Thanks so much to everyone who attended my Cadillac workshop this past weekend at LauraBPilates studio in Raleigh, NC.
It was a pleasure to meet and work with so many awesome readers. You guys rocked it on the Cadillac and the Standing Arm Springs!
Gifts from Joe Pilates
Joe Pilates has bestowed numerous gifts upon us. My favorite one is of course the gift of repetition. Do your exercises frequently and your body will reap the benefits. Even if you don't think you're particularly good at your exercises, it's the doing it anyway that counts.
And you're probably better than you think…
Lately I've come to feel a kind of Pilates déjà vu in my workout.
Hmmm… I've been here before…
The Tree is chock full of moments just like this.
See if you can find the moments of Spine Stretch, Open Leg Rocker, the Roll Up, Single Leg Circles, Double Leg Pull and High Bridge all jam-packed into one workhorse of an exercise.
Thank God for the Tree
Early on in my Pilates journey I was decidedly NOT a fan of the Short Box Series.
The Tree was the exception.
A fundamental exercise in our order of the Reformer exercises, the Tree, succeeded in making the entire Short Box Series just that much more
The Tree is a versatile exercise that continues to grow and blossom along with our Pilates practice.
Even the basic version is not easy.
Later on you can turn on the jazz with your first taste of High Bridge.
If we distill the Tree down to its very essence it could look like this:
Sit up as tall as you can and reach your leg as much as possible without sinking in the back.
Your lift inward and upward must increase as your leg reaches further away from center.
Further progressions could include just setting up your Tree position:
Maybe you control yourself into this position and then return upright 3 times.
Later you'll learn to lower your upper body away from the center – just a little bit at a time. Remember to only roll backward as much as you can successfully return.
Over time you'll work your way all the way back and into the well if you are able.
And once you're completely comfortable upside down you've got some fun options:
Reach for the frame and pull everything in toward your center.
Ultimately you can add an empowering precursor to the High Bridge with lovely support from our friend the Short Box.
Here you may add the Single Leg Circles from Pilates Mat fame.
Holy stomach exercise, Batman!
And it's all leading up to where we began very simply: a global stretch of the back of the body in our final moment of Tree:
What's going on here anyhow?
Take another look at our final moment of the Tree. Every exercise in the Short Box Series is leading to this point: a global stretch of the back of the body.
That final moment of the Tree is the money note, the big kahuna, your raison d'être…
Often in this exercise we become preoccupied with stretching the back of the leg. We all feel so incredibly inflexible in this exercise, even the most loosey-goosey among us.
The back must take precedence over the leg. And the more lift you find in your back – ooooh that tight leg will get a fantastic stretch! See what you think.
Want even more info on the Tree and the Short Box Series?
Check out these related posts – you know I'm completely obsessed with all things Short Box…let's see if you are too!
- Fundamental Pilates Exercises: The Short Box Series
- The Short Box: A Vital Shot of LIFT!
- The Use of the Straps in the Short Box Series via Pilates Style Magazine
- The Entire Mat is in the Short Box via Pilatesology
- The Short Box: How I love thee let me count the ways… via Pilatesology
Enjoy this short video tutorial.
Thanks for watching!