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Hi, thank you for joining me for this reformer class. We’re gonna practice some self-care today. I am set up to do footwork with my springs. I have three springs on. A little lighter than I usually like to go but I’m feeling generous to my body today.
We’re coming all the way down, placing the heels of the feet onto the footbar, placing the arms down next to the body, creating a little bit of energy in the arms feeling the upper back turn on, taking just a moment to find the natural curves of the spine so the ribs are soft. And we’re just gonna prepare by taking an inhale. And as we exhale, we’re gonna let the lower spine flat and we’re gonna roll the spine up. As we lift up into that bridge position, we’re holding the reformer still, coming up into a long straight line between the knees and the shoulders and inhaling, exhaling to soften the throat, soften the chest and then make your way through your spine touching each bone individually as you lay your body all the way back down onto the reformer and inhale. Lift the pelvis, feel that both feet are carrying equal weight.
Nice high position, feeling the backs of the legs working. Inhale and exhale, soften your way down. Using the front of the body to move the back of the body through space. Returning all the way down, and three more inhale and lifting up. I like to think about sending my knees forward over my feet or pulling the heels back towards my pelvis and rolling down.
Both of those things create the same effect for me which is to engage more deeply the back of the legs, the hamstrings specifically. Two more inhale. Using the breath to find the abdominals, feeling the reach of the arms and down. Taking time to really deepen the flexion of the lower spine, and return. Last one, lifting up.
And last one, making your way down. Step the feet together, the feet and the knees together. So a couple of choices here. One is to just hold onto the pegs. We’re gonna do some spinal twisting.
What I like to do is I like to reach back and hold the frame of the reform but that doesn’t feel good to everybody’s shoulders. So you decide what works best for you. We’re gonna rock the knees over to the left. So we rock onto the left side of the pelvis. The right foot lifts off the footbar, the knees stay side by side.
And then the right side body pulls us back to center, and then we rock, right foot lands, the left foot lifts, the knees stay side by side as we reach up and over to the side. And then we draw in through the abdominals moving the body back through center and inhale. Using the breath to create rhythm. Using the breath to create connection, making a change going over to the first side. Stay there on the outside of that left heel and stretch the right leg long.
Use the weight of that straight leg to deepen into that stretch. Fold the right knee back and stack the feet and come back, and go to the right, lifting the left foot, going onto the outside of the right foot. Stretch that left leg using the weight of the leg to deepen into the side. Stretch into that rotation. Fold the knee back in and come center.
One more time to each direction. Going over, and into that additional stretch, straightening the leg, folding it back in. A little awkward trying to find the feet together for me, but it feels good. Last one. And isn’t that the most important?
Straightening the leg, deepening into the stretch folding the knee back in and coming back to center. From here, we’re just gonna let the legs rest over the footbar, keep them together active. Reach around the shoulder blocks to bring the hands behind the head. So I’ve just reached around the shoulder blocks and the hardware back there. We’re gonna curl the head and chest up from here, lifting up, flattening the spine into the reformer.
Pausing to inhale and elongate. Feel the legs press down into the footbar as you reach back, gotta clear the shoulder blocks and inhale and curling the head and chest up, up, up, up. Taking care not to press the head forward with the hands but instead to keep the head heavy in the hands and elongate back down. We’ll do three more like that, lifting up and exhale. Using the end of the exhale meaning exhale completely to squeeze the air out of the body.
It helps us to find a deeper connection to the abdominals. And inhale. And exhale. Working the body, working the abdominals in both directions. So obviously, we’ll work them on the way up but can you also challenge yourself to feel how much can you work them as you come down?
I love the fundamental work. Makes me so happy. Last time, I liked the simplicity, the opportunity for depth, the pace and so simple doesn’t always mean easy. I don’t feel like this is easy, do you? One more time up to the top.
I know I just said that, but we’re moving on. So now what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna keep the right hand behind the head, reach the left arm across and take rotation. Keep the pelvis center, come back to center, right arm reaches across. The head is supported by the left hand, come back to center. Left hand reaches across and center and right arm reaches across and center and left arm.
Watch your hand with your eyes and go in the direction that your hand is reaching. You might get further and center and rotate and reach and center. And last time, rotate and reach following the arm with the eyes and center and rotate and reach following the arm with the eyes and center. And come all the way down. I like to have my head rest up for footwork.
So I’m gonna do that now. Just some simple legwork. Finding neutral alignment in the spine, bringing the arms down to the carriage. Feel before you start pushing out on that bar that the backs of the legs are energized as we now stretch and resist and reach and come back and reach out. Something grounding about this in my brain, in my experience, just the idea of feeling even from side to side, paying attention to what the pelvis is doing and out and back.
And two, focusing on alignment. And one and in. We’re now going to move the toes to the bar. Same idea, feel the backs of the legs engage, reach out to straight knees. Do they straighten it the same moment and bend as the legs are straight, we feel that the feet are pointed but the ankles are in good alignment.
And then we leave the feet there as we come in and reach out. Feeling the rhythm of the reformer as it moves underneath us. Feel the rhythm of the breath as we let one movement become the next movement, and out and in and exhale and inhale. We’ll do three more and back and two, bringing the carriage all the way into the stopper. And one and back.
When we arrive at the bottom, we’ll separate the knees, bring the heels to touch, zip the heels or squeeze the heels together and then reach out and zip the legs together. That’s where I wanted the zip board to come and bend, heels squeeze together. We feel that inside leg connection all the way out into our straight legs. And then we continue to feel it as the knees separate and we bend and reach and pull and out and in and out and in. Paying attention to not just what the legs are doing what the pelvis is doing.
Checking in with the shoulders, feeling the head, the back of the head soft. So no tension anywhere in the body, just awareness and support and bend. Last time, reaching out, coming back in, placing the feet now on the outside of the footbar pulling the feet towards one another on the bar as you reach out. And bend, so that’s just a way to help find the inner thighs. And in and out.
Long legs working all the way up through the center of the body. And out and back. And out and back. We’re gonna do four more. Do you feel one leg working harder than the other?
I almost always do. I have to really think about my leg that tends to feel a little lazier than the other one. And in, last time out and in. Today what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna swivel the knees into touch. Stand on the insides of both heels and stretch out, turning the knees towards one another and bring them right back.
A little internal rotation, reaching out and back and out. Bringing the knees together as soon as we can. And out and bend. And four and in. And three and in.
And two, rhythmic. And one and in. Reposition the feet on the toes with the legs in parallel. Take the carriage back, take the feet under the bar as far as you can. And up and under and up.
Wrapping the toes over the footbar and up and reaching and lifting. Feeling the connection of the heels, right up through the pelvis. And five and lift. Everything else is soft, not lazy, just soft. Everything is organized and up, and one.
From the top, bend the right knee, reach the left knee, meet in the middle and change. Up, bend down, up, bend down. Feel the rhythm of the reformer underneath you. Up, bend down, and up then reach way down. We’re gonna do five more on both sides.
That means four more, pressing into the bar with that bent knee foot to stretch the toes. Three and three and two and two and one and one. Take a moment. Keep that heel reaching down. Let the knee of that straight leg start bending just a little bit so we feel the stretch moving higher up towards the knee.
Take it all the way back through. It’ll go a little further I imagine, and change, the heel reaches down. We let the knee bend, reach it back under. Lift both feet and bend and come in. Turn to your side, help yourself up.
Change your spring. So you have one red and one blue or lighter. Come down, get centered in the carriage, on the carriage. Take the straps in your hands. Keep your feet on the footbar while you reach up to find a perfectly vertical alignment with your arms.
Settle the ribs down, find the abdominals. Lift one leg and then the other, keep the knees pressing together. We’re just taking the arms straight down and up. So nice and simple arm work. I like to think about this as not just arm work but instead abdominal work.
And here’s how you could think about it if you so desire. So instead of thinking about just moving the hands can we drop the sternum, drop the ribs, pull the abdominals back towards the spine and then those actions take the arms down. We’re doing two more, inhaling up and exhale pulling from the center of the body and inhaling up and pulling from the center of the body. Turn the palms to face your body. Inhale, expand the ribs as you expand the arms.
Exhale, use your arms to squeeze the air out of your body. And inhale, and (exhales loudly) and inhale and pulling the arms down and reaching out towards that footbar. Trying to keep the shoulders from pressing up into the shoulder blocks. Not that they don’t touch, maybe they do, but we’re trying to pull them away. Create a little space there.
We’ll just do two more, inhale, and exhale and inhale and exhale. Turn the palms of the hands face down, lift the arms back to upright. Hold the carriage still as you open, and down, five. Lift the fingers over the shoulder joints, out to the side and pull. And can you feel as you’re moving your arms that you’re trying to pull your abdominals away?
I like to try, I say this all the time. I’ll remind everyone I like to try not to touch my clothing with my skin and down and open. Hold the reformer still slice through the air to come just over the shoulders and press straight down, palms of the hands turn in as we open. Stand in your straps with your shoulder blades and press straight down. And three, over the top and straight down.
And two, over the top and straight down, and one, over the top and straight down. Bend your elbows and straighten and bend. Feel you’re connected to your mid back and straighten. The elbows are close into the body. The arms are just hovering up off the reformer and also staying still.
And press and bend. And press and bend. And five, soften the eyes. Four. Three, connect to the upper back, and two and one.
Lift the arms up. Place the feet down on the, what is that? A footbar. Place the feet on the footbar and then press into the step into your straps with your feet. Press out with your legs.
Find an externally rotated shape from the hips and bend the knees. So we’re in like a long diamond shape. Lift that diamond shape towards up and then feel your pressing your knees away from one another to take that diamond shape down. The shape stays consistent all the time. Go up and opening the hips to take the legs down and up.
Opening the hips to hip hinge and just two more please. And opening the knees to take that hip hinge. And last time, (exhales loudly) go up, stretch the legs long, take your straight legs down, out, around and together and down. Out, making even movement side to side and down. Out, up.
Touched together, last two. Can you make your legs come from the up, the out to the center evenly, that’s difficult for me. One. Reverse, reach down. Just massaging in the hips.
Stabilizing in the torso. So we have working stability and also mobility. Reaching around and down, and up, around and down. One more. Around and pause.
Make a straight line with your feet opening your legs out to the side. Squeeze from the upper thighs to bring the legs back in front of you. And open. Reaching, reaching, reaching, stretching back together, squeezing back together and open and pulling back together. Working evenly from side to side.
I say that all the time ’cause it’s what I think about. Always thinking about, am I even? Usually I’m not, but I’m trying. Last bend your knees. Remove your feet from the straps and step them onto the footbar.
Put the straps down. Turn to your side. Help yourself up. We’re gonna go to one spring. I’m using a green because it’s in the middle and I like the middle.
We’re gonna do the semicircle, but you can decide. I would say maximum, maybe two springs minimum maybe one red, coming all the way down again. Draping the legs over the footbar. Take the hands against the shoulder blocks and slide out into straight arms. Then step back up onto that footbar.
Small V shape with the feet. Lift your pelvis. Oh, that feels so good. Yes, I’m stalling. It feels good.
It’s a stretch. Roll down, stretching the arms. Staying active. Come all the way back into that spring. Can you feel it with your pelvis?
Stay on it as you press out three quarters of the way. Articulate the body back up, holding the carriage still. And bend the knees and come in, reaching the knees out over the feet. And keep the carriage still as you roll down all the way. Boom, reach out, lift up, bend in.
Lifting, lifting, lifting, lifting up in that pelvis, feeling that stretch to the thighs. Roll down all the way and reach out and roll up and bend in. We’re taking the reverse. Go out. Not all the way.
Keep the carriage still as you articulate your spine down into the springs. The feet stay still, bend in, keep the heels down as you lift your pelvis up. Oh, what’s happening in the arms? Are they active? Good to check in.
Roll down. Bend in. Roll up and take that stretch. One more. Roll down all the way.
Bend in. Roll up. Can you come in a little closer? Lift the hips up a little bit more. Enjoy the stretch and then step back down so the knees will drape over the footbar.
Pull the carriage underneath you and come up. I am gonna change the spring again. I’m gonna use a red instead of green now. We’re gonna stand up. Place the hands on the footbar.
Put the outside leg. It’s my right leg. So I’ll say left and right to the outside of that frame. Left leg is gonna come up against the shoulder block. The left knee is gonna go down onto the carriage.
We’re gonna find a lunge position. So I’m pressing back, pressing the reformer. Just actively backwards using the back of the leg to press into the front of the leg. Lowering the body down. So finding that beautiful hip flexor stretch that I desperately need.
Maybe we all do. Taking a moment, having a breath or two or three. Gonna start to straighten the front leg. Now as we do, we’re gonna place the inside hand down. Let the outside elbow bend and we’re work your way down.
My knee gets into the way a little bit, trying to stretch that leg all the way long. Bend to the knee. Come back in. Keeping the right hand on the footbar the left arm lifts up. We side bend to the right.
I really hope this class feels as good to you as it does to me ’cause it sure does feel good. Take the hand back down. Bend the inside arm. Look for a full straight leg. Square the pelvis, come back in both hands down.
Take that left arm up. Reach over, come back in. Bring the carriage all the way in. Step off and come around to the other side. Outside leg is just outside that frame.
Inside leg is up against the shoulder blocks with the toes tucked under. Getting a little toe stretch for me. I get a lot of stretch in my feet there. Coming down into that lunge. Lifting up with the abdominals.
Take the outside hand down onto the frame. Bend the arm on the footbar. Taking that stretch, (exhales loudly) come back in. Placing that left hand back on the footbar. Right arm goes up, side bend to the left, come back, stretching the front leg out place that outside arm down, bend the inside arm, come back and in and lift the right arm and reach over and come back and bring the carriage in.
We’re gonna stand on the carriage now. You could make a heavier spring if you need some help with stabilization or keep the same spring up to you. I’m still on a red. You could use a red and a blue. So we’re gonna bring the heels back against the shoulder blocks.
We’re gonna press the spine down. So we’re in a straight line, pulling the scapula shoulder blades back towards the pelvis. We now keep the upper body still. As the legs go out and back in and out. Is it possible to lift the toes up and really press back into the heels and reach out and pull in and reach out and pull in taking that stretch to the backsides of the legs.
Last one. And pull in and bend your knees and come down. So we’re gonna scooch the knees just to the front of the reformer carriage and sit down on the feet. Taking the eyes straight ahead. So here, we are in a pretty supported back extension shape.
We’re gonna take the spine down, bend the elbows wide and low, stretch out through the arms. Lift your eyes, slide the shoulder blades down. Come up slow. So like you’re milking your back extension lifting the sternum, lifting the sternum lifting the sternum, and coming all the way back in. And press out, and bend elbows wide and low.
Pull the bar apart. That’s a cue that really works for me or a sensation that really works for me. I imagine that I’m stretching the bar side to side and eyes, sternum reaches through the arm. So I haven’t even started pulling in yet. As I find that extension.
And then bringing the spine up, up, up, up, up. Just one more time. Go out and bend and shoulders go down as the arms reach straight and lift up. My favorite exercises change all the time. This is one of my favorites currently.
All the way in. All the way in. All the way in. And just turn so that you’re sitting down now. Scoot forward enough so that you can have your hands on the frame.
Press into the frame of the reformer and think of lifting the chest and the eyes. Come back, articulate the spine down. Allow the arms to slide down the frame. Press back into the frame with your arms as you take your spine into extension. Come up in extension.
And again, head goes down, spine goes down. Backward pressure from the upper back into the frame as we arch back up. It’s a really user-friendly exercise. And one more. Go down, keep the collarbones wide all the time and out and up, bend back.
And take the arms out to the side. Place the right hand down next to the body. Anywhere that feels comfortable to you. Left arm comes up. Take the spine in that direction.
So I’m letting my right elbow bend and I’m leaning into my arm on that side. And then come up, left arm goes down. Let the left elbow bend, supporting the weight of the body with that arm as you reach up and over into that side stretch and come up and right arm bends. So have to clear the pieces of the reformer, it takes a little mindfulness is all. And rotate your spine forwards and back.
And let your spine rotate back and center and up and over. And let your spine rotate. Reaching through that arm and center. And let your spine rotate back and center. And come up and bring the hands behind the hand, soft.
Let the elbows come in towards the eyes. Don’t yank on your spine or your head, but just let that natural weight behind the head help you increase your spinal flexion as you look down into your abdominal area, down into your pelvis. Pause, take that spinal stretch and breathe in and stack back up, softly weighted Coming all the way back up into an upright position. Press your head into your hands, pull up and back on your skull as you take that little last piece of upper back extension and center and take your hands away and enjoy the rest of your day. Thank you.