Class #1416

Creative Mat Flow

40 min - Class


Meredith teaches a strong, well-paced Mat workout that is designed to help you work up a sweat while executing movements with ease. Enjoy her creative variations on the traditional mat exercises.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Jan 19, 2014
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Hi. We're going to do a strong mat class today in a little time. I don't know what a little means-- probably like 40 minutes. I'm going to shoot for 40 minutes and see how we go. Get ready to work out.

Roll Down Variations

Here we go, sitting up on the mat, holding behind the sides, closing the eyes for a moment. My feet are organized so that they're right in front of the sitting bones. The spine is long. Just give yourself just a moment or two to pause here to connect with your breath, to connect with the elongation of the bones of the spine, the heaviness of the bones of the spine. And then just set your intention for your class. My intention is to work strong, but work with ease. Opening the eyes, we inhale. And as we exit, we draw the pelvis under. Keep the shoulders directly over the pelvis. So we're just rounding the lower spine. Inhale. Press the feet backwards towards the pelvis. Lift the back up. Exhale, curl through the spine. Press the feet away from you. Now, I'm not saying the feet are moving. I'm just saying create some energy. Heels back, spine long, eyes forward-- exhale, curl. Heels back, spine long, lifting-- inhale. Reach the arms forward. Exhale, curl. We find that curvature of the spine. And then we round the spine to the mat. We take the arms out to the side. We press the arms forward. Follow the arms forward.

As the spine lifts, the arm's reach. Inhale. Open the arms. Exhale, curl. And around and inhale. Open and push. And exhale, roll, and lift. And arms-- and round the spine as the arms come forward. And roll back and reach out. And press forward. And roll up. And elongate the back. And take the arms out. And exhale. Press the spine into a curled position. Roll back. Take the arms overhead, exhale, lift the left leg. Rotate towards that leg with both arms, inhale. We find center arms overhead. Exhale, rotate, come across the opposite side, inhale. We lift and exhale. We rotate, lifting that inside leg-- the leg that you're rotating too-- and down. And exhale. We rotate and inhale and down. And exhale and rotate. And inhale and down, putting a lot of energy into the movement. Inhale and down. Pause here. Inhale, arms out to the side. Roll yourself up and bring your arms forward, all in one piece. Elongate the body.

Reach the arms out. Take the arms out to the side. Keep the arms here now as you roll yourself back, feeling the connection into the spine as the spine is lowered into the mat. Pause here. Arm closest to me comes towards me and back. Did that make sense? I don't know. Take one hand to the other. Rotate, inhale, open. Take the opposite arm across. Rotate and open and rotate. Give it a little pause. And open and rotate-- a little pause. And open. And we hold open. And now we just curl the trunk forward for a five. And forward-- arms nice and wide. Reach your arms forward if you need to. But try to challenge the arms wide. Here's our last one. Lie all the way down on the mat.

Pelvic Curl

Slide yourself close to your feet, or your feet close to you for the pelvic curl and breathe in. Exhale, elongating the spine. So we roll that. We feel the feet in the mat. We press the hips up to the ceiling. Take the arms overhead. Exhale. Roll down, down, down, down, palms of the hands facing up. Pelvis comes down. Inhale, exhale. The pelvis lifts up as we press the arms down. Create a chest expansion action with your arms. Inhale, exhale. Lower the spine and start to reach the arms overhead-- reaching, reaching. Pelvis comes down in hand. And exhale. Lift up. Energy down with the arms. Energy up with hips. Energy long through the spine. Keep the ribs below the pubic bone. Lift the arms and roll the spine down. And inhale. And curl the spine. Lift and press the arms down. And inhale. And exhale. Roll down. And last one-- curl the spine , lift. Press the arms down. And now just lift the right hip up a little higher, and then the left, and then the right, and then the left. And as you're doing that hip rotation, do an opposite arm downward press. Lift, lift. Last one-- lift. Find center. Slide your arms out to your sides. Roll your spine down all the way, all the way.

Supine Spinal Twist

As the pelvis comes down, we pick up the leg closest to me. Bring the other leg to meet it. Inhale. Bring the legs towards me. And exhale to center. And inhale. We take the legs the opposite direction. And exhale to center. One more like that-- inhale. Legs towards me. Exhale-- center. And legs away from me and center. I'm going to add on. So now, as the legs come towards me, lift that back arm, the arm the legs are moving towards. Reach across. Take this stretch and find center. The arm that's closest to the direction that the legs are moving, lift. It reaches for the other. And we twist. And then we pull back to center. One more time on each side, reaching across and center

Abdominal Exercises

and reaching across and center. Reach the hands behind the head. Inhale here. Curl the chest up. Reach the toes down. Lift the legs up. Take the body down, exhale, curl the head and chest. Now the feet only go as low as you can absolutely keep your entire spine glued to the mat. They lift up. And the body goes down. Exhale lift. We reach down. We lift up. Take the body down. Exhale. Lift the spine. Take the feet in a little closer to the hips. Drop the tippy toes towards the floor. Inhale, very light on the toes. Exhale, twist to one side, and inhale center. And twist to the other side. And inhale center. And twist and center and twist and center. Now, as you twist, lift the leg that you're turning to. Reach, and that other leg is very light on the floor. And reach and center and reach and center. Last one-- we reach and we come to center.

The Hundred

We stretch the arms forward. We float the legs up. We take the arms up, reach the arms overhead, and exhale into the hundred. Pause for a full inhale. And it's one, two, three, four, five-- calm and controlled-- two, two three, four, five, and in, arms pulled from the back of the body. Three-- and in-- four, two, three, curling the chest up. Five, two three four, five, and in. Exhale. Bend. Two, three four, five, inhale. Stretch. Exhale. Two, two three, four, five, inhale. Stretch. Exhale. Three, two, three, four, five, inhale. Stretch. Two more to go. Keep the trunk high. Keep the arms reaching. Last one-- inhale, stretch, bend the knees.

Leg Circles

Place the feet on the floor. Bring the arms out to your side. Stretch the left leg out. Bring the right knee into the chest. Lift it up. Flex the foot. We lift the right side of the pelvis all the way off the mat. The leg swings around. We catch. And lift the pelvis. And swing and catch. And lift the pelvis. And swing and catch. And lift the pelvis. And swing and catch. And one more-- inhale for a full circle. And we reverse. Exhale, reach around, cross. Lift the leg to the body. Keep that leg straight. Place the pelvis. Reach the leg. It's a drop and a catch. And the catch comes from the center the body. Reach across and up. Two more-- reach across and up. Last time-- reach across and up. Bend that knee. Take it in the opposite hand. Look across towards the leg that's coming across the body. Turn your eyes the opposite direction. And find a stretch. Come back to center.

Stretch the right leg straight. Bend the left knee. And the arms are wide to the side. Keep that leg up. Flex that foot. And we pick up that left pelvis. We swing the leg around and catch. We pick up the pelvis. We swing around and catch. We pick up the pelvis. Swing around and catch. One more-- pause. So there's that relationship between the moving of that leg through gravitational pull and the work that moves to the waist. Think about that relationship in your body. Think about the bottom leg acting as a stabilizer. Two more, reaching around and up, reaching around and up. Bend that knee. Reach across. Take the head over to the opposite direction. Look past that arm and stretch. Bring ourselves back to center. The leg's going to reach across down to the ground.

Roll Up

We're going to take the arms overhead. We're going to lift the head and chest. Pause. Find that nice lifted position, flattening the spine into the mat. And curl, peeling away from the mat. Find a rounded spine. Reach the back out long, inhale. Keep the arms here. Roll the spine down. And you can always reach forward if that's a necessary movement for you. Just try. And then start taking them overhead from here to come down. And then lift the head and chest. Reach forward and exhale. We roll the spine. We find that rounded shape. We elongate the back. Bring the arms out to the site. And then from here, we're rounding the spine, feeling the pelvis, pulling underneath, feeling the arms starting to travel overhead. Get the length in the body. Get the reach. Here we go again. Inhale head and chest. Exhale to curl. Inhale the arms up. The spine lifts. And we roll down. And just pause right at the shoulder blades, right there at the shoulder blades. And we just do a little lift and down and a little lift and down and a little lift and down. Bend the knees. Bring the hands to the knees, curling the chest up.

Double Leg Stretch

Double leg stretch-- we reach up and back. And reach up and back. And reach up and back. So keeping the strength through the center of the body as the arms and legs, they travel away. And five and back and four and back and three and back and two and in and one and push the knees into the hands and just rock. Two, finding balance. Three, controlling it, pressing the knees into the hands, lowering the spine back down on to the mat, working with control, shins parallel to the floor, hands on the left knee, right leg forward.

Single Leg Stretch with Variations

We pull, pull, pull, reach, three, reach, four, reach, five, reach. Take that leg into a bicycle. Bend the bottom knee and stretch. Bend and stretch. And stretch, just holding that body nice and still. Here's three, three of five, which makes this the last one. Bring the bottom leg up. Bend the knees. Reach for the knees. Curl into it, little rock and balance and a little rock and balance and a little rock and balance. And now we control the down, controlling it, pressing the knees into the hands, finding your position, hands behind the head, rotating towards me.

Criss Cross with Variations

Reach out and out, strong and controlled, and out and three and three, getting ready to take it to the bicycle. Four-- here it is. Coming up now, we stretch and then bend the leg that we're turning to to straighten. And then continue to cycle through and move with precision and move slowly. And three more-- and three and two and two and one and one and both legs come up. The head reaches down.

Roll Over

And we roll over. Flex the feet. Separate the feet and lower. Roll the spine down, controlling, controlling, controlling, arms reaching, legs reaching, point, circle, touch, inhale and over, exhale. Flex, separate, and down. Then we bring it down. Then point, circle, touch, lift, and over. And flex and separate and down, and bringing the back down. I'm pointing to bring the legs around. Curl the head up. Reach for the legs. Bend the knees. Roll the spine. Roll the spine. Roll the spine. Reach up. Place the feet gently to the floor. Open the knees. Stretch the body forward.

Spinal Twist

So elongate the back. We're going to keep the legs in this diamond position today. Hands behind the head, pressing the head into the hands, we do a double twist towards me. Pull, pull, and center. And pull, pull, and center. And lift as you twist and center and reach up and center. And lift and lift. And three more and two more, working through the waist. And one more, and then we lift. We bring the legs in. We let go. We bring the hands back, fingers facing in, long lifted back.

Reverse Quadruped

We press the pelvis up and lower the pelvis down. So the back stays straight. Press the pelvis up and lower the pelvis down. Allow the neck to just come with spine so the eyes look at the ceiling. Try to get that vertical or that straight table-like position at the top and down. And two more, reaching up and down and reaching up and down. And lift off the arms and open the legs. And dive forward.

Saw Variations

And bring the back up, hands behind the head. Twist towards me. Take that outside elbow. Reach across to that front shin. Roll the spine up on the diagonal, lift, and return. And inhale to twist. And exhale to dive down in rotation. Inhale to elongate the body and find center. And twist, rising up. And dive and elongate the body and center. And twist and dive. And elongate and center. And twist and dive. And reach longer as you come up and center. And reach and dive and reach longer and find center. Stretch the legs out. Bring the arms out the front. Inhale, exhale. We dive over the legs. Starting with the pelvis, we lengthen out through the back, finding that nice long positioning of the body. We lift up.

The arms come to the side. The arms press forward. We roll the spine down. Elongate the body. The pelvis presses out. The spine comes up to meet the arms. The arms lead the spine. And then we lift the back. The arms open. And we bring the arms forward. Again, exhale as we dive down. Inhale, elongate the body, reach, reach, reach, lift, and down. And reach forward. And roll forward. And elongate and lift and down. And dive and elongate and reach. And hold it here. Now we just take the arm closest to me over to the back arm. And open through center. And other side-- reach across and open to that T position and center. And reach across. Stay long and open. And reach across and open. And arms forward-- and now we bend the arm closest to me. That other arm reaches forward. We reach back, stretch look back, bend and push. Bend the arm and reach back, stretch. And alternating sides, two more. Reach on both sides. And bend and pull. Reach, stretch, bend, and reach, stretch and forward. Last one-- reach, stretch, and forward. Slide the legs together. Reach over the legs. Roll the spine up.

Roll Down Variations

Arms out to our sides, we roll the pine down here, just to the tips of the shoulder blades. Just to the tips of the shoulder blades, hold in, hold in, and then we roll up from there. Oh, yes. And we dive forward, arms to our sides. And we roll out. And we roll back, finding it, pull, inhale, exhale, diving forward, reaching over. Elongate one more time, rolling back, rolling back. Inhale, reaching over. Slide the legs in.

Rolling Like a Ball / Jackknife Variation

Reach the arms forward. Lift the feet and rock and lift. So we roll like a ball without our arms and rock and lift and rock and lift. And now we rock back. The arms go down. The legs kick over. We're going to reach down. We're going to lift the legs. We're going to dive back. Bend the knees. Curl, reach forward, find your balance. Rock back, kick over. Legs lift up. Spine lifts up. Dive back in half. Bend the knees and rock up and roll back. Last one-- kick over and elongate, reaching. Dive back. And from here, just roll the spine down. Bend the knees. Place the feet down on the mat, preparing for the shoulder bridge.

Shoulder Bridge

Arms at our sides, inhale. Exhale, begin to guide the spine up off the mat, rolling through the body. Pause there. The right leg stays on the mat. The left leg lifts. It stretches up. We're going to take the leg down and back, down and back, down and back, down and back-- one more-- down. And hold it up. And now circle to the inside. And a little circle to the inside. And a little circle to the inside and hold. And a little circle to the outside. And a little circle to the outside. Keep the body still. A little circle to the outside. Now draw that leg in close and start rolling the spine down. Bring the arms off the mat. Lift and find that leg. And then press the pelvis down. And bring your leg with you as you come down. Bend that knee to place it onto the mat.

Inhale here. Exhale, we curl the spine, lifting up. Pause there, nice, solid high position. Then we lift the opposite leg. And it kicks up. We take it down and back, down and back, stabilizing through the trunk. Two more. Last one. Hold it up. Little circle to the inside-- one. Circle to the inside-- two. Circle to the inside-- three. And other direction and two and three. And then the leg comes in close to the body so the body rolls down, rolls down. We lift up. We catch the leg. We press the pelvis down and then just draw that leg in towards your body. Bend your knee.

Modified Side Bend

Roll towards me and up onto that forearm. So now we're going to stack our legs. Stack our legs. We're going to push into the forearm. Push the forearm into the mat. We lift the hips. We just hover there-- five, four-- working through this whole bottom side-- two, one. And the pelvis comes down. But the shoulder doesn't get lost. And we lift and we hold-- two, three, four, five-- and we come down. And we lift and we come down. And we lift. And this time, the arm reaches. And we push that sideways up, get that nice stretch. Take the top leg. Stretch it out along the mat. Bend it back in. Bring the arm up.

Side Kicks

Sit the head down. Kick the leg out. Bring the hand behind the head. And we swing forward and back, forward and back, forward-- so it's nice and strong on that supporting arm-- and back, forward and back, forward and back. And now we go forward. We make a big half circle to go back and back and forward, and up and back, and up and forward, and up and back, and up and forward, and up and back, and up and forward. Last one-- up, take it to the back. Take that hand. Bring it around to the front. You're on both hands. The bottom forearm is firm. The other arm is pulling you forward as you reach your leg behind you. And now lift that leg up and up and up and up and up. Lowering the leg down, roll onto your stomach.

Single Leg Kicks

Hands on the mat, press into the mat. Lift the chest. Pull the spine through the arms. Hover the legs. And we're going to do little scissor kicks. And little kicks-- kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick. As your legs are coming in, pull the spine out and forward. Reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach, reach. One more-- reach, reach, reach, reach. Center, lower the legs, push up, coming up onto your knees.

Knee Stretch Variation

Hands on the mat, tucking the toes under. Hands are really close to the knees, really close. We're going to get into a nice rounded spine. And we're just going float the knees. Just float and down. So you push them out away with your arms. You draw in with your abdomen. And then it's the energy through the waist that lifts those knees off the mat. Holding, holding, holding, and down. And we'll do two more. Push down. Float up and down one more time. Push down, float up and down. And so we just swing to the other side, stacking the knees.

Modified Side Bend

Elbows are right underneath the body. Body is long and straight. We reach up, hold-- two, three, four five-- and keep the body long as the hips come down. And lift up. So it's simple choreography. Yes, but it's great work. Feel that whole underneath side of your body working, the scapula drawing down to the waist, the rib cage drawing back into the scapula. They wrap together. And down and reach out. And down and one more We lift up. We take the leg and the arm. And we reach them away from one another. And we press into that side arch there. Reach out, reach out, reach out. Lower the pelvis, hand behind the head.

Side Kicks

Legs off the mat, and it swings-- kick, kick, and kick, kick. As the leg's moving through space, the spine is stable and still. And reach, pull and kick, pull and kick, pull, pull, kick, kick. Last two, last one. Here comes our big circle. So we go down. These are tough. We reach up. Don't lose your waist. Drop, catch, and back, drop, catch, and forward, drop, catch-- so look, keep your orientation of your body in mind. Don't allow your shoulders to start sagging. Don't allow your waist to start sagging. Last two-- and forward. This is it. We take it to the back. We take that arm and we bring it around the front. And we turn the body. Turn the body. And then reach that leg up and up, pulling the spine forward. The elbows reaching down into the mat. Pull and feel that stretch in the waist. And two and one-- and then flipping onto our stomach, turning your head to face me and bringing your hands behind your back, hover the legs.

Double Leg Kicks

We bring the legs to the body-- one, two, three-- we reach out. Take that pause. And then other side kick-- one, two, three-- and reach long, longer and longer all the time. And again, kick-- one, two-- and reach out. And kick-- one, two-- and reach out. And last one-- one, two, three-- and reach out. And bring the legs down. And just lift the arms now, just the arms. And reach and reach and take the arms overhead. And fold the arms underneath the body. Press into the forearms and push up. Bring yourself all the way back towards your feet. Take that stretch. And come up onto your hands and knees.

Plank Variations

Hands on the mat, finding a long spine. I'm a little distracted by the sunset, actually. It's quite amazing. Step the right leg back. And you just want to stand on that leg. Just stand on your right leg. You're going to round your spine. You're going to push the right leg down and forward. And you're just going to float that left knee. Bring into the body and back and down. Push into the right leg. Float the body. Push the mat away from you. Lift that knee. Bring it in. Bring it back. Bring it down. One more-- we'll have right leg strong. Left leg floats, goes in and out and down. And switch. Left leg straightens. Right knee on the mat. Push the arms. Feel the left foot strong. The left leg's strong. Float the knee. Bring it in-- don't change the body-- back, and down. Press into the waist Lift the knee. Bring it in and out and down. And we just challenge the stability of the spine. One more-- in, out, down. Both knees bend. Knees under the shoulders.

Cat / Cow

Inhale, exhale, feel the pelvis move under. See if you can do this without a lot of excess tension. Just feel the bones of the spine rippling into a rounded shape, letting the head drop down. And then going the other direction, leading with the tailbone, allow the bones of the spine to ripple in the opposite direction, and letting the head lift. And inhale, and curling, and reaching, and neutral.

Leg Pull Front Variations

And we step one leg back and the other leg back. And then the left foot reaches out and down, out-- it's a sharp kick-- out, out, out. Place it in. Right leg out and up, without changing the work through the center of the body. Two, one-- it goes down. Left leg up. It goes out to the side and back, out to the side and back, out to the side and back, out to the side and down. Right leg up, out and back and out and back and two and back and one and back. And place the leg down. Bend your knees. Slide yourself down onto your stomach, forearms on the mat.


So we start to feel the shoulders draw back. We start to allow the head to lift down. Only lift to the point where you really want to use your arms here, and down. And then elongate the body to go forward. And as though you're trying to roll a marble along the front of the mat, you slide the shoulder blades back. The head begins to come up. The chest, the breastbone reaches through the arms. The legs are reaching long on the mat, and down. One more like that-- and we reach out, just doing what you can. Our bodies are all a little different. But again, I'm encouraging you to feel only a backward pulling of the arms and not a pushing downwards. But now I'm going to change my encouragement. So we're going to go.

We're going to find that place. We're going to push the elbows into the mat. And we're going to begin to lift, now only to the point where the elbows want to lift up off the mat. And then the spine slides back out. And then we reach the shoulder blades down. We lift, lift, lift, and then push down. Don't let the elbows lift. Prove it to yourself by trying to pick up your hands. Then place the hands back down. Maybe you'll lift a little higher. And then go all the way down. We're going to go one more time. So elongate the body, reach, press into the arms. Lift the hands. This time, we press all the way up as far as you can without allowing your shoulders to come undone. Reach up onto your knees and sit back on your feet, all the way back.

Spinal Articulation Cool Down

Roll yourself up so you're on your knees. Bring the arms down. Bring the arms up. And then round the spine in. Reach the arms in front of you. Deeply curling, press the shins into the mat. Lift the body. And arms come down. I'm going to go this way. We're going to take the arms up. We're going to round the spine, deepening, deepening, deepening. Press the shins down. The hips come forward. The spine lifts. The arms open. The arms lift. Round the spine. And lift up. Bring just the left arm down now. Stretch the right arm overhead. Reaching, bring the left arm up. Bring just the right arm down and stretch the left arm overhead. And bring both arms up, inhale, exhale. Curl the spine. Last one-- reach, dig. How round can you be?

Reach all the way up. Inhale, feel the energy reaching through the body. Allow your arms to just start to very slowly lower, very slowly, so they reach out first. And as you slowly go through that outward reach and that downward reach, feel that there's energy coming in through the hands into the center of your being. There's an elongation, a sense of ease. And just continue to slowly gather that energy as your arms come all the way to your sides. And then bring the hands together in front of the heart. And once again, close your eyes and breathe one deep breath. And thank you.


2 people like this.
¡¡¡OLEEE!!! You are the best.... thanks !!!
4 people like this.
I think I am addicted to your classes, Meredith! :) Thank you for another great, feel-good workout. It made this rainy Sunday here in Slovenia so much nicer for me...
1 person likes this.
This class does its magic in sunny Mexico too Janja. ;)
2 people like this.
Thank you, Meredith, for bring me much needed release on a very nerve-filled day. I can't even remember what being nervous feels like, I feel as light as a feather.
I will meet you and hug you one day, soon enough, I promise that. Thank you.
1 person likes this.
Great class as always, thanks
2 people like this.
You are great!!!!! Thank you Meredith love your classes!
A huge thank you to all of you! Those I know, and those I don't are equally appreciated and treasured!!
1 person likes this.
Great class, thank you!
Susan H
4 people like this.
Always a great class with you Meredith. Thanks
I have taken almost 30 of your classes and I like every one of them. Thank you!
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