Class #1644

Fundamental Mat

35 min - Class
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Join Monica as she teaches her mom in this fundamental Mat workout. She demonstrates how to safely practice Pilates for the first time, and explains the powerhouse - a concept integral to Pilates. This workout is also great for the elderly, or those with a limited range of movement looking to build up their strength.
What You'll Need: Mat, Towel

About This Video

May 13, 2014
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All right. So today I have my mom and I'm going to teach her a lesson. So we're going to go ahead and sit down and then just lie down with your head that way and your feet this way. Perfect. But just go ahead and lie completely down. Good. All right. And I'm going to get you a little pillow. You can fold up a, uh, you're pretty strong there.

A fold up a towel that I just had a, a nice pillow and go ahead and bend your knees and paste. Feet flat on the Mat. Good. And before rice work too much with you, I want to get an idea of how strong you are and flexible you are and teach you a little bit about [inaudible]. So we always have uh, the frame or the police box, which is a straight line from this shoulder to this shoulder and s that goes down to this hip bone. Feel that hipbone. Yes. And then across to this hip bone. And I usually like to say it's like a laser beam that your belly wants to stay below that line and then it continues the box up to this shoulder and just working within your frame or your box takes care of a lot of aches and pains because as we'd like to hold purses on our shoulders or stand on one hip and those take quite a toll on our spine, on our back. So just working incorrect alignment feels really nice.

Also, you really want to use your powerhouse, which is a five inch band of muscles. Imagine a construction worker and they have a belt to support their back. That's the area. It's not just the front of your body, but the lower back also works with your stomach to form like a girdle and support your back and that is your powerhouse. So every exercise I'm going to make you use your stomach, use your powerhouse. Okay? Okay, good.

I'm going to come around to the side and I want you to pull your belly in and bring your right knee into your chest. Good. And let's see how flexible you are. So I'll know what to do with your single leg circles. Can you relax your bottom down onto the mat? So this leg doesn't have to work at all, so we're just going to put it here and have your bottom down on the mat.

It's still kind of lifting your bottom up. All right, there we go. And it looks like you're pretty flexible, but as I pull the leg to you, I'm lifting you. Got It. So keep it down. So this is about as much. That way you get a good stretch. Okay. All right. With your belly in, let's see if you can bring the leg down to here and hold it there on your own with your stomach for 10 seconds, I'm going to let go. One, two. It's really good. Your bellies in your backs nice and flat.

Let's see if you can lower it a little bit to here and you holding. Beautiful, very nice mom. Good little relaxed feet now only go as low as you can. Keep pulling into your back, supporting it. You can lower your leg holding. Three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. Very, very nice.

And then use your belly and bring the like all the way back up again. Good. And then let's see if you're able to make a circle. Is that bother your hip at all or anything bothered good or reversing it? Excellent. And we're going to bend the knee and we'll do the same thing on your other leg.

Good. So we're going to pull the belly in and we're going to bring this knee in. Excellent. And you're going to straighten the leg up. And again, this leg doesn't need to work. It's tough to turn it off, but try. Yeah. And we're going to keep your bottom down while I stretch you. Good. And now with your belly in and your back flat, let's bring the leg down to right here, which is equal to the other thigh and hold it there for 10 seconds.

I will slowly let go. Beautiful. And let's lower it a little lower. Good, right about there. Is that all right? And hold it for two, three, maybe. Soften the knee a tiny bit. That means don't press into the back of the knee so much. Relax it a little. And we're going to keep your belly in and go only as low as you can.

Keep your back flat. Bend your knee just a tiny bit there. That's what I, how I want the energy in your leg pulling in. Great job. Keep pulling into your back and lift that leg up to the ceiling from your stomach. And we're going to bend the knee. Oh No, I'm going to check. I'm going to have my hand on your hip to see how does that circle feel? Good. Notice that I'm holding your hip down and you're so it doesn't move when I circle your leg. Your hip. Oh, so when I do, we do like circles in a minute. You don't want to keep that in mind? No, because it's part of your box and the box states square and if you rolled your hip around it wouldn't, it would throw off that alignment. Good. So now I want to say since I'm hearing it start with your left arm knew that's right and it lifted up and that seems like it's pretty easy for you.

How about out to the side? Anything bother you in your shoulder? No. What if I lift it like this? Anything in your elbow or anything? No. All right. What if I take it back? Would hurt anything? No. Good and around. Great. What if I took it this way now? Oh, very good.

And I'll check out your right arm. We're going to lift it up. And I know you've had some tennis elbow. Yeah. Which whenever we have any injury it's like a whole set of alarms go off and we start getting a little defensive. And you're doing really good though, but you kind of prepare for the worst and you brace yourself even though it's just tennis elbow. Imagine if you had a bad back. You would do the same. Exactly. So talk to me about that right now.

Are you going to see that doctor? But what about right now? Does it send any pain to your not elbow or shoulder right now? I'm not kidding. I've been good. And when I move it in this range of motion, good. The nice thing to know and why I do this, why, why we do this in Romanos plies before we start is because I show you that's as big and wild and crazy as we're going to get. So if that doesn't hurt you, then you're not going to feel hurt in any of the exercises that we do today. [inaudible] my face. What if I stand right here? Is that better? Okay.

So I want you to now we're going to see your, um, see if you can lift up your head. Good. All right. Relax your arms and try to relax your bottom and take a breath. And I want you to press your bra strap down and lift up a little higher. That's good. And I want you to hold it there without me for five seconds. Two, three, four, five. And now lie down your neck and head. So they start getting tired.

Just after five seconds they started getting tired. Good. So when we do the a hundred, we'll lift it up for a little bit, but not the whole time. All right? Okay. So now I want you to pull your belly in like you are and bring your right knee into your chest. Good. And now we're going to bring in the left knee, also. Good. And we're gonna bring your feet, knees right here. Good. And I want you to take a big breath and I want you to exhale. When you exhale, it's really easy to pull your stomach in like you're deflating a balloon.

And so I want you to inhale and when you exhale, I want you to pull your belly button in and into your back and really feel nice and connected with the mat, like really grounded, rooted into the Mat. Now reach your arms long away from you and lift them up so they're at the level of this hip bone. Good. And without hurting your shoulder, elbow, we're going to just pump it up and down a little bit and you're going to take a big breath and you're going to exhale, pulling your belly. And since you have a bad shoulder or elbow, really big breath, I want you to be aware that when you inhale, you don't do this. And then exhale, so keep them where they are. The shoulder, that's great. And you want to pump from the shoulder, not from the elbow. That's it. Pulling in. Good. On the next exhale, I'm going to help you lift your head up and exhale so that you curl up a little bit more.

Good big breath and exhale, pulling into your belly. Good. I'm going to let go for one breath and exhaling. Keep doing everything but lie down your head and neck. Keep pumping your arms. Good, big breath. Exhale, we're going to on the neck. Take a breath and now as you exhale, lift. I knew if I told you, pull in, pull your belly and curl up a little higher. And on the next exhale I want you to reach your legs a little bit away from you.

Exhale, pull your belly in. Exhale, good. Curl up a little more. This is the right position for you. Exhaling there. Bend your knees and rest your head and relax everything you're done with that exercise. Wow. Good for you. Good. So you add a little bit, but not all if you lift your head up but it's not being in the right alignment. Then your eight to 10 pound head cause that's how much your headways is pulling on your poor little neck and it's gonna get really hurt. So when you lift up, if it's not high enough, then it's going to really strain your neck.

So you want to go ahead and take a breath and exhale lifting up your head. So hold. If it's here Dick, it's really going to hurt. You want to come up and up and up so that you're right there so that these bones are up and you're holding it from here and lie down your neck and head. So that's something to work towards medial you don't want. Exactly. And it's better to do only a few counts up where it's supposed to be and then lie down for the rest. Then holding it in the no man's land.

[inaudible] right. Okay. So now we are going to do our single leg circles. So you're going to pull your belly in and remember this is your box and we don't do the Cha-cha or circle the box or anything while we do. Okay? So you're gonna use your belly and bring your right knee into your chest and hug it and then straight and your leg up to the ceiling. But we want this leg not to work and you want your bottom to stay on the mat.

Okay. Straight arms and you can even use the back of your arms for stability to push down. And we try to bring your leg up to your nose and we try to cross it over to your shoulder, the left shoulder, but don't move that hip. And then we go down a little bit and pull it up. Go ahead and cross down and up and three and do the last two without me and one more. Good. Now we'll go the other way down.

Cross around, up, down, cross around. Try not to use your other leg down. Use your stomach instead. Now one without me. Great job. Then that knee, it's always nice to hug it, put your hands and to give yourself a stretch and then you put it down and now you're going to pull in good job and you're going to straight in your leg and you can put your hands behind your thigh. Don't bend the knee to do that though. It's a stretch. The box stays down. [inaudible] go ahead.

Now put your hands down by your side. Again, use the back of your arms for stability and valley and I'm going to keep my hand on this hip as we cross up to your nose to the other shoulder down, around, up, cross around and using your belly to pull up three. Do two more on your own without me. I'll keep my hand on your hip. Last one. Good. We'll go the other way down. Cross around them down. Cross using your belly. Three more without me. You're really good here.

Relaxing that right leg. One more good. Bend that knee and give it a hug. Good job. All right, we're going to put that foot down. Very, very nice. Now I want you to use your valley to bring the right knee into your chest. Good. And I want the right hand to go down here. Switch. Very good. Good. All right.

So we have this hand on your ankle in this hand, on your knee. And we have a beautiful straight line that takes care of your hip and your knee and your shoulder too, because you have a bad elbow and shoulder. It's important that you put your hands correctly, okay? Because you want to always strengthen your arms, right? So show me your muscles. Tighten. Okay, good. Now put your hands back where they were.

And so if you have good muscles and you're pulling against each other, your leg should stay straight. Now switch your hands. Nope, not the legs. There you go. Now pull with your strong arms. So if this arm was pulling and this arm was pulling, you'd pull your knee out of alignment, but you would also pull your shoulders out of alignment. Okay? So for you, I'm gonna want you to make sure this line stays straight. Not like this when we do the exercise.

So I want the arm that crosses the body to go the knee. Okay. All right. So I want you to put this foot down and I'm going to help you pull your belly and bring the left knee in. Good. This arms, crossing the body now and it's going to go to your knee. Okay, we're going to switch again. Put your foot down. Good. All right, one more with me. I'd like your foot to go down before you bring the other Nan. So put this one down. Good.

Now you use your stomach a little more the last time you kind of pushed out. Okay, so put your oh you good. So I want your foot. So put this one down. Now breathing out one in. Good. But this one down better. Great. But now you're s you still were lifting that. Did you feel that? Yeah. Okay, so be careful and put it down and bring this one in.

Good. All right, so you get the idea. Let's challenge your stomach. Keep your belly in and this leg is going to not be straight up to the ceiling. Actually it is. Let's keep it straight up. If the back of your thigh was too tight, you could lower it a little bit and that helps. Okay, so right here as good, but pulling your belly in. We're going to switch legs. Good. And pulling your Bellion. Good. I don't want you ever going lower than this.

It's really good. And come on. Strong, straight shoulders across. You've got to think about that. Now I love that you have straight shoulders across, but your elbows are like this. So with this here, you're gonna hold, lift the back of the arm, the elbow. That's how it should be. Okay there. Remember ankle. And now this one doesn't like to go. The ankle, the bad arm that you have has to go the ankle, not the, not the shin. Okay, good stomach.

Good. Now stay there and I'm going to help you lift your head out of no man's land. Good. And and left. And I love the arms. One more set and left and bend both knees into your chest and rest your head down. Excellent. Very good. Now the hand slightly onto your ankles. Okay.

And this is a beautiful stretch. The first one we just did was called single leg stretch and this is called double leg stretch. And a lot of people think it's because you stretch your legs away from you like this. But that's not it. That's right. That's the exercise. But it's when you pull them in, so hands on your ankles and it feels obviously nicer when I do it. But you push down into the mat and then a little towards you, like you curl your tailbone towards you. Okay? Every time you bring it in, you want to push, pull down and into you and it stretches and opens your lower back.

Can you feel that? Okay, good. So you were right. You're going to reach your arms up to the ceiling. Good. That wasn't the ceiling forward. More right over your toes. Yes. Really important for you. Okay. Open to the sides and like circle to your ankles. Good.

Now can you do that without changing anything in your shoulders? [inaudible] beautiful. And then to your ankles. Good. Inhale and exhale. Good. Inhale and exhale. Okay, now rest your arms down. Okay. And I'm going to step out of the way and you're going to straighten both legs to my hand and then use your belly to bring them back in. Good.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Good. All right. You got that? Hands on your ankles. You're going to think about your shoulders and I'm gonna put hands right here. Okay. And I want you to reach your arms to my hands.

[inaudible] and exhale. Bend your knees. Inhale. Exhale. Pull it. Inhale. Exhale, pull in in. There we go. Inhale. Exhale. Oh, in your valley. Stay there. I'm going to help you bring your head up. Your knees. Don't go away from you though. There you go. Inhale. Exhale. Hold it there. Inhale, hold. [inaudible]. Where are the arms?

Up to the ceiling. Exhale, back to you. Inhale, pause. Exhale. That was better, but the lights can go lower. Two more. Inhale. Exhale. Right. There's better. One more, and exhale and rest your neck and head. That got a little tiring, Huh? Oh good, good, good, good. Very nice. So as somebody gets really, really strong and really, really flexible in their back, because you can be, have abs of skill or really strong, but your back can be very tight. So they both have to work together.

But right now I had you reaching here, but as you get stronger, your legs will get lower, but at the same time, so will your arms and they slowly open up. Okay, so let's sit on up. Good. And I want you to straighten your legs. And if we were on a [inaudible], you want to open your legs three inches wider than your shoulders, which for you this mat works. But if you are any taller, you'd have to be on the floor would be better. All right? And your feet are flexed. Now in this position, you want to be sitting up tall. So in order to sit up tall, we're going to bend your knees a little bit. Now you look tall and just rest your hands right there. Great. So I want you to pull your belly in and try to touch my hand.

That's up above your head. Yes. And now take a breath and exhale. Bring your head to your chest, looking at your belly and your fingers and crawl your fingers towards your feet. Crawl them like [inaudible] took that and your belly hugs into your back and you're going to roll back, pulling in good, tall, tall, tall you. You roll up really nicely, pulling in and exhale down. Good. You do it every day. That's good mom and rolling back.

I'm lifting up. Good and rolling down. Scooping in. Now I want you stay here and grab onto the inside of your arch. Good. And I want you to relax your neck like head down there. Take a breath and as you exhale, pull your belly in and try to slide your bottom away from your feet or a few feet away from [inaudible] and that's a big stretch on the back of your legs and your lower back.

So you've pushed your feet away or slide your bottom back. How does that feel? Good. Let go of your arches and slowly roll up one bone at a time. Starting from here. Good, good. Lifting up, up, up, shoulders and relax. Great. Good. How are you doing? Good. So now we're going to do some pre Palladio's or on the past they were called t v exercises. Swing your feet over to me when you get to put them down here.

We want just a nice right angle here. So that's why I put this chair, not chair box feet straight ahead. Good. And you want your um, frame shoulders straight. Okay. And the hipbones straight across. Good. Good. And I like making people put their palms up. Let's see here.

You're doing really good. I'm going to move the box. So because I'm s I want to center you so bad. I was going to center you on the box, but that wasn't gonna work. Okay. So I want you to really work on sitting up nice and tall. We're going to bring back this hip bone just a teeny bit. Okay, that's enough. And we're going to pull your belly in and I want you to lift up from my fingers.

Yes. As if, again, my hand was floating above you and you try to really reach, reach, reach, good, good. And try to stay there. Really pulling in and tall and try to relax your legs and your arms. But the only thing that's working is your powerhouse. You good? All right. I'm going to sit next to you, but you don't need to do anything. Okay, so stomach is in and with your belly in, we're going to lift your right knee up, leg up. Okay. And you're gonna put it down. What happened when you did that? Do you know?

Kinda hurting under, you're over here probably. Oh, and not doing it right. Well, one thing that we did was we leaned back and we used this muscle mainly. Now it could still hurt you, but the idea is to pull your belly in and not to lean back and not so high. Let's just lift it. You know how I, what I like to do is I have to imagine that there's a little sling. No, use this towel as a sling. I like to imagine that there's a sling under my thigh. I'll do it.

Okay. Pulling in your belly and that this slang just lifts up your leg. Hold two, three, four, five and release. And when you lift up, it just, the foot just hangs. It's not like grip that pull up. Okay. So don't lean back. That's what we're learning right now. Stomach pulls in. Nope.

Relax the foot down. Stomach pulls into your back. There you go. And just lightly and hold two, three, four, five and down. I need the stomach to pull in more. [inaudible] and then up to just to, they're not higher and down. I'm going to take it away and scooping in. And you're going to pull in that it relax a foot though.

Let it hang the foot just yeah. And down. Cause when it lifts like this, it's, yeah. So colon and then just ha yeah. And down. Let's see if you can do that on the left side. No, you want it to lean back and shove everything. All right. Scooping. And there you go.

Can you feel a difference in your body and put it down and scoop it in. And Dan, I'm gonna pull in first and then lift two, three and down. Good. So that's something you can do every day too. Okay. So always pull in first cause otherwise you'll grip here and here. Okay, good. Now I want you to hold your arms.

Actually I want you to just look. Here's your nice box, right scooping in. And I want you to keep your shoulders exactly where they are and look over your right shoulder. Let's see how this goes. Aha and forward. And let's look over your left shoulder. Okay, great.

And relax. So now what I'm looking for is when you look over your shoulder, the just watch me, don't worry about it. When you look over your shoulder, you keep your chin and nose. Your nose is going to go straight up and down and your chin at the same level as you look over your shoulder so you don't tilt your head and kind of look like this. Drop Your Chin or move it forward. So let's start looking forward again. And you did it perfectly, but you moved your shoulders. So we're going to beautiful. And now look forward. Put your head back a little bit more taller, taller, taller. Okay.

Chin down a little bit. There you go. And pulling and look left. Look out the ocean. That's nice and forward this time. Let's look at the ocean first. Yes. And all the way over to the other. Keep your nose straight up and down and look forward.

Kind of silly but not easy. Is it? Nice. Good. Yeah. It's a good stretch. Yeah. Keeping your box. Yeah. Keeping which is connected to your shoulders. So all of that is very important right now. So you're going to keep this and now I want you to push your head against an imaginary wall behind you and slide up that imaginary wall.

And then reach forward with your Chin and try to touch your chest and then roll up your neck and head two more times. Lift up tall through the back of your neck and then bring your chin forward to your chest and with your belly and roll up your neck and head. Good. One more. Don't lift the chin. Lift weight, weight. Pull the head back again. Push the back of your head into my hand. There you go. Now lift tall, not the chin.

So you're stretching the front of your neck. But I want you to stretch the back of your neck. So relax your Chin down and with your Chin just straight ahead like it is. Push your head back there and then try to stretch the back of your neck. Mom, not the front of your neck. You're still trying to push this down. I want you to do the opposite there.

Now bring your chin down to your chest. There you go. That's it. And now using your belly roll up. Good. Now I want you to just have your chin look forward straight ahead, like normal there. Now try to, without moving this shoulder, bring your right ear. Matt, here's your nose. I want your nose to go on a diagonal as your right ear. Trying to touch your right ear to this shoulder. Let's watch me, mom.

So we don't twist the nose. [inaudible] just drop the nose just goes on a diagonal. You just drop your ear. Yep. You just drop your ear to that shoulder and then nice and tall. Good. And now drop this to this year. That's it, but and tall am now. Let's start this way first.

The tough part is we do want to change it a lot and straight up and go, oh, we changed a lot there. So just look straight ahead like normal long. You have your Chin too high there. Now just draw. Don't twist the neck, don't twit. Just drop the ear there and back up. Very good. Okay, now we're going to do a full circle. Okay, so pull your belly in again. That's it's tiring to keep it in the whole time and I want you to look all the way over to me without moving your box. All right, let's try it one more time. Keep it here. Look over to me now try to bring your chin down to your chest and circle it all the way over to look over the other shoulder and then look forward, forward just forward and you're going to reverse it.

[inaudible] look out the ocean other way there, down to your chest all the way over to me and look forward. Just straight ahead. Good. The only thing I want you to work harder on is you hold the head a little bit in front of you. Pull up back here. Not by lifting your chin, but just bow. Yes. Now look out the ocean and scrape your chin to the chest and go all the way over to the other shoulder and look straight ahead with your nope. Right here. That's it. Push your head back again. No, that's it.

Now look over this shoulder or you moved all your shoulders. Didn't you stomach in there? Now scrape your chin to your chest. Circle all the way over to here. Look over the shoulder and then look straight ahead, but your head's a little in front of your body. Again, pull back in your neck. There you go. Excellent. Lift your shoulders up by your ears.

[inaudible] and relaxed. Real tense and relax. One more. Relax. Now we're going to do a circle roll. So you lift your shoulders up by your ears and then you open them by pushing your shoulders back. Your arms are just down by your side and then slide your shoulder blades down and then circle forward. Keep your arms just like down on the mat. Like here, they don't move up with the shoulders.

Circle that only the shoulder down you go. And then forward. Good. One more. Back and down. Let's go the other way. So stay with me. We're going to go back. [inaudible] just open the chest up. Forward, down, back. Good. Up.

Forward, down. One more stomach. And if you can, good. And last time we're going to do one back the first way, but pool in and sit up tall for me. Sitting up tall doesn't mean lift your eyes and your nose. You want to just [inaudible] so we're going to lift your shoulders up, pull them back and down and stay there with a little bit more open and stomach in. Okay, excellent. Last thing, this is called CATSA nets and it really is a wonderful arm. Strengthener and shoulder strengthener. So we're gonna hold your aunt, your cousin Shari loves this exercise. So we're going to lift our arms up like this. Okay.

And this is going to be hard enough. These are a call to classical line. You want to open your shoulders a little bit and Romana always used to say, let the water go down your arm. Okay. She didn't like it to get stuck in your elbow and not be able to flow to your fingers. So you have to lift the elbow up a little bit so that the water, and since she did teach you the nutcracker, I'm sure she taught you this. So you're going to let the water flow. Okay, so don't let your elbow hang. That's your homework today. You're going to make the elbow stay up a little bit.

Okay? Can you do the same thing with the other arm? Yes. And the palms are perfect. They're looking at each other. The palm of your hand. Okay. All right. That's the most important thing with of course your stomach and, but now I'm going to challenge you in another way. I'm going to take your Pinky, your little finger, and you're going to click it five times to the middle of your hand. Ready? One, two. Come on. Gesture. Pinky three. Gesture. Pinky five. Now try the ring finger. The next one. One, two, three, four, five. Now the middle fingers, stomach, and two, three, four, five.

Now the index, one, two, three, four, five. And the thumb. One, two, three, four, five, and hold. Before you do anything else, lift the elbows a little bit. Especially that one. Lift the elbow up, not the shoulder. Yes. Excellent. Now we'll start with a thumb. One, two, three, four, five.

Index, two, three, four, five. Middle, two, three, four, five, ring, two, three, four, five. Pinky, two, three, four, five. And now we get to play our cast nets. You ripple. I'm in. Two, three, four, five, five more each finger. Now. Ooh, I forgot. Let's start with the thumb first. That's hard. Thumb. And then go amend. Then go thumb indigo. Do One more. And now pull your belly in. Sit up tall and know you. Shake out. Shake, shake, shake. So that the blood really gets into your fingers.

Really gets invigorates you. Stomach in tall, tall, tall, [inaudible]. And we were all finished.

Comments

1 person likes this.
You have such a wonderful way of helping your clients make the right connections, a sign of a truly gifted teacher. Your understanding of the intent and execution of the work and how you communicate it are amazing.
Wow! Isn't that a nice comment to hear! Thank you so much:):):)
Thank you Monica. I love the way you deal with your mum. This is surely one reason many of us began to teach Pilates - to help those who’ve helped us. Breaking things down, not assuming too much... great reminders for me,

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