick your hands through and hold between the thumb and the finger, if you prefer that grip. So here let's press the arms back into chest expansion and let them come forward.

Press back again, and then this time I want you to come all the way forward, allow your body to fold over your legs and feel a stretch. As you stack your spine, I want you to cross your legs. Let's take the left leg in first, the right leg in front. So we're in like a crisscross apple sauce type position, right leg is in front. I'm gonna press my arms behind me, I'm gonna come forward, I'm gonna press my arms behind me.

I'm looking for more range, this is not traditional chest expansion. I'm gonna go to a full forward fold, relax, see what I feel here. Can I get my head to the ground? Are my arms comfortable? Can I move my pelvis?

Stack my spine up, sit tall, reorganize and press my arms back. This time, I'm going to take my arms open, so wide chest expansion here and then down and then wide chest expansion, and then down. Now take the arms forward, allow your right leg to go forward onto the headrest. So I have one bent knee, one straightish leg, roll forward, see what that feels like. Stack your spine, sit tall, press your arms back, just get organized again, wide, feel how that feels, good.

And then I'm gonna ask you to untuck your other legs, so you have two straight legs once again and roll forward. (Sarah inhaling) Stack your spine. So take your right leg in first, take your left leg in front. So now we do the opposite, how does this feel? Does it feel different?

Does it feel the same? Take your arms behind you, take your arms wide. If the arms going wide is too much, then just do more straight down, it's fine with me, fold forward. I just like taking myself into that forward position from various different positions with my arms. What do I mean by that?

I mean, my arms can go straight down and then I can go forward and stretch, right? Or my arms can go straight out to the side and we can go forward and stretch. Both of them feel really nice to me. So let's change like we did on the other side, take the left leg out onto the headrest and just see how this picture feels. Let's go back and straight down one time and then straight out and then fold forward.

So just sitting in different arrangements and learning to work with where your tightness is and breathe into it and hopefully soften is what we're endeavoring to do here. And then let's go back to two straight legs, turn your palms to face up, try to be nice and stacked and see if you're able after all that now to straighten your legs and be a little bit more symmetrical. I know I am, bend your elbows, hands straight, and so a traditional bicep curl here, the shoulders are plugged. We're trying not to lean back at all, feeling that the upper arms stay nice and stable in space. You can try doing one arm at a time, if you're feeling like the tension could be greater, and that always is a little bit eyeopening, I always find one much harder to do than the others.

So you might wanna return to two arms for one final one here, please and then let's rest that. Let's put the straps down while we spin around to face the other direction. If you need to get up and do a jig and loosen your hips, feel free to, mine feel okay here, so I'm gonna stick with it. Again I wanna have the right leg in front, so the left leg goes underneath and the right leg is in front, I'm gonna reach back and I'm gonna hold onto the straps. I'm gonna just take my hands on my belly and again find my alignment and then press the arms forward.

And we're gonna play with an opening of the arms, so we have that tree position and then back forward, and then we're gonna bend the elbows and we're gonna press on the diagonal up. So we're gonna come down and open the arms, we're gonna come forward, up and bend in, good. And down and open the arms, can you stay here? And straighten one leg and straighten the other leg, can you hold that? Arms forward, up, bend, press out, down, open, can you hold it?

We're gonna change, which leg comes in first, can you pull that right leg in? Can you pull the left leg in? That's a little hard for me to do, without assistance, but hopefully you are able to manage, arms come in, arms come up, bend, straighten, arms down and open. One more time, we're gonna take two legs, out to straight, can you hold that straight leg position and do a few more like that? Arms up, bend in, out, down, open.

One more time together, up, bend in, press out, just breathe my friends and open. Now if your shoulders allow, allow the stretch to continue until the carriage goes to rest, if not, then don't, that feels wonderful to me. And then put your straps down and let's make our way upright. You're gonna need to change your spring to a light spring, a blue spring, just like we started with 'cause we're gonna return to that same exercise. So standing now, just at the back edge of your reformer with just a little bit of space, let's see how this feels.

Taking those arms up, taking those arms down, curl yourself forward, feel your head, feel your upper back, feel your low back, find the edge of the reformer and extend into that nice, beautiful, extended back position, see how this feels. Adjust as did so that you feel safe and comfortable here, and see if you can go just a little deeper stretching into those underarms perhaps and remembering to breathe. And let's round in again. And then we're gonna add on here in just a moment and then reach forward, holding that forward reach position for a moment longer. Let's find the right leg and extend the right leg behind you.

So the toe can be tapping the floor, for those of you less comfortable here, you can take the leg parallel with the horizon, for those of you more comfortable. You've got a little bit more energy through that right arm while the right leg is lifted. So extend deep into the stretch and then as you round in, draw the knee in, rounding the back. So we're working some cross patterning here, endeavor to keep your shoulders and your pelvis square. Good, we'll do one more here.

(Sarah inhaling) Now, hold this shape and really think about keeping your chest square to the floor. So looking down, maybe at your spring or at your toes, tap your back toe to the floor and then lift it up and do that endeavoring to keep the leg in neutral alignment. So we'll do it one more time. Now, hold here externally rotate, continue to lift and extend to your maximum and then allow your pelvis to shift, to allow your leg to go as high as you are able to, and then undo that, tap the foot down, lift, rotate, extend, and then allow the pelvis to shift. And undo that one more time, lift, rotate, extend, and allow the pelvis to shift.

That feels really strongly challenging for me on this side. Let's round and roll ourselves all the way in. So what's interesting for me, and I wonder if you feel this as well, some of you, is the biggest challenge for me is my standing leg. Take the arms up, take the arms down and roll forward, and let's repeat on the second side, please. So catch the edge of the reformer, extend into a flat back position, get organized, feel free to move around, feel good here.

And then extend your left leg behind you feel this and make sure you feel safe here, try to keep your pelvis square, take your leg to parallel with the horizon if that suits you. And then we'll try a few here where we extend and we round in. Now I say parallel with the horizon because I want you to think about keeping your pelvis square, but certainly if you have more hip extension, feel free to lift your leg up higher. Never want you to be stifled because of my flexibility. (Sarah inhaling) Now we'll extend back and hold here and then tap the leg down a few times and lift and just kind of feel that movement and see how high you can go.

And then lift and hold, externally rotate, keep going up, and this side is just so hard for me to get that extra bit of range on the up leg, but it feels juicy as well, undo it and come down. So it's a few parts of movement here, you're gonna lift, rotate, and then keep rotating and keep moving the pelvis with your breath and undo it. And just one more time, we're lifting, we're rotating and we're enjoying the juiciness of that movement, I sure hope and unwind. And come down two feet are on the ground, round yourself in, come all the way upright. And I just wanna do one more piece there, which is gonna require us to go back down, but let's just take a couple of reaches to the ceiling, a few stretches through the side body, let it be what you need it to be.

We're rolling down, just finding a little bit of extra back extension in this final one. I'm reaching forward, stretching, stretching, stretching, extending, looking up, good, extending straight, remove one arm and reach and twist, undo that, remove the other arm and reach and twist and undo it. Two hands are on the reformer, round and roll yourself all the way in. And let's finish up here with just a couple of yummy stretches using the reformer. So I'm just going to add some spring for stability, it just doesn't even matter what you put on, I just don't wanna be only on a blue spring.

And then I'm gonna have you just use this as a platform for one leg. So let's put our left leg maybe up first, in about a 90 degree knee bend, approximately and wherever you can be here comfortably. So I don't want this to feel like it has to be pigeon, I want you to find a place like this is my tight leg. So what I I've done is I've angled myself so I can get my back leg outta the way, I don't even care what it's doing, my leg is just kind of out of the way and the knee is bent. So I'm going to use the platform here, the reformer, just to help find my way to loosen up some of the tightness.

So my hand is on one of my knees and my other hand is on my foot and I'm just gonna kind of swirl around until I feel what I need, what I need to stretch, what's tight, and that's what I'm gonna ask you to learn to do here or to play with. So as you breathe and be curious and be patient moving your pelvis little bits and pieces, moving your neck, try to keep your leg grounded, as best as possible with your hands or with your elbow. I've put my elbow on my knee, try to keep that grounded so the movements you make are from the back half of your body, if you will, or from your pelvis, relaxing your neck and breathing. (Sarah exhaling) And then gently come on out of that. And let's just take the leg to a straightish position.

So just again, the other leg is just sort of out of the way, I'm sort of just diagonal half on the reformer. You could take the leg forward if that's more comfortable or you could have it bent in the foot down, if that feels better. And I'm just wanting to kind of lean into this leg a little bit and just swirl around and find some stretches with a straight leg. So for me, I know if I go into a little bit of a rotation and work on getting something to loosen up on the outside here, it's good for me. You might find that it feels better to kinda go the other way, whatever feels right, give me two or three more breaths here.

You might feel that sitting up feels nice, whatever works, it's your opportunity to stretch and to enjoy that. And then let's go ahead and switch legs. I'm going to stay on this side of the reformer so I can continue looking at you, you're welcome to change or do it however you'd like. But again, I'm gonna try to find this place where I can have my knee bent about 90 degrees. I'm gonna use one hand to kinda push down through the knee, the other hand to sort of push down through the foot and just kinda hang out here, and swirl around a little bit and find the tightness.

So I've just found mine and I encourage you to be patient and curious about your stretches because they should feel good. We should feel like we can be in the stretch and we can swirl around and we can release and that we're not so rigid in the stretch that it's uncomfortable. So make sure you are checking in and finding new little bits and pieces of things that need to stretch by moving other parts of your body, perhaps. And then let's move into a straighter leg here. So once again, you're going to just kind of shift your body wherever it needs to be.

The back foot can be out in front, it can be behind you, whatever feels right to you and just kinda lean over the leg and notice what you feel. Maybe you'll wanna lean over to the side and get an adductor stretch, more inner thigh. Maybe you're like me and you need more on the outside, you'll kinda lean across and breathe here. (Sarah exhaling) Give me just a couple more breaths, and then let's just make our way to a seat on the edge of the reformer and just finish with like a little forward fold here from sitting. Just allow your body to roll forward and relax over your legs.

Let your neck relax, your arms relax, your body relax. Breathing in and breathing out. Gently roll yourself back up. (Sarah exhaling) Thank you so much for playing, I'll see you soon.

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Martha Valentine
Excellent class- crystal clear cueing and intent- nice creative combos for stretches! 
2 people like this.
Thank you, Sarah! I am feeling awesome and ready for my day after this class!
1 person likes this.
Another jewel! Thank YOU so much, dear Sarah!
1 person likes this.
Always a treat and another way in! thank you!!
3 people like this.
What a wonderful class. Enjoyed every minute of it.  The cues were perfect. Keep them coming, love your classes and your teaching.
Hi Martha Valentine ,  Thank you so much! 
Beautiful Dorit T !
Hi Barbara L, thank you so much for playing!!
Hi Carolyn pleased the class worked for you!!
Thank you so much Wendy M ! 
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