Tutorial #2229

Correcting Imbalanced Bodies

30 min - Tutorial


Feel more coordinated, graceful, and grounded after this tutorial with Rachel Taylor Segel. She teaches exercises to help imbalanced bodies feel more prepared for class. These exercises are great for those with strong quads, weak hamstrings, hyperextension, or a habit of thrusting the calves backward.
What You'll Need: Cadillac, Foot Corrector, Knee Pad, Foam Roller

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Aug 09, 2015
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Hi, I'm Rachel Taylor Siegel from the [inaudible] center in Boulder, Colorado. I'm here with Amy haven at any anytime and we're going to do a tutorial together on those bodies that are imbalanced, which, uh, many are, um, with very strong quads, elusive hamstrings, maybe a little bit of hyperextension in the knee, or at least the desire to thrust the calf backwards and therefore harder to find the, so as harder to find, um, your internal obliques as strong belly muscles that hold your posture, your spine up. And so we'll see from before to after that, um, these few little exercises that we're gonna do, um, can be done in order or if not even in order, um, before you take class and then you're that much more prepared to do whatever class it is you're taking with a more balanced body from the beginning. So it feels really good. And, uh, you, you feel very supported in the journey that is often, uh, elusive and weak. So we're going to start with the feet.

So using some things that aren't polite, like the roller, Amy's going to stand carefully. She has her hands on the pulse system for safety. She brings herself up onto the roller and I'm going to suggest that the roller is motorized so that when it moves, it moves you. Then you're going to do about 70% maybe of where you could go front and back. So as Amy starts moving front and back, my suggestion of the ruler being motorized is such that she doesn't work too hard so that she doesn't push it with her calves and pull it with her quads.

But instead her mind is down there in the sole of her foot and every, you know, Mila moment of movement is being done by different, smaller and more elusive muscles. And since roller is exploratory and not [inaudible], we can do some with the toes curled over and get a different stretch. [inaudible] don't go too far where you feel like you might lose your balance. And so she'll get a different stretch with the toes curled over, maybe front and back a couple times, and then you could flex your toes up. And I'm holding onto her just for safety.

Sometimes I can stand with my feet in front and back so that I know she can't go too far. And with the toes flex step, she's going to get more heel and calf stretch. You can even do it with a little squat. So she bends her knees and squats down and her low back relaxes and just drapes down like the clapper of a bell. She's just putting more range into her ankle and knee building a little more, strengthen her knee a little more stretch what and she can do all the things she did before can also, um, and I'm watching, um, to see if her feet and knees are pretty parallel then that'd be perfect. But as parallel as she can and she can roll on the outside of her foot supinate it cause we never get to massage the outside of our feet and she can roll on the inside of her foot.

[inaudible] right. It feels good. Good. It should feel only good. Yeah. And then you gently straighten your legs and you step off to the back. Right. And after having stood on the roller and done some amount of that, your feet should feel more grounded, more spread out, but not necessarily flatter. And you should feel your weight is a little back in space. So we didn't do the before shot.

However we see on Amy's body, which is really, I could turn sideways and you'd see it on me too. I'm very, very ubiquitous, which is that the quads are very strong. The calves are behind us and very strong. And so of course Amy is a very advanced body and so she pulls her belly in and she looks really nice. But uh, those of us who are more beginners are gonna feel that in our spine to where the belly will come forward. We'll be, this'll be what? Strong. Thank you. This will not. And then the low back gets very short. And so we're trying to balance those imbalances through such the gravity flows.

I think of a honeycomb with all the little cells arranged and not squished and pushed so that the honey would seep, or the gravity would seep through your body, right through your feet to the earth. You know, that kind of thing. So if your calves are pulling you back or your quads are pulling you forward right, then the gravity can't get through you. Okay? And so hopefully we'll see beef between now and the end of these few little exercises that that becomes strong, automatic and strong. Okay. So after standing on the roller, we're going to do something a little more with the feats we've prepared the feet, we warmed them up, brought the neurology there, the blood flow there, made them more alive and now we're going to strengthen them. Okay? So we're going to have her do full corrector. And if you don't have a full corrector at home, you can do other foot exercises that would strengthen the foot.

Um, like an inchworm exercise or the from PyLadies, etc. I'm going to help her because it's very hard for corrector to push down all by herself. But I'm having her hold on and she, her weight is backward back on top of the left foot that is just been rolled. Her working knee is going to be slightly bent, although you could do it with a straight leg. And I'm looking to see that the heel is dead center. So move it to the right a little bit [inaudible] and the ankle is hiding the heel, which means she's going to feel a little super nation to this side, but hopefully not all the way through to the big toe.

So there's this little fight, little tug of war that goes on. And as she inhales she brings the foot to the wood if she can and resists up a little bit. Exhaling such that the bottom of the foot contracts to bring the foot bar down and it also uncontrolled acts to bring it up. And as she goes down, inhaling and up exhaling, and we'll do one more. As her foot goes down her sits bones. I'm going to invite them to shine as if they were flashlights behind her on the floor, maybe three or four inches behind her back heel.

Grew up correct, and then flex your toes, stretch what you just contracted, and then bring your heel forward. A little bit follow of the foot up on top. Good ankle up [inaudible] and toes. Gently wraparound. Nicely done, Amy. Bent. Hips are square with shoulders, all that [inaudible] stuff. Inhaling up, inhaling as you start and exhaling as you return, good. Lift up your ankle, a little reach your sitz bones. Damn behind you. Nicely done. And as she does this, because this foot corrector is kind of tough, the springs are hard when it's really tough, which is why I'm helping, I'm, I'm concerned that she doesn't hang out and stand too much in the hip flexor of her standing leg.

So I'm actually going to ask her to flex her spine forward stickers, sitz bones out and bend both knees, right? So now she's soft here and soft here, but as she pushes down the paddle, her belly will turn on. Is that true? That made all the difference. Excellence that made all the difference. Good to feel this way, right? We'll only do one more and up. Nicely done.

And then flex your toes up and stretch in the sole of the foot and then come and bring your toes to the front heel up on top. You can assume that same rounded forward, little bit of Flection, a little bit of bench. Right? And you're going to press your heel down, bringing the saddle to the floor and exhale it up. Good. The ball, the foot stays firm. So what we're doing is what we did with the roller and making some strength occur. Now that she's capable. Yes. Are you feeling it in your hamstring? Excellent. And so she's working at first and foremost from the sole of the foot, not the calf.

So I'm going to take it to her or resist up so she doesn't have to even pick her own heel up. All she's got to do is control the spring. Nicely done Amy. And step back and feel the difference. Right and left. Oh, so I'm assuming that you feel your right leg straight or taller. Stronger down and also a little bit behind you. Excellent.

Okay, good. So what we did on the roller is now reinforced and deepened rich made more rich by the foot corrector. So let's do the same thing on the left foot. Good. So I watched to see that the CI has good alignment. Heel heel is hidden behind the ankle, knees over the second, third toe squares, etc. With that extra tension and she's gonna inhale down and exhale up. Nicely done. Nicely done in hell.

She's shining her sits bones back behind her right heel, just a few inches. So, and you might see that her tummy tones just a little extra when she does do something like that. Nice. And actually that's good. And one more. Yup. And resist up. So you fill that foot, right? And then flex your toes. Could you feel it more when you resisted? I did. I did. So resisting isn't necessarily the right, probably the right word is control it up slower, but we all think that we are controlling it slower, but maybe not only slower, maybe. Um, you know, maybe just a hint of like, uh, dancing with the partner of the foot corrector. All right, so you're going to come up to the metatarsal of your foot.

Now you're gonna come forward a little, right. Beautiful Line. That nice. A little bit of bend, a little bit around this inhale. So as Amy gets better and better at this, then she won't have to bend her standing leg. She won't have to bend her spine. And she still then will be able to stay soft in this tissue here. Now she's strengthening this, which is good for what?

We're going to go next and again and up and flex your feet. Good. And she can flex each time or she can flex at the end of each set. And then let's bring your foot to the front. The metatarsal is are from on the wood and she inhale, pulls down, she kinda wraps her heel bone around the saddle [inaudible] and pulls it towards her metatarsal and then resists up. Exhaling. Nicely done Amy. That's good. Inhale down.

Resist up. Good. So this is easeful. This is easeful. So knee bend a little round a little bit. You don't have to tuck under, just like look over your foot. Look over at your foot maybe. Yeah. And reach your sitz bones behind you ever. So nicely done. So the tummy pulls in more. Good. Last one and exhale up. Good.

And then step back. So now when she steps back, you feel like if you were to, I'm sorry, if you were to lift your 10 toes up, you wouldn't shift forward to backwards. Whereas when we started the lesson than you were exaggeratedly so, but nevertheless here you would have lifted your toes. You would have had to shift, right? So that means that between the roller and the foot corrector, she is employed in her thighs and hamstrings and hips in addition to what she already employs readily, which are quads and Tush and calf. And then we'd get a better access to the ABS.

So we're going to take this body now, which we could all, we could go now and take a class, maybe if you're advanced body or you felt it really well or it made a big difference quickly. But if it didn't, we can come and lay. And we're going to do a little bit of leg springs. So the next exercise we'll do on route to this goal is little knee folds with Spring. So we're gonna take one leg at a time and she has a beautiful foot from rolling and from foot correct during. So it's going to be quite active on the strap, which helps turn on the hamstrings. She's going to keep her knee bent, maybe five to 10 degrees, like a piece of statuary. Um, because if it's a straight leg, we often end up pushing with calf and now I'm taking that calf out of the, yeah. So if she were to do a straight leg, her calf would lead her down.

So as we need bend a little bit, we can feel the foot and the hamstring tone because of the foot and the knee. Isn't it troubling us yet? Hopefully by the end of these exercises it won't trouble her in the least. And then there'll be part and parcel of the whole thing. So as you inhale, you're going to keep this shape and come down towards the Mat. And the lower she gets, the more the hamstring turns on obviously cause the spring gets tighter and she starts maybe here but then goes through the middle of the hamstring and all the way up to the sitz bone.

And we should feel that her hip flexor is really soft as it is and relax. This has replaced it and become her hip flexor. Last one down. Inhaling, the more hamstring we noticed to the more Scooby belly she has and that rest on here. And that's an uh, automatic reaction. She doesn't have to think about pulling your tummy in. I don't have to tell her that. I'm gonna say Amy, try and lengthen your leg down to the Mat by opening your hip or by dropping your thigh bone to the mat more than knee straightening. Right. So what I want is a long leg where it's still soft here. Cause again, she doesn't need this part of her at the moment and she's very scooped and, and she's not doing hard work, so it's not really strong, but it's toned.

And we're going to start small little circles. Well, we could do eight in each direction. The spring picks her leg up so she doesn't have to lift her leg, which would be a flexor activity. She actually controls the flexor from her extend sores. So even on the up, her hamstring is controlling the timing and the shape. Let's reverse [inaudible]. Let's go downwards towards the mat a little bit.

So you get even more hamstring, more lengthy scoop. Right. She's doing a great job of making small, regular and very round circles low to the map. And then we stop and we let this spring as her hip flexor lift her leg up. This stays soft the whole time. Therefore she should be feeling it in her belly, hamstring and inner thigh. Is that true? I mean we are successful. Let's do a few more on the other side.

And these are all still preparatory. Yes. [inaudible] so knee folds are a very fundamental activity that we often teach clients. We rarely do it with the spring from not doing anything highly unusual. Um, the spring stays on the outside of the knee cause I want more inner thigh than outer thigh. So she has a foot corrector foot, which doesn't necessarily mean a heavy duty point, but it means an active sole which gives her hamstring nice. And then she keeps this bend about the same and she brings that picture of a leg down inhaling and resists up exhaling so that many people will have a hard time not picking their own leg up. Despite the spring.

Amy is doing a great job of exhaling. You can see your belly scoop deeper and you can feel as her leg starts down that are hamp. She's doing hip extension, which is exactly what we want without any need for uh, the brakes to be on. And then she's going to lengthen her leg down the mat and bring her femur to the Mack, which means her quad has to really let go. Beautifully done and she scooped more. Then she's going to start these little circles, small as harder and low and very round.

And everyone has parts of the circles that aren't as round as other parts. And those are our weaker, more elusive parts of our hip muscles and reverse it. And you can inhale and exhale just as you like. See, feel comfortable. And depending on your client, you can do the whole thing with your arms by your side. If this is too hard for them to keep their arms up.

And then she brings her leg to a stop. This is soft, this is strong. Hamstring and inner thigh are strong. She permits the spring to lift her leg for her. I often say oppose rising, resist rising, nicely done. And that will release the back. So if she has a back that works too strongly and with her quad, then that will will get also that thing.

So now we're going to put both feet in springs. We could stop where we just did and that might be enough for you. If it's not enough, we can come need bend arms to this mat and bring your knees all the way to your chest. Feet down. So we're going to do some of the belly busters from the mat work. We'll start with single leg stretch for feeder foot. Correct during.

Okay. So she's, she's searching to wrap them around the black strap, which should give her like it did before. Little hamstring, little belly. She's going to take one leg out and hip extend first, keeping the shin up high ish by comparison so that she arrives with this girl relax. Yep. And therefore her belly scooped more and then she's gonna resist bending in and then the other leg [inaudible]. So the springs job is to flex you and hold your leg weight up. You don't have to do those two things.

What you have to do is extend your hip and then control the timing of the spring as it flexes your hip and knee. So it's a quite different and it's really going to help you in mat and reformer and everywhere to balance out the use of the back of the leg with the front of the leg, the inner leg with the outer leg. Nicely done. Resist coming in. Right. So we feel how soft this is cause it's an needed left one and we could do all the belly busters here really is quite nice. But we'll do double leg stretch. And at the moment of need, let's say let's not knee straighten and then exhale, resist. So start with your souls. [inaudible] [inaudible] beautiful. And then resist. Resist the moment of coming in.

Nicely done. So that moment of not getting ahead of yourself gives you your belly without having to think about it and your hamstrings. Good. So the moment that's the trickiest for Amy and most of us is the knee straightening moment. That's when the calves want to come down, right? Like something independent from everything else we've just been doing. So I'm keeping her from that here. But we could say just like along the Mat, try and do more hip extension as you need.

Straight and like get your hamstrings down lower. Keep your shins up, but get your hands down lower. If she feels more scoop, we know it's right. Okay, we'll bend the knees and we'll rest. So we could do some other ones, but we want today and Amy come and stand up in front. Now, do you want to go home? Yes. But first if you would stand up for a second and just feel, so we did roller, then we did foot corrector. Now we did leg, spring, knee fold kind of exercises. So Amy, what you should feel now is that your calves are not behind you in the least, but that your, your Tibia is directly underneath your femur. It feels more like that. It feels more like that to look, but you're welcome to look, but it feels different than my norm. Uh Huh. Which is good.

And then there might be a whispery sensation of your abs turning on good. So then again that might be it. And you might be able to go and do advanced reformer and have more hamstring inner thigh, so as transversus and that could be good. The one thing that's really hard to transfer this information easily to our is back extension. So we're going to do another exercise where Amy lays on her tummy prone and we're going, I'm going to notice that when she puts her forehead down and she lays long and straight and beautiful, then her shins don't quite touch the mat.

So I'm going to fill in that gap for her by putting paths between the Mat and her shin. So need Ben. Thank you. And it put maybe more than as needed. I don't know. We'll see. So what I'm hoping is that she can feel her whole Tibia from right under her knee to her ankle pressing down. It's not so high that her knees are bent, but her knee might be off the mat because her shin now has something to touch. So I'm yes. So Amy says yes. So we could see like tomorrow if we did this or two weeks from now, we could take away one pad.

Pretty soon the muscles are going to start to balance themselves. She won't need any pads. That's our goal. Yay. So what we're gonna do right now is focused only on the lower leg and what it's like we have been before. But then the ramifications of that, Amy, you're going to come up your legs into your belly. So I'm going to ask you to take both Shin bones like, like they're sharp bones and an insert them, or maybe I'm impressed them into the mats. Just a little and then rest and do that again.

So what she feels and I see and hopefully you see, is that when she presses her shins forward, she's straightening her knees and she's getting a little hip extension. In addition. What that does for us, turning her little belly on. Relax. So do it one more time. So we should see her tummy lift a little bit and she should feel it. Lift when she shouldn't push her shins down. Okay, so then put your hands under your armpits if you would.

And as you inhale, put most of your attention to your shins as you eyes, nose, chin, and chest forward. Keep your shins down on the pillow over and over again. Come a little higher, but shins down. A little higher. Riches down and on the way down. Keep your shins down to exhaling your breath. Nicely. Dentist, do that again. So as she inhale, eyes, nose, Chin and chest pushes with her hands. She doesn't need to squeeze her, but she needs to press her shins down onto that mat, right.

And only sufficiently exhaling down too much. So, and she'll use her quads and then it'll poke her legs up off a mat. Right? So if it's just the lower leg, it's just, I'm going to say the lower quad, which is what I want her to push his priests off, quads or priests off and she gets Shin, inner thigh, low quad and low belly. And then as she gets that strength coordinated into her, her, her swat. So this is the truth of Amy Swan, even though she's an advanced practitioner, is that for her to bend higher, she's going to look for her strengths are already strengths to help her. And I'm saying, no, look for these new ideas even again, right on the way down. So like so different. Excellent. And rest tummy in and sit back on your heels for a moment.

And then we'll finish with standing on the floor again in front of the Cadillac. And we're going to do a little exercise that kind of takes about half of these exercises and supplants them. Okay, so you're going to start, we'll do it maybe twice. We're going to start with your feet parallel, hip width apart, and knee, bend your knees over your toes and put your hands on the lower thigh. Then stretch your hamstrings behind you. I'm not so that you get a huge sensation, but just so you can recognize them.

So the whole point will be to keep that sensation alive, even if it changes or lessons, but still feel it. So as you inhale, you're going to start climbing up, straightening not only your knees, but your back. How are you gonna do that to keep that hamstring tone lively to you? Nicely done. So when you arrive, you arrive like you were working right here with lots of scoop and length with not your calves behind you, but your shins forward and your femurs back. Good. So when you see, uh, in the film, you should see Amy different than what she started at because we have strength, we have made work and strengthened muscles that were less helpful.

And now there's a more uniformity in her ability to move and use her body for that. She could take that to wherever else in politesse or the rest of the world that she does and um, and, and feel more United, balanced, coordinated, graceful, et cetera. Okay. Do you have any questions? Cause I don't have any questions. I'm Kinda just trying to stay in the moment. It feels really good. Excellence different.

I feel like Bambi on ice kind of like not too far, cause it's a new place for me to be because of my normal is just right. Right. Well often what happens is we, when we fit forward on our quads and short in our low back, we end up putting more weight on our toes. And our toes aren't really meant to hold us up. They're meant for balance and for pushing us forward. So when we're standing back here, we don't have the weight on our toes that we used to experience.

And our weight is between the metatarsal and the heel and this trampoline, like area of our arch, which is really a good thing. Good job.


2 people like this.
Thank you Rachel!! I could feel the changes in my body just watching this as your cueing is so fabulous! Can't wait to try this work on myself as well as with my students. Really enjoy learning from you!
2 people like this.
control,control, comtrologic
thank you Rachel and Pilatesanytime I allways learn from you.
I´m praying for Enghish subtitles.
6 people like this.
One of the things I love most about PA is seeing incredible teachers like Amy so open and willing to learn from other talented teachers. This class is full of such great ideas and movements.
5 people like this.
Rachel, Just love these tutorials. You are so articulate and giving and thoughtful in how you are trying to present your ideas which makes for a very positive experience. I love the close up shots so we see exactly what your eyes are seeing, which as a teacher is important. Keep bringing us more of these please. We are so fortunate to have you share. Amy your body changed in a short time.and So great that you got to have such a great experience. I have the exact same issues and it's so wonderful to free of our quads.
Thank you everyone! I'd love to do more tutorials and they've promised to invite me next year again??
1 person likes this.
Thank you Rachel for your detailed explanations, cueing, up close camera shots, use of various equipment and props. More importantly, thanks for reminding teachers and students that some bodies are imbalanced, but there are ways to work with them.
1 person likes this.
Very cool! And so helpful! More videos working on imbalances with Rachel!
2 people like this.
Such a helpful tutorial. I've been amazed at the effect that padding under the shins and the cue to focus there has had on clients who previously had very poor thoracic extension! And finally quieten down some very tight bottoms! Thank you Rachel
Thank you Rachel for your thoughts, words, wisdom & sharing what you know to be true, it's obviously supportive to so many of our clients, these few prepretoiry exercises & interesting thoughts!
4 people like this.
Dear Rachel, watching this was almost as good as the real thing! I always benefit from this type of session. It was so nice to watch Amy's body change. Thank you for your wisdom and absolute clarity.
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