Class #5604

Benjamin's Mat Practice

45 min - Class


Welcome to Benjamin's Mat practice, a beautifully grounded session crafted after a personal hiatus from Pilates. This class is all about re-establishing your Pilates journey with a renewed focus on breath and awareness. With incredibly clear cueing, smooth transitions, and creative variations of classical exercises like the double leg stretch, you'll experience full-body work that leaves you feeling connected and revitalized.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Jun 03, 2024
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Hi, everyone. My name is Benjamin Dagenhart, and I'm thrilled to be back at Pilates anytime. And I'm thrilled to share this math practice with you. And I are going to be moving together through a sequence that I've been working with for, recent times in my practice after coming back to Pilates a little bit of a forced break. I think it happens to all of us that we fall out of our practice at times whether physical reasons or logistical reasons, in my case, it was both. And I was looking for a way to get my body to appreciate the depth of the work without necessarily having to go into a full practice honoring my body where it's at, and and trying to find new ways to appreciate the sensation in the work, the way to stimulate the body for proper activation, and, just really fall in love with the work again.

So I hope, you'll join me in this class and, find some of those same discoveries. And we're going to start on our backs with a shoulder bridge position. So Just position yourself on your back, bring your feet relatively close. But the first thing I wanna do, I have to create some space in my body. I replaced my hands against the base of my thigh bones, and I'm tractioning my thigh bones away from me.

So my hands are pushing away from the center of my body to create some length and freedom in my hips. So while you may not see much movement here, I'm feeling attraction happening inside the hip joint. A good amount of traction that opens up the front of my hips It also feels like it's lengthening my lower back. After a couple of breaths, I'd let that go and sort of resettle into just being on my back, seeing if anything changed. A lot of us come into our practice with some tension at the hip joint.

So I'll do that one more time. I press my hands against the base of my thigh bones. Tractioning the lower back, the hips. And against that, I also open my chest so I can take a nice deep breath in. And letting that breath go.

Well, the goal is to keep that sense of ease in the hips that we just set ourselves up with. So I bring my feet in a little bit closer, see if I can grab a hold of my ankles. And I really wanna think about settling my heels the inner and outer corners of my feet down into the floor, my arms long by my sides. One little trick I do here to maintain an open chest is to roll my pumps up towards the ceiling, use the rotation to open my chest even more. And then just from the elbows down, rotate the farms back in.

I'm ready for my shoulder bridge. I step into my feet to lift my hips up towards the ceiling. On these first ones, I really don't focus much on articulation. I just wanna take weight into my feet, activate the back line of my body, I really stand in this position for a moment. My knee stretch forward as my hip points push up, my shoulders stay open because my arms are pressing back. And it's on the way down where I focus a little bit more on articulation, rolling through the spine, as if I'm trying to sit down on my own heels. Releasing at the very bottom, any wiggles to release, any tension that might have built up, thinking about the openness in my hips, to go again, lifting up my feet pushing down.

I'm starting to notice if there's any shift in weights from the inner edges to the outer edges of my feet toes to the heels. And I try to keep things as even as possible, and the chest is wide open as possible as I roll back down. And releasing. We'll do one more of these. Why am I doing this first in my practice? It's a really nice way for me to keep traveling through the sequence with that sense of openness in my hips, as well as activating the back line of my body rather than focusing on my core first thing.

My arms are still pushing back. I roll myself down. We're gonna add a little something on. In my own personal practice, I've been having to work a lot on unstiffening and untensioning my body. So in this next one, I wanna add a little something that helps me get my lower back to un stiffen. And you might not see a lot of movement here.

So just really tap into your own body sense for a moment and shift the weight from both feet more onto the right. Your right tip is starting to move towards the right side a bit. And as a result, you allow your left tip to sort of drop towards the floor very gently. So all of the weight is now hanging onto your right foot. That's pressing down. Your right hip still lifting up.

You have a passive twist in your lower back. Slowly, just by way of manipulating my weight on my feet, I shift to the left, I shift all the way to the left. So now my right hip crease is sinking towards the floor. My left leg is having to work really hard, and my lower back is in a passive twist. I switch one more time to the right. To the point where my left hip drops, feels unsupported. I could almost take my left foot off, but I won't.

And I switch to the left, I go from 2 feet all the way onto the left to right, hip crease drops towards the floor. My arm's still pushing back. I come back through center, and then I roll down through my spine. So hopefully that feels like your lower back started to un stiffen a little bit. We take one more all the way up to the top.

We'll just take it once to the right. Finding release in the left hip crease all the way over back onto 2 feet to the left. Right hit drops slightly. And now that you know what it feels like to be more on one foot than the other, you can very easily find your center where both feet push down evenly. We're going to transition into a rocking c curve.

I take my hands behind my head. I lower my spine down through the upper back, maybe to about the middle back where your bottom rip is about to touch the mat, and where you feel like you have an even seeker from your ears down into your hips. On your reformer, this would be your pelvic lift position. I wanna try and maintain the c curve and rock off the mat like this. As my hip comes down, my head lifts up and forward.

And it's the curling up and forward that forces my middle and lower back down till I get onto my belt line. Might start to feel a little shake. That's good. And then you reverse it. You lift the hips up so much so that your upper back has to come back down. So we're rocking the c curve forward and back, keeping the head supported with the hands and trying to stay true to that c curve you built up lifting and shifting back.

It's very tempting to increase the range of motion by letting the hips come up high or letting the head lift up higher. But my goal here is really to keep the c curve unchanged and traveling forward and back by way of pushing my feet into the ground all the while I'm also starting to feel like I'm dragging my heels back towards lifting one more time, leaning back one more time, On the next lift, we're gonna stay up. So you curl up and forward, maintaining the c curve, looking forward, From here, let my right leg extend out along the mat, slowly making my way towards the hundred. I pick the leg up. I un weight it off the floor stretching it forward. Stretching it long, I release the leg back down, drag it in. I'm still in that very active c curve left leg long, stretch it so much.

The only way for it to go is up, lengthen it, release it, bend the knee back in, and then lift the hips up to force the head down one more time, rolling up and forward, right leg long, so long it lifts, stretch through the front of the hip, still maintaining that ease and the hip joint we built from the very beginning lower the leg, bend it in, other side, left leg long, stretch it so much it lifts, maybe curl up higher, release the leg, bend the knee, and then lift the hips up, stepping into the feet, forcing the head back and down. And lift it up. You can probably guess where this is going. I'm gonna try to do that with both legs now, letting the legs slide out. Picking them up, arms come forward.

I'm ready for the 100, breathing in for 5, and breathing out for 5. Deep breath in deep breath out. Now to stay true to the themes we've been working on, I scanned my body for that openness in the hips and un stiffening in the lower back, and the maintenance of the c curve, breathing in Breathing out. 2 more breaths. Inhale. And one more.

Ah, and that concludes a very strenuous warm up. I hope you felt that. We're gonna come up to a seated position for a half rollback variation that includes some pulses. So again, for me personally, my practice has been a lot about un stiffening my lower back So I'm not going into a full rollup at this stage, and I really work on getting my lower back to participate in finding my c curve from a strong sense of integrity. So your arms are just reaching out in front of you.

Your feet park down gently about hip width apart. And I try to pull myself up and forward to start, so I really feel the base of my spine starting to pivot back And then I think of my spine always as going from my ears down to my hips. From those two ends, I bend my spine into that same c curve I lean back, and I come to a place where things start to feel a little challenging. I'm gonna stay at this place to pulse forward. And pulse back.

I like to think about lengthening slightly as I come up, and then rebending the spine to go down deeper. 3 more types, lifting to lengthen, exhale to deepen, inhale to lift in lengthen, Exel to curve and deepen. One more time, inhale to lengthen and lift. Exel to deepen and curve. Then from there, we come all the way up, sitting the spine up tall, and then reaching up and reaching forward to start again.

So again, ears to hips. I bend those two points of my body towards each other to find a spot maybe a little deeper down. And then I lift as I inhale, lengthening the spine, then rebanding to deepen 4 more. In how to lift, exhale to deepen. If you end up coming down a little further on each one, that's just fine.

Excel to increase the challenge, 2 more, inhale lengthen to lift, exhale deepen, inhale lift, Excel deep and lift yourself all the way up. Little change. We're gonna twist towards the right. Now it's very tempting to over twist and bring yourself into a place where the integrity of your c curve no longer exists. So I think left arm doesn't pass my right knee. So think opposites.

You twist. It's a very gentle twist. You focus more on finding that c curve again as you go into your rolling back, then inhale to lift in length, and same idea, exhale to deep, inhale lift, exhale to deep. So what you're really looking for is the contraction in the front side of your body, obliques, finding length as you untwist as you come up on your inhale one more time, exhale down. Inhale. Lift and twist finding that length again. Take it to the other side.

Right elbow does not pass my left knee. I roll down. I focus on the c curve more than the twist, lengthened to lift, Excel to deepen. Inhale to lift. XL to deepen. Check-in also with how your feet are doing at this point, how your hips are doing at that point.

Remember how we traction them out, try to look for that sensation again here, Inhale lift one more time, exhale, pulse down, lift yourself up, comes through center, and we'll take it all the way down to prepare for a one leg circle. We're going into our one leg circles, but I like to start this recently with a little bit of hip mobility to get started. I pull my left knee into my chest, and I lift my right leg off the mat. So this looks a lot like single leg stretch. That's kind of the opposition we're going for here.

I push my shin, my left chin up into my hands simultaneously pulling the leg towards me as I stretch my right leg really long. What I wanna do here is a single leg raise of my outstretched leg. So that's my right leg here. I'm picking it up as I continue to pull the left knee into me to really stabilize my hips against the floor and isolate the stretch and the effort required to lift my leg up into the right places. And then I stretch my right leg long and low and repeat. I lift my right leg up keeping the traction on my left hip and then bringing the leg down. So what I feel as I lift my leg up is at some point, my hip really wants to curl under and lift off the mat, I keep pushing my left shin up into my hands to prevent that from happening one more time lifting the leg up Now I wanna keep this sense of stability and support from my standing side as I release my left leg onto the floor my head comes back down, my arms find the floor.

And I go into my circles from here. The right tip lifts up to bring the leg across. We're going for a big sweep here and then I swing the leg down around back to center. Repeat 4 more times across, down, around, and up. And 3, and down around it.

And 2, really allow the twist to stretch all the way into your back or on more. Down around and up, we're gonna reverse same leg, open, down across and lift for 4, down across and lift. For 3, although I'm pushing my arms back into the mat for 2 down around and up one more time. And then I bring my right leg long towards the floor. I release it completely, and I give myself a second here to check-in with how my right leg feels compared to my left.

There's no right or wrong answers, but it's good to check-in. And then we're gonna start the other side. So my right knee comes in towards my chest. I hold it with both hands lifting my head neck and shoulders, left leg hovers off the ground. It's the single leg stretch position.

Right shin bone pushes up into my hands, It allows me to puff my back out against the mat a bit more, but also to stabilize my hips into the floor. Active straight leg raise, the left leg lifts, To the highest point possible where it can remain straight, and then you lower it down, lengthen to lift, Lengthened to lower. 3 more lengthened to lift. Linked into lower. And it doesn't really matter how high your leg comes here. It doesn't have to be at a perfect 90 degrees, but you might find that over the course of 5 repetitions, you'll get a little bit more range of motion.

That's exact where we're doing this. Last time I lift the leg, I try to keep this level of preparedness as I set up on my one leg circle, The left hip leads the way, lifts to bring the leg across. I swing it down, around and up, and 4, down, around and up, and 3. Down around and up and tune. Now think about that bottom leg, the one that's on the floor, keep it nice and active, down around and up, same leg, different direction. Open, down across and lift.

On the crossing where I let my hip lift up so I get that passive lower back twist again, 3, 4. Last one. And fast. Bring the leg down. Again, settle in 4 seconds, see if your legs feel somewhat even there must be some circulation popping up in those hips. You wanna honor that.

Next up, we're going into the double leg stretch, and we're gonna do it three different ways in combination. What does that mean? I'll show you. Ven your knees into your chest to start. This will also take the place of our rolling like a ball a little bit. I want you to curl your head towards the knees, your knees towards the head, this point, I'm not concerned whether my tailbone is on the floor. I'd just try to curl up into a tight little ball. On an inhale, I stretch my arms and on my leg away from each other on the exhale. My knees come up and in, and I add a little rocking motion to this.

So I bring my knees in rock forward, rock back, then I slam on the brakes as my hips come down to then extend my legs again. Excel needs come in. You rock 3, 2, 1 hips down legs out. Arms reach back. XL in for 3 2, one hips down, legs out, excellent in, 2, 3. So it's a mini version of rolling like the ball.

3, 2, 1. If you go around the clock with this movement ever, you know, what the rocking is for, but we're just gonna stay in one direction today reaching the arms and legs away from each other, XL 3, 2, 1. Last one. Excel in 3, 2, 1, and release. So that is one of the 3 variations of double x stretch we're gonna do today. The second one takes us up into a seated position.

Pro yourself up, extend your arms and legs away from each other, Excel pull yourself up into a seated position. We could do rolling like a ball from here today. We won't. Extend your arms and legs away from each other again. XL arms come around, knees pull back in, finding your balance at the top. We'll do this one more time, our second variation, reaching your arms and legs away from each other, Excel.

Arms come forward. Knees pull up and in, and we add one more variation from here. Again, years to hips, my spine is in a c curve. I'm trying to make it as even as possible. I tried to do a seated double leg stretch.

Or think of stomach massage on the reformer. I keep my spine in the c curve. I extend my legs forward. I try not to lean back too far, collapse, and I try not to let my legs drop onto the mat. They're still hovering.

Excel knees come up and in, and I find my ball again. It's tough stuff. You're bouncing behind the sitz bones. You try to keep the lift of your spine. Extend the legs forward.

They can be on the mats somewhat, you just don't wanna drop the entire weight of your legs. Pull them up. Pull them in. One more time. And exit. Come all the way back in. I can't believe I'm doing this to myself, but it's good for you.

We're gonna put those 3. Together into one motion. So come down to your back again. Take a moment of rest, bring your knees into your chest. Goes a little something like this.

You lift your head, neck, and shoulders up. 1 of each variation. The legs extend from each other as the arms come in, you rock 3 tests, 3. 2, one hips down legs out. Exel arms come around. You pull yourself up into a seated position.

Last one in hall extend the arms up lakes out, exhale, you come back in, coming back to the floor, inhale, reach arms and legs apart, exhale rock for 3. 2. 1, hips down, legs out. Ex, curl yourself up. Bend your knees up and into your chest.

Seated variation. Inhale. Reach the arms and legs away from the center. Exhale. Come back in. One more round. Inhale. Roll it down. Extend arms and legs and opposition, exhale rock 3, 2, 1 hips down, legs out.

Exit arms come around. You pull yourself back in. Whoops. That wasn't the prettiest one, but that's okay. Inhail, reach the arms and legs away from the center one final time, exhale, knees come in, find your ball shape, and then from here, extend your legs out in front of you, we're taking our spine stretch. At long last, we deserve a little stretching moment here. Your legs about as wide as the mat. I like to flex my feet And I like to keep my legs outstretched. If for you at home, this is not doable and your legs want to bend, and you are on an elevated surface, you can always bring your legs out a little wider.

Or sit up on a rolled up mat. I will keep my legs up here. I will tent my fingers down into the mat so I have something to lift my spine up against Again, ear strips, I think inhale to lengthen. Spine stretch forward, I exit around forward, I press my fingers down into the mat to get a deeper stretch into my lower back. I inhale to lift back up.

Deep breathe in. Let's try that again. Excel. I think of actively pushing out through my heels. I round over my finger slide over the mat At the end, my fingers press down so that I can bring the stretch to a different part of my back, inhale lift yourself back up. We'll do one more deep breath into lift, exhale rounding forward rounding down, Find that energy in your stretch fingers pressing down.

Heels still pushing forward. Maybe going a little farther on this third and last one. Inhale lift yourself back up. And from here, gonna go back into a little bit more core work, believe it or not. But as I said, I'm currently looking for ways to get my body into a deeper sense of connection and the sensations that I get from a really vigorous Pilates workout and try to eliminate some of the flow and some of the choreography that allows me to cheat. Alright? This is why this can be a lot harder, even though on the outside, this doesn't seem to be much happening.

I call this an isometric curl or isometric tabletop. You bring your legs into a ninety degree position to start. You place your hands against the thighs and you push your thighs back and your hands forward. Now this mimics what we did in the very beginning of this practice. The idea of tractioning through the thigh bounce in the hip socket into the lower back, but hopefully here you feel there's a lot more core involved in this one.

You press your hands and your thighs into each other. You choose your intensity, and then you completely let that go to bring your knees into your chest. So that traction you create, you can play around with how hard you want to push hands and legs together. Again, looking for the hardest you can push without creating any excess strain in the hips. Let's do that again.

So I press my legs back. My hands forward. They stay centered It looks like I'm not moving, but I'm trying to move one way or another. I just don't let them because I work with evil, equal force. It is a evil force too, but I meant equal force. Now, I'm gonna let some of that tension go so that I have space to curl my head, neck, and shoulders up and forward against that. I'm back in my c curve.

Still pushing my legs back, my hands forward, still looking for freedom in the hips, so I don't get too tight in there, and then releasing. We'll do that one more time, finding that tabletop position, hands push legs pull back, head neck and shoulders lift up from ears to hips, in my c curve, and I press. Depressing, depress out key pressing hands and legs together, and really Now we're doing a crisscross variation on this before we give this a rest. I take my right hand behind my head to start, My left hand is against the right knee. I promise this is the most complicated thing you'll do with me in this session.

You lift your head, neck, and shoulders back up. You're in the tabletop. It's your right knee pushing into the opposite hand. My head is pushing back into my hand. I add on. I extend my left leg, the leg that's free forward and towards the floor and it's hovering.

Now it bring my elbows towards each other. Pull my right elbow back behind me, I exit and I curl up and over towards the left side. I open again. We'll just do two more on the side. Excel curling up forward and into yourself and you open one more time. Deep breathe in.

Excel. Keep pushing your right knee and left hand to together, come back through center, bring both of these into your chest, and give it a moment of rest. 3 is plenty. I'm sure you agree. Other side, your left hand goes behind the head for support right hand to left knee, you're in the tabletop. Again, you're pushing already, your knee and your hand together, but you give yourself enough space to curl up comfortably and doably. Your right leg extends against that.

You stretch your elbows away from each other. You weigh both hips down into the mat evenly, deep breath into start, exhale curling over to the right, inhale open. Keep pushing hand and knee together. 2. Inhale open. Just one more time. Exhale. Close.

Inhale open, bring both knees into your chest, and release And that's an excellent preparation for our saw, which is next. So we come back into a seated position, legs outstretched in front of you, as wide as your mat, again, if you wanna sit elevated to relieve your hamstrings a bit, that's absolutely welcome here. It's nice and wide to the side. Really open your chest, hug your shoulder blades together. We go through this one fairly quick. You take a twist to the right, Now taking that same energy from the previous exercise, you round over left hand to the outside of the knee, both hips square and to the floor back on reaching you come back up to your center, hug the shoulder blades, twist rounding down, finding that energy from the last exercise, lifting up, untwisting, twist to the right, rounding forward, pulsing gently, 2, pulsing gently, 3, lift back up, untwist, take it left, rounding 3, 2.

What? We'll take one more each way. Shoulder blades together, twist, exhale, round down 3, 2, 1, untwist final time, twist to the left, Roll down 3, and 2, and 1, come back through center, release the arms down, we're gonna turn over onto our stomach from here. Leave your feet where they are. Just flip on over. Hands out down on your mat underneath your shoulders.

And then rest your forehead down. So it's time to do some extension from here. We'll go into our Swan or a preparation of swan, I should say, and then into a version of the breaststroke that we know from the reformer. I wanna have my hands flat down and my elbows pulling back, and I use that to really open my chest, give myself a long feeling neck. Especially through the back of the neck so that my crown of the head can reach forward.

All this time, I'm pressing my hips down. Like, I'm vacuum sealing my hip crease into the mat. My legs are already lifted. Now with the help of my hands and the action of dragging my hands back over the mat, I lift my chest forward and up Now, my goal is not to come to a very impressive or high back vent here, but to have my heels and my head share the same height. So I think we need more about length than the lift, and I keep the idea of lengthening going as I come back down. I release completely.

I give myself a little wiggle to set it back up, so my hands are pushing down and pulling back. They're not moving, but they are definitely pulling back. And then my hips are pressing down. My legs lengthened back and up. I have my legs together this time to see how that feels today. Then I think back of my head and heels have to stay on the same height. Same effort to the low body and upper body.

Full extension of the body, and then releasing back down. Again, these are all great moments to check back in with everything we've done so far. Freeing up the hips and tracking the front of the hips. Does that still ring true in my body? A deep sense of activation to the center.

Is that still happening? The un stiffening of my lower back, how does that feel right now? And slowly come back down. And granted, there's no right or wrong answers to these questions, but it's good to ask them. As you practice. Now moving on, I start with just my legs lifting from the same action of pressing my hips down, then I kick my heels to my seat twice.

Once twice. Now simultaneously, I stretch my legs back and my arms forward. I try to find that same extension, head, fingertips, and heels on the same height. Now I reach my arms up and back to give myself a higher chest lift, and then I fold back down, hands to the mat, head comes towards the mat, legs stay up, to go again, kick once, kick twice, stretch arms and legs away from each other. Arms reach back. Maybe you come up higher.

Maybe you just find more lift across the collar bones and you come back down one more time. Kick once. Kate twice, stretch the arms and legs away from each other. Reach out to the side. Back behind. You find your lift.

And then come all the way down, let your legs release too this time, sit yourself back into a counter stretch, even here, thinking of your ears and your hips building that even c curve, to then roll yourself up, And then we're coming towards the end of the session. We're gonna have our thigh stretch next, so a little bit of work for the front of our legs So everything we've been working on so far was in service of opening this up. Now we're gonna layer it with some strength. I'm just coming up on my knees here. I try to keep my legs somewhat parallel.

I think of the centers of my heel behind me and spiraling them up behind me. Don't mind me. I'm not looking back at my heels to see if that's actually happening. I'm just trying to put my mind's eye back there. Center of my shins pressing down. I fold my hands on top of one another with my fingers pointing down, and I used that to coax my tailbone sort of down towards that spot between my knees.

So rather than think of aggressively tucking under, you wanna just kinda lengthen there. Lift up through the front, my chin comes slightly down. So again, both ends of my spine are lengthening towards each other. From here, I lean back an inch, maybe 2, maybe 3. I stay for an inhale. I stay for the exhale, and then I push my shin bones down into the floor to propel myself back forward making sure that I don't face plant because that would be embarrassing.

You lengthen your tailbone down, chin down. So the ends of your spine, upholding inwards, and then I go back. And I do this action of curling under so that I don't have to lean back very far to start feeling a stretch in my thighs. A few inches will do. After a full inhale and exhale, I come back up. We're adding on. I was out in front of you, but I still keep holding on to that sensation of my back. A ticket back to the same range.

As I go back, I twist towards the right. Twisting to the right, often an invitation to bring the hip along into twists, I keep pushing my right foot forward as I twist my body to the right, and then I come back to the center. It's small, but impactful. Take it back, twist left. As I twist left, my left tip is pushing forward, even weight on both my shins and feet, and I come back through center.

Twice more each way. Take it to the right. In Hellexa, counter twisted hips, and untwist as you come up. Take it to the left. Left to pushing forward.

Maybe your left shin pushing down into the fore harder. Come back up. One more set to the right. Inhale. Exhale. Lift yourself back up.

And one more time. Take it to the left, twist in here. Left tip twisting forward, exhale. Come all the way back up and release. While we're up on the knees, I'm going to turn to the side to my left so that I have the entire width of the mat available to me.

We're gonna do some side sit ups and side activations to get the side body involved as well. I think we covered pretty much all the rest at this point. I take my left leg out to the side, and I wanna line up my heel with the opposite knee so that those two are along the same line. I take my hands behind the head. I actually let my elbows come slightly forward and you might feel that your shoulder blades open up back behind you. That way I can give myself a nice long neck and really push my head back into my hands, almost creating some traction here, because we're just leaning into the shape and try to hold it. So it's an isometric event.

Once you have your start position, feel like you're dragging your foot and knee towards each other and then lean out to the side. I take my head, and I almost feel like I'm pulling it away from my left foot, going until I feel the left side of my body really working to hold me up. And then I just kinda stay long here rather than collapsing down, I keep pushing my head back into my hand. And, yes, I'm staying here for a reason for a good 10 seconds. And then you'd pull yourself up and forward. So again, not a lot of action on the outside, but I'm sure you'll agree. This is quite tough to do well.

You push your head back into your hands. You lean over to the right. Keep pressing your head back, opening your chest, keeping your hips square, lengthening, lengthening, not collapsing, and then pulling yourself back up. So for the next two, we're gonna add a little bit something on here. You press your head back into your hands.

It starts the same way. You lean out to the side. Now you try and keep your hips completely square, but you twist your upper body up towards the ceiling. Shortest way, some to your left, and then you come up on the twist to release it. And we'll do that again. Press your head back lean up and over to your right.

Now twist. Court screw your spine up towards the ceiling. And then pull yourself back up. This is reminiscent of some of the oblique work we did earlier. One more time, press your head back into your hands. Stretch over to the right.

Now stay long as you twist. Pull yourself back up. Come back through center, and you deserve a stretch now. You take it over to the right, your right hand to the floor, you're left, reaches overhead, at this point, just because we're right here, I shift my left leg back in space slightly. I take weight into my right hand so that I can bring my left, sorry. My right leg out in front, staggering the legs, stretching up and over, And then slowly, finding my way back to center, and then we'll do the other side, of course.

So this time my right leg goes out to the side. Again, heel and knee in line, hands behind the head, press your head back into your hands, really stretch through the back of the neck, and then lean up and over. Spoiler alert. We're not a 100% symmetric, so this might be a completely different on the side. I always like to check-in on the muscles that I want to come on board active, and then lift back up. Just one more lease. Press your head back, outlining sort of the end range of this movement. There is a point where you have to sacrifice lengths to go deeper.

So just stay on top of it. And stay long. You lift yourself back up because that'll make the twist a lot more satisfying. That's what's next. You lean up and over to your left. Now we twist right up towards the ceiling.

Still pushing my right foot forward in space. I come up. I return to center. Two more tabs up and over to the left. Reach now, twist up towards the ceiling. I lift yourself up and twist one more time. Stretch.

Twist, pull yourself up on the twist, untwist at the top. Here's your stretch. Lean over to the left, left hand comes down, right arm reaches overhead. You can start here. You can stay here Or if you want to take advantage of this position, you shift your right leg back, stretch out the left leg in front of it, and find your expression of a backbend emphasizing the stretch, the opening of the ribcage, and then slowly coming back through center.

Almost done, guys. We're going to come back to a seated position for a single egg teaser moment. For those of you who are familiar with the reformer repertoire, this is reminiscent of tree. So I sit up with my left leg long on this first side. The right knee comes in towards the chest.

Now think back of your seated double leg stretch from earlier. My spine is as lifted as it can be, but it's not going to be perfectly straight. Alright? So if you find yourself c curving, just make sure it's an active and a lifted one. You extend your right leg out. As far as it'll go, 3.

21. Now wherever your leg extends to walk your hands towards where your ankle is, find a c curve on top, Now rather than pulling this leg with me, I try to keep my leg exactly where it is. I let go. I roll down. My legs stay strong in the air. I reach my arms overhead. I circle the arms around.

I lift myself back up at the top. I grab a hold. I take a stretch, and I do that once more. I keep my leg reaching out on that diagonal so that I have something to roll back to my arm circle around chin over chest. I take my stretch. I fold the leg back in.

Finding the lift of my chest to extend the leg to do the other side. Left knee comes in. Again, it's totally fine to end up behind your sits bones here. Extend the leg. Again, the side might be different once, twice. And then find a level you can maintain on the third.

Walk your hands towards the ankle, round towards the knee, keep the leg reaching out of the hip, as you lower yourself down, reach the arms up and back, except come around. And in a way, this is our 4th variation of a double leg stretch. Oh, who's counting. Roll yourself back down. 2 more reps.

Arm circle around and over chest. Find your stretch at the top. Find your c curve over the leg. Roll down one more time. Circle round, shinova chest, come all the way up.

Find the lift of your spine again. Bend your knee back in and extend the leg and shake it loose. Couple more things. So I'm gonna flip over to our stomach again for a little swimming moment. So this time my arms are outstretched.

My head is facing down. My hips just like in our swan and our breaststroke, vacuum sealed down into the floor, and we go nice and slow, right arm, left leg, fingertips, head, and left heel on the same height, and I come back now. Other side, just remembering that our goal for this session was to really find ways to stimulate the body in the ways that give you that deep sensation and that deep satisfaction of what a full Pilates practice feels like, And then keeping the choreography simple enough so that it's impossible to cheat and go even deeper. In what looks like a seemingly simple workout, But I hope you agree. It can be quite tough to stay honest in your practice.

One more time. Right on left leg and lower. Left side. And lower. And then from there, anyway, you see fit.

Lift yourself into a plank to walk yourself back Let your knee soften for a second, let you head hang heavy. And as you roll yourself up, we'll just do a quick scan of feet, ankles, knees, fronts of the thighs and hips, you know, unstiffened, hopefully, lower back into a long and loose spine. I don't know about you guys, but I'm cook I hope you enjoyed the session. Thank you so much for joining me, and I'll have to see you in the next one.


2 people like this.
Great session, Benjamin. I feel my lower spine, which can get stiff, lengthen, and feel more supported. Thanks, Ray  
Kathryn Marshall
Great session, thank you  ☺️ so lovely to see you back 🥰 
Can’t wait for more of your sessions! 
2 people like this.
Love the variations, so great when I practice Pilates everyday, thanks so much and, please, more classes.
2 people like this.
Wow - welcome back!  I love your classes and this one was challenging.  You brought new life into the Pilates routine.  Thanks:)
Jennifer E
3 people like this.
Loved this class! Thank you so much! Your cueing is impeccable, and the variations of the exercises were such fun!
Ditto to all of the above comments Benjamin !! Back to the basics with intention...Love....
3 people like this.
Thank you for a great session! I hope there are more coming soon :)
Christina B
Thank you for this great lesson! 
Shona Croft
Glorious Benjamin x
Mim S
3 people like this.
Fantastic to have you back, Ben! Sadly I couldn't attend your workshop near me and thought no new online classes were coming - what a pleasant surprise! Pilates is the art of tiny, yet super demanding movements - and this class is all about it :) Looking forward to seeing more of your classes!
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