Class #5089

Day 2: Core Strengthening

40 min - Class
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Welcome to Day 2! This class with Laura Hanlon is all about your core. Continuing to use your breath to create fluidity and allow you to tap deeper into your strength. Laura keeps the pace consistent with her concise, yet detailed cueing. You will feel the work in your abs, spine, and legs!
What You'll Need: Mat, Overball

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Welcome to day two of the challenge. Today is going to be a core-focused class, utilizing this nice, small, squishy ball. For most of the exercises, you have the option to do so without it, but it adds a little extra fun. So we're gonna start the same way we started class one, right in the middle of the mat. This time that ball comes right between those inner thighs.

So somewhere between the knees and the hips, giving it a nice gentle squeeze. To start, hands behind those knees, shoulders down, just taking a note of our posture here, how we're feeling today. Give that ball a little tighter squeeze as you take a breath in (inhales deeply) and then exhale, begin to tuck, and curl back. So we've been here before. We're scooping out the low belly muscles.

Heels stay anchored to the mat. Find a straight elbow and then reach those arms forward. Squeeze that ball a little bit tighter. Those elbows pull back towards the ribs on the inhale. Deepen the belly back, we'll reach the arms forward on the exhale.

Inhale to pull, (inhales deeply) exhale to lengthen. (exhales sharply) Three more times here. Deepening belly button back as those arms reach forward and gentle pressure into that ball. For two and reach. Once more, inhaling and exhaling. Holding it here, squeezing into that ball a little bit tighter, belly button pulls back to curl us back up.

Right away, reaching those arms forward, shoulders down, ball squeezing tight between those inner thighs. Tucking and rounding back, maybe an inch further this time so those fingertips just pass the ball. Elbows pulling back closer to the mat, maybe they tap or hover at this time. Exhale to reach the arms forward, inhale to bend. Belly button pulls back, arms reaching long for three (inhales deeply) and extend. (exhales sharply) For two, inhale, exhale, abs back and in.

Once more, inhale to bend, exhale to lengthen forward, shoulder blades pulling down, ball squeeze in tight, and then exhale to curl all the way back up. One more time here, one more chance to get a little lower. Zip up through the waist, tall posture. Inhale through the nose and contracting and rounding back, finding that scoop of the low belly. Keeping curled through your spine.

A little bit further back this time, maybe those elbows come closer and hover or tap the mat. Deepen the belly back as you reach forward. If those elbows are tapped, make sure they tap evenly. We don't wanna be going one and then the other. Two more times together, inhale to bend, exhale, belly pulls back, inner thigh squeeze around that ball for stability.

Once more, inhale to bend, exhale to extend. We hold it here. Squeeze those inner thighs, take a deep breath in (inhales deeply) and exhale, deepen that belly to slowly roll back onto that mat, slow as you can with control, releasing at the bottom. Palms will press into the mat and we'll draw the knees all the way in towards the chest. Flex the feet, keep squeezing the inner thighs around the ball.

Starting with a really small heels lowering exercise here. So those heels stay close to the sit bones, inner thighs squeezed around the ball. Exhale, ribs knit together to lift the knees back up. And then inhale to lower down, chin stay and lifted off the chest. Exhale, think of that tight zipper in the low abdominals as we continue to warm up the core here.

Inhale to lower, (inhales deeply) exhale, think of the corset around the waist, squeezing into those inner thighs. For three. (inhales deeply) Belly button pulling down and in, chest and neck staying relaxed, all that tension moving into the low core. For two (inhales deeply) and lift. (exhales sharply) Once more, inhale to lower. (inhales deeply) Belly pulling deep, exhale to lift. Lowering the feet all the way down to the mat with control here, pressing into the heels, pressing into the palms. We'll go into a really small pelvic tuck, squeezing the ball on the inhale with that nice long spine and on the exhale, scooping from the low belly to curl the pelvis just an inch or two off the mat.

So my tailbones hovering, but my ribs and my upper abdominals stay anchored to the floor. Release that tailbone back long. Inhale (inhales deeply) and exhale, think of a tight zipper zipping all the way up towards your belly button, hollowing out the low abdominals. And release back long, inhaling (inhales deeply) and exhaling on the tuck. (exhales sharply) Twice more, inhale, lengthen all the way out through the tail, out through the crown of the head, and exhale to scoop and curl. (exhales sharply) Once more, inhale to lengthen, (inhales deeply) exhale to tuck and curl. Inner thighs drawing together, ribs drawing together right towards the midline, and release the tailbone back long.

Now, focusing on this neutral pelvis, long tail, palms stay down by your sides, and we lift the legs up to a true tabletop position now. Inner thigh squeezing around this ball, shins parallel towards one another, parallel to the floor. We begin to break at the hips and lower the toes to either hover or tap them out on the inhale back to that tight zip of the low belly to draw them back to tabletop. Inhale to lower down and away, staying relaxed through the shoulders in the neck. Exhale, ribs knitting tight to lift them back up over the hips.

For three (inhales deeply) and exhale, belly pulling down and into lift. (exhales sharply) And two, inhale to lower. We should be feeling our core by now. Squeeze into that ball, pull the abs deeper to the mat. Last one. (inhales deeply) Exhale to lift. (exhales sharply) Keeping the legs where they are, open your arms either to a T or a low V.

We'll begin to warm up the obliques, taking the knees up and over to the right side. That left hip can lift slightly off the mat, but keep that left shoulder blade down. And then exhale, use your left obliques, use your abs to draw them back to center. Up and over to the left, keep those inner thighs squeezing around the ball and exhale, drawing back to center, anchoring the hips down, square on the floor. Again, up and over to the right, gaze stays up, collarbones stay open and exhale, belly pulls deep to lift back up through center.

Once more, up and over to the left on the inhale (inhales deeply) and exhale, drawing it back to center. (exhales sharply) From there, hug in the knees all the way into the chest, releasing in the hips and the low back, and we'll place the ball between our ankles or shin, somewhere you feel like you can squeeze into it. Bringing the legs back to tabletop and floating those arms all the way back by your ears. Inhale, arms float up to the ceiling. Exhale, chin peels over the chest, curling into a crunchier, keeping the shins parallel to the floor, gentle pressure into that ball so we don't drop it. Head reaches back, arms reach back on the inhale (inhales deeply) and exhale, curl up, reach up, squeezing into the ball from high in the inner thigh and low in the belly.

Inhale, take it back (inhales deeply) and exhale, curling up and over the ribs, right to the tips of those shoulder blades as the belly sinks deeper to the floor. Inhale to take it back. This time, we have the option of extending the legs long, a little more challenging on those abdominals. (exhales sharply) Inhale to take it back, (inhales deeply) exhale to curl up, maybe the legs lower and an inch or two. (exhales sharply) Squeezing into the midline with the ribs, with the inner thighs.

Once more, inhale, take it back. Curling up to a position you feel you can maintain. We stay here for our hundreds, breathing in five, in two, three, four, five. On the exhale, squeeze into that ball for five little pulses. Inhale, pulse the arms, (inhales deeply) exhale, pulse the legs. (exhales sharply) Inhale, two, three, four, five.

Exhale, two, three, four, five. Whole body working here. (breathing deeply) Staying high off the tips of those shoulder blades, squeezing high in those inner thighs. Inhale, two, three, four, five. Watch that belly sink deeper towards the floor, in (inhales deeply) and out. (exhales sharply) Two more breaths (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) Last time, (inhales deeply) and out, two, three, four, five. Hold and squeeze, reach up one more inch and hug those knees all the way back in to rest.

We'll take the ball out from the legs, placing it just between the palms here, extending the legs long on the mat and the arms long overhead. Feel your inner thighs glue together and your palms pressed together here around that ball. Arms float up to the ceiling on the next breath in, chin peels over the chest, reaching through the toes, reaching through the fingertips. Belly pulls back as we round and roll all the way up and forward for that forward stretch here. Abs pull back, reaching through the fingers and toes, and slowly rolling back, keeping that length through the legs, through the spine, engagement in those abdominals and floating those arms back.

Yet again, inhale, arms up, exhale, use the breath, use the belly to peel up, stretching up and over, inhaling at the top (inhales deeply) and exhale to round down, rolling down one vertebrae at a time. Keep those shoulders pulling away from your ears. Arms reaching back overhead, two more. Inhale, arms up, exhale. Breath and belly peels us up and over.

Think about that half roll up we started class with. Can you get to that point? Deepening the belly further, rounding the spine a little bit deeper, squeeze those legs together before releasing it back. Last time, inhale, arms up, exhale, press those palms together. Squeeze those legs together, stretching all the way up and forward, taking a breath in (inhales deeply) and slowly rolling all the way down.

Vertebra, shoulder stay away from those ears by vertebra by vertebra, reaching arms back nice and long. We'll roll up this time to stay. Arms up, chin over the chest. Same intention here as we stretch forward and then bending the knees and placing that ball between our inner thighs. So once again, between the knees and the hips, scooting heels and hips a little closer towards one another, holding onto the front of those ankles.

Chin tucks over the chest, nose aiming right towards that ball. Let's squeeze into it, deepen the core muscles, and begin to hover the toes off the mat. See how tight you can get around your little ball. And we roll back on the inhale, (inhales deeply) exhale to curl back up, hug it close. Inhale, take it back, pull the belly deep to rock it up.

Three more, nose to the ball, right between the thighs. And two, heels stay close towards those sit bones. One more, an inhale back, deepen the belly back, rock it up and stay. Find your balance here. The heels stay together, the knees squeeze together in this diamond shape of the legs.

Maybe you remain holding on behind the knees or if you're ready for that balance today, squeeze the ball tighter and reach your arms forward. Relax through your shoulders. Take a breath in (inhales deeply) and slowly contract down vertebra by vertebra. We're pausing right at the tips of the shoulder blades. See how slow you can roll here, how much control coming from the core.

Inhale, squeeze the ball tighter, pull the belly deeper. Roll yourself right back up, reaching the chest between the thighs. Inhale (inhales deeply) and exhale, tuck and curl down vertebra by vertebra, pausing for a breath in, (inhales deeply) exhale, rounding back up, squeezing the ball tighter, lifting the chest a little higher. Once more, inhale, (inhales deeply) and exhale to roll down vertebra (exhales sharply) by vertebra by vertebra. Pause, take the ball out, we place it behind the head.

The head presses back into it which actually should feel nice on the head and the neck. From here, reach around, hug the right knee in, left leg hovering off the floor. Shoulders relaxed, head pressing back, abs pulling down. Take a breath in (inhales deeply) and switch to that left leg. (exhales sharply) Switching right, abs pulling deep. Left, opposite hand to knee.

And again here, other hand below by the ankle, keeping that whole body square, for four and switch, and three and switch. Really lengthening long through the crown of the head and long through that extended leg. Right leg straight up, left leg long. Inhale, exhale, pause. Switching right and left, finding stability here, working our neck muscles in a gentle good way to press down into that ball.

For four, pull that shin a little closer to the forehead. Three, bottom leg hovering with control off the mat. Two. (breathing deeply) Last one, and switch. Both legs straight up to the ceiling. Reach around, take that ball out, and place it between the ankles or shins.

Hugging those knees in tight, finding this little ball shape. Arms reach back by the ears, legs reach long, squeeze that ball, hold, and then circle your arms, hug the knees back into the nose. Inhale to lengthen through the fingers and toes. Exhale, drawing everything tight back into that ball shape. For three. (breathing deeply) Hug it in. (exhales sharply) Last two, inhale, curl up a little higher as you pull it in.

Now, stay high in that crunch as you reach out, arms right by the ears. Pull it in tight. (exhales sharply) Hands behind the head, legs extends straight up, squeezing into those inner thighs. Begin to lower the legs down on the inhale, (inhales deeply) deepen the belly, lift them right back up. (exhales sharply) Inhale to lower, squeeze that ball as if you're gonna pop it. Exhale, pull the abs deeper, open those elbows wider. For three. (inhales deeply) Maybe the legs float another inch further to the floor.

Last two, inhale to lower, ribs knit tight, inner thigh squeezed tight. Last one, inhale, lower, squeeze that ball, deepen the belly, and lift. Bend the knees in and rest the head all the way down for a moment. Give your head a little shake, your knees a little shake. We'll remove the ball and lower the feet to the mat.

Taking the ball in your right hand, bring your right knee up to a tabletop position, and place the ball right on that right thigh muscle. Left hand comes behind the head elbow wide, and then we'll begin to twist up and over to that right side for our crisscross. Now reach your left elbow and press it into the ball as if it's gonna pop it. Your right knee may need to come a little closer towards you. Find a position you can maintain here, sweep that right arm back and wide behind your head to support the head and neck.

Take a breath in, (inhales deeply) peel up a little higher, pulsing into that right oblique, trying to pop that ball between the thigh and elbow. Inhale back, maybe an inch or two. Exhale, curl up an inch or two. Inhale, (inhales deeply) exhale, (exhales sharply) trying to keep the hips square, twisting from that waist. Inhale back an inch, exhale up an inch.

If we're feeling solid here, maybe that left leg joins the right. Inhale back an inch, exhale up and over an inch. Trying to hover off this right shoulder blade, (exhales sharply) inhale and exhale, for feeling good here, that left leg can extend. Inhale, (inhales deeply) exhale, twist. For three, keep twisting further, popping that ball between the thigh and elbow.

Last two, (inhales deeply) exhale, twist. (exhales sharply) One more, inhale, exhale, crunch up one more inch, hold, draw the knees in, and lower the head all the way back. Lowering both feet down. We'll take it to the other side, ball coming right into the middle of that left thigh. Right hand behind the head, twisting up and over that left rib cage, right elbow, try and get it in the middle of the ball here. Left elbow sweeps around and back to support the head.

Inhale, (inhales deeply) fingertips press into the base of the skull as we curl up and over that left rib cage. Inhale back an inch, exhale up an inch. (exhales sharply) Inhale, as you exhale, curl up, twist up, try and open that left elbow wider to the back of the room. Maybe you're feeling solid here and that right leg lifts. Inhale back an inch, exhale up an inch, belly pulling down to the mat. Can we think about our seatbelt helping keep those hips square?

Inhale, exhale, lift and twist. For feeling solid, that right leg extends. Last four, exhale, lift and twist. Three. (breathing deeply) Keep breathing, two. Can we try and pop that ball?

One more time, elbow pressing towards the thigh and draw it all the way back and down. Hug those knees into the chest. Give yourself a gentle rock side to side. Taking a breath in (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) Legs extend long on the mat, arms float straight up to the ceiling, pressing into that ball, and we have another beautiful roll up here. Chin over the chest, fingertips reaching towards the toes, finding nice posture right in the middle of our mat here.

And then we'll open the legs, reaching through the heels to a nice V shape. Ball comes between the inner thighs, the knees here, and palms rest on top of it. Maybe one hand on top, depending on the size of that ball. Shoulders pull down, lift through your waist, try and be as vertical as possible. Then tuck that chin over the chest as you roll the ball forward, reaching your fingertips past your toes and the crown of the head down between your knees.

Inhale as you stack that spine back up tall (inhales deeply) and exhale to round forward, rolling that ball away towards that front edge of your mat, belly pulling back in the opposite direction. Inhale, lengthen to lift through the heels, through the crown of the head. (exhales sharply) Exhale, chin tucks over the chest, belly pulls back, little glute activation here, the zip up through the waist and try and get out of the hips. Use your core muscles as you lengthen back up tall, shoulder blades away from the ears. Once more, inhale (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) Rounding all the way back up tall, lifting through the spine and then bending those knees back in. Ball will come between the shins, the ankles, once again, somewhere you feel you can maintain it, and we'll hold on behind that knee crease.

This time lifting the shins up parallel to the floor, working on a balance here. Lift through your heart, pull those shoulder blades down into the back, open up across your collarbones, and see if you can extend the legs, maybe a little bit, maybe all the way, and then deepen the belly as you bend them back. Inhale to lengthen up through the toes, through the crown of the head, squeeze the ball tighter. Bend with resistance here, feel both directions working. Twice more, inhale to lengthen, exhale, deepen the belly to draw it back in.

Once more, inhale, lengthen. (inhales deeply) Exhale, hold, and squeeze that ball. (exhales sharply) Now you always have the option to stay in this balance or keep your knees bent. We're gonna go into an open leg rocker today, which means the hands come up a little higher. The elbows bend, the chin tucks over the chest. This ball is here to squeeze into, and it will actually help us roll evenly. So roll back in a straight line, chin stays tuck to support the head and neck, and then roll right back up, pressing legs into the hands, hands into the legs.

Inhale, take it back. (inhales deeply) Exhale to roll it right back up, using those abs for balance. Three more times here, inhale, take it back. Squeeze into those inner thighs, deepen belly back as you rock it up. Last two, inhale. (inhales deeply) Reach through the toes, belly pulling back, chin staying tucked. Once more, inhale back, (inhales deeply) exhale, rock it up.

We find this balance at the top. Keep squeezing those inner thighs together. Maybe the knees are bent, maybe they stay straight. Wherever you are, can you let go and find a balance? Squeeze a little tighter, take a deep breath in. (inhales deeply) Without moving the legs, lower the upper body down vertebra by vertebra.

How slow can you roll here? Pull those low abs back, hovering off the shoulder blades. The palms press down, the head releases down, and the toes reach straight up to the ceiling. Maybe you adjust, just so you're still on your mat. (chuckles) Squeeze that ball a little bit tighter, anchor in the hips. We begin to take the legs over to the right, like earlier in class when the knees are bent, this time, the legs are straight.

We squeeze the ball and circle the legs down, over to the left for our corkscrew, and straight back up to the ceiling. Squeeze into that ball. Take the legs over to the left on the inhale, exhale, sweep down and around. Hip stay anchored today, using the low belly to lift the legs a little higher, squeezing it together over to the right. Inhale, exhale, sweeping down and around, palms pressing down, belly pulling down to lift those legs right back up.

Last time, over to the left on the inhale (inhales deeply) and exhale, circle around, abs pull deeper to lift straight back up, and hold. Option to bend the knees or lower the legs to a 45 degree angle. Arms float up, take a breath in, (inhales deeply) and exhale to roll up. (exhales sharply) Finding our balance, little test for our teasers coming later. Take that ball out and release for a moment. Shake those legs, whatever feels good.

We're gonna flip around for some back extension, hyper extension using that ball. So place it at the very front of your mat. Make sure you have room to extend your arms straight in front of you and your legs straight behind you. And then rest the head all the way down, forehead onto the mat, biceps framing the ears, inner thighs squeezing tight. Let your shoulders lift for a moment all the way up to the ears, kind of where they want to go.

And then begin to press down into that ball, dragging it towards the crown of the head as the shoulder blades pull away from the ears. Take a breath and squeeze those inner thighs and glutes tight. And as you exhale, begin to lift the chest and the forehead to just hover off the mat an inch or two to start here. Pull those shoulders away from your ears, rotate the inner arm bones inward and upward, and then continue to roll back down, reaching long back through the toes, long through the crown of the head and the fingertips. Each time taking it a little bit higher, inhale, shoulder blades pull away from the ears.

Exhale, press down into the ball to lift up through the chest. Maybe one more inch this time, take a breath in, (inhales deeply) and then exhale, pull that belly button away from the mat as you lower and lengthen down and away. (exhales sharply) Inhale to drag the ball towards the crown of the head, shoulders away from your ears. Exhale to press down into it to lift up, going at your own pace here, your own distance. Shoulder blades pulling down, see if you can drag your heart forward. Open up across the collarbones, zip up through the low belly as you lower and lengthen.

Think of reaching longer through your spine, higher up in the core. One more time here, inhale, shoulder blades pull away from the ears. Exhale, press down into that ball to lift up. Hold at the top, take one more breath in (inhales deeply) and then deepen the belly up and lower and lengthen all the way away. (exhales sharply) Releasing at the bottom. Give it a little wiggle through the hips, through the feet, whatever you need.

And then we'll go into some more of upper back work here. Palms pressing into that ball, still overhead, inner thighs squeezing tight. Lifting the arms in line with the ears, lifting the chest on the inhale, (inhales deeply) deepen the belly up to lower down. (exhales sharply) Inner thighs and palms squeezing towards the midline. Inhale to lift, (inhales deeply) abs pull up, (exhales sharply) head lowers down. Once more, inhale, lift. (inhales deeply) Deepen the belly up to lower. (exhales sharply) So this time we lift and hold, inhale, (inhales deeply) shoulder blades away from the ears, exhale, stay.

(exhales sharply) Take the ball in your right hand, open those arms through a T, all the way behind your hips. Exchange the ball into your left hand, open back to that T and back overhead and lower down with control. This time it starts in the left hand. Inhale to lengthen and lift up, (inhales deeply) opening through the T, squeeze those shoulder blades together. Back over the hips, squeeze those glutes together.

Open back to the T, pull overhead, and lower it down. One more time, strengthening the upper back. Inhale. (inhales deeply) Use your core here, exhale, deepening the belly to protect the spine. Ball in the left hand over to the T, over overhead and down. Last one, inhale, lengthen to lift up, (inhales deeply) and open. (exhales sharply) Try and keep the tops of the feet down, squeeze the inner thighs and glutes, lifting the knees.

Open to the T, back by your ears, and lower all the way down with control. Carefully pressing back into a child's pose here, hips towards the heels, knees can be together or apart. Just let that ball rest for a moment. Releasing in the hips, the back, really reaching out through those fingertips, back with those sit bones. Take a breath in (inhales deeply) and exhale, let it go. (exhales sharply) And then we'll come all the way up, turning around, once again, bringing that ball with us.

It's with us for pretty much everything here if we choose, this one especially. It's going to come behind the low back. So this is an exercise I like to teach in preparation for neck pull, which will come later in the week in this class series. And this, well, just as challenging in my opinion, gives us a little support of the ball. So most importantly, we don't wanna start slouching into it.

Make sure it's wedged pretty much underneath your tailbone there without rolling away. And you're back to that vertical posture we started class with. Feet are not too close to us, heels planted firmly into the mat, and we'll start with the arms crossed over the chest. Feeling those shoulder blades pull away from your ears, zipping up through the low belly, take a breath to prepare, (inhales deeply) and then begin to hinge back with a flat back over this ball, like you're draping back into a pool of cool water, which sounds pretty nice right about now. Take a breath in. (inhales deeply) Maybe lower one more inch back, keeping this flat spine, keeping these ribs really firmly knitted together.

Inhale here. Now exhale, curl up just an inch or two. It's not about how high you come up, but how much you can pull your belly button back towards that ball. Inhale back to this lifted chest, flat spine, and exhale to curl and contract into the low waistline. Inhale back to the flat back, (inhales deeply) exhale, deepen the low belly, back to the sacrum spine, back to that ball.

Inhale back, (inhales deeply) shoulder stay relaxed, tension going right across that waistband. Two more, inhale to hinge (inhales deeply) and exhale to curl. (exhales sharply) Once more, inhale to lengthen (inhales deeply) and exhale to curl. (exhales sharply) From here, sitting all the way back up tall. Now you have the option to keep your hands here, if you do, switch which one is on top. For a little added challenge, hands come behind the head, elbows wide. Make sure your ball hasn't rolled away, think of a tight zipper to lengthen through the waist on the breath in. (inhales deeply) And then exhale, begin to hinge back against that ball.

Starting small here, pause for a breath in, (inhales deeply) exhale. See if you can lengthen the ribs away from your hips, lower, maybe, one more inch. If you start to tremble a little bit, you know you're doing it right. Take a breath here, small contraction up and forward, that belly button pulls back towards the ball. Inhale, lift through the chest, elbows stay wide here.

Exhale, ribs knit together as you contract up and forward. Inhale, flat back, exhale, belly button back and into curl. (exhales sharply) Use the breath here, it will help. Exhale to contract. (exhales sharply) Four more, thighs and hips stay really relaxed. Put the tension into that low belly, pulling back and in, inhale to lengthen through the crown of the head. Exhale to draw back and in. (exhales sharply) Last two, inhale, chest open, heart lifted.

Exhale, belly button back towards that ball. One more time, inhale, lengthen, find that diagonal. (inhales deeply) Exhale to contract, (exhales sharply) and sit all the way up tall. We have one more set. Option of your hands here or here, adding a little oblique twist.

Once again, relax through the legs, make sure your ball is stable. Lift through your spine, take a breath in (inhales deeply) and exhale to begin, hinging back just an inch or two to start, shoulders pulling away from the ears. Take another breath in, (inhales deeply) exhale, lengthen longer through the crown of the head, hinge one more inch. Pause for a breath in. Maybe you start to shake like me, lower one more inch, hold it.

Deepening the core muscles, take inhale here, lift and twist up and over to the right, twisting just from that oblique, thighs and hips stay square. Inhale back, center. Exhale, lift and twist up and over to the left, pull back in that left oblique. Inhale back, center. Exhale up and over to the right. (exhales sharply) Inhale back, heart lifts, exhale up and over to the left. (exhales sharply) Inhale to lengthen, opening up across the chest, deepening into that right waist.

Inhale, center. Exhale, lift and twist to the left. Once more, each side, breathe through it. And inhale (inhales deeply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) Once more, inhale to lengthen, exhale to twist, come back to center and hold. And exhale to round all the way up and sit tall to rest.

You should feel our core on that one. Take that ball out, it comes right back between those inner thighs. We're right back where we started either holding on behind the knees or reaching forward. Take a breath in (inhales deeply) and exhale, slowly contract, rolling onto that mat vertebra by vertebra by vertebra. Palms will press down.

Heels will walk in closer towards our sit bones here starting with this nice long spine, all the way out the crown of the head through those fingertips. Squeeze this ball with your inner thighs and with your pelvic floor, think of everything drawing towards the midline here, like you're gonna pop it. Take a breath in (inhales deeply) and then exhale, crawl the hips up into a bridge, pelvic press position here, trying to aim for a straight line from the knees to the hips to the shoulders. So we feel a stretch in the front of the hips as we work into the back of the legs. Ribs are knitting together.

Belly is pulling down to support through that spine. Squeeze that ball a little bit tighter and release it just a little bit. Squeeze into it an inch or two and release. Three more times, squeeze like you're gonna pop the ball and release without letting it go. Two, and release.

One more, squeeze and hold, and then slowly roll back down on that exhale, opening up through upper back, middle back. Here's a little massage for that spine, low back, and releasing at the bottom. Make sure you don't have tension in those shoulders. Walk those fingertips further away. Squeeze the ball to prepare.

Exhale, tuck, and scoop to curl those hips up. (exhales sharply) Holding them up high, squeezing that ball a little bit tighter, lower your hips an inch or two. Squeeze into that inner thigh. Squeeze the glutes to lift up. Inhale, lower an inch, Exhale, lift an inch.

Inhale down, belly pulls down as hips lift up. Last two, (inhales deeply) and lift. Last one, inhale, exhale, lift and hold, squeeze that ball one more inch. Take a breath in, (inhales deeply) exhale, ribs knit together, belly pulls deeper as we roll all the way back down vertebra by vertebra by vertebra. Releasing the hips at the very bottom and releasing the ball.

Just let your knees open for a moment, getting a little stretch for those inner thighs as we take the ball out. And then draw all the knees back to center, curl the hips up just an inch or two, enough to get that ball underneath your tail, underneath your sacrum here. Somewhere it feels... I know I shouldn't say comfortable because it's a little unstable, which is what we want to work our low belly. Press those palms back into the floor.

Open up across your collarbones and carefully draw your legs to a tabletop position with control. Think of pulling those low abs down into the ball, ribs knitting together. We're back to our toe taps here, starting with one leg. Lower the right toes down, inhale, (inhales deeply) exhale, deepen the belly to lift it back up. Inhale, lower the left.

Exhale, think about that tight zipper, curling from the low abdominals to draw the knee up an inch. Try not to use the legs all in the low core. Left, and lift as relaxed as we can through our neck, through our chest, really actively pressing into the palms for support, for a little more challenge, you can always hover your hands off. One more each side, lowering the right leg down, belly button down to that mat, lift, and left and lift. From here, squeeze those knees together and extend the legs straight up to the ceiling.

Let's flex the feet, reach those heels up nice and high to feel some length in the back of the hamstrings. Lower the right leg down on the inhale and then deepen the belly, scooping from the waist to lift it back up next to the left to lower the left. Inhale and exhale. If you have tight hamstrings, you might be able to get your legs a little straighter, more perpendicular with this lift of the ball which feel nice to really lengthen all the way up through that heel bone. Down and out with the right, inhale, exhale, ribs knit together.

Try to tie that corset tighter around your waist. Left, inhale, exhale to lift. One more time each side. So while we're working our core here, we're also opening up through the hips, lengthening out through the legs. Lift and hold.

We'll turn out, heels together, knees and toes apart pointing through the toes. Lower both legs down on the inhale, deepen the belly, lift them right back up. Small movement here. Hip stay anchored to the ball. Inhale to lower, (inhales deeply) exhale, deepen the belly to lift. (exhales sharply) Three more, inhale to lower, (inhales deeply) aiming for that 45 degree diagonal.

Inhale to lower, two, exhale, deepen the belly to lift. One more time, inhale to lower down and away. Exhale, squeeze those inner thighs and ribs together to lift. From here, right leg reaches back overhead, left leg lowers trying to make an even scissor, switch, and then circle out for our helicopter here. Open up those hips back to that other side, then we scissor and switch twice, left overhead, right overhead.

Helicopter the opposite direction out wide, switch right in line with those hips. Scissor twice, right leg back, left leg back, open. Inhaling (inhales deeply) and exhaling. One more time, switch and switch. Chin stays lifted off the chest, palms pressing down.

Hips open up and circle. Last two, switch and switch. Finish with the legs straight up to the ceiling. From there, hug those knees all the way into the chest and carefully lower those feet to the mat, and separate them hip width, curling the pelvis off the ball, lifting those hips up high to take the ball out and roll back down through that spine vertebra by vertebra by vertebra. Just open the arms out to a T for a moment.

Maybe you goalpost your arms, depending on what space you have here, and sway your knees over to the right to get a little stretch in those outer hips and across the collar bones. And then draw those legs back to center and over to the other side. Taking a breath here, (inhales deeply) exhale, deepening into the stretch, never forcing it. Breathing, doing what feels good on the body here. And then coming back to center.

We have one last little teaser variation with the ball. Have some fun with it. You can't throw it at me. So I don't have to worry about that in this instance. Draw your knees in, place the ball between your ankles, your shins, and we'll start with our legs at a tabletop position.

You have the option to hold on behind your knees here or stay long with your arms. Taking a breath to prepare. Squeeze into the inner thighs in that ball. Begin to peel, chin up over the chest, reaching the gaze in your arms forward, and curling all the way up, finding a balance here, whatever that means for you. Maybe you hold on if you're feeling good, maybe those legs extend.

Starting with our teaser one, the legs don't move. Just the upper body lowers down vertebra by vertebra. The head releases back, the arms float in line with the ears. Arms back up on the next breath in. Chin over the chest, belly button back and in, rounding all the way up.

Finding that balance. From here, take the ball out. Legs draw together, arms pressing into the ball. Palms squeezing into it, lowering everything down vertebra by vertebra. Toes trying to stay in line with the eyes pausing for a moment.

Shoulder blades, heels hovering off the mat before releasing everything down and back. Take a moment here. Connect into the midline, palms pressed into the ball, ribs knit together, inner thighs squeezed together. Everything floats up as one. Inhale, arms to the ceiling.

Chin peels over the chest. Belly pulls down in to hover those legs and reach back long towards your toes. We replace the ball in between the ankles, reaching for the legs. Legs don't move, just upper body lowers vertebra by vertebra. Taking our time, squeezing those inner thighs, reaching those arms back.

Last time, arms up, inhale, (inhales deeply)a exhale, chin over the chest. Scoop from the low belly, reaching all the way up, up, up, up, up. Take the ball out between the palms, squeeze the ankles together. Maybe this time, the arms come over by your ears. Reaching up longer through the fingers and toes, zipping up through the waist, taking one more breath in to lift through the heart, and slowly lowering down.

In four, in three, keep breathing. Hovering everything off, on two. Pull that belly a little deeper, and release everything down and back on one. You can release that ball. Circle your arms, hug your knees into your chest.

Give them a nice, deep, and grateful hug. Rocking a little side to side, and rocking yourself all the way back and up to seated. Hopefully, you are sweaty and warm and feel your core. like I certainly do. Let me know how you enjoyed our ball and core class today.

And I'll see you next time for class three.

Comments

Certainly brought some heat to the body.  Excellent class and looking forward to tomorrow
1 person likes this.
Another great class Laura Thank you 😊
2 people like this.
Thank you Laura. Great direction. Bookended with super challenge the elbow pull backs and teaser finish! I feel accomplished.
1 person likes this.
Wow, this was seriously ab-challenging! Thanks Laura. Looking forward to next class :))
1 person likes this.
Really feels like new ways to target the abs ! You found the way to add  a spicy touch and some fun to the most efficient (and often painfull) among abs exercises ! It will certainly help to convince Fitness people that often fear that Pilates can’t do enough to improve  their six pack !
Thank you Evelyn !  
Fun workout! Flowing class with a nice variety of exercises. I've enjoyed the hundred as well as the criss cross variations.
Lovely and challenging an work, thanks!
Abs*
Loved the pilates ball variations, thank you!
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