Class #1229

Balance and Stability Mat

30 min - Class


Karen ties together the fundamentals from her previous classes plus begins to add Pilates exercises. She uses standing exercises to work on balance and stability while maintaining your correct placement. Karen explains how an ideal head position facilitates a good and deep core awareness.

To learn the fundamentals that Karen mentions, you can watch Beginner Series 1 and Beginner Series 2.
What You'll Need: Mat, Moon Box, Overball, Foam Roller

About This Video


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This fundamental class is going to start in standing. We're going to tie together some of the other fundamentals that we've done in the previous two classes and we'll start to add in some of the plottings exercises here. But first I'd like to start with little awareness with the lemon again because you might have seen this in the tutorial before. So as I lengthened my spine up and I hold my lemon in place, I'm going to take the ball on top of my head and I'm actually going to start to grow up without extending my neck, reaching up tall through the crown of my head. I'm, I'm putting the ball right on top of my head so that it gives me something to press up into so that I'm not in a hurry to lean backwards. I'm going to go ahead and turn to the side, open my elbows, press down into my feet as I gently lifted my abdomen and grow up, talk special attention to the integrity here, the back of the neck and lengthening up my chest. I'm I hold that right there.

I'm going to take an inhale and as I exhale now I'm going to fundamentally curl my trunk, pulling my abdomen in much like I do in Quadrupedal, I'm trying not to offset backwards and I'm rounding down as I pressed the crown of the head into the ball. Take an inhale here. As I exhale, the abdomen, the lowest part of my back is starting to come back to vertical. My legs are engaged, my abdominals are unwinding, and I bring myself back to vertical again. Inhale, exhale, trunk curl. We often do this particular exercise at the beginning and or at the end of Mat classes, but now making special attention to the crown of the head, reaching long, the scooping of the abdomen, the lengthening of the back of body. Pay careful attention when you're down here that you don't shift way back, but that you stay forward over your feet so that you feel this lumbopelvic rhythm down and again on the way back up now we'll go to a hinge.

I'm going to hinge my body forward, still reaching out, tall in the crown of my head, and then I'm going to stand back up. If I had that stick, nothing would change except I lost my lemon. We'll do that again. Lengthen hinge again. I think I lost the lemon because I tend to extend my neck. So now I'm laying, thinning out my spine and standing all the way back up. Continuing in the standing sequence here, I'm gonna use the foam roller for on the opposite side.

So I'm going to take my left leg and lift it up. I'm going to take this ball and put it right on top of my left leg. I'm going to press the ball into my leg and the leg into the ball. I'm going to inhale big and as I exhale, keep that isometric contraction. As I pull my belly back, I can feel the connection through my trunk, monitoring the position of my neck, and then I release again. Inhale, exhale, left knee floats up, ball goes on the inside of the knee. Now why on the inside of the knee? Because now I'm creating a rotation force.

I'm pushing the ball into the knee and the knee into the ball. If I want to, I can change to one finger on the foam roller, but I don't want to get frustrated so I can just hang on without letting go and then lower down. One more time. Big Inhale. Exhale. Abdomen connects. Front of the neck softens, the face softens. I lift the leg up and I press in. Take an inhaling, take an exhale. The rollers there if I need it. I'm making special attention to pay to my neck position.

Excuse me. I'm paying special attention to the position of my neck. However you say it, it means pay attention and then slowly lower down. I'm going to switch sides. Take an inhale and then as I exhale, high, lift up my right leg and I put the ball on top of the leg. I am meeting the resistance of my leg pressing up into the ball and the ball pressing into my leg and I lower down. Inhaling, exhaling, right leg lifts up.

I'm now pressing the ball in to my leg from the medial side to get a rotation force. I can touch with my finger, I can let go. I can be wobbly, being wobbly as okay. Because the research actually shows, it's during those wobbly times that those local muscles start to kick in. So I actually can get more stable if I get really local, not logo, but local. Soft neck, shrunk, connect and lower down. Ooh. So those are not easy to do, especially if we take them a little bit quicker. So now I'm going to move away from the roller, put the ball back in my right hand, take an inhale and as I exhale, lift and lower and press them and lower. Pay attention to what's happening at your neck and at your trunk.

Three more and press two more and press and last one and hold two, three, four, five. Lower down. Put the ball in the opposite hand. Inhale, exhale, and press and and press. Can you see how this is standing? Like pumping on the low chair and be very careful. If you tell yourself to stand up straight and you actually get that neck lurching, don't want to do that.

Soft neck soft and we'll do this. Three more. One down, two down, three hold two, three, four, soft face, five. Lower yourself all the way down and again, ball on top of the head. Just because we did this at the very beginning, it may look a little silly, but it actually feeds your goal to press up. I'm not compressing my neck at all because if I maintain the cervical curve of the neck and the front of the neck is soft, yet engaged deeply, just like my core here, then the exercise becomes march, March, March. Paying attention to my neck as much as to the legs.

Press down, right, lift left, press down, left lift, right press right, lift left. One more. Lift, hold and hold and bring yourself all the way down. So those are some fundamentals in standing. So now we'll get on the mat. We're going to keep this ball [inaudible]. We'll end with some other fundamentals in standing. So keep that foam roller nearby if you need it. Take an inhale.

As you exhale, the left knee lifts the ball, presses on the inside of the left leg, making this connection [inaudible] [inaudible] check in so the exercises now aren't fancy. What's fancy is your brain, your classroom, paying attention to what's happening in your trunk and in your neck. One more lower down, right leg lifts, presses first. You tidy up, you organize, you feel the softness in your neck. You feel your face melting down. You recognize where your challenges are and you get your brain to start paying attention. Three more breaths.

Two more frets. Last one. Press hold and hold and hold and lower ball comes between the knees, arms down by your side. You make the choice. It's either a karate chop, a palm oppressing, or hands on the abdomen. You make that choice. Now squeeze the ball with your ad. Doctors do not bulge your pubic bone while you squeeze the ball in and then release. Squeeze the ball, then release. Squeeze the ball, but don't tighten your neck.

Squeeze the ball without squeezing your teeth. Whoever thought that your jaw clenching would be related to your legwork. Three more. Two more. Last time. Hold. Check in with the face again. Check in with the neck. Inhale here. Exhale, heels. Lift heels, lower toes lift, toes, lower heels, lower. Organize the neck.

Here's heals and down and toes and down. Challenge with the arms. Heels come up. One more heels down. One more toes and down. Curl tail bone. Articulate into a bridge. Don't move your neck. Squeeze the ball. Five, four, three, two, one.

Squeeze. Hold. Iron the spine down without disturbing the neck. Inhale, exhale. Belly, tailbone. Organize. Check in, lift up and here we go again. Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Arms over the head to challenge. Roll. Trunk down section by section, all the way down, all the way down. Arms come down by the side. Last one. Inhale.

Exhale. Tailbone curls, articulate. Don't be moving that neck in that head. Curling trunk. Lift yourself up and heels down. Toes down. Press the heels, squeeze the ball, lift the heels, squeeze the ball. One more time. Toes lift. One more time. Heals. Lift, connect iron the spine down. Soft neck, soft face. Everything comes down. Hands come out to the side, sweeping around behind your head.

Inhaling, exhale as if you're holding something underneath the chin. The back of the neck lengthens. You curl up, you hold. Notice I'm not curling my trunk. I'm only curling my head. Lower the head down. I'm working to differentiate the skull.

Then the neck, then the neck, then the skull, skull, neck, trunk, trunk, neck, skull, two more. Skull, neck, trunk with a smile. Trunk, neck, skull, one more time. Skull, neck, trunk with a smile. Remember, so it gets other muscles, pelvis days, lower down. Everything comes all the way back. Now we're going to start the fundamental. Now with the breath for a hundred beats. If you've never done the a hundred beats before, you're going to move your arms up and down.

Inhaling and exhaling for five. Most of you have already heard of this or done it, but I'm just explaining it. If you're here in this class for the first time, inhale, two, three, four, five, and exhale. Two, three, four, five. Exhale. Squeeze the ball. Inhale and exhale. So now I'm adding this shaking or this jarring motion to make sure that nothing else is overworking.

We're going to do the same hundred feet breathing in for five and out for five with the hands behind the neck so I can support the neck but still get the breathing going. Remember the variation we did. Skull, neck, trunk. Inhale. Exhale. Yes. [inaudible]. [inaudible] trunk, neck, skull. Alrighty, so now I'm going to take the ball in my hands and I'm going to squeeze my legs. Take the ball over my head and then take the ball up.

Inhale up. Exhale, vertical as if the ball were hand weights. I know what I'm supposed to feel and now when I lift my head or I'll do the skull first, then the neck, then the trunk. I'm going to press the ball right into my thighs and make that connection here and then I'm going to roll it back down. Look at the ceiling, skull neck curl and press to three, trunk, neck, skull, skull, neck, trunk, hold. Now I'm going to pick up my left leg, press that arm into the ball and hold. I support my head to be sure it doesn't fall back.

Hold and now I go. Inhale, press two, three. Ah, [inaudible] lower down other side, skull, neck, trunk, right leg lifts, presses, hold. And here we go. [inaudible] check in. Neutral pelvis, front of the next off. The movement is difficult to hold, but it's not difficult to do because everything is in a good position. One more and lower down.

That's one of my favorite. We're going to vary that. Now if you saw one of the previous tapes, we did a diagonal with an arm weight in a diagonal with the leg. So we're going to do a version of that now. So one hand is going to support my neck because at this point your neck maybe getting a little tired. So you really do want to support it. Skull, neck, trunk, and hold.

Now I'm going to lift up this left leg in this right arm. I'm going to press them into each other and then they're going to go out a diagonal and then come up and press two, three and press two, three, one more, and then press. How high can I go to press without disturbing the integrity of anything else. So you can go higher if you can maintain everything. And if not, you just stay low. Lift the skull, excuse me, flex the skull, flex the neck, flex the trunk to pieces, come out. And here we go.

They're going at a diagonal to create this diagonal force. Two more and press. And then last time and then press. And then everything comes in and we lower trunk, neck and skull. We're going to roll to the side, come on up. And now we're going to create a little sitting awareness. I'm going to go ahead and sit on this vox just to give a little rest to my hips.

And we're going to keep same awareness as we kind of prepare for spine stretch. But before we even do spine stretch, we have to find out where we are in space. Where's that head? So as I sit up tall, there's a tendency if people want to bend the knees cause they have a tight back and tight legs, that's all fine. But oftentimes people sit up like this and they end up rolling forward on their pair. And IOM, we don't want that to happen because that's too much work in the back. We also don't want them to tilt and go backwards.

So we have to find something in between. Some people need to sit on something higher than this little box and they may need to sit on our short box, which is certainly fine. So I'm going to put my thumb there in my bottom, my bottom pinky pointing downward, my hand on my back, just like I did in standing. You take an inhale. As I exhale, I'm going to pull the abdomen back gently without using my back to pull back like this. And I'm not going to bring my neck up like this. I'm gonna lengthen skull member. That ball that was on the head pressing up soft throat holding here.

So now this becomes the exercise. His inhaling, exhaling, inhaling, exhaling arms. Inhaling, exhaling, watch the ribs. It's not this, oh, it's this. Arms, arms, arms, arms, trunk stays put, doesn't move. And inhale, two, three, four. Exhale, lift your pelvic floor. One more time, one and then down [inaudible] and then let everything relax. Relaxing is okay. It's part of the exercise. You can let your belly go a little bit.

You can let your arms go. You can sit with your knees in for a second to just rest. And then the true test is can you go back and get it? So let's go back and get it. Control, soft neck, soft face, arms out. Now we start the exercise. Inhaling, exhaling, forehead, nose, chin, trunk, spine, stretching forward, stack up. When you stack up, you have to pay careful attention that the stack is coming from here. And then there and then there and then there. And then there.

Oftentimes what happens is we do this and then we stack up from here. That's not what we're looking for. We're going to spine stretch forward. If I had that ball on the crown of my head, I don't want to put my hands there. Give that a try. See how pressing into the crown of your head can actually facilitate your abdomen DePaul back and then stack your spine all the way up.

Side, bending left Arma side, bend to the right and then notice the side bending to the right has a length sitting on the left side so then the left side has to then pull you back up. Switch, inhaling, exhaling head in line, soft face. I just self corrected. I'm not sure if you could see that, but I kinda had a little mental note in myself. I had to self correct and then bring it back up one more time. Inhale over to the right. Exhale, pulling yourself back up and then last time, inhaling to the left and then exhaling and bringing yourself back up.

Very good. We'll come to quadrupedal now. [inaudible] very quickly and quadrupled. Now we've built this in the other exercise in the other segment, but let's just go through it here quickly. Well, when I say quickly, I don't mean rushed, I just mean without as much verbalization. So inhaling, exhaling, head stays, tailbone curls, inhale, release. Exhale, belly poles in tailbone, curls, head stays. One more time. Inhale, one more time. Exhale, level yourself out. Check in with your pelvis. Now the head, forehead, nose, chin, hundred, beat ish position. If you will, and then bring yourself out and lift the head will not lift it, but just bring it back to neutral. And then skull, nose, Chin, hundred beat position from the top.

Trying not to move my back. Isn't that knee stretches on the reformer, right? So again, forehead, nose, chin, trunk, stomach massage, all those chunk fluxions from the top and then lengthen yourself all the way out. We'll come now all the way down to the tummy. Make a little pillow with your hands as your forehead rest down. Lengthen the back of your legs. I like to call it just kinda letting your hip crease settled down and then let your toes go.

I'm not going to over clench my buttocks, but I am gonna tighten up the bottom part of my buttocks right where it meets my thigh and I'm going to lift up an alternate, almost like a swimming sensation, but it's just from the leg in the buttocks. I can take one of my hands and put it in my low back and I do not want that back to work first. It's okay if your back works for stability. But the firing pattern says something different. It says the glutes and the hamstrings should work first. I'm paying attention to my neck without letting it come up like this.

Lincoln meaning as if I'm holding something underneath my Chin that's about a hundred and lower down. Why is it important to get the legs engaged first? Because the legs are what helps stabilize the pelvis. When I then go to lift my trunk, so now my legs are engaged, I'm going to use my arms and pull my shoulders back. I'm going to press this mat in front of me as I take the time to lengthen my chest, looking just to the edge of the mat and then I'm going to lie my chest down and then my head down again. Legs, arms peeling, forehead, nose, chin, third. Rassic spine.

Now my hands will pull towards me as if I'm pulling my chest to organize my thoracic extensors and then put myself down. One more time. Yes, I am using my hands like mad, my arms, my triceps. I am trying to teach my spine how to extend in the thoracic spine as opposed to just letting my butt go and doing something like this. Okay. We don't want to do that, so I'm going to organize one more time. Blades, elbows, thighs, push. Push the mat away as I come up and then once I'm up there, pull the mat towards me.

I have to reorganize my neck because I tend to lift it too much and then lower all the way down. Arms down by the side. This will be a precursor to single and double leg kicking. But right now I'm just going to do blades. Well actually I'm going to do legs first. Legs and buttocks, blades, arms and then chest lengthening. Almost like a reverse a hundred beats and then lengthen down three times.

That's one. Rest in between. Oh, rest legs, arms reach, thoracic extension like I'm flying like a rocket ship. And then lower yourself down. Oh, and then the last one. Rest. Get the legs organized. Thighs, blades, arms. And now see if you can hold this and do your hundred beat breathing. [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] there's an ease here because my neck is not overworking in extension to the front of my torso, lengthening. And then I lower myself down.

Bring yourself up, give one sit back, lengthen, and then bring yourself up to standing. [inaudible] let's take your foam roller and let's take your trusty moon box or brick or something you could stand on. Okay, and we're going to put it underneath. I'm going to put it underneath my left leg. I'm going to stand on my left leg and I'm going to use this roller for just a little bit of support here. And belly pulls in.

Lengthen up. Your head is in, your head, is over your chest and your chest is over your pelvis. And I'm just going to take this right leg. I'm going to swing it forward and back. Inhale, exhale. So now when paying attention to my neck, sorry that sounds like a little broken record you guys. But Lot of times we lose the integrity of the spine stability higher than our central area. One more time forward, one more time back. And now bend the knee in.

Press it down like it's a big old pump press. Just like standing leg pumping. If you don't need that foam roller, you can take your hands away. You can take them in front. Three more, two more. And last one, lower down other side. Last exercise, hitting the home stretch here. Right leg on, standing up, organize, check in crown of the head. All those pieces that ball on top of the head, the low belly activated pelvic floor lifting. Uh, not a lot of work here. And here we go. Back of the buttocks.

Hip swinging, trying not to sway your torso while you move your legs. Two more. Oh, I had to readjust. I hope you saw that last time. And then Ben and press Ben impress, trying to grow tall in three more and two more. And last one and lower down. Very good. Last one. Arms come all the way up. Big Inhale, big smile. Exhale, nod the head as if something's right underneath your chin.

Rolling yourself down all the way down. Take a big inhale when you're down there, expand all these back ribs. Your lungs help these ribs broaden and then exhale. Lumbo pelvic rhythm on the way back, I got on the way back up and there you go. Thank you.


2 people like this.
great cues and easy to follow
1 person likes this.
This is one of my all time favorite classes--thank you!
Karen Sanzo
Janie and Mindi; thanks for being the first to respond to this class. And MIndi, you are most welcome!! It's very fun to create a class that appears simple in movement yet requires full attention to detail. Stay tuned.....
3 people like this.
I love your classes Karen Sanzo! The devil is in the details they say. You do an amazing job of getting the devil out! So good organized movement feels good and easy. You inspire me :)
You inspire me too Karen.
1 person likes this.
Ual! I loved.
1 person likes this.
thanks alot for this great job that corresponds to my goal of feeling deeply with a good posture
1 person likes this.
Really good! Going to incorporate some of this into my classes this week - looking forward to Monday morning!!
1 person likes this.
LOVE your fundamentals!!
1 person likes this.
It is really good work for my segnior class, thank you ! great postural !
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