Pilates Reformer Fundamentals with Doug



Hello, everybody, I'm Doug. This is my first video for a Wow, Pilates! A little about me...I've been teaching classes for eight years, Matt...matt work and then on apparatus. I've been teaching about five years. I'm Basi-trained. When I first started teaching, one of the places I started teaching was here at Studio M in Sonoma, California. It was founded by Madeline Black, a very well known Pilates teacher who lives here in town and is still here. She sold it a few years ago to one of her proteges, Sue Aslin. Now, it's not just a Pilates studio that gives exercise. At Studio M, we do a lot of manual therapy. We do a lot of intelligent movement. We want to restore people to help them feel good and move well and move intelligently. So that's what sets studio apart from a lot of the others. So anyway, we're going to do a very basic reformer class and nothing too fancy. If you've never done Pilates before, you might want to just watch. You'll learn some things if you're a veteran. We're just going to do a lot of the fundamental exercises. I do want to remind everybody that we want to co-contract as we're moving around.

In a real simple way, it means drawing the belly in a little bit, engaging the deep pelvic floor muscles and maybe engaging the glutes. And as we move our arms and legs around, you want to just think of all that power and energy coming from your center. If you let all that go, then you're not really doing Pilates. So I like to start with some kind of warm up. I'm going to do roll downs. If you want to join me, stand tall, relax your shoulders and drop the head first and just round the spine, bend the knees a little if you have to. Try to keep some space between your chest and your thighs.

So you're essentially just hanging down here. The spine is stretching out. It's not a hamstring stretch. We just want to lengthen and loosen up. The spine will roll back up again.

Let's think of stacking the spine, letting the head come up last and I'll go a little faster. Take your inhale to prepare, exhale. Go into your roll down. Let the arms dangle. Take an inhale at the bottom. And as you exhale, the upper body is soft. The feet are pushing into the floor.

The inhale comes at the top. We'll do one more exhale. The legs are working a little bit. The legs are strong and active here. The upper body should feel very soft and slinky and exhale, roll up.

So we're going to start with the footwork when I say footwork, it's actually legwork. I have to red springs and a green. You should have it medium to heavy for you. We'll sit on the reformer.

I like to have my headrest lifted up a little bit for this. It Depends on your body. Lay down sideways and then roll over onto your back.

So instead of jumping right into it, make sure your body's right down the center of the reformer. Put your hands alongside your headrest. Make sure your neck is right in the middle. Have your arms along your sides, find your hips and make sure the hips are centered on the reformer. And then ask yourself if your spine is on a nice long straight line or is there a curve in the spine?

Just be aware if there is. Heels go up against the footbar. Feet are flexed. We're pulling the feet in toward us. Neutral spine. You don't have to pull the belly in hard. You don't have to press the lower spine into the mat. You just have a neutral spine as you push the carriage out and straighten the legs all the way and keep the feet flexed and then bend the knees, come back in. Now, different teachers teach it different ways as far as the breathing goes. I'm going to have you inhale as you push out and exhale as you come back. If you want to breathe the other way, that's fine. It's all good.

Now, as you push out, you're holding your core reasonably strong. You're straightening the legs all the way without hyperextended the knees and without locking the knees. So all the muscles in the leg stay very active. The yoga teachers like to say sometimes wrap your muscles around the bones. That's another way of saying so you can keep all the leg muscles lively. Don't think about just moving the muscles you think you have to move. So normally we do about eight to ten of these. I'm probably going to do fewer than 10 because I do want to move on. Will change to the toes from here. Now, the toe balls need to be against the footbar the little toes need to be in contact with a footbar. The toes are wrapped around the footbar and the heels are lifted. It's almost like you're standing on tiptoes. As you push out, you want to leave the heels in the same place, not dropping them, not lifting them. Coming back in, the same rules apply. You're going to keep all the muscles in the legs lively and active. You want to straighten the legs as much as you can. There's no resting place here.

Inhale out and exhale. Come back in. And inhale out. And exhale in. Two more to go. The head, the neck, the shoulders are relaxed, the hands are relaxed. The last one here. And now into the V position for the feet. So you would stay on your toes, but bring the heels together, the knees will open up, but not too much. The heels again are somewhat lifted. Inhale out. The legs will come together -- you're in a little turn out here in the hip joints. Exhale. Come back in, inhale away. And exhale, in. When you come back in, you don't just let go. You don't just let the springs pull you back on. You want to resist the springs as you come back in. Work against the springs. Inhale out. Exhale in. One more.

From here, we go to the open leg position, so back to the heels, I'm going to take my heels almost to the very end of the footbar. If you have a really wide footbar and you have shorter legs. You might not want to go so far out. So the knees are open. They're tracking with the ankles. The feet are flexed again. All the muscles lively. Inhale, push out and exhale. Come back in.

You might need to make little micro adjustments in your feet until the heels are just the right place on the bar. Incidentally, if you're wearing socks, there's a reason they make sticky socks. If you're wearing regular socks, you'll probably slip right off the footbar or you'll have all kinds of tension in your feet. So either barefoot or get a good pair of sticky socks.

Now, in the open leg position, we have to watch our spine a little more. It's a little easier for that low back to go into a little bit of flexion or extension, arching or rounding. So hold it nice and neutral. One more for me here. And then coming back in, coming to the toes now, same open position, heels are lifted. Inhale out. Exhale in.

When I'm on the toes, I think about trying to make my legs longer as I push out. Inhaling away, exhaling back in. You should be able to feel those quads really working the whole time, even when your legs are straight. Most people think it's the quad's during all the work when we push out. It's the hamstrings doing most of the work. The quads actually engage when we get almost all the way out right here and then the hamstrings control it back in. So one more time.

And now the foot part of the footwork. Calf raises and prancing. So go back to parallel legs. Go back to your toes. Push the carriage out. Now, the legs are going to stay straight from here on out. Allow your heels to sink beneath the footbar. Keep the toes wrapped around the footbar. Here is a stretch. If you're not doing this, this is really going to wake you up if you're not used to doing the stretch. This is something you should do every day. If you have stairs, stand at the edge of the stairs, stretch the back of your calves. Now breathing is the same.

We're going to inhale and come to the tiptoes. Lift up the heels, exhale, control it down, inhale, tiptoes, exhale, stretch. Find the full range of motion of your feet. Most people do about 10 of these, if you've never done this before or you don't work your feet too much. I mean, six or eight might be enough and you would feel it tomorrow. But I like to do at least 12 of each. Find that range of motion in the feet you want all those bones in the feet to be able to move around one more of these. Now, the next one is almost everybody's favorite, the prancing. So it's the same thing, but the legs work and independent of each other. So I'm bending the right knee, I'm stretching my left calf, and then I switch.

And this should be very elegant and graceful, just like you're prancing along, you get a stretch, you get to work, you could make it a little bit harder and lift up the heel before you sink the other heel or you could just have the carriage not move as much and move the knees around here. Your choice. I like to work, so I like to keep those calves engaged. If you want to do the breathing, really, really collect correctly, here's what you would do. You would inhale for two. And exhale for two. And inhale for two. And exhale for two. One more breath cycle for me. And exhale for two.

Now, I like to hold on a stretch here, I'm getting a very strong stretch on my left calf. See all the springs pulling against that one foot. Right leg is relaxed. And then I'll switch stretch to the right side. And this can be a little painful. Don't make it painful, but a little good pain is OK. And the carriage comes in. There are other variations that I like to do in the calf work, but we're going to stop here, I'm going to get up, change my springs, and we're going to do some bridging.

So I'm going to go to a red spring and a blue spring, lightening it up. Headrest always down here because the hips are going to be lifted up. We don't want the head up while the hips are up. Lying back down, getting centered.

Now, there are any number of ways you could have the feet on the footbar. So since this is a more fundamental class, I'm going to have the footbar against the heel arch intersection right about here. That's a nice, stable place for the feet. I have longer legs here, so I'm going to move the carriage out a little bit. I want my femur bones to be vertical. I want my hip joints right under the knees. And this is my start place for the bridge. So in the bridge, we articulate the spine. So I'm going to move my right arm out of the way and I'm going to show you what the spine does without the carriage moving. We tuck the pelvis. The sacrum lifts off. The belly button pulls in, then the lumbar spine lifts up off the surface and then the thoracic spine starts lifting. And I like to take my little fingers and feel the frame of the reformer and make sure the carriage isn't moving away. Now, my hamstrings are really working hard right here. I'm trying to get the pubic bone lifted high. The pubic bone is essentially dragging everything else up. Everything else is relaxed. And then I exhale, come down again, one vertebrae at a time and again without the carriage moving.

As I come down, come to neutral spine. I inhale, exhale, do it again. Really important to keep the neck relaxed here and inhale, exhale down. You're looking for that slinky spine.

Now, I'm going to change the position of my feet a little bit. I'm gonna have the toe balls and the toes on. This is a little harder, you can try it if you like. And again, same thing. Lifting up. So now my calves are working a little bit. Inhale the top and exhale over. Inhale at the bottom one more.

Another thing I have to think about is not letting the knees come apart. We want to keep those legs parallel. Inhale at the top. When I'm at the top, I like to just go over my checklist and make sure the head, neck and shoulders are relaxed and exhale. Come down.

We're going to do one more version of Bridge. I'm going to take a little break. Some people like to take a stretch here. Also, a lot of people really cramp up when they start doing bridging. So might be several reasons for that. But usually if you keep practicing it and getting stronger, there's less chance of you cramping up. So I'm on the toe balls. This is a bridge with extensions.

So it's the same thing to start. Exhale to roll up. Now stay lifted and inhale and straighten the legs a little bit, glide the carriageway. Don't straighten the legs all the way. Knees should stay a little bit. Exhale, come back in. As you come back in, the hips should lift higher. Inhale, lower one vertebrae at a time and that's one.

What do you say we do two more? Make sure the carriages is in its start place. For me it's not all the way in. My knees are bent too much. Exhale. Lift up to the bridge. Inhale, glide away. Exhale. As you come back in, lift the bottom more. Another name for this exercise is the bottom lift. Inhale, come down.

Neutral spine, just for a split second. One more. Exhale, tuck the pelvis. Peel it up. Inhale gliding away. Exhale back in and inhale coming down. And recover. I like to just pull knees into the chest here and move the legs around a little bit. Move the feet around a little bit and arm circles.

So arm work, supine, is a good place to warm up the shoulders. And I want to show you what happens in the shoulders here. You're going to be lying on your back. When your arms go up and overhead, make sure the shoulder blades don't hike up like this. We want to stabilize our shoulder blades. So I'll be talking about that as we lay down. I'm going to lift my headrest back up.

I'm going to go to a red spring. If you know you're really strong and your shoulders are healthy, you could do a heavier, heavier springs.

So lying down on the back.You'll need to grab your loops or handles. We happen to have loops here today. I'm going to hold on to the smaller loops. And again, I like to move the carriage out a little bit. To start, we want our arms directly above the shoulder joints, the fingers are extended and the palms are facing the knees, to come to tabletop.

That's one leg at a time, leg squeeze together. Now, I do want you to press that low back into the mat. Take an inhale to prepare. As you exhale, bring the arms down alongside the body and also draw the shoulder blades down slightly. As you inhale, arms come back up. No need to go away overhead. Just take the arms there above the shoulders. Exhale down. Inhale up. I'm just going to do one more here and inhale up.

Now arms go straight out to the outside-- to the side like an airplane, palms facing forward. We exhale, bring the arms into the body. We inhale, take the arms out. I'll do two more. And we're preparing for the arm circles. And again, as we bring the arms in the shoulder blades, try to stay down and then we'll bring the arms back up. Ready for the arm circles. We go both directions. I like to start by bringing the arms alongside. Then I turn the palms of the hands to face inward, bring the arms out to the side and bring them up.

That's one. So it's exhale and a longer inhale as the arms go out and up. We'll do one more just for brevity. We would normally do more, but I don't want to be here for three hours and arms up. Going the other way. Arms out to the side. Here's the exhale. Arms in. Turn the palms of the hands to face down. Inhale, arms up. Inhale, arms out. Exhale, arms in. Turn the palms, inhale, arms up. Inhale, arms out and exhale, arms in.

Let's go right to triceps. Palms face down. You could rest your elbows on the mat and bend your elbows and straighten the elbows. I like to have the elbows lifted slightly so I have to think about where they are.

So it's exhale, straighten the arms. Inhale, bend the elbows. If you wanted to get really strong triceps, you could up the springs a little bit. I'm just going to stay put. I'm going to do one more and then I'll bring the arms up. Finally, I'll rest my legs one at a time and put the loops back on my shoulder rests. This reformer actually doesn't have a little post back here. The reformers that they sell on Wow, Pilates!probably do, though, because I like the post.

So abdominal work, I am on a red spring. I think I'm going to stay on the red Spring. If you're really, really strong, you could add a little more. So, again, lying down on the reformer. Again, grabbing the small loops.

We'll start with no, we're not going to do the 100 I don't feel like doing the 100 today. But we'll do the 100 prep and then we'll do an exercise called coordination. So again, arms are up. Legs in tabletop. Legs squeezed together.

Take the inhale. Exhale, draw the belly in. Scoop the belly as you lift the chest and bring the arms forward. Inhale. Come down as the arms come up. Again, it's more important to keep the spine feeling really long as you lift up rather than trying to lift up high. As you lift up the shoulder blades, glide downward instead of the ears hiking or instead of the shoulders hiking up to the ears, I'm going to add on. I'm going to straighten the legs as I lift up and bend the knees and come to tabletop as I come down. Again. And bend the knees come down. Now, the exercise called coordination. There's one more move at the top. We exhale, lift and straighten the legs open and close the legs. We inhale, bend the knees first, come to tabletop and then inhale. Head comes down, arms come up. Takes a little coordination to do that. Exhale, lift, open, close, inhale. Bend the knees, then inhale. Come down. Everything happens at the same time during the lift. But as you come down, it's the legs first and then the arms and one more time. Lifting with the center, not the neck muscles bending the knees. The center controls you back down and rest.

All righty. Now, having done all that, I rarely teach that one because most of my clients and students are about my age and that's a little hard on the neck. So when we're doing mat classes, for instance, I just have people have hands behind the head. I don't usually even teach that little series. But anyway, feet and straps comes next. The hip work.

I'm on a red spring and a blue spring, which is like one and a half springs. You could just go with one spring or you could go with two reds. I like to be somewhere in the middle. The feet go around the large loops. And I'm just going to start with a nice, simple, basic leg circles. Again, body down the center of the reformer. We'll start with straight legs. Take the legs up. Those of you who have fairly tight hamstrings like I do, don't force the legs up because what happened? Just see how my tail is curling up. We don't want that. We want the tail down on the mat. We want the pelvis flat. So I go to about here. That's the end of my stretch. Don't try to be a hero. So the feet are together. I'm going to take a little turn out, a little external rotation in the hip joints. I'm pointing the feet. My heels are touch and exhale. Legs come down about forty five degrees, maybe a little lower. Low back stays on the mat. It doesn't arch up. The legs circle out to the side and come back up.

So it's very simple. Exhale down, inhale out and think about your symmetry. The pelvis in the low back or standing perfectly still. The leg movement, we want to disassociate that from the hips and pelvis and the rest of the upper body. One more time, this direction. And we're back at the top.

We're going to go to the other direction now, circle out. Bring the legs together. Bring the legs back up together. Now keep the legs attached into the hip joints. Think about the legs not running away from the hip joints because your center is doing the work and you want to keep a sense of the hamstrings stay connected to the sit bones. One more time. And coming up.

In the openings, we lower the legs. I take them a little lower than forty five degrees, but if you find your low back arching up, you'll want to have your legs a little higher. The legs open directly out to the sides. And the legs come back in. Very simple.

You do get an inner thigh stretch, it's not your goal to necessarily take the legs as far apart as they'll go. Your goal is to just stay in control and keep all of the center neutral. There is an option, though. If you want, you can do what I'll call twizzling. You externally rotated in the hip joints, open the legs, and then internally rotate in the hip joints and close the legs. So if you watch my feet, you can see what's going on. I'm not moving my feet. My feet are moving because they're following the leg bones as I externally rotate and internally rotate. Stay in the internal rotation, open the legs, take the external rotation, close the legs. Very good for the hip joints.

Inhale, open, exhale, close. And one more time. Inhale, open and exhale close. Now we're in that external rotation. The heels are touching. Bend the knees. This is the frog position. In the frog position, the knees are not open as wide as possible. The heels are touching and the feet are flexed. On the exhale, the legs straighten.

So think about pushing the heels out away from you and the inhale the knees bend. The heels coming back in. The heels remain touching at all times. Exhale away. Inhale in. One more time. And inhale in. Neutral hip joints, legs up. I'm going to walk on the ceiling.

This is a nice little stretch. It's a nice way to finish off. Bending the right knee, the rope pulls the left leg in a little bit. I'm keeping the left leg straight. And again, I don't want to curl up my tail, but I'm feeling a nice stretch back here in the hamstrings. I'll switch. Feel the stretch and I'll just walk on the ceiling. Very pleasant way to just lengthen out those hamstrings to finish up the hip work. One more each side. I started with the left leg straight. I'll finish with the right leg straight. Ok, and straps come off the feet. When you do this, find the footbar. Don't drop your foot down here. We're all the little hooks are. Put your loops back. It's always one foot at a time.

Ok, so we'll do some arm work now. We did some arms as we were supine and now I'm going to do it sitting. I'll start with one of my favorites, chest expansion. I'm going to be on a red string. You could do a red spring and a blue, but I'm really concerned about my technique, so I don't go real heavy.

Sit facing the back of the reformer. You can cross your legs if necessary, not everybody can fit both their legs between the shoulder rest. You're sitting pretty far back on the carriage. And again, if you have tight hamstrings, you can bend your knees a little bit. But you do want to keep a flat back. I'm going to bend my knees just a bit and keep the feet flexed.

So I'm going to grab the fabric here where the straps connect to the rope and I'm going to hold onto the fabric. Shoulders are down, palms facing in, spine very long. Check to make sure that your shoulders are dropped and check to make sure that the shoulders are not rounded forward. OK, the arms are slightly just past the edge of the reformer. On the exhale, bring the arms alongside your body and on the inhale, control it forward again. So the arm stays straight. The neck stays long, and as you pull the arms back, you want to make sure the soldiers don't roll forward.

If you want to bring the arms behind you a little bit, that's fine, but make sure this doesn't happen. One more. And arms forward. I'll throw in some biceps here. I'm going to hold on to the small loops. I'm going to get a grip. Palms are up. The elbow creases are up. The elbows, of course, are out in front of the body.

I like to lean back a little bit and I like to bend my knees a little bit. That takes tension out of the low back. And as I'm leaning back, I'm also kind of activating my abdominals. I exhale, bend the elbows, and I pull the straps toward me. I inhale, control it straight and I'm not dropping the elbows into my ribs and keeping them lifted. So it's almost like you're lifting the straps up as you pull them in. And one more time. And rest, I'm going to put these back.

So, I think we'll work a little more full body integration.We're going to do elephant. Elephant is a pretty basic, fundamental exercise. It's kind of similar to downward dog if you do yoga. So the foot bar is up, I'm going to do a blue spring, a lighter spring. You could do red, also. The lighter the spring, the harder it is.

Step up onto the carriage with your hands on the footbar and you don't have to have your feet all the way back to the shoulder rests. I like to have the feet almost on the center of the carriage. So arms are shoulder width apart. My fingers are extended past the footbar. No need to grip it. And depending on what kind of reformer you have, you might have to be careful because it might be one of the reformers where the football will slip right out, so be sure not to pull on the footbar. All right. I start by bending the knees, moving my hips back, dropping my chest a little, flattening my back and then moving the carriage back as necessary. For most people, the carriage will not be all the way in.

Now I'm going to try to straighten my legs. My back may be a little rounded, but I try to keep the back as flat as possible. Now I'm dropping my chest more. It should almost look like my arms are lined up with the spine. On the inhale, allow the carriage to move away. The abdominal start kicking in. Now on the exhale, use the abdominals to lift the hips back up toward the ceiling, which should bring the carriage in.

You don't need to bring the carriage in all the way because see how you tighten up here. So this can be the start position. So inhale carriageway and instead of using the legs to bring the carriage in, use the abdominals to lift the hips up toward the ceiling so you get lighter in the feet. That's what brings the carriage in. Inhale away, exhale, lift. Inhale away. Exhale, lift. If your back does not stay flat, you may keep the back rounded like so. You're still doing the work. Just keep your legs as straight as possible. I'll do one more. Think of scooping the belly to bring the carriage in. Good and carefully come down.

I'm assuming you have a long box. If you don't have a lock box, then you probably won't do the swan this way but I'm going to do a cheater swan. So I'm going to stay with the blue spring. Also, I'm going to lower this bar one more notch.

This movement has four parts. Make sure the box is centered along the reformer. Lie on the reformer so that your thighs are still on the box, your lower ribs are still on the box, the rest of the rib cage should be off the box.

Hands go on the outsides of the footbar, elbows are out. Let's talk about the legs. The legs are not soft and relaxed. They're active. And if you can get a little internal rotation in those legs and have the legs very close together, you'll be able to do a more effective swan and extension---a back extension. So here's how we'll do it. We'll inhale and simply push the carriage out, straighten the arms. Again, the shoulder blades stay down. On the exhale, you'll push your hands into the footbar and lift up into extension, also known as a swan and inhale.

Come down and exhale. Let the carriage come back in. So inhale, pushout. Exhale, lift. Inhale and exhale, come in. I'll talk about a few things. So when we lift up into that swan, we want to keep the shoulders down. The soldiers tend to hike up to the ears. Soldiers down, long spine.

We come down. We glide back in. Again, inhale out. As you exhale lift. No need to look forward. This is no good for the neck. Head in line with the spine. Inhale down, exhale in. One more to go. Inhale out. Exhale, lift. Inhale lower. And exhale, come in. And climb off the box.

Alright, usually after doing a swan, I need a little bit of a spine release, a little forward bend, so I like to just come out and just take an easy, sloppy roll down. And just let the spine kind of recover. And then I feel a little more normal. I'll roll back up and side split. So in side split, you're actually standing on the reformer. The footbar has got to go down.

You could do a red spring. You could just do a blue spring, which is lighter. I'm going to do a blue spring today. The lighter the spring, the harder you have to work to draw the legs back together. The heavier the spring, the more you have to work to push the carriage out. So here's the proper way to get up. This is the platform. It's not moving.

So one foot goes on the platform. The other foot will go on the carriage. Depending on how flexible you are, you could take your feet toward the shoulder rests. I'm going to keep my foot in and I suggest you do the same if you're just starting out. Straight legs, feet are parallel. I like to put my hands on the hips and check my pelvis. If I'm arching my low back, then that's not what we want. So I think about thrusting the pubic bone forward and drawing the belly in a little bit, having a straight spine. So for this first one, I'm going to keep my hands on my hips. I allow the carriage to move away.

And then I bring the carriage back in. Since I'm a little on a lighter spring, that's where the work is. So now I'm going to take the arms out. Shoulders are relaxed. I inhale away. I Exhale back in. I stay in that neutral spine. And you have a lot of things to think about. Go slow, be careful. Exhale in. Two more here. Check your shoulders, make sure they're relaxed. One more. And.. coming back in. All right. To dismount, you're going to step off backwards, get your weight into the platform foot. Carefully step back with the other foot and then you're ready to go to the other side.

If you don't mind, I'm going to turn my back to you. I step up onto the platform first, then I carefully place my other foot. Remember, this carriage is going to move around. Two straight legs. So the center of my body is right between the feet. I tuck the pelvis, I draw the belly in. I co-contract. The shoulders are relaxed. Inhale out. And exhale in. So we control the speed as we go out. And our legs pull everything back to the center. I'm working hard to keep the pelvis tucked all the time. If you have if you tend to have an arched low back. If you tend to have a little lordosis, you have to be pretty careful here. You need to keep a solid abdominal wall.

We're going to take the arms out and exhale. Two more. And exhale in. Keep making sure the hips stay level and squared up. And exhale in. Ok, I moved my body weight into the platform foot and carefully step off.

Ok, mermaid. So we're made the bar goes up probably, if not the upper position, the almost upper position mermaid involves a lot of twisting and side bending. You also have to have fairly healthy knees because you are going to have to sit in a mermaid.

So my right chin goes up against the shoulder rests. My left lower leg is essentially parallel with the reformer. Foot touching the leg. I'm going to put my left hand on the bar. This arm is always straight. By the way, I'm on a blue spring. That's plenty.

Now I try to get my spine upright. I also try to keep my right sit bone down on that surface. A lot of people can't do that. A lot of people are going to have to be out here. That's OK. But this is what you're striving for. My free arm, the right arm, as long as you inhale, move the carriage away with your body and have the arms essentially lined up with each other.

As you exhale, take your twist downward, reach the right hand to the footbar and just kind of allow your chest to sink. We'll unwind. And we bring in the carriage back into the start position. OK, I'll go a little faster. So it's inhale. Exhale. And inhale. And exhale. Two bad things tend to happen right here. When you come back into the start position, people tend to hike up the shoulder, which we don't want, and they also tend to bend the elbow. What we don't want. So this arm always straight. Inhale. Exhale, twist. You'll feel a big twist on this one side. On my right side, I'm feeling a big, long lengthening and I stretch. Inhale untwist and exhale. Come up.

Ok, other side, I'm going to turn my back to you. And each side is going to be very different for everybody, right? This is my tighter side. So let's see what happens here.

Shin against the shoulder rests. Lower leg parallel to the reformer. I have my right hand on the foot bar now. I'm straightening that arm. By the way. I'm not gripping the foot, but I don't need to. I have my fingers extended, right shoulder dropped, spine erect, arm out. Here we go. Inhale. The arms tend to move away from each other, here. Exhale. Here's the twist.

So this first one feels a little awkward. It's the opposite of what you did on the other side. So that left side is going to really feel like it's lengthening out. Inhale and exhale. Come back to start position. Watch the shoulder. Watch the right arm, keep it straight. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. Again. And breathe in and breathe out one more. Inhale, exhale. In twisting, I'm allowing the chest to sink low to the floor, if that's OK with my shoulders and then inhale. And exhale.

All right, from here, going to a lunge. I think that'll be the last thing we do today. So I'm going to start. So into a lunge. I'm going to do a blue spring and I think I'll be on this side first so you can see. Now this is the standing lunge. It's the most approachable for most people. You may have to move your standing foot around a little, but once you get into the lunge. Also, I like to use a knee pad. If your knees are a little iffy, the softness will help. Hands on the footbar. I'm putting my left foot up against the shoulder res. I've got my toes kind of curled under here so the toes are not pointed. The foot's got to be up against the shoulder rest. Ok, knee down on the carriage.

So this leg is very close to the reformer. Arms stay straight. Carriage glides back. It's called a lunge. That's just what it is.

So everybody's going to be a little different here. Once the carriage is away, you want to pull the belly in because you don't want too much arch in the low back. You don't want to just let go of the low back. You're still co-contracting. So I'm thinking of belly button drawing into spine and pubic bone, trying to move forward a little bit. As far as the standing leg goes, the knee is right over the ankle joint. Make sure the knees not out in front of the ankle joint. The shoulders are down. And I have a little arch, I hope, in my thoracic spine, but not too much in my lumbar spine. And then I'm going to see if I can relax a little more. The goal is to just open up that left hip crease. And relax, the quads in the left leg, relax the hip flexors were lengthening out the hip flexors so you can just hold in this lunge and breathe. Some people like to take a little movement.

They like to come out of it a bit and go back into it. And the breath follows the movement. OK, one more time. And coming out of it to go to the other side.

Place the standing foot. Place the foot against the shoulder rest. Bring the knee down, let the shoulders relax. The arms are going to stay straight. Go into it slowly and carefully. Adjust your floor foot as necessary. I like to just bring it in a little bit and adjust my low back and adjust the pelvis. Draw the belly in deeper and then go into it again. Here's what a lot of people do that I always have to correct. The soldiers are up or the head is dropped, head in line with the spine, shoulder blades down, not looking forward necessarily, but head in line with the spine. And then I focus on the hip flexor area, the quads and the hip flexors on the right side, and I see if I can just let them go a little more. And I'm going to take two more breaths. And come out and again, you can do the movement back and forth if you want.

So I'm going to take one more roll down before we finish off, I was an extension just now and I just want to kind of let my spine release one last roll down.

I'll hang out down here for a breath or two.

And of course, I'll take the exhale to roll back up. And then optional as they do in yoga class, arms circles are really nice up here. Bring the arms up, take an inhale and exhale the arms down.

Thank you for joining me, everybody. My first video for Wow, Pilates! from Studio M in Sonoma. I hope to see you again. Take care.


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