Class #5480

Balance Building Foam Roller

30 min - Class


Kristi Cooper leads the way in this Mat flow where we utilize a Foam Roller to enhance awareness, balance, and breath. The Foam Roller serves as both a feedback tool and a stretching aid, deepening the effectiveness of the workout. It's time to connect with our breath, improve our balance, and enhance our awareness through the power of Pilates!
What You'll Need: Mat, Foam Roller

About This Video

Jan 25, 2024
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I'm Christy Cooper, and today, we are working with the foam roller. We're gonna have fun, but the real point of class is gonna be about, Awareness, balance, and breath. Basically, the 3rd, first three principles of Pilates. So when I say of awareness, this this is a tool that you can get anywhere. Right? It's you don't have to have it for this class, but if foam roller really, you can find anywhere There's a million different reasons you'd might want one really great for stretching, but today, we're gonna use it sort of as a feedback tool and some stretching. And definitely some balance.

So let's get started. What I'd like you to do is just stand. We're gonna use this a little bit as as I can assist so stand with your feet parallel and take the the roller in your hand. If you can reach to the edge, do that. Alright. So what we're gonna do is just simply raise it up to chest level, inhale, and exhale. And so I could press really hard on the the end of the roller, and I am pressing a little, but I wanna keep the elbows slightly bent, so I'm not locking out there.

So instead I could feel a little bit in through the front of the chest, inhale lift, exhale down. Just turning sideways, kind of noticing that you're straight up and down, like, where is your body in space? Become aware of that. Hold it up at chest height, lean forward like someone was pulling that roller towards you, not so far you a really grip and then come back. Not so far that you have to lift the toes to balance. It's just a subtle awareness of where is the middle of your body Whereas the center of gravity, and that that helps in so many other areas as we keep going. From here, we're gonna take the arms up.

K. If you can get them right overhead. So if you were to bend your elbows, that roller would land right on top of your head instead of in front of you or behind if you're really flexible. Again, I have a light pressure on the end of the roller. Press up. And down. It's not a lot of energy.

It's just kinda going, alright. Where's my neck? Where's my shoulders? Can I line myself up? If I lightly tap on top, does the roller land on top? It's just where are you in space? It's so important to know, really. Alright. Take it up one more like that. Up, not working too hard, just feeling for ourselves and down.

So before we get too much into the stretchy, stretchy fun stuff, we're gonna heat up a little bit. Again, I'm gonna turn sideways. Your feet will stay parallel. Shift your weight. So maybe a little bit more weight is in your heels.

And here we go. We're just gonna sit down, let the roller counterbalance you. When you come up, you can gently press the roller into your legs for a little bit of sense of your upper back. I'm gonna keep it slow for a minute so you can feel that because, right, we can all all we sit, we change our minds, We come back up. We lightly press the roller into the upper thighs, but we don't have to step there. We can imagine we're about to do a backbend. You don't do it, but just imagine it so you activate the upper back muscles, so so important as you probably can already tell.

Let's go a little quicker down, and up and reach and up inhaling and exhaling. Just heating yourself up a bit. Nice long body. Finish the straightening of the legs. You don't have to lock the knees, but you do wanna get all the way to the top prove it to yourself and up and down and up. One more like that.

Stay up. I'm just adjusting my hands. I have to kinda wiggle them to get there. So it's about at the wrist, and all I wanna do here is apply pressure from the upper arm. So, again, tapping into the upper back is a subtle lean forward as we rise up onto the balls of the feet. And lower ourselves down, becoming aware of how great it feels or how wobbly it feels, to your best to stay level on, big toe to little toe on both feet, but sometimes I think if all you did was think about the center of your body, a little bit of awareness to the upper back, the trunk, essentially. The rest just happens naturally.

Would come from the center. Couple more. I'm just rising up, warming up those feet. And down. And while you're doing this, keep going. Notice if you kinda fixate your gaze straight ahead, maybe on the horizon, even if it's just a wall or something in front of you, that it allows you to stay focused and centered.

If you're looking all around, your body's gonna also move all around. Where the eyes go so does the body. So that's gonna come into play in a minute when we get into balance. Alright. Come on down. Go back to the edges of the rollers to a few more of those, seated squats or foot and leg work, as I call it, we sit down as we reach forward.

We come up a light press into the thighs and down and up and down. E inhaling as I go down. I'm feeling my feet on the ground looking for some sense of groundedness. If you're grounded, you, it's much easier to feel aware. Down and up. How about 4 more here?

Not a lot of pressure on that roller, but it is there. Alright. Come up. Stay up. Same thing. Bring your arms up to chest head again. We did this a minute ago.

Ben the elbows wide. Notice they're not dropping down. They're wide. Pull that roller in, almost like you're gonna dive backwards, but you don't. You apply a little more pressure. So you feel your pecs. Go ahead. Feel your pecs.

And it's easier to feel your pecs, by the way, if your whole hand is on, not just your fingers, and then press the roll of forward. Try to get to straight elbows. For some, that's gonna be hard. I've got particularly long arms. Bend elbows are at the height of the wrist and press and pull it in to push it out.

We're not gonna be here long, so make it work for yourself. You push it away, you pull it back. You are in charge. There's a couple more here just trying tap into all those pieces so that when we get on the ground, we'll really be able to go deep. Alright. Keep the arms straight.

When you get there, you can set them down for the moment. You may have to back your hands up a little because we're going overhead. Alright. From here, let's go. I can keep the feet apart. Look up. Is the roller over your head, or is it in front of you? Do you best to get an overhead?

And now we're gonna list the rib cage left side is flaring to the left as we tilt a reach to the right. Maybe you can get that roller vertical. Maybe not. Don't worry. Rather sink over to that side of the room, then bring yourself back up. Whoo. Lift, flier the right side of the rib cage. Oh, I just caught myself rotating.

Don't do that. Christie, reach, reach, reach, like, if you're gonna hand the roller off over there and then come back up again. And, we could stay like this. If you wanna try something a little bit different in terms of awareness, bring the feet, zip them up all the way up, keep going, over, and you can press the hips to the side. It's up to you. It's the same exercise. It just gives you a tiny bit more.

What do you need? What do you want? You decide and up and over and up every now and again. I I noticed to one side, I tend to have one arm in front of the other. Like, I'm rotating. So I'm gonna notice that and stop it and bring it back. Let's do one more each way.

Lala, and la la. Now it becomes your friend, she's right in front of you, step wide. It's back to foot and legwork only this time we're not tilting forward. We're just heating up a little bit more, working all those muscles of the lower body, You may or may not need to balance, but let's take it anyway. We're gonna squat or plie depending on your discipline and stir right in squeezy inner thighs. Yeah. I know they're not touching, but you give it a shot in your mind.

Bend and up and bend. And, you know, the the I could say it's just for the muscles, but the reality is is when you get down into these deeper squats, is really good for the joints. It's like sort of how we were made. And if we never do it, we lose the fluidity So let's let's think about that. Staying as upright as possible, squat as low as you can.

Mees going over ankles and toes. Let's do a couple more here. Next time, we'll go down and stay down just because I know you do wanna work those muscles, lift the heels, but don't raise up. Rise up. Lower the heels.

List them and lower and list and lower. I know you're waiting for the ab part, but for now, feel your feet. Feel your feet. Feel the muscles that are working. There's a lot of them.

Breathe. One more time lifting and lowering of the heels. Heels are down. Ground yourself. Stand up easily. Yeah? Okay.

Next. Here we go. We are going to go into some balance work. So again, I'm gonna turn sideways. You may decide to come off your mat. I'm gonna I'm gonna risk it and stay on mine with, I'm gonna use my right arm. I'm facing my left side. It doesn't matter, actually.

Just pick a side and hold on to the roller or have it there for the ready. You are upright. You're proud. You're gonna take the opposite leg back. So if my right hand is on the roller, my left leg is going back. I'm I'm just almost like propelling myself forward.

So if I were to touch myself and I encourage you to touch yourself, the where the leg and the hip meet is engaged. Right? It's not about a bent knee. Nothing going on back here. He's like, you're ready to go. And you're as upright as possible.

Now hinge forward. The forward knee can be slightly bent, and that's not a huge deal. Just a little hinge forward. A little one for now, and we're gonna lift the leg. Touch it down. Lift the leg.

You can play with not holding the roller. Right? It's just there for you. It's your friend. Oh, boy. You could even lean forward more. Let's do that. Go ahead and hold the roll if you want, but we're hinging forward.

You can get all the way or you could even get perpendicular, just move the roller where you need it. Other arm is just hanging out or waiting for you. How about 3 more here? Even further for you if you want it. 2, and 3, you're long, you're long.

You're almost perpendicular to your leg. And then you come back up. Hoops. Legs are working. Brain is working. So I'm switching the roller to the other side to do the exact same thing.

Other leg goes back? Again, it's it just matters. If you don't pay attention to the back of your body, the front of the body is doing everything, and we don't need any more of that. So we're up. We're strong. We're almost ready to kick that leg back.

When you are ready, lift it lower just a few to get your balance to test it. It's not so high of a kick at this point. That it's messing up my spine, I hope, meaning I'm not moving it. Now, then let's just hold it up, or you can keep pulsing it if you want, but start to hinge forward right at the hip so you're not rounding your spine to do it. Move the roller if you need to.

Let it be your friend. Go forward inching our way towards perpendicular, inching our way. Oh my goodness. Our brain loves this, even if you're hating it at the moment, It's just good for you to play with this kind of stuff. You could do it anywhere and then come back up. Yeah?

Alright. For now, that's good. Let's take our rollers to our max and really test our balance. Not to mention our abs. So what we're gonna do, I just have it in the middle of my mat.

I'm gonna sit myself down right here at the far end, one end. If you're really tall, you may have to enter, you know, you'll find your way, but you wanna be where your head is supported. And then if you can, well, you can try anyway. Hold on or get ready to put your hands on the floor. We're gonna roll our spine down, and this is usually a very interesting adventure, placing the bones of the spine.

I know one leg comes up. You're wobbling, maybe. Maybe you're not. I am. Head on the roller.

Yeah? If not fix it, you do want your head supported for sure. Even if your butt has to come off a little. That's no big deal. Both arms are, palms face each other, reach to the ceiling, And for the moment now, just draw those shoulders downward like you're gonna hug the roller with your shoulder blades.

Just just Again, the awareness of the difference, one more of those, hugs a roller, and then maybe you'll find it a neutral spot, like just straight across the collar bones from here. By the way, my feet are comfortably parked. They're not so wide. I do wanna challenge that balance a little bit. I wanna be aware of, well, whatever else happens.

So my hands are facing each other. We're gonna separate the hands into a giant t position. Not lower than our chest, though. It's tempting to just drop them down. Instead, when you get to chest height, reach them further, and your neck is nice and long. You're not looking behind you, exhale bringing the arms back up as if you're hugging like a block.

I guess, like getting remember when we had the hands on the edge of the roller, you're pressing it for your chest. It's similar to that feeling. Not intense, but it's like that. Open. Retreat. Reach. Oh gosh. That's all we did.

That's so good for so many of us and back up. Reach out and back up. One more. Okay. So back to the whole awareness principle, the shoulders are they're not forced toward your hips, but they are away from your ears. There's the space that you can naturally accommodate and make that stay that way.

Alright. Turn your palms away from you. So they're just same arm position, but you turn them away. We're gonna reach behind us trying to keep the spine as it was. It does. You don't flare the ribs. You get those upper arms right next to your ears and come back up.

Okay. So, again, you're you'll have a little space most likely between your low back and the the roller. We're not trying to fix anything. We're just natural here. Reach back with both arms just to the ears, not not to the floor, and back up one more like that. Reach it back.

And come up to the starting position. Palms face each other. Make the t. When you get to chest heights, circle them back behind you to your ears. And come back up to the top, re rotate them open, open wide to the tee, circle and brand. You have to make adjustments with your shoulders, don't you? Cause they'll naturally lift if you don't think about it.

If you're not aware of what they do, open to the tee. They just stay facing the ceiling until they get back to the ears, and you just push back up. One more. Palms face each other open to the tee, slide it back. What is your neck to? Become aware of all these little adjustments that have to happen. We're reversing it now, go straight back Open around to the tee and bring it up to the start. To palm face away from your face, reach back overhead, around to the tee, and up, give yourself 2 more.

Start to feel. For some, if you really rounded forward or you sit a lot, they're gonna be kind of intense on your upper back. So just notice it. If you need a break, you'll take it. Last one, back to the side and up. Alright. Let your hands come down beside you. I can't tell you where to put your feet.

You're gonna figure it out very, very quickly. I'm just gonna leave my arms down. I'm gonna do my best not to grab on to my mat for dear life. And now I'm gonna just engage my abdominals as if I was going to lift a leg. Okay. Like, just so all you have to do is think about it, and you'll get a little subtle, like, readiness, and that's what we want. Let's take your, right leg. And just floated up to a tabletop or 1990 position, hopefully not changing your spine, set it down.

Same leg. Do it again. Think about, I'm gonna lift it before you do. And that kinda gives you the stability factor that we want that plays into so many other things that we do in Pilates and not to mention our life. Last one for 3 and down, and we're gonna switch to the other side before you do, though, make that thought. Right? I'm gonna lift it.

So I'm gonna pretend I'm lifting it even though I didn't, and then do it after that. It might be a funny cue, but it it the readiness is really life, isn't it? Like, our ability to adapt and be ready for sudden changes. This is the 3rd one. Oh, boy. You know what's gonna come up next. Take that same like you just worked and put it up there.

Take an inhale. Get ready because you are switching. You can do it slow. Switch legs mid air, oh, wobble, wobble, other leg goes down. Hold. Inhale. Start that exhale, maybe think about picking up the opposite leg and pushing the other one down. Again, inhale.

Exhale. So you're ready to go. If you don't mind a little wobble, hopefully you get to relax your arms a little. Let's do it again. And again, and again, leave the leg that is in air up there. Pull the other one up here. Alright.

Oh, boy. Oh, boy. Here's what we're doing. We are gonna attempt to press the lower spine down. For some of us, that means we have to bring our knees a little closer. For some of you, it means you have to tuck a little.

That's okay. For this one. So, right. I'm not pressing my knees together, though you might want to. It's just a matter of choice, really, but we are going to extend the legs. Actually, go ahead and push them together. Push them together. That'll be better for all of us.

That your low back is down. You're gonna extend the legs only to the stent that you can keep your back still on the roller. Okay. Think about that. So get your back on the roller, first of all. And then feel for pressure changes. Like, you're becoming aware of what your body does. The legs can go straight up.

They don't even have to straighten. You can just moving Voya an inch or 2 is just to think about extending and come back in. It's a whole different deal working your abs when you don't get to lift your head up, To, again, exhale, extend away. I'm not going to full straight. I don't know if you are. If you can, great, but my back starts to come up.

Bend it back in. A couple more, press. Oh, it's funny when you get too far, your back comes up and it becomes like, crazy wobble. Last one out. Alright. And just let your feet come down.

So far so good? Great. So you're reaching down, we're gonna be just roll the pelvis up and down off the roller. Let's go. We're gonna inhale here at the bottom. Start exhaling and just maybe look for every bone you can think of in your spine.

As you peel yourself up. Okay. Now it's worth checking. I know you can't pick your head up so easily, but if you can touch the tops of your hips, you are looking for a straight line, a sense of a stretchy elongation in the front of the body. And most certainly, some work in the back of the body. We inhale at the top and then start working your way down. Imagine setting your bones down further down on the roller as you go down, like, further than where you started.

It's it's an imaginary thing, but give it a shot. Because we're focused on awareness. If we go, exhale. Step into your feet. Step into your feet.

Find the backside of your body. Yeah. And inhale at the top exhale, bring it down. I'm gonna give you 2 more and invite you to not overly tighten and see if it feels more spacious. And it's like exploring our own bodies rolling up.

If you grip, it can kinda bear down on yourself. Let's not do that. Life does that already. Let's just roll and make it feel kinda good inhaling at the top, and then imprinting yourself, setting your spine down further than where you picked it. Up theoretically. Oh, I really wanna do one more.

Yep. Let's do it, up, up, up. Up, up, up, up, and slowly down. Alright. We're gonna give it a shot. We're just gonna reach forward and curl the upper body up just a bit.

So you can keep your hands on the floor. In fact, I would do that. Let's do that. Inhale. Excel start to slide your arms down like they're, like, taking off on a runway, curl your head, neck, and shoulders up, reach for your legs, or the arms just come, to about I don't know, mid thigh and then take it down all the way back to the start. Inhale, you start exhaling the shoulders, the hands, the arms straight, and you reach forward, You reach forward. You reach forward.

And let's have some fun. Grab onto your legs. I'm gonna encourage you us to step a little bit wider. We're gonna try to roll up. Don't don't be upset if it doesn't work.

Oh my gosh. One leg might come up. One might not. You might need an elbow. Oh my gosh. Wasn't that fun? Alright. Here we are. You get to come off the roller for now.

Let's take it off to one side. And have a seat in a, what I'll call, figure 4 position. So what that means really is that my forward leg is bent. Shin is sort of the front edge of the mat as best we can. The other leg is folded, and it does help to kind of glue the bottom of the foot to the knee. Just for oppositional energy anchor anchor points.

We're about to go that way. So your left hands, if you're facing the same way I am, the left hand, we're gonna place it about the heel of the hand, and you may have to adjust this depending on how far out we go. The other hand is just reaching to the floor. We are going to lean into the roller. This is where that the anchor of the legs and feet help.

So you don't wanna just fall into the role. You're gonna hold yourself kind of still here. Lean into it with the other arm raising up and come back up. So you don't wanna go so far out there that you can't get back up or you can't keep the shoulders somewhat down. Reach out.

So when I'm out at my max, I'm I'm about on my wrist rather than just my fingertips. It it gives me more basic support and come back up. And again, a version of Mermaid, recheck in opposition, And up and now it goes over to make sure you could support yourself. Right? You could almost push on that roller. Then rotate your rib cage toward the roller so that arm just follows the rib cage.

And if you can touch the roller, reopen it and come back up. Just two more like that. Over. Lead with the sternum or the rib cage. It's not the hand.

That's just gonna make you feel like you're turning. Turn the rib cage and chest, reopen it the same path you just came from, and come up. One more sort of duty in. I hate it when your teacher says that. Oh, except for when it feels this good.

Reopen it. And then we're gonna do a little add on here just for a couple. Take it over. Rotate. If you can get both hands on do, you may have to move the other hand over. That's cool. No big deal.

Then remember the anchor, you're gonna hold those hips back, but see if you can stretch into it. Roll that roller away with both hands on. And come up looking out over the roller again. And, ugh, just one more. You can bring the roller closer to you if you end up only on your fingertips for most of it at up.

Move that back hand closer to the center if you moved it to begin with. Reopen so you're facing front. And come on up. Hold that opposite shin. You can let the roller hang out as the other arm comes up and stretch the opposite direction.

Switch sides. Just swing your legs around. Roller goes to the other side. Figure for a position. Yeah, make that comfy. Lots of variations you can do on the leg, but we just remind ourselves to stay a little bit heavy on this side so we can stretch further away on the other. Alright.

Here we go leaning into it. Maybe ending up at mid palm or a wrist and then lift yourself back up leaning into it, inhaling. You you Awareness, right, protect the shoulder that's out on the roller. So it doesn't get to hike up. It just doesn't. It's just not fun.

So don't go so far if it if you feel like it is. And come back up. Let's do one more like that. And then we get to do the row yummy rotation. Here it is. Over.

It's the chest, the sternum, the spine, twist. Oh my goodness. And why is that one so far away? Reopen because we're on a spinning planet, I guess. We did 3 egg volumes. Let's go over, check your neck, your space between your neck and shoulder, and then just spiral that spine.

The arm follows. Reopen it and come up. Here it is. Well, 3a half, I guess we did. Rotate, open to the front, come up now we get to go over and stay over, rethinking about that anchor point. Here it is. Rotate.

I do back my hand up. I don't if you need to. That's what I do. So now I feel a little bit more solid. And then with my hips anchored as much as possible, stretching forward. As you come up, you can look forward and maybe attempt toward, spinal extension, but really we're going for this rounding.

One more. And I am adjusting my hands a little bit. I'm trying to be nice to myself and to you. So do what you need to do to feel solid up. We have to go down one more time. I bring my hand a little bit back to the middle, reopen, List up, grab that opposite shin, other arm straight up, and and by straight, I do mean straight. And I'm saying it because it took me a very long time, still tough to do.

I've I've had tight lats. So you want a straight elbow. If you can get it to your, face, do that. And then move the spine from there. I'm gonna keep mine backed off a little. Here we go up and over.

Flare the ribs. Take up your space. Breathe. And exhale, and we were so close. And don't you already just feel like you've done some balance? Your brain has had to work a little. You've done a little bit of ab work.

You know, with missing back extensions. This is it. So we're gonna just turn face down. Onto our abdominals. And, again, you'll adjust the roller for what feels best for you, but ultimately I'm going to want to feel solid on it. Don't wanna end up on my fingertips.

So I typically start this around my wrist because I know where we're going, My feet are together or maybe just a little bit apart. And for the moment, allow your shoulders to shrug up. You're just looking straight down at the floor. So I rolled the roller away a little bit. So naturally, the abdominals draw in ever so slightly, the legs are straight.

And now we start. Don't even worry roller for a moment, start to draw the shoulders down a little. That's all. Start to look up and over the roller, and lift your back without putting a lot of pressure on the roller yet. So just like, what can you do on your own? When you've done that, Then you get to push on the roller a little bit and climb a little higher if it feels good to you. Ah, that feels good to me.

And then sequentially, lowering yourself back down, looking between your upper arms. And again, you start to look forward the roller can come back because your shoulders do have to go down. And then just what can you do without putting pressure on your hands? That's it for me. I'm as high as I can get without a little extra arm help. So now I start to roll the roller towards me. And down.

And the idea is that it's it's an extension through the whole spine. It's not just work in the low back, though it is working as well. Do it again. Looking forward, lifting up, up, up, and down. You got 2 more in you? Let's do it. And down. Last one.

Hopefully feeling a little more aware of all these beautiful aspects of your body. I'm coming down. I'm just gonna let the roller sit there for the moment. Bring my hands back to my shoulders, lift up, round back. And then from here, just tuck your pelvis roll yourself up to a kneeling position, looking straight ahead or off in the distance and just allow the arms to float up, say, shoulder height, inhaling. And exhale turn him over and let him just float down.

And again, inhale up and let him float down. Becoming aware of all that your body does so that when you go out in the world, you get to really use it for what you wanna do. Thank you so much for joining me today.


Great class Kristi ! Made me want to get my foam roller out again !!! 
Deborah Wasko Thank you! 
1 person likes this.
This foam roller workout felt great, Kristi!  Your cueing and pace was fabulous.  
Thank you Kristi!  that was exactly what my body needed this morning and am looking forward to trying more in the series
Lina S
Great workout nicely cued!
Lina S
Great class nicely cued!
1 person likes this.
Thank you for this class! I have found so many of your classes to be therapeutic both physically and mentally, and this was no exception!
1 person likes this.
Great class 

Lisa Hubbard
1 person likes this.
Kristi Cooper THANK YOU. So yummy to my body! 
Sue S
1 person likes this.
Kristi Cooper Really enjoyed this class. I will look out for more of your classes, thank you! 
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