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Κοιτάξτε Κάτω για ελληνικά.

Guided by Jenny Colebourne, Reiki master, with 33 years experience. 🥰

Saturday 4 March 18.00 – 19.00 EET (Athens Time), !6.00 -17.00 (London Time), 11.00-12.00 (New York U.S.A.).

Live and on Zoom

Meeting ID: 874 9409 2762

Password: 770098

Languages: English and Greek.

Everyone is welcome to participate.

The Reiki Circle is free of charge. Donations, are welcome. (PayPal

Meditation: Breathing Reiki. Learn breathing techniques that enhance Reiki in the body where it needs healing. 🧘‍♀️ See

Exploration: The seventh hand position. This position concentrates on the breath and living vibrantly. 🙏

Reiki Sharing: Reiki for our loved ones and the planet . 🙌🤍🕊


Υπό την καθοδήγηση της Jenny Colebourne, Reiki master, με 33 χρόνια εμπειρίας. 🥰

Ο Κύκλος Ρέικι είναι δωρεάν. Δωρεές είναι ευπρόσδεκτες.


Σάββατο 4 Μαρτίου 18.00 – 19.00.

ID συνάντησης: 874 9409 2762

Κωδικός πρόσβασης: 770098

Όλοι είναι ευπρόσδεκτοι να συμμετάσχουν.

Γλώσσες: Ελληνικά και Αγγλικά.

Διαλογισμός: Μάθετε τεχνικές αναπνοής που ενισχύουν το Ρέικι στο σώμα όπου χρειάζεται θεραπεία. 🧘‍♀️ Κοιτάξτε

Εξερεύνηση: Ρέικι: Η έβδομη θέση του χεριού. Αυτή η στάση επικεντρώνεται στην αναπνοή και στη θέληση μας να ζούμε. 🙏

Κοινή χρήση του Ρέικι: Ρέικι για τους αγαπημένους μας και τον πλανήτη. 🙌🤍🕊

Blog, Pilates, Pilates Instructor Training, Refined Pilates, Yoga, Zoom


Check our my previous blog


Have a look at my You Tube video


A humble tennis ball.


Make this exercise part of your warm up.


3-5 in each position.


This is an exercise, which is good for everyone.

It is very important a person has a lot of tension in the feet.

These exercises are excellent for people who have been through chemotherapy or suffer from numb feet.

Elders may need this exercise more.

Ballet dancers often need this work because of the effect of point work on their feet.

Pregnant women may find relief with these exercises. 

Stand on both feet in parallel and find the classic parallel position

Stand with your heels directly under the sit bones. (To find your sit bones (the Ischial Tuberosity), sit on the floor and rock from side to side. Feel those bones? They are what we dancers refer to as sit bones.)

Imagine two parallel lines. Use the line of your floorboards to align your feet if you have them, or use a ruler. Place the inside edge of the joint of the big toe and the inside edge of the heel against these parallel lines. Close your eyes and in a gentle, non-judgmental way tune into your body. How do your feet feel against the floor?

After tuning in to your body take the tennis ball and place it under your left foot between the first and the second toe. Gently roll the foot over the ball and as you do so feel as if you are molding the foot to the ball. Roll the foot over the ball using a medium pressure until you reach the middle of the arch of the foot.  If you come to a place on the foot, which is painful, stop for a moment and imagine that area softening. Wait until the pain dissipates and then move on. Your aim is to allow the spaces between the metatarsals to open and spread.

Repeat this process between the 2nd and third toe and then between the third and fourth and so on and of course on both feet.

After you have completed the exercise once again tune in to your body and notice how the soles of the feet now feel against the floor.


Look out for my You Tube video.


3-5 in each direction.


This is an exercise, which is good for all.

Very important if you feel a person has a lot of tension in the feet.

These exercises are excellent for people who have been through chemotherapy or suffer from numb feet.

Elders may need this more.

Ballet dancers often need this work because of the effect of point work on their feet.

Pregnant women may find relief with this. 

Sit crossed legged on the floor or in any position that is comfortable for you. You can sit on a chair if you like. 

Take a hold of the left foot. Hold all the toes with the left hand except for the big one. Keep them still and steady. Take a hold of the big toe with the right hand and gently lengthen the toe and make 3 – 5 circles with the big toe first in one direction and then in the other. Explore the edges of the circle. 

Move on to the next toe supporting the other toes with the left hand and describing the circles with the right. Continue until you have done the exercise with each toe and then, do the exercise on the other foot.

Stand up and check how your feet feel against the floor.



3-5 in each position.


This is an exercise, which is good for all.

Very important if you feel a person has a lot of tension in the feet.

Elders may need this more.

Ballet dancers often need this work because of the effect of point work on their feet.

Pregnant women may find relief with this. 

This exercise is particularly important for people with back problems.

Sit crossed legged on the floor or in any position that is comfortable for you.

Take a hold of the left foot. Hold all the toes except for the big one

Take a hold of the left foot. Hold all the toes with the left hand except for the big one. Place the right thumb against the joint of the big toe in order to support it and with the other fingers gently lengthen the big toe and encourage the space between the big toe and the second toe. Bring the toenail in a line with the joint and not past it. Keep the toes on the same level.


Look out for my You Tube video.




This is an exercise, which is good for all.

Pregnant women may find relief with this. 

This exercise is particularly important for people with back problems.

It is good for people with fallen arches or flat feet. 


Start by standing in the classic parallel position.

Draw the toes towards the heels, and the heels towards the toes, as if you were sucking the arches up. Hold for a bit and then very deliberately and carefully place the feet back against the floor being very aware of the alignment and the 5 points.


Look out for my You Tube video.


As much as you feel you need. I used to do this morning and night like cleaning my teeth!


This is an exercise, which is good for all.

Pregnant women may find relief with this. 

This exercise is particularly important for people with back problems.

It is good for people with fallen arches or flat feet. 

Once again draw your arches up and then simply go for a walk for as long as you want like that. When you want to stop very deliberately bring the feet back into the correct alignment with a conscious awareness of the 5 points.

The alignment of the feet is very important. The feet support the weight of the body any misalignment will cause strain somewhere. If the feet are not aligned the rest of the body will not be aligned.

Copyright : Jenny Colebourne.

Blog, Refined Pilates, Yoga, Zoom




The exercises, practices or meditations are intended to be for every day life movement © not just at the time of exercise, whatever that exercises may be.

Feet.  Honoring the feet.  Grounding.  Feeling and Sensing the Earth. Feeling and sensing the power of gravity and allowing it, to fully affect us.


Try a reflexology treatment before exercising.

Walk barefoot as often as you can especially in nature. Feel with your feet different surfaces such as mud, autumn leaves and beach pebbles.

Paint each toenail a different color to become more conscious of each toe.

Bring your awareness to the space between the big toe and the second toe. Paint or decorate this space with henna or lipstick. 

Reiki your feet.

Stamp your feet as in African dance.

Read and practice the grounding meditation (page 147) in Faeriecraft by Alicen and Neil Geddes-Ward. 

Remember people bow down to the feet of the guru.

Remember that Mary Magdalene washed Christ’s feet. 

Feet are to be revered. 

Experience having your feet washed and oiled by your lover or friend. 

Choose a lover or friend to honor their feet. 

Wear shoes that are made of natural materials, that breathe and are soft and pliable. Think of the Native American Moccasins.

Essential oils related to grounding are Myrrh, sacred as one of the gifts from the wise men to Jesus at his birth.

 Guinevere frequently used patchouli essential oil for healing.  Vetivert is an essential oil, which in addition, assists in balance and offers protection. 

Frankincense, another of the gifts to Christ. 

Rosewood and Elemi are oils that teach us to grounding in order to move into the highest and most spiritual of centers, the crown chakra. 

I suggest you add a few drops of these very precious oils to base oil or cream and massage it into your feet and legs.

Athletes in ancient Greece oiled their bodies before exercising. Make sure your essential oils are pure and of good quality.

Crystals helpful to feeling the earth are garnet, ruby, red jasper, black tourmaline, and smoky quartz. They can be placed in the room where you exercise or worn. 

Clean crystals before using them and then on a regular basis.


To use the feet more consciously in a balanced way, sensitive to changes in alignment. 

Toes placed on bar of the Reformer (Pilates Equipment) in parallel.

To feel the earth, and the support of the earth, through the feet.

To use the whole sole and soul© of the foot.

To allow the feet to have a sensitivity softness and pliability which allows you to listen to the earth, gives you strength from the earth and allows you at any given moment to take flight in any direction.

To enjoy and participate fully with gravity


The energy of the feet and legs is governed by the root, foundation or first chakra. This energetic center is associated with our relation to this earth, family and ancestors, tribe and country. It represents our life path.

The color of this chakra is a poppy red.


Start by looking at alignment of the foot and leg in the parallel position.

Standing, have your heels directly under the sit bones. (To find your sit bones (the Ischial Tuberosity), sit on the floor and rock side to side. Feel those bones? They are what we dancers refer to as sit bones.)

Imagine two parallel lines. Use the line of your floorboards if you have them. Place the big toe and the inside edge of the heel against these parallel lines.

To check that you have equal weight on both feet rock gently from side to side until you come to a point of balance. I suggest you start with a slightly larger rocking movement and then make it smaller and smaller until it is minute to sense where your weight is equally on both feet.

We now need to notice whether the weight of our body is centered on the middle of the foot and not to far back towards the heels or too far forward. At the outside of the foot you have a small bump called a Tuberosity. Check out The Anatomy Coloring Book. The ideal is to have your weight evenly distributed between the front and the back part of the foot. The front part of the foot would be the toes and the metatarsals and the back the heel. Place your index finger at the Tuberosity and open your thumb over the top of the arch. This gives you an idea of where the metatarsals end and where the center of the foot is. Stand upright and this time gently rock your weight back and forward starting with slightly larger movement and ending with tiny ones until you sense where your plumb line is. 

Please be aware that we are focusing on the feet now. 

The posture of the rest of the body will have repercussions but we are starting from the base up. It is impossible for the rest of the body to be in balance without the feet being properly aligned.


Imagine you have 5 points on the sole of the foot.

Point 1 is underneath the big toe, point two under the small toe, point 3 is at the outside edge of the heel, 4 the center of the heel and 5 the inside edge of the heel. Each of these points should have an equal amount of weight or pressure on them. Imagine that and energetic line extends straight down into the earth from each of these points. Imagine them going very deep and color them red, the color of the base chakra. 

Study a reflexology chart.


Choose a sitting position, which is easy for you. I usually sit on the floor cross-legged. Sit on a chair if you find this position challenging. 

Always handle your body with respect. Take right foot in your left hand. Remember the right side of the body is governed by the left side of the brain and relates to the masculine line, your father, your grandfather, your great grandfather. Remember your male ancestors with total respect as you do this. The right side of the body is associated with male qualities; it is the yang side strength, the peaceful warrior, positivity, protection, and hunting. Thread your fingers through each of the toes so the second finger will go down in between the space between the big toe and the second toe. The third slots in between the second and third toe and so on. You may have to press the fingers gently down in between the spaces. Remember the Reiki law “just for today do not worry”! Each time you do this your feet and toes will become more pliable whatever your age. Softly bend your metatarsals first in one direction then in the other. Remember that energy follows thought. Gently focus with love and respect into the area you are working with. If you have worked with the anatomy colorings see the bones as you do the movement. 

You might want to pause as you move into the point of stretch. Notice where you may have resistance or perhaps even pain, have your tender focus there and breathe out visualizing the resistance melting away. You may wish to repeat this a few times.  Allow yourself to move into a new space in the foot. There is a continuous process of surrendering. The more you move into new spaces in the body the more joy reveals it self. 

The number of repetitions is not important. Deep work transforms and the memory of it stays in the body. Move into a timeless zone where anything is possible.

Usually I suggest that you notice simply the number of times you need to do this on the right foot and then do the same number on the left even if you feel one side less pliable for reasons of balance.

It is important not to judge any thing you feel but simply be with it. Judgment closes the door on new more profound information revealing itself as well leading us of in a direction away from our 100% attention on the body. Allow your body to speak to you. Allow your foot wisdom to reveal itself to you and in the process allow the body healing in motion©

Copyright Jenny Colebourne.

Blog, Illium Center of Light




America and, most importantly, I learnt a lot of the fine details from Jerome Andrews.


This exercise is good everyone.


Pregnant women who are well exercised can do this exercise until the belly is too big.




 3 – 5.


This exercise is performed  in smooth, continuous way. It may be too extreme for those with knee problems. I love this exercise. It is one of my favourites! I love the fact that the whole spine is stimulated. Touching the crown of the head down has a knock on effect throughout all the body’s diaphragms. Keep as round a shape as possible, like a continuous circle and as close a shape as possible.

Themis Andreoulaki. Dancer and Graduate of Refined Pilates Teacher Training.


Sit in a crossed leg position. In yoga this is sometimes referred to as “Easy Pose”. Take a hold of the big toe by sliding your second and third fingers in between the first and second toes, right down to the root. Bend the fingers around the big toe so that they are holding firmly and are curled towards and meet the thumbs. This encourages the opening of the space between the first and second metatarsal where there are nerve endings that ultimately connect to the sciatic nerve. This is, by itself, therapeutic for the back.

Mostly I see it taught with the right hand holding the left foot and the left the right. The arms are not crossed and the elbows are gently open.

Jerome Andrews taught us to have the arms crossed. This deepens the curl of the upper back even more. You do have to be careful not to lift the shoulders. In a very deep 1st position of the spine or “C” curve, place the crown of the head on the floor in front of you.


Feel as though the crown of the head has roots and maintain a feeling of it being pulled down into the earth. At the same time, feel as though the tail bone is being pulled down into the earth in the opposite direction. Think of your tail as being like a sensitive feeler. The front of the body is very soft. Begin sending your awareness along the spinous processes at the back of the spine. Think of each one as being sensitive alive, fluid and sensing. Start at the end of the spine and move up vertebra by vertebra until you arrive at the top vertebra which is behind your nose. Move up in your awareness two steps more, to the centre of the brain and then to the crown of the head ( the part which was soft when you were a baby) which is touching the floor. Allow the curve of the back to deepen. The opening in the back of the lungs on the in breath encourages a even deeper curve.

See my blog on the “First Spinal Succession”


Continue to have the feeling that the crown of the head to pulled down to gravity, to the earth. Begin, at the same time focusing in the very tip of the base of the spine (remember it is sensory) and let it travel towards the floor. This may seem like a long journey to you! Don’t be temped to hurry. It is worth the wait. Very simply the energy of the tip of the tail surrendering to gravity is so great it rolls you back vertebra by vertebra, traveling along and sensing the spinous processes. You will feel a powerful opening, energising and sensitising of the spine. If you have a tendency to be stiff in the lower back and you are careful to take this two way energy as far as you can you will be rewarded with a good opening there. It is vitally important for any tension in the hip joints to be absent. Roll all the way back onto the back of your neck. The knees come to the floor. The feet stay close to the buttocks.


Stay up in the stretch and lightly change the legs. This movement is like quick silver and tests if you are relaxed in the hip joints.


Roll starting back from the the very first vertebra of the cervical spine. This time feel as though you do not wish the knees to leave the floor to increase the stretch. Roll back vertebra by vertebra, spinous process by spinous process, until crown of the head touches the floor.

©Jenny Colebourne.

Blog, Illium Center of Light



The diaphragm has the largest concentration of fascia in the body. Releasing the natural movement of the diaphragm allows us to breath deeply and easily, with the many positive consequences that breathing well brings. Breathing is a natural massage and stimulation for all the organs of the body. 

Releasing the full movement of the diaphragm is good for all of us, but it can dramatically change, for the better, conditions such as kyphosis, scoliosis and  common neck and upper back tension.


This exercise is really important for everyone and highly recommended for those who have a problem breathing deeply, kyphosis, scoliosis and neck and upper back tension.

I have noticed that many people have not had the experience of how the body feels, internally, as they breath. This exercise helps them to become aware of the action of the diaphragm and to be more in touch with the internal mechanism of breathing. I find people breath much more effortlessly once they understand this missing piece of the puzzle.


1 set.


Themis Andreoulaki. Dancer and Refined Pilates Teacher. Graduate of my Refined Pilates Teacher Training.

Lie on your back with the knees bent and hip width apart. The leg alignment is really important throughout this exercise. Please refer to my previous blog on leg alignment.

Bring the arms above the head and bend the elbows. The right middle finger accesses the fascia through the skin just below the left elbow. The left middle finger touches the skin just below the right elbow. The arms are on the floor. Remember to really surrender the weight of the upper back into the floor. It helps to imagine you are floating on your back in the sea or falling backward onto a comfortable feather bed. Imagination is powerful ia a powerful tool. Use it.




Keeping the left hip still, it is your anchor, lengthen, or stretch, between the left hip and the left elbow. We need to be gentle if we wish the body to respond. The reason why the middle finger is used is to access the fascia The amount of pressure we use is about the weight of a leaf falling to the earth. No more. Ask yourself if you respond well if someone pushes you! It’s the same with your body, it doesn’t like you to push it around.  Use enough pressure so the body will cooperate you, otherwise it’s resistance kicks in. 

Be careful that you do not go into a side bend. You maintain your sense of axis. It is as if you wish to un-stick your last rib.


When we want to stretch an area of the body there is a still and stable point. In this case it is the hip joint. Then there is a post that we pull from. In the exercise this is the middle finger accessing the skin below the elbow. Whatever is in between, muscle tissue, bone is as relaxed and passive as possible AND surrendered to gravity. We allow an opening a stretch to happen and each time we repeat it it will be different because the body has already opened up.

Repeat on the other side.

Repeat the whole thing 3-5 times.


Flex the left foot. 


Slide the heel down so that the leg straightens. Make sure that you keep strictly to the leg alignment. Continue to surrender the weight of the back body to gravity. You should feel a gentle pleasurable “opening” in the Psoas and the front of the hip and thigh.

Leave the left leg straight and stretch the right leg down in the same way.


Stay in this position with the arms above the head and the legs straight down.

Take a deep breath in, filling the back of the lungs. The breath should be full but without strain. As you breath in visualize the diaphragm traveling down towards the pelvic floor like a lift in a lift shaft. It does not go front or back, neither does it go side to side, it just travels straight down. Remember the diaphragm is centered in the body at the level of the base of the rib cage.

On the out breath, which is long, slow and complete simply stretch the head up in one direction. You can imagine a golden thread extending from the crown of the head and being pulled back. Imagine the three points of the heels being pulled down in the opposite direction.

Repeat 3-5 times.

Relax the arms down, beside you, allowing the palms of the hands to go towards the ceiling and notice how you feel.


Try doing the abdominal exercises after the diaphragm exercise. I think you will find them more effective.

Blog, Illium Center of Light


I first was introduced to the Armchair as a dance student, in the basement Pilates studio at The Place in London. The home of the London School of Contemporary Dance.

I was sent down, by Jane Dudley, to study Pilates, after injuring my back. The studio became a safe haven. A quiet, friendly place, run by Alan Herdman who was assisted by Frances Rider. I was lucky to be able to attend classes every day and to observe and help (eventually) initially in exchange for cleaning the studio. I wasn’t very good at cleaning so very quickly the arrangement was changed to, classes in exchange for assisting. It was very competitive at the school and naturally as young dancers we were very concerned about honing our technique.

I remember my first impressions when I first walked into the studio. I was taken aback. It was not at all what I expected. The equipment, especially the Cadillac, looked like torture instruments. I was very shy, but Alan was charming, with a wonderful sense of humour, and I felt welcome. 

Talking of Alan’s sense of humour. I remember him teaching me how to teach the supported Jackknife on the Reformer. He was the student! I remember that he made so many deliberate mistakes (many I had already witnessed) and that we ended collapsed on the floor in fits of laughter. Thank you Alan. You were amazing, and so kind.

The Arm Chair was on one side in the studio and I remember teaching the non dancers the exercises. I did them too but without thinking about them too much.

Fast forward to when I had my own studio in Athens, Greece. Frances (yes the same Frances Rider) was in and practicing on my Armchair. She said “Oh these exercises are so wonderful.” 

Inside myself, I thought, “Really?”. I taught them, often, and I knew they were good for strengthening the upper back and the arms, for scoliosis, for kyphosis, for people with neck problems but they did not excite me.

I reckon it took my 10 years to fully appreciate these exercises. 10 years to realise how the slope backwards helps you to really connect with the muscles in the upper back. 10 years to realise how to use the support of the springs to free the true length of the arms. And even later how much the breath can be utilised. Finally I understood Frances’ comment. I am so happy. Now I LOVE my Armchair.

In 2013 I had to have a mastectomy, due to breast cancer. This resulted in my left shoulder being stiffer. Afterwards 2 years of treatments, I had plastic surgery which involved removing part of my back muscle on the left. I am very happy and grateful that I had the surgery. It had a positive psychological effect. It did leave a physical imbalance. My left shoulder is stiffer and it it is harder for me to raise my left arm. I take anti cancer medication which causes weight gain and, in my case, numbness, stiffness and has negatively affected my joints. Of course this had a knock on effect and my neck gets stiff and, sometimes, painful especially as with the pandemic I spend much more time at the computer!

I am not telling you all these things to make you unhappy or to complain, but to tell you Pilates has helped me generally with these challenges. I can say with confidence I do feel better after exercising.

The exercises on “The Armchair” afford me the support from the springs that aid me in increasing my range of shoulder and arm movement. The design of the chair with it’s backward slope helps me get more in touch with my back body, the back of the lungs and breath as support for the arms, as well as the shoulder blades.

I can no longer do the exercises perfectly, but that is not the point. The point is to go through the process, in a relaxed way, focusing on the details of how you do the movement and utilise the support. Each repetition will be and should be different, and it will be better than the one before. The body opens up, becomes pain free and moves with ease.

This is true for me just as it is true for those who have greater physical challenges than me as well as those who rely on there bodies being very finely tuned, dancers, athletes…..“The Armchair” exercises are good for all of us. They really help people that have scoliosis and kyphosis.

I will be sharing some of the details of how to get the most out of these exercises in future, blogs, posts and videos.

Have a look at this video

Enjoy “The Armchair.”

Blog, Illium Center of Light, Jerome Andrews, Refined Pilates


I have shared with you that Jerome Andrews said that Joseph Pilates spoke about 4 spinal positions or successions. I have written blogs on the first 2. See my blog on the First Spinal succession here in a new tab), about the Second Spinal Succession in a new tab) Here is the 4th.

The fourth spinal succession has to do with lateral bending.

The Mermaid is the perfect exercise to explore this.



This exercise is good for everyone. The starting position may sometimes bother those with knee problems but you do have more than one starting position to choose from. Hopefully one will suit the student.


Pregnant women can do this exercise throughout their pregnancy.  At a certain point when the belly gets larger it is better to sit cross legged or in the second starting position.




 3 – 5 on each side.


This exercise is performed  in smooth, continuous way, with flow. The breath is always just as important as the movement.

Jenny with Pilates student and dancer Ariadne Kitsou


Sit on the left hip with both legs bent. The knees are pointing forward and form a zig zag. Relax in the right hip and lower it to the floor. Have the spine long and proud. The pelvis is square to the front. The arms are at the sides of the body, gently rounded as if framing the body.

There is an alternative starting position which is called 4th position in contemporary dance. This is the position shown in the picture. Sit on the left hip. Both knees are bent but this time the front leg is bent at a  45% angle and the shin bone is parallel to the front of the mat. The right knee is bent inwards and goes behind the body. Once again relax in the right hip and has far as possible lower it to the mat. The pelvis is square to the front. The arms are at the sides of the body, gently rounded as if framing the body.

Your focus is in the *middle body.

The arm can come a little closer to the ear.

Being careful not to hyper extend the elbow, feeling the support of the left lung and shoulder blade, raise the left arm to the side and above the head in a wide, graceful arc. Keep the shoulder soft, slide the shoulder blade downwards without strain and bring the arm as close as possible to the ear. Make sure the hand and fingers have shape but that they are not tense. Once there is tension in the hand and fingers there will be tension in the shoulder. Feel the fingers extending out into space.
Feel the sit bones rooted and the crown of the head lengthening to the sky.

The arm could come closer to the ear.

Lengthen the spine, keep the left hip rooted to the floor and lifting up and over, bent the spine to the right. Keep the body on one plane, this is just a lateral movement which means  both shoulders will be flat to the front. The head moves as a continuation of the spine. Think of the crown of the head as being the last vertebra. At the same time the right elbow comes to the mat directly under the shoulder joint. The forearm  and the palm of the hand are parallel to the front of the mat. Make sure the underneath arm does not block your stretch. Slide it further out if you need to. Feel as though the fingertips and the crown of the head are being drawn out into space. The side of the body facing the mat should soften and condense in order to allow the the stretch in the side of the body facing the ceiling.

Stay in the stretch. Feel of the side of the ribs, facing the ceiling, filling with your breath.

Deepen into the stretch by relaxing where you feel a resistance or pulling and surrendering the torso and arm to gravity. Remember to keep the opposite hip grounded. Imagine the side of the spine facing the ceiling and how the spaces in between each the vertebrae will be open like a fan.

Roll back up vertebra by vertebra, starting, truly, from the very base of the spine, the tip of the coccyx. You place one vertebra on the other as you move up. This is the fourth spinal succession. As you come up have a picture in your head of where you will return to. You will return to your axis feeling the sit bones like they have roots going deep into the earth and the crown of the head lengthening up into space.


Open the arm to the side and bring it down beside you.

*Middle Body. Imagine your body as if it were in 3 slices. Front body, back body and between those is the middle body.

Blog, Illium Center of Light, Refined Pilates



When I first did the lunges and some similar exercises on the Wunda Chair I was very impressed by how it automatically engaged me with the pelvic floor and my axis..


Precisely align the bones. Geometry is sacred. Aligning the bones makes the movement effortless. The muscles and fascia follow the bones effortlessly and naturally. You will never injure yourself this way.

 I have found it very effective to explore, moving, as if I were just made up of bones. It can put you better in touch with the skeletal system. 


Rather than acting like a dictator, open yourself up to listen to your body.

Experience sensation fully.


Imagining lines of energy helps the body understand where it should move to. Using your imagination is a powerful tool. 


Personally I find that when people imagine they have a huge amount of space, their spine lengthens. Movements have more generosity and freedom.


Being curious about how far the body will go is joyful.


Let the breath take you like a piece of music moves you. Practice breathing just a little ahead of the movement and then allow the breath to colour all of the movement.

There are many ways of breathing, all valid, and all serving a different purpose.


The springs are there to give you support. The equipment is designed to be your best friend. Go with it, play with the support and see what it will do for you.


One spring up and one down.


3-5 on each side. 

Always do the same repetitions on each side. If you do three on the right do three on the left, even if you you feel the one side is stronger. It is a matter of balance.


What is it you would like to learn about your body in this exercise today. It may be something as simple as, “Today I will not tense my shoulders” or “Today, my legs are perfectly aligned throughout. Or “Today I will feel plenty of space around me.”

Themis Andreaoulaki. Dancer and Refined Pilates Teacher Training Graduate.


Stand sideways to the chair. Take the bar down with the foot, let’s say this is the right foot, that is nearest to the chair. Mount the chair. Have the inside foot on the wooden part and the align the left (outside) foot along the bar towards the back corner. Place the right (inside) foot on the top of the chair at 45’ angle, the toes towards the front, furthest corner. The exact positioning of the feet will depend on the flexibility of your hips. Bring your axis, your spine (on the line of gravity) between your legs. Bring the triangle of your pelvis ( the front of the two iliac crests and the pubic bone) so that it is on one plane and facing directly front. You may need to release in your hips to achieve this.

The alignment of the knee on the seat is super important. The knee cap is focused directly over the space between the first and second toe. See my previous blog on leg alignment.


Draw air into the back of the lungs.


Slowly and smoothly. Empty the lungs completely.

Feel energy rising from the toes, up through the pelvic floor, up through the spine and out through the top of the head. This energy draws you upwards. You are subtly aware of the left foot on the bar. It never leaves the bar. There is a contact with the bar that lightens as you go up.l

The right foot imprints down powerfully and the leg engages strongly. The pelvis remains facing front. 

Themis Andreaoulaki. Dancer and Refined PIlates Teacher Training Graduate.


Smoothly, descend with a sense that the crown of the head continues to be drawn out into space.


It is nice to come to a balance, with the leg extended to the side, on the top of the chair at the end of each set. Make sure you straighten the knee.


Blog, Illium Center of Light



Open space in your body.



For people who have mastered the basics of Refined Pilates and, especially, leg alignment. Please look at my blog


Medium Support. On my Wunda Chair, one spring up and one down is good.

The exercise can be done with, as shown in the photos, or without the poles.

The poles afford a very light and subtle support. They are not meant to be leant on!

Themis Andreaoulaki, Dancer and Refined Pilates Teacher Training Graduate. Starting Position.


Stand facing the bar. Place the hands on the handles for a modicum of support. Press the bar down with the toes of the left foot. Mount the bar. Place the right foot, in parallel, on the back edge of the seat of the chair. Softly spread and lengthen the toes. The knee is bent and the knees cap is in a straight line with the space between the first and second toe. The left leg is straight, the toes are spread and are on the bar. The heel is soft. It is in, what dancers call, “demi relevé”. The front of ankle is soft. The foot stays in this position throughout the exercise. The left leg is in parallel.

Think of the bones that form your pelvis and bring your pelvis so that it is centered between the legs. Bring the iliac crests in a line. This will probably involve softening in the hip joints. Make sure the triangle of the pelvis ( the two iliac crests and the front of the pubic bone are in one line. This will usually mean an enlivening of the pelvic floor, the engagement of the deep abdominals and an allowing of the coccyx to be free and hang. The spine in in the second position (see my blog) or naturally straight, with the curves present.

The palms of the hands are placed on the top of the handles. They very softly push down for support. Use the support, soften your shoulders and gently widen between the elbows. The collar bone is open.

If you do the exercise without the help of the poles you can extend the arms to the side, or have the left arm forward and the right to the side.

Having the left arm forward reminds you to keep the left hip forward.

It is important to sense the extremities, to feel the toes at all points of the exercise, and their contact with the bar, and the crown of the head actively lengthening upwards.


Feel the air traveling into the back of the lungs. Lengthen the ribs away from the hips to create more space.


Feel the toes on the bar, it is as if an energy rises from there, connect the pelvic floor, in your mind’s eye feel the that energy rising up through your axis and out of the crown of the head. It is as if the crown of the head is being drawn out up to the sky. It almost feels as if you are being pulled upwards and out into space. 

Feel the right foot very firmly on the seat of the chair. Feel gravity and press into it (be extremely vigilant about the foot alignment).

Allow the springs to lighten. They help draw you upwards.

Themis Andreaoulaki, dancer and Refined Pilates Teacher Training graduate at the top of the movement.


Leave the crown of the head where it is and gently and smoothly lower the bar.


Keep the two iliac crests facing front throughout.

You can come up into a balance on one leg (arabesque), on the seat of the chair, either each time, or on the last repetition.



Blog, Illium Center of Light



On my hand made (before commercial machines) Wunda Chair, the best setting is to have one spring up and one down.

Look for medium support on your Wunda Chair.


Face the the seat of the chair.

Place the palms of the hands on the back corners of the seat. The fingers are facing outwards. Keep all your fingers together. There is a little bit more weight on the little finger and the outside edge of the arm.

The elbows are very slightly bent. It is important to avoid hyper extending the elbows. You should feel the connection between the arms and the upper back.

Spread your toes, particularly between the big toe and the second toe, and place the toes of one foot on the bar and press it down. Mount the bar with the other foot, spreading these toes as described. Have the  feet and legs closed, straight and in parallel. Be careful not to hyperextend the legs. The legs should feel like 2 columns of energy. An alternative is the “V’ position, with the legs moderately turned out. I am choosing this position because it is easier to be sure of the leg alignment. See my blog  GOOD LEG ALIGNMENT IS ESSENTIAL FOR EVERYONE

It is a position which makes it easier to release the lower spine.

Shift your body weight and bring the shoulders directly over your wrists.

Make sure the shoulders are relaxed and down away from the ears.

Bring the back into the FIRST POSITION (or rounded) of the spine. See my blog about all the details of this position. Jerome Andrews’ Pilates. THE FIRST SPINAL SUCCESSION.

Check that your hip joints are fully relaxed.

The weight of the head is surrendered completely to gravity and is in a position where you can look at the legs through the exercise “spot” the leg alignment.

Themis Andreoulaki. Dancer and Refined Pilates Teacher Training Graduate. The highest point of “The Pike”


Feel the toes, especially the big and second toes if you are working in parallel. Sense an energy passing up through the inside of the legs and engages the pelvic floor This energy passes through the back of the spine, spinous process by spinous process, starting at the coccyx and arriving at the atlas, and out the top of the head in a long arch, as you move.

The weight of your body transfers more and more onto the arms and you feel the support of the shoulder blades.

Allow the springs to lighten and help you, allow yourself to be carried up. Without losing the First Position of the spine, think of sending your sit bones high to the ceiling.


Feel as if you fill the back of the lungs with air. Breathing in this way will deepen the position of your spine.

Reverse the spinal succession, following the back of the spine from the atlas to the coccyx. 

Lower the bar with moderate speed.

Themis Andreoulaki. Dancer and Refined Pilates Teacher Training graduate. The starting position of “The Pike”.



Breakdown of repetitions.

  1. How does my body feel, today, right now, as I do the exercise. Notice using the knowledge that I have, what can I do better?
  2. I apply my knowledge and refine what I am doing.
  3. According to my teacher, Jerome Andrews, number 3 is perfect!
  4. I hone my concentration and see if I can do the exercise better than my previous best.
  5. All the above applies. What can I do even better.


I have chosen an out breath to go up. As we breath out the diaphragm travels up internally leaving more space for the engagement of the pelvic floor and the hollowing of the abdomen as our spine deepens it’s position.

Breathing in on the way down gives a sense of suspension.

It can, of course be done the other way round, just as effectively, and slightly adjusting the focus. 

The “Washer Woman”, see my video is a great preparation for The Pike.

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