Class #87

Mat Progression Series 7/10

50 min - Class


This is the 7th class in a series that takes the new student from Basic to intermediate Mat work. We take it to the next level in this class by using the Magic Circle as a tool to help deepen the Powerhouse, Arm, Buttock, Inner and Outer Thigh Muscles. The Magic Circle is incorporated in all of the exercises learned previously in the series as well as introducing the Side Leg Kick Series.
What You'll Need: Mat, Magic Circle

About This Video

Feb 14, 2010
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All right ladies, let's go ahead and have your knees bent and feet flat on the Mat. Arms by your side. We're going to introduce magic circle today, which is a great tool when you don't have the other Pi's equipment like the reformers, Cadillac and all the rest of the studio. That really helps to build good awareness. So we are going to add a whole bunch of um, side exercises today called the sidekicks. And when your change your frame and put it on your side, all of a sudden we forget how to use our powerhouse. So it's really easy.

Right now we're flat on our back for most of our exercises. So it's gravity helps us pull our powerhouse into your back and you're able to feel the ribs pull into your lats and those connections are easier than when put you on your side. It starts gravity is starting to pull you down. This way it changes things. So we're going to use a circle to help us with feeling those muscles get a little more grounded. And then next week when we have our last two mat classes, we're going to do things on our stomach. And that's completely fighting gravity then because gravity is trying to pull you into a sway back and we'll have to really have good powerhouses then to protect our backs.

So we're going to learn how do you use the magic circle? So it's go ahead and grab it between your hands. So the magic circle, I want you to think about as a powerhouse circle instead of a magic circle. Okay? So every time you're going to squeeze that circle, you're going to engage your stomach first. Okay? Whenever we squeeze it. So let's figure out how do we squeeze it in our hands. Let's have the arms straight up overhead. Perfect.

Now women especially love to hyperextend our joints, our elbows or knees. So we're going to have to keep an eye on that, hold it with all of the thumb and the fingers pointing straight up to the ceiling and have the circle in the heel of your hand. Not In the palm, but right on the heel of your hand. Good. We want to learn how to use our limbs, our arms and legs, like they're just extensions of a really strong core instead of putting your energy in the hand and gripping for dear life in any of these things. Okay, so great. I love it how your arms are straight, but I want you to soften your elbows just a tiny bit. Perfect. And then point the elbows towards the side as if you're, and that helps to lift the back of the arm. So we're going to point just a little bit to this side. So the tricep muscle loves to hang.

It's the first muscle that loves to Hank and we, when wherever we squeezed the circle, we're always gonna lift it up a little bit, pointing our elbows away from us. Okay? So like I said, this is a powerhouse circle. Think of it that way and not just a magic circle. So right now you should feel your nice square frame. Your back should feel flat on the mat.

And I want you to pull your navel deep into your spine, pressing that small, the back down. And now with that power, squeeze that circle as tight as you can for five, four, three, two, one and release. Try to do that without collapsing in the chest, keeping your elbows pointed outside. So don't go like totally squeezing your chest. Try to keep a nice open chest and squeeze. So pulling in the powerhouse. Let's squeeze it one more time for five, four, three, two better feel your ribs pulling into your lats and release.

And that's enough. Just bring your circle down. Does that make sense? When you hold those arms? Okay, so you're going to want to feel it from your ribs pulling into those lats that are pulling your shoulders down. When it goes weak and your with your legs, it can either go between your knees or between your ankles. Let's start off with it between your knees. It's actually a little bit, I should say, between your thighs above your knee and sometimes we have some little lymph nodes or something that might get, feel gets a little caught. Put the feet back on the mat, your feet. You want to have still in line with your hips.

So you'll be wanting to put 'em out wider, but try to keep them narrower and parallel. Don't point your toes. So bring your feet together a little bit more. There you go. Great. Good. Okay. And, and we bring them a little forward. There you go. And bring your right foot in a little bit. That's it. That's square for you. Good looking pretty good. Okay.

Maybe bring them forward a little bit in a little bit together. There we go. Alright, so arms rest by your side. So we have our circle between our thighs. We could squeeze this circle here till the cows came home just by using our thigh muscles. But those are our dominant muscles and we want to try to let that circle help us engage and strengthen something that's a little weaker like our bottle.

So we're not going to squeeze that circle with our thighs. Okay. I want you to pool your navel into your spine and pretend that circle is between your cheeks and for your bottom. And I want you to squeeze your bottom real tight and then think about your outer thighs, the side of your thighs. And squeeze those muscles, engage those to help squeeze a circle and finally use your inner thighs to help out too. So you're really squeezing the circle now and hopefully you've engaged your bottom, outer thighs and inner thighs. Keep the tight and see if you can use your powerhouse and bottom to help tilt your pelvis towards you. So you're lifting up just your tailbone.

You're gonna tip that bowl of soup that we've talked about before. Good. Keeping the feet on the mat. Let's go ahead and lift up your bottom completely so that your waistbands off the mat, just your waistband, not your bra strap or the bottom of your shoulder blades. And then lift another vertebra and another one until the only thing left on the mat we're going to keep lifting is your shoulders. So keep lifting and you're going to be a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Good. Hold it there with nice straight line.

And we're going to try to keep our bottom right where it is. Still squeeze in that circle and drop down your breastbone drowsy. Drop down your sternum, rolling through those ribs and the middle back, the waistband roll through that pelvis. And finally the tailbone. Bethany, maybe bring your feet just a tiny bit closer to you. Yeah, in a little narrower. Good. You're welcome. It's a little more challenging where they're too far away from you.

Do they feel okay for you there? Yeah. Okay, so now I'm going to add a little bottom work while we're up there just to really drive home the message here and help wake up your seats. Sorry about that. So we're going to use your bottom actually first powerhouse belly button in. Then use your bottom, engage those outer thighs, engage those inner thighs and start doing a pelvic tilt and lifting up your waistband and lifting up the next vertebra until your a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Not using your lower back to just arch to pick up. Lift up your bottom a little bit more. Bethany, give me a straight line. A little higher, little higher, little higher. There you go. Holding it.

They're not posting up and down. Let's pull that circle 10 times, one, two, three, four, five, six from your seat from those outer thighs, you can always use those inner thighs and hold tight and melt down. Really articulating the ribs, the waistband, and finally your tailbone and relax. So I think we felt those muscles right? All those nice upper, basically from the hip down, from the hip to the knees specially. And those are really important because now we're going to put the circle between our ankles. But when you put it between your ankles, you can very easily just squeeze it with your feet and you want to bring all that energy and remind yourself how to start squeezing it from up here.

So bring your knees into your chest, take the circle away, and you're going to put the circle between your ankles. Good. And now extend the legs almost straight up to the ceiling. And whenever we squeezed the circle between our ankles, we are going to remember those barbershop poles and wrap those thigh muscles, rotating them out, out, out so that your knees turned out and then your foot is turned out. And all that's turned out right. Arms arresting by your side.

And we're going to take a big breath and exhale, pull that belly in and remember how to use your bottom, your outer thighs and inner thighs and squeeze those two pads together. So really engaging the powerhouse as well as the bottom here and relax and do that one more time. Powerhouse pools into your back. Squeeze with the bottom out of size. Great. Use your upper stomach to lift your head and shoulders to really look at your belly. Long arms by your side. And let's do the a hundred here. Inhale, three, four, five. Exhale, two, three, four, five. Great, so keep breathing. You do not need a pump. The circle, it's going to stay just squeezing and we don't want any energy in those toes because we want all the energy where it counts right in that seat, right in those size. If you think you can keep your s the small of your back flat and lengthening those legs away from you, lower the legs a little bit, you may to challenge your powerhouse. Good.

The circle is also great because it shows you if you're balanced. If you're squeezing with one side more than the other, you might have a little tighter squeeze on one side, pulling towards you probably about 20 more. Inhale and exhale. Good, good, good. Really remember you're using those outer thighs and last big breath and you should really feel a smaller your back pressing deep, deep, deep into the mat and bend the knees and hug and rest your head. Did it change that a hundred a little bit. Just a little.

Everyone loves to take that circle away. Go ahead and sit on up. We're going to do the roll back. Perfect position Amery and we're going to have your circle now between your thighs. We are going to do two reps with it between our thighs and then we're going to try to advance it and we're going to put it between our hands, so I'll show you that in just a second. All right, feet again are in line with your hip bones, not so wide, not your silhouette hip, hands underneath your knees and give me the best round back. The best c curve you can. You're pulling your belly in, you're tipping that bowl of soup towards you. Elbows are lifted up a little bit.

Great. And from your bottom. Squeeze that circle, outer thighs and inner thighs and roll your pelvis away from your legs to get no, no away from your legs so that you get your waistband down. Good and Bra. Strap your head hold. Take a breath as your head comes up. And XL really important. Squeeze that circle to help you come up. Yes. That's what gives you that power. Wonderful. Stay round and squeeze that circle and start rolling your navel away.

Beautiful. One Vertebra at a time. The head touches. Inhale, lift your head. Exhale really squeezed with a seat and that gives you the power of scooping more. There you go. And let's do one more and in with the or to start. Exhale to roll the rest down. You can work a little more on your waist.

There you go. All the way down. Inhale to lift your head. Exhale, pull into that round. Lower back. Good. Good. That's it. And stay up for me. Wonderful. Good. Take it away and straighten your legs on the map and you can put it by your side. Make sure your legs are down the middle and just reach for your ankles. Ideally, we do this stretch just like in spine stretch forward where we keep our hip bones over our sip bones. But it's all right to just go ahead and stretch now. So we're going to do the same exercise, but full extension.

Make sure heels are as close, are almost off the edge or as close to the edge as you can. Because when you learn this exercise, you're going to be sliding back a little bit. As you get more advanced, the goal is to stay exactly in place yet, but in the beginning we don't have enough bottom control. So we start sliding back. But later on we're gonna use that bottom to keep lengthening our legs away from us. And that holds us in place. So let's grab our circle and hold it in front of us of shoulder height.

Good. And remember, it's in the heels of your hands. Fingers are pointing forward. No droopy elbows. They're soft a little bit. And pointing to the side to lift that tricep. To lift the back of the arm. Bend the elbow just a tiny bit. There you go. And you're going to round your back round.

Good wrapping and squeeze in those legs together. All together. Heels together. Good. And you're going to squeeze that circle and pull that circle back with your stomach. Good. And just reach it up to the ceiling. Good. Just up to the ceiling can get your legs together. Turning out those barbershop poles. Good.

So I'm having you stop here because right now your back should be flat. You should be able to pull your ribs into your lats and I want you to stretch back your arms only if you can keep your back flat. If you start lifting up your ribs and your upper back, then you've gone too far with your arms. Okay. And now bring your arms up to the ceiling. Bring your head through your arms and right here, pull your belly in and squeeze the heck out of that circle to roll up one head down. Roll up one vertebra a time.

You got it reaches forward as you can and then rolling back. You want to squeeze that circle from your powerhouse, keeping it a little lower. Yes, and then only reach it as far back as you can. Keep your back flat and we're going to come up again. Arms Up, head powerhouse and squeeze and scooping and beautiful and stretch and roll and down. We're going to do one more after this. Actually two more and stretching back. You can go at your own tempo.

What you want to make sure is that those thighs are working to, so arms head. You're wrapping in squeezing. Very nice, good and stretch and we're gonna squeeze, not with those elbow joints. We want to get these joints and squeeze it and pull back with the powerhouse. Yeah. Beautiful. One more for you Bethany, and then you're going to all stay down coming up to Jennifer. Great. Yeah. Stretching forward with the powerhouse in.

You can put the arm circle by your side and roll and down. Oh, sorry. Once you're down and now you can place a circle by your side. There are a few exercises. We don't really use the magic circle. So the next one is single leg circle. So you're going to bend your knees, feet flat on the mat like Anne Marie here. Good. So that step up your roll up a little bit. Yeah. Knees are squeezing together.

So even though you don't have a circle, feet are squeezing together. You want to still feel that stability, those outer thighs and that seat right here. Okay. Want to really always stabilize. Powerhouse is sinking. Bend the right knee into your chest. Give it a hug. Extend that leg. It's in the barbershop pole. Turned out, turned out in place.

Your hands behind your thigh or calf. If you can reach up there and stretch. Good. If you guys were extremely stiff, I would let you, you guys are pretty good though. Um, grab that circle and you can kind of use it to help stretch you to, but you're all pretty good. So now we're gonna press your arms by your side. You know this exercise, single leg circles, we're going to pull up with our stomach up to your nose, cross around, up. Good. Cross around and up. That back stays flat cross. You can go down a little Jennifer. There you go. Nice and cross.

Just try to straighten the back of your neck a little more and hold. Let's reverse going down. Cross around up. Good down, good. Stability in that center and three around, up, down, cross around, up. Try to cross over that Iberia. Go and one more and give it a hug. Bringing that knee into your chest, right foot goes down next to your left. Use your powerhouse to bring your left knee into your chest. Extended up to the ceiling, turning it out from your hip.

We're thinking of that Pilati stance while you give it a stretch. There we go. Press those arms into the mat and use your powerhouse to pull that leg up to your nose. Cross around up. Good for more. Cross around, up, bringing us high as you can. As you cross keeping those hips stable. One more. Cross around and hold. Reverse down. Keep.

Don't hide the inner thigh. Make sure you have those muscles turning around. Good. Using the back of your leg to help pull it up. One more hug in that knee to your chest. Great place both feet on the mat. And we're going to try to use our powerhouse to roll up to a seated position.

So scooping in, give it the all you've got. Nice job ladies. And then lift your bottom forward to your heels. Good. It's rolling like a balls and another exercise that we don't really use the magic circle. There are ways that we could torment you with it, but we don't need to today. So let's bring your feet forward. Disadvantage. Jennifer, there you go. Let's start to with your hands under your knees, just to warm up that lower back, head to your chest, keeping your feet on the mat. Let's see if you can give me more distance between your thighs and your stomach.

Great. And then use your powerhouse to lift the feet up and balance. You can do one at a time or both. Good. Great. This is one is not like seal your [inaudible], you're gonna keep your feet close towards your bottom instead of kicking them straight. Okay. And let's go. Inhale, roll back. Exhale, roll up in balance and in with the air back and exhale. So I want you to try to keep this relationship more.

Instead of letting those legs go straight and pull back with your powerhouse and inhale, roll back. That's better. And exhale and hold to keep [inaudible] that relationship a little bit more. Why don't we hold onto your ankles, grab onto your ankles. Good. And use those arms to hold them there. Good. A lot of space between your belly and your low and your thighs. And inhale, roll back. And exhale, roll up.

Let's all stay up and show me how well you can balance and rolling back together. Inhale, roll back. X. Inhale, roll up. We're trying a little bit to cheat by moving our head first. Keep your head looking at your belly and make your belly pull you back. Inhale, roll back. Exhale, roll up. Give me one more. Inhale, roll back. Exhale, roll up. Hold scooping in that belly. Let me see that scoop. I know you have it.

There you go. Rest your feet down on the mat. Nice. Very good. All right, so we're going gonna put our hands behind us and lift those light bottoms back. Good. And lie down on your back. Okay, we've got the series of five. The series of five has a single leg stretch, a double leg stretch, single straight leg, double straight, like an a crisscross for both the single leg stretch or the single straight leg. When you're switching, we won't use a circle on all the other ones. We will. Okay, so let's use our powerhouse to hug your knees into your chest.

Go very nice. Hands on your ankles and use your powerhouse to lift up your head to your chest. Good. That's right. So make sure you right now you're feeling your stomach really pull you together tight, pressing the small of your back down. Be careful that your feet don't serve as a wait, but that year they're coming up and their same levels.

Your knee placed that left hand on your right knee or right below it as you extend that left leg. So right hand on your ankle, left hand on your knee and powerhouses deep into that mat. Let's switch. Left. Right, left. Scooping in. Pull your head more into your yes scoop. Good. And instead of pressing the knee, wrap in, squeeze. Use that seat. There you go. Powerhouse. Right, left. One more set, right, left and both knees into your chest. Rest your heads down for a second.

For some reason when you add a circle, we completely forget the how to do an exercise. So we're going to do it first without the circle and then we're going to add it. Okay, so double leg stretch and I'm going to use you is where you extend the arms and legs to basically here, right? And then the knees just come in, but the arms circle around. So why don't you guys go ahead and join her brain. Get all tight, tight, tight, and inhale, reach. Exhale, pull around. Just one more. Stay tight as ball. Inhale, reach. Good.

Exhale, pull around. Make sure you don't let your shoulders and head go down when your arms go. Rest your head, grab your circle. So okay, so you know how to do the exercise. We're going to put it between your ankles now. So when it extends between your ankles, you're going to try to keep the legs really turned out and squeeze it exactly and use, find the stability in that bottom as that belly dives deeper. Okay.

Bend your knees. Hands are going to still go on your ankles. Lift the head up. Good. I want more connection here. There we go. Yeah. All right. Less than here. There we go. And head, sir. Here we go. Inhale, reach and hold. Ladies, wrap. Squeeze from that seat. I, yeah, an exhale pulling.

I had one person who held it for me. I like that. And inhale, reach and stay there. Bullen in, in squeezing from here, not from the feet. Exhale, pool and be careful about squeezing with the feet. Inhale, that belly sinks down. Nice. Very good. Exhale. One more time. Stay a little higher for me. Inhale, reach. Don't go down and exhale. Pool it in. Very good. Rest your heads down. Circle goes to the side. Gladly.

I know. Single, straight leg. Bend both knees into your chest. Legs go up and crawl up behind your right leg. Good. And now good. Lifting up your head and shoulders. We're ready to go. This stomach is anchored, left leg squeezes down and switch, powerhouse. Good and switch. Good and switch and it's a quick tempo. Those legs are light. They're flying to you and left and right, left good. You're keeping everything in your power house.

Head and shoulders are staying up. Stomach is sinking. Last set, and bend both knees and relax your head down. Good job. All right, we're going to grab that circle again. Place it between your ankles and extend those legs up to the ceiling. Straight up, and you should have two barbershop poles turning out. Very good. You're squeezing it from your bottom, outer thighs and inner thighs. Now place your hands behind your head and use that upper stomach to pull your up and shoulders up. Elbows Y, squeeze that circle and bring it just one inch towards you using your belly towards you this way. There we go. And let those legs drop.

Stretching the back and exhale, pull it towards you and inhales a drop and Xcel toward you. Keep your shoulders and head up more. Inhale as they go down. Exhale to pull them up. Good. You can come up a little higher. Use that stomach and down a little and squeeze from that seat to come up. One more time. Inhale down and use that lower belly that sit. Good.

And we are going to keep the circle but you maybe move it for a second as you take a take a break. Good. All right, so Chris Cross, I really like using it because I, in the very beginning when I taught it to you, I was telling you how a lot of people love to use their lower back to do cross and you've done a really great job of using your powerhouse. But this really brings it home. Okay? So when we hold it between our ankles right now you can rest your feet however you want to. But whenever we hold it between our ankles, it's kind of like driving a car. In other words, if you're using one side more than the other, you would see this like a steering wheel or you might see it pool towards you. Whenever we see this right now in Chris Cross, you know you're using your lower back to try or your quad to try to do the exercise.

So your goal is going to be to keep that circle perfectly still and the, it's going to be the upper stomach that's going to work harder and harder to keep it still. So I want you to bend your knees to your chest, place it between your ankles, good. And when you're ready, hands go behind your head. Your leg should look like a tabletop. That means the knee is right over your hip and your foot isn't in Shin are in a straight line. Like I could have my lunch right on your shin. Okay. We don't use the feet to squeeze. You're not going to squeeze a circle. You just have to hold it steady.

Use your powerhouse to lift your head and shoulders. Good. And we're going to use our powerhouse to take that right elbow or shoulder to your left knee. Hold. Try to get up higher without moving that circle and come center. Stay Center and extend the legs, squeezing the circle and you draw it back in with your powerhouse. Let's take that left elbow and shoulder to that right knee. Don't move this.

You're trying to use your right lower back, right there. There you go. And come center and straighten your legs forward, wrapping and squeezing. Draw it in with your powerhouse. And we're going to do your right shoulder. I'm going to say shoulder for you cause you're loving that elbow movement and come and center and extend the legs together and pull it back in with your stomach. And one last time, taking that left elbow right up, con up, up and center and extend both legs wrapping in, squeezing and drop back in with your powerhouse and take that circle and put it down to the side. Very nice. Little different on that Chris. Cross two pulls it in a little more center.

Go ahead and sit up. Matt. Work is very hard to get all those muscles really that deep. So I've talked about like on a scale of one to 10 it shouldn't be like around a five it should really be where that magic circle is putting it and so, but it takes a long time to train and that's why the equipment is so good because it really helps you get to that degree. But you can see how much just adding a magic circle helps too. So we're going to do spine stretch forward with the circle as well.

So we're going to straighten those legs, heels off the mat and the circle goes between our hands. If you need to bend your knees to sit up tall, you can, but the toes are flexed back. Good. And you're sitting against an imaginary wall. First you pull your powerhouse in long fingers for me, Jennifer, pressing against an imaginary wall. Remember that exercise and we're going to slide up and imaginary wall and now with our powerhouse in squeeze that circle tight and wool off that wall.

One Vertebrae at a time. The head, the shoulders, stretching forward. Keep squeezing the circle, squeeze in circle and relax the circles. You roll up one vertebra. At a time and take a big breath. Pull the powerhouse in, squeeze the circle and exhale as you curl into yourself to roll down, trying to keep the hipbones right over the sip bones and relax the circle as you inhale and roll up one vertebra at a time. Let's do that again.

Inhale up, squeezing the sea, even powerhouse, and exhale. Squeeze that circle and roll forward so we always want nice tone arms. Let's make sure we're getting good arm work out of this and relax that circle and rolling up one vertebra at a time. We're gonna reverse that. That's tension. Now we're going to keep it relaxed. We're going to lift off that seat and exhale as your head goes down.

But don't squeeze a circle. Just reach forward once you can't go any lower. Squeeze that circle an inhale as you draw it back up and relax. In an inhale up. Flex those toes up and exhale down without squeezing the circle. Just long fingers pulling your powerhouse deep into your back and now squeeze it as you inhale and roll up articulating one at a time. One last time, squeezing off that seat. Inhale and exhale forward. Head into your chest.

Pull more into here. There we go. And squeeze it as you roll up. Pull right into here to roll up more into here. Fill up my hand. Thank you. And relax. Good. So you can change alternate w how you squeeze that circle.

We are going to lie on your back. Oh No, we're not. Or we have been one of my pregnancy moments here. Um, let's go ahead and yes, we're gonna not gonna roll on your back. You're gonna bring your legs together. Good. And I'm going to introduce magic circle into open like rocker, which at first seems a little too much, but it actually is a great tool because open like rockers, so kind of free that it gives you a sense of boundary and it helps. So I want you to have the circle by your side for a second as you lift your bottoms forward so you're not too close. There we go and feed her together. Knees are apart. Good knees are apart.

And now this is the tricky part. You're going to have to pull back your powerhouse so that you're rocking back and you've got that bowl of soup tip towards you. And we're going to have to balance with our feet up off the mat. And I haven't said anything about your hands because now you're going to have to figure out how to grab that circle and extend the legs up and place it between your ankles and then place your hands behind your thighs or knees, whatever casts, however high you can get up your arms. But I'd love you to have straight arms, so if you can hold behind your calf's, that would be fine. You don't have to straighten your knees anymore, but yeah, exactly. Come on. Bad Gut Bethany. There we go.

So now just the light press with those hips. Not a very hard press and let's try to go for it. We're gonna rock and roll. Inhale, rock back. Try not to use that head. Exhale, rock up balancing. So not so heavy on the way forward. Inhale, roll back. I'm gonna save someone else back here and inhale, roll back. Power House there. That was good. Exhale, use that up percentage. Oh, she almost got down two more. Inhale, roll back. Watch that head from flicking back. Exhale, use that power house. One more time. Inhale, roll back and exhale up.

And now squeeze that circle considerably with what turned out knees good. And now roll away from your legs. Keep that circle right there as you roll back. Good. And Bend your knees for a little break. Make sure that pillow for you ladies is actually under your head.

Can you reach back further? There we go. Good. You can relax those legs. Okay. It's a really great help in this next exercise in corkscrew. So we're going to extend those legs up and barbershop poles can't stress it enough. Turning out those thighs from your hips. Place between your ankles, Jennifer. There you go. Yeah, you're not squeezing with the feet.

Press those arms into the mat and it's a powerhouse. Circle Rights. Oppress your belly deep into the mat. Use that Parris to bring your legs up and maybe an inch. And let's squeeze that circle as it goes right around to the left and center. Hold it, center everybody.

Cause we're going to go left around to the right and center and reverse right scoop in the belly more. There we go. And Center and right. Good. And here we go. Let's go right around and pull it center. And one more left around scooping into the small of your back. There you go. And that's enough. Hug your knees into your chest so that again really helps you to feel the outer thighs and your seat. Work with your stomach.

When you're doing that exercise saw, we really don't use it there. Again, there's ways to do it, but we don't need to do that today. Sit on up and you're going to get in the same position as spine stretch forward, but your arms are extended in your peripheral vision out to the side. I'd probably bend your knees just a tiny bit so you can sit up taller, good and arms out to the side. Oh, Gotcha. There we go. And sitting nice and tall. Sorry. Pooling your powerhouse in. Pull your toes back. So the feeder flex, we're going to twist without moving our hips to the right. Sorry, go to the right and exhale down past your baby toe, head down, pulling that powerhouse in and straight.

Inhale up, twist to your left, and exhale past your baby toe. I want you to think of the hundred and inhaling up while we continue to do this exercise. Twist to your right. When you do the hundred, you inhale for five counts and then you exhale for five counts, right? So let's inhale as you twist, twist, inhale, inhale, inhale, inhale, and now head down. Exhale for five, four. Exhale, pulling in your hours more and inhale up. Keep inhaling as you twist over to the right, keeping healing and healing and head down. And exhale, pulling into your center. As you exhale, keep that sailing, not just one quick burst of air and inhaling up and keep inhaling as you twist, twist to the left and exhale, pulling your left ribbon, the left stomach and inhaling up and rest.

Good. So that exercise is a breathing exercise. And for some reason when we get to it where a little shorter on our breath, but you, you are able to inhale for five counts and exhale for five during the a hundred. So use that same duration, the same length on this one. Okay. So we're going to introduce now our sights series. Okay. So you're going to lie down your back. Sure. You're so excited.

It's actually the best. Um, you know I played soccer all my life and so my thighs really, really developed and the leg is my quads, I should say where my muscles stopped. It almost look like mid thigh. But the leg series, when you know how to use your other muscles make such long, beautiful thigh muscles. That's really a dramatic difference. So it is one of my favorite series because of that for my lack of dancing ability and all that. And then you get those beautiful long legs. So we have our box, our frame on her body. Now we have to figure out how do we do that on the side.

So I want you to lie on your right side of your body. We're going to have you lie on your left side and you're gonna go to the back edge of your mat. That's right. So that your right elbow is all the way back here. Good. And your feet are actually all the way back to, that's how we're going to start off. So you're lying completely long like that and I'm going to let you be like a beauty queen and rest your head on your hand. Very nice.

So now we have our box on our side that does not allow your stomach to hang out, doesn't allow your stomach to hang down. I want you to pull it in to your back. Your left hand is going to be right in front of your belly button, flat on the Mat and it serves as kind of like a kickstand even tighter in there we go so that it balances you, but it also should serve as a reminder that your whole body, when you're going to be swinging your leg in a moment isn't allowed to rock forward and lie on your hand. It has to keep distance. All right, so your box is going to stay straight. So that means right here, but your legs can go forward to the front edge of the Mat. Perfect. All the way forward for me, Jennifer and Jennifer, are you comfortable with res lifting your head onto your hand or does your neck bet? Either way, better to do it this way for right now, but if you did have a bad neck, you could put that pillow right over your arm and just rest your head down.

Let's do that today. Bring your feet a little more forward. Okay, so I'm going to actually give you your circles cause I'm going to be nice here. Lift this leg up there. So this is how we're going to put them in between our ankles. And of course when we squeeze it between our ankles, we are using our bottom outer thigh and inner thigh to squeeze that circle. And again, it's a powerhouse circle.

So start by rotating that leg from the hip, using those muscles like a barbershop pole. And so your knee should be slightly pointing to the ceiling, your toes slightly to the ceiling. Good and powerhouse is pulled into your back real deep. Now squeeze that circle down with the top leg. Squeeze it down to three, four, five and release. Maybe you didn't get those muscles the first time, but let's try again.

We're going to pull that belly in and then squeeze that circle from your bottom, your outer thigh and your inner thigh and release. And one more time. Stabilize with a powerhouse. Squeeze down with those muscles. Four, five and release. Very good. And I'm to help you put both legs inside the circle. So there is a very coordinated way you can just rest this leg down for now, but it will go up there to do it, but that's more advanced.

So I will help you out today and you can just rest down for right now. Good. Switching them both inside. Who says I never do anything for you guys. Alright, bring their elbow forward a little bit more. Your shoulder and elbow, you're bringing it onto the mat. Perfect. Okay. So now let's lift up that top leg so that both ankles have a pad and you still have both legs like barbershop pools. And notice when we do that, we're always able to see your inner thigh. If you roll in, you would hide it, right? I'm gonna use that cue a lot when we don't have the circle.

So now you've worked really hard all class to squeeze the heck out of that circle. Now I want you to pull your belly in and stretch that circle apart. Stretch, stretch it, stretch it, and release without losing that pad. Good pulling in the belly and stretch it really long. You should feel it real, really deep here and release. And one more time powerhouse and stretching it. I want you to remember how this muscle feels when we go up and down with our leg later on. Good. Rest down your foot. Okay, now I'm gonna have you put both legs back on the outside and again, I'll help you with that. These are also really important posture exercises.

As you learn your side series, you're going to be tempted to look at your feet and that's fine, but as you get more advanced, you want to make sure that you look like you want to be standing. And so your shoulders are open, chest is open and the head is looking dead ahead instead of rounding everything forward. Okay? This next one has three parts to it and it's the hardest one of them all. We're going to pull your powerhouse in for one. Use both legs to squeeze that pad together for two.

Now stay there and feel how your whole side of your body, including your underarm. Sorry Bethany, do you need a little help? There is all pressing into the mat and I want you to keep pressing your right under arm into the mat as you lift both legs up just a little bit. Hold two, three and drooly. So did the underarm come up because if the underarm comes up then we don't really use our waist and our oblique muscles and that's where we want to put this. So step one is powerhouse in step two is squeeze both legs together.

And step three is lifting from our waist raced waist and release. And we're going to do it one last time. Powerhouse squeezed lifts using that waste. And we're done. Good. Now I want to, I'm just going to actually take the circles for a second but stay in this exact position. Okay. I mean like likes together. Go ahead and bring your feet forward to you and we're going to flip over bringing our elbow and head this way.

Right? I knew that. Very good. So you're going to be straight with your powerhouse but your legs are going to come a little bit forward. And Maria, if you can bring your left elbow back a little bit, that would be great. Okay. And your feet can go forward a little bit more for you. Lift up the legs so I can give it a circle back.

You might need to adjust it a little bit. So you guys are getting the idea of how the circle is going to help with our legs on the side and bring your feet forward more for me. There we go. And lift and how we should be stabilizing our body. While we're on our side so that left hand or right hand, whichever one's in front of you, is that little kickstand right in front of your waist. There we go. And first pull your belly into your back and that like top leg should be turned out, turned out, turned out and squeeze down for five, four, three, two, one and release. Great.

Pulling in your powerhouse and schoolies. That's really good. You're not using the knee joint in the beginning you were attempted to, but then you really fixed it and release. And one more pulling in your [inaudible] to your back and squeeze down to three, four, five and release. And now we're going to put it inside your legs inside the circle. So I'm going to try to help you with that.

Later on, I'll teach you the circus Olay way to do it, but today we'll just start this way. All right, let me bring it in just a bit more. Okay, so you guys, you, you might have noticed, even though the top leg is really the one moving, I want both legs working so both legs are turned out here. Pull your powerhouse in and now spread that circle, spread it, stretch it, stretch it, stretch it, and release and powerhouse in and stretch it. I really want you to turn that knee towards the ceiling. Good and release. And one more time.

Let's feel it right here as you stretch, come on more, more. There you go. And release. And now we'll put it our legs on the outside again. Good. Oh, is there because, all right, both thighs turning out out. Sorry Jennifer. I'm almost there. You're doing pretty good. All right.

And really make sure that foot loves to do that. It's very common. We all try to do that. So let's bring our feet forward. More good. Stabilize with your powerhouse. One squeeze together with legs to use your waist muscles to lift both legs up for three. Hold, hold, hold and release. Not a big motion. Pull the powerhouse in one. Squeeze together too.

And try to press that under arm down so you can use these muscles. Tighten them, tighten them, and release. And we're going to get one more time, powerhouse. One, squeeze two. And then try to lift those legs from just a tiny bit. That's it. And release. Great job. All. Alright, everyone lied down on their back. Ooh, let's lie down on your backs and let's see, guys are fine. Just like that. Ah, back to our comfortable backs, our knife backs. Okay.

So we're gonna do teasers with the circle. So grab your circle and if you're still working towards your teasers, um, the, you can do it. Do just the roll back again instead of the teaser. Okay. Cause that's a good worker up too. So let's give it a shot though. I want you to bring your knees into your chest, place a circle between your ankles. Good. And extend the legs forward up, I should say.

Alright. And extend your arms back towards, you've got you two might be touching each other. That's okay. But reach back for each other. Jennifer reached back for Bethany. There you go. Good. And now, even though your back might arch, just keep your belly in and lower the legs to a 45 degree angle. Okay. Even if your back arches, you're still just trying to pull your stomach in. Squeeze that circle and use a little momentum in your powerhouse to roll up and reach for those toes. Squeeze that circle. Squeezing up. Yeah.

Hold and roll away. All right, now you've got to try it on your arm and the circle can move a little bit and down here and use a little momentum. I can pull it up. God, you go. Come up and see me. Yeah, let's try one more time. Let's see how this groups do an answer. Wes' from your bottom and exhale all the way up. Skip, skip, skip, rollie a bed down. Hug your knees and Oh dear.

Let's squeeze in a little neck pull then and step. We're gonna put your circle between your thighs right above your knees. I see this class has been doing lots of homework at home. Building up those powerhouses and we're going to start sitting up for a second. So just rock up to a seated position. Good feet flat. A little bit apart though on this one.

Good cause the neck pull is a little different from the roll up in the sense that we will be sitting up tall at one point and our legs are a little bit apart. So bring your feet a little narrower though. There we go. And right here, hands under your knees. I want you to pull your belly in, squeeze your bottom and sit up as tall as you can. Tall. Use your powerhouse. Squeeze in that bottom. And now bring your head to your chest and exhale, curl the rest down. Roll away from your legs. What [inaudible] away from your legs. You do. We are going to roll next though. And now inhale, lift your head up to your chest and exhale. Roll up one vertebra time.

Use that bottom. Use that seat. There you go. And head kisses the circle. The forehead kisses a circle. Inhale, sit up tall. Jennifer. Sit Up tall for me. There you go. And now, but when you're tall, I need to see bottom squeezing as if you're on a pin cushion lift and now head to your chest and curl away from your tight circle. Only when your head goes down. Can you relax your circle head all the way down and relax it. Inhale, lift the head and now squeeze the heck out of it to help you come up until your forehead kisses a circle. Then inhale, sit up tall and XL. Squeeze that circle and roll away from it. Round, round, round. And one more. Inhale, head to your chest. XL. Squeeze that circle, pulling in your belly. Great till it touches a circle. Inhale, sit up tall and exhale, squeeze and roll away from that circle. Good job.

Put the circle to your side and we're going to sit up for seal. So teaser didn't feel fabulous. Teaser didn't feel like we, uh, hit super success. But if you guys remember how you started off with the rollback, which is almost what we just did, where you were only rolling back to your waistband, you've done leaps and bounds from there. Right now you have absolute control rolling all the way down and rolling all the way up. So the teaser will come just like that. But let's do seal and we're going to have our feet together, knees apart.

And the feet together for me. There we go. And the arms. We'll dive through the legs and under your ankles and use your powerhouse to pull up your feet. So you're balancing with a nice c curve. Show me your best. See Curve, Jennifer. I know you could do it. That's it. Pulling your navel away from your feet. Stay here and with your stomach. Really, really tight and engaged in balancing using to balance. Let's clap your feet three times. One, two, three. Beautiful.

Go ahead and roll back. Taking your feet back with you. Come right on up. You can use your feet to pull on them. Hold balance. Clap. Two, three. Inhale, roll back. Exhale, roll up. Hold. I need that head to your chest and I need you to pull into the small of your back and inhale. Roll back. Exhale. Roll Up. Almost. Come on Jennifer. Pull into that. Make that lower back round.

Don't come up in an arch. Lower back. Two more. Inhale, roll back with the head to your chest. XL Bowling back. Scooping right there. Clap. Two, three. One more. Inhale, roll back. Exhale, roll up. Yeah, you're getting it. Nice and rest your feet down on the mat and we are all finished. Nice job, ladies. Good work. Very good. Well Go.


thanks so much monica! i love these classes! this one is just has helpful as the previous 7, can't wait for 8! love your belly!
Great class but I think that the legs kicks on the second side were forgotten... Easy to do!
Yes, I noticed the second side leg kicks missing, also. This isn't the first Pilates video on this site that has opposing side omissions. These videos need to be proof checked before they are posted online!
Dawn ~ Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I have sent you an email to let you know how we are working on this.
Absolutely Excellent Workout!!! Loved it!
Thank you! Keep your comments coming!:)
Hello Monica,

I have been following this series. they are so helpful.

I do have a question: Am I doing something wrong if still after a few weeks my lower back is 1) is still very flat and won't curve well and 2)my lower back gets tight and sore after going through the exercises? When I do the rolling like a ball exercise while holding my ankles my lower mid back lands like one plank instead of one vertebrae at a time. And I also find that I can't do roll ups and teaser in the morning but can do them at night. Is there anything I can do to help bring more flexibility to this part of my spine? Thank you so much!

You're a great teacher!

Jee Shin
Hi Jeehye:) You are absolutely not doing anything wrong. For some people it takes a year before they can do a Roll Up versus the Roll Back I first introduce. They also need to keep their hands under their knees while Rolling Like a Ball and not on their ankles. I have another class, #391, that specifically targets a stiff back. You might enjoy it! As your Powerhouse becomes stronger and can initiate the movement, as well as your back becoming more limber, you will be able to roll without sounding like a flat tire:) If I could give you a few tips I would say stick to choosing one of the first 4 of this series when you are working out in the morning.
Concentrate on working your PH really hard and be aware of your pelvis when you start the "roll back" motion. If your hip bones are tipped forward towards your feet, you won't have a chance to roll through your lower back. Make sure you are using your lower abdominals to tip those hip bones back with you (so if they were headlights they would shine at the ceiling) so that you can begin a Roll Back or Rolling like a Ball or even Teaser with good articulation. I always can do more in the afternoon as well so that is the time when you can really go for it and enjoy some more movement! Finally, if this becomes a bit repetitive, look for other classes of mine that say Level 1 or 1/2. Maybe try purchasing a Magic Circle to help give your PH something to work against. Hope that helps and thank you so much for your feedback!
Thank you so much Monica! I will try what you suggested. So helpful! I really appreciate your classes!
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