Special #1221

Magic Circle

5 min - Special


The Magic Circle is an incredible tool for strengthening and can be used in so many ways. Amy Havens gives a brief overview of exercises and shows why all of the Pilates principles are important to your work with the circle. She also explains it's history and how Joseph Pilates created it.
What You'll Need: Magic Circle

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Sep 18, 2013
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Hi everybody, this is Amy again and I have the magic circle with me today and I want to just go back over some of the principles of PyLadies if you haven't already known those or heard about those. So there are six basic principles. Number one is breathing and we have control, centering, concentration, fluid movement and precision. And one of the things I think about the magic circle really brings in the element of control, concentration. Um, all of them. But I might talk a little bit more about those two, but before I do, I don't know if you know the history of the magic circle and some of you may know, but, uh, if you've seen these in a classical bodies studio, you've probably have heard with how they were made. But if you're in a gym perhaps or maybe a physical therapy office and you don't know what, how this was made, the story goes, Joseph Valadez took the steel band off of an old beer barrel.

So imagine a big tall mural Bella, and that steel ban that wraps around it, took that off, began to play with it or work out with it, probably didn't play with it, but pushing on it in various ways, maybe against his head, against his arms to feel chest work and shoulder work. Uh, and then decided, hey, what does that feel like with one steel band? Let's put two steel bands together and how much more work that took and you know, controlling the, the, the tension. Then you put three bands together and four bands together and I think he may have done one with five bands. So they grade up from moderate kind of easy workout to maybe pretty intense workout. The one I have with me right now is a pretty moderate, nothing too intense inside. So, um, what it can be great for is helping you learn about control and the work of resistance and resistance assistance.

So if I'm just going to hold my ring and if you have one, you can do this with me pushing on it. And how you push on it is not just with the hands and the arms, but it comes really more from inside the body. And I'm actually going to think about my abdominal muscles again, that as they contract inward, that's actually gonna allow me to squeeze the ring. Does Not that I'm not using my arms, but I'm thinking more that the narrowing of the ring is the narrowing of my core or my engagement and my connection to my core. And then my inhale, my expansion is the expansion of the magic circle. So it's going to go open on the inhale and something like that. So you'll start to feel that when you, you're using the circle, yes, you're feeling your extremities, your arms right now, but deepen it inside and you might start tapping into the more of the core of your body or the abdominals, uh, possibly even your lower back and postural muscles.

So another thing the ring can be used for, I think is connecting to that thought of length with strength. So if I do a contraction and I squeezed this ring, I could easily squeeze, I'll stray from the side, squeeze and kind of bear down, you know, pop and just kind of only use the extremities of my body. And that's actually getting shorter. I'm shortening my body and that's an under concept at all. We work on the strength and the link, so I'm going to show them again from the side.

If I do a little bit more effective work and efficient work, I can suppress and lengthen while I press. Even during exhale, even during contraction, my inhale, I'm actually going to try to grow taller and expand my body high and exhale. So we work with trying to lengthen and strengthen in almost every single exercise we do, which takes again concentration cause you could get into just an old pattern of working out and not have your brain connected. So pull out, he's bringing in that mind body element. You have to think about how you're moving. This is a great tool to play with. Um, another little piece of history, I think the actress Suzanne Somers, if some of you know who she is, kind of borrowed this idea for her thighmaster invention.

So the Palabra is fine. Nestor was this long, long ago. So we're going to do an example of that and sorry Suzanne, but I think this came first and we're gonna put it in between the inner thighs and I don't know a woman out there in the world that made, that doesn't want to tone this part of her body along with this. So if I go back to the idea that I'm, as I squeeze the ring, there's a contraction going on, I'm actually going to add my abs in it. But nowadays, muscles contracting, narrowing the circle. Now when I inhale, I want to expand the circle with control.

I don't want to just let it go. That doesn't take as many muscles and I'm not using my body to my fullest. So if I exhale and control the squeeze and inhale, control the release and we'll do five of them. [inaudible] inhale, control the release and XL control the contraction. Yeah.

Two more times. I think exhale, I get a little in my brain here. Exhale. Wow. And one more and controlling the release. So I could do the same type of thing with my hands just above me here and press it this way. I'm actually going to sit up so you can see it a little bit better. But again, pressing it narrow.

So maybe five more and length. [inaudible] this is beautiful because my brain is focusing on how I can control, talk to my muscles to control the squeeze, how to release it with control as well. I'm feeling center of my body being my abdominals participating when I exhale, narrowing my waist, expanding the rib cage when I inhale and inhaling to release. So this is a really brief overview. So small of an overview of my one way you can use a magic circle. If you go to our website and watch more classes, you're going to see this circle being used between the angles between the knees to tone your butt, to do it on your shoulders, to even tone your neck muscles, uh, in standing along in your stomach, your back.

It's an incredible tool for strengthening, but just keep in mind, it came first from Joseph, holidays around a beer barrel, and there's varying uses and, um, strength, tensions of the magic circle. So I hope you've learned a little something. Join us again for our next podcast. Thank you.


Hi Amy!! I love the circle. This was a great little tutorial. Love how the narrowing of the circle works to narrow the rib cage....it's magic! Good to see you!
Thank you...love these quick tutorials.
Thanks ladies! :)
1 person likes this.
this was a fun introduction, thank you!!
Thank you for that bit of history!
1 person likes this.
You're welcome! I'm sure there are many other experts who can give us a lot more detail, but this was a nice overview! :)
Amy, love this tutorial. Thank you
Thank you Taz! What did you like the most about it? Just curious!
Hi Amy, I thoroughly enjoyed this tutorial for a number of reasons:
• I learnt about the history of the magic circle;
• I liked how you intricately wove the principles of pilates in demonstrating simple yet clear examples;
• resistance-assistance followed by your emphasis of using more than just your arms in pressing the mc, followed by your
• description of the importance of engagement of the core with the breath in addition to your pressing the mc;
• Since I am both visual and auditory, the way you articulated helped me to visualise, and feel through words used how the whole body is involved in efficient movement patterns using the mc;
• beautifully presented Amy, much appreciated ?
oops, pls ignore the question mark floating at the end :)
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