Class #860

First Time Session

55 min - Class


Karen Sanzo teaches Jo Landis Shields her first Reformer class. Karen walks Jo through the session teaching her everything from the difference in spring tension to the nuance of the exercise called Elephant. As always Karen teaches with great insight and refined clarity. Whether you are a new student or a teacher of Pilates, this is a class most will learn a lot from... all will benefit.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box, Hand Weights

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Hi, I'm Karen. I'm happy to be here on plays any time. This is Joe. We're having a first time reformer session. What I'd like to explain to you first is the different pieces of the reformer. The first thing I want you to notice is the springs down here. We have three red springs on this reformer, one blue one and one yellow one.

I'd like you to take your hand and take this red spring off and just be how heavy it is and then put it back on. Feel the next spring, which is a yellow one, and you'll notice that that's a lot lighter and then feel the blue one and it's kind of medium. I think it's important for clients to understand that springs have different resistances so that when I tell them to change a spring or if I change it myself, I want you to understand that some springs are used to challenge your body movements and some springs are actually used to help your body movement. So I'll be changing the springs today. And then as you get more acquainted with reformer, or perhaps you attend a group class, you may be asked at some point to change the springs on your own. So go ahead and lie down on the reformer. I'm going to put your feet up here.

This is the foot bar. This foot bar is locked in the place. You put your head down. So with your arms down by your side, just breathe in and breathe out. Now I understand you've had some mat work so you understand the idea of the core, the core being a relationship between your upper body and your lower body. So we're going to do just a couple little fundamentals here on the reformer without actually using the reformer as the exercise right now. So take an inhale and as you exhale, just let your belly sink down.

Just take a couple of breasts in and a couple of breaths out there. And I'm going to get a little weight. What I like to do with this weight, you'll see it's two pounds. I'm going to put this weight right on your tummy. And I want you to feel the weight of the weight. Can you feel that? So let the weight of the weight just drop your belly down. I'm not asking you to flatten your back.

I'm not asking you to squeeze your buttocks really tight. What I'm asking you to do is just relax your body, relax your torso, and feel the weight of the weight. Kind of make a little scoop or a little hollow in your abdomen. Can you kind of feel that there? Great. Now take another inhale and as you exhale this time, feel that weight sink down and feel your belly button kind of pull in and up towards your heart. Like you're pulling your belly away from the weight. Good.

Can you feel that? Hold that in. Keep the belly pulled in just like that. Now this time when you breathe, try to breathe your ribs out to the side. Good. And then when you exhale, let your ribs come together. And then one more time. So your ribs expand side to side. Your belly expands up and down and then let everything sink back in.

Very good. I'm going to take the weight away now, but what I'd like you to do is imagine that that weight is still there. I call this your ability to activate your belly independently. Okay? So is it true that you can pull your tummy away from your shirt without tightening your back and without clenching your buttocks? Can you do that? Yes, can. Very good. So you're keeping that core control, that core activation. Remember that your core is actually a three dimensional space, so we want to keep that connection there. The next part of your core we're going to talk about is the pelvic floor area.

I also call that the diaper area. That's also your key goal area. Okay? So take an inhale and as you exhale, the belly sinks down again and now you gently activate the pelvic floor. Like if you use the restroom, you're pulling up and in. Very good. So you feel how that kind of gives that a little extra firmness there. Good. And then just let everything relax just for a second.

That right there are good Matt fundamentals. They're good fundamentals in any type of exercise. It's kind of setting up that core for success. So as you breathe, we challenged the diaphragm. Let's do that again. Inhale, big exhale, sink everything down your diaphragm, that breathing muscle being the top of the core. Exhale, sink the belly button, the front of the core, the transverse abdominis. And then one more time, ribs expand, belly expands. Everything exhales.

Kegel comes up a little bit up and in bottom of the core. Very, very good. So keep that awareness right there. And throughout our workout I may be asking you, can you get into your core? Can you relax your neck and your back and just engage? Can you sink the weight down?

In which case I'll have you go back in your brain and have the memory of sinking the weight down. I'm going to do that to you one more time. And you'll notice when you sink the weight down again, it makes a little hollow and a little scoop in your belly, but your back is not clenching. Your jaws aren't clenching, your eyebrows aren't working, everything is just coming from the center. Makes Sense. Okay, very good. So we'll take the weight down from there. So with that awareness, now we're going to do a little bit of leg lifting. So you're going to take this knee and just lift it up in the air to our famous table top position. And so you'll notice in this position, your thighbone drops down. Yes, and you'll notice the weight right now is not distributed in your waistline, but it's a little bit lower than that across your lower back or your upper buttocks area. I don't want you to clench your buttocks, nor do I want you to round your back and smash your back down.

I want you to get connected through here again, very good, and then put that leg down and then take another inhale and then you lift the other leg up. Very good. Notice there might be a tendency when you lift a leg to kind of curl that pelvis. You might want to do that, but we're not going to do that right now. We'll do that in another exercise, but just not right now. And then lower that leg down and let's lift this leg up one more time. Gently press this Shin upward into my hand.

If you held that kind of facilitate something down there to kind of kick in. Can you feel that? So you're pressing that Shin up into my hand. You'll take a big inhale to prepare. As you exhale, make all those little connections here and then lift your left leg up to match it and push that Chin up into me. Very good. So rads, very good. So now you're feeling chorally connected if you will. Okay. Lift up the pelvic floor from the bottom without puffing up your chest.

Relaxed that chest down there. That's now you're now you feel that little quiver in there. Very good. Lower your left leg down and then lower your right leg down and pause right there. So those are just some little mat fundamentals to get regrouped for what we mean when we say quarterly connected. So what I'd like to do now is I'm going to use your arms to help you get connected as well. So I'm going to put this spring on one red spring.

I'll have you reach back here and grab these straps with your hands just right here. Okay. Now leaving your feet on the bar at first, just press the arms downward towards your thighs. Just a little bit. Good. Just pause right there. Make your knuckles reach long. There you go. So you don't want to let this very nice. Broaden your collar bones. Very good. And then just, I'm going to call this regroup. When I say regroup, that's kind of your signal to relax the ribs. Engage the belly button and lift up the televic floor. Sound like a deal? Okay, you're holding your arms right here.

Take this leg up in the air and let's go ahead and bend it back into that table. Top Position. Good. Now keep your pelvis heavy. Scoop in your belly. Take the other leg up to match it. Very good. So now you feel how your arms are connected to your core. Right here.

You feel your belly button gently pull in, give your shins a little. Press into my hand upward. Take a big inhale. As you exhale, relax the shoulders, regroup the scoop down below. Don't change anything in your spine. Very good. And then lower one leg down and then lower the other leg down and then release the arms and let the carriage come in. Okay, just a little introduction to the, let's do that again. So you're going to pull the arms a little bit more. Pause. Reach your knuckles. Nice and long. Nice. Straight wrist. Looks really good.

Nice Joe. Gently pull the tummy up and in and then lift this leg first, this time, because sometimes it does make a difference if we start with the other leg and then take the other leg to match. Now this time, give your heels a little squeeze together and turn your toes apart a little bit. Here he goes. You're going look a little frog shape here. This will be a very similar position that will do several exercises in. Squeeze those heels. Notice when you squeeze your heels, how it makes a connection into the thighs. Okay, big, big inhale, big, big exhale. Now move your arms down just a little bit. Good, and then take them back up. Inhale, exhale. Move the arms down, scooping the belly, squeeze the heels, inhale, and then exhale. See how this is very similar to a mat exercise, right when your legs are up in the air and you're getting ready for the a hundred beats. We'll do that in a little bit and then one more time, arms up and then one more time, arms down, hold right there.

Regroup in the center. Beautiful job. Let's lower this leg first to the bar. Let's lower this leg next and then let the carriage ride in and then pause right there. I'm going to take these straps away so that just gives you a little warmup to see how the arms are connected to the core and sometimes that actually helps us to lift the legs. Okay, I'm going to put on three red springs now and start with our very traditional foot work. The first couple exercises we did right there were a little awareness exercises and I'm going to check you again that to be sure that you understand where your neutral pelvis is. So we're going to take the palm of your hands and put them right here.

This is called your hip points. You know it has an anatomical term, but just for the sake of this exercise, you'll see how now your wrist and your fingers are kind of flat because your hip points in your pubic bone are in a level plane. If you were to curl your buttocks up a little bit, go ahead and curl your buttocks up a little bit, curl it up a little bit more. Good pause right there. You'll notice now that your back is kind of flat or on the Mat and you're using your abdomen to kind of curl your tailbone. Sometimes refer to this like a little diaper change, right?

Like you're curling up a little baby's bottom right? And then roll your buttocks back down to level and then now roll your pubic bone away from you. And without moving your head in your chest, you'll feel high. Now that's an arch in your back. And then bring yourself back to neutral. Much the same Matt fundamentals that you've gone over before. So there may be some exercises. We'll all say, hey Joe, can you check your neutral alignment or check your pelvis and you can just take one of your hands and just monitor that. Okay.

So go ahead and put your arms down by your side. I'm just going to repeat one more time. Is that the weight that you have on your buttocks right now is at the highest part kind of of your pelvis. It's not, you're not resting, you're smashing your low back down. Is that correct? That doesn't look like you are, but I just want to make sure that people understand that we're not mashing the back down to round the shoulders. We're just kind of lifting up the belly up and in. Very good. Okay.

Three red springs getting ready for reformer foot work. We're going to start here with your heels on the bar. I like to start here because it kind of mimics a standing. So you're gonna pull your feet backwards. You're going to feel, I'm going to give a little press here on your thighs and you'll feel how that kinda presses your thigh bone down into the mat. Okay. So before I start giving you lots of instruction, just go ahead and push the carriage out and end and just see what that feels like. Good.

Go ahead and look straight up at the ceiling and I'm just going to monitor the position of your head to just keep pushing that and come back in now and rest. I'm gonna lower this head rest down just to see if this feels any different to you and what that feels like. Go ahead and press out and in and I'm going to raise it up. I'm going to choose the up part, so we'll go ahead and lift your head up. There you go. I liked a little more pressure on the shoulders. Yeah, yeah. So we're going to keep you up like that. I like that. They're very good. Okay. So it's nice to kind of try some different positions there with a headdress.

Good. So you'll notice here that you're using your legs to push out and in and you're not curling your bottom. You're doing really well actually. And then bring yourself all the way in. Couple of cues now. Okay. Lengthen out through this hip to lengthen your torso down and then through here. Very good. Now press your shins downward into my hands.

As you move the carriage out, you'll feel your legs act. There you go. You feel when you Pratt and very good, and then bend your knees and push your shins into my hand as you bring yourself in. Inhale, press the carriage out. Exhale, sink your belly. Lift the pelvic floor as you bring yourself in. Very good. Inhale, press away. Press, press, press, press, press, hold. Now I'm going to take my hands away and I want you to try to make your legs any bit longer, so there you go. That's nice. You feel your body just lengthened all the way up so you pushed through that foot bar like you're trying to push the foot bar out that door over there.

There you feel this whole flatness in here. If you how nice and long your hips are. Good. Now slowly bend the knees and reluctantly come back in. Very good, very good. Very good. Second position. Now I'm going to slide your feet down and we call this position. Bird feet are prehensile, so your toes are going to wrap over the bar.

Your heels are going to draw down just like you're a little bird on a perch. So I'm going to move your feet up just a little bit higher because on purpose I really want you to work to lengthen the front of your toes. Foot work on the reformer is how we start most of our reformer as a beginner. And you notice that with your feet in different positions, your legs become alive a little bit different and you'll feel what I mean by that. So I'm going to level out your legs and now you're going to press your feet down to the floor. As you go out, press your feet down to the floor as you go out, keep going, and then pull yourself back in as you continue to press your feet to the floor, bend your knees, the hats it if how you're working in the back of your legs there, that's it.

And then press the carriage out on an inhale. Exhale, feet, press. To the floor. Pull your bottom back in. One more time. Like that. Inhale, press. And then exhale. Pull yourself all the way back in and pause right there. Can you feel how your feet almost want to get a cramp in them? Okay, cause sometimes they may not be used to doing what we call this four foot flection. Can you see why we call it a bird foot? Like you're a little bird on a perch there. Okay, we're going to do this one one more time because I think it's really good for your feet. I'm going to hold your feet. Okay, so what I'm going to do here is I'm going to stretch these toes over. You.

Drop your heels down, where? There you go, you feel that now press out and stay out. You're going to feel a big stretch in the front of that ankle. Stretch all the way out. Keep going if you have them holding those feet down and then pull yourself back in. Very good. Inhale, take you out three more times in a row and then exhale, pull it, press your shins, and then my hand last time healed down, toes down, Perez out. And then bring yourself back in and pause right there. Very good.

Relax your shoulders. Get regrouped. Take a couple breaths in and arrest. It's interesting how footwork affects your legs in different positions. We have a couple more positions now we're going to drop your feet down to the balls of your feet. You're gonna lift your heels up and then squeeze your heels together very commonly. This is called a Palladio's v. You may have heard that in the mat work as well.

Once you pretend like between your two ankle bones is a magnet. Okay, so like magnetize right there. Can you feel my fingers right there? Pull right into my fingers with your ankle bones. Pull together with your, there you go. If you have, when you do that, how it makes a connection all the way down through your thighs. Now you're going to keep your feet in this position. Okay. And then press yourself out. Keep your feet. Go ahead and keep pressing. Keep pressing, squeeze these legs and then bend the knees in reluctantly as you bring your body back in. Good. Inhale, press out like you're a Ziploc bag and the legs are zipping, zipping, zipping.

Good. And then bring yourself back in. Keep the heels in that space. And then two more times. Inhale. Inhale, inhale, exhale. Bend the knees. Bring yourself all the way back in. Squeeze those heels together. Last time prs. And then reluctantly bring yourself all the way back in and pause right there.

Give your pelvis a little check. Make sure you're still in neutral. So take your hands on your pelvis there and give it a little check. You're doing a good job. Okay, and then take your hands down by your side. Now we're going to separate the heels. Lift the heels up in the air. This next exercise we call this tendon stretch. With your heels, this high pressure self out. Stay right there.

Try to make this bar longer. Try to push it. There you go. You feel. Feel again. How that lengths in out your shoulders. Nice pulling into the belly. Now lower these heels under the bar, Joe, lower the heels down and down and down. And then raise up and up and up. Pause right there. Raise them a half, a more inch high. There you go. And it makes sense.

A half a more in Chai, but you knew what I meant. Now engage the back of these thighs. So the higher you lift your heels, it's not just about the calves, it's also about those thighs there. Can you feel how that information travels all the way up to the thighs? Good. And then lower the heels down and down and down. So after you do a lot of good work like that, I'll do some good work here for you and give you a little bit of lengthening.

Okay. And now you pull your heels up again and when you think you've raised as high as you can, raise a little bit more in pause. Put weight on this left big toe joint so that you feel that that's working so hard. Come on right there. Good. And then lower the heels down and we're going to really work hard to keep these legs in parallel. And then three more times on your own raise up like you're pressing wide on that big toe joint. Good. And then lower yourself down. That's one.

Inhale takes you up. Exhale, lower down. You're doing really good job through your pelvis. And then last time, inhale, raise up and then slowly lower yourself down and then bend the knees in and come on home. Interesting exercise. We could quit right now and they'd have a little workout in, right? Okay. Let's take the heels now part on the bar. So the heels come apart. So from this position here, the knees are going to come apart just a little bit.

Put your heels Kinda high on that bar, just a little bit. Good. Flex your toes backwards. Now imagine that your heels are pulling together, but they're, they're not moving. They're just making that isometric contraction of pulling together the how that makes a connection all the way up to your inner thighs, towards your pubic bone, your groin area. Keep the pelvis nice and level and then push yourself out and then bring yourself back in. Good. Press your thighs down as you go out.

Press your shins towards my hand as you return in. Very good. Inhale, press away, shins, press down, body presses out, and then exhale, come back and do three more of those on your own, pretending like I'm touching you underneath here as you go out and then I'm resisting you on the way in. Inhale, press out last one and then exhale, come in and pause right there. Now we switched from the heels to the balls of the feet. So whenever you go from the heels to the balls of your feet, sometimes it just makes your leg think it's a little bit longer. So now the journey is going to seem a little bit further. Lift the heels high, attract your thighs and your toes towards each other, especially that big left toe. That one likes to kind of lift up a little bit. Can you feel that?

So you're going to press right through there and now press the carriage out. Press, press, press, press, Ou, longer legs, right with the heels up, and then bring yourself all the way back in. Doing a fabulous job here with that pelvis. Really, really good awareness. Press away. Inhale and then pull home. Exhale. I'm going to watch it all the way in. Exactly all the way in. Press back.

I'm going to watch you from the back. Let the knees come out as the pelvis comes in. Good. And then two more times out and then bring it all the way back in. Very good. And then last time press and then last time pull in and pause right there.

Very nice. Go ahead and close your feet on the bar and have a little rest right there. Again, there was three red springs and a, yeah, kind of flexing points your feet a little bit. You see how that brings the legs alive a little bit. All as you have a relationship with the core. Good.

And put your feet back on the bar. I'm going to lower you now down to two red springs. Actually I'm going to put her on a red and a blue and we're going to prayer. Prepare for a little hundred beat preparation. You've done a hundred beats in the matte, correct. Okay. Look yourself away from the shoulder rest just a little bit. Good.

And show me your mat. 100 beats. Pick your knees up, lift your head curl, reach your arms long. Exactly. Good. And then lower yourself back down and then put your feet back down so you understand the mechanics of a hundred beats. I'm going to add a little spring to your arms. It's going to bring the exercise a little bit alive. All right, so you're going to reach back and we've already had the arms in here once. The spring edge is a little bit heavier this time. Okay, so what I want you to be very mindful of here is that the shoulders are kind of, that's it. So the shoulders are sinking down towards the Mat.

Can you kind of feel that and then pull the hands down just a little bit? [inaudible] knuckles are reaching long rod in your collar bones. There you go. So now fold one knee in and then fold the other knee in. Pause right there. Bring your arms about halfway down your thighs. Pause. Now just move your arms up and down for me. Just inhale up, exhale down.

Inhale and exhale. Good. One more time and then pause right there. Feel good and strong in the arms. Let's give the heels a little squeeze. Open the knees up just a little bit. I'll just hold that right there. Squeeze those heels together. Actually go ahead and close your knees now because I think you understand that whole relationship. Very good. Lift your head, curl your trunk, reach your arms long. Woo. Very nice.

And now you feel ah beautiful. And now off you go to the a hundred beats. Move your arms. Inhale and an exhale. Do how the carriage starts to wobble a little bit. I want you to try to not wobble the care. Do you have to curl that and trunk? Good luck. Yeah, that's it. That's better. Keep going. Exhaling.

I'll hold your head if it gets tired just for a sec. There you go. You regroup the scoop. Start to shoot your legs across the room. Very good. Keep pumping. Level out your buttocks a little bit. Drop your bottom down a little bit. That's it. Scoping in the belly. Exhaling. Let's do one more. Inhale, two, three, four, five. Blow out. Two, three, four, five.

Bend the knees all the way in. Lower your trunk down. Take the arms over your head and put your feet down on the bar. Woo. Yes, the first hundred beats on the reformer. Very nice. So we'll just leave those right there for a second and just pause right there from here. Press your feet on the bar. Do a little pelvic tilt to roll your pelvis up just a little bit and then roll it down. A lot of times in piles, we work a lot about its stability in the spine. Uh, recognizing where neutral is. You're doing a really good job, but I want you to curl up again because I want your spine to understand that we're going to let it curl as well at some point, and then roll it back down so you recognize that there again. Okay.

Take your arms back into the straps here. You almost didn't need a preparation because you already knew a hundred beats from the mat, and so you just pulled over that mat concept to the reformer. Take your arms down by your side, bend your elbows please. That's it. Just like that. So let the carriage come into you. Feel tension on the straps. Pause right there. Take one leg in and match it with the other one.

Give the legs a little squeeze. Same concept holding strong here, little tricep pressing with the chest and shoulders open, so pressure arms down by your side and then slowly bend the elbows back. Very good. Five Times. Inhale, press. Exhale. See? Good. Inhale, press the knuckles. Stay Long. Exhale, bend elbows. Two more times in help. Press. Exhale, release. One more time. Press and hold, hold, hold, hold. And then slowly release. Let the elbows bend.

Put your feet on the bar and we'll take the straps away from there. Very nice. Alrighty. Roll to your side and come on up to sitting. I'm going to show you how to move this foot bar. Now we're going to do a couple exercises on her hands and knees. These things come out here and you'll see the foot bar is mobile and when the foot bar is in place and we lock these, it's nice and safe and stable.

We're going to take this foot bar and lower it down. Now we're going to do an exercise that I call kneeling abdominals facing front, and it's in the quadriped position. You're on your hands and knees. I'm going to start with this on one red spring. So your knees will come here. Your hands will come here. So the knees are on the front edge. Okay, there you go.

I'm just going to see where your shoulders are in relationship to that. Very good. There you go. Nice. So gently pull the tummy in. [inaudible] so let's move your knees, Jo back just a little bit so they're a little bit under your hips and then just pause yourself right there. Very good. So hold that right there and feel your arms get engaged that you're not really resting on your arms. But yes, that's better. Now we're going to come back here. To this little rib area and I want you to take this part of your ribs up a little bit. Pause. We're going to get you into level.

Drop the upper part of your chest down a little bit. Good, and then pull this part. Feel my fingers. That's it. Hold that right there. So you feel that awareness right there. Recognizing level. Notice that your body kind of wants to sag down like a little saddle. A lot of people's do. Look right down at my hand. They go, I'm going to press on your head and you resist me. You resist me. They, they go. As I press on your head and you resist me, can you feel some connection here underneath your abdomen a little bit? Yeah, that's it. Hold right there. Good. Now pause. Whoo.

That's hard work right there. Now what I'd like you to do next is to take your knees and push the carriage behind you without changing the shape of your spine. There you go. That's it. And then pull the knees back in. You feel that? Oh Wow. Yeah. You'd be a member. I said, some of the exercises, we'll catch you scoop in the belly. Good. Now I'm going to spot the carriage in with my foot.

You're gonna scoop up your belly button. We're going to level out your spine just a little bit. Hold right there. If you have my hand right here underneath your abdomen, you gotta pull the belly up away from that too. But don't move your spine. I know that's tricky. So you want to engage the belly. Don't move your spine one more time. Just the sink, the sandbag sink, the weight number when the weight was on your abdomen. Yes. Hold right there.

Lift the pelvic floor. That's it. And now move the carriage out with your shoes. That's enough. And then pull it back. Move the carriage out with the shins, and then pull it back in. One more time out. One more time in. Sit your buttocks down on your heels and rest right there. That's one of those exercises that catches us by surprise. Okay. Bring yourself back up to your hands and knees again, and this time with your body Nice and level.

I want to give you a little feedback with a poll and I find a little pole and just a little bit here and we get back in this position. In other words, I'm not doing it right. No, no, you are doing it very right. But what I want is feedback for your body. So the part that's it. So I want you to kind of pull in that tummy there without rounding your chest. I know it sounds like a broken record, but right here on your head, that's better right there. Whatever it is you did, you kind of lifted your pelvic floor, number one, that weight was on your belly. I'm going to go back to that thing when you just pulled your, but you made it, made that little hammock. Good.

Now you're going to use your arms and we're going to change the arm angle. So you're going to press the carriage back, changing your arm angle so the knees will stay in pressure arms and move the carriage back this way. Good. And then return arm and then return arms [inaudible]. Then return pause for a second. Pressure Shins down. That will turn on your thighs. Very good. And now you're on your own arms. Go back. Stop right there. Hold, hold that right there.

Feel that work right here in your trunk. Very, very good. And then bring yourself all the way home and then sit your bottom down and rest right there. So have a look down at your springs. You'll notice you have one red spring on, which was kind of medium. So what do you think would happen if I changed that? A red spring to a very light yellow spring. What do you think would happen?

The movement would be easier. The move, it would be easier to do with your hands, but let's see what it does to your trunk. Okay. Because cause he's more resistance with your trunk. You might, let's just try it and let's see what your body tells you. The answer is, okay. Now be careful right here. Okay. So already you're gonna recognize neutral in your pelvis. I'm going to touch your tummy, okay. Okay. So I want you to pull your tummy in, level this out a little bit. Let your head touch my hand.

Let your head come up til it touch. Yeah, you go. There's alignment right there as if I were a little stick. This comes up down in here a little bit. Not here, but down here. That's better. Okay. That's my favorite cue is here. Now hold back. Okay. They have a very light spring on there. All right.

Going to move your knees out a hair and then pull them back in. Move your knees out a hair. Press your shins down. Pull the carriage back in. I'm going to take my hand away. You're on your own. Press out if you how? If you held that light, now challenges your core. Can you feel that? Very good takes, takes a great deal of control.

We didn't meet before this right to discuss any of these answers. One more time out. Bring yourself in and spot the carriage. Rest right there. Set yourself back and rest. Woo. Control. Good answer. Okay. Bring yourself back to your hands and knees again. We're almost done here, so now we have to do the little double play here. I call, so you're going to pull the tummy in.

Doing well. Head touches my hand. That's it. I know it seems frustrating at times, but if we take time in the beginning to set up for success or at least the awareness of it, then when I ask for it later on, I can say, oh, remember how you used to like to drop your head down? But now I want you to keep it in line, right? All right, you're doing a good job, Joe. Now take your arms. Be Very careful now and push the carriage out with your arms a little bit. Stop right there. Feel that lightness of that spring. Yes, it was easier to push out, but isn't it harder to hold it right there and then bring your whole body forward again over your wrist and do that two more times.

Press out with the arms, pause, get that quiver and then pull yourself in and then again out, and then come in and now here's the double play. Press out with your arms in pause. Hold right there. Now move your legs out behind you a half an inch or so. Hold right there. Move your knees back underneath your hips. Bring your knees back underneath your hips, move the carriage in, and then take your whole body forward over your arms. And we are done.

Sit yourself down. Yeah, so this becomes what exercises have you done on the mat that kind of mimics that like a plank. Like when you're a quadro pad, when you're on your hands and knees or when you move out to a plane. So if you, how all that comes alive in there. Make sense? Okay, let's go ahead and swing your legs to the side and lie yourself down. Relying back onto your back. Now [inaudible] I'm going to put you on two red springs. Fold your knees into the chest. I'm going to raise your foot bar back up. We can use this to help us get our feet into the straps. Put your feet right there.

So we've had a turn on your back. I've had a turn with your arms and we've had a turn in hands and knees. Now we're going to switch to moving legs with a stable trunk. So you're going to press the carriage back with your feet. Just move the carriage back.

Very good and take your left leg and put it in here. The left. I know those are some big a pause right there for a second and listen carefully. When you press this leg away, you're going to use this thigh. You're going to press your leg out at an angle when I asked you to. And then as you do that, your other leg will come off the bar. Okay.

Press this leg away toward my hand. That's it. Keep pressing, keep pressing, good. And that, take the other leg up and we'll put it right in here. It's close your legs. There you go. Turn your toes outward a little bit. Give your heels a little squeeze, like there's a little Ziploc bag here doing really well with that. Feel the weight of the straps. Want to pull you that way and I need you to get really long in your torso and reach away this way. That's good. Very nice.

Shimmy your pelvis a little bit to me if you can. Hey, you go? Yes. Yeah, so press yourself nice and long. Just hold that there. Good. Monitor your pelvis. Now put your hands, your palms here and angle you. See how your pubic bone now is a little bit curled up. So I need you to find a way to lengthen your pubic bone away from you. I call it south. Keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going.

There you go. If the how now that levelness there has flattened out. Can you feel that? Yeah. So now when I asked you to bring your legs back up, I don't want you to curl your buttocks. I want you to move your legs independently. Okay. Alrighty. So the legs come up a little bit in the air. Pause right there. Get loaded in the legs. That's what I like to say.

Can you feel how it's loaded in the back of the legs here? You feel that there? Gently reach your toes. Long. Very good. And then push your legs back down to my hand. Very good. Inhale, lift the legs up. Pause. Exhale. Push them down. Push them down. Good. One more time. Inhale. And then exhale. Push them down.

Push them down into my hands and pause right there. Now stretch your legs any bit longer. Remember when you push them on the foot bar and can you just stretch these legs long? Good. So I want the weight to be a little bit lower in your pell day. That's it. So then you might feel, oh Geez, is she asking me to arch my back? No, I'm just asking you to keep your pelvis level and then relax your, your ribs kinda downward. There you go.

And now it doesn't feel so Archie in your back. Is that true? Okay. But do you feel how this is a flatter relationship here? Okay, leave your hands there. Keep your heels together. Bend your knees in like a little frog shape. So your, your, your legs come in, your heel stays squeezing. Pause right there. There's another loaded. There you go. That's the good quiver we want. That's work. Yes. Yes, yes.

You can take your hands down by your side now and feel how now the weight is distributed. It's kind of a little bit low. It's not in your buttocks completely, but it's certainly not resting into your low back. One of the best things we do for any sort of back discomfort is to differentiate between pelvic stability, abdominal control, and then hip movement. Does that make sense? A little bit connection. Yes. A lot of connections. I'm gonna repeat what she said. She said she needs a lot of connection between her abs and her legs moving.

So squeeze your heels together now without moving your pelvis. Stretch your legs out at an angle. Press like your thighs are pressing down into my hands. Very good. And then slowly bend the knees back in to that same 90 degrees. And pause right there. This is the tricky part of the exercise.

Notice the straps want to pull you away in. They want to just fold you up and we're going to let you do that in a little bit, but not right now. I want you to feel this quiver. Want you to feel the work behind your thighs, all the way down to where your buttocks meet your thighs. Can you feel bad? Alrighty. Three times in a row. Inhale, press those legs straight, zip them together. Exhale, bend the knees in. Don't move your pelvis two more times. Inhale, press away. Exhale, bend those knees in last time. Press away.

And then last time, come in, recognize neutral in your pelvis. Very good. Pause. And then let the knees fold in. Let them stretch your back. Ooh, think rolling like a ball. Yeah. So after the work, who, when we come to the little relaxation. So pull your heels into my hand a little bit. There you go.

You'll feel your hamstrings come alive just a little bit right there. So this is kind of like rolling like a ball, right? When you do it in the mat work. When you pull the knees way in, kind of get that nice scoop in the low back. Squeeze the feet together. Very good. Scooping the belly, and then let the knees come in a little bit more. That's it. That's it. Whole.

But you'll notice here that you're still pressing into your straps because you don't want the straps to throw you all the way over. But you want to appreciate the stretch in your spine. Start to lower your pelvis back down and recognize neutral. One more time. Press your legs out a hair til they come to 90 degrees. Very good, and stop right there. You are good. These straps go between the knees. That's it. Hold right there. You are a great, great student. This is fabulous.

Press the thighs away a little bit more. Good. Just stop right there. So I want you to recognize again where that quiver is. Okay, so you've got to load the legs. I call that very good. This will come in to play in other exercises. It stay there for a little bit. Recognize your pelvis. It's starting to curl up a little bit. Put your hands there, see where that pelvic bone needs to be.

Drop it down a little bit more. [inaudible]. So keep the legs here, bend the knees in a little bit. There you go. And then let your thighs drop down. There it went. There you go. So you feel now hold right there. You're going to be much more loaded when your pelvis is in that neutral position. Much safer for your back here as well. So go in and get regroup for a second. Recognize that quiver. Lift the abdomen.

Lift up the pelvic floor from the bottom. That's the closing of the core from the bottom. Okay. Now we're going to go into leg circles. Press the legs out here. Hold yourself right there. Take your arms down by your side. Exercise looks like this. Inhale the legs come up.

Open the legs. Press them down, and then close them. Straighten your legs out for me. Straighten them out. Good. Just hold your legs right there. I'm gonna Demonstrate first with my arms. So inhale, the legs come up straight. They open, they press down, and then they close. Smaller circle. Inhale up. Open them just about the width of this carriage, and then press down with the thighs and then close. Pause right there.

Lengthen those legs out. One more time. I know it seems like overkill. Monitor this. There you go. You're getting back to neutral. You feel where that fine tune is now. Now you yearned to kind of keep that pubic bone long as you bring your legs up again. So as the legs come up, go ahead and bring the legs up as the legs come up. Don't curl your buttocks. That's another exercise. Okay, and that opened the legs apart.

Press them down and then close three times in a row on your own. Inhale up open. Exhale, down close. Inhale up, open. Exhale, press legs. Long waiting. Then out. One more time. Inhale up open. Exhale, down close, pause. Reverse. Open the legs.

Bring them up in the air. Close them. Point the toes. Press down. Remember that? Left big toe. Inhale, open the legs. Come up, close them. Press down through that left big toe. Press down. Press down. Press down. One more time. Come up, close the legs. Press down through both big toes. Very good. Bend the knees all the way in. Relax.

Wonder why queuing that big toe makes your whole leg change. Doesn't hit, just gets the whole leg yet. Well, the feet connect all the way up through the thighs and through the legs. Is it true that you felt that around your, the circumference of your thighs? Yes. You did it. Perfect. Hang onto these straps. I'm going to teach you how to get out. Just hang onto the straps. We're going to take this right leg out first. Do not let go the straps.

This leg comes out, it goes down to the bar, you feel the bar good. And now this leg comes out, goes down to the bar, and then the straps come up over the head and then we lower the straps down. There's some little hooks right here that they go on. Ooh, how are you feeling? Very, very good. Okay. Roll to your side and come on up. We're going to change our position again. All right, so the next thing we're going to do, I like to call this egg. Well, it's called a hug a tree, and salute. It's a bit of arm work.

While we get re in relation to the course, I'm gonna have you sit this way, face the front of the reformer. So you're gonna sit your buttocks here in face the foot bar, and just sit cross legged for me to start with. I'm going to see the shape of your spine here. Very good. Okay. So you'll notice here when you, when you're sitting like this, I feel like you're kind of pitched forward a little bit over your, there you go.

So just by saying that, move away from the shoulder as just a little bit. There you go. Good. Now pull your shirt down here. So in this position here, sitting, you know is really hard. You know. So what I'm going to, can I touch your belly again here in the sitting position? So I want you to just kind of feel your waistline kind of come back a little bit. [inaudible] there you go. Now, right where my hand is here in the front of your tummy. You remember when you were lying on your back and I had the weight on your belly. I want you to pretend like that weight is just pulling your belly backwards away from my hand. Don't, don't move your back back, but just pull your belly in.

Okay. Better. Do you see how there's a tendency when you pull your belly in to just kind of pull your back back? Okay. So we want to differentiate that in the very beginning we called it the independent belly. So you want my back neutral? Once your belly strong? Yes. Okay. Yes. I'm going to put both my hands around your spine like this. Okay.

And when I want you to pretend like is that we're just making this, don't lean your shoulders back. We're just going to leave. Pull this. Tell me away from my hand. That's better. Yeah. Yeah. There you go. That's it. Okay. Notice how there's a tendency to want to lean your back backwards to get your belly engaged. Can you kind of feel there's just a tendency to want to do that? Yes. Yeah. If I'm already doing abdominal work. You that? Yes. Did you hear it?

She said she's already doing abdominal work in sitting. Yay. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Now I want you to sit, um, kinda like you were a second ago. So I kind of want you to let your back sag forward or back, whatever, and then do, do it the opposite. Like if somebody says, hey Joe, sit up really tall. Okay. And now, now you feel how your abdominals aren't working there because all you've done is you've just arched your back and you've kind of sat forward on your parent area, right? Okay. And your way interior. Okay, so we're going to regroup that again because awareness in Polonius is really everything. That's all that's, there you go. So you might feel like now that you're rounded forward, but you're really not really. Okay. So this looks really good. So again, from here please, without moving your back.

Take this hand behind your back. Let's just do a little awareness here. You just put that hand right here, okay. And you put your own hand right here. Okay. Okay. So I'm going to talk you through this. So your right hand is on your belly, your other hand is behind your back. As you pull your belly away from this hand should not feel anything in your back hand.

Okay? So yeah, there's a tendency to pull that belly in, in which case you want to push back. But what I want you to do is just pull away from this hand and you don't want to feel that's better. That's good. Does that make sense? A little bit. Do you see how there's a tendency to want to use your back to do the job of your belly? Yes.

Okay. Now take your arms out in front of you. Like, so this part feels like Simon says, you know, do this, do that. See this, do that. Okay. Are Your hips comfortable? Yes. [inaudible] because some people need to sit up on something, but you don't seem to have tight, tight hamstrings, your hips or anything. So press down on my hands. Feel how your belly is active just by pressing down. He kind of held that. Yay. Hold that right there. Hold that, hold that. Yeah. Yes.

And now press up into my hands. Okay. That don't change your spine. See how that's, oh my gosh, you're such a good example. Hold that right there. And now press this one up and this one down. Wow. Why does that work? Huh? And now press this one up and this one damn. Doing Great. Doing Great. And then relax your arms down.

Rest right there so you don't have to be in that posture 24 seven but if you're here for an hour or doing some exercises, getting some stuff done, it's good to keep it all connected there. You feel, you feel okay with that? Now we're going to add some springs to it. Okay. Yay. She says so willingly. Okay, so I'm going to put you on a pretty late spring here too, to see if your arms, how they relate to your trunk with the spring. Okay? Are you uncomfortable at all? Really comfortable. Okay, here you go. Hands in here. There you go. Same pressure.

Same posture is sitting now. I liked that you asked that because whenever we're in sitting, whether we're sitting on a box or sitting on the chair or whatever, we want that same upright posture and what your body thinks is up, right is a little bit of extension. That's just what your body thinks. So I'm going to help you kind of reshape that thought a little bit. Make sense? Okay, so take your arms out to the side. It looks like this. We call this exercise. Hug a tree. So the hands, they can just hold that right there. Lift your elbows up just a little bit.

There you go. Get connected there. Good. Hold that for me. I'm just gonna check you from the side. Nice. Now what? I'm going to give you a little cue these ribs right here. I just want you to imagine that they're coming back to meet these ribs back here. There you go. Hold right there. That my friend is fabulous. That's really good. If you just hold that, I'm happy. That's work, isn't it?

It's working. The arms to work in the trunk. It's working. Recognizing where vertical is. We're going to challenge that with a little bit of movement. Take an inhale. Exhale, hug your arms together. Touch your middle fingers together. Good. Inhale, open the arms. Exhale. So the, our motion is not hard for you at all.

What's hard for you is to recognize your spine motion. OK. And then inhale, open up the arms, doing really well. Let these ribs come back right here again. That's it. And then close those arms working. Really Nice. One more time. Open. And then one more time close. Touch your fingers. Hold yourself right there. Don't change anything. Doing really well. Take one big inhale while you're here.

One big exhale while you're here. And then take your arms down and I'll take these traps and we'll take them away. Good job. So you feel jaw about relationship. It's all about kind of recognizing where your spine is. Okay, come on. Good. Come on off the carriage. Okay.

We're going to switch to an exercise here that we call elephant. I'm going to put her on one red and one blue spring. Okay. So what we've done so far is we've done very traditional footwork. We've oriented her to neutral pelvis. She's caught some surprises in her body.

A little bit about where posture is and how things like that. Next exercise we're going to do is elephant. So you're going to stand on the carriage [inaudible]. There you go. And turn and face the foot bar. Okay. This exercise in a second is going to have your hands on the foot bar. Okay.

And your heels against the shoulder rest. Okay, so it's going to mimic a little bit. I heard you say you did some yoga and stuff in the past, so it's going to kind of mimic a downward doggish position. But I'm going to, I'll tidy it up for you when you're in the posture. Okay? So your hands will come down on the bar. You're going to crawl your legs backwards until they're right here at the, at the shoulder rest. Your feet are down. You can, that's fine. There you go. Just hold that right there.

So you remember we been in a similar position before where you moved your legs out and in. Okay, so I'm going to take your ribs, we're going to round your spine upward and you're going to nod your head downward. You didn't have a look at your shins. Good. Exactly. So I want you to imagine for a second, Joe, that you're pulling this bar upward to the ceiling. Yeah. If, yeah, that makes a nice connection. So notice that you're not resting down here. It's already work again, right? Oh darn it. Work again. Now feel where my hand is here. Pull your belly away from. That's beautiful. You feel how you're getting that same hollow scoop there? Looks really good.

So now we're going to clean up these legs. You're going to tighten up your thighs, pressure, thighs into my hand forward. Pull your hands up off the bar, but don't move them. Just get that connection like you're going to lift that bar up. Wrap, wrap your fingers like you're trying to pick the bar up off the floor. There Ya go. That's it. Yeah, that's work right there. Correct.

Hold yet. Scooped in that belly. Now move the carriage back with your feet. Push the carriage backwards with your feet, and then pull the carriage underneath. You have legs, push back, belly pulls in to return the carriage. You're right with that. Okay. Do that a couple more times. It's going to check your alignment from this angle here. Good.

Press back with the legs and then pull the belly back in. One more time back, and then one more time forward. Pause right there. Step this foot forward for me and take the other foot forward and roll yourself back up to standing. Just take a little break from there. Very good. Yeah, this is safe right here. Okay. I won't let you get hurt. Very good. How's it feel? Just standing here. It's kind of a fun kind of like a little powerful to kind of stand there.

We're going to do the exercise again. I'm just going to get a couple more cues, but it's important to me to not talk to you so much while you're in that exercise cause it's kind of tough to pull up on the bar and feel all those different things. So round your spine down, go back down, take your feet back behind you again. The name of the exercise again is called elephant. I'm gonna clean this up. Now you're going to lift your toes up. Remember that big toe. Press down on it, but lift the toes up so that big toe mound right there, lift the piggies up if the he how your ankle to go out like that. Okay. I need you to put weight right here. Very good. Now pull your shins into my hand together.

Like you're going to pull your thighs towards you. There you go. You feel that connection there. Your legs are nice and engaged. We're going to go back here now. We're going to take your elephant flection, if you will. I'm going to take it higher up into your ribs. Do you feel how now we're working to stretch to this part right here. Can you feel that? Okay, so we have a little bit of asymmetry here.

So I'm going to be working on you pulling in this side of your abdomen a low, my goodness. Very good. So let your head rest for me. There you go. So I don't want you to work too hard in the neck. Lots of things to think about. Lifted toes up. Good. We're hitting the home stretch here. Tighten up your thighs, push the carriage back with your legs. And then right here where my hands are, I'm going to resist the carriage on your way and pull the carriage in with your legs by pulling your belly in. You feel that work in your belly right there.

When I resist the carriage, now you create that push back and then pull in with your abdomen. Very good. And now a little bit of dynamicness to this exercise and then pull it in. So five times in a row. Inhale back and exhale forward. Inhale back and exhale, fold. Inhale back.

Exhale forward two more times. Pull the belly in last time. Pull the belly in. Pause, hold the carriage in. Drop your toes down. Stay right here. Pull that rib cage up. Now I'm going to push this carriage out. I don't want you to let me pull it out, y'all right? Yes.

This is our last little hurrah with this exercise. I'm going to move this carriage out. You're not gonna let me move it. Curl up into that belly right there. I'm going to move this carriage. Don't let me move it. Hold it with those legs. Hold it with your belly. Feel that connection underneath your ribs. Hold, hold, hold, and then drop down onto your knees and restaurant there.

Woo. That's hard work. It's harder than, it's harder than it looks. I love that. Okay. Lie back on your back. Going back to three red springs, which is what we started with. The feet are on the bar. This exercise is called running. Okay? So you'd put the balls of the feet on the bar. It's going to mimic that exercise tendon stretch that we did. So get regrouped, feel your shoulders relax, feel your belly pole in, lift your heels very high, press the carriage out, stay out good.

And push the bar away from you. Push right down through this big toe again. Good. And now lower this heel down as you bend this knee up. Good. And then press and then switch. Good. And as you switch your legs, see if you can maintain equal weight on the balls of both of your feet, regardless of which heel is raising. Makes Sense. Cause there's a tendency to kind of like shift through it.

What I want you to do is to think that your trajectory is going that way. Okay? So press equally. You go that way and then you reluctantly dropped down one heel and then you press equally on the balls of both your feet higher, higher, higher, higher, higher, higher, higher, and then drop down. Right? So it's not just about a calf stretch, it's about that whole leg activation. Makes Sense. Okay, keep going. Inhale, switch. Exhale, reach up, drop down, reach up, drop down on your own, little bit quicker. Now go drop-in, lift and drop. Bend, lift. Relax the shoulders. Keep going.

Five and four and three and two and one. Bend both the knees. Bring yourself all the way in. Very nice. Pause right there. We're gonna lower your head. Rest down. Almost done here. Good lesson for you. This is really, really nice job. So you're going to put your heels on the bar out about here again.

This next exercise we're going to call a little bottom lifts. It's like a, like a little mini bridge. So attract your thighs together. Take the time. I'm sorry. Your legs are apart, but, but you're just attracting through your heels so the legs are apart and you're just like pulling your heels together. Yeah, there you go. See she makes that connection all the way through that inner thigh area. Take the time here to scoop your belly in. Curl that tailbone underneath. You enroll yourself up. Your headrest is down. Hold right there.

Lift the pelvis a little higher. Pause right there. So your shoulder blades are down, your chest is open, you're getting that nice deep scoop in the belly with the tailbone lifted and then slowly lie your spine back down, section by section, by section. Very good. One more time up. Nice job. Hold that curl and now press your carriage out and then bring it in. Trying to hold the lift of your pelvis while you engage the back of your legs to press out. Exhale, come back in and then last time out, and then last time in and then take time to lie your spine all the way back down. All the way back down. Very good. I forgot about that.

Why do you say that? Is it a little bit of a oblique work here or no? Sure. It gave me, it can be, but what we're doing here is the end of the workout where we're engaging the back of your thighs again. Let's do it again. So curl your tailbone up. Let's bring the carriage in. Bring the kerogen in all the way to the stopper right there. Now hold that carriage in as you lift up. Hold that carrot. There you go.

Now you feel the engagement there in the back of your thighs. Okay. And then slowly press yourself out and then bring yourself back in just just a little bit so that you don't change the shape of your spine. If you can go longer and go longer with the legs, then go ahead. Let's see what happens to the spine. So go ahead and stretch the leg, stretch the leg, stretch the legs. Don't change anything here. And then bring yourself all the way back in and yeah, that's it.

Keep going against it. Don't change the shape. Don't change your shape. Don't change your shape. Stretch out, stretch out, stretch out, cause you can, and then bring yourself all the way back in and then lie your pelvis down. Lie Down is going to give you a little traction here. Ooh, that feels good. Fold this knee into the chest and pull the other leg into the chest and just hug yourself right there. Take your hands right around your shins. Take a big inhale and a big exhale. Very good.

Nice, nice job. Very nice. You're welcome.


4 people like this.
Karen that was excellent!! your descriptive clarity is amazing - I admire that quality. Thank you for sharing your talents so effortlessly and the impact you impart to others through your teaching!!! I have loved every class you have taught here on PA!!
2 people like this.
Very good class. As always, I learn new cueing, which is so helpful in my teaching.
I love going back to the basics! Very informative!! Great class to help me get ready for the next Reformer Teacher Training at Pilates Unlimited!!
1 person likes this.
Not sure if I was ready for this but I liked the class and will do again. Just watching it was helpful. I just bought a reformer. I have taken pilates mat classes but no reformer. I am considering private lessons. This is great help. Thanks
1 person likes this.
I love this class. I learned so much from you, Karen. Very clear with your cues, thank you.
2 people like this.
This class was perfect, it was more educational than a big workout, however I felt like I was the student and I will use what I learned moving forward. I will definatly do this class again!!!
1 person likes this.
Wow! I loved this class, can´t wait for my next first time client!
I wish I had this as my first session when I first started, everything would have been so much easier!
Thank you Karen
1 person likes this.
Nothing like the basics, Karen your cueing and details are so wonderful. Thank you!
Karen Sanzo
It's fun when a new person starts. Clarity can bring so much. When I try to get all fancy with a "newbie" it rarely works. Start with foundation and there will always be something to refer back to!!!! Y'all keep up the good work. More coming for the newbie.
Karen, you are simply the BEST! Please come again soon. I miss you.
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