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Hi, I’m Meredith. Thank you for joining me here today for this beginner level exo chair workout. Anytime I start with the beginner or do fundamental work even on my own, I like to just remind myself of breath. So that’s what we’ll do to start today. So, just bring yourself into a sitting position on your chair, and take your hands just to the outside of your ribcage.
And then before we go anywhere, we’re just gonna feel the spine lifting a little taller, feel that the weight of the body sitting just over the sitting bones. And as we inhale, we’ll expand outwards into the hands. So the idea is we draw the navel back towards the spine but we allow the ribcage to expand to the sides. And then as we exhale, we’ll let the ribcage slide down and towards the pelvis. So, we inhale and expand, filling up the body, you could even think of the ribcage moving three dimensionally side to side, front to back.
And then as we exhale, we’ll gently draw the navel back towards the spine and allow the ribcage to start to settle back down, the two fronts of the ribs come a little closer together there, and we’ll just do that one more time, just reminding ourselves that as we’re moving through this workout, last time inhale, we wanna always keep our awareness on the breath and drawing the navel back towards the spine as we exhale. Stand on your feet. Take an inhale there feeling your weight centered over your feet. Now the chair is right behind me so I’ll be able to feel if I lean back towards it, it’s a good test. We’ll then drop the chin towards the chest.
Allow the knee to soften just a little bit as we start rolling down towards the ground. So we’re articulating the spine down and we wanna try to keep the pelvis right over the feet. So if I lean back, that chair’s gonna touch me, I think I’m doing a pretty good job here. Inhale, push the floor away from you, lift through the center of the body, feel the rotation of the pelvis come through, stacking the pelvis over the knees. And as we stand, we just align the spine in an upright position, lifting the head, and bringing the arm just to the sides of the thighs.
Inhaling again, (inhales) expanding the ribcage, letting the head drop towards the chest, letting the spine roll down. And as the spine goes down towards the floor, we allow the knees to soften. So we just use this initial exercise to bring ourself into the space to connect our mind and our body, pausing at the bottom, pushing the floor away, rolling up to let any outside distractions leave our brain so that we’re focusing in the moment, in our body, in our breath, in our movement. Last time, inhale. And exhale, chin to the chest, knees soften.
Arms are heavy, but the collarbones stay open. Rounding down towards the floor, it’s always useful to feel if you’re shifting from one foot to the other foot. And if you are, try to keep weight evenly distributed through both feet and push the floor away, lift through the center of the body, roll all the way back up to a standing position. We’re gonna go down onto the mat now. And the spring that I have connected to the chair is one spring on the level two from the bottom.
So one up from the bottom spring. We’re gonna come all the way down onto our back, place the feet up on the chair, and then take the pedal down. So what we’re doing here with the feet is keeping the heels on the floor and organizing the upper part of the foot so it’s reaching up over the top of the pedal, kind of like a prehensile shape or a perch like shape. Then keeping the pedal grounded, we’re gonna start flexing the spine, lifting up into a spinal articulation into a bridge or a pelvic curl. Pause when your body is in a straight line, keeping that pedal grounded on the floor.
And then as we exhale, we’ll start to come down. So the chest drops, the arms are actively pressing down into the floor, rolling the spine all the way down until we arrive at the tailbone. So a neutral pelvis, inhale there. Feel the initiation happen from the abdominals. Now this is the most difficult part for me anyway to keep the pedal down.
Once we start to pick the pelvis up and apply the way to the body onto that pedal, it gets a little easier to navigate holding that pedal still. Pause in your straight line, take a breath in, and exhale as you soften through the throat, soften through the chest, feeling each vertebra of the spine come down individually into the mat as you arrive all the way down to your neutral pelvis or tailbone down. We have another inhale, we’re gonna do three more, lift up. Keeping that pedal grounded, keeping the knees straightforward from the hip joints, so we wanna make sure that the legs stay parallel here, and we roll down, mobilizing the spine, using the front of the body to move the back of the body into the mat. And two more, exhale, two left.
So starting to move the body with the breath, letting the breath create the rhythm for the movement, inhaling at the top, and exhaling to roll down. Last time here we’ll make a change when we get to the top lifting up. Take the arms off the floor, and reach straight up towards the ceiling. We’re going to inhale, feel that ribcage expansion as we take the arms wide. And exhale, bring the arms back, holding the pelvis in that static position.
Just two more times, inhale, open feeling the shoulder blades stay broad on the back and exhale to bring the arms up and inhale to open. This time instead of coming back, we’re gonna allow the arms just to rest on the floor in that T shape. And then we’re gonna roll the body back down, all the way down, keeping the pedal still. And then with control, lift the pedal up, take the legs up one at a time into a tabletop position for the spine twist. So the spine twist is when we keep the knees side by side.
Take the knees over to one side, and then exhale pulling from the opposite side of the waist to come back through center. And in inhale, we lift off one hip onto the other hip, bringing the knees together as we rotate through the spine. And exhale, feel the abdominals pull back, dig in deep, and inhale as we reach up and over. I liken these most fundamental movements moments, and exhale to see how deeply I can find sensation in my movement. So as we take the knees across the abdominals, pull back in the opposite direction from the movement of the knees.
We deepen even more from there to come back to center, the feet stay just in front of the knees, the knees stays side by side, we go over, and exhale center. And the arm on the floor on the opposite side of the rotation reaches actively. The shoulder stays down, the arm stays down, and exhale back center. Last time in both directions, inhale to come across, exhale to come back to center. And inhale lifting off one hip onto the other hip, maybe challenging the range a little bit, and exhale to come back to center.
Once we’re in center, we’re gonna take one foot back onto that pedal, other foot back on the pedal. Once again, press the pedal all the way down. Organize your feet again into that prehensile shape where we started where we have the top of the foot reaching over the top of the pedal, the heel of the foot on the floor, reach back to bring your hands behind your head, we’re going into a chest lift here. Now if it’s too difficult to keep the pedal down, you’ll make a lighter spring. But we’re gonna curl the head and chest up, feeling that low spine imprint into the mat, feeling the head heavy in the hand, we inhale at the top, (inhales) and we exhale and stretch the body long.
Keeping the pedal grounded on the floor, exhale to lift the head and chest. So just warming up the spine, warming up the abdominals here, lift up nice and high and exhale as we lay the spine down. And again, inhale. It’s harder than it looks if you’re just watching. If you’re doing, you’ll feel that it’s harder than it looks, I imagine.
Pausing at the top, inhale. And exhale, keeping that prehensile shape, stretching that top of the foot over the pedal. Last two, lifting up, (exhales) feeling the back of the legs working almost like you’re trying to pull the chair towards the back of your legs and down. And just one more time, lifting up. (breathes sharply) Pause there, take your hands behind your thighs. Use your arms to just reinforce that shape.
Again, remember to feel the heels dragging back towards the pelvis, that’s gonna keep the back of the legs active. Take the hands up, back behind the head holding the pedal still, rotate towards right, and center, and rotate towards left, keeping the pelvis square and center. And rotate towards right ringing out the spine trying not to let the lower body move at all. And center and towards left, and center, I think a lot about the leg that I’m rotating towards standing on the pedal. And center, but I suppose you could think about it the other way too, the leg that you’re rotating away from standing on the pedal, both work a little differently.
Last two to each direction, turning and center, just the upper body is moving. We’re trying to maintain the height of the torso as we’re coming through center and center. And last time, lifting up and across, and center and up and across, and center and from center, take the spine down with control, take the pedal up with control, bring your feet down. Turn onto your side and help yourself up. We’re going straight from here into some footwork.
So we wanna change the weight to the spring. For this, I like to use one spring on the third step up from the bottom and one spring on the second step up from the bottom. Coming up, taking a seat on the chair. I forgot to mention, I have this moon box here for later. So that’s why you see it in the frame, we’re gonna use it in a little while.
So we’re gonna bring the heels onto the chair. And what we’ll do here with our hands is we’re just take the fingers in like a perch shape. So we’re using our arms to help us maintain our upright position, settling the pedal into a position where we can hold the body in a straight line. And then we take the pedal down without moving the spine forward or back, without changing the orientation of the pelvis, exhale to press. Now here’s where we can come back into our breath.
So can you feel that idea of really supporting yourself from the center of your body as you’re exhaling to press the pedal, feeling the expansion in the torso as you’re inhaling to lift the pedal, and we press five, the arms are helping us a little bit but we’re not relying on them and we’re certainly not leaning back into them. And press and lift, and two and lift, and one and hold the pedal down to come to the toes. (Meredith breathes sharply) Solidify your shape, lifting and pressing, holding that body in an upright position and pressing. (breathes sharply) I like to think as I’m pressing down with my legs, I’m getting a little taller in my spine, a little lighter in my spine, maybe even a little lighter in my hands, and press and lift, and exhale fully finding the end of the exhale so that we’re creating some (exhales) work for the abdominals. We’re gonna do two more. Press and lift, and press and lift, and press down and hold, bringing the heels of the feet together So now we’re in open V-shape with the legs lifting the pedal and press and lift, and press and lift, and press, we’re just doing these three simple movements for today.
And press very simple. I like simple, gives us a lot of space to find the details. Feel the spine lifting up as the pedal presses down. And we’ll do about four more here, pressing and lifting. Oh, maybe you can see me shaking, and lifting.
It’s nice and challenging too. (exhales) And up, and one, pause there, send the feet back to parallel. Now, can you keep the pedal where it is and lower your heels and lift onto your toes. Pedal stays still, lower the feet, and lift and lower, supporting this movement through the center of the body and down, and up, and three and up, and two and up, and one and up. Lift the pedal all the way up and step (exhales) off the frame. Okay, so we’re gonna get up off the chair, we’re gonna change the spring.
So what I would say… What I’m gonna recommend is just remove the spring that’s on two, so I have one spring on three now now. You can choose your own springs, of course, those are just the springs that I prefer. So we’re gonna stand all the way up on our feet. Now this goes back here, it’s similar movement to what we started within that standing rolldown, so I want us to feel that we’re standing all the way up tall.
Then, we’re gonna roll down towards the chair. Keep the hips over the feet, put the hands on the pedal. As you inhale, press that pedal down. So, you could even think they are leaning into it, leaning into it. Now it doesn’t have to go all the way down, you decide where you can (inhales) go comfortably and then round the spine.
And as you round, halfway up, continue to push down with your arms, so we’re stretching the spine here. And inhale, take the pedal down, and exhale, round the spine, pushing the feet down, pushing the arms down. And inhale, take the pedal down. So keeping that roundness in the spine, exhale to curl. We’ll just do two more here, keeping the collarbones open, keeping equal weight on both feet, I lift, and last time inhale, keeping the head tucked down.
And last time exhale, rolling yourself up, finding your feet, lifting the hands off the pedal to come all the way up into an upright position. We’re gonna make another spring change. So for this next exercise, we’re gonna go down to two springs on the first hook. Here’s where we’re gonna use the box. So we’re gonna place the box just in front of the chair.
This is a shoulder stability and mobility exercise. Well, shoulder stability and arm mobility exercise. So once you get your box lined up, sit down on it. (breathes sharply) Reach back for the chair and press the pedal down. Now this is a fairly heavy spring, so if it feels too heavy, definitely go lighter. So what I’m thinking about here is sitting right over the tops of my sitting bones.
We’re gonna allow the springs to help the shoulders or just assist the shoulders as they go straight up towards the ears, and then we’re gonna think mid back presses the arms back down. And as the arms are pressing down, it’s very easy to lean back on the chair. So, try stay in that upright position, let the scapula lift, the shoulder blades lift, and think mid back as we press down. And the feeling here as your arms are pressing down, almost feels as though you’re leaning away from the chair. Shoulder blades lift, shoulder blades press down.
Shoulder blades lift, shoulder blades pressed down. (exhales) One more time, shoulder blades lift. Hold the shoulder blades down, keep that upright shape. Now, bend and straighten the arms. Inhale as you bend, drawing the abdominals back. Exhale, think mid-back is where you’re supporting from, where you’re initiating from as you straighten your arms.
Keep that sensation of leaning forward, staying just up right over the sitting bones. We’ll do five and press, and four and press, and three and press, just like we are feeling equal weight on the feet before, can we now feel that we’re have equal weight underneath our hands? Bend the arms, (exhales) take the hands off the pedal, come all the way up to standing, and we’re gonna do some side stretching. So, I think we should change the spring again. I’m gonna choose one spring on three.
So when I count the springs, I go from the bottom, one, two, three, and then take the other spring away. (breathes sharply) We’re gonna sit on the side of our pelvis. So what I mean by that is not directly up and down, but instead just leaning over to the side, taking the other leg out straight, placing the hand down on the pedal, taking the arm that’s not on the pedal up towards the ear. So we’re lined up in a straight line here, and then we lean into that spring. Inhale as we go over, keeping the body in a straight line, keeping that underneath shoulder blade supported and down, and exhale, use that abdominal muscle, that upper abdominal oblique to come back into your straight line. And inhale, reach down, the head just stays right with the spine, go down into that side stretch and exhale using the abdominals to lift back up into that vertical line if not exactly vertical, it’s more diagonally vertical but you know what I mean, I think.
Reach over, over, over. Can you maximize your stretch every time. And up and over, side bending, taking that leg that’s on the floor just actively reaching with it, and up. Come all the way up, turn to the opposite side of the chair. (breathes sharply) Sitting on the side of the pelvis, the other leg reaches out straight, hand comes down the pedal, the arm that’s not on the pedal reaches up towards the ear. We create that long straight diagonal line, and then we lean into the spring, we bend the spine, going, going, going, going, and then we draw into that oblique.
The muscle that you feel a stretch in is the same muscle that you work to engage to come back up, and inhale, reach over, over, over, over, staying in a straight line. And what I mean by that, we’re obviously not in a straight line with our spine, but I mean we’re not taking any rotation to front, we’re not taking any rotation to back, reach and lift and inhale, (inhales) and exhale, and last time, inhale, and exhale, and come all the way up off the chair. Turning now to face the chair, place your body on the chair. So I’m hooking with my knees bent. I have the edge of the chair kind of hooked in to where my hip flexes.
So we use the edge of the chair just to know where the pelvis is. So we’re dropping the front of the pelvis down into the chair, create a straight line with your body. Now start looking forward towards the end of the mat. We’re gonna lift the spine not very much pressing back with the arms towards the chair as we lift into just a little bit of upper spinal extension, and then lowering the body down. And taking the eyes in the direction you want your spine to go, feeling your arms press back towards the chair, lifting up, really finding that upper back area, and down, and lifting the eyes, shoulder blades gliding backwards, and down.
And just one more here. Reaching out and up, and down. And bend the arms to lift the pedal. Place the hands on top of the chair, lift yourself up. Stand just towards the very back of the chair.
Stand up and inhale tall. And roll the spine down. This time the hands will come just over the top of the pedal. We’re gonna reach out into a flat back this time. So like before where we stayed around, or unlike before where we stayed round, now we’re changing the shape of the spine, but the same cuing applies here, push down with your arms, push down with your feet, roll up into that deep flexion of the spine, stretching the back, and inhale, reach down, long and down, and exhale as we come back up.
And filling up the body with that inhale, keeping the collarbones open, reaching the chest down towards the chair, if it’s hard for your spine to move into a (breathes sharply) straight back with your legs straight, it’s worthwhile to think about softening or bending the knees just so we can get full mobilization of the spine, and back. Moving the body like a wave is what I think about. So reaching out or just letting each movement become the next movement. So flowing from one thing to the next. Once the pedal comes all the way up, we’ll find our feet.
We’ll keep the pelvis right as it is as we roll up. Coming up to standing, bringing the arms back, lifting the eyes, (breathes sharply) and thank you for joining me today.