PilatesAligning Reformer Flow with Brett Howard - Class 4771

Aligning Reformer Flow with Brett Howard – Class 4771



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Hi, I’m Brett Howard and this is our third class with Building Upwards with Brett: On the Reformer, and once again, I’m joined by Tetsuya Yoshida. And today we’re gonna just add on to some of the work that we’ve been working on the last two classes. So, we’re gonna start with footwork again, three or four springs, whichever you prefer. And then we’re gonna start on the toes, heels together, toes apart, make sure all ten toes are on the foot bar. Negative space on either side of the body is the same and now zipper up, extend out and bending in.


Out, two and in and three, and four and in and five more. Out and in, you make sure that you get to a full extension but don’t hyperextend the knees, two more out and all the way in, all the way out, all the way in and hold in, let’s go onto the arches of the feet, toes over, heels under, bird on a perch, stretch and in. Let’s go a little slower though. Stretch three and in, four, all the way in, five and in, five more out and two and in, three and in, out four, one more and out and in. Let’s go onto the heels, flexing the feet and press and in, two and in, out, three, out on four and five more.


Out and two and three, twice more and out and come in and now let’s go onto the toes. We’re gonna do three different positions today. Stretch out, now lower the heels for three, two, one. Lift, two, three, lower, two, three, lift, two, three, three and lift two, three, one more and lift two, three, hold there. Now bend the knees, come all the way in.


Let’s go parallel, toes together, knees together. Let’s go for four more. Stretch out, three counts, lower, two, three, lift, two, three, two, and lift, two, three, three, and lift, two, three, four. Lift, two, hold there. Keep the toes together, open your heels, so you’re inwardly rotated or pigeon-toed, and lower, two, three, lift, two, three, two, and lift, two, three, three, and lift, two, three, one more, lift and hold, bring your heels together, bend the knees, let’s return in.


Okay, for today, I’m gonna have you, if you’re in a classical reformer, you can bring one foot underneath, the other foot under the other bar, bring the bars together, lower the bar down, and then bring the knees into the chest, reach back, grab a hold of the handles. We’re gonna start with the elbows in today. Roll the head, neck, and shoulders up, extend the arms and legs front, and start pumping up and down as you breathe in with the air. Breathe out, two, three, four, five, inhale and exhale, three, four, hold. Right leg up and pump, two, three, four, five and exhale, three, four, five, inhale and exhale, two more sets, inhale and exhale, three, four, five, in with the air and exhale, three, four, hold.


Let’s switch legs and pump, two, three, four, five, exhale, three, four, five, inhale and exhale, three, four, five, three and exhale, three, four, five, one more set, exhale, three, four, five, legs together, bend the knees into the chest. Just a little variation today, just to spice it up a little bit. So, let’s go to two springs, then from there, I’m going to have you lift your head and then we’re gonna thread the leather through the handles, and then let’s place those on the feet. We bring the strap to the feet and then you’re gonna make sure that strap is right in front of the heel. Now, zipper up, extending out and bend the knees and come back in.


So, we’ll do a frog and extending out, two and going in, adding on, extending out, hold. Now from here, hamstrings forward at the hip joints, and then go to where you can stretch through the legs, bend the knees into the chest and we repeat. Stretch out, then for the hip joints go as far back as you can without the tailbone rising. Then from there, bend the knees and come back in, adding on, zipper up, extend out, forward at the hip joints, go as far back as you can, now hold. Imagine you’re on the Cadillac, you’re gonna push the tower bar up, you’re gonna roll up on a diagonal.


Hold that position, roll down on the diagonal, massage your back, massage, massage, massage, stretching there, then bend the knees into the chest and we return. And again, extend the legs out. Then from there forward at the hip joints, then rolling up on a diagonal, good. Then from there, melt, melt, melt, melt, melt, good. Bend the knees and come back in and extend out.


Fold at the hip joints, then roll up, peel, once again, off, this time, bend the knees, pull the heels into the bottom like a little ball, roll like a ball, one vertebrae at a time, all the way down to the tailbone. One more, zipper up, extend out, forward at the hip joints. Then when the tailbone wants to come off, allow it to come off, peel off of the carriage, one vertebrae at a time, bend the knees, pull the heels into the bottom and like a little ball, melt and roll like a ball, one vertebrae at a time, all the way down, great. Now you can grab hold of the handles, take the straps off of your feet, bring the elbows in at the sides. Coordination, simultaneously, arms and legs stretch.


Open, close, pull the knees in, bend the elbows, front, two, open, close, pull the knees in bend the elbows, front, open, close, hold. This time as you bring the knees in, bring the chest to the thighs. As you bend the elbows, bring the chest further to the thighs, further, further, then stretch, front, inhale, hold the breath, open, close, exhale, bring the chest to the thighs. Keep exhaling, bring the chest to thighs, chest to thighs, chest to thighs. One more, inhale, front, open, close, exhale, chest to thighs, more, chest to thighs, bend the elbows, chest to thighs, chest to thighs, chest to thighs and relax.


Good, so get a good work there of those upper abdominals. Standing up and we’re gonna go to one spring and we’re gonna place the long box on and we will go for the pulling straps. So, we make sure this box is nice and even there, then from there, I’m gonna have you lie down onto your stomach, shoulders flush with the front, and then you’re going to grab high up onto the leather straps. Make one line from head to heels, like a long piece of steel. Pull alongside the frame for pulling straps, lift the upper back and hold it there.


Two, three, exhale, lower the body. And again, inhale, pull back and lift, lengthen, lengthen, exhale, lower, good. One more time, pull back, lift, two, three, and exhale, lower. Slide the arms to the back end of the leather, lift the arms to the side, hold there, that’s right, just a little lower. There, now pull back, two, three, exhale, lower.


And again, simultaneously push, lift your upper back, now palms faced down throughout, exhale, lower. One more time, inhale, pull back and lift, lengthen, strong through the legs and exhale, lower, great. I’ll take the straps from you and then standing up. Now, let’s add a second spring on and last time we worked on that backstroke, today we’re gonna do the backstroke on top of the box. So, I’m gonna have you step on, left hand or fist and then left foot, right hand or fist, right foot.


Bring the tailbone at the very, very front of the box, then lie down onto the back and you can grab a hold of the handles. Bring two fists together, curve the upper body, so you have a lot of tension in the straps. Then simultaneously, both arms and legs straight up to the ceiling, simultaneously, open, circle and reach, reach more and more, pull and come in. Simultaneously, up, open, circle and reach. Further, further, nice.


Bend knees and elbows in, inhale up, exhale, circle, inhale, reach. Two, three, exhale, pull in, twice more, up, open, circle and reach. Reach, reach and keep lifted, bring the bar in, one more time, up, open, circle and reach. Long through the front of the hips, light in the legs and come back in. All right, I’ll take this from you and I’m gonna have you stand up onto the floor.


We’re gonna stay on two springs and let’s turn the box around and then short box. So, sitting down. (metal clanks) Feet underneath the straps, arms around the waist, around, over the forearms, then rolling backwards and rolling up, leading with the crown of the head. Curling back and curling forward. Now, make sure the little toes pull back just as much as the big toes.


And again, curving back and curling front. Let’s go for one, more curling back and curling up. Now, flat back, hands behind the head. Let’s move on to the hinge. You’re gonna wrap the ribs, lift through the spine and now flat back, hinging back and lift to center.


Two more, lift and hinge and up to center. One more, lift and hinge and up, center, hold there. We’re gonna add onto this one today and we’re gonna do an exercise, a variation my teacher, Carrie Regan, calls the cameo. So, you make, let’s actually show them real quick. You make two fists right onto the bar.


Fists together and then you’re gonna lift the arms to the ceiling. Now the hands are just slightly forward of the crown of the head. Now, lift and hinging backwards and lift to center and again, lift and hinge, two and lift to center. One more, push through the fist, up to the crown of the head and up to center. Now, lift and bend over to the right.


Now, lift to center. You push with the right fist to go left and center. Push with the left fist to go right and center. Push with the right fist to go left and center. One more, go over to the right and center and over to the left and center.


Let’s lower there. Open the arms. Good, actually, I’m sorry, let’s keep the fist there, sorry. Reach the arms to the ceiling. Now, lift, twist to the right, hold.


Now, push and reach out and come up to center. Lift, twist, reach with both fists equally and up to center. Lift, twist and reach and up, last time. Lift, twist and reach and come up. Now, keep the arms up but open the arms on the bar.


Now, we had that same intention that we had with the fist together. Lift and twist, now reach both fist out and come up to center. Twist, both sides of the back equally long and up to center. Once again, twist and reach and up center. Twist, find your twist, reach out, open the opposing leg and come up to center, round over and you can relax and stretch and he gets another dessert.


He’s gonna be fat by the end of this series, with all this dessert. And rolling up and take the bar, place it underneath. And we’re gonna do a little variation today. So, you’re gonna hold on to the back of the thigh but what you’re gonna do is, you’re gonna bring the thigh right in the forearm and then grab that wrist. We’re gonna deconstruct, and we’re only gonna do an aspect of the exercise.


So, I’m gonna have you curve under, roll back and you go as far back as you can. So, here we’re really focusing on opening up the hip flexor on the left leg and come back up. And again, curving under, opening up those hip flexors, stretching, think of that little right (indistinct) when reaching forward more. There we go and come back up. One more, curving under, go as far back as you can, great.


Now to come up, you bring your leg into the forearm and that way you don’t have to use the other leg to come up. All right, let’s switch sides. Okay, now pull and curve under, opening up the hip, then bring the thigh forward into the forearm. And again, curling under and stretch, stretch, stretch and go forward. One more time and curling under, making sure that bottom foot is active and flexed, open up those hip flexors and then bring the thigh forward to come up, nice.


Okay, just a little variation there, stepping to the floor and we are gonna go for the long stretches. So, let’s lift the headrest up then from there, we’re gonna lift the foot bar up and you’re gonna step on one hand, one foot, other hand, other foot, one long line from head to heel, like a long piece of steel, press out and going in. Heel of the hands forward, shoulder blades down to go out, lead with the crown of the head to come in and again, out, three and going in. Let’s go for two more and out and in, very nice. One more time, press out and lengthen, lengthen, all the way in, bend the knees down, bring your feet against the blocks.


Hips are gonna go forward, lift through the heart, lift through the crown of the head, down, stretch, inhale and lift through the heart to go up. And again, inhale as you come up, zipper from the pubic bone all the way up to the throat. Inhale, don’t look down and exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale to come up. Now the rollercoaster, gonna sit towards the heels, make a nice curve there. Now, simultaneously, push the carriage back as you bring the hips forward and you end up in down stretch position.


Now lengthen to come in, then rounding back into a child or shell pose there. Now press back, now lift through the crown of the head, to come all the way in and two more and back and lengthen, lengthen, lengthen and come in. One more, and now come all the way in. Keep the shape, lengthen, lengthen, lengthen, lengthen and come in, lift through that heart more and don’t sink into that low back and then good. Let’s stand up for elephant.


Now, walk the feet forward today and then go all the way forward. So, your toes are gonna come over the front edge. Now, I’m gonna reach down and take a spring off. So, this variation I learned from Kathy Quarry, and now you’re gonna curve forward just a little bit more, right there. So, we’re on one spring.


Now, press the carriage out, go in one, in two, in three, out ,two and in, in, in. Out, three, under, under, under, two more and under, under, under, one more and under, under, under and then step to the floor, very good. Just to feel the elephant just a little differently. All right, let’s go back to what we did footwork on. So, either three or four springs and we will get the pad.


And we will go for stomach massage series, starting with the round. So, sitting down on there, nice rounded back, strong in the arms, pull back, lower the heels, lift the heels and in. Two, lower, just a little slower, three, lower, lift and in. Four, lower, lift and five, lower, lift. Five more, out, lower, lift.


Two, lower, lift, then in. Three, lower, lift and two more, lower, lift and one more, lower, lift and come in. Reach through the legs, take a spring off, bring your hands back against, press back with the hands, crack a walnut and go out, lower, lift and in. Two, lower, lift, three, lower, lift. A hundred dollar bill in between those heels.


Lower, lift, let’s go for five more. Lower, lift and two, lower, lift and in, three, lift up through all five string of the marionette puppet strings. One more, lower, lift and come in. Now, reach through, take one more spring off. Then reach up on that diagonal, go out, inhale and exhale, lengthen, lengthen, lengthen, inhale, out.


Exhale, lift to that low back, inhale and exhale, lengthen, lengthen lengthen. One more time, inhale, exhale, lengthen, hold the position. Inhale, lower to shoulder height. Now, (indistinct), twist, exhale, twist to the right, inhale, come in, exhale, twist to the left, inhale, come in, exhale, simultaneously twist as you stretch the legs and come in, simultaneously stretch the legs and twist the spine and come in and exhale. Slice off a top of a cake and come in and exhale, slice off the top of the cake and come in and reach for my shoulders.


Reach for my imaginary shoulders at home, reach and then round over. We’ll do the monkey one more time today, stretch the legs and bend or the series rather and stretch, two. Relax here and bend, one more time and stretch, hold that position, flex and point, flex and point. One more time, flex and point. Bend the knees and come all the way in, great.


So, we’re going to do little variation for the semicircle. So, I’m gonna keep the bar up, I’m gonna keep us on two springs. Now normally, semicircle, the headrest is up, but today we’re gonna lower that headrest. So, I’m gonna have you lie down. And then let’s go heels together, toes apart and you’re gonna go on to the toes.


Now this could also be done parallel hip width distance. Let’s just show them real quick on the toes. It can also be done parallel hip width distance on heels or it could even be done Pilate stance on the heels, but today let’s go on to the toes in Pilate stance. Now, what you’re gonna do is you’re going to not move the carriage and just lift the hips up, hold that position. So, this will be our starting position.


I want you to soften at the sternum, melt down one vertebrae at a time, all the way down to the tail. Now, slowly extend the legs to a full extension. Keep the carriage still, lift the hips up, initiating from the tailbone. Then from there, control, bend the knees and come all the way in. Now, kill the fish, gut the fish all the way down the middle.


Then slowly go out, carriage remains still as you lift the hips up, then bend the knees and return the carriage in. And again, melt from the sternum all the way down to the tailbone in a nice successive sequencing, release in the hips and then stretching out with control, carriage still as you lift and then bend the knees and return in, folding at the knee and the ankle joint. Let’s reverse it. Keeping the hips up, press out. Now, try to keep the carriage still.


Melt from the sternum all the way down to the tailbone. Let the hips, knees and ankles forward to come in, then roll the hips up and try to keep the carriage still and then going out. Now, starting at the sternum, kill the fish, gut the fish all the way down. Now, bend the knees and come back in and then carriage still as you lift the hips up. Last time, press out, keeping the hips lifted, melt from the shoulder blades down to the tailbone.


Then bend the knees, come back in and then one more time, let’s just lift the hips up so we’ll end in that position, good. We have one more spine articulation to finish. Melt down, one vertebrae at a time, all the way down to the tailbone, heavy into the hip folds, okay, hug the legs. Now I’m going to lower this headrest, sorry, the foot bar, now let’s lift the head and then we lift the headrest. Then from there, we’re gonna set up the long straps for the legs circles.


Okay, now let’s take these, place them onto the feet, right in front of the heels, arms down, zipper up, extend the legs out. Now, let’s keep ’em out, let’s go right into the circles. Open, lower, together and lift. Open, lower, together, lift. Open, lower, together, lift.


Open, lower, together, one more. Open, lower, together, let’s reverse it. Down, open, up and together, two, open, up and together. Three, simultaneous movement, right and left sides of the body, one more. Down, open up and together and then bend the knees and come back in.


And then we’ll skip the frog today, I’ll take these and then you can roll to one side, sitting up, standing up and we will go for the knees stretch series. So, I’m gonna lift this foot bar up and then you’re gonna step on one hand, one foot, knee, other hand, other foot and knee. Round the back, like an angry cat, knee stretched round. So, press out and under, two, under, three under, four in five, six in, seven in, eight in, hold in. Head up, tailbone up, arch back and then out and in.


Two, three and in, four, five and in, six in, seven in, eight in and hold in. Now round the back like an angry cat, bring the hips forward a little bit. Then from there, take your right foot forward. Hook the toes at the front of the carriage. Now, round the back, lift your knee, left knee up, good.


You use both feet here. Push out, in, one, two, in, three, in, four, in, one more, five, in, hold. Bend the knee down and now, foot goes back. Hook the other foot in front, hold there, yes. So, you make sure you have good platform there.


Round the back, lift the knee, both feet, push out, in and one, two in, three and in, four in, five all the way in, in, in, and gently bend the knee down, good. Standing up onto the floor. So, building into that knees off exercise. Now, let’s go to three or four springs, whichever you started footwork with and then lie on your side and then onto your back for the running. Zipper up, extend out and run and up and up, two, up, two, up, three, up, three, up, four, up, four, up, five, up, five, up and hold.


Bend the knees, come in. So, we’d had that on the balls of the feet. Now, we’re going to slide the feet forward. So, the toes are off and you’re right below the toe line. Now, stretch out and run.


One and one, we take it just a little slower and two, just to feel slightly different stretch and four and five and five, lift and bend the knees, coming in, feet are gonna go into the corners onto either the arches or onto the heels. Start with the tailbone, roll the hips up to the bottom ribs for the pelvic lift, stretch and pulling in and stretch and pulling in. Press and pull and press out and in and out. And let’s go for five more and press and pulling in, out, two and in, press through jello and pull back in, two more and in, last time and come all the way in, in, in and then roll the spine all the way down and then bend the knees, hug the legs. Okay, roll to one side, sitting up, standing up and that’s all we’re gonna do for today.


Thank you guys and I look forward to seeing you next time, where we’re gonna build a little bit more, all right. Thank you guys.







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