Class #1827

Stretch and Expand Mat

50 min - Class


Find the stretch and expansion in your body in this Mat workout with Meredith. She uses the Theraband the entire class to assist or challenge certain movements. She also creates a nice flow by linking the breath and the movement. Enjoy Meredith's creative variations including Saw, Chest Expansion, and more!
What You'll Need: Mat, Theraband

About This Video

Aug 28, 2014
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So I want everyone to just stand and face this direction, we're gonna work with the bands this evening. Then just take the band, and hold it in your first, like between your thumb and your first finger. And then give yourself about that much band, and bring the band down just near your thighs. So what I want you to do here is look down at your feet, see that they're straight ahead, they're parallel to one another, and then organize yourself so that your knees are just over your feet, you feel your pelvis just over your knees, you feel your rib bones just over your pelvis, you feel your head just over your ribs. Yeah.

And then we're gonna inhale and start to lift the band up. So as you lift it up, you're gonna stretch, and I want you to visualize your whole spine reaching up into the band, and then take just the arms, don't change the position of the body, but take the arms back as far as you can without lifting your shoulder blades. And then bring the band down, and as it comes down, it's gonna press against the body, and I'm gonna give you a side view, and it's gonna wrap back, and you're gonna press back with your arms. So inhale, raising the arms up. Take the arms as far back as you can, feel the shoulder blades scoop under and forward, and then bring the band down the front of the body, you can give it a little stretch, an outward stretch, and then press it against your thigh, pull back, and as you pull back, create a lifted chest, and then reach the arms forward again.

So we're gonna do that one more time, the arms are gonna push back, we are gonna feel. Again, we visualize that elongation of the whole body, and then the arms are gonna reach down, and come against the thighs, and they wrap back against the thighs. From here, take the band just slightly forward. Inhale, and then as you exhale, start to bring your chin to your chest, and then think of just melting towards the floor. So as your spine is rounding over itself, your abdominals pull up towards your spine for support.

You can keep your knees straight or bent here, and keep a little bit of an outward pull on the band all the time. Pause when you arrive at the bottom and inhale. As you exhale, lift the navel toward the spine. The belly button pulls back toward the spine, and we just begin to restack. So feeling again, the knees over the ankles, the pelvis over the knees, the body lifting up, stacking itself over the pelvis, the arms are gonna travel up, and this time, with the arms up, we're gonna take a side bend.

So we're gonna reach over toward the ocean. So letting the band come with you, and then do a little down pull on the bottom, so you'll feel an increase in the stretch on your thigh. Let the band come back and lift the spine up. So we'll inhale, breathe in as we reach over, trying to keep the abdominals pulled back toward the spine all the time. Exhale, press down on the band, just as much as feels good to you, really.

Lift the arm back up, and lift the spine back up. Again, bring the band down, we'll do one more roll down. So then roll down as you exhale, let the head go heavy, it's an opportunity for you to check in with yourself. So start to look inwards to link your movement and your breath. Pause at the bottom.

Inhale, knees soft or straight. Exhale, rolling up, stacking the spine over the hips. Letting the abdominals pull up away from the band, the band is very lightly stretching outward. We come all the way up to standing, we reach the band up overhead, we're gonna add on to that side bend. So little bit of ribs in, that's it.

We're gonna reach over, inhale. Exhale, take that top arm and turn it so that the arms are now parallel, the band is parallel to the floor. So your pelvis will shift slightly. Inhale, turn back, the pelvis comes back forward. And lift, exhale.

Inhale, we reach over, you're gonna exhale, drop back through the abdominals, belly button to spine, rotate the body so that the band becomes parallel to the floor, de-rotate or unwind, squaring the pelvis off. Lovely, and lift all the way up. And now, just one time for now, we're gonna stretch that band, we're gonna bring the arms all the way back behind us. Big stretch, you pull on that band as much as you want, if you don't have enough space, give yourself more space, more band between your hands, and then lift back up, I'll follow my own rule, and bring the arms back forward. Okay, nice job guys.

Well, let's sit down. We're gonna take the band and wrap it around our feet. So in terms of tension, the closer you hold on to your feet, the heavier the band will be, which will make it harder work on your arms, and easier work on your stomach, and vice versa. So we're gonna lift the body up from there, lift the body nice and tall, flex through the feet, and if it's tough for you to sit up with straight legs, go ahead and bend your knees, that's always fine. So from here, we're gonna turn the palms up, we're gonna bend the elbows and lift the chest up.

And then take the arms back forward. So exhale, the hands rotate, the top of the head reaches for the ceiling, the back of the earlobes pull backwards. And forward. So we're just looking for the full elongation, a fully straight back. Pulling back, rising through the chest, you got it, and take the arms forward.

Last two times here, pull, using the pull of the band using the weight of the band to help us rise up. To help us feel the elongation of our spine. Take the arms back forward, last time. Rotate and pull, it's like a rowing machine. Kind of, if you think about it that way, nice.

Take the arms forward, and then push into the band with your feet and start to curl the spine. When you curl your spine, I don't want you to just dump over. So we just start to round, the chest is still lifted, we're gonna move the pelvis first. So the pubic bone reaches up towards the nose. Keep rounding the spine.

Row all the way down. Watch yourself there, Nichole, I just want you to make sure you're not gonna knock your head on something. And then reach all the way back with your body. Breathe in, now lifting the head up off the mat. So from here, feel the stomach press down into the mat.

And down into the mat. We're coming up very slowly. Press down into the mat to curl a little. Watch the collarbone, Steph. Press down into the mat to curl a little, and continue all the way up.

So find a rounded spine with your shoulders over your pelvis, and then bend your elbows wide to your sides and lift your back back straight again. Reach forward with your arms, but pull back with the center of your body. So now you're back in that long rounded shape. You're gonna tilt the tailbone under, so the pubic bone is reaching up towards the nose, it's like a rolling action, you're wheeling yourself down. Yeah.

Press into the mat with your stomach. Come all the way down onto the mat and then lift the head and chest. So again, the action of that flattening of the spine, that pressure downwards into the mat is where the lift of the body is gonna come from. You have to curl, curl slowly, almost as if though you're very reluctant to leave the floor, yeah, and then rolling all the way up. Good, shoulders over the pelvis, spine is round, and then we bend to lift.

And take the arms forward. And round the spine, tailbone tuck. So you're always working energetically away from you with your legs, you're pushing forward into the band, that helps you to pull and flatten the spine into the mat. We roll all the way down, head comes down last. This is our last time like this.

We're gonna lift back up, we're gonna press in, see how deeply you can feel your abdominals connect, and then very slowly lifting the spine. And coming all the way up, shoulders over the pelvis. And then bend the elbows, lift the back. And press the arm back forward again. Bend your knees.

If you feel like you're very sticky and it's tough for you to move through your lower spine, give yourself plenty of tension. From here, we're gonna roll ourselves back down, knees are gonna stay bent. So I'm flexing my feet pretty hard so I have something to hook my band against. Little less shoulder, Casey. Yeah, that's it. So we're gonna round, and we're gonna find ourselves just to the tips of the shoulder blades, so you're in a sit-up position.

Press down with your feet, and now curl up partway, it's tiny, and down. And if you feel stuck, you could pull with your arms a little bit to help yourself there. And down. So what we're trying to do here is move the part of the back that feels like it's challenging to move, or doesn't want to move. And then back.

So we're just pressing into that lower back, curling the spine forward and back. So a little less, Nichole, so think about shoulder blades, keep going down. Shoulder blades to pelvis. That's it, and then back to the shoulder blades. Let's do two more.

Shoulder blades to pelvis, and back to the shoulder blades. Last time. Shoulder blades to pelvis, and then from there, we're gonna curl all the way up. So lift up. Stretch the legs out and separate the feet.

Gonna go in the opposite direction now. Same idea, same rounding action of the spine. Again, straight legs is always fine. Bent knees is always fine. So from here, with your body straight, gonna press down a little on your band, and as you press down, I want you to lift your chest and look up.

Just do a little baby back bend there. And then the arms are gonna stop pushing, the spine comes just to its upright place. Lean forward, Deb. And then we're gonna take the head forward, and start rolling down. So as you round down, you'll feel how the band starts to get loose.

You can start to bend your arms there. As the elbows bend, you'll pull yourself forward into that stretch. And then take a breath in there. Imagine that you have a wall behind you, and you're just attempting to stack, bone by bone, sequentially up your spine, right back on top of the pelvis, the arms will straighten as you move, so that you're lifting the ribs up off the hips, and as you sit up tall, the eyes come forward. Let's do that again.

Inhale at the top, exhale, the head goes forward, the abdominals pull back towards the spine. We're rounding, we're allowing the elbows to bend. We're allowing our arms to pull us forward. Take another inhale, and as you exhale, start rolling the spine back up. So stack the spine, reaching up, lifting tall, arms go straight again, one more time.

Inhale, lift. Exhale, round. Moving the spine segmentally. The more flexible you are, the more you can think about trying to dive your nose between your knees. Inhale.

And exhale, we lift back up, stacking and rising up. We're gonna bring the legs back together. We're gonna bend the knees again. We're gonna roll back again. Again, give yourself plenty of band, if you need the assistance.

Start curling your spine back again towards your shoulder blades. Once you get just above your shoulder blades, pause, and then you're gonna turn toward me. Turn towards me. Keep the knees face up, straight up. And then we're just gonna do a mini curl and twist on that side.

And down. And a mini curl and twist on that side. And down. So we're not de-rotating, watch the knees, keep them straight up. We're not de-rotating we're keeping that rotation in our body, we want to try to feel is the opposite rib cage, coming over towards that inside hip joint. And down, we're gonna to three more.

Exhale, deepen and rotate. And articulate down. So I like this feeling in my own body, anyway. Curl up. Of as I go down, trying to make more room, elongate more. Let's come back to the center, we're gonna come up, have a quick break, so roll yourself back up through center, lift your spine up tall, bend your elbows, let's bend three times.

Pull, and then push the band forward. So even though you're releasing tension, you can still create energy. Last time. Pull back, lifting the chest, and press forward. And now we're gonna round again.

So it's a tailbone tilt. We're gonna move through the lower back. Move through the center of the spine. Once you get down to that nice, low position, just up off your shoulders, we're gonna rotate the opposite direction, and then we're just gonna do a little lift on that side. Lift and rotate, and then drag yourself down.

And lift and rotate, that'd be a good place to exhale. And down. Or you could breathe as you like, but don't forget to breathe. And down. So we'll do four more here. Up, and back.

And into the body. And back, last two. And back, and one more time. And back. Find your way back to center.

Roll all the way back up again, lift your spine, and stretch your legs out as much as you can towards straight without being in a place where you feel like you're leaning back. Now we're gonna do some more rotations, so we're gonna take the arm closest to me, so we're gonna pull wide, the opposite arm is gonna push forward. So one side of the band's pretty heavy for tension, one side of the band's pretty light. And then center. And then rotate. So we pull and we use the band to help us lift, so pull against the band with your chest, lifting the chest up.

And then center, we're going kinda slow. Yep, and rotate. So a second option with the arm that doesn't feel like it has a lot of band is to push out with it, if that's something that you like. And center. So a little bit more work, I like both versions.

And center. So the arm could either reach straight ahead of you, or it could pull down and to the side. You're using both sides of the band to help you create your lift. And then again, so we pull and reach. Nice, and center.

As you're twisting from side to side, try to keep the legs pretty still. So you're not feeling the feet shift around in the band at all, and you're not feeling the knees slide back and forth on one another, and rotate, last one to each side coming up now. Find center, last one to each side, here it is. And then center, and then rotate. Nice guys, and center.

And then just bend forward, take a quick stretch. While you're stretching, take the band away from your feet, holding it in your hands again. Gonna lift the body up, and then we're gonna see about taking the body down real slow, just like we did with the band around our feet. So we're just holding it in our hands, there's not a lot of tension on it, and so we just slide the pelvis under, start rolling down, tilting the tailbone, Good. Great. Coming all the way down onto the bed.

Bend your knees. You'll want to either scoot forward or slide your feet back so your feet are pretty close; in fact, line your feet up with your sit bones, and just lift your head and chest and reach up and see that you can touch the backsides of your shins with your fingertips. So even just that, we get a little bit of an abdominal contraction. And then take your body down, the arms are gonna come up towards the ceiling. We're gonna inhale there.

As we exhale, we're gonna first flatten the spine into the mat, so we do a little tailbone tuck. And then we're gonna start to roll the spine up. As the pelvis leaves the floor, start to lower the band. So the band's again gonna come to the sides, it's gonna wrap around the sides, you're gonna pull down with your arms as you press up into the band. Yeah. Awesome.

And then as the spine rounds down, you're rolling, you wanna think about the breastbone leaving away from the chin, the ribs coming down, we can start to reach the arms all the way backwards. So the arms are gonna hover off the floor as the tailbone touches down, and then again, we exhale and roll the spine up, so press down into the seat, curl the hips up, lift up, band comes to the sides, arms pull down onto the band, and we press up with our glutes and the backsides of our legs, and then let the band lift up, and just start articulating the body all the way down again. So more things to think about as we continue through this movement, exhaling to lift, you can feel that your heels are trying to slide backwards. Now, that doesn't mean they're gonna move at all, but just the creation of that energy will make you feel, I think, the back of your legs more significantly, and that's one of the focuses of this exercise. Another focus of this exercise is the movement and the mobility that we're creating in our spine.

So let's do one more. Lifting up, pressing the band down, lifting the hips into the band, pause there, let the band lift up. So now it's just resting over the shoulders or over the chest, we're gonna transfer the weight of the body onto the right leg. Squeeze the backside of the right leg and float the left knee, it's just gonna come underneath the band like it's coming into a goal. And the leg's gonna tap, the toes are gonna tap, the left toes tap the floor, and then we come back so that we're hinging at the hip joint here.

And then reach down, and bring the leg underneath the band again. And reach down, keeping the hips high, and bring the leg underneath the band again. And we'll do two more, down, and back. And down, and back. Now, I want you to leave the leg in the air, and start to roll the spine down, and see if you can find the center of your spine.

And then as the pelvis touches down, we'll bring the foot down onto the floor. So inhale again. Exhale, roll the spine up, let's take the band down towards the thighs so we have that little bit of resistance to push against, bringing the arms down, lifting the hips up. And we're gonna take the arms up, just over the chest again, and inhale. And then as we exhale, standing on the left leg this time, the right leg comes underneath the band, and then just reaches to tap the floor.

And we're raising the leg towards our body, so you're trying to feel, or what I want you to think about feeling, if you're so endeavoring to, is to pull the leg towards the body from just underneath the ribcage. So as though there's a pulley that's connected to your ribs, and that's where the leg is moving from. Last time, so we lift up, and then the leg stays lifted, we're gonna start rolling the spine down, and now the challenge is on one leg, right? Can we find the middle of our body? And then as the pelvis comes all the way down, leave that leg in the air, and just bring the other leg up to meet it.

So you're gonna keep the knees connected together, we're gonna bring the legs over in my direction, as your knees turn towards me, we're gonna pull out on the opposite arm. So if my knees are moving to the right, I'm pulling my left arm to the side, just to counterbalance. You go as far as you can maintaining your balance, and then we come back to center. And again, we're going the opposite direction this time. So as the knees go to the left, or whichever direction you're going, the opposite arm pulls.

And then come back to center. So this exercise is meant to be rotation from your waist, so what I want you to think about, is as you're breathing your way, exhaling your way back to center, your rib bones sliding towards your spine and down into the mat to bring the legs back to center. And then inhale, rotating to the other side. Shifting from one side to the next, and exhale to pull back. We're gonna do two more.

So inhale, rotate. Exhale, back. Inhale, rotate. Exhale, back. Place the feet down one at a time.

Keeping the band in our hands, we're gonna inhale. Gonna exhale, press the arms forward, curling the body up, once the band comes towards the legs, I want you to try to not push down on it, but push forward on it. And then take the arms back up, keep the arms lifted up, keep the body lifted up, and then let the body come down. Again, as we exhale, the head lifts first, the rib bones slide down the front of the body, the arms comes to the thighs. Instead of pushing down on the band, try to wrap forward around the thighs with the band.

Pause there, lift the arms first, and then take the body down. Three more like that, exhaling to lift up, pressing the band, reach around the thighs. Nice, good. Hold that. Lift the arms, oh, and take the body down. I don't remember how many more I told you, so we'll do one more.

So we're gonna lift up, taking the band, gonna take that band and wrap it around the thighs. We're gonna lift the arms, keep them up nice and high, and then lower the body. So adding on, exhale to lift. This time I want you to, you can let the band be just kind of floppy in your hands, and take your hands behind your thighs. Just use your arms there for a second to get a nice, high curl.

Stay nice and high off the shoulders, and then we're gonna pick the band back up and inhale. As we exhale, we're gonna turn so that the left arm goes over right knee. The band will go a little bit on the diagonal, and then center. Exhale, right hand over left knee, and center. Exhale, left arm over right knee, rotating through the spine.

And center. Exhale, opposite. And center. One more time. We go up, we reach towards the very outside of that knee, find center. Rotate, reach to the very outside of the knee. Find center, hold center, take the arms all the way back overhead, and let your body come down all the way.

Stretch your legs out along the mat straight. Lift your arms, your head, and your chest, the band will come down right near the thighs. Gonna try to roll up from here. If you get stuck, hold your legs and help yourself up. Yeah. And then dive forward.

Take ahold of your feet, at your ankles, or wherever your hands reach, just give yourself a little bit of a stretch there. From there, we're gonna lift back up. Once again, we're gonna separate the feet. And we're gonna do a little more rotation. So if your hands get tired, make fists.

Or Deb has a brilliant strategy of just wrapping the band around her hands, or around, and just holding like that, so options. So we're sitting tall. The first thing that we're gonna do is we're gonna twist. So come towards me. Now I want you to take your hand that's closest to me, and reach behind you.

And then take your arm that's furthest away, or that's in the front, and reach forward. So you're stretching your band, and you're going over your legs. You just go where your body lets you. And then we're gonna take the back hand, we're gonna anchor it to the mat behind us, we're gonna reach the spine up, stretching the band in space, lift the back arm up, and then rotate your body back to center. Breathing ideas: We could inhale to twist.

And exhale, stretch. The band pulls, the arms go in opposite directions. You're there. You've got it. Back hand goes to the mat. Stretch out through the spine, lifting up.

Up on the diagonals, and then lift the back hand. Gorgeous, guys. And find center. And then inhale to twist. And exhale to reach. And then we take the hand and use it to work against in our body as we lift. Back hand comes up.

Oh, I'm just thinking about that one we did last week, Deb. I'm trying to remember it. And reach. I came up with a brilliant strategy last week. See if I can recreate it. So let's try now.

It starts the same. Twist first, dive forward. Take the back hand anchor, just like before. Lift the body up on that diagonal. Now, you're gonna start to take the band across the body, you're gonna lift and rotate, looking up at the hand that's pulling the band, gonna come back, so you're on the diagonal with the band, stretching, and center. Is that what you remember?

And rotate. And dive. Back hand comes to the floor to stabilize. Spine lifts up, go on that up diagonal first, and then we start to twist, bringing the band across the body, looking back at that hand. Come back on the forward diagonal, in rotation, lift the back hand up, and find center. That's a lot of talking. That's a lot of directions.

But everyone's doing well. So we stretch out, and we take the back hand down. We reach out, lifting. So once you hit that line, we start to take the band, like a banner, like a Miss America sash across the chest, reach up, look back at that hand, come back to that squared, twisted line. Back hand comes up, we find center, last time.

Rotate, dive forward, back hand comes down, front arm stretches, then we begin to rotate around, looking up, take the arm back, come back until you're twisted towards the band, let the back hand come up, find center, and then just place the band down between your feet for a second. Bend your knees. So your feet are gonna be parallel, lining them up with our sitting bones, our hands are gonna reach back, if the fingertips facing inwards isn't a comfortable position for your wrists, turn your fingers to face out. We're just gonna do a little bridging here, so feel your feet on the mat. We're gonna lift the hips up, we're gonna press the pelvis up, lift nice and high, try to find a long line from your knees to your chest.

Nichole, don't drop your head all the way back, just keep looking a little bit forward. And then we're gonna sit the hips down. So let's do that again. Now I'm not gonna articulate, but you can if you want. But I'm working with a hinge right now.

So hips up, feel the backsides of your legs squeezing, I love it, and then back down. And then again, lift up, pressing the pelvis up, and then coming back down. Nice, guys. And lift up. And letting the pelvis drop down, we'll do two more. Lift up, pulling the belly back, and down.

One more time, lift up. And sit all the way back down to the mat. Turn to face me. Take the band again. You're gonna lay all the way down.

I'm gonna give you a couple of options. So the bottom arm, you're gonna be lying on, it's gonna be stretched out underneath your bottom ear, you can take your band in your hand, it's gonna hook to the bottom hand, and then the top hand's gonna hold it. What we're attempting to do is work the side of our body, so if it feels unbalanced for you to be dealing with the band, just simply set your hand down in front of you. Inhale here, feel your legs reaching away from you, so much so that they just start to float up off the mat, we're gonna take that band and start to bring the band towards the thighs. You can keep your head down, just take your arm down.

And then release the band up and let the legs go down just a little. So there's a relationship, let's do that again, between the heaviness in the legs, so we're using the muscles in the side of the waist to lift the legs up against gravity, and then down. And then the other relationship I want to talk about, or I want you to think about, is the sliding action of the shoulder blade drawing in. So we get the whole side of the body working. And reach up. We'll do two more.

So we slide down. Lifting the legs, bringing that back, you get a little back work there. If you're choosing to keep your hand on the floor, which is a very viable choice, you can get the same shoulder blade action just by pushing the fingertips energetically forward, and the shoulder blade down. That work for you? And down. So let's do that one more time.

So either the hand down, or the arm up. We can fly the elbow toward the feet, but the fingers forward. It's not really movement, it's just connections. So come down, we'll just leave the band where it is. I'm gonna prop myself up onto my head, but you can also keep your head down onto the floor.

We're gonna do just a little bit of outer hip work, so we have the abdominals working, we're gonna take the knees, I've lined my heels up with my sitting bones, gonna lift the top knee up, and down. Put your hand on your pelvis. And lift up. So the hand on the pelvis is just so you can feel that, when your knee lifts up, your whole body doesn't go with you. That's just it, you're just monitoring yourself. So and then against that lifting of the knee, you could feel that there's something to push against.

You're creating a lot of outer hip. Pushing, just creating more energy. And down. We'll do two more. Open, and down. And open, and down.

And open, and hold. Now, we're gonna keep that knee up. We're gonna reach the leg to straight. Gonna re-bend the knee, as the knee bends, try to turn the knee back more, and then the knee comes back down. And the knee lifts, and the leg stretches out, and the knee bends, and the knee comes back down. And we lift, and kick, and bend, and breath idea, we could inhale, and exhale, and inhale, and down.

Or whatever suits. Last time. So very simple choreography, but there's a lot of really good work available here. The last thing that we're gonna do is we're just gonna float that leg up, the lower leg is gonna stay really relaxed here, and we're just gonna take the knee up, it's gonna push around in a circle, and come forward again. It's gonna come towards the body, lift.

So now we're doing a full rotation in the hip. And again, forward and lift. Good, two more like that. And last one. And we're gonna move the leg to the back.

So it's gonna go backwards, lift up, and come down. Push back, lift up, and come down. Three more. So by now, I'm hoping that we all feel some sort of sensation in our hip. I'm expecting that we do. Last time.

So now what we're gonna do is we're gonna take the band again, we're gonna lie on our back. Take the same leg that was just working, the top leg, the leg that was just on top, and lasso your foot with your band, or hook your band around your foot. It's nice to have the band kind of open instead of all scrunched up, and you're gonna stretch that left leg down along the mat, and the right leg's gonna come up towards us, or I'm talking right and left, but that one leg's gonna come up. And then we're gonna pin the elbows down on the mat. Now we're gonna do a different circle in the hip.

The leg's gonna cross the body, you'll feel a little stretch where you've just worked, swing it down, around, and up. Take it across the body, swing it down, and as it swings down, around, and up, you can just visualize a circular, bony, structural action happening deep in the pelvis. So the ball of the hip is circling around in its compartment. Last time. Pause at the top.

Shoulders and elbows stay pretty relaxed and down towards the floor, take the leg in the opposite direction, just let it swing. So we create a little freedom in that leg, and as it comes towards you, you'll probably feel a stretch up the back of the leg. Let's do two more. And last one. And so now, we're gonna take our leg into the center, and we're gonna walk up the band a little bit higher, hold on pretty close to your foot, so you're able to create some resistance for yourself, and then bend your knee, just a small bend, pull down on your band, and try to stretch that leg back straight.

Now, the leg doesn't have to go vertical, right, it can go a little lower, we all have a little bit different flexibilities, so go where it's a challenging stretch for you. Pull down to stretch up. Elbows are wide, shoulders are down. Inhale, bent. Exhale, pull down to stretch up. And last one. Bend, pull down to stretch up.

So here's our big challenge now. We're gonna lower that leg in space, the arms will straighten as it goes away from us. We're gonna lift the head up, and we're gonna see if we can roll up. So bending the elbows at any time to help you get yourself all the way up. If you get stuck, grab your leg and swing yourself up.

Lift all the way up tall, and then just set that leg down. And then take the band off of your feet. Spiral around, so you're gonna still face me, and then find your other side. So lining yourself up. So again, ankles just below knees, pelvis just above knees, all the same postural rules.

We've put the band in the bottom hand, we took the opposite arm up. Again, you have the option of just placing your hand on the floor, as well. So from here, there's an inhale to begin. We draw our abdominals back towards our spine, we begin to lift the legs. As the legs lift, the band can pull down.

Reaching, feeling that whole side body working, and then release down. Again. Exhale, drawing in navel to spine, band slides down, our arm slides down. Just generating the work in that side body, right between the pelvis and the ribs on that upper side, that's where your focus is, but also, in addition to that, you wanna think of the space that's just below the belly button drawing inwards and upwards, and the lower waist engaging, as well. We'll do about two more.

Again, you can use the arm, right? So it's the backward pull of the elbow and the forward push of the fingers. One more time. So we pull down, lengthening out, and then release all the way. So just letting the band go, bending the knees, heels lining up with the tailbone, stay down on your arm, or you can prop yourself up, I just like to see you all.

So we're gonna take the top knee up, and down. What we did was just had our hand on our pelvis. Another thing to think about with your hand on your pelvis is if you just let your fingers rest right over your midsection, then you can monitor if you're letting your belly hang out, or if you're not. So we'll do that two more times. So just letting the abdominals go in the same direction as the knee.

Last time, holding here, keep the knee turned back, reach, kick the leg out, bend the knee, feet together, and bring the knees back. Lift open, kick out, bend in, knees together. Open, yeah, create as much opening as you can without changing the position of your pelvis. Foot, and down. And three to go. Great job, bend, and down. And two.

Reach, bend, and down. Rotate, kick, bend, and down. And now we just take that top leg, and it just floats up, bottom part of the leg, the lower leg is relaxed, and we're just turning that thigh bone in a circle. So in opposition to the feeling I wanted you to create when you actually had your foot hooked in to the band, this, I want you to feel as though you're trying to move through something sticky. Mud or molasses or honey or I don't know.

Something. Peanut butter. My favorite thing. We have one to go. And then go the other way, so you're pushing around, creating an energetic movement, creating a lot of work in the hip. Back, lift. Deb, when you go to do your lift, so turn the knee up more so you get more rotation first.

Last two. Last one. Awesome, so we take our bands, we turn onto our back, we lie down, the band comes across, comes onto the leg that was just working, you press up into that band, let the elbows come to the floor. So again, if you hold on higher towards your foot, you're gonna get more tension. If you give yourself a little less tension, you have a little less support, and that's okay, too.

So we're gonna swing the leg to the inside of the body, now, here we get that freedom. Crossing the body, and as the leg has freedom in the hip joint, just note if the body wants to rock around, or if the pelvis wants to move around, and we're trying to hold everything in the body still, with the exception of that free swinging leg. That's the end of that, we're gonna reverse that. Now, in addition, if you're looking for more of a stretch, actively reach through the heel of your foot. Pull the foot like you're trying to pull it up over the band.

We have three more here, the leg that's on the mat can be used to anchor the body. Last two. And last time. Great. So we're gonna come to center, we're gonna give ourselves a little more tension, and that's always up to you, you just decide what you're gonna get, and we're gonna bend the knee, create a down pull with the arms, and then push up against the tension that you've created. Bend the knee.

Down pull with the arms, press up against that tension. Then you could also think about pulling back more, as well. Bend, and press. And two, and press. And one, and press.

So now, kicking into that leg, you start to lower your leg down, your arms can stay bent or start to straighten, the head can start to leave the floor, and then rolling yourself up, you could bend your arms, you can use a little momentum if necessary. And then just let that leg go down. And take the band off the feet. So I think what we'll do today to work our back is to do that in a kneeling position. Everyone okay on their knees? Great.

So let's come up onto our knees. I'm gonna face this way. And what I want you to do here is take the band. The band is in the hands, and I'm just gonna hold it with my thumb again, and I'm gonna pin my elbows in to my ribs. I want my elbows not to be behind me, but to be just next to my body.

So what we'll do is we'll start with just a rotation of the upper arm, the band will slide. And then slide back. And then slide. So you wanna feel that your upper arm is turning to the outside of the body. But you wanna try to keep the elbows close to the body instead of pulling out, do a little more rotational, small work. So what you wanna make sure of, for now, is that you're not leaning back to move the band, but you're just trying to rotate in the arms, feel the shoulder blades not necessarily squeezing together, in fact, don't focus on squeezing, focus on a downward pull and a broadening, round the upper back as the hands are moving.

We're just gonna do that two more times. And back. And last one. Good. And now we're gonna take the band again, so I'm gonna give you a side view, you can just stay right where you are, so wrapping the band around the thighs, we are gonna create a little upper back extension, but what I don't want you to do is just lean back from your lower back. So what I do want you to do is press against the thighs with the band, so even just that is you press your upper arm bones back, you should feel your upper back working just a little bit.

So as you continue to press backwards, imagine that you're trying to push the band down your legs, lift your head in the opposite direction, and then just very gently look up, lifting the nose and the breastbone. It's small, but should be really significant in terms of sensation. And then take the body back straight again. So again, it's not a big back bend, doesn't come from the lower back, it's first just a gentle pressuring against the thighs with the band, and then a downward reach, like you're trying to push your band into the floor, and then lift the ribs up off the pelvis, and then just looking up, and that stern on the chest, the breastbone, will go with the eyes. And then return back.

We're gonna do that two more times. So a down reach and a back push, and an up lift, and an arc. And then there, when you get there, you could try for more arms, more effort in the arms if you want more. If you're happy where you're at. I'm happy. Last one.

How's your shoulder, Candi? Pretty darn good. Yeah. Awesome. And then coming back. Okay. So the last couple things we're gonna do, I want us to give ourselves just a little bit more space.

So I'm a couple of inches wider than my own torso, from side to side. We're gonna lift the arms up, so we did this at the beginning of class. We're gonna feel here, even just on your knees, the body's elongating, and then we're gonna bend the elbows. Now the band might come behind you if you have a lot of shoulder flexibility, it might just come to the top of your head. And then we're gonna reach the arms back up, I don't want you to push the arms up, I want you to feel the shoulder blades pull down, and the arms ease their way up.

And then again, so as we pull down again, and each time, I want you to see if you can angle the elbows towards the floppy part of the band. Angle the elbows slightly forward of the hands. Yeah, towards me. And the arms are gonna reach up, and this time, as we reach arms back, we can look up again. Look up again so you get a little bit of upper back thoracic work, and then just bring your body upright, cause that looking up is always gonna make us go into a backbend.

So we're gonna bend, elbows going towards the band. Yeah, and then as we reach up, elbows keep towards the band, but the arms reach, and the spine lifts, and the eyes lift. Reach all the way up there. And then bring your body upright, let's do one more. Bending the arms, elbows forward, hands back. Nice.

And then elbows turning forward even more. The band reaches up, and then just bring the body upright, and we're gonna side bend. We reach over, and I want you to pull down on that bottom band again, anchor with the opposite knee. And then let the band, I don't want you to work too hard, I want you to let the rebound of the band float the body up. We're gonna reach over and get that stretch, that band, that bottom arm, and then just by letting that arm go, the body can just float back up.

One more time to each side, reaching over, down goes that bottom arm. Let the bottom arm float, and the body just gets pushed. Last time, reach over, bottom arm, float, and then bring the arms again. We're gonna do three full rotations of the shoulders all the way behind us, lifting the chest, and touch the back of the hips, and all the way up. So there, when like if the shoulder, just gonna come down to the front of the hips, lift all the way up, so the full circular action with the arms.

Here, when the shoulders feel tight, pull the band, coming all the way behind us. Then lift, and take the arms all the way forwards. Last one here. Lift up, take the band backwards. Lift up, and bring the arms forwards. So I want to end just on our feet.

So stand up on your mat, and what you're gonna do, just for the last moment, is stand on your band. Holding onto the band, and once you give yourself enough tension, so it's not like the band's pulling down on the arms crazy, but you can just feel that the band is gently guiding the arms down. We're gonna exhale, and start to bring the body down again. So we take the forehead down, I'm gonna soften my knees a little. Just as before, we lift up, supporting through the center, the band's gonna relax as you get closer and closer to the floor, that's normal, let it.

It just pools around your feet. The head pools. You can think about your body, the tension in your body pooling down into the floor like the band is pooling around your feet. Inhale, and then exhale, lift the navel to the spine, start rolling your spine up, and then you're gonna catch the band, it will happen naturally, you'll catch the tension on the band. Round into it, feel the stretch in the body, and lift. I want to see that one more time.

Inhale, tall. Exhale, take the head forward, let the knees soften, pull back through the center of the body. This is just a deceleration, it's almost like you're trying to lift up and not let your body go forward, even as your body continues to easily go forward. So it's kind of a contradiction, in terms. All the stress leaves the body as the band pools down around the feet, take a breath in.

And exhale, just feeling the body lift back up, feeling the bones of the spine start to articulate. Letting the hips drop under the spine, allowing the spine to stack over the pelvis, and then we just come all the way up. We're gonna do that one more time, and when we get to the bottom, we're gonna leave the band on the floor. So roll down. And then just drop the band down. Let it go.

Maybe you want to take your body a little further forward here, I don't know. And then rolling up, and just feel now that the arms are really light. Really light, and the movement of the spine is really light. And the body comes all the way up to the top. We're gonna take our arms one more time as we stand up, around to the sides, lifting up, pushing out, feeling energy in the arms, all the way through the fingertips, gather that energy and feel it travel down your spine.

And then reach the arms out, and as the arms reach down, my favorite visual is this: A corkscrew, you know, a wine corkscrew with arms, when the wine corkscrew with arms, when the arms pushes down, the cork pulls up. Like magic. That's my favorite visual, we're done. Thanks.


4 people like this.
Got to go to sleep fast so I can do this one in the morning. Can't wait!
2 people like this.
Favorite visuals......Miss America banner and wine corkscrew tho the ear lobes "pulled back" was a bit usual ;) all provided by my favorite teacher. Perfectly deliberate paced class for those deliberate sort of days!
3 people like this.
I did the same as Joni - saved this one for morning and did it to start the day refreshed and with ease. Great as always, Meredith. Although I already did a lot of your classes, the cues you use and the variations you do change all the time and I can hardly wait for your next class. Loved that saw variation!
1 person likes this.
Thanks Meredith. I enjoy all your classes and was looking for a class with a bit more stretching. This one should help.
1 person likes this.
So good!!!
Great class Meri!
1 person likes this.
Bravo teacher! Excellent class!! I really enjoyed it!
1 person likes this.
Great variations of band exercises.Nice easy to listen to Class.
1 person likes this.
Great exercise ! Thank u !
1 person likes this.
Thank you, i really enjoy your class! I've been waiting impatiently for the next lesson.
Greetings from Germany. Steffi
1 person likes this.
I would like to purchase bands, can you please tell me what kind and strength you use? Great class!
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