Class #5131

Balance & Feet Wunda Chair

35 min - Class


Connect your foot placement to the work of your legs and the hips with this Wunda Chair workout by Ilaria Cavagna. She starts by releasing and stimulating your feet with feedback from the Wunda Chair pedal then she moves into more challenging exercises that will work on balance. She encourages you to have a long pole handy or to stay next to a wall to make sure you are supported as you work on finding all these connections in your body.
What You'll Need: Wunda Chair, Pilates Pole

About This Video

Oct 03, 2022
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So, today's class will be with the wunda chair. And if you have a long pole close by or the broom stick, or you can stay close to the wall, do so, because sometimes, we're going to stand up and it's safer if you have a little bit of help, at least until we figure out the exercise that we are doing. The wunda for balance is perfect. Perfect because we stand on it a lot of times. We can use the feedback of the spring to figure out our balance while we do certain specific exercises.

So, as we start, I don't know if you notice, my pedal is completely down. So, I have no springs attached. This is completely released to the floor. So, I want you to start with one foot. And like we did in the mat too with the long pole, just go ahead and massage your foot, you push it out and in.

So, you slide the foot around, along the little dowel is on top of the pedal. I know that some pedals are a little different, but pretty much everyone has a little bit of a wedge. So, use that wedge to massage the foot out a little bit. And then, we go to the other side and we do the same thing. Just nice and easy.

Put as much effort and weight as your foot likes. This should not create any pain. It's just to wake up all the receptors and have more grounded foundations while we go up to standing. So, after this, I want you to place your feet on the flat part of the pedal and the toes up on this wedge, so that it does create a little bit of a toe extension. And from there, you're going to lift up one heel and then the other, one heel and then the other, almost like a little running that we do on the reformer.

So that we force that big toe and all the toes in extension, in dorsiflexion. And now, we go to the front part of the pedal with both feet, and I want you to curl the toes over. And with the toes curling over, you go lower the heels down, keep those toes around the dowel and then you lift up. And again, lower the heels, stay curled. This is almost like doing the towel exercise.

You see how those tiny little muscles at the bottom of the foot at the arch are really working hard to keep both the toes and lowering the heel down. Let's do two more. Down, down, down. And left, lower, lower, lower. And up and again, down, down, down, and up. Now, to go even a deeper for a deeper release, I want you to cross one leg over and we do a very quick shake foot.

So, you slide the fingers in between the toes. You create space. If it's too much, you can go only with a couple of fingers. And now, you just go for a few ankle circles, nice and big. And the circles are interesting. They're important.

But the thing that I care the most are the fingers between the toes, reverse. Those create space, separate the metatarsal bones, and trigger more blood flow, because of the separation because of the opening. Now, let's hold the ankle and we go up with the toes, down with the toes, up with the toes, down with the toes, just a couple more times. And then big motion. And just two circles each way to finish up.

So, as you see, we kept it very quick. I want to get up on the chair and get some pumping and spring work going. So, just nice and easy to get the feet ready. Let's go ahead and do the other side. So, I want you to slide fingers between the toes and you hold the foot and you circle around, nice and big.

Reverse. It's also always nice to assess and feel, and see how different the feet can be sometimes. All the ankle, move the toes. It's nice to see if the one of these titer's always the same, if they alternate each other. What we did the day before, what they did the morning before this exercise.

And now you go flex and point for the ankles. So, bigger and global movement. And then, back to a few circles. Usually, the second time we're going to circle is a little more open, is a little bigger. And now, we can release.

And since we really got the feet ready, I want us to go for a little challenge. So, let's go back to that position where we wave the toes down and we hug that wedge with the toes. Now, with that, I want you to try to lift the pedal up a little bit and down. It might not move. That's okay. You see that mine is moving very little. The pedal is heavy.

So, just go for a tentative. You lift and down. You should feel the toes, the bottom of the foot, the back of the legs, everything, my lower abs, everything is kicking in to try to get that to happen. So, it is really powerful. It's like a towel exercise done like 100 times. You lift and release. Perfect.

Now, let's get our long pole ready, because now, we go on top of the wedge with the leg close to the chair, and I want you to balance and keep your feet and pelvis even. So, from here, I'm going to play with movements. So, we're gonna go see later with the resistance. So, I'm going to drop my hip and lift back up. Drop, you see how the foot goes down before below level, and then up again, drop and up.

Now, I go bend and lift, bend and lift. So, my pelvis is stable. It doesn't side bend anymore. And now, alternate to drop, lift, bend and up, drop, lift, bend and up. And again, drop, lift, bend and up. Now, let's face out.

I'm gonna move the pole this way, so it's out of the way. And now, from here, I want you to bend and up. Bend, of course it's limited, because the heels are already below level. My toes are curling over. And now, from here, I go up on my toes and down with purpose, really pushing the heels down onto the pedal.

And again, up again, lift, lift. Now, push down. Stay tall as you push down. I'm now dropping. I'm controlling, controlling, controlling. One more time. You lift and you control, control, control. Now, let's put it all together.

You go bend, lift the heels, stretch it up, lower down with control. And again, bend, lift, extend slowly, slowly, slowly down. One more time. Bend, stay tall, lift. Now, push the top of the head up to the ceiling.

Keep the top of the head up to the ceiling as you control, control down. Let's reverse. You go up, you bend, heels down to find most of the stretching, and then extend. And again, lift, bend, heels down, and stretch. And again, up and bend, down, down, down, and release.

Now, we turn away to do the other leg. So, we are here, foot next to the other one. And we go drop the hip and lift. Drop and up. Drop and lift.

And now, you go bend, extend, bend, extend, bend, extend. Let's alternate. Drop the foot. Lift up, bend the knee, extend. This is all balance work on the standing leg. Remember the concept of the spiral that we explore in the mat.

That's always there. And now, we turn facing the chair, because I want you to go for a moment into a calf stretch below level. So, just the comfortable there, keeping the pelvis in retroversion. You drop the heel down and you hold with a straight leg. And then, same thing.

Bending and slacking the knees, so that we go and focus on the deeper of the calf muscle. And then, we switch. Other side, you drop down fully. Control. Breathe.

And now, bend the knee and slack. Keep the heel reaching down, hold, hold, hold, and release. Now, we can put the pole away, because we're not gonna use it until the very end. And we can start adding spring. So, for now, we're gonna add one spring in the middle.

(spring clinks) And then, it's time to get into the hundred. So, let's get some blood flowing over here. You reach down, you lengthen, and you go reach, reach, reach. So, we prepare the feet so far. We did some standing work.

And then, we'll go and working lots, so glute medius, calf muscles, ankle position, balance, and the action of the walk. The walk, as we were saying in the mat, is really balancing on one leg and then falling off. So, we really need to prepare good balance by going over all those different points. Let's do the last one, inhale deep. And exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale.

Hug the knees and stretch. And if you want, you can release the head down a little. You come up, you curl. And now, let's do a three single leg bend. Just a three to get going and reaching out with the leg.

And now, I want you to hold. And now, with the opposite, like you go down and in, so a single leg bicycle, mimicking the action of the walk. And then, you reverse, so reach away and up, reach away and up, reach away and up. Switch. Of course you can also do and execute this same work on the long side of the chair.

That's absolutely fine. You can even lie down on the mat if you prefer. Not a problem. Reach. What I like of the chair that allows you to go below level.

This is a nice little stretch. And again, out, out, out, and in. Now, from here, we're gonna hold the head, legs up, and let's go for a mini double bicycle. So, we don't go down too far. We just do a tiny little one at the top, and then you reverse.

You lengthen out and up, scoop it way and up. Bend and reach, and lift. Now, let's try for a big one. Reach, scoop, and lift. Reach, scoop, and lift.

And now, reverse, lengthen away, reach, reach, reach, and up. And again, bend, reach, lift, lift, lift, and up, all the way up to sitting. And now, we go lying on the side for some side kicks. Side kicks are very important. They help us for the pelvis reinforcement, for the balance.

So, from here, we're gonna lie down. We hold on, we push, and we activate the bottom part, and we go kick and reach. And front and back. And kick and lengthen, kick and lengthen. And again, kick and lengthen back.

Leg on leg and you go kick and flex. And up and down, and kick and reach and up. And now, parallel, circle around, circle two, three, four, and five. Reverse. Back up in front.

Two, three, four, and five. Now, let's go for scissors. You open, you open, push the pedal down. Don't let it come up. Lengthen, lengthen, lengthen. Switch, switch, and stay.

Now, bicycle forward, big movement. And reverse, bicycle back. And now, stop into the split. You can just turn around or you can try this little switch that I'm doing. So, from here, you can put both hands down.

This is a beautiful stretch. You come up just a couple of times for the stretch. And again, scoop, scoop, scoop, so go into the waist, lift up your legs, go on your stomach. And then, you go open the chest for a little swan, and down and again, open the chest. And now, you go dive, swivel the other way.

And we are ready for the side kicks on the other side. Again, you can just turn around and do a swan If it's best for you at this point. You go kick and reach. And kick and reach. Kick front, lengthen back, front and back.

And again, kick and long. Now, leg and leg and you go up and down, and kick and down, kick and reach. Let's try to get this leg longer than the other. Last one up and reach, reach, reach. Circle around one, two, three.

The whole body's working. And reverse. Around one, two. We're getting ready for more important stuff or not more important, more challenging stuff from a balance perspective when we stand up. Now, here you go for scissor, open and open and open and open, and bicycle, reach, reach, reach, reach, reverse, lengthen away, away, away, away.

Straddle your legs, both hands down. We can do the little thigh stretch first and deep and down. And again, up. And here, you can go on your waist, lift, swivel the legs, go on your stomach. And now, you come up and down, and all the way up to step off.

Now, we go on the mat and we continue with some more psychics. We are actually working with the hip movement, exactly like we did standing up in the beginning, but now we have some resistance. So, here, I want you to stay lying down. And I want you to hug the top of the paddle with your foot, with inside of your foot. Now, from here, with the hip, pull the pedal and release.

Isn't this like the same movement with it standing up? Very, very similar. But now, we're using the inner thighs and pulling it up a lot, a lot more active. Two more, pull, pull, pull, release, pull, release. Let's come up a little higher.

It makes it harder. And now, we go climb the hip up towards the armpit, and down. And again, up towards the shoulder, and down and away. And again, up, up, up, and push, up, and release, up, and release. Now, let's go on the elbow and we make it even tighter now.

We go side bend as you pull and release. Side bend, pull, and release. Side bend, pull, and release. Let's go. Feet on the pedal just for a nice opening of the chest.

You press the pedal down, curl the pelvis, lift, lift, lift, and then slowly roll down. Control the pedal up. And now, we go on the other side and we repeat the same thing. So, lying down, we have up and release, lift and release, hike the hip, push it down and away. Lift it up, down and away.

Lift, lift, and down. Now, let's go up on the elbow. Opening the elbow and you go pull, release, pull, release, pull, pull, pull, and away, pull. And now, all the way up, we go side bend as you pull, open, side bend as you pull, open, and again, in, in, in, open out, in, in, in, open out. Very good.

And now, we come all the way up to standing. And we add one spring. So, again, I'm going one bottom, one middle (spring cranks) on this chair, but it depends. You could do two middle, depends on how tight the springs are and how much feedback you want to get from this spring. So, let's start from the heels.

And let's keep the feet a little parallel. I actually like a lot to start now footwork on the heels and arches because the control when it comes to placing the toes is a lot more challenging. So, I like to get the connection up to the leg first. So, from here, you flex, you can push your face down. You can hug the chair, you stay tall, and you go down and up, down, bring the chair all the way up if possible.

And again, down and lift, down, up, and lift. Pull up, lift taller every time you pump it down. Perfect. And now, we go to the arches. Relax your toes, curl the foot around the pedal, and you go down and up, down and up.

Always lift tall. And you go down. We need to prepare this leg to going up on top of the chair in many different ways. And now, I keep the pedal up. I prepare the toes.

And now, I want to play with different things. First I want to do drop the heels down, completely. No activity in the ankles. Just pump the pedal down for five times with the heels as low as possible. Toes are curling.

Now, lift your heels up as much as possible, and you go pump and push, push, push, and push. Now, I want you to go halfway with the heels. So, right there, and you go down and up, down and up, press tall, tall. And this is the hardest one to control. Now, let's step all the way down.

We turn around for tendon stretch. And also here, I want you to keep them close, but parallel, the no heels together for now. I want you to have as possible, all the toes on the pedal. And here, you go down with the heels and up with the heels. Now, I want you to think about the feet, not like a flat object, but I want you to think about the twist that they can have and create.

We saw it before, when we did the shake foot. So, I want you to go down mostly on the little toe and then you swivel inside, and you push up mostly with the big toe, almost like creating a little figure eight movement, a little spiral just on the foot. So, down on the little, up on the big, down on the little, up on the big. Now, from here, you keep the heels, like not too high between halfway and all the way up. Together, drop the head down and we go scoop the pedal up and articulate it down.

Scoop and lift, down, down, down. Scoop and up. Now, stay up to the top. Lower the heels and lift, lower the heels. And up, down, down, down, lift, lift, lift, scoop the pedal, tailbone down, pushes down, pushes down, pushes down, pushes down, and release. Step down with one foot.

Then, now we work the deeper of the calf muscle. So, from here, bend leg, push and flex, and push and flex. Now, also here, I try to go with that little figure eight movement. So, little toe, big toe, little toe, big toe. You can even reverse the power, the pushing of the big toe and little toe.

Now, you go all the way down to the pedal. You switch and you go to the other side, same thing. And you go point and flex, point and flex. Try to stay as square as possible with the hips. Try to be there, ready to help the knee if it's slips away.

And remember the spiral. Perfect. And now, we push all the way down and we come up. Now, we did lots of glute medius on the side kicks. Let's get deeper in it.

From here, we press the pedal down. We go with the side pull up and we play with this leg, kicking up. At first, we just keep foot against the foot. And here, we go, you go scoop all the way up, all the way down, scoop and lift, down, and again, up and down. Now, here, we go kick and down.

And up and down. Lift up. Now, kick it up and keep it there. Leg stays, pedal goes. Leg stays, pedal goes. Up, down.

Now, up and try to hold, hold, hold. Release and turn around. Other side. Foot on foot, even. And we go pelvis and down.

Scoop, scoop, and we go kick, kick, kick. Now, kick it up and keep it. And up and up. And now, we hold, hold, hold all the way down. Turn towards the chair and slowly, release.

Perfect. Shake off the arms a little bit. And now, if you have the long pole is when we go back and we go playing with the long pole a little bit, because it's gonna give us some security. Sometimes, the going up front, going up side is very stressful. So, if you have a high chair and you wanna do it with that, that's absolutely fine. Just make sure the springs are correct, or you can stay close to the wall if you don't have the long pole.

So, from here, we're gonna press down with one leg, and up on the chair with the other one. So, here, square it off. I always like to think of having a magic circle, like a zigzag magic circle in between the two legs. And here, you pull that circle together. The pedal comes up right away, and down.

And again, lift and down, and up. Two more, up, up, up. Control, up and down. Now, we go up, we go all the way on top, then find the pedal and press it down. Up, we go on top. Now, we need to balance.

We cannot fall. We need to control. And down you push. And now, this time, you go lift, and here you go up, up, up, up, up. Find the pedal again all the way down and then we switch. So, switch the legs, other side.

Square it off, magic circle. And you go up and down with control. Lift and down, down, down. Up, control down, work the toes, the feet, the hips. Now, we go all the way up, extend your standing leg.

Find the pedal, and down you push up. Up, if you get that magic circle, squeeze in between the legs. The pedal floats up by itself. Up, lift, and you go up two, three, four, five. Find the pedal all the way down and release.

Now, we switch the leg and we go going up side. But before we really go up to the side, I want to find that magic circle again. So, the very beginning is just I engage my inner thighs and down. I just want to see the pedal moving a little bit. And you go engage a little, down.

Same thing, just activate, and down. And now, you go and then it's easy. The rest of the work, it's easy if you do that little first action correctly. Two more times. Up and down.

And lift and down. Now, let's go parallel with this top leg. I want you to shift on top of this leg almost right away. So, here, and then I go up and down, up and down. Lift, lift.

Sorry, the noise, control it. Now, cross it to the back. Control, control, control. Maybe change the hand and you go five, four, three, two, one. Beautiful. We turn all the way around, and we do everything on the other side.

So, here, small and down, small, down. Now, all the way up, all the way down. Scoop, lift, down, up, up, up. Try to relax the shoulders, relax the neck. And lift and release.

Now, parallel. Here, shift over. You go and up and up and up. Last one. And now, we can cross it back and you go five. This is great for the outer hip, this side pumping.

Just make sure you have good knees. And now, we turn facing the chair. Now, let's put everything together, everything we did on the mat, everything we did on the chair. And now, we walk. We walk, keeping the balance and using some resistance.

So, here, I want you to reach back with one foot, roll your foot back, ready to control this. And now, you press and you lift. Look, I'm on the pedal. I place my heel right in front, the pedal is right in front of my heel. So, I go, lift.

My ankle is not really working much. It's placed in a nice and safe position. Now, let's go beyond. You press down, step on, walk on top of the chair, and down and step back, release. Step up, step down, step up, step down.

Let's do one more. Next time around, we can try to go and walk in front, not today though. And back. Now, step on top of the chair again. Find that position with the dowel, the wedge right in front of the heels. Same thing here. Step back, and control.

And step up. Think about the articulation of the foot that steps down. And the articulation when it leaves the floor and pushes off. And again, back and over, and back and over. Control. Now, let's go up on top.

Up, down, and control. Up, down, and control. And lift. You see how a pole or something to hold on is really nice, because it makes you move with more comfort. Last one.

Step, lift, step, and release. Very good. I hope it helped with balance, with footwork. And pick and choose the exercise that were more beneficial for you, and just use them anytime you like.


Loved this just as much as your previous classes. A great balance challenge indeed! I tried not to rely on the pole too much, but was glad it was there ;) Thanks Ilaria :))
And I thought I was strong. Kudos to you. Great class!
Really well cued and structured progression work. Nice flow and pace! Thank You 🥰
Absolutely loved this advanced flow, so creative and precise!  Now I'm going to do them all!  Thank you Ilaria!
Yael C Thank you Yael! 🙏🏼
Linda L Thank you Linda for the feedback! 
Susan R Wonderful Susan! More classes are coming your way soon! 💪🏻
Anna Preston S
ilaria Cavagna  Such a good series!! Also - it was so good to meet you the other weekend in Chicago!  Your love for feet speaks to me on a deep level :) 
Anna Preston S Happy you like it! Same here... it was very nice to meet people in person in Chicago! 🤗 Hope to see you soon again Anna!
1 person likes this.
This is excellent so needed love the use of the chair! 
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