Class #119

Finding Ease on the Mat

30 min - Class


"It's not about perfection, it's about the search for perfection." This class is about moving with intention and finding ease in the depth of the work." Exercises are interspersed with stretches to help you leave class feeling open and easy knowing you moved with purpose and intention.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Mar 14, 2010
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So reaching behind both knees, lifting up through the head and chest. Just start gently rocking back and forth through your spine without a great deal of kicking with the legs and throwing around. Try to just breathe through it. Go back, see if you can get halfway up and holds and back halfway up and hold without changing the shape of your body much halfway up and hold there. So you're in your halfway position. Let your shins be parallel to the floor. Keep your hands on your thighs and just to start to roll down towards your shoulder blades so that until your back is, you're basically in the teaser prep position. We're going to come forward.

Use your arms or you can let go. It's up totally up to you, but I think we can make it harder almost with hanging on. Then tuck the tailbone under so there's movement in the pelvis. Go down until the arms are straight and then come forward from just underneath the chest. You're curling, curling, curling, curling, curling. Still round at the top. I don't want to do that one more time. So we're going down. You could go back to rocking or you can just keep practicing this and it's up to you.

And then we're coming [inaudible] coming up this time or coming all the way up, you're going to drop your feet down, reach around for your ankles or keep that long wide position for rolling like a ball. So it's that same sense that we just worked out of staying very round to the back, not losing the round shape. Now with your thighs as close as you can, pull away from them by flexing the spine or rounding the spine and allow the fetal hover with that. We just breathe in as we rock back to the shoulders and rock up and rock back and Rocca back massaging the spine and again, reminding ourselves it's not about perfection, it's about the search for perfection. So be easy with yourself.

Wellesley two more. Last one and put your feet down on the ground. Let's stretch the legs out. Let's start with the knees bent today. Spine Nice and straight and you're going into a little bit of back extension, um, arms out front for you. Then they want for you to try to think about is as you start to drop your head, don't just collapse forward. So almost lift up through the spine as your head goes down.

Then your ribs go down, but your low back still lifting up. Then the arms are going to have to him perhaps narrow a little bit. As you reach your spine through your legs. Now you definitely are going down in heal to hold their exhale to start articulating the spine. So you Rola, you Rola and then it's just that one bone at a time. Yeah, breathing in at the top and again, exhale that lifting up to go down and lifting up everywhere, but the shoulders on the non Madge, anything that as when you come up you've got something to stack your back against. So you're just coming up one vertebra, placing your bones back, top of the head, reaching, not only know me and go again.

Okay. Arms Heavier. Don't even a lot of worry in the arms anyway. Maybe a slight pressure inwards. Inhale at the bottom. Annex Ella. Okay, let's stretch out the legs now and just have the hands just on the thighs. Okay, so from here it's that same movement really.

As you exhale, start the head going forward. As you start to lift up from the low back, the arms are going to start to stretch forward and you're going to pull your body forward with your abdominals pulling back from there. Inhale, as you start stretching your tailbone back behind you and use your arms to pull yourself so forward into a long flat diagonal line. I have to hold onto about my ankles. Depending on how flexible you are, you can hold onto your feet. You can still bend your knees. Here we go. Exhale, we're going to roll back down and as we come back up to straight, just let the tension out of the hands and let the arms slide back up the size. They'll Leon with Eylea and not a lot of pushing down on the knee if that's where you land in here like so we're going down.

So milking the movement, really stretching out through the back. Let the hands support you as you arched the spine or come up in a long diagonal. It's the intention of arching the low back. Hold there. Breathe in, breathe out, let the arms go, float the arms without changing the spine. They're going to come away up towards the ears and inhale to reach down and exhale they come on.

So you get to Redo it and bend your knees if you need to. Lengthen up, up, up, and grow in the direction that your arms are reaching. And we reached down. Let's do that one more time. So length and find it. Reach, pause here. Hold. Bring your arms out to your side. So we are in that forward flex or that spinal extension position and want you to turn your body. It's almost like you're an airplane. No bringing the arm around yet. And then inhale, keep lengthening forward as you come back to center. Exhale, it's about the old bleak. So find them the arms reach straight across. Inhale to come back. Maybe as you start to go through rotation, as you come through center, you'll be able to achieve a lower position.

I'm not sure, but do make sure that the back stays flat. Turning the body, bringing it home, turning the body, bringing now raise your arms back overhead if it feels okay to you. Lengthen and lift and Rachel all the way forward. Grab wherever feels good to you and just guide yourself into a little bit more of a stretch. Come back on bringing the bottoms of your feet together. This is a modified back support. It's a hip stretch.

It's a hip work. So if you know the hip opener thought the idea that I'm looking for a finger spacing in or out. And here we go. First things first, we want to lift up away from the arms. What I might do if I were you is go back over that roller and do the rollover thing cause that I think will stretch your low back out. That'd be a good thing to do now and we won't be here long. So as we exhale, we're going to start to wrap the hips, meaning squeeze the glutes, your knee should push down towards the floor. And with that squeeze in a push up with the pelvis.

Oh yeah. Now try to pull a little closer to your feet. Come back away from your feet and sit down just as lifting a, here we go. Get. And we're just going to do a few. Open up the hips, wrap the glutes, press into the heels to feel the inner thighs engaged as well. And then lift now with the intention of opening the hips, more attorney the knees more. Move towards your feet. Move away from your feet with that same feeling. Not too far. Oh, and sit down and I'm cramping. One more to go. So we left.

Oh wait. Yeah, I don't wait. Press knees, reaching towards the ground. Maybe it'll get a little further this time and then back and then sit down and sit up. Okay, Paul, we're back. We're going to keep the feet like this. If this doesn't work for you. Longer open knees bent, whatever, and arms out in front. So, all right, push the arms forward and actually lean forward with the arms from there. Draw the abdominals and come back to a straight back.

The shoulders are still kind of out of where they need to be. So let's plug the arms into the shoulder joint. Inhale there as you exhale, turn towards me and how to come back. That shape that you've created from your hands to your shoulders should maintain consistency or should shouldn't change. I'm going to say that differently. Don't let your arms get ahead of your body. Move your body and let your arms be where they are so that the work is happening around the trunk. Go in this way.

So a little pressure into the hands. And when I say that I don't necessarily mean to really work the chest, I mean push the hands together but also feel the shoulders pull down and back. So it's more of an upper back thing than a a grippy hand thing. And we are turning and I'm going to add on now. So here we go. Come towards me.

Take that shape with your spine and stretch forward. Lengthen forward as far as you can. So we're still looking for that long back. Lift back up on the diagonal and come back to center in. He'll turn, exhale, reach long, long, long. Keep that opposite hip, the bottom hip, reaching into the ground. Lengthen your body up and come back one more time on each side and he'll turn you wanted stretchy. This way you get reach not in stretching.

Doesn't necessarily mean easy. Does it? Lengthen up and bringing it home to turn it into an AB exercise. We all love though. [inaudible] bring it up. I we're going to do, I'm changing it. Almost Sarah turn. Take the arm closest to me away.

Put it on the ground and help yourself as you reach. You'll go further. But w think about what the hips are doing. Hold there. Bring the hand back to match the other one. Lift up, maybe even point the arms up a little bit. Come back and drop the arms down. Last one, turn. Reach the front arm as the back arm. Assist you not only to reach forward more, but to turn more.

Bring the opposite hand back. Lift and come back and lower the arms down and stretch two legs forward and stretch forward. Paulo, we're gonna about to do another arm supported exercise that's very similar to a pelvic girl. So you could go straight into the pelvic curl and we're going to do this, the long back stretch. So, or the long back stretch prep created for the mat. Straight arms, abdominals in ribs down, however the hips can you feel that as you tuck your pelvis, that you're not only using your abs but you're still pushing up away from the floor. So there's a difference between having straight arms and being relatively stable and reaching good. And then tuck inner thighs engaged. You'll be able to see them start to move your knees out over your feet.

You're still talking, you're still talking. Should like feel like a lot of hamstring work as well. Feet come straight out over the knees. Then lift the chest through the arms and Luca, exhale, we come back down. Tuck first, push the pubic bone way up towards the Chin roll. Roll, roll, roll, roll.

So the ear dribs are trying to get back between your arms before you unwind again. And we still have that feeling of defying gravity or lifting taller than we are round again, curl the spine forward, feeling the knee stretch over the feet. Feeling like an accordion. The spinal lengthen, creating space between the pelvis and the ribs. Here we go. We're going back. Rounding, rounding, rounding, rounding, rounding, [inaudible] and letting it go. How about one more time there. [inaudible] okay, well it'll look for a stretch to the front of the legs here. And in order to do that, you want to keep thinking about the tech key, thinking about this stretch forward.

We also get a little stretch in the shoulders. In a roll back down. Yeah. I didn't sit down and then sit up. Bring your right foot up against your left thigh. Can Use your hands if you need to or just rotate your body so that your chest is squared to the leg in front of you. Walk yourself forward over that Lange.

Hold onto wherever feels comfortable to you with your hands. And then just from there, pull the abs back a little. Send the spine a little more forward. Continue holding on with your left arm. We all have our left leg out. Yeah. Yeah. Good. Okay, so stretch the right arm further than the left hand.

Start to turn the right ribs open. I know when I always make you do this, it's my favorite. Keep turning, keep turning. Keep thinking heavy in the right side. Hit. Bring it back. Change sides. So change hands. Now reach the left arm further and try to turn towards the legs a bit different and then come back and let the arms be heavy and bring your body up and change sides. Me Too.

Okay, so I'll always okay to bend in the knee, but whatever you're doing, straight knee or bent knee, it's got to point straight up. Turning the trunk towards the leg. Just gently pulling back on the other end, heavily pulling back on the abs as you gently walk yourself forward. I find that, ah, so different on the side. Pressing the back if you can have the knee into the ground. Okay, we go to the left arm, we're leads reaching past the right arm to want to get that extra stretch and then we start to turn, turn. Bringing that left trip up, pushing the left knee down, letting the neck follow the arm and the body. Okay.

I would come back down unless you keep your arm just in front of your eyes if you, I think you are. But then let's change. So the right arm reaches just turning the left chest towards the right leg and then bring it home and then come up. Okay, turn this way. Face me. Can you bring, let's point the right left knee to the side and bring the right leg up to meet the last Paula. Although there will be some resting on the arm. It's not a great deal of weight bearing, so I think you're going to be just fine here. Okay.

So what we're gonna do here is just reach our arms out. You can find stability a little bit by pushing that left foot into the right knee and kind of squeezing the legs together. You're going to reach out to lengthen out through the waist, place the hand down and get away from you're walking away from you. And then Xcel to the rotate the spine, turning, turning, turning. It's more than ribs that turn then the arm that turns, if that makes sense.

And then inhale to unwind and then exhale using that. Oh, bleaker. Like someone's pulling you up through your hand. You're just going to slide back up and we're going to go up and over just reaching up and over through that opposite side. Start to length back up. Opposite arm comes off the ground. We hinge out opposing from that. Squeeze in the legs. Press down. Now that right shin, it's going to push down into the mat and try to keep the hip relatively still as we turn the rib cage.

Maybe even we'll reach past that right arm. Inhale as we unwind. Exhale. Let's see. Oh bleak said. Help us up. Fit that straight back and reach up and over. Yeah. And then lengthen it is out. Let's do two more. Reach out, please. Say Hand Curl. There's your XO. We'll use in the breath to ring out the spine.

Inhale to come back. Excellent. So lymph in heel, somewhere as you pass through center. And exhale. Sorry. Cram. Keep going. Quick selling issue. Read. Shober let's do that. Um, one last time. So here we go. In [inaudible], place the hand turn the body pulling that right shoulder down as a left, or I'm in the left rib, pulls around towards that, unwind back. Cool if that in Neil through somewhere in the transition there, and excellent as you reach. Okay.

And then come all the way back up and just lied straight down onto that side. We're going to bend the knees so that the heels are in line with the glutes, the knees about a 60 degree angle at the leg. We're going all the way down onto our bottom arm. So you got your abs pulled in, you got your top leg on your bottom, like they're lined up and running. He's going to open up the top knee and and to, so we were working to use the glutes to use the hip rotators to create the movement.

So this could kind of be easy if we just let the legs flop open and down. But no one in here is going to do that. And we go in four more times kind of quick. Okay. A three might as well squeeze your inner thighs together. That's worth it. And when [inaudible] hold there, turn the need down.

So now you've got your heel up in the air. You've got your knee rotating in as much as you can without affecting your pelvis in a kick up and back. And then turn the knee down and then kick up and back. So you're going to try to get the knee inwards of the heel on that side. Oh, and uh, and uh, and for three [inaudible] to hold. Place the foot back down. Drop the knee down, pick up the feet, open the knee with the intention of trying to turn that left knee behind the left shoulder.

Stretch the leg in the air, rebound the knee and bring it down. Here we go again. Rotating the hip to stretch the lower limits. Super relaxed. The ABS are working real hard and release. Do you think three is enough or should we do five? What do you think? Five, five, five and five.

There's four. Yeah. And he has that last one. Stay there. Can you turn it out anymore in space? Oh, and bend and bring it down and just reach for it. And I get towards your body. Take the flood, bring the knee, start to press hip forward almost before. In fact, before you start to move your knee back so that as your need goes behind your hip, you're already pushing forward with your hip, not your low back so you're not arching. Your abs are in, and then the knee goes behind the hip. Just breathe into that for a moment. If you want a bigger stretch here, push into your hand a little bit with the foot that you're holding on to make sure that hurt your knee. If it does push so hard, okay, I'll drop that leg. Help yourself up to sitting.

That seemed like the one that was on top. It's gonna Cross over the bottom leg, straight leg or bent leg. It's totally up to you. I'm going to a bent leg. I prefer that it's going to hug the knee right up into the chest and then we're going to try to sit down evenly on both hips and just know here that the more you lengthen up and forward or the more straight your back is, the more functional your stretch will be. Just start to lean forward into it. Trying to keep the back straight. [inaudible] okay, while we're here, we're going to drop the left knee out to the side and bring the right thigh up against the left foot. Okay.

Sitting down on both sides. That one side of the pelvis might be lifted, but we're looking for evenness as much as possible. Thrums out to the side. Lift up tall first and then inhale, hinge. Let the hand come down, slide away from you a little if you want to, and exhale, turn that right rib cage around, pull back in the oblique so it's not just a stretch, although it is a beautiful stretch, but it's a pretty deep abdominal exercise. If you can let it be inhaled. If you are, even if you can create the work, exhale, lift up. Inhale as you pass through and exhale as you reach up and over to the stretch. Inhale as you lift back up first, reach out, touch the hand, exhale. We rotate around towards that hand. As the right hand comes around, draw the left shoulder down more. Pull the ribs up. More.

Inhale in my mind as we come around, it's almost like you're trying to talk a little and then I find out, and I think there's three motor go. So we linked in up in here, your arms pinwheel around. Exhale, turn [inaudible]. It's no bleak contraction to car. And then we reach over and then we linked in almost like a dance. Let the bottom, I'm come up as the top arm reaches across, turning the body, wringing out the sweater and letting the neck relax. Feeling good, stability with the shoulders and inhale back and I don't lift and all [inaudible] and I do believe there's one more to go lift up for us. So every movement in this involves you obliques in some sense.

There's definitely the rotational component. There's the on rotational component. As you unwind there was having to get yourself up. There was a stretch to be had, but you can contract that bottom waist and then to get up out of the stretch it's work or you pull up through that side. So there's that little late to say all that. But anyway, there it is.

Why all the way down. And he's bent heels, hips and knees, making a triangle, not a square. So, and then we opened the top knee and we close it. What you want to make sure, and if you have any doubt, if you're moving, and I'll just put your hands on your pelvis. In fact, let's all do that. Make sure that the f, the hipbone that's in the front is directly opposite the bone in the back. Meaning it's not lower than or higher than it should be straight across. And then with your hand here a, it gives you something to hold and be. You can tell if the pelvis is moving at all. And we've got three more to go and here's two and here's one.

And here's our internal rotation. So we're going to pick up the leg you want to turn, not from the hip, but from the joint, from the muscle, just underneath the pelvis. And then if off and it's up in back and continue trying to turn the knee inwards. So we just did external rotation. This is exactly [inaudible] opposite movement to that internal rotation of the hat. I'll go for three, two, Ooh. And then we lower the knee and lower the foot.

And here's our big external rotators. Feet up Nia. Okay, stretch the leg. Try to turn it behind. You. Try to get it behind your shoulder. I can't, I'm sorry. You guys keep going. I'm having cramping problems today. There we go.

Been unkind and hanging onto the abdominals. It's all about supporting the spine as you work the muscles that lie so close to it. Okay, and last one back and then we can just lower the feet down. Help yourself out. Bring the leg around in front again. If it's straight leg on, the bottom is better for you. It's totally appropriate. Can also lie down on your back to do this stretch.

So as we sit here for just a moment, we're going to try and go a little heavier into the hip, that stretching and we're going to try to left a little bit more first with our back and then maybe pull with our arms a little and then we're going to lean forward. Keep thinking about the tailbone sticking back as both hips are heavy in the mat. Okay. And then come over and just lie all the way down on your stomach with your palms at your sides facing inwards. Thumbs on the bottom, fingertips on top for basic back extension. So this is quite obviously a, an exercise in which we're going to work hard back.

But I also want you to look for a stretch and it's not something that you'll be able to feel so much as I want you to try to visualize if you would. So, uh, with that, pull your abdominals in. Press the pelvis a little heavier into the mat. We're set up for back extension. Lift your head, pull your head forward. As you pull your fingers away, then start to roll your shoulders slightly backwards. What I mean is the elbow inwards. Yep. And then really look for the upper back connection there and then really stand and as you release down, can you lengthen further?

So make a marker with your nose. As you lie down, pull your abdominals and recommit. Start to lift the head and send it forward and then reach the arms oppositionally and roll the rear underarms forward. You can even think about being down a little bit and working more from there. Good, yes. And release. Try to not involve the legs too much except for the fact that they're long and reaching and perhaps slightly active through the back of the legs.

By that I mean the hamstrings more than, I mean the glutes. Yes. And then stretching forward. Let's do that two more times. Excelling as you lift, finding that upper body connection. Don't worry about how high you left.

Find that sense of really rapping. It's not about going higher than your body. It's about the rotation and then joint [inaudible]. Okay. Let's let this be the last one. Nice. Nice. Okay. Let your back settle for a moment. I want to end with a couple of cats.

Stretches, bringing us back to the beginning of class when we were yawning through our body. We're going to yawn through it again, so if you'd come up, I don't know how you feel about this, Paula. A hands and knees. Well, her mom. Okay, so elbows would be perfectly fine. All right, so the cat stretch, the knees are under the hips. The hell, hands or elbows are under the shoulders. The abs are pulled in. As you exhale, you're going to slide the pelvis forward, so just curl the low back as much as possible with out arching the upper back a lot, but do allow the neck to be affected, meaning look down. Inhaling as you transfer yourself back through neutral and look straight down. Exhale as you draw your shoulder blades down, and here we are.

Here's the on the yawning. As the reaches for the shoulders, reach down the top of the head guides itself. Forward. Inhale as you transfer back to neutral. Exhale as you curve just the lower body. As the pelvis moves, press the shoulders downwards in healing as you travel through neutral spine, keeping your abdominals pulled in and exhale as you turn your shoulder blades down, send the chest first forward and then slightly upwards. You can look slightly upwards as well. And then inhale to come back to neutral. Exhale as you scooped the belly and drawing the sit bones for it.

You can use the back of your legs a little bit. There might help you deepen your contraction, perhaps depending [inaudible] inhale, come back, Xcel to extend. So try to go a little less round on the Nixon in this, you can come up a little bit and then inhale to come back. Got from here instead of here. Yup, Yup, Yup, Yup. And then any help to come back? This is our last extension just from the center of the chest. Keep you so you can make a bigger list. So you just need to keep this still and that's it. That's it.

And then everyone round a gray, big round in the back even. And let your shoulders relax a little towards your ears. Just let the stretch happen and sit all the way back on your feet. And as you sit there, you can do whatever you wish with your arms. They can come down next to your sides. They can be out in front of you.

And I just like you to sit there for a moment, allow your back to relax. Maybe just an intentional and a intentional is the word I was looking for or couldn't get at. Having this of the hips reaching down towards the heels. And as you do that, just have a few deep breaths. Okay. And gather whatever energy you need back into your body.

Or maybe you feel invigorated now and just breathing in and out through the back of the ribs, feeling them expand and contract. And when you feel that you're ready to come up. Yeah. Good, good.


Lovely relaxed but as always challenging class. I love Meredith's style of teaching always makes me smile.

Shame though as I felt I missed some of the beginning of the class?
1 person likes this.
More stretching than the pilates, but this ones a good one to do before sleeping. :)
1 person likes this.
This class was added to my favorites a while ago, and I still love it. Great for a nice challenging streatch session, it is a perfect class to help wind down after an afternoon run.
Thank you.
I don't understand how this works the abs - I'm experiencing more of a stretch - should I be toning the abs more?
Hi Debra,
Are you speaking of a particular movement or the entire workout...I would love to try to help.
1 person likes this.
Dee lish us :)
Thanks Miriam!!
I love you classes Meredith. Thank you!
Thank you Tania!
1 person likes this.
Nice class. Yes, I do think the beginning of the class has been cut off. :(
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