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All right, here we are on the reformer. Today we are going to focus on thoracic mobility, dealing a little bit also with balances and imbalances, if you will, and some cross patterning. So I am on one blue spring, which is about a half spring. So a light spring, and we’re going to begin standing. As always in my classes, please remember to pay attention to your body, to be curious and patient in the movements, and do what feels right for you.
Standing at the edge of the reformer here at the back edge of the reformer by the foot bar with your two feet grounded, stay for a moment still. Every time I look out the window, I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy the ocean. Inhale, take your arms up high stretching through your body. Lift a little higher through those fingers on one side and then a little higher yet through the other fingers. And do that one more time.
Just stretching through the side body and enjoying. Take your arms down, roll yourself forward, and catch the edge of the reformer when you do. Shift forward pushing the carriage out, and enjoy a nice little good morning stretch, or good afternoon stretch if that’s where you are. Say for a moment here and be organized. Tipping your tailbone, back it up and stretching even further through those arms, really letting those underarms stretch, maybe sway side to side.
Use the breath please, and round yourself in. So the one thing I’d like you to consider doing is keeping the legs still in space. So as you inhale forward, you’re gonna keep the legs gently touching the bar, or gently touching whatever they’re touching. And as you exhale in, keep the legs there. That’s gonna help you use your abdominals a little bit more, stabilizing one part of your body, and then moving the other part of your body.
Breathing and moving, we’re gonna round and roll in. And now when you reach forward this time, will you stay for a little bit? So I’m trying to straighten out my back, but I want you to kind of explore a little bit the edges of your movement here. Can you reach a little bit further through the shoulders? Maybe send your energy to one side, stretching the side body on the one side, and then to the other side stretching the side body.
Come back to center and round and roll yourself in. And let’s just do that one more time, reaching forward, stretching maybe to one side and to the other side. That just feels really nice on my shoulders and my thoracic spine. And then round and roll all the way in, please. You have to shift back to the legs, most of us do, to then roll back up to standing.
And let’s play on that a little bit more before we get into footwork. So up we go and then round back down. Find the edge of the reformer again. Reach forward into that nice stretched-out position. Now here, can you turn your head to one direction and to the other direction, back to center, round and roll yourself in and extend again.
So here this time will you extend a little more through your thoracic spine, so your gaze is gonna go slightly forward. And then turn your head one way and turn your head the other way. And just notice where you might feel sticky, straighten out, and round and roll in. And let’s do that just one more time, please. Reaching forward, a little bit of extension perhaps.
Looking one way, looking the other way. Re-lengthen the spine here, and round and roll all the way up to standing. So here we’ll move into the spring that we’ll use for footwork. I’m going to use slightly less than normal. So I’m on three red springs instead of three reds and a blue because we’re going to play a little bit with single-leg versions.
So you choose what you need here. Go ahead and lie down on your reformer, settle in, put your heels on the bar. I’m not quite getting into footwork yet, a little more warming up first. Your feet are on the bar, heels are on the bar, arms are gently by your side. Let’s try a couple pelvic curls here.
So abdominals engaged, lift yourself up. Feel the backs of the legs, the glutes, and the hamstrings on both legs. And roll yourself down. So I am asking you to do this from your heels. Curling yourself up.
Slightly flexed ankles is nice. It helps to engage certain things a little more, so give it a go if you want. And then lengthen and lower down, breathing and moving. If ever I forget to cue breath, just make sure you’re finding breath that suits your movement. Both sides of the legs engaged, also the abdominals.
And lengthen and lower down. This time we’re going to add on, so we lift up again. Holding that lifted position, we’ll do a little marching action. So shifting just a little bit to one side, keeping the pelvis level lift one leg up, flexed ankle, and then lift the other leg up. And just if you happen to notice that one side is trickier than the other, put a little more attention on engaging that other side, whatever that is, whatever it is you need to do.
One more time marching. And then lower yourself down one vertebra at a time. I think we did three or so on each leg. So certainly if you need to move a little slower, you could and just do one or two. This time we’ll march again, just alternating.
If alternating doesn’t suit you, you could always stay on one side for a few times. Or if you’re feeling it’s difficult to make that shift. Good. And we’ll go ahead and just finish this up here. Last time. Lower your two feet down and then roll yourself down one lovely vertebra at a time.
Holding on to either the pegs by your ears, or if you like for your shoulders, the frame of the reformer. I like that hold and my shoulders enjoy that too. Let the feet rest more comfortably on the bar, and just sway side to side a couple times. If you know me, I do this a lot. I do struggle sometimes with getting sticky in my back, overworking certain things.
And I find this very simple move to be a really lovely way just to reset my body. So I like to explore this movement quite a lot. Just swaying casually, side to side through the hips, through the low spine, and just breathing there. Settle in, we’re gonna go right into our footwork here. Belly of the heel is on the bar, arms are down by your side, perhaps palms facing down if that suits you, or up if you prefer.
Nice neutral pelvis, nice open chest. Let’s go ahead and press out to straight with those legs and gently come in. So we’ll do a couple here with two legs. Think about the idea of pulling with the inner thighs as you lengthen, pressing into the heels as you come in each time. And now as you press out, lift one leg and then change.
So we’re gonna do that same marching action. So I’m trying to keep my leg exactly as it was, as I just alternate. And quickly, I’m trying to find my placement back on the reformer bar before I press out. Whoops, I lost my way there for a moment. I got it back, there we go.
And one more time here. And then two feet on the bar and press back out. So I’m purposefully going quickly so I can see if I can make little adjustments quickly as well. Come all the way in, please. And we’ll shift now to the balls of the feet, but more of a prehensile position.
So I’m kind of below the ball of my foot at the top of my arch, kind of relaxed, and then press out and in a few times. So just get to know, using both legs completely, try to feel the idea of opening across the front of the hips, moving at a pace that suits you. Again, this spring is a little bit light here. So we are working with the single legs. It’s light because we’re working with single legs.
So press out, one foot comes up, we come in, the other foot comes up. Now, you can stick with just that kind of marching action if that suits you. Or you can be really adventurous and add cross patterning, lifting the opposite arm up. So feel free to play with that if it suits you, don’t if it doesn’t, kind of a brain game. Much easier for me to do when I’m not also talking, but I’m always up for the challenge. Here we go.
One more time, please. Come all the way in. Two legs a couple times. Feel the backs of the legs, the inner thighs. Your breath, please. Last one.
So let’s come into the stop or put the balls of the feet on- The other toes are actually on the bar, so a more active foot position. Feel all five metatarsals grounded and weighted as you press out. Pull up a little through the kneecaps, open through the front of the hips, breathe and move. Let’s do a couple with two legs. And then as you can guess, as you imagined we would do, we’ll do that marching action if it suits you.
So here you can keep that same shape of the foot as you do a march. And if it suits you, you’re gonna lift the opposite arm. So there we go, a little cross patterning. A little brain game. Very good for us. Always good to change things up a little bit.
Couple more here. And I’m gonna do one more now, please. Two legs on the bar, two feet on the bar. Always reorganizing or slowing down if you need to. Sometimes it’s nice to work a little faster, which is what we’re endeavoring to do.
So stay here, press your feet down and press your feet up. We’re doing a few calf raises, just stretching and working through those feet before we move on, since we’re in this position. And go ahead and move into your presses. So I like to do my calves earlier on in the session, because I feel like it helps me to work a little bit more efficiently in some of the other positions. Certainly you could always save that till the end of the footwork, but I kind of like it in the middle like this.
Hold your stretch on one side for a moment and find a nice little release. So you do you as far as the stretch goes. If you take my classes regularly, then you know I really like to explore where the foot can be to receive a little bit more stretch. Also remember that if you’re patient and curious, and kind of wiggle around a little bit in the stretch, in the position, you might find a little bit more something you didn’t know you needed. So that’s what I’m always looking for.
We’ll change side sides, so I’m on the other foot. Again, find a place that suits you, where you feel you’re getting a nice release, a nice stretch. And make sure that you are breathing, please. Wiggling around, there should always be wiggle room. Be patient and curious.
And in any stretch, you should have a wiggle room. Press up with your two feet, bend your knees in. And we’ll slide the heels together for your Pilates V from the balls of the feet, we’re gonna play with that same single-leg version. But first let’s do a few with double legs. Get some energy there, please.
Pulling those upper inner thighs together, fully straightening the legs if you’re able to, hopefully you are. And then now we’re gonna take one leg away and come in and the other leg away. So we’re maintaining the shape there. Beautiful. And do we wanna try that cross patterning? Of course we do.
And because we’re in external rotation, if you feel compelled, you can send your arm out to the side just for fun. Changing it up and reaching out to the side if that suits you. Good, let’s put two feet on the bar, press all the way out a couple more times. And one more time. Come all the way in.
So from the heels wide on the bar, find a nice release. Maybe sway side to side a couple times. Now, for this marching, it’s a little tricky if you’re too wide, I like to have a little bit more of my foot on the bar. So I’ve edged my heels in slightly so I feel more grounded. So here, press out a couple times, and I’m putting energy really on the outer part of my foot.
Doesn’t mean I’m rolling out, I’m just really like receiving that energy there, that placement. Now here, we’re in and we’re gonna take one leg up and then see if we can find the bar. And what I find is it’s just a little harder for me to know where I am in this position, maybe not for you. But now here we can add that beautiful reach out, come in. So if you put your hands just on your hip bones, you’re gonna extend the opposite arm as leg out to the side as you march there.
So big global movement, kind of fun. It’s fun for me, at least, I hope for you too. (Sarah laughing) Oh, there goes Sarah laughing. Two feet on the bar, press out and come in. Let’s do that two more times.
And one more time. And then we are gonna move on. Go ahead and hug your knees into your chest for me at the stopper. Sway side side a couple times. And you can get up however you’d like. I’m just gonna roll to my side and make my way upright.
So now one blue spring for a little reverse knee stretch exploration. Got a couple of little tricks up my sleeve here, but also some familiar things. So we’ll come around onto our knees, please. I like to do this one with the knees and feet together about four to six inches behind the shoulder rest, simply for a range of motion. Lean forward into your hands quite a bit, flex or round your spine here.
And then you’re gonna bring your shoulders forward of your wrists and we pull those knees in. Stay here long enough to be sure that your body, your head and your shoulders are more forward of your arms. And then we breathe and we move. I am pressing down through the tops of my feet and trying to keep my knees together. So much so that if you wanted to lift your knees off altogether, you could.
Keep your gaze at your knees as you breathe. Two more like that. And one more like that, please. Come to rest at the stopper for a moment. Now we get a little bit more creative here.
I’m just taking a breath. (Sarah chuckles) So creative in that I’d like you to use one arm at a time. So we’re gonna bring the knees all the way up against the shoulder rest, and I’m gonna lean over to my right arm so you can see better. The arm that’s in front, we wanna lean onto that arm. So it’s gonna be opposition.
I have my- My left arm is gonna be my weighted arm. My right leg is gonna be cross patterning here. So I’m gonna lean into that arm. Most of us are gonna need a little help. So put your hand either next to, or on top of your supporting hand as you come in.
Now, once you’re in this shape and you think, “Gosh, I can do this,” no slipping, no falling, bring the other leg closer to the supporting leg so that it’s just outta the way. Now, if you feel safe here, we’re gonna take the hand on the hip, the free hand, and we’re gonna open the thoracic spine as we move back and as we round in. So the focus is on moving with the right leg. I’m supporting with my left arm, so there’s a lot of opposition, a lot of cross patterning happening here for the front body. Breathing.
And you could always keep your hand here for safety. One more time, please. Good. We come to rest and we do the other side. So I’m looking to help promote more thoracic mobility here. We come down, I’m now standing on my right arm, sorry for that mistake earlier.
And we’re gonna lean into that right arm. So it’s the opposite arm then would be natural there. And we’re gonna pull forward and get used to being here. Once we’re used to being here, just sort of slide the other leg out of the way. This is gonna afford you more range of motion, which is why I’m doing it.
And then if you can, the hand goes on the pelvis and you’re opening your heart, more thoracic rotation with flexion of the lumbar spine. We’re pulling in and we’re reaching open. In and back. So the left leg is the one that’s fueling the movement while standing on the right arm. I know that was a lot of right and left, but I just wanted to make it clear just in case you’re trying to follow along without watching.
One more time, please. We pull in and we’re gonna come to rest there. One more variation here. My abdominals are nice and juicy, I hope yours are too. We come forward, so two hands are down again.
This time you’ll have your two knees again together. Together. And I’m gonna move my legs. I’ve moved my two legs over to the right. Okay? So I’m up against the opposite shoulder rest with the knee. Now I’m gonna lean into my left arm.
So I’m leaning over to the left, I’m going to keep both hands down, but I’m leaning into this other arm, curling my pelvis underneath me. And I’m gonna pull myself in creating that lovely rotation and flexion. Now, the other leg is free, it’s gonna rest foot-on-foot if that’s where you need to be, or we’re gonna find a nice little extension as we move out and we move in. And let’s do about five there. Find your breath, please.
Come to rest and we’ll change sides. So you’re gonna move first for me, your legs over to the other side, up against the shoulder rest. Tip the pelvis over across the body, or over to the other side, if you will. I’m leaning into my one arm, but both arms are weighted. So I’m leaning toward my right arm.
And I’m in rotation. Tuck the pelvis or flex the spine as we pull in and get organized. Then the other foot can lift up if you you want, stay there if it needs to, or we extend into a nice little extension there. And let’s do five there. There’s two.
And three. And four. And five. Gently come to rest there. So rarely do I count while I’m doing Pilates, but sometimes it’s an important thing to do.
So we are going to move into now our hip work. I like to use a red and a blue for that. If you happen to have had your headrest up, it would be a good idea to put that down now. So we’re going to go ahead and lie down on our backs. Not doing that very pretty like, but it’s okay, it’s happening.
And rest for a moment. Settle in here, reach back, grab your straps, put your feet in your straps, please. Let’s just start with a basic frog to kind of get set up and used to being here. All right, so we’re gonna just start here with the frogs. Allow those knees to come in and exhale to press out.
So if you’ve worked with me before, you know I like to take the knees out of the equation here. So really think about the thigh bones fueling the movement. So as I reach out, I’m thinking about my thigh bones going away and pulling together. As we come in we want neutral pelvis of course, and we wanna breathe and enjoy our movement. Let’s do one more here, please.
Two straight legs, let’s do some circles. So we exhale to come down through center around to the top. Beautiful. Start to kind of iron out some edges here. Do you wanna make a bigger circle? Go for it. Guess what?
I’d like your pelvis to be perfectly stable. But if it feels good to let your pelvis move a little bit and take your hips into bigger rotation, then have at it today. I’m giving you full permission. Reverse your circles. We’re gonna come around to that low position, just kind of enjoy that movement a couple times. Big, luxurious circles, please.
Just make sure you’re breathing. Two more like that, please. And just one more. So I’m gonna keep my legs together. I’m gonna come up to about 90 degrees at the hips, and rotate to parallel. So now we’re gonna work some single-leg stuff here- And let’s go ahead and press one leg down.
I’m just gonna move this rope out of the way so it doesn’t hit the mic. Squeeze the legs across and then reach with the opposite arm. And here we go, other side. One leg goes down, you’re gonna squeeze the thighs together and reach with the opposing arm. And let’s do that again.
We’re gonna go down and squeeze, and reach with the opposing arm and repeat. So it’s kind of fun here. Hoo. There we go. A-ha. To work a little bit of coordination, go a little faster if you can. And feel that nice little adductor engagement.
Feel the back of the leg. Feel the cross patterning. And fun challenge when you have to also manage your microphone. I like it, people. Woo. Okay, one more time, please.
And then we’ll move on from here. That felt nice. Go ahead and bend the knees and come into a nice little stretch position. You can rest your feet on the reformer’s edge, or you could keep those feet close together and push those thighs open for a breath or two. Now, I always need to give myself just a tiny bit of space for my short spine, which is where we’re headed. So make sure you have enough space.
Press your legs back out to straight, and we’ll take a nice traditional short spine and then play a little. So folding at the hips all the way till you get to the stopper. And then if you don’t feel comfortable rolling all the way up, my friends, just bend your knees here, take your back down to the table again or to the reformer, and press back out to straight. Some days the short spine isn’t great for me. The rest of us are gonna take this position and then roll up onto the shoulder blades and find that nice high lift there.
Bend the knees, keeping the spine stable. You can flex the feet here if you want, or you can just hold that shape. And then you can roll down through the back body, bring the legs through. So let’s add on here. Folding at the hips.
And you’re gonna roll up and then stay there. So if you’re comfortable staying here, please do. Take your hands behind you. So they’re holding the frame, my hands are holding the frame. I’m gonna rotate my legs to parallel, keep a little tension on the rope, and take one leg down and lift up.
And then I’m gonna take the other leg down and lift back up. Now, I’m looking at my pelvis, and I’m trying really hard to keep it from moving. Which takes actually a lot of effort on one side specifically for me. So it’s highlighting my imbalances related to hips and core. So now we’ll come up with the two legs, external rotation, bend the knees again, feel free to keep the arms here or put them by your side.
I like my arms overhead for the shoulder stretch. And then come back through. My arms come down one more time. We fold at the hips. Roll yourself up.
Good, find the height of the curl. Let’s change it this time, parallel alignment. Hands can come overhead. Hold the frame or the pegs, your choice. One leg stays straight, one knee bends.
You’re gonna come in keeping a little tension on the rope, maybe touching your nose or your forehead. Now, one side’s harder for me, so I’m doing a single-leg stretch, leg keeping just a little tension on the ropes. And you can actually do this quickly if you feel okay. Feels great in my body. One more time, two legs straight.
Rotate out, bend the knees and take yourself down. And we’ve been upside down in an inversion for a little bit of time, so give yourself a few breaths, a few beats to rest. So wherever you wanna stretch, maybe your legs go wide to the side, I always enjoy that. Maybe you have the bottoms of your feet together. Maybe you bend one knee and go into a little bit more stretch on one side or the other side, your choice.
Whatever works. Slowly take one foot out of straps, please, and then find your foot bar. Take your other foot out, make your way into the stopper. Hug your knees into your chest and maybe just roll yourself to one side and make your way up. And now we will move on.
For the next series, we’re gonna revisit that standing cat-cow with one light spring. So I’m on a blue spring. If you wanted to use a heavier spring, you could, but I really recommend a lighter spring. Because we will work with some single-leg versions and some cross patterning here. So once again, assume that position where you’re standing where you feel like you’re in the right position, but adjustments can always be made. Take your arms up high, roll yourself down, and catch the edge of the reformer, and then lunge into a flat back position.
So here you’re all nice and warm. So can you really go a little further? I feel like so many of us are not as fluid in our shoulders as we could be. So I want you to explore that here. Give yourself permission to explore freedom of shoulder movement.
Reaching a little further forward, a little more, a little more, a little more. So yeah, my shoulders are up by my ears right now. But instead of pulling my shoulders down, I’m going to lengthen my neck to create freedom. That feels really lovely. Bend the elbows and straighten the elbows.
Reaching a little further than you think you should. Or maybe you do sometimes. If it feels good, if it doesn’t feel good, then stop. But for me, this feels really nice. Two straight arms, we’re gonna round and roll ourselves all the way in toward the stopper.
Maybe not all the way but in. And reach forward, slightly bigger movement. And rounding all the way in. And now reach forward and let’s work cross patterning. So here you’re gonna stand on your right arm.
So keep your right arm where it is, and see if you can take your other hand maybe to the frame, or eventually it will come completely away. So just checking with your balance here. So now standing on the right arm means we remove the right leg. So if you feel comfortable, we’re standing on one arm and one leg. I’ve got my leg long behind me.
My pelvis is endeavoring to be square at the moment. Okay? Now here without that hand, do you feel comfortable? So if you do, put it maybe on your pelvis, we’re gonna round ourselves in. As we do, the knee comes in, the spine rounds. And as we reach, we’re gonna extend through that leg or extend through the hip.
Go a little further and then look up toward the ceiling. Opening your heart, rounding in for me. And reaching, full extension. Now listen, bend the elbow one time, straighten the elbow, look up. Rounding in, reach, bend the elbow, straighten the elbow.
Open the heart, look up. Just one more time, please. Rounding in. Reach. Bend the elbow, straighten the elbow, open the heart and look up. Two hands on the bar, two feet on the earth, round and roll yourself all the way in.
Let’s go ahead and come up and give ourselves a moment to be upright before we do the second side. Arms high. Mm. And then we roll down, catch the edge of the reformer again. Reach forward into that lovely extended position. And then we change. So I’m now standing on my left arm.
I’m gonna take my other arm away and decide where I feel comfortable. Perhaps on the frame, perhaps on my hip. Take the other leg away or same leg- Opposite leg away. So right arm, left leg is lifted. So we have opposition here. Okay?
So my hand now is on my pelvis if that suits me. We’re just gonna try one movement like this, rounding in. Feel free to put a foot or a hand down if you need to. And extend. Now, you’re gonna rotate, you’re gonna look up opening the heart, come back to center.
We’re gonna round in and extend. Now we add the elbow bend here. One elbow bend, straighten, rotate, and look up, please. And we round in. Woo.
And extend. Elbow bend, straighten, and rotate. One more time, please. Hmm. I have discovered my more challenging side. I sure hope you’re discovering which side is more challenging.
Bend, straighten, and open the chest, and come back in. Two hands, two feet. Extend deeper into the reformer if you want. I like to hook my legs over the bar and actually let my shoulders really release a little here. It feels lovely, don’t do it if it doesn’t.
Round and roll all the way in. My friends, let’s bring ourselves upright and do some actual more clear arm work. Although it’s still all about freedom. So I am going to ask you to sit on your feet in a kneeling position. I do this a lot. So those of you that are not comfortable kneeling, feel free to find a prop or sit a different way.
Because you don’t have to be kneeling like this to do this. I happen to like it, so I do it a lot. I’m going to grab the straps. I’m still on that same blue spring, it’s ideal for this. And I’m holding the ropes above the buckles.
So that tape area for range of motion. So here, kind of feel yourself sitting on your heels. The reason I like sitting like this is so that my pelvis can rest on my heels. You’ll hear me say a lot, “Root to rise.” So I’m rooted with my pelvis to my heels. Yeah? With my glutes to my heels.
So pull yourself into your chest expansion position and get organized here. Oftentimes we do a pretty small chest expansion range. I wanna make that a little bit more- A little more interesting, exciting. So come all the way forward, allow your shoulders to reach forward, allow your spine to flex. So I’m rounding my back, that feels nice.
Now I’m gonna come all the way back to that shape. Shoulders, body stands straight, chest expansion, back extension, repeat. All the way forward, all the way back to where we came from with a little more energy, enjoy. So it’s kind of like a rolling chest expansion. And I happen to think that this is, for me, this is really valuable in my shoulders.
Allowing me to create just more range and more freedom. It doesn’t feel right, then do you. And we’re gonna pull back one last time and then rest that. Now place the straps on your wrists. So we’re gonna put the straps on the wrist and we’re gonna take the arms out to the side.
Again, I do this a lot. Love this exercise. So great for widening the collarbones in the shoulder blades. That’s all you’re thinking about at first. Now, as you get better here, you get more comfortable, you can be a little bit more organic with the movement and sway a little side to side. Spreading the collarbones in the shoulder blades is what I’m looking for.
Now we take a wing flap. We’re gonna take the arms forward just like we did in the previous exercise, rounding the spine, come right back to where we came from, spreading first, then palms up, open the heart and lean back to extension. And create a little bit more flow of that movement. Forward, open, and extend. Let’s do a few more here.
Just enjoying the range. Letting your shoulders explore. And learning how to be in different planes of motion. Realize I’m hitting the stopper here a little bit, I’m gonna try to organize that. These straps are just maybe a tiny bit longer than the ones I have on my reformer at home.
One more time, please. And beautiful. So we’ll go ahead and rest that. My arms, my shoulders feel quite awake. It’s time now to do some elephant. So we’ll do that with a green spring, because of where I wanna land.
So I’m using a heavier spring because of something else that we wanna do afterwards. So if you wanna go lighter, that’s fine. We’ll step up for our elephant position with two flat feet. And then take your hands a little closer together than you normally would. And once again, let’s work for getting a little bit- A little more stretch through the shoulder.
So I’m really reaching, letting this side body stretch, the side shoulder area stretch. There’s a lot of stickiness in there for me. And then I’m gonna keep that stable as I go back and in a few times. Using my core of course, but also using my hamstrings and my breath and enjoying the movement. Now hold the carriage in, we’re gonna remove one arm.
So I’m gonna go into thoracic rotation. My right arm is gonna thread underneath and stretch as far as I can, really using my eyes and my neck to get that extra bit of rotation. And then we’re gonna move here. So I’ve got my hand, my pinky finger, resting on the wood part of the frame just to give me a reference point. You could have it floating as well if your reformer doesn’t allow you to do that.
But I like that resting point. Good, let’s undo that. And go ahead and reach underneath and find the same thing on the other side. One of the things I also like about this, is I can feel the difference between my two sides because of where my fingers land. So this side is easier, much easier for me to rotate this way, the other side is harder.
So that identifies an imbalance for me. Come back into the stop, our two hands are on the bar, lift up high up on the tiptoes, and then we come down to those knees. Let’s slide those knees all the way back up against the shoulder rest, sitting on the feet for just a moment here. Getting ready for a nice knee stretch here. So not reverse knee stretch.
I’m gonna lift my body into shape, I’m keeping that wonderful flexion of my spine. And then we’re gonna in inhale back, exhale in. And in. And in. Beautiful flow here, two more like that.
Now, one more time. And then find middle range, straighten out your back for me. We’re gonna play just a little bit here. Work the body slightly differently. So I’m looking for a straight back into like a pushup position, right?
So I’m not doing the knee stretch flat back here, I’m looking for a straight back. Now, I’m gonna press back as far as I feel comfortable. Again, identifying a pretty straight back. And then the carriage comes in and out as I bend my elbows and do some pushups. So a lighter spring makes this very difficult to do.
The green spring feels really yummy. So you could also be on, I don’t know, a red and a yellow or something like that if you needed to. Or you explore. Let’s do a couple more pushups. One more, please. Good. Pull the knees in, untuck your feet, and sit on your feet for a moment.
Perhaps allow your head to hang forward, and your shoulders, your hands, can be kind of on the edges of the bar a little bit for a little shoulder stretch. If that doesn’t feel good, you could let your arms go wherever they need to go. Breathing in. And breathing out. Okay, so let’s actually do one more exercise right here.
Take your knees all the way forward, right off the edge. Push out two straight arms. So we’re gonna do a nice little shoulder push here so that we can work single arms. Now, this green spring might feel kind of hard for single arms, but I want you to give it a go. So I’m bending my elbows in and out with two arms couple times.
Now we’re gonna keep the two arms straight. Walk the hands in just a tiny bit, so you’re really right underneath or right above your shoulders. See if you can take one hand away. And can you bend your elbow all the way in and all the way out three times. Now, this spring is hard for a single arm, but give it a go.
You’re gonna see me shake on my other arm for sure. Let’s change. I asked for three, that’s all. So here we go, we set, we put the hand down next to you, and you’re gonna bend and you’re gonna straighten. There’s one. And there’s two.
And one more time, please, make sure you’re using your breath. Good. We’ll come all the way into the stop. And now we’re going to change the spring to a red spring. I’m gonna recommend, you know, if you have an option to put it on a button or a hook, you might go on the hook. So you kind of want a lighter spring for the first time doing this, but certainly you could use a heavier spring and that would be fine too.
So this is going to resemble a couple of exercises we do regularly, but the intention is quite different. So I am standing on my leg that’s on the floor. My other foot is weighted- My foot is up against the shoulder rest and my knee is down, but I wanna try not to be standing on the knee. So I’m gonna bring the attention to my standing leg. So I’m standing on my right leg and I’m bringing my attention to my gluteals.
I really wanna feel the glutes here, right from the get-go. So in order to do that, I’m actually rocking a little bit back onto my heel to make sure I’ve got it. Then I wanna be able to feel the gluteal that moves this other leg back here. So I’ve got ’em working separately to do separate actions. So we’re gonna bend.
It’s not about pushing the carriage back, my friends. As I bend, I wanna think of going into a deep lunge, right? So I’m bending my front leg, my back leg goes back. Yes, that’s happening, but the intention is to go down with my body. So let’s add a little bit of an arm movement here.
Both glutes are participating. I gotta get this left one to work a little more. He doesn’t wanna work. There it is, I got it for you. Got it for you on camera here.
So we’re gonna take one arm up and one arm up. Both glutes are working. We are in a lunge, let’s hold the lunge here. So I made that a dynamic movement. I’m gonna take my other hand and pull it around, and try to get a nice little shoulder stretch as I reach up a little higher through that arm that’s in the air.
So I’ve got nice solid stance, nice stretch, a little more active than usual. Gently come in. And we’ll go ahead and change sides. Nice and slow. So set up.
My foot is back, so it’s not up like it would normally be. It’s more like we might do the scooter position, so it’s kind of like my legs are somewhat aligned. Although you’re gonna find a sweet spot because the legs are so very different, and I feel like this exercise really helps me to identify some of my imbalances. So I’m going to find the leg that’s in front the gluteal. I’m gonna find the gluteal for the back.
And they’re doing separate actions to split the legs here. The intention is not going back, but going down. We’re going down, the other arm goes up. What’s crazy for me here, what’s so fascinating and fun to identify is, my left leg is generally the leg that’s so much harder for me to use. But when my left leg is standing in this, it’s quite easy for- Not easy, but I can manage this really well.
Where on the other side, when my left leg is behind me, it’s very tricky. So it’s interesting to me. Stay here. Makes sense, but it’s sometimes unclear. So give a little squeeze, a little squeeze, feel them both. Go a little deeper into the stretch.
Take the arm behind you and perhaps reach. So we’ve kind of wound things up a little bit. And I’m getting a really lovely stretch in my psoas, in my quad as well. I’m not as deep as I would normally be, but I’m still feeling it. And then let that go.
And we’re going to come all the way in here. So let’s use this same spring for some mermaid exploration, please. Always love a good mermaid. And considering we’re focusing on thoracic rotation and mobility, that’s a great thing to do in this class. So I’ve set up my mermaid legs comfortably for me.
And I’m gonna find, a nice still point here. Hand on the bar, press out. We’re gonna reach away, enjoy just a regular old reach-away-mermaid. Reach across, touch the bar, look down at the spring. Feel that.
Unwind and then come back in. Now let’s play a little. We’re going to reach away again, rotate around, look down at the spring. Feel the stretch. Stay in this general shape, release your arm and rotate open toward the ceiling, and rotate back to where you came from.
And rotate open toward the ceiling, and rotate back to where you came from. One more time. Rotating open. Breathing. Unwind and sit up.
One more variation, please. Inhale, reach away. Exhale, rotate around. Separate your hands a little bit if they’re close, so they’re more like shoulder width. Let’s bend the elbows one time, two straight arms.
Let the spring help you come to a lovely back extension. Back to straight. We’re gonna bend the elbows. And then we’re gonna lift back, extension. And bend.
Good. Reposition your hand if needed. Unwind here. Hand come all the way in. So if you’d like that reverse stretch, I often like to come around and I sort of push and pull. I push with one hand on the shoulder rest and pull with the other. Flexing a little bit my low spine.
That feels really nice to me. Mm. And let’s go ahead and do that same thing on the other side. So you can just spin around, or you can get up and walk around. Oh, the sun on the waves, it’s just so beautiful.
It’s glassy out there right now. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. So we have a seat set up for mermaid. Find yourself comfortable for you. I always need to take a moment to settle in, specifically on this side.
My hand is outside of my shoulder and we’ll reach away. With an exhale, we rotate around, touch the bar, look at the spring, enjoy the stretch. And then we unwind and we come in. Adding a little extra thoracic rotation here. We reach away, reach around, put the hand on the bar, stretch, and then adding here, opening, looking up toward the ceiling, and reaching around.
Do that two more times, please. Looking up toward the ceiling and reaching around. One more time. And reach around. Unwind, and sit tall.
Last set here. Replace the hands. So you’ll bend the elbows, just so you have space to bend both of them. And then lift back, extension. And extend, breathe, bend.
And lift. And one more time, please. We bend two arms. We extend. Unwind. Sit up.
And then if it feels good to you, I always have to tuck this foot underneath me, you can hold on, push and pull to create a little bit of a reverse stretch here. Sometimes this feels really great in my body, and other times it doesn’t feel wonderful. So feel free to modify as needed for you. And we’re gonna undo that. And let’s just finish over back where we started on our reformer, at the back edge of our reformer.
Front end, back end, I’m not really sure which end it is. It’s the foot bar end. How about that? I’m gonna have my toes turned out just a little bit, and in true Sarah form, I’m gonna take myself into a nice little deep squat. Had to hop back a little bit. So if this doesn’t work for you, you can modify this feeling in any way that you can, that you find you’re able to.
But I really like being able to hold on to the foot bar to just kind of explore a little bit where I can go in my deep squat. Most days, I can’t get down here comfortably all by myself. I need just a little bit of help. In order to stay here with ease, I guess is the right way to put that. Relax your head, breathe in and breathe out.
And then if you can find a place where you can hold with your hands, you can take your gaze forward. And then you can consider the idea of standing up on your own or using your props as needed to help you out. So oftentimes for me, when I get down here, I can then get up okay. But the first time, I pretty much always need a little bit of help. Thank you so very much for playing with me today, and I’ll see you again real soon.