Class #5130

Wunda Chair for Stiff Backs

25 min - Class


You'll move your spine in all possible ways in this Wunda Chair workout by Ilaria Cavagna. She uses the resistance of the springs to achieve bigger and deeper movements for your back. She varies between the traditional repertoire and exercises adapted for the Wunda Chair with the goal to mobilize, release, and unlock a stiff spine.
What You'll Need: Wunda Chair, Yoga Block

About This Video


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Wanda Chair for stiff backs. So what do we need? A Wanda Chair and then just for the very last exercise if you have a yoga block or pads that can help us for the opening of the chest, that's great. Otherwise you can also do without it, it's just a little bit harder. So for now I put them away because we only need them at the very end.

And we have the springs now, so we can really use the resistance and the help also that the springs are giving us to challenge the spine into deeper movements. So the first thing we do is footwork, and we position the spine, the back in different ways. So on the toes, I want you to lift up and round over, lift the heels at halfway, and from here we go with the footwork as if we were doing the stomach massage on the Reformer. So I want you to keep that big C-curve a capital C lengthening up towards the ceiling pulling the navel back and start warming up and pumping blood. Then we go to the arches, we put the fists by the side and we go lift, two, three, we go for 10 actions, then repetitions, keeping the spine as tall as possible, lifting, lifting, lifting, lifting.

Now we go on the heels, we put the fists back and we lift the sternum up a little bit. Not the lower back, lower back stays straight, just the sternum and the gaze go up a little higher to start opening and breathing more in the top part of the lungs. And now we bring the pedal up, we place the feet hip width apart and we push down. If you need to walk to the front a little bit more that's okay, you keep the pedal down. I'm working, I should have said it before, I'm working on two springs, two in the middle, one middle, one bottom, anything that you usually like for footwork.

Now here we open the arms sideways and keeping the pedal down, we go translating from one side to the other. So we need to really push into those springs to make sure we stabilize the hips and we move only the superior part of the body. Then we go back to center, lift up one arm and side bend, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, and up. Switch to the other side and you go lengthen, lengthen, lengthen. And now push down into the pedal with the opposite leg the most, and up.

And again, you lift, you go side, but now we go deeper, you turn the head down, you bend your arm, you reach away, push down into that pedal, and lift. And now you switch other side, lift, push into the pedal and go deep, deep, deep, turn the head, side bend down, stretch, and all the way up. Bring the pedal up, and now we go lying down for the Hundred. I'm staying on the short side, but if you want to turn around and go on the long side of the chair you can do that as well. Here we go.

And now we stabilize the spine and we reach long, exactly what we did for the mat. We need to work both ways. We need to be able to stabilize the spine, that doesn't mean stiff, that means control, in a long position, for example, now. And then we need to be able to make it supple and able to move in all direction. Flexion, extension, translation, side bending, positive torsion.

Now let's do two more breaths, inhale deep, and exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, and again, in, and exhale out, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, and bring them in. Now let's go back up to sitting. We do the abdominal series over here. So that helps a lot for the lift. We're going to push down with one leg and we pull up the opposite knee, and again, push and pull, push and pull, and lift, and lift, opposition.

The more I push down, the more I can lift. And again, up, and up, one more, up, and up. Now, both legs down, I go open and now here I curl, grab the ankles, pull the knees up as you can. And again, up, you see how I go and I basically pick up the pedal and I bring it up to the in motion. Up, and curl it in.

I want to go and touch my knees with the top of the head, if possible. Deep, and up. And reach, and up. And in, and up, up, up, and last one, pull, pull, pull, pull, and all the way up. Now you pick up one leg, make sure you keep your hips even, and we go for the Tree.

Instead of single straight, we do the Tree. We walk up, you lift tall, you lengthen, a couple of flex and point, and then you go over, round, the top of the head to the knee. Now lengthen your spine, reach all the way up to the foot. Round back again, curl, and roll it back up. Now, let go, and you pump, five, four, three, two, and one.

Now we change, other side, pick it up and you go limber, two, and three, climb up the leg, lift, flex and point. Now tall, round over, lengthen, lengthen, lengthen, lengthen, lengthen, round back, all the way up. Let go of the leg, you hold it where you can, and you go five, four, three, two, one, everything down, hands back, and we go criss, and cross. Big rotation and positive torsion, and deepen. Now, as you push down with one foot, the opposite elbow is lifting, lifting, lifting, lifting.

Same thing on the other side, up, up, up, up, up, let's do one more, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, and exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, and release. Perfect. Now we're going to lower one spring, so I want only one. I'm personally keeping one in the middle, but all chairs are different, springs are different, so we're working on the arms from the top of the chair. From here I want you to lie down, clearing the bottom rib, and now we're going to the shoulder blade movement. So from here, lengthen up tall, very simple in the beginning, from here, the pedal stays down, and I want you to drop the chest, and push it up.

Drop the chest, and push it up. Drop the chest, push it up, and drop the chest and push. Now, here we pump, pump five, four, three, two, and hold. Same movement, but now we move the pedal. You go retropulsion, antepuslion, exactly the same thing, but the rib cage stays still, the pedal is going up and down.

And now I keep it up and I pump one, two, three, four, five, bend the arms again, reach away with your feet, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, lift, and then come back up. Again, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, and back up. One more, you go, you bend, you lengthen, and you beat, and then you can step off. And now just to counteract to the big arch or the long arch we did, from here you lift the arms, lower them down, and from back here, we round and lengthen the spine and the spring helps us up. And again, reach, reach, reach, and pull.

And now we stay down there, we do like three, pumping with the arms. And then from the stomach, scoop, scoop, reach away with the arms as you pull in, reach away as you pull in, pull, pull, pull, pull, all the way up and open. Now let's go down, sitting on the floor, for some, a little Spine Stretch Forward. So again, first we lift, then we round. From here you're gonna go engage, press down, lift tall.

And release. So we lift and we stabilize, we prepare the muscles in the back, and then release. Now you go lift, bend your elbows, dive forward and curl, and roll back up. And again, lift and you go scoop, scoop, scoop, scoop, scoop, and up. I really want to picture the pedal being connected to my stomach.

I lift, they move very little. When I round, my navel goes back, my pedal comes down, my navel goes back, my pedal comes down, and release. Now let's keep only one hand in front, one hand in the back. Here you lift, you activate the pedal a little bit. And then we go shift, shift, shift, shift, and release.

One more time, lift tall, and you go shift, shift, we try not to move the pedal at all, and release. Now lift up again, and we go side bending, and up. And lift, and you go side bend, side bend, side bend, and lift. Now from here, you lift, allow the elbow to bend as you rotate away, away, away, away, and home. And again, lift one more time, stay tall, open, open the elbow, open the shoulder, open the rib cage, maintain, and back home.

Now we need to repeat everything with the other arm. You're gonna go press down hold, and we shift, shift, shift, shift, and let's take a breath. And again, tall, and you go shift, shift, shift, shift, and release. Now press down, activate your side really well, stay lifted on that side, and side bend over, over, over and up. And again, you lift, stay tall, side bend, side bend, side bend, and up.

Now here we press down, as I start rotating I bend also the arm that is holding the pedal and I go, I go exhale, exhale, exhale, and center. And again, you lift and you go exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, and release. Very nice. Now we're gonna go with the feet up against the chair and we use that position at our advantage, I want you to round with a nice stretchy movement. So from here, you pull the pedal to you, you round back, and then you come back up.

And again, pull, pull, pull, pull, round back, and up, one more time. Press, and lift. And now walk forward a little bit more. And from here we pull it down because the stomach is coming down. And up, it's not really a Teaser, the legs are even higher, I want to roll back, and up, one more time, press, press, press, press, feel that spring, and slowly up.

And now we come up kneeling for a nice and releasing Mermaid. So from here you kneel, you can tuck your toes in the back, legs and knees just hip width apart. Lift, now, feel that length, keep the length as you press. Then when the arm is ready, you can press down. Don't grip the shoulder, don't raise your shoulder, the shoulder stays away from the ears, you reach, you reach, you reach, you reach, and back up.

And again, lift, press down, stay tall, lengthen, lengthen, lengthen, the more you push down, the more you can reach, and the better stretch you get. And up, just one more, no pumping, no handed motion, just a nice release. Then I go facing the chair, and I go into a little Cat and Cow action, so from here we round, and open. And again, round, and open. You go round, scoop, scoop, scoop, scoop, and press it down again, let's repeat.

Open, and round, push, push, push, open, and round, push, and you go scoop, scoop, scoop, this time we let go of the pedal, and we keep the hips as forward as we can as we come up, up, up, up, up, and open to the side. Now we turn around for another Mermaid, the other side, you lift, and you go press, get tall, press, get tall, reach, and up. And again, lengthen, and you go reach up, up high diagonal, more sideways, down and lift. One more time, reach, reach, open the ribs on the side that is stretching, really create that space, all the way back, up with the pedal, and then we come up standing, and we walk around because we're sitting now on top of the chair, for more Spine Stretch Forward. So from here, we pretend we're sitting on the floor, we don't even think about the pedal or the springs at first.

I want you to lengthen the legs out and try to find as much as you can articulation as you do your Spine Stretch. So from here, you lift, head down drops and you go reach, reach, don't let the legs fall, keep them up, and then you pull back. Again, inhale, head down, exhale, reach forward, heels reaching forward, navel pulling back, reach, reach, reach, and roll back up. Again inhale, exhale over, reach, reach, reach. Now hands on the pedal, press the pedal down, and up.

Press the pedal down, the heels stay, and up. And again, press, press, press, and all the way up. Now, one last variation, you lift inhale, head down exhale, you reach, reach, reach, find the pedal, press it down, lift your stomach so much that you're go into Horse Back, scoop. Now the stomach is pulling, pulling, pulling, pulling, and down, and scoop up, and down, scoop and lift, now stay here, try to recreate your Spine Stretch Forward in this diagonal. Hold it, hold it, hold it, and sit back.

Let's repeat, inhale lift, head down, reach, push, Horse Back, scoop it up, and down. Scoop and lift, and down. Scoop up, hold, let's find, the starting position, and then we sit. And now for the Saw, you lift, you twist exhale, and you go reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, and come up. Of course the legs are really wide, so don't worry if you cannot cross all the way over, just twist as much as you can, and lift.

Now twist, and again you reach, exhale, exhale, exhale, keep reaching forward with your feet, with your heels as well, and opposite side, you go reach, reach, reach, and lift. Now twist, find the corner of the pedal, and you go down, and up, down and up, down and lift. Now other side you go twist, and you go reach, the hips stay down, two, it's a beautiful stretch on top of the hard work we're doing, and up. Now you lift tall, twist exhale again, go down towards the corner, push down, Horse Back, and you scoop up, and lift, and lift. Now let's try to maintain the Horse Back, reach, if you want you can try looking back, and then we sit back.

Other side, you twist, exhale down, scoop into Horse Back, and you go lift and down, and up and down, all the way up, up, up, up, up, up, and now you go look, look, look, look, hold the Saw, and all the way back down. Now we close the legs in front of us for the Twist. Long arms, and you go exhale, exhale, and center. And again, exhale, exhale, center. Now twist exhale, you go and you push down the pedal a little bit, and come up.

We can't do the Horse Back here, unfortunately. And you go push, push, push, push, push, and come up. But we can turn around all the way. And we do another nice Twist with extension. So here we start with the arms out, you go twist, find the pedal and reach long, and lift.

And now to the other side, find the pedal, arm to the ear, reach, reach, reach, and up. Let's repeat one more time. Twist, and now here, deep exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, the hips stay on the chair, and up. And now last one, reach, reach, reach, reach, and lift. Now let's go back to a little bit of side bend and side work.

We press the pedal down, legs together, and now here we reach over the legs and we go up, and down, so we work and we side bend, lifting up and down, and now lift up, down the pedal, all the way. And now as you side bend here lift the waist off the chair a little bit. And then we'll repeat. And you go up, down, up, down, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach down, lift, both hands on the pedal, don't change your pelvis. Pelvis stays, and you go one, two, three.

Again, one, two, three. Last one, one, two, three. Keep the pedal down, straddle the legs, low, big open, and now you go up, open the chest, and down you push, lift, lift, lift, and down, this is a beautiful stretch, is a deep rotation, and exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale. Now close, bring the back leg forward, help yourself with the chair, come up to sitting. And now in this little Mermaid from the chair, I want you to cross the leg over.

So the leg away from the pedal over, that forces the hip to stay down. And now here I go, and I go with a nice little side bend, and up, and again, reach, reach, reach, and lift. And reach, reach, reach, and come up all the way. Let's go and repeat everything on the other side. So I go lying down to the side, reach, look at the arm, you pull up, down, lift, down, reach, as you go down my arm comes up, and I lift my bottom waist off the chair, off the floor.

Come back up again, and you go lift, and two, and three, one more. And you go lift, lift, lift, and you continue down so that both hands are on the pedal. Stay squared and you go three, two, one, and three, two, push. And last one, two, and three. Straddle your legs, you reach big, now open, open the chest, twist even more as you go back down, and again, you lift and exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale down, one more time up, and exhale, reach.

Now, one hand on the pedal, bring both legs in front of you, come up to sitting. Now from this sitting position, you cross the leg in the back of the chair, you lift and you go reach, and up, and again, down, and up, we feel safe because we're not flipping over. You reach, reach, reach, and come up. So we already worked and mobilized the spine in many different ways, positive torsion, many different situation, opening, very much supporting, now, if you feel like trying, we can try for the beginning of the High Bridge, okay? There are many different ways of going there, so the first way is kind of good for everyone.

The second one might be too much, so I want you to wait if you're not ready yet. So for this one, I personally want a little bit of a lighter spring, so instead of one in the middle, I'm going to change to one in the bottom. Again, it depends on the chair, it depends on the spring. So you need to test it out a little bit, it's the lightest I can have so far. So in the beginning, I kind of sit at the very edge of the chair, and it's as if I was doing my Shore Box.

So from here I hug, I roll back, roll down a little bit, and curl back up, we go nice and easy. And again, you'll curl back, deepen, deepen, deepen, a little, and up. And then again, you go, back, back, back, if you want, you go support your head, and open back here. Breathe. Now, if you want, you can also stretch your legs keeping the feet on the floor, that opens up the front of the body, or you can reach down with the arms. Then you go back, you support your head, you bring it back up, that's a wonderful release, you curl, and we can go over, reaching for the floor a little bit just to make sure you compensate right away.

Now, if you feel like trying, we can go forward even more so we are basically not sitting or just close to the chair because we need more room in the back. We're going to roll back with control. You can help your head if needed, you should find your hands being very close to the pedal. So here, what I can do, I can stretch the pedal back a little, and release. Exhale (exhales), and in.

And again, exhale, exhale, exhale, and in, one more time. Stretch back, come back in slowly, support your head, grab it, curl all the way back up. And now to compensate, instead of just going forward, we're going over the chair one more time. Watch out, the spring is a little lighter. So from here, let's repeat our Spine Stretch Forward, you go, you find the pedal, you go reach, and scoop, really lengthen and use your stomach to round, mostly the lumbar spine.

And pull, pull, pull, pull, pull, and again. Down, now it's really your abs pulling the pedal up, up, up, up, up, slowly let go, and release. So fun to use the springs, right, to achieve the same goals, so different and again, in a way, easier because you have something to work against. So both the chair and mat can be really beneficial and it's nice to alternate them both.


2 people like this.
Efigenio A 🙏🏼 Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Love this class thanks. 🙏  
1 person likes this.
I 💕your variations ! 
Thank you:)
Amy S Thank you! 🙏🏼
Rachel Happy you like it!  More wunda workouts on the way! 🤗
1 person likes this.
I loved this class.  My back feels wonderful! Thank you.
Marge T Very happy! Thank you for the feedback! Marge
1 person likes this.
Grazie Ilaria, I learn so much from your classes and this one was no exception. Really wonderful work, thank you for sharing!
1 person likes this.
Fabulous work for the spine, loved it just as much as the mat class (and all your other classes by the way!). Thanks a lot Ilaria :))
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