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Merry Christmas. I am so excited today because we are together and it has been a few years. So, that means a few years too long to come together and celebrate Christmas a little early. But we will all be together actually on Christmas. I have my elves with me.
You might know them, Sarah and Amy. Naughty elf, nice elf. Anyway, so we’re gonna get going. We are using the overball today, and we’re gonna start standing. (bells ringing) Naughty elf is noisy, sorry.
And apologies in advance for any unnecessary giggling, it probably will happen. So, what I want us to do is feel your feet on the ground, feel there’s equality of pressure in between both feet and take the ball up in front of you. We are gonna bend the arms, pull the ball to the chest, think of squeezing the ball and also pulling the elbows away from the ball so it’s at two opposite directives and then take the arms forward. But what I imagine that it finds or what I can feel anyway is as you squeeze and then pull the elbows, we get a little bit upper back sensation. Yes and reach forwards.
I haven’t had students in my classes for so long, I’m thrilled, honestly. One more, pull in. I mean, I know y’all are here, but it sometimes feels like I’m talking to myself. Take the arms up, reach up, reach back, let your chest go, and then come back in front with the ball, let the ball come down towards the floor. Take the chin to the chest, let the knee soften, and just articulate down through your spine.
So we could imagine maybe that the ball is heavier than it actually is. We’re gonna roll down and let the ball rest on the ground. Bend your knees, stretch your legs back towards straight, collect some intention into the ball with the upper arms and around the shoulder blades as you roll up through your spine. Taking the arms in front, three times bending the elbows, wide elbows, chest lifted and stretch. You don’t have to squeeze too hard, wide elbows, (laughs) or if you want to, you can, one more, wide elbows (laughs) and reach for it, take the arms overhead.
If it feels sticky in your shoulders, let your elbows bend and then take your chest back and then take the ball forwards and follow it with your head as it takes you forward towards the ground. Heavy head lifted through the abdominals. Let the ball rest on the ground and bend your knees and stretch your legs and collect the heavy ball so it’s an imaginarily heavy ball, but you could imagine that I think pretty easy. Come up to standing one more time the same, arms forwards. Bend your arms, lift your chest, reach forward, bend your arms, lift your chest.
Feel the ball coming into the chest. And one more time, bend. I think my face will be just as sore as my body after this class. And take the arms overhead, let your back go and then come to upright and hold. Take the ball into the left hand, take the left arm down.
Put the ball on your left side and roll it down the side of your left side. Press in with your left arm and reach up and over with your right. Come up from there, bringing the ball up. Exchange hands and then press into the thigh as you lean over letting the ball roll down the thigh and take that side stretch and then pick the ball up. Bring it up into the other hand and then left arm holds the ball, we reach over to the left again.
Now this time we’re gonna take the ball around the back of the thigh and we’re gonna let the body follow it. Come back into the side stretch, come up and bring the ball up, change hands, my crown is in the way of my arms. Lean over. Allow the ball to roll around the back of the thigh, just bring it with you. Come back and all the way up and bend your arms and bring the ball down.
A little gift for you. Come and sit. Sarah, shh. Take the ball on the shins, holding it in your hands. I want us to press the ball into the shins, let it squish and then lift your chest up and back.
And then come back up. Lift the ball off the leg. Sorry ladies, we’re gonna roll back. Neither of my elves love flexion. We’re gonna roll up, find the shins with the ball, press into the shins and lift up tall, extend the spine.
Come back, lift the ball, and roll back. You can focus on the ball if you like and roll up. If you can hear Sarah’s bells, that means she’s shaking. Put down, put the ball down, set up, take the chest up and back. Come back to straight, one more only and go down and up and reconnect.
Sit up tall, press against shins and lift the chest up and back and then we’re gonna take the ball up. We’re going back again and I invite you to find a shape in your rollback that you can maintain. So we might not all have the same shape and that’s okay because life is like that. Take the ball in your left hand and reach and look at it and bring back, take the ball in the right hand and reach and look back at it, come back. The ball goes to the left, spine goes with you and back.
And ball goes to the right, reach and back. Last one, both sides and center and reach and center. And sit up and open the knees. Let the ball rest down. Take your hands to your shin and just fold yourself over your thighs.
Come back up from there, take the ball behind you. I like to put the ball around the bottom of my rib so you just kind of have to figure out where it’s gonna feel good in your body to take your thoracic spine upper back over the ball. So I like about the middle of the ribs towards the bottom. We’re gonna take, Sarah. We’re gonna take the body back.
And so finding a straight line, not really going into flexion but more straight and then feel that there’s some engagement, some elongation and ecentric contraction of the abdominals as you reach back and then find center straight and back again. Inhale and exhale. Two more. Inhale as you go back. I’m not really resting on the ball but more letting it encourage the shape of the spine.
One more. Back and up, making a change. Go back, come center. Rotate to the left. Try to keep the ball underneath you pretty still, come center, rotate to the right, come center, we are doing five and back and lift.
And if I can count to five without getting distracted, center, it will be a Christmas miracle and rotate (laughs) center and go back. And when I laugh really hard, you might hear me snort, fun facts. Pilates Christmas miracle. Pilates Christmas miracle if the teacher can count to five, it’s true. Two more, back and up.
Push down with your feet, feel your feet on the ground and center and turn. When I just say two more, that means one more and back. See, Christmas miracle and up and turn and center and turn and center. And this time when you go back you can just lean, stretch, let the ball support you. This class is for a very special person who requested it.
You know who you are. Lift up, reach forward. You can hold your legs to come up or you can just roll yourself up, you decide. We’re gonna take the ball between the thighs. We’re gonna roll all the way down onto the mat so setting up for some bridging, coming down, letting the head go, bringing the arms down to the mat, organizing the feet as you need to be in a nice solid bridging position.
We’re gonna roll the pelvis up, squeeze the ball and inhale and continue to squeeze the ball as you roll down. All the way, all the way, all the way through the spine and inhale and press into the ball as you lift up, nice and high with the hips but keep the ribs from overextending, meaning roll down, don’t overextend through the lower back. So, as we’re preparing to come back up to the top again, we begin with a little bit of a, well, a big posterior tilt rotation and then we keep a bias in that rotation as we roll up. Are you still squeezing the ball? Oh good, oh good.
And, (bell ringing) oh Sarah. Sarah, shush. And one more and roll up. Okay, so we’re gonna stay at the top. We are going straight down, not round and straight up for five.
Squeeze and squeezes you lower bridging with a flat back and up, four, down, up, three, down, press back with your arms, up, two, down, up, one and hold. Straighten your left knee and put it down and straighten your right leg and put it down and straighten your left leg and put it down, Sarah. And straighten your right leg and down and the left and down and the right, (laughs) one more. Can you feel that you’re equally weighted on your arms? The other way and down.
So we’re making a change. We’re gonna straighten the left leg and hold, squeeze the ball lower and lift the pelvis. Five, squeeze the ball as you lift one down. Two, supporting from the front of the body. Three, and four, and five.
Put that foot down, change sides, lower and lift, Sarah, five and four and three and press down with your arms, two and one. Put that foot down, level out the hips if they have lost their level and then slowly make your way down through flexion all the way. Are you squeezing the ball? And return to neutral. Okay ladies, we are going to lift up off the mat, take the ball, remove it from your thighs and bring your legs together.
Take your body down. Hold the ball in your arms above your chest and lift your legs up into a tabletop position. Take the legs to the left and the arms to the right and come back into the middle. And take the legs to the other side and the arms to the other side. So we’re using the movement of the arms and the movement of the ball to counterbalance the movement of the legs.
Rotate and center and rotate and center and rotate. That feels good and center and rotate. One more time to each side after this. So feel the abdominal supporting you working and center and across and center. Okay ladies, we are gonna take one leg and then the other leg down to the ground and we’re gonna reach the arms overhead, make like a laser beam, stretching out through the leg, stretching out through the waist and pick up the ball, pick up your head.
Roll up, bend your arms and sit up. My crown is falling off. Straighten your arms and round your spine and go down. Go down, go down, go down, go down onto the back. Sarah, Sarah.
And then reach your arms over your head as you come down and then lift your head and the ball, reach the ball forward and roll up. You mean we’re not just stretching? No, we’re not just stretching, Sarah, bend the arms and sit up and around the spine and reach forward. We’re gonna do this five times so now you would know what’s coming. So we go down, take the ball, the head goes down, we lift the chest, we roll the pelvis.
Look at you two, well done. And bend your arms and sit up. Another Christmas miracle. And reach for it. Another Christmas miracle, it’s gonna be a great year.
Oh, I can’t believe we’re already saying goodbye to 2022. My goodness. Come up, reach all the way forward and please pause and stretch there so I can fix my princess crown. And then bring your ball with you and sit up, holding your ball out in front of you, straighten, holding your ball out in front of you, please flex your feet and it will be a Christmas miracle if I can communicate with our friends. Open the left arm to the side and follow it with your body.
Come back to center. Open the right arm out to the side, reach the other arm forward. So your eyes are following the ball, the other arm is reaching forward. If you have a friend in front of you to reach for, please do. But don’t do any naughty things.
I mean, maybe I shouldn’t have said that ’cause it’s just too tempting. One more to each side please ladies. Rotate, reach, and center keeping the feet side by side, rotate, reach, and center. Here’s what’s happening now. We’re gonna go open to the left, the ball’s gonna go up over the top of the head and meet in the middle.
Finds the right hand, rotate to the right. When the ball comes up, the spine lifts taller, it comes up and around. Finds the left hand little brain teaser. We all need something to think about at Christmas time, not enough to think about, right? Reach up and over and rotate and up and over and rotate and up and over and rotate.
And up and over, just one more to each side, please open, come up and over and open and up and over and separate your feet. Take the ball down onto the mat. Put it just underneath your hands. So mine, it’s kind of like on my fingertips more than on my actual hands ’cause we’re gonna roll it. We’re gonna round the spine and just allow the ball to roll where it needs to up your arms and then come back up.
So we come up, we sit up, we bring it up to where the fingertips are touching the ball again and then we roll down. What’s funny? They’re laughing. And lift up. You’re laughing because I’m shaking?
No, we’re holding hands. Oh, that’s cute, they’re holding hands and reach forth. I like it. Okay, this is the last one like this, no more holding hands for now. And up, ready?
We go forward. Now instead of sitting up straight, sit up on the diagonal, still let the ball roll towards you. Push into it to help you find that spinal extension and then roll forward and see if you can bump your balls together. And then lift up into spinal extension. Did you do it?
Yeah, good and then go forward. That’s the audience. Reaching forwards. Two more like that, lift the body. I’m pushing down a lot, it helps and reach forwards.
One more, forward Anna. Lift, lift, lift, lift and forward. This time, instead of coming up on that diagonal, we’re gonna sit all the way up. We’re gonna pick up the ball. Turn your body to the right, take the right hand from the ball, take it behind you, the ball will go towards the right foot, we’ll reach back with the right arm as we roll the ball past that right foot or wherever you can take it, really.
Sit up, collect the ball with both hands with rotation in your spine and center. Lots of cues there. Rotate first, separate the hands, the ball goes towards the foot and rolls. We come up in rotation both hands find the ball and we turn. Go rotate and soar.
Let the ball roll. Come up, collect it and center and rotate and soar and up. And one more to each side please rotate. The feathers from my tiara are floating around everywhere and up. And little Christmas gifts for everyone.
And rotate, last one and reach and up and center. Ladies, bend your knees and put the ball between your knees. You’re gonna take a hold of your ankles, you’re gonna lean back. Get just behind the pelvis, just towards your sacrum. Pick up the feet, find a voice and rock and rock.
Uh-oh, my tiara fell off and rock. I’ll collect it when we’re finished. And rock and rock and rock. Sarah, I wonder if you can roll without making any jingles, try it, rock. Nope.
And one more, rock and up. Put your feet back down. We are gonna put the ball back into the center of the ribs like we started. You let me crown yourself. I just crowned myself, yes, you’re right, I did.
The coronation of the Christmas queen. Take your hands behind your head. Find a neutral alignment in your spine. Go back with your body, we’re making a change though this time. When we come up into the upright position, we’re picking up the right leg up.
You can go into flexion if you want, you can keep it pretty neutral if you want. I’m staying neutral. Back goes the leg in the spine. Go up and lifts the left. Doing a Christmas march and back, Christmas march to crown the Christmas queen and lift and back and lift.
Pushing down with that free foot. Or not free foot. The foot that’s on the ground pushes down while the leg that’s in the air comes up. Gives it a little bit of ground, helps stabilize the pelvis. Oh look, actual teaching happening.
Another Christmas miracle, lift up and center and right. Now, go center and back. Lift the left leg as you come up. Take rotation. Go to center, put the leg down in arch.
Lift up, right leg comes up, take rotation, center, leg goes down, body goes down and up. And turn and center and back and up and turn. We’re doing one more to each side please. And up and turn. Center and back.
Last one, up and turn and center. And all the way back and we get one more chance just to lay over the ball. Merry Christmas, you’re welcome. And then come up, retrieve the ball. Come onto your back.
Any which way. We’re gonna take the ball underneath the pelvis just to reach right in the center of the sacrum. Arms are down, we’re gonna lift the legs up. One at a time is probably a good idea or both as you wish. And we’re gonna take the legs straight up.
From there, take the legs into external rotation. Flex your feet and bend your knees and stretch. Trying to let the pelvis drop back into that ball and bend and stretch. Squeezing together and bend and stretch. Squeezing together.
Keep the arms active. Last two and one more. We go up, point your feet, open your legs, squeeze them back together. Find the heel, flex the feet and bend. Push up and point, open wide, wide, wide, wide, wide.
Squeeze back together, flex the feet and bend and push up. Point and open. Take the stretch. Squeeze together and bend. And two more and open and back.
Sarah’s not trying to make her balls jingle now or her bells jingle, she’s just shaking (laughs). Push up and open. I’m not shaming her, I’m doing the same. Back together and take the legs down and circle up around together. Five and down, up around together.
You’re welcome to go as low as you want, but just make sure you feel in control. Out around and up. And what’s funny? The idea of being in control. I jingle on purpose now.
One. It’s a good distraction from the work. Okay, pause, open. I hope the jingling is bringing you joy and not distraction and annoyance, that’s my Christmas wish for you. Down and together and up, open.
Down and together and up, open. Down and together and two more. Christmas guests (laughs). One more. And you count to two.
And two, okay. Up we go, bend your knees, rest your feet down on the floor. Take the ball out from underneath your body. And then I recommend rolling the spine down. Yeah, taking that stretch.
We are going to turn over. My tiara keeps falling off. Here’s some Christmas fluff for you. Okay, so what I want us to do is I want us to rest that ball kind of at the sternum, not so close that it feels like it’s gonna choke you, but pretty close to your throat. Okay, so we are going to– I think the ball is gonna choke against the ribbons.
Oh, we are, don’t get choked by your ribbon or the ball. Okay, ready ladies? All right, we’re gonna feel the elbows pull back. Let your hands glide backwards along the mat and then I want us to just lift our chest like you’re trying to squish one side of the ball shorter, smaller than the other one like a Pacman, Pacman, acute angle, what angle? And down, some sort of angle.
So one side of the ball gets smushed, one side of the ball gets big and we roll up. I’m not lifting off the ball so much as I’m trying to roll it forward and back. And backward glad with the arms, rolling the ball forward. Even staying heavy on the ball, but trying to send it more forward. I’m still looking for a little bit of upper back and center.
Just two more. Roll the ball forward, is that five? Oh no, no, no, I said two more so that does make five and I did count right correctly, amazing. And down, one more time. Rolling the ball.
Oh, get a little higher this time just for fun and then come back. Push with your forearms to help yourself up off the ball and take a minute just to sit back on your feet. I have a gift for you ladies. So, when you’re ready, roll up and we’re gonna sit in a mermaid, mermaid shape, mermaid shape, mermaid shape. I’m gonna cue right and left.
So I’m holding the ball in my right hand, everyone is holding the ball in their right hand. We’re good, okay, just checking, here we go. We’re gonna lean over, find the hand. Take the ball around, bend your arm, put the ball on the ground, roll it wherever you want, you’re welcome, you’re welcome. Start to come back, straighten the arm that’s on the mat.
Unwind, bring the ball around. Come up, put the ball on the floor. Roll it this way. And then come back. Let me do it again, lean, hand lightly comes to the ground.
We let the elbow bend like a single arm push up, take the ball around, put it down. So, depending on where you go ahead roll, depending on where you take the ball is gonna be where the body feels the stretch so you can choose a different place every time or you can choose your favorite place. Straighten your arm and unwind. It’s like choose your own adventure. Merry Christmas and up.
Oh, the cheesiest teacher alive. Ooh, go further, you can. Okay and up and over. And take rotation, letting the arm come down. Take the ball and push it away, push it away, push it away, push it away.
And then come back. Straighten the arm. Come around, come up. The ball goes down and we roll it. I think we’ll do four, which means one more.
Sarah has a Christmas cramp. Take rotation and push it forward. Oh my goodness. This is so good. And then back and around, enough and over.
Now from here, take that ball back a little and let your body turn towards it. I mean, it’s just an idea, you don’t have to roll it any which way. Just I like to pull it back a little ’cause it helps me take more rotation and then back and then up and then change. And this might give me a Christmas cramp on this side. So, we’ll see, here we go.
Definitely getting some Christmas cracks. Christmas cracks. Sarah, let’s go. I’m ready. Yeah, let’s go with that.
I’m just having a hard time with this leg, you just over. Okay, here we go, over, oh, over, over. Holding the ball in the correct hand. Taking rotation. Yeah and perfection is for losers.
Reach forward with your arm, let your elbow come to the ground or straighten your arm and bring the ball back and derotate and come up. Or better teachers than I. Take the arm up and roll the ball this way. I didn’t mean to say perfection is for losers, but that’s just how I make myself feel better. Come up and lift the arm and go lean.
So as you’re going into rotation, real teaching happening here. Let the elbow come down, stabilize the scapula, turn the body, put the ball down. Roll the ball any which way that feels good in your body. Start to bring it back and as you do feel that shoulder blade go down the back as your elbow leaves the ground, the ball comes around, the body comes up, the arm comes up, we push it away. Dropping into the sitting bone on that side is the story I’m trying to tell my body and come up.
It’s all stories, here we go. Two more, over and bend. Pressing the shoulder blade reaching around. I mean, the shoulder blade should be happy, but I mean, pull it down, push it forward. Hey, that was a joke.
Thank you. And back and unwind and up. Ball goes down and lean, lean, lean, let the ball move. Feels so good and up. Was that intentional pause?
Over and down. Elbow goes down, shoulder blade is supported. Rotate and roll. I just let the ball move up towards that elbow as it needs. Come back, let the arm straighten around, up.
My friends, this is the one where we rolled over to a side stretch and then we took the rotation. Turning, turning, letting the shoulder blade pull back, letting the ball come back as it needs. And then come to center and sit up and make your legs in a diamond, a diamond shape. Bring the ball in the front. Take the ball over your head.
I shocked myself and I ran into my tiara. Take the arm down, shocking. Let’s go to the left, roll it to the left and reach to that way with your body. And come up, bring the ball up. Change hands, we did the standing, we’re just doing it sitting now.
So we roll and we reach. This is the anti Christmas present wrapping exercise. Official name. Come up, change and down and roll. Let the opposite knee and sitting bone and pelvis be heavy and up, change.
And last one like this and then we’re gonna do one more with a little bit of rotation. Reach up and over. Come up, switch, down, over and now turn. I’m holding my ball still there, it just feels better to me. But as always, you make choices that suit you and up and change and reach and rotate and back and center.
And take the ball and bring it down the front. And bend your arms. Bring that ball into your body, into your chest. Let your chest lean back. Point your elbows towards down.
Push the ball towards up. So your in back extension, taking the magical ball into the heavens and take the arms down and the spine up. Bend your arms, point the elbows down, lean back with the upper back, push that magical ball into the heavens. Can let go of, oh, what? All the things and sit up.
So Christmas means almost the end of the year, bye-bye. Point the elbows. Let the year go forward in away with the ball and back, okay, so we are visualizing, the ball is 2022. Bend your arms, point the elbows down. Send 2022 away, away.
Lighten up the grip on it and down. And one more, bend, chest, elbows down. Lighten up the grip and throw it away. And bring your arms around and take the arms overhead and open them out to the side and reach forward like you’re gonna hug the person in front of you if you can reach. And then lift all the way up with your arms, with your spine, open the chest, reach the arms out, reach forwards.
And lift the body, put the hands together, bend your arms. Think of something to be grateful for. I’m grateful for my friends and for you. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas.