Class #5387

Youthful Spine

50 min - Class


You will create a youthful spine by learning the key movements for your spine in this Mat class with Tom McCook. This is a gentle class that you can do on a daily basis to awaken your entire body. He starts with a warm-up to release excess tension and then moves on to conditioning exercises for strength and wellness.
What You'll Need: Mat, Tennis Ball (2)

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I'm Tom McCook and I'm happy to be back at PilatesAnytime. It's great to be back. In this class on creating a youthful spine, you'll learn the key movements for your spine that you can do on a daily basis, along with conditioning exercises for both strength and wellness. You'll need two tennis balls or similar sized balls for this class. So to begin, everyone, let's take our feet about shoulder width apart.

Turn your feet slightly out. And as you bend your knees with a big inhale, sweep the arms up overhead and let the legs lengthen. Big inhale. Exhale to bend as you lower. (exhales deeply) We're gonna do this four times. Big inhale. (inhales deeply) Exhale. (exhales sharply) Dropping into your legs.

And again, big inhale. (breathes deeply) Just get the energy moving. Inhale up and exhale. (exhales sharply) Now, bring up your left arm and tap all sides of your arm, under your arm, up around your shoulder and neck. So tapping is a way to improve your proprioception, which is a big word that means to know where you are in space. It's also related to tension levels, effort, position. And letting go of shoulder and neck tension helps improve your posture and move your spine better with less effort.

So we're just gonna do this little tapping. And then we're gonna move above your clavicle. Go right above your clavicle and grab hold of your trapezius muscle, which is in between your shoulder and your neck. Now, bring your feet a little closer. Soften your knees.

Now, picture you're holding onto a big juicy sponge. And as you breathe in, lift the shoulder up and squeeze the water out of the sponge. And then let it drop and spread and fill. And again, lift and squeeze. (inhales deeply) And release. (exhales sharply) Two more times. Squeeze the water and then release and let the weight of the arm drop the shoulder.

One more. Lift and squeeze and release. Now, this next time, lift, squeeze and hold. Slowly turn your head from side to side. Feel the effect on your neck muscles, which are part of your backside and front.

And release in one more. Lift, squeeze, hold. Nod your head front to back. And then let it go. Now from there, slide your hand down onto your lateral, your shoulder muscle, and sponge your way down your arm.

Bicep, tricep, forearm. All these different ways of touching, brushing, touching, tapping, all stimulate different neuroreceptors. Then finished with brushing down the arm, sloughing off anything that no longer serves you. There you go. And just take a moment and notice the difference between the two sides.

You might notice that shoulder's lower. Mine definitely feels lower. If you reach out, you'll notice, oh, my arm's a little longer. So what did we do? We didn't really do a lot of movement.

You gave your brain the feedback of letting go of tension that was there. So you already made your body stronger by getting out of the way. When you have tension, you have to overcome the tension to move. So let's take side two. Let's tap all sides up around your neck.

Free massage. Who knew? We'll take it. Down your arm. Goes really well in the afternoon with a latte or a cup of tea.

Now, with your clavicle, slide your hand over your clavicle to your trapezius. Soft arm. Just bend your knees so you can lower your center of gravity. Now, as you lift the shoulder up, breathe in and squeeze the muscle you're holding. And then let it go and let the shoulder drop.

And again, lift and squeeze. (inhales deeply) And let it go. (exhales sharply) Lift and squeeze breathing in. And let it go. This next time, lift, squeeze and hold. Slowly turn your head side to side. And let it go.

Last time, lift, squeeze, hold. (inhales deeply) Nod your head front to back. And let it go. Now slide your hand down onto your deltoid muscle shoulder. Sponge your waist slowly down the arm. Bicep, tricep, forearm, wrist, hand, fingers.

And then brush from your neck to your hands all sides, sloughing it off. Take a moment to notice a little more even possibly. You might notice the arms are more equal length now. So you've already restored some function by releasing shoulder and neck tension and letting the chest be more aligned with gravity. Now, let's tap the torso.

Chest area, your big pumps, your heart and lungs. Also your big muscles, your pecs that move your arm across your body> Belly wall, digestive area. Now, go right around the lower part of the rib cage with soft fists. Tap around to your back and just tap your lower ribs and make a little noise to vibrate your kidneys. (Tom babbles softly) Tap down to the back of your pelvis, waking up your lower back.

(Tom babbles softly) From there, tap down the outside borders of your legs all the way to your ankles, up the front of your legs, down the back of your hips and legs up your inseams. And one more time. Outer. Front. Back in seams.

And then tap your head light fingertips. You're just waking up your mind map of your body. The back of your head. Your face. Tap your jawline, Give your ears a pull.

And then shake out your limbs. Now, we're gonna go right into some movements for the shoulder girdle, which ties into the spine. Look at your feet and turn your toes in slightly, so your big toes are about the width of your fist apart. So that's your position. What that does is brings your legs into alignment into the joint more.

And I want you to straighten your legs. Contract your legs and press into your feet evenly. Now, take your arms out to the side. Make a soft fist and retract your shoulders. Bring your head back over the spine.

Now, spin your arms to the back. We're gonna do a lot. For like an hour, we're gonna be doing this. You wanna get really good at it. Now, we're gonna do 40.

So we're spinning. That's 10. That's 20. Now, keep the elbows straight, keep the shoulders retracted. 30.

Don't have to trust my counting, I'm a little faulty, but you can go with it. Now as you lower the arms, bring your knuckles to your temples, soft fists. Elbows open, legs straight. Head right up over the spine. As you exhale, touch in the front.

Inhale to open. (Tom exhales sharply) Nice and fluid. (Tom breathing deeply) Feel how you're opening up your back. And then you're opening your chest. That's it. Let's do five more.

(Tom breathing deeply) And three. (Tom breathing deeply) And two. (exhales sharply) And one. (exhales sharply) Let the arms come down. Now, in the next 10 minutes or so, we're gonna go through the primary movements of the spine. Between your head and your tail, you have over a hundred joints when you include your ribs. And these joints are all synovial joints.

And synovial joints get lubricated in nutrition through movement. So this is like you could consider, this is the elixir for your spine. It's to take them through their primary movements on a regular basis and just do it in a slow, smooth way. If you come across an area that feels uncomfortable, either go slower or smaller. Or you can skip that movement for now, but think of these movements are primary for the body.

We're gonna take it nice and slow. So first thing I want you to do is take your feet about hip width apart, bend your knees and put your hands on your hips like your hips are two wheels. And the two wheels can roll back or forward. So when I curl my tail forward, I'm rolling my pelvis back over the top of my legs. As I roll the wheel forward, my tail reaches back.

I'm rolling the wheel forward over the top of my legs. So that's where we're gonna start. So from the curled position, curl your tail forward and hold it. Now, touch your front low ribs. Now, let your front low ribs sink more in using your abdomen.

So when I curl forward and I sink my low ribs, now I'm stretching my lower back using my abdomen and my pelvic muscles. But I haven't moved my head forward and back in space. So let's do that. Just keep your hands on your ribs. Now, reach your tail back.

Let the belly wall lengthen. Curl the tail forward and sink your ribs in. Fill your back stretch and your belly turn on. Do that a couple more times before we add the rest of the upper body. Just feel that.

Equal weight on the front and the back of your feet. Now, next time, curl, ribs down, arms by your side. Just turn the thumbs to the back and roll the shoulders forward but not up and the body doesn't shift. Now, as you reach the tail back, turn the palms away, pull the shoulders back and lift your heart straight up to look up. Exhale to curl. (exhales sharply) Inhale to extend an arch.

As you curl, fill your abdomen, pelvic muscles. As you arch, fill your upper back. And again, curl. (exhales sharply) Inhale to open. Four more. (Tom breathing deeply) And two more.

(Tom breathing deeply) And one. (Tom breathing deeply) Now we're gonna go into lateral flexion. We'll take it really slow, which is side-to-side. Bend your knees. Now nice and slow, just side bend your spine, press into the ground to return, side bend.

Press into the ground to return. Simple. We feel how you're opening up the waistline on one side, but you're also moving the joints in that plane of motion. Now, we're gonna add, we're gonna take the left leg out to the side. Put most of the weight on the right leg.

Now, slide down your left leg and come back up. And just do four on that one side. When you take your leg out to the side, you get more range of motion out of your lower back. That's it. And one more.

And come back up and go right into side two. Standing leg takes most of the weight. Slide down the right. (Tom breathing deeply) Fluid. (Tom breathing deeply) And one. (exhales sharply) Now, as you come back with your feet a foot apart, bend your knees.

Now imagine when you do rotation that your knees and your hips are headlights and the headlights stay facing forward. So the rotation just happens from your ribcage up, but you don't turn your headlights. So cars going that way. Headlights from the waistline down. Bring your hands to your shoulders.

Now, roll your shoulders back and center your head over your pelvis. Nice and slow. From your ribcage up, turn without turning your headlights. (Tom breathing deeply) Press into your foot points on the floor. The ball behind your big toe, behind your little toe and your heel.

Press into those triangles. Now notice, can you turn and relax your arms and the tops of your shoulders. Feel like it's coming more and more from your waistline and the muscles in your back. Two more each way. (Tom breathing sharply) And now, we're gonna go through the whole thing again, 'cause once it's just the warmup, you gotta finish strong.

So bend your knees, curl the tail forward, sink the ribs in. Round forward. Now pull the shoulders down and forwards. So you start to feel the muscles under your armpits. Now, as you roll back, extend your legs, lift your heart and look up.

Exhale to curl. (exhales sharply) Inhale to open. Exhale to curl. (exhales sharply) Waistline, back. Heart, forward and up. (Tom breathing deeply) Three more. (Tom breathing deeply) And two.

(Tom breathing deeply) And last one. Now when we do the side-to-side this time, we're gonna add a little component to it. So take your left leg out to the side. Now, keep the weight mainly on the right leg. Now, as you slide down that right leg, start to shift the weight of that left leg, start to shift your weight to the left.

Pull weight on it. Now just take your head back to the right. Now, let your head go to the right. Put the weight on the right leg. Now, as you take your head back to the left, notice how now you're reversing the bend of the spine, so you get more movement in your neck, in this part of your spine.

So you're getting all those joints to move in this plane. So healthy for your body. But go slow 'cause it's gonna be new for a lot of us to do this type of a movement. Don't force it. Get curious about how you're doing it.

Keep looking straight ahead. Don't let your head drop. It's your moment of your sneaky spine. Great for scoliosis to get all these joint spaces to move. No strain.

Go slow and smooth. There we go. One more each side on this last one. Come back to center. Now, feet back, a foot apart.

Small leg bend. Headlights straight ahead. Hands to your shoulders, roll them back. And nice and slow from the rib cage up, turn. (Tom breathing deeply) Now this time, when you turn, after you've done a few more of just the simple rotations, we'll add something that'll help you activate your upper back a little more.

Now, next time, turn, hold the turn, look back. And on that side, pull that shoulder blade more towards your spine to use those muscles in the middle of your upper back. Then come back to center. Turn to the second side. Now, pull that shoulder blade more back towards the spine.

We're gonna do that two more each side. Turn, pull back, keep your headlights forward as best you can. Turn, pull back. One more each way. Turn, pull back.

Back to center last time. Turn, pull back. As you get back to center, shake it out, let it go for a moment. Now, the next movement will be a combination of a variety of spinal movements with breathing, which will help you use your lungs and your diaphragm to make a more fluid action of your body, but also to hit all the surface air of your lungs to improve your energy and your breathing. So first action is when you bend your legs, bring your hands to your shoulders.

Now, just make small circles with your elbows on the opposing walls. And picture that you're just moving in your shoulder joints. It's pretty small. So I'm not moving everything, just my arm where it meets my body. Pretty small.

So moving really just using the back of my shoulders. Now, let the shoulder blades move to make the circle bigger. Spine still staying relatively still. Now, let the lower back move to make the circle bigger. Now, let's bring in your breathing.

Inhale through your nose for count of three. Exhale through your mouth for three. (exhales sharply) Picture you're hitting all the surface area of your lungs. Inhale for three. Exhale for three. Two more breaths.

Inhale for three. Exhale for three. (exhales sharply) Let's finish with filling the lungs and emptying. Inhale, open your chest, lift your heart and look up. (Tom breathing deeply) Exhale to empty and round. (exhales sharply) Inhale, fill. (inhales deeply) Exhale, empty. (exhales sharply) Two more. (Tom breathing deeply) Fill.

Empty, decompress. (exhales sharply) Fill. (inhales deeply) Empty. (exhales sharply) And release. Very nice. Now, we're gonna do something for your upper back and your hip strength. This is a lunge tilt. So I'm gonna turn sideways and take my foot forward and come into a lunge position where my front leg i about two feet in front of my back leg and my feet are about six inches apart, left to right in parallel.

Now as you lunge forward, hold the lunge and reach the arms back behind you, like airplane wings. Now pull your shoulder blades back and create a line from your back leg to your head. Just sense that. Now, just lunge more under that front leg as you lift and lower your back heel, holding onto that body line. (Tom breathing sharply) And two more.

(Tom breathing sharply) And one. Now, come back up. And we're gonna do that one more time, but this time, we're gonna add a balance challenge. So lean forward. Now, as you pour the weight into the front leg, absorb and see if you can float that back, foot off the ground, then lower it and shift back.

But hold onto that body line so you're strengthening your postural muscles in your back. Lean forward, pour into your foot. Float the back leg and lower. Just gonna do two more. Go forward, absorb into your standing leg.

Float the back leg. And lower. One more. Pour forward. And lift.

And lower. And we'll come up and switch legs. So rather foot forward about two foot front to back gap, six inches left to right, parallel legs. As you hinge forward on that front leg, absorb into it and reach into your back leg. Now, pull your shoulder girdle back, arms a little behind you.

Head in line with the spine. Now, just practice lifting and lowering that back heel, keeping your upper back muscles activated. Strong standing leg, front leg. Back leg reaching. Two more.

(Tom breathing deeply) Now, come right back up. Tip forward, pour the weight into the front leg, shift onto it. Float your back leg. If you need to leave the foot on the floor, that's okay too. Go forward.

Just imagine you're unweighting it a little bit, then float it. And lower. It doesn't have to be big. Tip forward. (breathes sharply) Reach into the back leg as you float it. And lower.

And one more. (Tom breathing deeply) And lift. And lower and help yourself right back up. Now, we're gonna come into a lunging position to open the front of your hips. Then we'll come onto to all fours.

So come into a lunge where your front knee is right over your ankle, back knee is right under your shoulder. And now, we're gonna do a couple different positions of moving our spine in a lunge position. So think from your waistline down. You want stability while you're having mobility in your spine. So with your legs, feel like you're squeezing your legs towards each other.

But with the back leg, feel like you're actually also, which is kind of an interesting concept. Feel like you're pushing the ground to the back to turn on your glute, but at the same time, you're squeezing the front leg towards the back leg. So you're stable. Now, reach your arms out to the side, straight off your shoulders, like airplane wings. From your spine, inhale, turn towards the front leg.

Exhale, center. Inhale, turn towards the back leg. Exhale, center. One more each way. Inhale, turn to the front leg.

(Tom breathing deeply) Inhale, turn towards the back leg so you have stability with movement. Now, on the back leg side, take that arm overhead. Now, side bend towards the front side. Switch your arms and side bend towards the backside. One more each side.

Side bend towards the front and side as you exhale. (Tom breathing sharply) Side bend towards the backside. (Tom breathing sharply) Bring the arms to the front, press the heel, your hands forward. Now, press your tail forward and pull your waistline back for a stretch up the front of your thigh. That ties right into the front of your spine.

(Tom breathing deeply) One more breath. (Tom breathing deeply) Slowly lower the arms and switch your legs. Now first, start with your back knee right under your shoulder. Front knee right over your ankle. Now the same action.

Push the ground to the back with the back leg. But start to scissor your front leg back so you feel in the back of your leg is stable. And you have this sense of stability in the middle of your body. Head right over your pelvis. Reach your arms straight up to the side of shoulder height.

Now, if that's uncomfortable for your shoulders, your arms can be lower and a little more forward. Now, nice and slow. As you breathe in, turn towards your front knee. Exhale, center. Inhale, turn towards your back knee.

One more to the front side. Inhale to turn. (inhales deeply) Exhale, center. (exhales sharply) Inhale to turn. Exhale, center. Now, in the back leg side, take that arm up. Side bend towards the front side. (breathes sharply) Inhale up, switch arms.

Side bend towards the back side. (exhales sharply) One more each side. On the exhale side. (exhales sharply) Inhale up. Exhale side. (exhales sharply) Arms forward, palms forward, fingers down. Now, press the heel of your hands forward. Tail forward, pull the waistline back for a hip flexor stretch.

Two more breaths. (Tom breathing deeply) Nice and slow. From there, help yourself down onto all fours. Okay, from the all fours position, let's just take a moment to do breathing abdominals, meaning we're gonna inhale on the inhale phase, we're gonna let the lower belly wall just relax towards the mat. And on the exhale phase, low through an imaginary straw.

And just imagine that you're drawing the lower abdomen just below the belly button in, not to change the shape of your spine. Just feel like there's a cylinder of muscles in between your rib cage and your pelvis, like a thick band, like a big belt, just slowly tightening to activate. So you're creating this sense of support and lift in the waistline. So breathing in. Relax the lower belly wall.

Longer exhale through the mouth. Draw it away from the ground without arch, without curling your back. (breathes deeply) Again, breathe in, let it relax. Exhale, draw it in. (exhales sharply) Begin to also feel like the muscles between your tailbone and your pubic bone are drawing it. And the upper inner thighs will start to activate also. So the bottom of your core is the bottom of your pelvis.

(Tom breathing deeply) Two more breaths. Let it all go as you breathe in. (inhales deeply) Exhale to lift it. (exhales sharply) One more. (inhales deeply) (Tom breathing deeply) Now as you breathe in, let your shoulder blades come closer in the back as the upper body drops between the upper arms. Now, feel the lift of the belly as you float the body up and widen and lower your shoulder blades. (Tom breathing deeply) Inhale to lower. Exhale to lift.

Four more. Feel the muscles under the armpits, gliding the shoulders wide and low and the belly wall engaging. (Tom breathing deeply) One more. (Tom breathing deeply) Now the next step, as you start to lift the belly wall, slide one leg low along the floor till it's straight. And then lift it like it's being pulled away from you.

(Tom breathing deeply) Inhale, slide it back in. Practice lifting your leg without changing the shape of your lower back, so feel the belly support. (exhales sharply) So feel like you're using the back of your hips, your abdomen, and you're keeping your shoulders strong. Head up in line with your spine. (Tom breathing deeply) Now just do one arm. Exhale reach one arm for it but include the belly wall like you've been practicing.

(Tom breathing deeply) Where you can reach your arm but keep both sides of the neck long and the weight-bearing arms stays strong. Now, we'll go into opposite arm and leg. Same exhale, same activation. (Tom breathing deeply) Hold on to that strong body line. (Tom breathing deeply) Two more each side.

(Tom breathing deeply) One more each side. (Tom breathing deeply) Now, next side, reach and hold. Now get longer in the lifted limbs, stronger in the weight-bearing limbs. As you exhale, curl your tail forward, bring your elbow to your opposite knee. (Tom breathing deeply) Inhale into the reach six times.

(Tom breathing deeply) Two more. (Tom breathing deeply) Back to the center. When you're doing a picture that your spine's like this flexible buoyant spring. So reach the second side long and light, strong on the ground. Take a breath.

Curl and touch. Inhale into the reach. (Tom breathing deeply) Just two more. (Tom breathing deeply) Back to the center. Now from here, we're gonna come down onto our forearms to do a rotational movement.

So take your knees wider and sit your hips back about six inches behind your knees. Now, put one elbow on the floor and put your other hand on the lower back on the back of the pelvis. Now, if that's uncomfortable for your shoulder, you can cross the arm in front of your chest. So this is for the joints in your upper back. So in your back here, stick your butt out so you can not have your background and have a head tail line, like a straight line from your head to your tail.

And picture the arm that's resting on your back. You're gonna keep it relaxed the whole time. With the bottom elbow, push the forearm into the floor. And nice and slow, turn to look up towards the ceiling. And then spiral back down.

Push into the ground and turn, but this arm on the back is not pulling back. You're keeping it relaxed. So you're using more of your back and waistline muscles to get movement into those thoracic joints, those upper back joints. And strengthen those muscles a little bit more. And one more.

Imagine there's something very interesting on the ceiling you wanna see. Didn't know there was a Picasso up there. Now, let's take side two. Hand resting on the back of the pelvis, straight line head to tail. Press into your bottom elbow and slowly turn to look up.

But leave your elbow that's resting on your back relaxed. Make the range work for you. If it feels really small, that's fine. Let your body get used to doing this turn. And we're gonna do two more.

Press and turn. Back to center last time. Press and turn. Come back to the middle. Now, as you come up onto all fours, we're just gonna do a couple cat stretchers and then we're gonna do a forearm plank.

So as you come up onto all fours, do one shoulder blade slide. Let the shoulders slide in towards the spine. And as you float the body up, curl the tail forward and lift the waistline up. Reach your tail back. Open the chest to the front.

Just two more. (Tom breathing deeply) And one. (Tom breathing deeply) Now, an eight point plank we're gonna do is to strengthen your core. The eight points are your wrists, your elbows, your knees, and your feet. They all stay on the ground.

So put your forearms on the floor with your elbows right under your shoulders. Now, walk your knees back until it feels like your hips are as least as low as your shoulders are slightly lower. Tuck your toes under. Now, lift out of your shoulders like you did in the scapula glide. Push into the ground.

Curl the tail a little forward so you have a little more length in your lower back. Now, breathe. When you breathe in, breathe into the width of your torso. And on the exhale, like you did earlier, pull the belly away from the floor and start to squeeze all four limbs towards the midline. (Tom breathing sharply) Turning on your inner thigh muscles, your abdomen, your shoulders.

So we're gonna hold it for five more breaths. Exhale, squeeze. Belly pulls away from the ground like you're trying to lift a weight off the floor with your belly. (Tom breathing deeply) Two more breaths. (Tom breathing deeply) One more breath.

(Tom breathing deeply) Take a moment to stretch back into a child's pose. Take your knees as wide as you need to. Soften for a moment. Become foldable. Soft, easy, foldable.

(Tom breathing deeply) One more breath. Nice and slow. Help yourself up. Now, we're gonna come onto your back and I want you to grab your two tennis balls or two small balls. And we'll put them right above your sit bones at the bottom of your pelvis.

So your sit bones are right at the bottom of your butt. So they're not up higher than that. They're just slightly above the sit bones on the lower part of your butt or the middle part of your butt. Now, that just gives you a little bit of elevation. So then we can move the pelvis muscles in lower back a little more easily with a little more range.

So when you're there, line up your feet with your sit bones and just take a moment to settle onto the balls. Take a couple breaths. (Tom breathing deeply) Feel your foot points on the floor. Relax your neck. Now, from your pelvis like we did standing as you exhale, as you follow the belly wall in, curl the tail towards the back of the knees.

(Tom breathing deeply) Inhale the tip to pelvis forward, tail towards the floor. Arching the lower back slightly when you curl. Using your abdomen, your pelvic muscles, your inseams. As you tip forward, you're using your lower back slightly. Just go back and forth, keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed.

Go for evenness on each side of the lower back. (Tom breathing deeply) Picture when you curl, they also sink your front lower ribs. So the whole length of your lower back, which goes all the way up to your lower back or which all goes up to your lower ribs, it's all lengthening. Then as you tip forward, it's slightly arches. Now, if you feel any discomfort when you're doing this, just make the range a little smaller.

Just get a feel for where you can do it and we can start to build the range with confidence and evenness. Just do two more. (Tom breathing deeply) Now, bring your legs up one at a time. Relax your lower legs and put your hands on your inseams. So this is for your pelvic floor and your inner thigh muscles, which is really helpful for your lower back health, your leg alignment and your posture.

So as we breathe in, we're gonna let the knees open and picture the bottom of the pelvis stretches a little bit. On the exhale, add light pressure out with your hands, but let your legs win. So that light pressure adds more resistance to those muscles, which helps them strengthen more. Exhale on the closing. (exhales sharply) No resistance on the opening. Light resistance as you start to close. (exhales sharply) Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed.

(Tom breathing deeply) Follow the belly wall in as you this. (exhales sharply) Just two more. Great to do this if you've been sitting for a long time. It's just part of your core training. One more. Now, we're gonna do something for your hip flexes in this position, which will help your lower back and help you use your core better.

So you'll hold one knee and you'll pull it in towards your chest. Now, you don't have to brace in your belly now because you're holding your leg, which allows you to do a leg movement without the shape of the lower back having to change. Now, you're gonna reach the other leg straight up. Now, a long exhale, let it float down towards the floor. (Tom breathing sharply) Then bend it in and up.

Long exhale, let it float down. (exhales sharply) So now you're using the leg as a weight to lengthen your hip flexor muscles that cross your pubic bone and attach your leg to your spine. Really great idea to restore function of these after lots of sitting or just feeling tight in your hips. Three more. (Tom breathing deeply) And two. (exhales sharply) And one. (exhales sharply) Then we'll switch legs. Pull the knee in, reach the second leg up, long exhale, floats down. (exhales sharply) Bend in and up.

Go slow on the lowering. (Tom breathing deeply) Relax the top of your shoulders and your neck. Let your head be heavy on the floor. Just three more. (Tom breathing deeply) And two.

(Tom breathing deeply) And one. (Tom breathing deeply) Place the feet on the floor. Take the balls away. Now, we're gonna take it into an articulated bridge. That means you're gonna curl through the spine to peel the hips off the ground.

But first, when you lie, just get a sense of having the weight centered on the back of the hips. Feet in line with your pelvis and the arms and shoulders relaxed. On the exhale, fall the abdomen and now curl the tail towards the back of your knees and slowly peel the hips off the floor. Now, the top of the bridge, touch the bottom of your butt with your fingertips. Take that part of your pelvis more towards the back of your knees.

Now, touch your front low ribs. Now, let them melt more into your body, so now you're gonna feel more of the back of your legs, your inseams and your belly. Keep all that and press the back of the shoulders towards the ground. So there's your bridge. Take a breath now.

On the down, relax your chest, but use your abdomen to lengthen your back back onto the floor. We're just gonna do that three more times. So on the exhale, curl into the bridge. Arrive in that strong straight line. Take a breath.

Articulate back down. (exhales sharply) Two more times. (Tom breathing deeply) Take your time through each section of the spine. On this next one, we're gonna add something. So exhale, curl off the ground. Keeping the shoulders low, inhale the arms overhead.

Now, exhale, sequence down away from your fingertips, tractioning your spine and stretching your side body. Float the arms down and just do two more. Peel off the ground. (exhales sharply) Inhale into the reach. Traction down. Float the arms down.

One more. (Tom breathing deeply) Feel the reach. Traction down. Float the arms down. Now, you're gonna do what's called a neutral bridge, meaning the shape of the spine stays the same.

So imagine your waistline stays the same, the hip stays the same. You just opening the front of the hips. So press into your feet and levitate and then hinge back down. Do 10. (Tom breathing deeply) Relax your arms, your shoulders.

Feel that connection from your feet to your hips. Lightly touch and lift. (Tom breathing deeply) Four more. Even pressure into your feet. (Tom breathing deeply) And one.

As you come down, take hold of the back of one thigh. Now, press the leg into your hand to stretch it. Circle your ankle. And reverse. Take a breath and hold and pull that.

Press that leg into your hand. Just draw it in a little bit for a stretch. Place it down. Take hold of the second leg. Now, press it into your hand and stretch.

Now, circle the ankle and reverse. Press it into your hand maybe pull it a little higher. And hold. (Tom breathing deeply) Now, place your feet flat. Lie with your sit bones.

Center the weight on the back of the pelvis. Bring the hands behind your head for an ab curl. Now, elbows a little bit off the floor, but set the shoulders low away from your ears. Now take a breath. Now, start to follow the belly wall in.

And as you set the shoulders low, imagine you're gonna bring the back of the waistline into the floor to float your head. Now, roll your head forward and slide your breastbone away from your chin without pulling on your head at all. Inhale on the down. Feel that head float moment, imprint the waistline. Nod and curl. (exhales sharply) So it's not a big motion, but you'll feel your abs right away.

(Tom breathing deeply) Let your gaze go towards your knees each time. (Tom breathing deeply) Feel like you're sliding the ribcage towards your pelvis to lift your upper torso. Just one more. (Tom breathing deeply) Now, hold it. And from your low ribs, imagine you're gonna turn from your low ribs.

So from your low ribs on the exhale, slide your your front low ribs towards your opposite hip. (Tom breathing deeply) Inhale to the center. Exhale the turn. Resist the temptation to pull on your head. Inhale to center.

Exhale the turn. Nice and smooth. Keep the pelvis heavy as you turn away from the hip. (Tom breathing deeply) Last side or last one. As you come down, take hold of the back of your legs.

Rock up to sitting and turn over onto your belly. Now, on your belly, just put your hands in front of you. Now, you can rest your forehead under your hands. I'm gonna let my head be a little lifted for a moment. Now, just practice breathing your belly wall into the floor.

Like literally push the ground away with your diaphragm. That's your key breathing muscle. And on the exhale, just deflate. (exhales sharply) Now start to target the breath more laterally into your waistline. Your belly's still gonna move just less. Now, draw the belly wall in like you're drawing it away from the floor, but you're keeping your hips anchored to the floor.

Feel the tone of your upper inner thighs and abdomen. Keep breathing like that throughout. Now, put your first finger and thumb together like a diamond shape, just a few inches in front of your forehead with your elbows wide. This exercise is for your upper back. So using your upper back, slide your heart forward to lift your head.

Keep your elbows on the floor. Rotate your lower arms out, so now your hands and elbows are parallel to your body. Keep coming up through your upper back and let your arms lengthen. Lower your elbows to the floor. Come back to your starting place.

And again, slide the heart forward. Rotate the lower arms out. Slowly extend. I'm not using my arms very much, I'm just letting 'em lengthen. Lower and come back.

We're just gonna do three more. Slide the heart forward. Rotate the lower arms out. Extend. Legs stay toned.

You're still feeling that breathing control. One more. Two more. And one more, everybody. Inhale forward and up.

Extend, reach into your limbs and lower. Now, from there, take your arms out to the side like a T. Roll your shoulders away from the floor and lift your head three or four inches off the floor. Back of the neck is long. Float your hands a few inches.

Now as you breathe in, pull your hands towards your heels. Exhale back out to the T. (exhales sharply) Inhale, pull. Exhale to the T. As you pull, feel like the energy's going out at the crown of your head. Three more.

(Tom breathing deeply) Strong legs. And one. Hands under your shoulders. Help yourself up onto all fours. Take your knees a little bit wide and then shift back, so your hips are a little bit behind your knees and put your elbows on the floor.

And now just curl your tail forward to stretch your lower back. Tone your belly wall, relax your neck. Two more breaths. And then to finish, come into a seated position with one leg folded back, one leg in front. Sitting up nice and tall.

Reach your arms out and find your balance. Now if you needed to, you could put a pillow under this hip to elevate it a little bit to make it a little more comfortable, if you're feeling a hard time sitting like this. Now as you lower that arm, take the arm over the top and side bend. Now, let your up elbow relax. Now just from your right behind your heart, spiral down.

Now, inhale to open and from behind your heart, look up. Spiral down. (exhales sharply) And open. One more. Spiral down and open. Lengthen back up to balance.

Now, one more time. A little different. Come over the top. Now, extend the outside leg. Press into your elbow, lift your hips and reach.

Slowly come back up to sitting. And just one more. Over the top. Push into the ground. As you extend the leg, lift, reach.

Slowly return. Now take hold of your back ankle. Reach up and side bend the other way. And let's switch your legs. So first, find your balance.

Reach. Lower your arm, come over the top. Now, soften your elbow. Spiral down. As you turn open, feel like you're turning from right behind your heart.

Spiral down. Open. One more. Spiral down. Open. Lengthen back to balance.

Now, last one. Up and over the top. Now, let your outside leg lengthen. Press into the elbow, lift your hips. Bend, come back to balance.

One more time. Up and over. Press, reach, lift. Back to balance. Hold your back ankle, side bend the other way.

And then just take a moment, cross your legs. And there we are. Thank you so much for joining me today, and I hope you enjoyed the class.


Sue S
Thank you for another amazing class, I loved it and my back thanks you. I will be returning to this one for sure.
Amy S
1 person likes this.
What I enjoy about Tom’s classes is his seamless mix of modalities from Egoscue to Franklin Method to Eldoa , from Yoga to Pilates ; he has something for every body!❤️
Sue S & Amy S, Thank you both!! Enjoy and be well!❤️👊🙏
Maria P
The most comprehensive yet simple module for spine health on PA-should be thought to everyone. Thank you Tom!
Lynn C
Thank you so much Tom for this wonderful class. It is especially helpful and educational for people like me who have challenges like Spondyloarthritis. This morning I was extremely stiff and already my body feels a sense of openness and release. Very grateful for this program 🙏🏻
Lynn C
Thank you so much Tom for this wonderful class. It is especially helpful and educational for people like me who have challenges like Spondyloarthritis. This morning I was extremely stiff and already my body feels a sense of openness and release. Very grateful for this program 🙏🏻
Lynn C , Your feedback is a wonderful example that mindful movement is medicine! Thank you for sharing your experience and all the best to you!!🤗🙏
Thank you for an another amazing class. I suffer from spinal stenosis and spondylothesis and I feel amazing after doing this class ❤️
Thank you for an another amazing class. I suffer from spinal stenosis and spondylothesis and I feel amazing after doing this class ❤️
Thank you for an another amazing class. I suffer from spinal stenosis and spondylothesis and I feel amazing after doing this class ❤️
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