Class #1572

Mat Workout

50 min - Class


Niedra teaches a creative Mat workout with a mix of stretches, arm work, neck work, leg work, and a very challenging Ab Series of 5 while balancing on a Yoga Block. The exercises are inspired by movement typically done with the Magic Circle and Hand Weights, but as an alternative for people who do not own either, Niedra uses the Yoga Block and Theraband.
What You'll Need: Mat, Yoga Block, Theraband

About This Video


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Good evening our, today I'm going to do a rather creative math class or math workout using a yoga block and a thorough band. Some of the exercises are inspired from the magic circle and from hand weights, but I know so often we don't have um, those of you at home, you may not have everything, but these are pieces of equipment that you can buy anywhere and they're not costly and they're fun substitute to really open things up. So to start working with the theraband, taking it about shoulder height, standing in my [inaudible] stance and just pulling the bar, the arms apart. So I start to feel how my back muscles are working and the triceps, slightly contracting. And at the same time, every time I'm opening the bar or the band, I should say, I want to feel the chest expanding for me and the spine getting longer. Two more times.

It's this is just to warm up my upper back and warming it up a little bit more now coming up, very important as the arms come up, not to let the shoulders go up, but some keeping my shoulders down, spreading the arms slightly, lifting way up and stretching over to one side. What I'm really looking to do is create length in the side body more interested in both sides of the ribs and waist lifting and then opening up all the way from the hips and my hips are stable. I'm lifting both sides of the waist. I'm pulling the arms a little bit to activate the lats and at the same time create this opening stretch along the sides of the body. Now before we go further, I also want to open up the legs and the hips. So working with the Yoga block are, and you could actually work with a book, you can work with a rolled up towel.

You want to see if you can get, so the fee, I'm placing this really high up, quite close to my groins and checking that my knees are going straight ahead. This is hard to unravel. Different imbalances that can develop in them leg muscles and the hips and the joints. So as we have four quads and three hamstrings, just that means that some of them can be longer or more active in others dormant and this is starting to get things more evened out so that the kneecap track straight. So with the knees slightly bent, I'm gently pressing into the block but at the same time thinking that the block is helping to take these hipbones and widen them out in the pelvis cause they have it in. See as we get older to drop and implode inwards and then rolling down watching my knees as I go down to make sure they're not rolling out and rolling in it. Just taking a few breaths here, checking that my hips are right above the heels, checking that my spine is even, but most importantly constantly looking at my legs.

Don't want to lock the knees back, but I want to make sure that the center of the ankle is going forward. The shinbone is going forward, the knee is forward, and I'm starting to feel my hips literally reorganize and then rolling, coming up to an upright position. It's going to get everything out of you, even the frog in my voice. So from here I'm going to move down, so I've brought it to the bottom of the ED doctors, so it's halfway down the side. Each one of these angles is going to address something a little bit different.

Again, checking the legs or even starting standing right vertical, and then rolling down. This time I'm going to turn sideways just to kind of, so you can see the side angle. I'm not locking this, I'm not locking the knees, and this is really like wall. Whether you get to the floor or not, doesn't matter. What matters is that the legs are tracking straight and you take a few breaths here and you start to feel this opening and releasing. That's going to start to happen in the whole back part of the legs. If you're doing this right and possibly in [inaudible] of the muscles and then rolling up again.

If you are tight and you can't get to the floor, you can always have a chair. I'll demonstrate with the bed here, so now I've moved, so the block is just above the knees. I'm checking that the heels or under my sit bones as much as I can, I still want these hips. The sensation is that the hips are widening, but still I'm pulling the muscles up and rolling down without letting the knees roll in or roll out. I'm stacking the bones straight, allowing the legs to unravel. Some of you may only be able to go this far down. This can do magic for shifting, releasing and opening up the legs and then rolling back up.

Turning this way, I've now moved the block just below the kneecap, so I'm now activating my shinbones towards each other, checking that my knees are going forward, my thighs going forward. My spine is straight, my feet are right under my hips and rolling down again. This is where my shinbone really start to work very hard. I can feel them unraveling off of kind of turnout patterns that they had years of ballet and years of gripping the muscles in here. So very, very good to help this release and rolling back up. Okay. Moving the block down.

Halfway down the calf again, I'm activating my shinbones, I'm activating the whole lower leg. I'm checking that I'm not collapsing my arches but lifting them. But now I'm making the legs work and rolling down again. Again, checking that the knees are facing straight forward. The shinbones are forward, the quad saw in front, the hamstrings are in the back, the side muscles of the legs are tracking up on the side. This is to start to bring balance throughout the legs, rolling back up and then the last one is right above the ankle bones.

So sometimes people need to bring the feet closer together. I bend the knees for a minute to check and I checking that my feet on the arches are not collapsed, but this bone is pressing in and then lifting way, way, way up. And again, I'll roll down, keeping that lower leg, very active, allowing the breath, allow the legs to unravel a little bit more. Get unweight have that pattern that it, the leg skin gets stuck in to unwind. I'm coming back up now taking the block. Okay.

Area of the side of the neck. It's very, very tight. Sometimes I'm going to take the block first of all and place it high up in the armpit and then pull the shoulder way, way, way down. Check thing. My shoulders are square. Now with the shoulder down, I also want the shoulders slightly back. So I'm kicking the collarbone. What this is doing is it allowing the whole shoulder girdle and the shoulder blade in the back to become wide.

So as I pull this arm in and press my rib into the block, it allows this to become wider. So once I have that stretch, I'm taking my head in the opposition and I can feel beautiful opening happening in here. So taking a moment to breathe into the stretch in the side of the neck. Check that the shoulders are down, check the rib cage is lifted. I'm also going to turn my head away to open up the side of the neck and a different angle coming back deep and my ear to shoulder and coming up, doing the same on the other side. So shoulders down, slightly back. The spine is lifted and then I pull the arm down and in and I press the rib out into the block a little bit. So I'm not letting the block collapse.

The rib cage, quite the reverse. I'm creating a nice lift of the whole rib cage. Then I start getting into the neck, the shoulders really anchored and this allows the neck to start to open. Turning my face, stretching away a little bit further, opening up the side of the neck, coming back and going a little bit deeper into the side of the neck and then coming up. Similarly, this area gets tight, so I'm placing the block up as though someone's pressing the Trapezius with these muscles. It gets so bunched up, pressing them down. And then I am taking this arm and stretching it up and out.

So if I was to turn backwards, what? What's happening? I'm pulling the shoulder blade away and at the same time forcing not letting this muscle grip. So it takes some attention. But the feedback is really, really nice because now I can feel when I tighten up in there and just pulling this arm down a little bit behind my head, lifting up the ribs and bending away, keeping the trapezius muscles that muscle right on the top of the shoulder by the neck, keeping it down. So the opens up another area doing the same on the other side, keeping the shoulder, this area down, it bunches itself trigger happy. That part of the body for just about all of us.

So I'm trying to reeducate that area to stay down. And then what has to happen is this whole side, rib side armpit and Trapezius muscle has to start to get longer because it was faking it because the Trapezius was doing it. So here we go. My shoulder is down, my neck is long. I'm getting as much of a stretch as I'm ready to experience. And then bending sideways, opening up the side ribs, lifting the elbow up. What a delicious, delicious stretch. Oh my goodness. Okay.

So we kind of did a little bit of a stretch and every part of the body warm to top opened up the a little bit. So taking the theraband, now we're going to do a series that's often done with little hand weights and Peloton, but we're gonna work with the band instead. So I'm dividing this in half and stepping onto it in a slight Palati stance and then bending the knees a bit and bending over. So my elbows are lifted and I'm pulling my arms up and down. If you're stronger, you can go lower. I'm not that strong, I don't think. Yes, but you can increase or decrease the tension depending upon the length of the bar.

The thing to watch for is that your chest and your spine is staying long. I'll turn sideways so you can see the angle you want a long back. Hopefully the shoulders are right in line with the, with the hips, and then you're working the band in the upper back, going right up into the back part of the shoulders. It's delicious. Now pulling the arms up by the arm pit, stretching one arm forward, one arm back like boxing, pressing and lengthening, pressing and lengthening.

Now at the same time, keeping a long neck and the Sh olders down. Stretch, stretch, stretch and stretch. Okay. It's very interesting too too because the theraband does keep increasing the pressure. It's more like a spring. Then a little hand way to standing upright. Now I've got my elbows slightly in front of the hip bones. TRICEP curls. As I'm pulling up, I'm keeping my chest high.

I'm looking to make sure that I'm stable in my trunk and I'm not letting the elbows go behind me. Well, we don't always do a lot of work in the arms, in polarities. We should. We should work evenly throughout the whole body. I was just reading, where was it today in a book about Joseph, how he said, you really need to study the body, see what's underdeveloped and work there to Kevin, eve and muscle structure. So here we are zipping ups. I'm checking that my spine is long, my elbows are not pointing outwards, and at first the first set that I'm going to do, I'm not going to let my shoulders come up at all, so I'm not kind of getting into those of the Trapezius, but I am letting my elbows come up and now I'm going to see if I can go further. So now the trapezius muscles are involved, but there's nothing wrong with them working.

We just don't want to work them all the time as a substitute. What other muscle groups? Yes. Okay. Turning the hands out, taking the arms out to the side, taking them out, taking them out, taking them out with the palms facing up. One more time out and now turning them in. Some going from the elbows.

All right, now stepping off three the elbows. I've wrapped the hands around a little bit. Let's see here. This is to work a little bit into the rotator muscles, which are the muscles right here that often get torn. So I think I need another wrap through to get more tension in here. There's always another way to do this. Let's try this way.

I think this will work a little bit better. Wrapped around the waist. Yes, definitely. So my elbows are on the outside of the bar, the palms are up and I'm taking the arms out and en and the elbows are hooked behind the strap. This is great to do every so often cause many people get rotate co rotator cuff tears and they get them because these are small muscles and they the lots aren't strongly developed in the full balance of the deltoid is not developed. So what happens is it gets overstrained. This is also very nice therapeutic exercise then an in.

So now I am going to angle on a diagonal out elbow and in so elbow is out. So we're doing a diamond shape. Elbow comes towards the bar, stretch out on a long diagonal elbow comes in, elbow out, elbow in, reach the arms out, elbow, back, elbow in, elbow out. I'm sorry. Elbow in, hand, bow. Reach the arms out, reach the arms back. Bring the arms in. Okay, so going into some legwork and footwork on the mat. So sitting down again, articulation of the feet can be so valuable. Before we do some footwork with a syrup band, we're just going to do some work sitting, holding onto the band, lifting the chest and just pressing down and up.

So very important to be sure that this strap is wrapped right around the toes and the ball of the foot. So extending down. And one of the things that I focus on is can I get my heel to move away as my toes move up towards the knees and then my heel shortens as I press the toes down. Then I adding the toes. So extending all five toes, pulling the toes back, pressing all five toes down. Very interesting to do because usually people crunch and clump the toes and there's not a lot of detail happening in them. And one of the lovely things with this work is you can try and keep your toes straight and because the thera-band will actually support the toes from a bending too much.

And this is a very nice to educate the whole lower foot. So now just do a few with the toes. Only the toes. Very, very good. Before we go further, I wanted to cover one other thing with the legs before we go further with them. Hey, another thing with the neck in the plot is method. We normally have a piece of equipment called the next stretcher. It's not very often used.

It actually has a place because most of us, our neck gets weak and displace and that can be forward. Head. Neck can be imbalanced in different ways and if we're looking to develop a balanced, structured, balanced, and even symmetrical symmetrical physiology, we need to study ourselves and see what do we need. So this part of the neck can get very weak, especially as people get older. But young people benefit from this as well. If we take the block for this first one and place it under the chin. Now, if I was to turn sideways, what I'm looking at, if I'm spotting somebody else's that they're not placing the head forward, but literally lengthening the neck back so the neck is vertical and then as they bring the chin down, the back of the neck lengthens even further.

So there's a slight resistance into the block can make this happen. And what as it head comes forward, I'm focusing on getting more length through the nap in the back and contracting in the front. You may want to try this actually lying down. So lying down, there's a slight curve in the neck. A lot of people, their back and neck is already pretty shortened and compress. So you need to put a pillow you're looking to get even length and no strings in the neck. So from here with the back of the neck law, you can see saw slightly into the block to start to get a sense of how can I make my neck longer in the back by contracting the front of the throat.

It's a very therapeutic and beneficial exercise to warfare. So you can do it lying down. You can do it sitting. The truth is you couldn't work at literally with your hand. You don't really need much of anything, but you do want to be sure that you're encouraging the cervical spine to go back into a vertical plane. Now the sides of the neck need work as well.

So if I was to take my serve then and I feel like lady from the 20s wrap it around, I'm Jess by sitting or standing straight and putting pressure. It's stimulating the side of the neck to be strong and then I can lean into it a little bit further to make the neck work a little bit further so it's starting to get the whole neck to be stimulated and active. One thing I watch all the time is the chin down so that the spatial features that going straight forward, when people think of lifting the head, they usually do this and the face is going up and then heck is shortening in the back. You want to be aware that you're working straight so I'll do the other side. Same thing first of all just by pulling, holding my head straight, I am stimulating this whole side and then when I lean slightly away it gets a little bit further and ask them a little bit more out of my neck. Now this could be done lying down as well to further.

Here I am with my neck long and as I pull the theraband and I keep my shoulder down, my neck is having to work harder and harder to stay stable. So just holding this position is working. My neck muscles, I'll do the same to the other side. My neck is long, the shoulder is down, and now I'm starting to pull the theraband away and because I'm on my back, I can really focus on the back of the next thing long, my faith thing square to the ceiling and not shortening in any way. So I'm encouraging a really good alignment to come back. Now the back of the neck that we've been working on, if I were to take the fan around the back of my my head and again bring my chin down with the neck long and then lift back up, pressing my skull back, I can feel how I'm starting to encourage, I'll turn sideways. I'm starting to encourage the head to be more vertical.

So another thing you can do with clients that maybe very forward with this skull, just sitting and pushing back into the thera-band may start to stimulate the head to be more functional and vertical. So you start to get this whole upper part of the head and neck active, very, very, you know, important actually because the pattern is always down and forward and shorten and compress. Then then the skin drops and you know, with part of the aging process, we're fighting the aging process. We're fighting, going over and we're staying up. So now coming into more legwork, we worked with the toes sitting, let's work with the toes on our backs. But now here we are, the neck is long as I lift up, I keep the back of the neck long and it's lifting very much from the powerhouse. So this is a nice place to find that seesaw quality happening so that even though the head is up, the neck is long, and then I'll start flexing, pointing and coming in.

As I'm doing the the legs in one direction, I'm checking that the upper body is elongating in the opposite direction. Very nice feeling. So my whole spine is getting longer. Pressing out, reaching with those legs? No, because my neck is starting to get tired.

I'll go into bird on a perch with my head down, seeing if I can keep my neck long, my feet a little bit crunched and working in and out. If I wanted to work harder with this fan, I can always extend. So it's making upper body work as well as lower body work. Extending. Whoa. Ex tending. Yeah.

I like this. It's like everything has to get connected up to work. Nice feeling x 10 yes. Going into single leg circles, the same thing. I'm going to take the leg and the arms apart so as I do my circle, because my arms are above my head to work a lot harder to stay blinds the pelvis if that's too much.

Of course you can hold the arms here and reverse [inaudible]. This is more fun and changing my legs. So this is just to start getting a little bit of leg work happening for me. I'm extending the arms out and leg circles and reversing it, checking that my risks are not going all over the place. Very nice. Now coming back to the Yoga Block for rolling like a ball, this is fun.

So a few different ways that this block can be used. I'm going to start with it between my knees, so the anchors, the angle and just do three roles here and I can have my hands lower and then taking the block, placing it between the heels and my bottom. So now the feet can't move at all. It's all powerhouse going for the role again without losing the block, that's a whole lot harder. And then to make it even more interesting, I'm bringing the block between my chest and my knees and let's see if I can keep my act together here.

There's no doubt [inaudible] have to work a whole lot harder not to lose my form, not to go off balance and not lose the block. I lost it. So series of five is so much fun on the block if you've already mastered it on the Mat because now the base is a lot more on smaller. Let me see if I can figure this up. This is a vague cushy mat, which makes it even more challenging. So the more you're off the block you are, the harder it is to keep yourself in the air. So I am going to place myself here, anchor into my powerhouse and because this yoga block is quite small, I could see myself rocking.

So I have to focus really hard not to go too much to the right too much to the less. And in my case I have to really watch not to lift up too much low my legs too much, cause I have these long wrong legs and they will anchor me that way if they go too low. So taking a little rest, I love this by the way because it just gets to, you get to play with a series of five. You get to play with your own strength, your flexibility in figuring things out. Ultimately this whole work is not just about being correct, but figuring out how to do it in your own body. And that is I think, the secret of life. Figuring it out. How does it work for you?

So double leg stretches wa ha ha ha. Here we go. Yes. Three, four, wow. And Five. Yes. I'm going to relax for a minute. So this is fun. Highlight things that challenged me. Curling up again and scissors, polls, polls, pulse, pulse.

I kind of gave up and being perfect and good and it's successful. A long time ago when I started having a lot more fun once I took away the responsibility of all of that. I highly recommend it. From here. Curling up, I think I'm going to need to help lift myself with my hands first. There's my center point on this infamous block. Whoa, this is hard.

I haven't done this for a while in this block is really small, so it's cool bro. So lower the legs. Gosh, I can't do this. I'm going to do this with my hands here and I am working very hard just lowering and lifting a little bit. And then from here, Chris Cross will be the last one. Twisting to the right, twisting to the left.

I know I look like I'm on the map but I'm not. I'm just touching one more time and lowering down so I have to confess this is a double challenge because of this, but what the hell, it's really fun to in the series of five on a yoga block going into spine, stretch forward with the theraband, getting the legs wide and stretching into the band. Really lifting up to the spine is long. The shoulders are down to as I go forward I'm pulling these arms back and I'm going to do three pulses to three and row back up and lift and again starting to pull the bar, the arms back, scooping down. Press one, two, three and rolling back up.

Reaching long with the arms. One more time, pulling back and lifting, scooping down, pressing one, two, three and rolling and lifting up. Now from here, let me come a little bit forward for open leg rocker with the theraband. So very interesting because the pressures into the outer thighs and I have to keep the bar, the band I should say spread apart. And one more time like this and lifting up. And the same thing with the yoga block.

So now we working inner thighs. The last one was out or size. Now it's in a Zeiss. I'm working in anchoring through my adductors and tempting. Whoa, let me get this block. Really even seeing if I can roll right through and Oh hang up.

And one more time and rolling up, lifting up, reaching, touching the toes and then coming down onto my back for corkscrews. So the leg so long let's do corkscrew with the theraband. So much fun like that. [inaudible] so here I am, I have my toes extended. The first set will be just to familiarize me with the sensation.

Now taking the arms out, it's a lot more challenging to stay stable. And now adding to this a rule up and a roll down circle, giving us some resistance and Dow and one more time circle and roll up and roll down from here just to change things around. For first of all, Nicole, starting with the hands on the floor. If you are an elevated math, if not true, let me move down to my feet. Don't over the edge. It's nice to get that little bit of traction in there. So from here I'm pulling slightly my heels in one direction and dragging my hands in the other to get my chest to come forward.

So I'm just doing that first of all just to create this length through the whole body. And now, and this doesn't have to be with the toes over the edge, you can do it very nicely on the floor depending upon the range and flexibility you have coming as high as you want too. But with the shoulders down and this is where it gets interesting the first time when you turn your head, you just turn the head without the shoulders moving at all, rolling down, turning the head the other way. Lengthening up a little bit further and then reversing, really turning the head rolling down, looking and coming down. Now starting to warm up here, so pressing up a little bit higher, lifting up out of the lower back.

This time when I turn, I let the shoulders destabilize, so I'm letting the upper ribcage twist a bit to see if I can get my head going all the way towards an to see the ankles. At the same time, I'm pulling my right shoulder from my ear, so it's giving the neck a really deep stretch. Rolling the other way, looking way back, letting the shoulders go with the stretch and and taking that left shoulder and pulling it down and straightened and reversing it, twisting, but letting the left shoulder go way down. Rolling to the other side, looking over the left shoulder, pulling the right shoulder down, lifting way, way, way up now and coming forward. Taking the block for the swans. I brought the block here. First of all, let me just pull up and down a few times just to warm up the ribcage, the thoracic spine and get that sense of the powerhouse lifting way up.

Now I'm lengthening the arms and I'll go into full swan dive. One, two, three some using the block to make me work the arms extra and then lifting up for single leg kicks with pressure into the block to get extra work into the rib cage. So one leg comes in and flex other light comes in and flax. So I'm just warming up the quads a little bit. Other leg, making sure my pelvis c feels stable and then I'm working nice and fast.

And from here going into boat pose, which we so seldom do, use different type. Lets just stretch one foot at a time, pulling it in. You can take your then wrap it around. If you can't get to the foot and just give the legs a stretch, let the quad stretch out. Okay, other light comes in.

Now both legs come in, some pulling the feet in and lengthening the size. So there's a slight anchoring of the sake from down and just testing the waters here. Can I actually lift my thighs up? Very important to be able to get that front of the quads stretching and then lengthening the feet away. Opening the chest. Doing that again. Oh, just opening up if you can get to the feet and turn the hands out. So the thumbs are facing the ceiling. I'm sorry. Yes. This thumb, the facing the ceiling.

Lift up again in this angle for an extra stretch along the front of the shoulders. Very, very useful. Okay. And then coming all the way up and going for a rock, just retching the whole body out and then lengthening down. Scoping the navel, stretching out, lengthening the back, lengthening the stomach, lengthening the arms, allowing the body to really unravel. Spiky, reaching long through the spine, walking to the right, walking to the left, bringing the hands back towards the heels. Little stretch I love to do is getting the crown of the head on the floor and lifting up the hips while I pull on the heels.

So this opens up deeply into the sacred checking that I'm opening up between the shoulder blades [inaudible] and then hands on the floor and rolling up. Paroling hop, growling up, probing up, rolling up, opening up the chest, and then doing a reverse. It's my hands on my heels. Scoping the tail. I'm going to look into, down into the belly. Press the hips forward.

Let the head go way back, and then bring the hips down and let the head come forward. Lengthen the spine out and again, roll up. Press the hips forward. Let's go ahead, go back, bring the hips down, lift the head, scoop through. [inaudible] [inaudible] lifting the chest. One more time. Ruling through. Lift your face up.

Press the hip, sir. Sit back down school length to now and now walk your hands out in front of you. Look the head draw. Just really stretch. Stretch the ribs, stretch the spine, lengthen the hips away so the tail is moving away from the crown of the head, and then curl the toes under. Round your back and push your heels back.

So you're kind of somewhere between a yoga down dog. And Elephant and the old Matt Elephant. You walked your feet forward towards your hands. If you had the range of woodwinds, you walk them through, I'm going to hang back because we would, and so I'm walking my hands, my feet forward, walk my hands forward again, look in my naval, opening up between the shoulder blades, walk the feet forward again, calming through, and then with the shoulders, very wide. Elbows out. Scooped the navel.

Woe Up, row up, row up to standing. Take a moment to get anchored to get centered. Feel kind of what's happened in your body and go have a great time celebrating life. Thank you.


I've spent two weekend's coach surfing. My neck and shoulders thank you!
1 person likes this.
oops...couch surfing!
2 people like this.
Awesome stretches,love that she uses props in a creative manner.....
love how she teaches,explain in complete detail of each movement...
Excellent body wareness........Very good........
love the tone of her voice.....
Another home run! Thanks Niedra!
Thank you ladies, I always enjoy reading your comments and getting a concept of what you like and what you want. It helps me create the filmed videos with you in mind.
Keep on working.
1 person likes this.
Love this class, Niedra, and my clients in Egypt are thanking you dearly for these beautiful shoulder stretches :)
LOVE the release work!!! Thank you SO MUCH! My hips, legs, neck, and shoulders are like new!!
thank you ladies, very happy you felt better from this work.
Very creative moves. Thank you so much. So nice that someone still uses props. Great workout.
Excellent stretches and workout. Very much enjoy. Thank you
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