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Zesty reformer flow with a squishy ball. We’re gonna just get right to it. Enjoy playing with this prop, all kinds of fun things we can do. I have got my reformer springs set for my footwork, which for me is three reds and a blue. And as you can see, the bar is down.
So we’re just going to use the reformer to warm our bodies up. Why don’t you spin around and sit right at the edge of your reformer please, letting your legs kind of hang off. I’m actually gonna put the ball down for now and just relax for a couple moments, finding my still point. So my feet are hanging off, my legs are soft, my hands are resting. And I would like you to take a few moments just kind of feeling your pelvis, maybe you shear it forward and back.
Maybe you roll a little side to side. You do you. You wanna feel both sides of your pelvis equally weighted. And then let’s take a little roll forward, head, upper back, and roll till you feel that first bit of resistance somewhere. Maybe it’s in your hips, maybe it’s in your back, maybe it’s in your neck.
Just relaxing and breathing. Exploring where you feel that first bit of resistance and then maybe see if you can deepen your stretch, allowing your body to do what it needs to do to just kind of iron out a few sticky spots. Breathing and moving, that’s all we’re gonna do today and have a little bit of fun. Roll yourself up to a sitting position again. And then sit kind of tall here, or quite tall if you’re able to.
And just allow your arms to spread to the side. Open your heart looking up, and then close the hands together, bring the hands together, rounding the spine. Open the heart, look up and reach forward. Two more just like that. Opening and reaching, breathing and moving, and opening and reaching.
Find your upright position. One hand goes down behind you, and we reach up and stretch, and come back to center or upright, and reach and stretch. And again, we’re gonna reach, and I’m bending my elbow so I can just get a little bit more of a side body stretch. And again, reach. And one more time please on each side.
So I’m getting also nice little chest opener by bending my elbow there, it feels good on my body. And then let’s rest that. So we’re gonna take the ball now in your hands. You can straighten your legs if you want or you can keep the diamond shape. I’m gonna choose to straighten here.
And I’m as far forward as I can comfortably be without feeling like I’m gonna fall off of course. And just take a little rollback to the point where it feels really comfortable for you to be. And then round and roll up. Now some of you will have absolutely no part problem rolling all the way down. I have a stiff back, so for me, there’s a point where I can really hold on, and then there’s a point where I’m in no man’s land.
So I’m going to find that place where my low back says, yeah, I can be there. And then at that point, I’m gonna just place the ball behind my back. So really all of us have the ball, hopefully at the bottom of the ribcage, or a little bit on the ribcage, not so much on the low back. Here, bend your knees, you’re gonna slide just a little bit away, if you will. And then take those straight arms, and reach over the ball.
You’re gonna get stuck on the shoulder rest, so you won’t be able to do full shoulder extension, but this feels quite lovely, hopefully on your back. Nod your chin to your throat, and we lift and we reach. So we’re getting a nice little bit of thoracic extension using the ball. And we lift and we reach. Now the ball should feel like it’s in the right spot for you.
So if it’s not, adjust please. Now we lift and we reach and we’re gonna hold. So for me, I’m really pushing into the ball and deepening my flexion here. Lift one leg up and then the other leg up. And then we’re gonna add just a little rotation right away.
So the hands and the eyes. And we’re gonna rotate. So I’m lifting one arm and reaching, and reaching, and reaching. One more time each side please. And reaching.
Now let’s go back to that extension and actually relax for a moment. Relax your belly, relax your legs. You can move them wherever you’d like. Relax your arms. So they’re gonna rest for me on the shoulder rest, or you can take your arms wide if you’d like, which feels even nicer to me, and let your arms just kind of rest over the reformer.
And slowly just roll a little bit side to side. With your breath, see if you can actually breathe into the ball. Feel yourself really breathing into the ball, perhaps rolling your head side to side. And then lift the arms up to the ceiling, lift your head and chest, use your feet to support, and slide yourself back a bit till you feel the shoulder rest. Stretch your legs to straight and use your belly to roll up to a sitting position.
Let’s swivel around and get ready for our footwork here. So bar is going to be up in the middle position. Again, I’ve got three reds and a blue set for my footwork. And then we’re gonna lie ourselves down. A little tricky to move around with the ball, but it’s a fun challenge, I think.
So once you’re lying on your back here, we’re actually gonna place the ball now underneath the pelvis. So here is an opportunity for you to find the places where you are comfortable with the ball. I’d like you wherever you place it under your back for you to be comfortable relaxing. So my intention right here is not to work yet. I’m fully relaxing my pelvis on the ball.
Now if you want a little more work in the exercises here, you would slide down a little bit and allow the pelvis to kind of drip over the ball so you’re in a little bit of hyperextension. If that feels good to you, then know that that’s going to be your placement. If it doesn’t feel good, then you’ll have your ball right underneath your pelvis for you, okay? So I’m gonna slip back down, and I’ve got my pelvis nice and relaxed. I’m actively pushing my pelvis into the ball right now in slight hyperextension, which wakes up my abdominals in this shape for me.
Then I’m gonna lift one leg up and tap, the other leg up and tap. So I’m just doing a little marching, checking out my comfort level here. I know I’m okay here. One more time, we lift and then we lift the other leg. So keeping the pelvis, sort of dropping over the ball, and then keeping the legs where they are, we’re going to tuck the pelvis or flex the spine, reverse curl, and then dropping over the ball.
So I’m pushing my pelvis into the ball, the top part of my pelvis to move my pelvis, and really wake up my abdominals there. So root to rise. We’re pushing down through the pelvis to tuck or flex the spine, and then relax back down. And two more like that please. And one more like that please.
And then relax. Put your two feet on the bar, relax for a moment, your pelvis, and also feel that you are in the right spot to begin your footwork eventually. Feel free to go side to side a little with your pelvis. You can even straighten one leg and kind of relax into a little stretch. Straighten the other leg perhaps and relax into a little stretch, working off any crust that needs working off.
And then with two feet on the bar, you lift your bottom up and lift the ball out. And then place it between your legs. So we’re between the thighs. Closer to the knees is okay, but I really prefer to be right in the center of the thigh, and I’m giving that thing a good squeeze. So really working my adductors a bit.
Check in with your own pelvis, placing your heels on the bar. Settle in and we go into our footwork here. Exhaling to straight, perhaps squeezing the ball as you do, and gently coming in. So I’m choosing a placement with my legs so that I have a little bit of room to squeeze the ball. So you don’t wanna start as wide as the ball.
And if your ball doesn’t squeeze that much, you might be a little wider than you would normally be. So you’ll have to figure that out for your body and for your tool. Out we go a couple more times, making sure that you’re keeping your pelvis still, making sure that you’re breathing, and making sure that you’re fully extending the legs each time. One more time please. Nice juicy abdominal work.
Come on in. So the third, move the feet down here so that the balls of the feet are resting on the bar, relaxing the toes a little, kind of a prehensile, and press out. The goal here for me is to keep the feet stable and allow them to stay nice and soft. So I’m not actively curling the toes, but they are rounding over the bar. Hopefully feeling some nice sensation on the bottom of the foot here.
Breathing and moving. Straighten your legs completely, good squeeze on the ball. One more time. And we’ll come on in. Now place the balls of the feet on the bar so you have that active foot position with your heels lifted.
Good squeeze of those inner thighs, and out we go, fully extending those legs each time, fully straightening the knees. Perhaps think about a little bit that opening through the hip crease. I think sometimes we don’t fully open across the front of the hip crease, which is why I tend to linger at the top just a little longer so I can feel my body lengthening. What’s wonderful about that of course too, is that you’re hopefully reversing some of the effects of gravity by practicing really lengthening. Two more please.
And one more time. Gently come on in. So we’ll just take that ball and hold onto it for the next couple of exercises. You’re making a small V. Woo, my inner thighs say good morning.
And we’re gonna press out to straight, so I’m just holding the ball right on top of my belly. You could put it down if you wanted to, but we’re going to use it again in a moment, so I’m gonna hold on to mine. Feeling those upper inner thighs. Try to also feel that all five metatarsals are grounded as you come in and as you press out. And one more here.
And then we’ll come all the way in. Please make your heels wide on the bar. Settle for a moment. I always like to release my hips before I press out, it helps me so I shake everything off and then I’m gonna anchor my pelvis, out we go. So belly of the heel is on the foot bar.
We’re keeping the rotation throughout the move. So if you have a lot of external rotation, then your toes and knees might be a little wider. That’s okay. If you don’t have a lot of rotation, then give yourself the grace of not turning your toes out so far so that your knees will be a little happier. Think that through.
Couple more, breathing and moving, my friends. And one more time here, we come all the way in, let’s go ahead and do our toe position. Balls of the feet are on the bar and we’re pressing out. So certainly again, if you were sick of holding onto the ball, you could put it down or you could do some movements with it. But I’m just holding it here because I would like us to use it when we move into our calf raises Two more times.
One more time. Gently come all the way into the stop, or we’re gonna bring the feet close together. So feel your feet pretty close together, maybe even all the way together on the bar, and then separate a little bit. Place that ball back between the thighs, give it a good squeeze. Press out to straight.
Now really focus on squeezing the ball for me as you do your calf raises, lowering down with two feet and then pressing up, and lowering down and pressing up. So pressing into the stretch and pressing up, both legs working, and both working on both ranges of motion is really what I meant to say. So pressing down and pressing up is what we wanna think about. Two more, and one more, good. Bend the knees, come all the way in.
Once again, you can hold the ball maybe in just one hand as we do some prances here. Nice zesty prances. You do you, you could go slow and methodical or really quick if you’d like. And then let’s hold the stretch on one side. Again, adjust your foot for you.
I like to put it so that I really can just relax my foot on the bar. So I move my foot up a little. And then I really like to explore my pieces so my foot might stay grounded or maybe it moves a little, but I enjoy setting my pelvis a little bit in the direction of the leg that I’m stretching. So I’m stretching my right leg. All right, and then change legs here.
And again, see if you can just find a sweet spot where it feels like a good idea for your leg to be, your foot to be. My two feet are different, so I actually have a different sweet spot on this left foot of mine. And then as you sink into the stretch, enjoy the stretch. And feel free to find little bits of wiggle room. Remember when stretching, we need to be both patient and curious, and always have a little bit of wiggle room so we can pave the way to more mobility, feeling that beautiful stretch there.
And then we’ll go ahead and press up first, and then come on all the way into the stopper. So let’s come up to a sitting position so we can change our springs here. We’ll be on a red and a blue. And just so we can be upright a little bit longer, I’d like to give you a little stretch here. The ball is simply a prop that has a place to be.
I don’t think it’s incredibly valuable, but it does feel kind of nice. So I’m straddling my reformer. I’m on a red and a blue spring. I’m gonna just place the ball right in between my legs here and just like let it rest for a few moments. And then I’m gonna fold forward so my belly presses into the ball, and that gives me a really nice support to stretch my legs a little bit here, which feels really good.
Now what’s fun here I think is putting the hands on the bar and then pressing the carriage out to straight. So you have to just let your feet respond on the floor there. And try just waving in the wind a little bit side to side with your body. That feels really nice. What’s great here is, yeah, you’re pushing spring, and we are gonna do some arm movements as well, but the ball just gives me a little bit of support and a little bit of feedback when I go into my rotation.
So walk your hands just a bit closer together. And then we’re gonna take one hand and thread it underneath and find a spot where you can hold on and just enjoy a little rotational stretch there for your upper body. And I’m also, again, my belly is kind of resting on the ball, getting a nice stretch in my back body. I’ve got two straight arms, my feet are just supporting me a little. And then we’ll go ahead and do the same thing on the other side, just a nice little rotation there.
It should feel really delicious. And what’s nice here when you breathe, the ball gives you some feedback, to help you learn how, I hope, to send some breath to the back body. Good. Let’s take the arms wide again, and let’s just kind of, if you can, you just sort of float your feet up and bend the elbows in. And then press a little deeper into the ball, so I’m trying to press my chest down a little more.
So I’m really, if you’re able to, flexibility wise, I’m really like resting on top of the ball. And then I’m gonna try that same thing again where I’ve pushed my arms to straight. And then I’m going to just, without removing an arm, I’m gonna take my gaze underneath my underarm and stretch, and my gaze underneath my underarm and stretch, and just kind of notice the difference between the two sides. And then hold one side for me for a few breaths, I did two on each side, I’m now gonna hold my first side, and just kind of press and stretch and enjoy. And then to the other side, and pressing and stretching and enjoying.
Back to center. And you just lift your feet up and slide yourself in. And let’s go ahead and get down onto our backs again. The ball is gonna come with you, and it’s going to make its way underneath your pelvis. Again, a bit of a game to bring the ball with you for pretty much every exercise today.
So lift your pelvis up, and then find a place where you’re challenging you. So if you’re vulnerable in your low back, you’re going to wanna be closer to your tailbone. If you’re pretty good in your low back here, then feel free to put that ball a little bit higher up on your body, so a little bit on your low back, okay? And then let’s practice again those reverse curls, but add a little zest to it. So first we drop the pelvis down, we press into the the ball to lift your pelvis and to drop it down, and to lift your pelvis, and then the legs are gonna float off the bar and drop it down.
And I’m purposefully just keeping my legs relaxed for now. Lift, and drop it down. And one more time, we’re gonna lift and we’re gonna hold here. Now knees together, pull the knees toward your body. Come back to a tabletop, a clean tabletop, stretch your two legs to straight, curl your pelvis a little more, drop your tail down, legs stay up.
Curl your pelvis, and drop your tail down. And two more, curl your pelvis, drop your tail down. One more time, we curl, we drop it down, we stay here. One leg goes to the bar, one straight leg to the bar, the hand, opposite hand as leg that’s up, reaches up toward that foot. Flex the foot, see if you can reach toward the toe.
And then we’re gonna change. Flex the foot and reach toward the toe. And we’re gonna change. And we’re finding our balance. Flex the foot, reach toward the toe.
And I’m not even lifting my head off, I’m just twisting my body in this shape, finding my balance, woo! If you can have that moment of ah, look, mono hands, that’s great. If you need to keep one arm down the whole time, that’s okay too. One more time please. And that should make us even, hug your two knees into your chest and give a little break. Place your two feet on the foot bar, hip with distance.
Let your pelvis rest here. So I’m resting in a little hyperextension, waking up my gluteals. Right leg stays on the bar, left leg comes to tabletop. Right glute working as we press out and in. The spring is purposefully light here because I want you to explore a little bit and make sure you are working glute and hamstring.
So this time press in for me. I purposefully said press in. Let your pelvis slip over to the right, keeping the other leg up where it is and try pressing out like that. So I’m in a little bit of rotation, lower body rotation, and I’m still using my gluteals hopefully here. One more time please.
And then come back in, center, we change sides. So we’re at the stopper, left heel is on the bar, other leg is at tabletop. Square the pelvis, pelvis is dropping slightly down, grounding into the ball. Gluteal and hamstring is working as we go out and in a few times. Again, check in on the way in and the way out and make sure you’re able to stay engaged there throughout.
Many times my clients say, I don’t know if my glutes are working. Well, they’re probably not working if you don’t know. Come on in here. We’re gonna take the pelvis just a little bit over to the left. Touch the glute, feel the tone as you press out and as you come in.
I’m in the habit as you can see with my hand pressing or touching with my left hand to my left glute because that guy’s lazy, I have to work to get that glute to participate. One more time please. Come all the way into the stopper. Just take a pause here, relaxing on the ball, swaying side to side. Make sure your back is happy where you are.
If you need to adjust your ball to make it better for you, please do because we’re going to continue with this arrangement a little longer. So we grab the straps from overhead, we’re going to put feet and straps in this shape. This spring will feel a little heavier than you are used to due to the simple fact that your pelvis is elevated. So if this feels too heavy, get up and adjust your spring, whatever works for you. Start by softening the pelvis onto the ball and relaxing there.
Grounding into the ball is gonna wake up then your abdominals. We start with a couple frogs pressing out and in. What is lovely about working on the ball like this is because you’re elevated, when you lengthen your legs, you’re in a more upright position with your body. So you’re working a bigger range of motion in these exercises. One more time, press out and stay.
Now we’re gonna scoop the pelvis up, so you’re endeavoring to be in a straight line. So now I’m pressing the upper part of my pelvis into the ball. I am using my abdominals quite a bit more here, and we continue with that shape, trying to keep the pelvis there. So my tailbone is no longer resting on the ball, but the upper part of my pelvis still is. And one more time.
And then relax your pelvis home again. Feel that. Oh, so let’s do some arcing. The legs come up and the two legs go down as far as you feel comfortable. So you do you here.
You’re gonna decide, do you wanna go all the way and a little beyond? If your body says it’s okay, it’s okay with me. Circling just like that, we’re gonna go a little lower, maybe all the way around. Pelvis is home. Two legs participating, all the way down.
Beautiful, just two more circles like that. I’m thinking back to a class I did with Meredith a couple of weeks ago where she said to me in class, I’m not gonna shake shame you. And I’m thinking about my shaking right now. I’m not shake shaming myself, it’s hard work. Reverse your circles please.
I am offering up things that are difficult for me, for us all to try together. So we’re bringing those heels together and then coming up tailbone down. Lots of adductor, lots of inner thigh, my friends. I am feeling it, I hope you are too. Here we go, last one here.
Parallel alignment, 90 degrees at the hips. We’re gonna do a long-legged walking. One leg all the way down. Can you go further than you normally do? Beautiful hip extension there.
Other leg all the way down. Can you go further than you normally do? Feel the glute and hamstring participating. And all the way down, and we’ll keep those toes pointed strong. And I’ll just tell you the main reason I’m keeping my toe pointed strong is so that my rope doesn’t hit my microphone.
You can flex your ankle if you would like. Just gotta tell you why it is like that. Here we go. I think we’re good. We’re gonna bend the knees and just come to a comfortable position.
If you’re tired of having your body up on the ball at any point, remove it. It’s just a game, it’s fun to play with this. It offers up some variety. And for me it feels delicious. I would like to play with a little short spine here.
So actually see if you can move yourself a little bit away from the shoulder rest now. So you have no matter what, the ball is a little higher up your back. And then you’re gonna press your legs out to straight. We’re gonna fold at the hips, keeping the pelvis soft on the ball. And then once you hit the stopper, see if you can find your way to the stopper.
It comes sooner than you think because your pelvis is so elevated. Here’s where I would like you to feel yourself still on the ball. You’re gonna create the intention of more movement without actually losing the connection you have. And then you bend your legs and we come back through. So it’s really a modified short spine, but for me it’s really gorgeous because I can feel a lot more abdominal work.
Here I’m at the stopper now, I’m flexing my spine, keeping that tension on the ropes, pushing into the ball, enjoying that shape. I can go a little deeper and then I’ll bend my legs, flex the ankles if you like, and press through. Let’s do one more like that. You’re welcome to continue doing more if you need. I just wanna make sure we have more time.
Feel that beautiful flexion. Bend the knees, and we come through. So the easiest way to get out of this is to take your feet out first, and then put your straps back on the shoulder or on the the pegs. Where are they? And then take the ball out.
And do me a favor and just be here for a moment. Whenever I have an opportunity to have my pelvis elevated like that, my body responds so beautifully to it. So enjoy that feeling for a moment rather than rushing to get your body back up. Hmm, we’ll make our way up right now. So find a way for you to get up somewhat gracefully, keeping your ball in hand.
So we’re going to change now and get standing. So I have got a green spring on. I like the zesty green spring for what I intend to do. You’re welcome to use a red, it’s up to you. So be careful when you climb up onto your reformer because you only have one hand available.
Place the ball again between your inner thighs, and bring your feet back toward the shoulder rest. And then lift your heels up for your upstretched position. Upstretch 1 or Pyramid. I’ve got my arms straight and not too wide. So work on narrowing your grip a little bit, not too narrow either because we are going to plank here, but a little bit narrower than you might think sometimes.
And then feel your nice stretched out shoulder position supporting with your belly. Squeeze that ball. We slide the carriage out, we slide the carriage in. Inhale back, and exhale in. Or breathing when it makes sense, the breath is less important to me.
The more important piece is that you’re breathing. Carriage is at stop, or we lift two heels up, we shift them over to the right. So my two heels rest down. So my two legs are twisted a little bit. And then I’m going to push through the opposite hand.
So it’s my left hand as I push out and in. So I’m getting a really beautiful stretch through my whole left side body right now. And then we lift back up, heels connect. Let’s do center one or two times. Feel your body.
This exercise just keeps getting better as I do it more and more. Hold here and then lift your heels up and move them to your left. And now you’re gonna push through your right hand, and feel just a little bit more stretch perhaps in the shoulder, in the low back on that side, maybe in your hip. Good, let’s just do that again, that little dance. So heels are up, go back, heels are down.
Nice and slow, go back and in, two more please. Back and in, and back and in. Lift up one time, and to the other side three times. Here we go, back and in, and back and in, and back and in. Lift your two heels up, adjust your arms so you’re happy with a plank here.
We’re gonna come down to that nice little long stretch position, and let’s squeeze that ball with determination as you move forward and back. I have said many, many times to many, many people that your abdominals, let’s say that differently, Sarah, your inner thighs are the gateway to your abdominals. The simple act of squeezing the ball makes it a little easier to get the whole core to participate. Last two here. Beautiful.
And one more time please. Come all the way forward to the stopper if you’re able to. Lift your hips up high. Lower your feet flat for a moment. Take a forward fold, letting your shoulders have a little rest.
Just relax your head and your arms, and then walk your gaze toward your foot bar. Lift your heels up and come to your knees. So walk your feet back so you can wedge the feet right up against those shoulder rests. And let’s move into our downstretch. So lots of support from the abs, really use those inner thighs.
We undulate forward into that lovely extended position. Arrange your feet if you need, and down we go. And open the heart. Breathing and moving, you choose the breath that suits you. It really depends on what works for you.
Opening the heart. Two more please. And one more time, my friends. Let’s go ahead and come to a rest. Take the ball out, just rest it in the spring somewhere, and just take a little forward Child’s Pose, Rest Pose.
I do like to rest my forehead on the mat, and then I like having my hands on the foot bar to get a little extra shoulder stretch. But you can do whatever you need to do with your arms, breathing in, and breathing out. So let’s move ourselves into a little bit of arm work. Now this is going to be quite fun, I think. Lots of off-balance stuff, which I enjoy.
A blue spring is ideal for this, this star, this is single arm arm work and it’s difficult. So if you need to go lighter, you do you and go lighter. So I find it’s a little bit tricky to get into the position I’d like here. We’re going to sit cross-legged and we’re gonna have the ball underneath our bottom. So I’ve got my right foot, the leg that is closest to the foot bar, that foot is in front.
That’s important for later, okay? So I’m gonna just shift my body up, wedge the ball where I think it needs to be, a little bit over, so a little funny trying to get into that. But once you’re in, you’re in, so it’s worth doing. What’s nice about this is you have a little bit of wiggle room, you can kind of enjoy sitting here. And I just love having a little assist these days allowing me to sit more comfortably.
No point in struggling through positions. Feels lovely here. So I’ve got my forward strap, I’m going to hold it in my right hand. So same arm that is leg forward is what we’re working here, okay? Use this hand on the shoulder rest if you need.
If not, don’t. So external rotation, this is where for a lot of us, I think this spring is the hardest on this one. So if you find that you can’t quite do this, you can always use your other hand just to help yourself out a little bit. We’ll do two more there. And just one more here.
Now cross arm pull. I’m gonna let my spring go, take my arm all the way across and I’m gonna create just a little more intention there. And then I’m pulling out to the side. So here I’m keeping a neutral alignment in the arm. So I’m keeping my elbow at the same height as my lower arm.
So here elbow, and then my lower arm joins, right? If I’m going into external rotation, it would look a little different. So see if you can make that picture one more time please. Nice arm work here. Beautiful.
Now reach and choke up on the straps, so you’re holding the rope above the buckle. Hand needs to be on forward shoulder rest for this. We’re gonna let the spring pull us as far into rotation as you can. Again, the ball just offers a little bit more wiggle room and a little bit of play here that I really enjoy. So I’m in flection, I’m in rotation.
And then I pull myself around to neutral, I pull my arm into my body. I keep it there and I rotate looking up. It’s more about spinal rotation, although the arm is involved. Arm, arm, arm rotate. I’m gonna say that differently.
It’s more about my body rotating, my arm braces, and I continue to rotate around. So if you can do this without really using your hand too much, great, your other hand. But if you wanna keep it there the whole time, I have no problem with that whatsoever. This feels so delicious, I hope you agree. So now we’re going to do this same shape for a moment, Mermaid.
Without moving the pelvis so much means it’s a lot of thoracic rotation. So we’re gonna reach away a little bit, keeping the pelvis grounded, rotate around and see if you can get a hook with your hands. You’re gonna push with your supporting hand, as you’ve hooked with your other arm and just really enjoy that beautiful stretch through your whole thoracic spine. Again, I feel this stretch going all the way down into my pelvis. My lats are a little tight on this side, and then you can undo that.
Now if you’d like to take yourself into more of a mermaid shape, unhook the leg and make your mermaid. So that’s why you needed the other leg in front. Organize yourself so you feel comfortable here. The spring is a little light for mermaid, but I still like it. Rotate around.
I also really like having that ball underneath my pelvis, it gives me just a little bit of play. So you do you, unwind, and then come on in. We’ll do two more just like that. Inhale, reach, stretch, exhale, come around, find that bit of rotation, enjoy your stretches, and unwind. So I’m not taking a lot of time to teach this exercise.
Hopefully you all have some version of mermaid in your body. That’s what I’m looking for, is just enjoying the movement here, enjoying the stretch. And then we’re gonna come up and unwind here. So let’s take that series to the other side. You wanna take your ball out, all right.
I’m gonna walk around because it’ll be cleaner for me to get on the reformer. And oh, look at that. I now get to look at this wonderful, beautiful view. Again, I say this in probably every class, it never gets old. It is absolutely stunning today.
So I’ve got my left leg forward, that’s the leg that is closest to the foot bar, okay? And then I’m gonna lift my booty up, and I’m gonna sit on this ball and try to find a place where it feels comfortable. The lightness of the spring makes it hard to keep things perfectly still, but there we go. We take the forward strap, we hold it with the hand. Here we go.
Oh, weak side, challenging side, let’s see what happens. We’re gonna externally rotate, and externally rotate. So when you do your external rotation, the goal is that it’s really just the arm moving, that your body stays still, your shoulder essentially stays still. We’re gonna do just one more here please. And then the cross arm pull, again, you’re gonna let your arm come as far across as you feel comfortable.
We pull the arm across the body, the elbow is the high point, and then the arm joins. We come around and through. So the elbow and then the lower arm joins. So this one is a little harder for me. You’ll see that it is more difficult for me to keep that arrangement.
And I hope you can identify just where you’re a little bit challenged and try to work it out. Last one here. And then I’m gonna choke up on the strap and hold the tape. Again, the hand is here for support. We’re gonna go into that beautiful thoracic rotation.
There is so many fun birds out there right now. And then we pull into neutral, that comes from the spine. We pull the arm to the ribcage, and we rotate looking up, and repeat that again. So it’s more about the body than it is about the arm. The arm is kind of following along.
Breathing and moving, my friends. Beautiful. And one last time please. So we’ve got that choreography, my left arm says yes. Whole left side of the body says this is quite challenging.
Put the strap away, and we’ll do this cross-legged mermaid shape. So it’s really more about the thoracic spine. Putting the hand outside of the shoulder, we’re gonna just reach away a little bit and rotate around and see if you can get that hook. So this side is a little tighter for me, breathing in, and breathing out. So I’m pushing with my original supporting arm.
I’ve got a hook with my other arm and I’m just trying to create a little bit of space in my ribcage. And then we can undo that. So you could keep your legs like this if this is better for your body, or you can take that other leg and just find that mermaid shape. So maybe your foot is out by the shoulder rest, maybe it’s underneath you. It’s really up to you.
I just have to adjust a little here. And then we’ll take a mermaid, reaching away. Again, the ball offers just a little feedback. Touch the bar, stretch, enjoy, move side to side, breathe, unwind, and come in. And we’ll do two more like that just like we did on the first side.
We rotate around, hook the bar, stretch, breathe, unwind, and come up. One more time. Nice little mermaid stretch. All right, are we ready to do some more playful work? Let’s come in all the way.
Remove the ball out from underneath your pelvis. And now we need our box. I’m gonna place the ball down just so it’s out of my way. And actually before I place the ball down, I would like to put the bar down. The bar is fully down.
And we’ll change the spring first as well. So we’re going to be on a red spring for sure, a heavier spring on this. You could use a green spring if you wanted to. So for now, I’m just gonna place the ball down so it’s out of my way. And then I’ll grab my box over here and put my box on, long box.
So we’re gonna use the long box first as a seat and we’re gonna use the ball to sit on. Again, challenging balance, and it’s quite fun and quite challenging at the same time. So first I’m gonna find my placement where it feels like a good idea for me to sit. It’s important that your feet can ground down onto the headrest here. So I’m gonna scoop my bottom up.
It’s a little tricky to do, but it’s doable. Scoop my bottom up and have a seat on the ball here. If the ball doesn’t suit you, simply omit it, it’s okay. So let’s go ahead and reach up and choke up on the straps and hold the ropes above the buckles, so the tape part. Sitting up nice and tall, ground down through both of your legs and find this place where you feel balanced.
We’re gonna begin with just a couple straight arm pulls and just make sure you feel you can do this. Two straight arms, beautiful. One more time. And now bend the elbows, pulling back, open the heart, look up, repeat. Bend the elbows, open the heart, repeat.
One more time please, open the heart, repeat. Cross patterning, we’re gonna pull one arm back. Notice which foot wants more weight when you pull the other arm back. That should help you indicate which leg to lift. So as I pull back with my right arm, my right leg lifts up.
Alternate. As I pull back, I’m rotating my thoracic spine, my other leg lifts. And let’s see if we can do that with a little more energy, a little faster, makes it a little challenging. Again, it’s the back that’s fueling the movement, not the hand, not the arm. See if you can put your intention to your back body, to your back muscles.
Really using those back muscles. Try straightening your leg maybe. Just a fun game, right? Straightening your leg. It’s really nice to keep my focus looking straightforward so I don’t wobble off the ball.
I’m enjoying the view of a couple of birds hanging out, watching the waves. So that’s a sweet view. Last one here. And we can go ahead and rest that. Bring the carriage to rest and you can just slip forward off your ball hopefully and hold onto it.
So you’re gonna hold straps in two hands. Look at where the box ends. You wanna be forward enough so that when you roll back, you can place the ball at your, kind of at your thoracic spine, low ribcage, and comfortably rest without falling off. So that’s where we are, yeah? We’re gonna bend the elbows for some bicep curls using the belly to support, we bend.
Good, I’m gonna just slip a little ’cause that’s where I wanna be. Bend and straighten. So I’m doing a nice bicep curl. You could just do this. If this is you, this is all we do.
If you feel comfortable here, hold the bend elbows. Now you’re gonna look up to the ceiling. Yes, we’re going over. You’re gonna stretch your arms to straight, and you’re gonna roll over the box, beautiful thoracic extension. And then you can just roll yourself right back up.
We’re gonna bend, reach over, and come right back up. Two more, bend, reach over, deeper. Big smiles from your teacher over here, because this is one of my favorite moves to be in. Let’s make it a little harder if you’re up for it. Straight arms go up, and we circle around.
And straight arms up and over, and we circle around. Two more, big thoracic extension and around. And one more. And around. So keep your gaze forward, we lift the arms, five, straight out to the side, four, and three, and two.
And last one please, one. Good, hold two straps in one hand, grab your ball, roll yourself up to sitting. Place the straps away on the pegs. And let’s stow that cute little ball in the springs, so we don’t need it anymore. Finish with some stretches.
I’m gonna face you putting my right leg up in a 90/90 hip, stretching a little bit through my leg right here in this shape. So what are we doing? Swirling around, trying to stretch through the glute. You could just hold this shape if you wanted to, but you could also kind of lean forward a little bit, find what you need, enjoy. You can press one arm into the knee.
You can put the hand on your foot and massage a little bit and stretch what you need. Relax, relax your belly, relax your head. Find something interesting, breathing. Coming out of that shape. Just spin a little bit so that your leg is now, your gaze is now, you have room to move your back leg back, okay?
So I’ve just moved my legs a little. My knee is now more bent is what I’m looking for, more bent. And I’m gonna lean forward into my front leg and walk my back leg back. So I’m going back as far as I can. So I’m in a little bit more of a hip flexor stretch.
So just pull up a little bit on your belly and lift your arm up to the ceiling, and you might side bend a little bit over. And now I’m getting a beautiful left side body stretch. So my right leg is on the box, my left leg is back and I’m stretching from finger to toe. And maybe you’ll swirl a little forward, swirl a little back. And maybe you’ll even fold over your leg.
Maybe you’ll backbend, and maybe you’ll even straighten your front leg and go into a little bit of a split there if it feels good, you choose. I have to say the bent knee feels more interesting to me, but I wanted to give you an option. So changing sides, we’re gonna come up to that 90/90 position and just enjoy first what takes you into, first pose that is more about the hip here, the front leg. So I’m gonna press down a little through my knee, down a little through my foot, and just kind of lean into this and swirl around. There’s not really a right or a wrong here.
Mostly you wanna be patient and curious. You wanna find what works for you. I think that in my early years of doing Pilates, I used to try so hard to make pictures that oftentimes I was using muscles I didn’t necessarily need to be using. And now I just go for what feels right, what feels like a good idea in my body, and I highly recommend that. So now we’re gonna shift.
So I’ve changed my gaze a little bit and changed my body so that I can do more with my back leg. I’m bending my knee more so I’m more in a, I’m in a much deeper bend. Then I’m gonna walk my other foot back as far as I can. So my toe is just down on the floor, my big toe basically. And I’m lifting through my core here, getting a stretch through my side body here and my front body.
And then you can reach the arm up, and you might put your hand somewhere on the box and use it just to find a little bit of a stretch for you. So now you can stretch open, you can stretch forward, and if it seems like a good idea, you could even straighten the leg here. Interesting ’cause on this side, that feels quite interesting to have the straight leg straight on the other side, it didn’t feel as interesting as having the knee bent. So you choose. One more moment here, my friends.
And then bring yourselves up to a standing position. And let’s just all stand together and do one rolldown from standing with feet underneath the hips, we take a breath, roll your body forward, one vertebrae at a time, relaxing your head, neck, and shoulders. Let your knees soften. Don’t worry about whether it’s right or wrong, just do what feels good for you. Take a breath or two or three.
And then roll yourselves up to a standing position. And when you’re standing, look slightly up, lift your heart open. Hmm. Thank you so very much for playing.