Class #5610

Weight on Hands and Feet

40 min - Class


Join Benjamin Degenhardt for a unique class that emphasizes the importance of connecting with the hands and feet to enhance your Mat practice. The class begins with foot activation to warm up the feet. This activation is then utilized throughout the session to delve into some classical mat exercises, allowing you to feel grounded and stabilized.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hi, everyone. My name is Benjamin Dagenhart, and I'm joined by Sharifa today. And we'll be going through a math class that is probably somewhere in the intermediate realm. So some familiarity with the traditional math exercises would be really great for this class, but I'll talk you through everything, of course. One of the things I want to highlight in this class is, how our hands and our feet play into the math class. Now you might be thinking for most of the mat, I'm on my back or lying down on the mat. So there's not a lot of weight bearing into the hands and feet. And that's true.

We will create some moments to really stimulate the nerve endings in our hands and feet and highlight the opportunities where those moments exist. In the repertoire, but we'll actually start with a little bit of a standing warm up. If that's alright, and I'm gonna join you for this, where we take some ideas that we know from, say, the former or the foot corrector and translate them to an environment where you don't have access to springs or any of that equipment. And the first thing we're gonna do is just place our feet together. He'll touching, toes slightly apart for no other reason than have a white stable base of support And we're gonna play a little game that I call the top piano.

There's 2 rules to this game. 1, you can't look at your feet. And 2, you can't be upset about the outcome. It doesn't matter if it works or if it doesn't. And it goes a little something like this. I want you to lift all ten toes of the ground, really just kind of spread the balls of your feet into the floor and let your ten toes lift up.

And then from the big toe towards the pinky toe, We're starting to wave the toes individually into the floor. So first, the big toes touch, then the second, then the third of each foot, then the 4th and the 5th until all ten toes are spreading into the floor. Again, you can't look at your feet and you can be upset about the outcome. Alright? Then you lift all ten toes back up, maybe a little jiggle, a little shake to make sure that you have even weight on both feet, and we'll do the same thing again from the big toe side trying to lay them down individually. 2, 3, 4, 2, the pinky toe, 5, to lift all ten toes back up. And now we're gonna play a little bit. Just put your big toes down. None of the others lift them back up.

Put just your second toes down and back up. I almost looked at my feet. Don't do it. 3rd toes individually towards the floor and back up. And so forth, we're going through the 4th one. What I want you to focus in on is how your thighs, your knees, your backs of your legs, start to respond to that. Let's put the pinky toes down individually, lift them back up, and release all ten toes.

So you might start to find that there's some tension being created through the hips, through squads for the hamstrings. And that's exactly what we're after here, right, because stimulating the feet and the nerve endings in the feet means we're using more muscle. Let's do that one more time. Lift all ten toes up. We're going back to the wave from the big through the second through the third, 4th, 5th, really spreading the toes.

One thing you might notice is that your fingers start to mimic the same action. That's totally normal. Again, we're not focus on the outcome here. From there, I want you to separate your heels. So you're in a small parallel stance, and we'll do what's called the 2 by 4 exercise. Usually do on the chair or on a little 2 by 4 board.

We're just gonna use one leg at a time to get into a little bit more ankle mobility and the plasticity of our feet. We start by bending both knees to the point where we can keep an upright spine and keep the weight back in our heels. Now just the right heel lifts off the ground with no change in the hips, then I push through both balls of the feet to come to one straight leg and one still bent leg with a high heel and then I press the heel into the floor to change to the other side. Both knees bend. Left heel lifts. Both legs straighten to the point where they can.

One leg will stay bent, and then you massage that heel down. One more time each side. Bend both knees. Right heel lifts straighten both to where you can still keeping the hips square, right heel rolls down. And one more time, bend both knees. Lift the left heel, even weight on both as you straighten, and then you lower.

Now both feet. So bend both knees lift both heels up, still keeping the hips square, balancing as you straighten both legs, and then roll the feet back down twice more. Bend both knees. Heels lift up, keeping the spine straight. You come to straight legs. You lower the heels back down.

It's one more bending. Lifting. Gonna reverse it in a second. Lift the heels up. Lower the heels down to go.

Reverse heels lift. Bending the knees down, keeping ears and hips in line. Heels come back, legs straighten up twice more. Heels up. Knees bent, heels lower, coming to straight legs.

Final one up. Knees bent. Release the heels down and come to straight legs to bring the heels back together. So at this point, you might start to feel some activity and some warmth coming into the lower body. We're gonna keep that going. Both hands behind the head into some heel raises.

Let your elbows come slightly forward so that your shoulders can really relax down Press your head back into your hands and then lift your heels an inch of the floor. It doesn't have to be high. Focus more on road tating your heels into each other, finding that good external rotation at the hips and keeping that push of the head into the head so that your body can still lengthen up. And then lower the heels back down. Just that. Press your head into your hands to lift onto the balls of the feet, heels rise, and the heels lower down.

Keep on going. As you lift up, you might start to notice that your body wants to lean forward. You try as much as you can to stay back with your center of gravity as you lift. And as you lower on this next one, we're gonna stay up and go into our standing footwork. He'll stay lifted. Bend both knees sit down towards the heels as deep as you can and as deep as you know, you can come back up from. Exactly. Lifting the heels to bend the knees.

Push the ground away to lift back up. Again, up, bend the knees, heels roll down to stretch one more time, heels up, knees bent, heels down, changing into actual footwork. So the heels lift up again. This time, try to sit all the way down onto the lifted heels. Still keeping your head and your hips in line, then push the ground away to come back up and lower the heels down at the top. To go again down and stand back up, lower the heels down for a moment of rest, good, and up, bend the knees open as wide as your elbows stretch back up, lower the heels one more time, lifting up, really getting that weight into the balls of the feet, standing on all ten toes. Nice.

Now from here, we have our feet already somewhat warmed up. I'm sure you agree, as well as the lower body. We're now going to lower ourselves to the mat for a 100, and we're gonna call on some of that awareness that we have enough feet. So if you can just step onto the front of your mat facing out so that you have the length of the mat behind you, We're going into a stand to sit to hollow body, which is the position we would be in for the 100. It goes like this. You can stretch your arms out in front of you. You use them as a counterweight.

You pick one foot and cross it behind the other to then sit down behind both of your feet to then lower yourself into your hundred position. So the legs extend forward. Again, almost like a counterweight. You rev up some energy in the stomach and center to then reverse and come back up. So you cross one foot behind the other. You rock yourself onto those active and alive feet.

To come back to standing to then change sides. Other foot crosses behind, sit down behind both feet, find that place where it feels like you're winding up energy in your core to then use that to snap back up onto 2 feet to come all the way up to standing, reorganize yourself at the top. We'll do one more side. So crossing the foot, arms reach forward as a counterweight, finding that perfect equilibrium between arms and legs reaching forward spine pulling down to come back up to standing one more time. The last one, we're gonna stay down to do a 100 breathing in, pumping five times up and down to the arms, getting the circulation going, and exhaling for 5.

Nine more times. Deep breathe in, really free up the shoulders at this point. And even though your feet are obviously not standing on anything, you wanna keep having that sense of aliveness in your feet reaching forward stretching through the toes and the balls of the feet, working that plasticity as we just warm them up from. Curling the spine evenly. We have 2 more breaths inhaling for 5 and exhaling for 5.

And 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Done. Go ahead and bend your knees into your chest. Give yourself a moment of rest. Your head comes down, and we go into a roll up next. So following the original order, we go through some of the math work here, not paying too much attention to the feet and hands until we reach our next moment where that makes sense. Your arms stretch up and back over your head, feet flexed We're gonna take 5 roll ups, lift the arms head neck and shoulders round over the legs, keep pushing through the feet as you roll yourself down, arms reach back. And again, inhale up Excel rounding forward, curling the hips under pushing the heels out as the arms reach over.

For 3 more in hell up, exhale forward. Inhale down. Exel arms reach back forward to. Exel forward. Curling under to release the spine. Last one continuously flexing through the feet actively roll all the way down.

Arms reach back and then let your arms come down by your sides. Place your feet flat on the mat for a position that we could go into a shoulder bridge from. We're not quite doing yet, but you want your heels relatively close to your seat, arms long by your side so your chest can stay open. And we're going to prepare for one leg circles in a kind of different way today. I want you to lift your right leg straight up to the ceiling. So now we're just on our left foot on the mat. Push the left foot down to come into a single leg bridge with your hips square side by side, keeping the weight in your left heal more so than the toes. I want you to twist your leg across the midline, still keeping this foot heavy and the knee right over the ankle.

Untwist the hips and then let the hips come straight down from there. So that's our preparation. So your left leg is your standing leg. Press into it to lift both hips up Let the right leg go across the center line. Notice how you're standing foot changes its relationship to the mat, untwist to release both hip creases back down one more time.

Left foot pushes to lift the right leg up. The leg goes across. Keep your chest nice and open against that. Fine center, lower the hips, and stay, extend your left leg along the mat, and then we go into a one leg circle from here. So the leg crosses the midline allows the hip to lift to go into that nice passive stretch and the leg swings back around 4 more times.

Down around and up. Nice. 3. Down around and up. And 2. All the while pushing the arms back into the mat to maintain a nice open chest reverse. Open down across and lift. Keep on going.

Now, that sense of stability on your standing leg, which is your left leg here, see can maintain that as you go through the circles one more time down, around and up, and then lower your right leg down. Bend both knees in. We have our second Side. So from here, we extend the opposite leg up to the ceiling. Left leg lifts. Right foot is pushing into the floor to lift both hips up. And as we work on just the bridge piece, make sure that your foot stays nice and centered on the mat. Take the leg across the middle.

Untwist the hips and lower both hips down towards the mat. Just do that twice more. Press the right foot down. Think of stretching your right knee forward in spaces especially as you go into your twist, untwist, and lower. One more time pushing into the right foot to lift the leg. Take it across creating that torsion in the torso, and then you take it down.

The right leg extends on the floor. Keep that sense of stability through your right leg, 6 circles each way, down around and up and 5, down around and up and 4. Pressing the arms back and 3, down around and up, right heel pushing away from the center. Last one, reverse. Open, down across and lift, 5, down across and lift, 4, down across and lift, continuously shoving that right heel farther away from the center as if that was possible. Last one, and then lower your left leg all the way down, stretch your arms back over your head, we're going to roll like a ball.

So you can pick yourself up into your ball shape, bending the knees in come to a seated position with that so we find our balance at the top. And then from here, just have some fun with it rolling back, lifting the hips, and rolling forward. This is your massage piece. Right? It's really allow your back to massage the mat so that in return of massages, you take 4 and lift. Inhale back, exhale up for 2. One more time, and then we go straight into our series of 5. We're gonna go through relatively quick.

Write me in towards the chest with both hands. Left leg extends long onto the lower back and we switch and switch and switch and switch. So even here, even though we're so familiar with this movement and it's obviously not about hands or feet, take the opportunity to really think of your feet staying nice and long here, and your hands creating a strong grip for that leg to come in deeper for 44, 33. 2. To one more set, right, and left bring both knees in.

We're gonna go old school today. So your arms and legs reach forward and down. Your hands press into the sides of your legs, exhale, bend your knees up and back in. Always think I'm holding a magic circle there, inhale reach, press your pumps into your thighs, deepen through the center to pull your knees up and in, go again. So that push of the hand, what does that do to your shoulders, the openness of your chest? Possibly the engagement of the upper center inhale, exhale to collect yourself one more time inhale reach, Excel knees come up and in right leg up, left leg down for your single straight leg, stretch of scissor. We pulse once and twice and switch.

1 and 2 switch. 1 and 2 switch. Keep on thinking about those feet, even though we wanna point them off. You wanna point them down. You wanna make sure that they don't become too tight, too stiff. There's that same sense of length that we warned ourselves up for today. Po. Po. Switch. Po. Po. Let's take 22.

And 11 Both legs up, both hands behind the head, five times. Lower the legs down, easy through those feet, except holding back from the center, beautiful, and 4. And exhale lift back up. Keep pressing your head back into your hands while you're here. Again, how do your hands feel in this exercise? And how can you leave them for you had to push into? How does that change your shoulders? This last one, twist to the right for criss cross and switch sides and switch and switch almost there, switch and switch. We have 4 sets, 4 to the left, 3 to the left. 2 to the left.

One more right. One more left. And you're done. Bend both knees into your chest. Give yourself a moment of rest. Nicely done. Spine stretches next.

Come on up to a seated position, extend your legs out long in front of you, arms. In between the legs, you wanna park your fingertips sort of on the mat here, let them come down. And I always like to push my fingertips into the mat a little bit to give myself something to lift up from. Press your heels out in front of you if it's available to you. Take a nice deep breath in to lengthen through the spine from ears to hips on the exhale bend forward. Let your fingers slide over the floor as far as you can reach them use that feedback against the floor to build your spine back up, take the inhale to rebuild your spine all the way up, standing on 2 strong feet. Go again. Exhale.

It's this action of bending forward that empties out the lungs. And it's the inhale that forces the spine to come back and build itself back up. So that's 2 more times. Excel rounding forward. Deep and even bend from ears to hips.

Looking good. Lifting up one more time. Excel rounding forward. Maintaining that strong energy of the legs, the strong flexion of the feet. You lift yourself back up. And you take your arms out to the side, going straight into the saw.

Hogging your shoulder blades ever so slightly together, same energy in the legs for just a bit longer twist to the right, exhale round over the leg, keeping your hips stable, especially here, really push through those feet, inhale and twist lift to the center, twist left, round down exhale. Nice. Inhale lifting back up. So your feet can do a lot for you here. You twist to the right, It's the energy of the heels pushing away from the center that can inform the way your hips stay centered on the mat, take it to the left, twist, and round over, take it all the way up and back through center one more time each side, exhale, emptying the lungs, Inhale, lift to center and take it one last time to the left rounding in all the way up to center and release nicely done. We're now going to focus a little bit on on stimulating the hands in the same way that we worked on the feet earlier on.

It's somewhat the similar neurology happening through the body, but, our hands are often somewhat neglected and yet in the later parts of the class, when we go into our leg pulls and our push ups and so forth, we obviously need to put some weight into them. So I'm gonna have you flip over onto your stomach. Your feet can stay where they are. And we're gonna take the hands underneath the shoulders just, to, first of all, counter stretch a little bit after that series of five moment and this fine stretch and saw Go ahead and press your hands into the floor to lift your spine up into an extension, into a backbend, but think of it really as a stretch for the front of your body. Your legs can be opened. They can be together. What I don't want for your legs to happen is that they just kind of flop out to the side. So wherever you feel comfortable with your legs open altogether, make sure that they're somewhat active.

Bend the arms again to pull yourself forward and down. You can maybe change your risk position slightly by moving the hands a bit more forward, giving yourself more space, or moving them back if you want less. You press yourself up one more time to a nice little opening of the chest and already here starting to, think about how your wrists and the palms of the hands and all ten fingers relate to the floor. Similar to our feet, we often tend to take weight more into one side than the other, maybe use our thumbs and index fingers more than the smaller ones, bend the arms, and come all the way back. We're gonna play a little bit more with that in a four legged position.

So coming to hands and knees with a ninety degree angle at the hips and at the knees, and at the shoulders, of course. And then we'll do sort of a a cat cow moment here where you spine rounds first into a c curve from ear to hips. Pressing the hands down, pressing the shins down, and then reversing the shape into an extension, sticking the seat back, really freeing up the hip creases opening the chest forward and up and then reversing that again. Now as we go through this, obviously, it's very tempting to have all the weight fall into the wrist, the heel of the hand, if you will. So while you're in this movement and you keep alternating the shapes, want you to start becoming more aware of how your 10 fingers can spread. Your fingertips can almost tent down into the mat to mimic the movement of the spine going into extension.

So next time you go into your cat, into your c curve, I want you to feel like you're puffing up the backs of your hands ever so slightly off the mat too. Like, you're mimicking the shape that your spine is making, and then you reverse that. It's ever so subtle but it probably feels a lot more connected. And that's what you're going for. So in the extension, almost let your fingertips lift a little bit to again mimic the shape of your body and then reverse yet again. We're gonna add on.

Stay here for a second. Tuck your toes under for a moment. Feel like you're pushing your heels back and let that inform the way that you curl your hips under even more so. And then change into your extension. This time stretch your toes back. So you've, point your feet again, and you almost let your feet lift ever so slightly off the mat to again enhance the shape of your upper body. And then keep alternating through those 2 a couple more times.

Really thinking of spreading the web of bones in your hands into the mat as you extend and letting it lift and dome as you round the spine. One more time into extension, then we're gonna add one more thing. Beautiful. Nice work. Round the spine tuck the toes.

And as a result of you curling, allow your knees to hover. Just like a millimeter off the mat. This is reminiscent of our knee stretches on the reformer. We're not quite doing them yet, but we will come back to this later. Let the knees release down, untuck the toes, arch your back again, let your fingertips, again, mimic the shape of the spine, gonna do that one more time.

So toes tucked under spine rounds, hands, dome, stomach lifts so much so that the knees start to hover. And then fully release that. Release the feet. Arch the back. And then from here, you just come into one flat line in your body, in your back, in your spine. And we're gonna do some wrist stretches from here.

So she's just going to rock her weight forward. You do the same. You rock forward over your hands to stretch the heels of the hand, and then you back off At a range of motion that is comfortable for you, it definitely goes into a range of movement that you're not too familiar with on a daily basis. Going forward, going back. We'll do that one more time in this direction rocking forward, rocking back, then we're gonna change the hand slightly so the fingertips rotate outwards, bring your shoulders over your hands, and we're gonna do the same idea side to side. So we're rocking over one heel of the hand at a time shifting the weight side to side. From the right to the left, back to the right, back to the left, and one more time each side. Right.

And left. And then coming back to straight wrists of the fingertips point forward, We're gonna rock forward again this time going into a circular motion. So once you're forward, start to move towards your right side to bring the hips towards the heels, stop, and go forward from there. So we'll do half circles forward to the left, sitting back towards the heels. And one more time forward to the right back towards the heels, one more time forward to the left back towards the heels coming forward yet again, spiraling the fingers out towards the back this time.

So let the fingers point back towards you And this could be quite challenging. I know it is for me. It is for people with double jointed elbows, so just watch out for that. You wanna maintain a sense of softness you're not going to sit on your heels necessarily, but you're sitting your hips towards the heels. Any amount that you can tolerate and that doesn't feel like you're just hanging into the joints.

You just want a lovely stretch, come right through the front of your arms, forearms, into the heel of the hand, And once you've had enough of that, you back out of it, and you can sit on your heels, leaving your hands behind and letting them shake out for a second. Alright? So now that our hands hopefully feel a little bit more tingly and alive, we're gonna call on them first though. We'll do a little bit swan. So your feet stay there. You're on your stomach. Your arms wide out to the side.

In a tee, your hips pressing down. Your head hands and feet lifting away from the floor. We're finding a full bodied extension here, getting ourselves ready for a single, and double leg kick, you release everything back down. So just this preparation again, the hips press down, legs lift, arms lift, chest lifts, eyes lift, everything lifts, and you release back down. I'll do that one more time.

Press the hips down, lift everything else up. Beautiful. If you have it in you, a little rocking action, rocking forward rocking back, maintaining that uplift maintaining that openness in the feet and hands start to finish 3, 2, and 1 excellence. Set yourself back over your heels. Take a counter stretch. And then we're going into a single leg kick for today. I want you to park yourself on your forearms, kind of like in a sphinx like arrangement here, your hands pointing forward.

The web of your hands pressing down your elbows pulling back so that your chest is nice and open. Now your thighs lift a millimeter off the ground. If that's not available to you without your back starting to feel funny, you move your elbows farther forward, but you're in a great position right there. Single a kick. The right heel kicks towards the seat once, twice, and stretches up and back. Other side, kick, kick, switching up and back. Kick, kick, kick, switching up and back. Kick, kick, kick, keep ongoing focus again on those elbows pressing down, the web of your hands stretching out all ten fingers opening and your collar bones widening. Kicking left left one more time each side, right, right, and left left, stretching both legs back, rest your forehead straight down, and bring your hands to your lower back.

Double a kick to finish this piece. Both thighs lift off the ground. Kick both heels to your seat for that double kick. And then stretch hands and feet back and up, chest forward and up against that. Repeat coming back down.

Kick once. Twist stretch, feet, and hands back, chest forward, and up, lift the hands off the seat, beautiful, and come back down. Twice more. Kick kick. Stretch. Hands and feet back. Chest forward and up.

Hip bone still pressing down and released last time. Kick once, kicked twice, stretch the body apart, hands against chest going in opposite direction and then take it down and sit back over your heels yet again. And then we're gonna turn around in a sec for our shoulder bridge, but take this moment here really press into your hands to get those hips back onto the heels. Nice work. And then flip around onto your back. Feet flat down and sort of within, reach for your fingertips.

So you try to get your heels far back towards you as is comfortable and possible for you. Chest, nice, wide, and open. We've been here before. This time we go more into an will shoulder bridge, but we'll we'll leave the kicking out and instead take it to a sort of a semi circle like we know from the reformer. Goes a little something like this. Your heels press down for the hips to lift up. This part is familiar.

Especially today, I want you to become more aware of how your hands behave as your hips lift up, see if you can still spread them actively into the map, and then start to reach your arms up and back behind you. Now the idea is your fingertips go one direction. Your knees go the opposite direction you try. To create as much distance between those 2 as possible. So your niece continuously driving forward with that traction, you're giving yourself roll the spine down. Try to get your hips close to the heels, finding more length. Notice when your shoulders start to pick your arms back up, Let it happen, bring your arms down by your side. And with that, lift the hips back up to start again. Dig the heels down.

Arms reach back against the arms reaching back. The spine comes down sequentially upper middle, lower back, hips, release, arms come down, hips lift up. Two more times. Arms reaching back. Now think of those knees driving towards each other and away from the center weight in the heels, spreading the feet open, toes heavy hips lift up one more time.

And we'll go into the roll down with the arms reaching back one final time as well. Nice work. Tractioning the body through those active hands, standing on 2 active feet, arms come down by your side, knees come into your chest. You can give yourself squeeze and then use that to rock yourself up to a seated position. We'll go into our teaser.

So we're off our hands and knees for a zick. Your legs are extended long in front of you. You can shake things loose, obviously. You stretch your arms out long in front of you to start. I love doing the teaser from a seated position.

It kind of does have the work for you, but it still gets you into the, most important piece of this motion. Bend your spine, roll yourself halfway back, arms and legs reaching forward. When you feel like your torso and your legs weigh about the same and your legs can start to lift up, ahead and lift them up and then bring your torso back up towards them. Let it have this level of ease. Your fingers and your toes have been working so hard.

That you can now use them to lift you up. Now let the legs come down. Let your fingertips reach for the toes so that you end up in a stretch forward over your legs. And that that'd be one repetition of our teaser for today. Alright? So lifting back up long and easy through fingers and feed. You roll yourself back those 2 reach for each other to pick you back up.

Nice. At the highest point, you lift up much. There's no other place to go than for the legs to come down for the torso to follow, and you go up and forward. So even though teasers always this inner turmoil moment, You work on the east part of it. You work on the length and the extremities not stiffening up in order to make the motion happen.

And then it might just feel a little bit more effortless too. It sure looks that beautiful. One more time rounding forward, we'll take one more. Sit yourself back up. Spine bends from both ends, arms and legs reaching away from the center to pick you up. Beautiful. Up, up, up till the legs come down.

You reach over your legs. Excellent. And then we flip over to our stomach. Again, it's time for swimming. We're gonna take swimming into a plank position. I always like to think of swimming as a way to get our back body engaged. Obviously.

So it's nice to use that in order to get us up into a plank, which most of us would think of an activity that requires the front of the body. To work. So your arms reach forward, your legs reach back, arms shoulder distance, legs, hip distance, everything lifts like in your swan. Your hips press down. Both legs up. Both arms up. From there, you find you're swimming.

One arm against the opposite leg and you switch switch switch switch switch. Both hip bones pressing down. And you use that again with that same sense of ease in fingers, intros, both hips pressing down, and then pause. Tuck your toes under. Keep the engagement in your back.

Place your hands under your shoulders. And with that engagement still alive and active, push yourself up into a plank. Boom. And there we are. Keep stretching your heels back, your chest forward, and opposition We're going to lower ourselves back down. It's not a push up.

We just try to get our hip points to touch before anything else so that then you can just stretch your arms forward, your toes back, and you're back into swimming and you do it again. Swim, swim, swim, swim, swim, swim. Again, this is all about activating the back line of the body. Can you use it to lift yourself up into plank, pause, tuck toes, hands under shoulders, push yourself up into one straight line. Nice. Keep stretching the body apart. We'll do it one more time. Lowering down hipbones touch first.

Point your toes away. Arms reach forward. 1 more swim, swim, swim, swim, swim, both hipbones pressing down, arms reaching forward, easy in the fingers, easy in the toes, and pause. Tuck the toes. Hands under shoulders, push up into plank one more time already for our leg pull. Point the right toes and kick that right leg up towards the ceiling once twice, then flex it down to pull it back to the floor.

Other side, left leg point to kick 1. 2, flex to pull it down. Keep going. Now as you are looking down towards your hands, right, this is a great moment again. So think about doming the backs of your hands ever so slightly To give you support that doesn't default into the heel of the hand, taking most of the weight, really spread it across the hand for more support, one more set. Right.

Right. Flex it down. Beautiful. One more time. Left. Left. Flex it down.

Come back onto your hips. We have one more swimming. Stretch your arms forward, point your toes back, final one I promise, swim, swim, swim, swim, swim, both hips pressing down, arms long, legs long, 3, 2, 1, done, and then sit back over your heels one more time. You deserved it after all that. Very nice work. Now, next up is our leg pulled back. And, again, this is a position that is often quite prohibitive for us to go into this inverted plan.

So we're gonna see what options we have and which ones feel the most authentic to our body. Honoring it where it's at. So just leaving your feet right here. We are coming to sit up with our legs out long in front of us. Hands back behind us. And the first one we'll do is with the fingertips pointing the direction of your legs.

Alright. So the hands parked somewhat behind you. The idea is that your hands press down, your feet press down, and your spine curls from the tail onto the top to lift yourself up into sort of a shorter bridge with extended legs. Nice. Checking with your mind's eye with how your hands feel here is the weight and the heel of my hand. Can I somehow manipulate that to be more evenly distributed across my fingers?

The answer can we know? Lower yourself back down from here. Come off your hands and then change the orientation of your hands So your fingers point out to the side. So take them to the side first before we take them all the way back. Exactly. And then we go once here. You curl the hips under, you lift yourself up. The surely is going to feel different, and maybe that's all there is to it.

Maybe it feels better. If it feels worse, first check that it feels different. And then see, does that allow my chest to stay open? Does that give me the support I need for my hips to lift up? Obviously, check with your feet.

How are they doing in this position? Slowly, lower yourself back down. For now, feet will stay on chain though. And then if you feel like you have that level of mobility in your shoulders, you can try to rotate your fingers back. We're gonna go through these three positions, but obviously there's every conceivable position in between that you can work with as well. So lifting the hips up, but this is a good way to gauge what feels best.

For my shoulders, for my hands and fingers, slowly lower the hips back down, come off your hands, and then choose whichever position you naturally wanna shoes after this so that we can stay up a little bit longer and add the kicks. Coming back into position, we can leave the chin slightly down. So I think about both ends of my spine having the same level of bend. Now from here, take weight into your left foot, kick the right leg up for pulse and bring it down. Other side, kick it up, pulse, and bring it down.

Right side, kick it up, pulse, bring it down. Left side up, One more time each side really focusing on how do my hands behave right now is all my mind's eye in the legs or do I still have that integrity in my hands. Last one, kick, kick, bring it down, lower the hips down, stretch your arms out in front of you to roll yourself down onto the mat, just to let that exercise go, and then we'll finish up yet again on all fours, so you can flip on over, bring yourself on two hands and knees, going through the same sequence we did but now that we're a little bit more warmed up, we go through it a little bit faster. So you can tuck your toes under, dome your hands, round your spine, ears to hips, and then stretch your toes back, arch your back, let your fingertips extend off the mat, tuck your toes under again to find the first shape now adding on, lift your knees up, and with your hands actively pushing into the floor and your knee staying lifted, sit your hips back towards the heels maintaining the round in your back, then come forward again, lower the knees, and then change position, toes, tuck, spine arches. We'll repeat that twice more. Round your spine. Don't the hands. Tuck the toes. Let the knees hover.

Sit the hips towards the heels. Beautiful. Think of knee stretches on the reformer, knees lower to host point back, chest lifts. Final one. Tuck the toes, round your spine, hover the knees, knee stretches back. Now from here, we transition into a plank. So bring your hands forward.

Stretch your leg one at a time back behind you so that you have space for your plank. Lift your hip creases up and back to walk your hands back towards your feet, just outlining the path and making sure you have the space on your mat to do push ups. Roll yourself all the way up. Lift your arms up by your ears. We're just gonna do one set of 3 shin over chest.

You roll down. Walk your hands out in front of your big toes. 1, 2, 3, 4, and push ups. Take it down for 5. Press up. Down for 4. Press up nice. Think of your heels kicking back. All ten toes, taking the weight of you and your hands jumped up. Beautiful.

Lift the hip creases. Walk your hands back towards the feet and then roll yourself all the way back up. Lift your arms up by your ears. We'll come down one final time. We're not gonna do another set of push ups because I said we wouldn't.

But once you're down on hands and feet, I want you to take a step forward with one hand and the opposite foot. Now we're gonna think about elephant on the reformer. Why don't we try to keep the legs both straight. The arms both straight. So the spine has to bend to maintain the space that you need in your hips.

To get those legs to move past one another. Now take another step forward. Good. Try to keep those legs really straight. I know it's super tough. And take another step forward.

Now we're gonna do the same thing back. So this is the elephant walk. You wanna really think about bending your spine to create a sense of uplift so that your limbs have a way to find the floor underneath you. Good. And then take it forward again. We'll take one more round forward. Obviously, I want you to use this moment to really celebrate the openness and the feed, the openness in the hands, the weight bearing into both of those.

Is one of those exercise that is a lot easier to do really fast. But we're just for space saving purposes, keep it relatively small. And slow. Now come back onto 2 feet so that you have them side by side so that your hands can walk back towards your feet to slowly roll yourself all the way up And then as you stand up here for the first time in a while, you can sort of close your eyes and just without any movement, Think about your feet, think about your hands. Obviously, Pilates is always a full bodied event. Often we have a sense of responsibility towards our core and our center to be sort of the main star of the show. But I think even just with the same exercise, we always practice taking our focus to a part of the body that we often don't think about can change things quite significantly, and hopefully your hands and feet feel really good right now. Sharifa.

You were awesome. Thank you guys for watching. And I'll see you in the next class.


1 person likes this.
It was a joy to watch the exercises being performed so beautifully.
1 person likes this.
Brilliant- excellent for people who use their hands occupationally and also for those who sit a lot at work. More please!
Benjamin Degenhardt
Thank you both for watching and commenting, I am so glad you're enjoying this session! 💙

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