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Hi, thank you for joining me today. We are going to do some advanced level mat work on the EXO Chair. Are you ready? We’re having a circle, I have a circle, and let’s take the arms forward. Spacing the feet hip distance apart, holding the circle in the palms of the hands, let your fingers be outstretched here, and then bend your elbows, pulling the circle to your chest and stretch the arms forwards.
And as you bend, you lightly squeeze into the circle feeling that attention to the upper back. And feel the shoulder blades pull back as you stretch your arms forwards and bend. Little bit of pressure. You can intensify the pressure as you wish, but I’m just doing a light squeeze there. Arms forward, take the circle towards down, and let it rest against the front of the thighs wherever it lands and lift the chest and stand up tall and roll down.
Imagine that your head is going right through the center of that circle. The knees can be soft. The pelvis stays right over the feet. I have to soften my fingers here so I can go as low as I wanna go. You can do the same if you wish.
And roll up, start pressing in with the upper arms into the circle, as you roll up through your spine. Coming up into an upright position, lifting the circle up in front as the head comes up and bend. And stretch and bend and stretch, warming up the back, we’re gonna do some exciting things in this class. I wanna get us nice and warm first reach forwards, take the circle down, let it rest against the front of the legs and lift the chest. And then roll down.
Chin goes to the chest, abdominals work to support the downward motion of the spine. The pelvis stays over the feet. Let the body hang down, taking a stretch through the legs, and then roll through the spine. Coming up, coming up, coming up the arms reach forward, wrap your fingers around the circle, this time pull the circle apart as you bring it to your chest. And then lightly press as you reach your arms straight, pull the circle apart as you bring the circle in, and soft pressure as the arms reach out.
One more time. Pull, one more time, soft press. Take the arms over your head, if that’s not a comfortable position for you with straight arms, bend your arms slightly. Inhale as you lean to the left, keeping the right hip just over the right pelvis. So it’s just spinal movement in this moment.
Exhale, stand up and inhale, reach over to the right, spinal bending, keeping that left pelvis right over the left foot. And stand up and start to take the arms down, let the head go down. Roll down into the circle, rounding through the spine. Get nice and low into that stretch and roll up, we’re gonna repeat that whole thing one more time. Standing up tall, the circle comes up the front, pull it apart, try to stretch it as you bring it to your chest.
And then soft squeeze as you take your arms forward. Pull the circle apart as you pull it towards your body. Soft squeeze as you reach forwards. Just one more time, please pull and reach. When is this gonna get hard you ask.
Oh very soon and lean. This time let the pelvis go in the opposite direction of the spine. So last time we just did spine. This time we’re moving in both directions. Everything comes back to center.
Take the spine, let the pelvis go in the opposite direction. So you’re putting more weight onto that outside foot, and everything comes back to center. The arms go down, the head follows, the spine goes down, rolling through the spine, pausing when you arrive at the bottom, rolling the spine up, bringing our awareness inwards, warming up the body, come up to standing. And here we go. We’re gonna do a warmup on the top of the chair.
I have my springs here set up to go straight into footwork after this. So you could do that. I have my springs set up on two and two. So two up from the bottom. And you can of course choose your spring tension as you wish.
So we’re gonna roll back, bring the legs up, take the circle just over the tops of the legs, press into the circle with the upper arms and then reach and back and reach and back. As your arms reach forward over your knees, think of curling the chest into that shape, and reach and back. And four and in and three and in and two, staying supported on the top of the chair and one and back, holding the circle just over the knees, the right leg goes out, then the left and straight down and the left. And three, keep lifting that circle up. And four, making a change.
This time drop the straight leg down and down. And two, keep lifting the body. And three and three and four. Reaching down into hip extension. And five and five.
Bend both knees, reach back, put the circle behind the back of the head. The hands are just on the underneath side of the circle. Curl up a little higher, we go into crisscross. Twist and twist, first taking that straight leg straight down. And two, keeping the head heavy in the circle.
Three and four and four and five and five. Repeat from the other side. Take the leg down and down. And two and two, fully rotating the spine, three and three and four and four and five and five. Both knees in, legs in the air straight.
Take both legs down and up, and both legs down and up. Are you resting in your circle? Just a question. Be honest with yourself. And two and up.
And one and up. Bend your knees, roll up and turn to sit on the chair. So I have the spring. I mean it’s a heavy spring, but it’s light enough so that I can take one leg away. So if you’re choosing spring tension thinking both legs are gonna stay down the whole time, you might make a different choice.
Arms are going forward, spine is staying straight. So basically I’ve just pushed the pedal down to where I know I can support my spine. And we’re gonna press into the circle and reach down with the legs, and pump and pump and pump and pump. Lifting the spine up every time. And four and three and two and one.
Lift the pedal, keep the spine still, stretch one leg forward and press down. And yes, I’m shaking, it’s normal, three, for me, trying to hold the pelvis still, four. And keeping that leg parallel to the ground as best as you can, change sides, get sorted what I mean is stabilize, other leg goes forward and press and two, pressing into the circle, three and four and five, both feet down. Shift to your toes, lift the spine, lift the knees. And press and press.
So I’m doing a light squeeze into the circle as I’m pumping my legs. And press and press, and four and three, hopefully sitting all the way up tall, two and hold. Take the left leg forward and press five. Pressing into the circle, four and three and two and one, both feet down. Take a second, I’ll take mine.
Get organized, right leg out straight. And press with the left, five and four and three and two and one, both feet down, go into a small V shape. Heels are lifted. Bring the ring into your chest. Lift the knees and squeeze and squeeze and squeeze.
Pulling the abdominals back towards the spine, all the time, not just pressing from your hands, but pressing from the back. And five and four and three and two and one, step to the outside of the pedal. Take a minute, organize and press and press. Feel the inner thighs working like you’re squeezing a separate ring with your inner thighs. And press and press and four and three and two and one.
Go onto your toes, keep that wide shape with the hips. And last set, lift the knees and press and press and pressing from the back, pressing from the abdominals like you’re squeezing the air out of your body with the circle, five and four and three and two and one. Lift the legs, step down. Off, turn around, I’m gonna let my circle rest on the chair right now while I get myself organized for a calf press, a calf raise. So we’ve got the right knee on the chair, left leg on the ground behind.
Take that circle, reach it up in front of you, bend your arms and squeeze and move the foot, and two and reminding us that that squeezing with the arms, helps us bring awareness to the center of the body. And five, full range of motion with that foot. And three, pressing down through the back heel, two and one. I’m laughing, ’cause I almost lost my balance. Fun fact, change sides, sometimes when it’s hard it makes me think it’s funny.
Arms up, elbows bend and press, control. Feel the back of the leg working like as you’re pressing down with your feet, you’re trying to pull the chair towards that back foot. and press, release, last five and four, finding connection to the heel of the back foot. Last two, one more, release. Set the circle down and step off.
Okay, come up, we’re gonna be done with the circle for now. Let’s just put it to the sides, maybe for good, I’m not sure yet, just there. And then I’m gonna give myself a little bit more spring for what’s coming next. I’m gonna go one spring on two, which is two from the bottom, one spring on three. Just a little forgiving is what I’m thinking.
Feel free to keep the lighter spring if that’s what you choose. We’re gonna come to the chair, we’re gonna push down on the pedal. Going into the full pike here, taking the hands towards the front edge of the chair, lean over the wrists with the shoulders. From that place, get very round in your spine. So what I want us all to think about is that we’re working without moving yet.
Now let the head drop and pick that pedal. I gotta figure out where my feet go. Pick that pedal up, up, up, up, up. Use the down to refocus into the center of the body. Push down with your legs, push down with your arm’s fine not hover, and lift and round the spine on the way down.
So we all know, or maybe you don’t, but you do now, that the up part of the pike is challenging, but can you create challenge on the down. Two more like that, and then we’re gonna do something a little bit interesting, more interesting, fun in my opinion. So here we go, up. Stay lifted at the top. How high can you bring the pedal up?
Now, keep the pedal still and bend. Curl into a ball, keep the pedal still as you lift your pelvis higher. And keep the pedal still as you bend into a ball. And keep that pedal still, keep the head down between the arms and bend and stretch. How many more, you say two.
Bend and stretch, if you’re shaking, you are in good company, ’cause I am too, one. Work the down. Let your feet reach down so you get a little calf stretch. Take your hands towards the front, don’t pull the chair over, but lean back into a stretch. So, from here, we’re gonna come up, we’re gonna do another pike, you’re welcome.
But we’re gonna make it a little bit more oblique focus. So we’re gonna take the left leg out towards the left edge of the pedal. Take the right foot, cross it behind the left leg, lean over your hands again, not forward of your hands but just over. And now pick that pedal up, feeling a little bit differently in the abdominals, down and up and down. Shaky, shaky.
And up and down and two and down and one. Take the pedal all the way down. I’m just gonna readjust my foot so I feel nice and supported. Take the right leg up, let the spine come up into extension, and then round and bring the leg behind the left, and arch and around, behind the left and arch, and around, behind the left and arch, and around, behind the left and arch, and around, behind the left. Step across, we’re on our right foot now, left leg comes behind, hooking at the ankles, getting the shoulders over the hands, lift the pedal.
(Meredith exhales) And down, push down, get the pelvis to go forward, and left and down. Work the down, remember and left and down. Oh, deepen and lift, I think there’s two more. You’re right, I should be more careful with my counting when it’s difficult. Last one, up, up, up, up, up, up, up and down all the way.
Taking that left leg off the right leg, we’re gonna lift the leg, take the spine into extension, and then round, bring the leg around behind, and lift the leg into extension, and come back behind, and extend, pulling the shoulder blades down and back, and flex and two and flex and one and flex. Step back through center. Please humor me as we take the heels down for a stretch. Dropping the elbows down towards the chair. You’re welcome.
Come back up. Lift the pedal up and step down. Stand on your feet and stand up. Okay, let’s turn around, sit down on the chair, place the feet into an open V shape. Scooch forward towards the front edge.
Have your hands just outside of your pelvis. Push the pedal down. Put weight into your arms. Lift yourself up off the chair. Get as low as you feel that you can support that shape with good shoulder stability, lift the legs, straighten the arms and bend and straighten the arms and bend.
One more, straighten the arms. Three, you say? Now hold here, well go back to straight four. We’re gonna roll the pelvis up. Come up into a high shape in the hips.
And then press and press, pumping through the hips. And three and four and five. Bring the back down. Are we going again? Yes, we are.
Bend and straighten. And bend and straighten. We did four, I was planning for three, but I miscounted. So four again, here it is. Last time, we go up, roll the hips up, get ’em nice and high, and press five, wrapping through the hips, three, two, one.
Bring the pelvis down and come up onto the chair. From here we’re gonna press the pedal all the way down again. Stand on your feet, pick your pelvis up, squeeze your legs together, push forward into the chair or backward into the chair I guess is a better directive. Now lift the pelvis, dropping the head down between the arms. Push down with your legs as you lower down, trying to pull slightly away from the chair, you’ll be very close.
And lift up and down and lift up and down. Now you can stick with that or take the left leg forward, and lift and down and lift and down and lift and down. Right on the verge of a cramp, my friends, come up, right leg and go up and down and up and down and up and down. Put the foot down, laughing because it’s hard. Sit all the way up.
Let’s keep that pedal all the way down on the ground. Bring your arms up, lift your chest, circle your arms around, you’re welcome, we’re having a tiny break. Stretching the chest, ’cause we’re about to go back into that pike shape. Let’s do that one more time. Go up and open the arm stretching the chest and down.
I’m gonna turn to the, let’s say left. Left foot is in front, right foot is behind. Hands are on the two sides of the front of the chair. Stand more on your left leg than your, no left arm, stand sorry, more on your left arm than your right arm. Lean into the chair and pick the pedal up and down.
And pick the pedal up and down. And pick the pedal up and down. Hold, take the right leg, come down out to the side. Lean in, trying to find my footing and lift. Keeping that leg lifting up, up, up and down.
And lift and down and lift and down. Stand on the pedal. Keep the left hand on the chair. Shift out, so you’re standing over your left leg. Hand comes behind the head.
Take the leg front and back and front and back and front, trying to keep it high throughout. And two and back and one and back. Reach that right leg behind the left leg, both hands down, don’t panic. We’re leaning back and finding a stretch. I’m taking my left elbow to the chair.
So this is just a stretch. If you need to be different from me, you feel free please to organize differently. Come around, sit on the chair, turn. (Meredith exhales) One hand on either side of the front of the chair, or the front of this side of the chair. Lean in, square the shoulders, we’re standing more in the right arm and we go up and down, working the down and up and down.
We only did three. And up and down. Take the left leg out to the side, and lift the pedal up and down, pardon me, I just need to change where my foot is. Here we go, and two and down and one. And down, not a lot of range for me today, I will admit.
And I’m just fine with that. Hand behind the head. Take the leg forward and up and back and forward and up and back and forward and up and back. Pressing the head into the hands, two and up and back and one and up and back. Take that left leg back behind the right leg, and lean back for a stretch.
Okay, come up, carefully lift the pedal. We are gonna take it down a notch, you’re welcome. Maybe you don’t wanna take it down a notch, but I sure do. We’re gonna go to a pretty light spring, the lightest in fact, I’m gonna take my springs setting down to one spring on one. Now you can go heavier if you like, but that’s what I’m choosing.
So what’s coming up is a kneeling rotational exercise. So what I need to do for that is I wanna bring my mat back a little bit, because I want some padding under my knees. So we’re gonna get the forearm up onto the chair. So for me, I have my left arm on the chair, my right hand on the ground. We’re gonna slide that left arm in.
Straighten the left arm down. Stand on that hand. Take the right arm out to the side. Take your spine to the right. Think of equal pressure over your knees.
Come back out, bend your left arm and thread through the chair. Come back, it’s like a single arm push up, out to the side, bring the spine around. Come back, come all the way through and back. And bring the spine around and back and bring the body through, reaching all the way through the inside of that chair. Come back, bring the hand down, bend the arm, lift the pedal, take the right leg behind.
Do the same thing with the arm. We lift the elbow to the pedal, lift the pedal, press the upper arm down, lift the elbow, take the pedal down, lift the elbow to the pedal, take the pedal up. One more, pedal goes down. Elbow comes to pedal, pedal comes up, arm comes away. And we’re ready to change sides.
Think maybe best this way is easiest. Okay, so I just want that padding for my knees. Left hand on the floor. Right arm on the chair. So you have to get in pretty close.
Okay, so take the pedal down, lift the elbow, take that hand down. Bring the left arm out to the side. Rotate your spine towards the left. Looking up at that hand, come through the chair, bending that right arm like a single arm pushup, wringing out the spine, straighten your arm, left arm comes out to the side. We go into rotation, out of rotation, bend the arm and into rotation again, but in the opposite direction and center.
And last one, into rotation and back, and into rotation and back. Place the arm down, stretch the left leg out, and bring the pedal up, and press the pedal down. And bring the pedal up, holding the body square and press the pedal down. And bring the pedal up, and press the pedal down. And bring the knee in and lift the pedal up.
And bring both arms down, sit back towards your feet, just hovering off the feet, stretching the arms out in front. Taking a little shoulder stretch there. And then roll all the way up through your spine. And we’re gonna move the mat back to center now, so that we can finish with some back extension. So you’re gonna come all the way down onto the mat.
Reach up for the pedal with your arms. So ideally, can we stay at the top of the spring? So my arms are above my head, and then we’re gonna take the eyes forwards. As we start looking towards the pedal, the arm starts to press and we take the spine into extension, bringing the pedal all the way down. Start lifting the pedal back up.
As the pedal passes the eyes, start lowering the spine back down. Slide the shoulder blades away from the ears. Lift the eyes, press down with the arms to guide the spine into extension, at the top, you’re looking just up or inside of the chair Lift the arms and reverse articulate, that means the body comes down first. The arms lift and the head comes down last. And then we take the head up, pressing the pedal down.
Lift the arms, keep the body in extension. Roll down, one more with a little change at the top. Shoulder blades draw down, eyes go through the chair, press down, now keep your body lifted and lift and lower the arms for five and four and three and two, holding the body still and one, and lower the body all the way. Lifting the pedal as you go. Once you arrive at the top of the spring, bring your arms down, press with your arms and roll through your spine.
Stretching the arms out in front as you sit all the way back towards your feet. Just pausing here for a moment or two taking a breath. We’re gonna walk the hands over towards the right. We’re gonna lean into that left side body. (Meredith slowly exhales) Gonna walk the hands through center, and over to the left and lean into that right side body.
(Meredith slowly exhales) And walk back to center. Roll up to bring the hands just in front of the knees, tuck your toes under. Use your arms to help roll over your feet. Reach down towards your heels, rock forward over the toes, bringing the knees not all the way down, but just to hover, just stretching the feet a little and back. We’ll just do that one more time.
Rolling over the feet. Feet get a little work in this work too. Feet are a little challenge in this work is what I mean. And back, so we give them a little love too. Take your hands back to where you need so that you can stand on your feet.
Drop down into your stretch. Roll up through your spine. Finishing the way we started, coming up, checking in, taking the arms up, taking the eyes up, letting the arms just softly fall towards the sides of the body and down. And that is the end. Thank you for taking class with me.