Class #5179

Energizing Reformer

30 min - Class


Embrace the upward, energizing power of your breath in this dynamic Reformer class with Amy Havens. You will move seamlessly through creative exercises and transitions. There is a focus on your side body to allow for the ribcage and lungs to expand allowing for ease of breath and movement. These exercises layer and build to create a sense of electrifying energy!
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video


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Hi, everyone. Amy Havens here again for another reformer workout, or flow, or session, however you'd like to categorize that for yourself. So reformer for energy, right? And I wanna have us focus on our breath quite a bit, and using that breath to give your body lift and energy and opening. So there'll be a little more extension today to open up through the chest and the heart space, but also some nice things for hips and side body, to allow those lungs to really have some space to breathe and expand, all right.

So let's go ahead and get started on footwork springs. I have my three, red and a blue. And as all Pilates practices are about breaths, every exercise should really encapsulate that, and let that move us. So let's just settle into position, nice level triangle of the pelvis, arms long by the sides. We're in our Pilates V to begin, and let's go inhaling out and exhaling in.

Pilates Stance

Letting the lungs really take center stage here to fill up, allowing that diaphragm to press down, all of the space in the middle of the body to get more spacious. And open yourself up, let yourself receive all that wonderful energy that breath has and gives us. Last two. And last one. We'll come in for our prehensile feet with a little transition in between, just one leg extensions, bend those knees, feel your feet really wrap around the foot bar.

Prehensile Toes

I like to take the legs completely together. Full abduction with some wrap around the outer hip into the back of the legs. Breathing, filling your body up with energy. And stretch, and down. Last two.

And in between each footwork, we'll do that leg extension to the ceiling. So just park the carriage at the bumper, extend. Let's do a flex of the feet, and we'll do heels at the bar, staying fully abducted and lengthen. And in. It's okay to check that you're right in the center of your foot bar, you don't wanna be crooked.


And in. (energetic instrumental music) (exhales heavily) I also love the focus of breathing in my sessions because the breath is the only thing we have at that moment, right? So it keeps us in this moment, and then in this moment. Right in the present. (energetic instrumental music) (exhales heavily) Don't think ahead, what's happened is done.

And we breathe and we breathe. Couple more. And stretch. Okay, let's do that leg extension to the ceiling again. Just flex through the toes, and bring the feet down.

Tendon Stretch

Now, I do want us to separate the feet through this position. Start out with pretty nice high heels. We'll take both heels down. We'll lift both and come back in. Let's just do five sets of this.

Nice and continuous, one movement right into the next. Just like the breathing, like circle breaths. You never really feel where it starts and stops, it's just there happening all the time. (exhales heavily) One more time, and we'll take our feet out wide on our heels for a set of 10 presses from second position. So right there, a little moderate turnout, and press.

Second Position Heels

Yes, and wide breathing. (inhales and exhales heavily) It's okay to use your own hands like helper hands to try to get a little more length in your waistline. Sometimes that does help. And five more times. Use your quadriceps, feel how the muscles engage in the legs.

Not just the back of the legs, but it's the front, the inner thigh, the back. Last one, and then here everybody hold, pivot your knees inward. We're gonna do a set of 10 in internal rotation. It's okay if your knees don't completely touch. Some of us have less internal rotation than others, but I do want you to change that angle.

Internal Rotation

It's good for the hip joint to have some change of load. And in and out. (exhales heavily) Last two. That feels so good. And then pivot back to turn, now bend your knees, come all the way in.

Want us to do the walking in place here? So again, a little bit of space between, and let's take that breath in, in, and exhale, and exhale, and in. (breaths heavily) (relaxed instrumental music) Two more sets of breathing. (breaths heavily) (relaxed instrumental music) And four, three, two and one, and the rise up. Length in the body, and bend both knees to come all the way in.


I want you to hug your knees, bring your head up, bring your sternum towards your legs, and then lower yourself back down. We need to give a little space between our shoulder and our block here. And take your headrest down. Want us to do a little bit of knees side to side, with the focus of side lung breathing, okay. And I'm actually gonna have us focus on the back of the lung.

Supine Spinal Twist

You'll see. So take your arms, maybe a shoulder rest here. Knees to tabletop. So when we take our knees to the side, let's go for it over here. Widen this side of your body so that you're not arching this back at all.

I think of the posterior aspect of my lung inflating into the mat. It feels so nice, and my abdominals feel really nice and engaged there. And then exhale, we rock back to center. Of course, to the other side now. Same thing, trying to inflate that back rib side or lung side.

Whoa, and center. Okay, and again to the side. Let it be about the breath, and center. Filling up the back of that lung, the back of that diaphragm. (exhales heavily) Again and rock over.

You'll probably have a little increased range of movement with each one. And rock around. And center. One more each direction. (relaxed instrumental music) And center.

Let it be about the breathing. Inhale, long, long, long. Diaphragm stretch, elongate, and then come right back to center. Want you to hug yourself again. So just drop the feet, place the hands around the shins and bring your head up.

Shoulder Press

And just round, round, round, round. Okay, wonderful, everybody come on up. We need to change the springs. We're gonna be on kneeling, and I think a red and a blue is perfect for this. Some shoulder press.

Okay, so knees together, hands on the foot bar. Get pretty close. And as you're crouching down, we're not just resting down on the heels, we have a little bit of lift in the hips, hands on the bar, and it's as if we're trying to pull the bar apart as we push back and come back in. So choose the breath that works for you, but I'm sticking with the inhale on the movement out. (breaths heavily) That's just working for me today.

Make it make sense for you. Pull the bar apart, you're feeling the vitality, the strength in your upper back and back of shoulders. Right, in every inhalation, you're widening through your ribs and the diaphragm. Let's take two more with both arms working at the same time, and then park the carriage here. And I want you to take off one of the springs.

Which one will you take off? I'm gonna take off the lighter of the two. I had the red and blue, I'm gonna do a single arm press now. Okay, so one hand on, the other hand can go behind the back. Now, what happens with the one arm work, sometimes you'll notice yourself shift.

Single Arm Press

Well, try not to, right? So inhale. We'll do five on each arm. Inhale, staying evenly weighted on those knees. You'll probably feel one side of your back more than the other on purpose.

Often happens with these unilateral moves. It's beautifully designed that way. Other side. You could focus one long breathing if you wanted to. On the one side that's pressing or maybe the opposite side.

You can play with those ideas or not. And your last two. And the last one. And in. And then just make a nice round shape.

And we'll come up onto the knees adding a little more spring, okay. So I want you to bring back on that other spring you took off, so I'm going back with the red and a blue. And we're coming up for a knee stretch round back, and then into a little down stretch combo. Okay, so think about this kind of wave-like quality right now. Some energy in a wave, all right.

Knee Stretch Round Back

So if you get yourself in a C-curve, knee stretch with your round. Let's just do five of the knee stretch round. Breathe in, breathe out, and in. (breaths heavily) Next one we're gonna hold the carriage out. From here, start to funnel into a down stretch.

Carry that down stretch into the bumper, and then five down stretches, and then we'll make the combo. And two. Let your hips open up toward the springs. I like to go a little further. Here's four.

Down Stretch

We're gonna stay out on number five and go back into our round, okay. Now the combo, so it's around and the wave, and bring that carriage in, then you reverse it, you press it back. And you curve head to tail and bring the carriage in. Inhaling, exhale, breathe in, breathe out. And just reverse it, head to tail curl.


See if you can make it very seamless, like a ribbon just moving right through your spine as the breath moves through your body. (breaths heavily) (relaxed instrumental music) One more time. And in, and reverse. And all the way in, and then just enjoy rounding that back here. You will now, everybody, need to get your long box.

Shoulder Stretch

So let's go ahead and get that, and we'll come back around for some more fun. Keep on moving. Even here in transitions, we're breathing. Okay. Because we don't need the headrest down, let's just lift it back up.

And I only need us to have one spring now. I'm gonna choose the red. And I want you to climb up on your knees. Hands on your foot bar, knees can be together or a little bit separated, whichever your choice. And for just a moment, start with your shoulders above your hands and your knees right below your hips, if you can gauge that setup.

Okay, once again, we're gonna start in a curve. And then I want you to go back into a neutral spine. And now this is a shoulder stretch. So the temptation is gonna be to kick the legs, I know it will, and to push with your legs. I want you to lower your chest toward the box, getting your head right between those arms.

Holding this position, breathing in. Now, we're gonna return the springs with round spines. Round, curve, curve curve, curve, curve. Neutral spine, take a breath. Exhale, lets start to move.

Just keep the breath flowing. Opening through that heart space here. Feel strong in your body, feel strong in your upper back. And then it's a tail curl and a head curl. Lift the abs.

We'll do one more like that, and then we'll do it to couple without returning in with round spine. So it's gonna be a little different shape of the body. Stretch the spring by stretching the arms, not by kicking the legs back. Feel the strength in between your shoulder blades. And then one last time, we're coming in round.

Okay, so the last couple, same thing. Pressing through those shoulders. We're gonna try to come right back to neutral just with those arms. Last time. Feeling that energy and that stretch, and then coming all the way back up.

And then everybody can just step right off your box for a minute, and then we're gonna go prone, okay? So everything still stays set up the same. Let's just lie front. Just like we did earlier with hands on the bar, that feeling of trying to pull the bar apart. And let's just begin pushing out and in.

Double Arm Press

Not doing swan yet. Your body just this beautiful line on top of the box, and feeling the simplicity of that breath with movement here. Last two. (relaxed instrumental music) (exhales heavily) We're staying out there on the next one. Now comes our swan.

Really allow the scapula to come back around the back ribs, arching the front of the spine up, the front of the body up, lift, lift, lift and then pressing back out. Re-bend the elbows to come in. We'll do a total of five swans, so we'll press it out. Scapula go back, raising your body up Lift, and then back out we go. Keeping it moving.


So these swans are always so nice to allow the emphasis to be that chest going forward and up. Right, forward and up. (relaxed instrumental music) (breaths heavily) Pull that body up, got one more. And we have a little bit of single leg kick that I like to add sometimes, but we won't do it from the full swan. We'll come back down.

The base of the ribs on the mat or the box, and just go into single leg kick from mat. And kick, and kick, kick. Kick, kick for four more. Kick, kick. And kick, kick.

Single Leg Kick

Last one here and last one there. And then stretch, get that last big length here, and everybody come all the way in. Good, okay, step off your box. we're gonna move the box away, that's all we needed it for. So come on around.

Tricep Press w/Side Bend

And then when you do a kneeling arm. One of the from the side kneeling arm sequence. Yellow spring is what I'm choosing. You can do blue if you'd like, but I love a light spring here. So grabbing your strap, I'm gonna put it in my left hand.

This is really gonna be the lung, that side lung, that side bend that can open up through the side here. And take this other hand down on your shoulder rest, arm overhead. Enjoy this position for a moment or two. Feel free to wiggle your knees out or in, make it make sense space-wise. You wanna be even on your knees, okay.

Now can you all turn your head a little, almost look back to the back handle, so you're really in a profile. Feel how open this side is. Three times first, just the arm up and down. And then we're gonna add a circle movement with that arm, it feels so lovely. Here it goes, you're gonna do five of these.

It'll go all the way around. See, that's why you also need that head outta the way. Turn that head. Press, use those triceps to extend your elbow. Big circle all the way around, trying to keep the collarbone expanded wide.

Keep that head turned so you've got a beautiful profile. Last two. (relaxed instrumental music) (exhales heavily) And last one. (relaxed instrumental music) (exhales heavily) And all the way around. Okay, that feel delicious to have that much opening on the side.

Okay, other way, so turn yourself around. Same thing, we're gonna linger first in that side bend position. Sometimes it takes a second to let your body kind of find that opening or connect to that opening. And try to look back at the back shoulder rest, right? So your head is really well out of the way.

So the arm that's above you, we get that shoulder down. And then three times, let's just work the elbow extension. (relaxed instrumental music) (exhales heavily) Last one there. Oh, so lovely. And then we did five with the circle All the way up.

(relaxed instrumental music) Press, and then exhale around that circle. See if we can take that deep breath inward as we press the arm up. Stretching out those side ribs and the intercostals, diaphragm on that side. Oh, it feel so darn good. Last two, trying to press that collarbone open, right?

Of course. And our last one all the way up and around. Everybody, wonderful. Okay, so let's just put that down. And then we've been kind of up and on the knees and on the tummy for our back work, let's give our back a bit of support time.

Leg Circles

So we'll be lying back on our back. Two red springs need to come on, but no yellow or no other spring. So two red, and we're gonna come down on our back. Okay, so once again kind of home position, just take a minute, wiggle in, take a few breaths, let those ribs widen. And then everyone's favorite, feet in straps.

The way I want us to get into our straps today is to keep them relatively above your face. Bring your feet into the straps at the same time. Place your feet down in your frog position, hug your knees for a minute, and extend your legs. So yes, we will do leg circles. I want you to take your legs to a 90-90 position here if you can.

Engage the hamstrings, and let's circle. So, often with the leg circles, if you're mobile and flexible, I've got some of that in my body. Do I let myself use my flexibility all the time? Not always. Sometimes I try to make it small.

Today feels really nice to make it a larger gesture. I wanna feel like I'm opening myself, right, and not holding into so much stability and control. How does the breath play with that? (relaxed instrumental music) (exhales heavily) All right, so I wanna field this expansion quality. Last three today.

We'll do eight in each direction. (relaxed instrumental music) (breaths heavily) Really try to match the breathing with the leg motion, and the diaphragm has room to travel down. Okay, and now eight the other way. And bring the body long and lift. And circle.

Leg circles always feel pretty nice. You're letting your legs just have a natural rotation outward, and back to parallel in the hip socket. (exhales heavily) We have three more. (exhales heavily) Last two. All right, and last one.

And then from here, just frog position, come all the way in. Now, from here, everybody, reach back with one hand. Lower that headrest with control. Want you to make sure you've got a little bit of space again between you and the block. And we're going in for a long spine, okay.

Long Spine

So long spine, a little more challenging than short spine. So again, we're not gonna frog the legs again. See if you can kind of get this candle stick position, right, the legs really strongly anchored to the sky. So full breath in and out as we articulate up, up, without moving that carriage is the goal. Let the legs separate about the width of the reformer, carriage stays relatively if not very still as we peel down through the ribs, through the lower ribs.

Ah, the lower back. Level yourself to your level pelvis, and then a little arc of the legs down. Okay, here we go again. Full breath to go up. Diaphragm breathes through like the body that way, right?

So you really think almost like you're weight lifting your diaphragm in a way. Open and peel it down. Whoop. (laughs) Little movement of the carriage, oh well. (relaxed instrumental music) Takes a lot of concentration this one. And a little arc, close and around.

Ready, let's go again. And up, up, up. Think of lifting your back up. Let your back follow your feet, if that makes sense. Coming down.

So you have to hold some isometric work in the back of the legs. That's what's helps to keep the carriage steady. Woo, one more time, okay. Ready, feel the energy in this exercise. It's challenging.

Your diaphragm is doing some weight lifting picking up the body, picking up the legs and those springs. And we roll it down, and down, and down. Where's the end of my spine? All the way down and circle. Now we get to frog.

So take a moment just to feel your body. It should feel a little bit of electric energy, right? So these exercises kind of starting mellow, building up, building up. Have that restoration of energy in yourself. Okay, much like we stepped in, you step out at the same time, whoop, like so.

Long Back Stretch

Okay, a couple more, and I want us to go into reverse long back stretch, okay. Boy, reverse long back stretch. I'm going to give myself a red and a blue. Yeah. And for right now, everybody, have a seat.

We don't need the headrest down, so it gets to come up. Have a seat on your foot bar. And just for a second, grab that bar firmly with your hands and your finger pads, the pads of the fingers underneath the bar. Okay, this is another spinal articulation exercise with quite a bit of back support on their shoulders. So here we go.

Feet are coming out toward the shoulder rests. Why don't you just to press up, hold this position. Okay, start with the pelvic tilt. Let that pelvic tilt start helping you push out. Now, the idea here is keep your hips up, hips up.

And then here as you're coming down, you can bend the elbows a little bit. You start to back your pelvis up into neutral and use your strong arms to come up. So let it be more of an undulation again of the spine. Come out into neutral as you're coming down, and press up. Feel some energy in that very strong effort of pressing your arms straight.

Right, one more time. Curl, keep the hips up, uncurl and lift. Now let's reverse it. Bend, push with a pelvic tilt. Keep the hips high, at the very end you unfurl.

Inhale, exhale, press the arms, heel the pelvis in the pelvic tilt. Keep the hips lifted. We have two more. Yes, and lift, lift, lift. These hard exercises really invites energy, I think.

You gotta muster it up to get these hard exercises in. Hips high step a foot back. Oh my, have a seat. Great, feel the energy in your body. It's kind of hard not to when you're doing these bigger skills.

Front Splits Variation

Okay, next one. Want you to come in and take off the blue spring, and we're gonna do a stretch now, okay? It's a balance and a stretch. And I think I might come on that side of the reformer first so you have a better idea of what I'm looking at here and what we're doing. So often the standing splits might bring you a little bit of this energy 'cause you're standing up on top of the reformer.

No problem, we stand on the floor. And I want you to put your inside foot heel against the shoulder rest. The other leg gets real close to the reformer. And as ideally square of your hips as you can, okay? Let yourself come off, lean forward in other words.

So you'll feel hip stretch, you'll feel hamstring stretch, you'll feel calf stretch. Lots going on, and then bring yourself back up, which is actually work through the hip. Love the challenges. Arms out might feel better. Let's open up, right, and exhale, come on back.

We'll take three more. Use your visual system, it helps. Look at something right in front of you so you can spot it. Track your eyes there, try not to look around. You're a lot more steady when you focus straight ahead.

And in. As far as you feel like you can go with control, if anyone's asking how far to go. This heel should stay flat, okay? Now hold it please, and do some bend and stretch of this inside knee. Five times, not a lot of challenge, but balance work.

And four. Whoo, and five, and then pull yourself all the way in. Now lift this foot up and just take a little balance. Yep, and then come on down. Okay, we've gotta do the other side.

So I'm gonna step around, get closer to the reformer. Inside foot comes on. Ideally your heel is exactly flat. If you can't get your foot flat, that's another class, we'll talk about it. Standing, and first one, I'm just gonna keep my hands on my pelvis so I can feel myself square.

Okay, the leg you're standing on, your heel stays flat. That's as far as you can go. We're not locking either knee. Open your chest. How about some inhale as we stretch the spring open.

Feel free to get creative with your arm work. Couple more. And exhaling in. Last time when we added that extra little knee bend and straightening for five and four. The other leg doesn't move.

Three, and four, and five. And come all the way in. Take that foot off the carriage. Balance on a single leg there for just a second, and then everybody set the foot down. I'm just gonna come around and ask us all to do a standing roll down to finish.

Okay, to feel yourself right here on your feet. Even, well take our arms up, take a nice breath in, and then just take a roll down just to put a little period at the end of your sentence. Tell yourself how wonderful you are, 'cause we are. And how wonderful your body probably feels with all of that focus of breath and energy together. So thank you so much.

Standing Roll Down

Let me know how that feels for you. I'll see you next time.


Corinna S
1 person likes this.
Beautiful and flowy class. Thanks Amy 
3 people like this.
Thanks for this wonderful flow class! You mentioned getting the foot flat as another class. Is that already out? If so, please lmk what it’s called since I haven’t gotten full range of my foot back after breaking my ankle four years ago. I’m close, but not quite there.
2 people like this.
That class was delicious and what I needed while recovering from a bad cold and lacking energy
2 people like this.
A wonderful class. Amy’s classes are always well organized and intelligently cued. I always look forward to new reformer classes by Amy.
2 people like this.
A wonderful class. Amy’s classes are always well organized and intelligently cued. I always look forward to new reformer classes by Amy.
1 person likes this.
Sounds  are  not  provided  evenly  3times  
It should  be corrected.
3 people like this.
Nothing more to say than this class was literally pure heaven. I feel like I've just meditated! Thank you Amy so very much. 
This felt great Amy!  
Rachel C
1 person likes this.
Thank you! Great class! I am ready for the day now 😊
Rachel C
Thank you! Great class! I am ready for the day now 😊
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