Class #1846

Mindful Mat Flow

55 min - Class


This mindful Mat workout, with Christi Idavoy, is a great start to the day. She invites you to be present in your body and to observe what's happening, so you become more aware when you are outside the studio. Christi's motto, "motion is lotion," is a great reminder that any movement is good for your body and your mind.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hi, I'm Christie it boy from Miami, Florida at Pollstar headquarters. And today we're going to do a mindful mat practice. Um, so we're going to start lying down today ladies, and just go ahead and lengthen your body out and let your legs and your arms fall wherever it feels comfortable and allow your eyes to close. Allow your body to release into gravity. And as we come onto the mat today, taking a moment to become aware of the fact that for the next 40 minutes or so, there's nowhere to be. You've arrived. There's nothing to say, no need to do. And with every following exhalation, allow the floor to support you so that this idea of letting go of falling into the moment really starts to become an experience releasing your entire body. Very gently.

Start to observe your breath. Notice if your breath is smooth or does it have a texture. Notice if there are any spaces between the inhale and the exhale and notice the speed of your breath without trying to change or control anything. Simply observing the temperature at which the breath moves in through your nose. The speed at which the breath moves out of your nose.

And with every following exhalation, allow yourself to fall into the mat a little further and without judgment, start to notice what part of your body seems to breathe or what part of your body seems to expand, if any, and with the least amount of effort possible, as if you were just making a suggestion to your breath. Allow it to become a little slower and a little fuller so that you might find that that sensation of expansion during the inhale starts to increase. And that sensation of letting go as you exhale also starts to increase. You can pretend that there's a little valve through which you control the speed of your breath, so as you're letting the breath move into your body, you're slowing down the rate at which it moves in through your nose and that way your breath will become fuller. It'll take longer and you might feel more of arise.

That same idea as you exhale, allow your exhalation to also become a little bit slower, a little bit longer, and you might feel the sensation of letting go. Also start to increase. And if you catch yourself drifting, if thoughts of busy-ness of the things you have to do, anything that is kind of repetitive in the way that thought patterns are, just notice that your mind started to drift again without judgment. It's not bad when that happens. That's the nature of the mind. And then simply make the choice to bring your attention back to your breath and on your following inhalation. As you feel things rising, allow the arms to reach up and over your head.

And as you exhale you're going to lengthen all the way out so that your arms go to wherever feels comfortable. Keep the arms overhead and when you inhale, let the stretch release and your body fill up. And with every following exhale, create a little more length like your fingertips and your toes want to reach all the way apart. As you inhale, let that reaching relax so that your body can fill and the breath is moving you. And when you're exhaling, increase that feeling of an elastic band, getting length and out from the nail beds of your fingers all the way through to the nail beds of your toes. Inhale that, that release that your body fill up. Exhale, lengthen it back out and there's no right or wrong way to do this, which you want to experience is that when you inhale, every one of the billion cells in your body is inhaling with you and when you exhale, every little tiny corner of your body is also exhaling with you. We'll do that for three more breaths and start to notice if there is a pause or a big space between the inhales and exhales and again without judgment as you repeat it. Notice if you can make that space just a little bit smaller.

Inhale to expand on your release into gravity. Exhale, creating space between all of the joints all the way from the nails to the nails last time. Inhaling to expand. Exhale to lengthen all the way out and as you're ready, you're going to bring one knee into your chest at a time. Circle the arms around and give yourself a hug, pulling the knees in and gently rocking from side to side. So if you're ever having a rough day, sometimes in the office I get on the floor and I just do that much.

And in my world somewhere in here it's like I just got to start all over again. I'll even make coffee again and everything like to try and go through some of my starting of the day routine of like, okay, I need to take two on this day. Um, and that's a really easy exercise that you can do to create that space. Speaking of creating space, we're going to bring the hands behind the knees now so that your arms are really supporting your legs. And as you inhale, take your knees away from each other and as you exhale, let your knees come back together again. And we'll repeat that a couple more times. And I'd like to encourage you to wait for the breath to happen so that the movement feels like it's an extension of the breath.

And then as you exhale again, wait for the exhale to happen. So that the legs coming back to center feels like it's an extension of your exhale. And as you do that, continuously notice when and where there's tendencies of holding the breath one and where you find those pauses between your inhales and your exhales. We all do it. It's not good or bad, it just is. And the more we become aware of it, the less that happens. And then while you're doing this, start to notice what parts of your body are you using.

Can you use them less? But continue to move right whenever you can. Relax your face, remove some layers of muscle tension, but the movement keeps happening. It lets you know that you were probably using too much. And often it happens in our face because we're starting to think the eyebrows are the lip swan a perch. Let your jaw relax that your fate face relaxed. You're lying on the floor.

So really use the support from gravity the next time that your knees come back together again, place one foot down at a time on the mat and place your hands on your hip sockets. And now with your fingertips, you can find your hipbones and then walk your hands into the crease of your thigh and notice what the tissues in there feel like. Some days there'll be nice and soft and you can get your fingers in other days they're really tense and it feels like they're pushing your fingers out. And as you inhale, take both knees away from center. Now keeping the feet on the floor. And again, as you exhale, wait for the breath to start and then gently drag the knees back to center. So as we inhale, we can pretend that the breath is like a balloon that's ushering the legs away from each other.

And then the exhale is like a reel that's drawing the thighs back into the center. Again, it's more of an idea than actually trying to create a conscious muscle activity. Exhaling, and then the thighs rural in. And while you're doing that, you're noticing what happens in that tissue underneath your fingertips. Maybe something maybe not much. And the next time that your knees come to center, we're going to keep them there. And on your following breath, only let the right knee roll out to the side and then bring that right knee back in towards the center alternate sides.

And at first let the knee drop out so that it starts to lift the opposite hip up off the floor just a little bit. And then as you exhale, gently drag the knee back into center so that it brings that hip down. And then the other leg takes [inaudible]. Let's turn [inaudible]. So at first we're going to do what we're often trying to control, which is the opposite hip rolling off of the Mat. It's very helpful to do that because you'll start to feel and notice the relationship between the one leg turning out and the opposite hip getting pulled in. If that causes any pain or discomfort, well then you'll make the range of movement smaller and maybe change your breathing pattern. And that's just a general rule.

If anything creates discomfort, then tried to leave it out, try and change it, make it smaller so that you feel comfortable and in control. And now the next time that both knees find their center, we're going to keep them there. And as we inhale, just take the left knee out to the side this time, keeping the opposite hip down and then exhale and bring that knee back into center. Let's keep repeating the same side. Notice if it feels challenging or a little easier. Now to keep the opposite hip on the mat being that you did the letting it roll off first, it might be a little easier to do the opposite. Now if it doesn't notice, if you can press through the right foot just a little bit to help kind of send some energy through the back of the right hip, which will allow the left thigh to move a little bit freer maybe, right? And see if that helps.

And then you'll bring that knee back to center and we'll repeat the same thing on the other leg. So we'll inhale to let the leg reach out, exhale to bring it back. And again, if you find that the hip doesn't really want to stay on the mat, push a little bit gently through that left foot to send some weight back into your left hip. And notice if that starts to help or change things a little. And again, you always have the option of just making the range smaller so that you feel successful in keeping the opposite hip quiet. And the next time that that leg comes back to center, we're going to keep it there on the following. Inhale. Now reach your arms along your side and feel like your fingertips switch.

They could reach your toes to the shoulders. Really move away from the ears. Inhale and reach your hands towards the ceiling. Interlace your hands and get the heels of the hands to come together over your breastbone, not over your face. That way it's a little easier to keep the shoulders away from the ears. As you inhale, send your knuckles to the ceiling and notice how that pulls your shoulder blades apart. And as you exhale, glide your shoulder blades back, keeping the arms straight. Repeat that a couple of times.

And once you're reaching the knuckles towards the ceiling, you might find that it starts to move your head around a little bit and as long as it doesn't feel uncomfortable or it creates any sharp pinches or pain that way, it's great. Let it happen. You can think of your body as a conduit for energy and we want to train the body so that energy flows through it rather than a storage bin. We're, we're getting constricted and holding things down in a forceful way. As you inhale and send your knuckles towards the ceilings, start to guide your breath into that space between your shoulder blades that opens up when you do that. And as you're exhaling, start thinking about the ridge just underneath them, drawing in. It's something that happens as a result of the breath, especially if the breath is moving through the back of your throat rather than through your lips. And we'll do that one more time.

And now this time, take your hands across to your elbows and you're going to hold onto the outside. And now here again, uh, be mindful of just keeping the shoulders away from the ears. Not because you're forcefully pulling down, but simply because you're putting your body in a biomechanically at advantageous position. So if the forms are a little bit lower over the heart, it's less likely for the shoulders to come up over your ears or towards your ears. Now as you inhale, let your left hand guide your arms over to the right and start looking over your left shoulder and then bring yourself back to center so that your nose and your forearms find the center at the same time and then go in the opposite direction. Exhale. As you come to center, inhale to the side. And again, the breadth, as we say at Pollstar, it's a tool. It's not a rule.

So if you find that an alternate breathing pattern helps you feel more connected and it doesn't get in your way of moving, then that would be the appropriate breathing pattern for you on that day. As we change every day. So while you're doing this, notice if you can sense against the floor, right? The floor is giving you a ton of feedback. Can you feel how the shoulder blades now are taking turns enrolling to center and away from center as you go from side to side, keep the jar relaxed. It's a really good way for those of us that get stuck in our neck and shoulders and have TMJ issues or grinding the teeth at night. Really Nice.

Um, little sequence here to help free up the head and neck and shoulders. And now we'll come to center and we'll take it around one more notch where you're gonna walk your hands around now to the lower tips of your shoulder blades. So there's two paths here. You could go under the shoulder blade or you can come over the shoulders. I'd like you to go under because again, it's going to help keep the length through your neck. And now this time you're going to start pushing your left foot into the floor to turn your body onto your right side.

Inhale there, and then as you exhale, bring your right knee up away from the floor and let that help bring you back to your center. And then use your right foot to help move you over to your left side. And we'll keep going from side to side. This way if you can get your fingertips to hook up underneath the lower ends of your shoulder blades when you roll onto your side, there's an opportunity there for you to dig your fingertips in with the help of gravity, weighting you down so that you can give yourself a little bit of a massage back there. And again, that idea of having your feet start the movement, help encourage these ideas of energy moving through the body rather than staying stagnant in one area. Right? Another one of our mantras at Pollstar, his motion is lotion. Not a real official one, but we say it a lot in the office. Motion is lotion.

So if you think about what happens to water when it becomes stagnant, it illness festers in stagnant water. So very much the same. We want to make sure that we're allowing movements to flow so that we don't become stagnant. The next time that you roll onto your back. Go ahead and stay there. And for just a moment, let your arms release down at your sides and just take a second and notice what's your head, neck and shoulders feel like against the floor. You might feel like you just got a little more space, like your chest got a little bit broader. Now on your following breath, bring your hands, your rib cage, and as you inhale, just kind of notice if there's any activity there or not. Again, it's not good or bad.

We need some first to notice what's happening before we can suggest a new pattern. And as you exhale, notice, is there any feeling of recoiling or drawing in or not? And be very mindful of the difference between observing what happens rather than wanting to kind of push your agenda on your body. So can you create that space where first you're just going to listen and notice, is there movement? What's happening? Can I even tune in today? Because sometimes there's so much mental chatter that this would not be the best class for you on those days. Right? Um, versus knowing what's supposed to happen, where you wanna forcefully draw them in. Allow the breath to expand you and allow the breath to draw it back in.

And on the following exhale, start to breathe a little more out through the back of your throat so that it creates a [inaudible], like a hot sound, h a sound. And try and get all of the air to come out. Push all of the exhale out even more than you thought you had. And notice if that starts to create more of a drawing in and an expanding of the rib cage so that it happens as a result of your breath rather than your muscles trying to artificially create a contraction which will float with you throughout the rest of your day in your life. Because you won't be consciously doing any of this stuff, but you will be breathing.

So if we can tune in to toning our breath a little bit more and learning how to make it a bit more um, organic and just like a result of breathing these other things happen, it's gonna start to happen more and more when you're not thinking about it. Now, let's for a moment, pretend that our legs, all of our limbs start under our hands and on our following exhalation, as you start to near the end of your exhale, float your right leg up into tabletop. And on your inhale, go ahead and take it back down. Continue this way, alternating legs, exploring that idea of waiting for the exhale to happen and then adding the movement to it. Inhaling on the way down. And if your exhale is really long, you might be able to exhale both on the way up and on the way down. You can try that as well. So wait for the exhale and you'll start to notice patterns about yourself, right? Are you quick to judge? Are you quick to move?

Everything we do here is a metaphor for the way that we react outside in the world when we don't have the privilege and the space of a quiet moment where we can just lie on a and explore what's going on on that day. So the again, the better we can get with observing ourselves on the mat, the better we'll be at observing the outside world rather than just reacting to the stimulus that we're placed under. Now on your following exhale, you'll keep your leg up at table top and then float your other leg up into table top as well. And just take a few moments to breathe. Holding both of your legs up in that position with your toes just slightly higher than the horizon of your knees. And if you feel any discomfort in your lower back or you start to feel your hip flexors in the front of your thighs getting Achy, you can allow your knees to come in just a little bit closer to you so that again, you're not trying to lower the back onto the mat, but just by bringing the thighs in a bit closer, biomechanically, your lower back is going to feel the support of the mat.

But you don't have to do that. You can keep your knees over your hips as long as it feels comfortable for your low back and not, um, excessively creating muscle tension through the front of your thighs on your following. Exhale. Now, same idea to take one foot down towards the mat and then slowly bring it back up. Continue to alternate legs. The range of your movement is determined by your ability to feel like the movement is powered by what's happening in your breath underneath your ribs. When it doesn't feel connected, you moved a little too far and it's totally okay to go too far to figure out where those boundaries are. Ah, try to keep your mouth relaxed. You don't need the lips to breathe, breathe from a deeper place.

The next time will be the last time. We'll place one foot down to the mat, bring the other foot down to the mat and just take a moment to rest. We'll turn on to the right side of the body. Now keeping the knees at that 90 90 position and we'll bring the right arm underneath the head. If you're comfortable with having your head kind of hanging off at first to start, you can bring your hands together out in front of you, but if that doesn't feel great for your neck, for whatever reason or your shoulder, you're more than welcome to keep the bottom arm under your head. And even beyond that, you could just put a pillow under your head.

If you're practicing at home and you've got all your props and stuff. So we're going to bring the knees up just a little bit higher and noticing that you're in the same position that you were in just a minute ago and your top arm is going to reach out in front of you here. As you inhale, pretend that your fingertips want to roll forward and it starts to turn your body towards the floor. So we're going to inhale and glide that top arm forward and allow the to move towards the floor and then from there glide it back and let it bring your body back to its start position. So we're taking what you did on your back and adding a little more movement to it just by using gravity just by putting you on your side, it's going to encourage a little more rotation than you had when you had your arms brace in front of you and you were turning from side to side.

So a lot of times and more of the advanced work and pull out days where we feel like, oh, I'm just not strong enough to roll up, or I'm not strong enough to hold a teaser. A lot of times it's not about strength, it's about a lack of mobility in the spine, right? We just don't have the space open through which we can move against gravity and get up. So these exercises are a great way to kind of pull back a little bit and then approach those more advanced exercises. Then you might surprise yourself. Now the next time that your arm comes in, we're going to keep it in.

And on the following inhale, take that top arm now over your head, let it go over your head, let your palm turn when it feels like it needs to, and then open your body up towards the sky. Inhale when you're there, and then walk your hand along the floor, back up and over your head to bring you back onto your side. Exactly. And we'll repeat that a couple more times. Inhale as you take yourself over and then again, listen to the shoulder and the hand for the moment when they have to turn. And then as they come back up and over, there's going to be that moment where it all needs to turn again.

And while you're doing that, energetically start to glide the top knee away from that top arm. Yeah. So you feel lots of length in that diagonal. Exhale and bring it back. And if any of those ideas create any sharp discomfort, then they're not appropriate for you. Just ignore them. Leave them out. Only do what feels smooth and comfortable.

Let's do this two more times and start to notice how it's one side of your rib cage moves back and the opposite side of the rib cage moves towards the sky. And then they reverse. When you bring yourself back onto your side, just do one more with that in mind. And the next time that you come onto your side, you're going to stay there. Keep your knees and your hips where they are, and now place your hands under your forehead. Turning your body towards the Mat. Exactly. So you're on your side. That's it.

We're going to turn and use floor now. And if that feels uncomfortable, um, you can let your top leg slide back just a little bit there so that you give yourself a little more space for that rotation. While you're there, take a couple of really deep slow inhales. Really try and fill yourself up and notice if you can sense that your lungs are being restricted by the body position. You can't really take as deep of a breath as you could if you were, um, not in this twisted position. And as you're inhaling in courage, the rib cage and the chest to start to expand a little bit more as you're exhaling, let your shoulders and your jaw relax so that it feels like your armpits and the front of your shoulders are melting and your heart is opening up against the floor. It's like the reverse of the book opening now using the Mat and gravity to help open the spine and the ribs up a little differently.

Take one more breath while you're there and when you're ready, you'll start to turn back onto your side, lengthen your legs all the way out. Coming back into our start position. And for just a moment, let everything release and notice if one side of your body feels any different than the other. Is it crazy? Do you have two bodies now? And as you inhale slowly, does it feel like one side of your body breathes more than the other? And it's sometimes it doesn't. So don't feel bad if you don't notice these things.

When I first came to these kind of mind body practices, a lot of times I was like, nope, I don't notice any of that. And that is totally fine because that's what you notice is that nothing really changed yet. And then when you're ready, hug your knees into your chest and we'll turn onto the other side and do the same sequence for the other side. So again, you'll start with your knees at about the height of your hips at that 90 90 position. Your bottom arm can be held out in front of you as long as your neck and your shoulders are comfortable with letting your head drop. Otherwise, use a pillow or your arm. And with the top arm we're going to inhale and reach the top arm forward. So it starts to encourage what you know is coming already.

And then as you exhale, glide that shoulder and the arm back. Continue that way. Inhale as you glided forward, exhale as you pull it back and as you repeat the movements, allow yourself to fall into gravity. You'll start to notice if there's a tendency of wanting to lift up, like we're trying to hold ourselves away from the floor. Really let gravity supports you. Let the floor support you. I have a dear friend colleague that always says she loves the floor because it never lets her down. So it's like, how do we turn that into an experience, right? It's like, just let it all go is if you could drool and we'll do that just one last time and then find your side. And as you're ready, that top arm is going to start to circle up and over your head as you reach the arm behind you, your heart's opening to the sky and then reach the arm back up and over your head and notice when your shoulder has to roll.

When your palm has to change its orientation, bring your hips back just a little bit more. There you go. And if you find that that bottom shoulder gets a little weird, you just kind of scoot the arm out in front of you. It's like fidget as much as you need to fidget until it starts to feel comfortable. This is also a sequence that you can do in bed, um, which if it does feel awkward when you do it on a hard floor, it might be a good idea to introduce it on a soft surface first. Keep that going. Now increasing the idea of the top name moving in opposition to the top arm and as you roll back the knees start to come back to more of a neutral where they're just kind of hanging into gravity. Let's just do that two more times.

Are you still keeping a smooth, slick, cyclical breath? Noticing the moments where we might hold the breath when we kind of hold the body, make sure that the space is between the inhales and the exhales are always getting smaller so that it's one continuous cycle of breath over and over again and on. This one will be the last one and now we'll slide that bottom arm under us, keeping the legs where they are, but bringing both head of both hands rather under your forehead. And if it feels uncomfortable that your legs separate, let that top leg slide back a little bit. Find the place where you feel that you could hold it there, right.

Sometimes putting a pillow between the knees. Again, that idea of doing it in bed is very helpful and as you inhale, notice if you can take a smaller, fuller, deeper inhale and start to really tune in to feel what part of the rib cage, what part of the trunk is actually restricted by the body position. And as you exhale, let the elbows and the face feel like they're melting into the mat. Inhale slowly and deeply and notice if you can feel in your body just up to what point can you fill the lungs here and when you exhale, let everything empty falling into gravity and we'll take one more breath while we're here. And after that last exhalation, start to bring yourself onto your tummy. Will life face down. Now with the forehead still stacked up on the hands.

Let your body fall into whatever position feels comfortable. And now for a moment, again, notice of one side feels different than the other. Do you feel a little more balanced out? And as you inhale, is there just a general increase of awareness about that rib cage area we just moved through. So now that we've created lots of movement in the ribs, we're going to put that to work for us here. Start to bring the legs just a little closer together as long as it feels comfortable in your lower back. And notice that your second toes are on the Mat, the center of the heel reaching in line with the sitz bones.

As you inhale, let your rib cage expand. And for a moment just notice what part of your body expands into the mat. And as you exhale, let everything release. Okay, so when we inhale lying face down, it's a lot easier to feel if our belly is expanding or not. And as you exhale, just let things empty out and notice what happens.

Again, try and remove the habits of wanting to squeeze and contract and control. And for just a moment, have a space where you just notice what's going on. And now with every following exhalation, start to increase that feeling of exhaling with the back of your throat with the [inaudible], the sound of the ocean, that h a sound. And again here does exhaling that way and really trying to empty out the lungs, create a different activity along the rib cage or along the abdominal wall. And what we're after is noticing that that activity happens as a result of the breath rather than us trying to squeeze the muscles for this experience.

And now in your following exhalation, while you're keeping your arms on the mat, start to broaden your collarbones just a little bit more, lifting your face about an inch off of the mat and then inhale and bring yourself down. So again, wait for the exhale to near the end through that sound, and then let your head start to lift like it's magic. It's because of the exhale that you start to get that rise, so you really have to wait for it. Do that one more time. And on the next one you're going to hold your head in that position so you're still looking down at your hands, keeping the back of the neck long and keeping the chest pretty close to the floor. Just hovering your face over your hands and hold it there and breathe. As you inhale now guide the breath into the back of your ribs into that space between your shoulder blades that we started with before and as you exhale, really create that a sound.

Now when we're holding ourselves this way against gravity, all of the organs are now resting on the abdominal wall. It's very helpful to make the inhalation just the little bit smaller. Make the exhalation longer so the exhales are going to be longer than the inhales. Keeping your head in the air now start to lift your hands away from the Mat. Hold yourself there breathing and the, the more we lift away from the ground, the shorter the inhalation is going to get right?

I tend to use a passive inhale. It's like, just take enough of an inhale so you can keep exhaling. Energize the top of your head away from the soles of your feet. Imagine the bone marrow reaching long away from the top of the head and start to lift the legs up in a way from the ground. Now as you inhale, reach your arms out to the sides in a tee like we're a capital letter t or a superhero about to take off in flight. Keep breathing. So the exhale should be longer now and on the following inhale, separate your legs. Exhale and bring your legs back together again. Inhale separates your legs. Exhale, bring them together.

Now this time separates your legs and bring your arms over your head. Then bring your legs together and find the t arms overhead. The legs move apart, legs move together. The arms go back to a t. Keep going. Does the idea of exhaling longer than you are inhaling help increase efficiency.

Here you can keep your hands on the floor, Amy, to help support the neck. Yup. And just keep the legs going and really feel like you're standing on your lower ribs rather than trying to lift your head, feel like you're pushing your ribs into the mat last time. And then we'll bring both hands back under the forehead and let the body release, let everything go. And just gently rock your hips from side to side so that kind of snuck up on them, right? So it's like we do all that beautiful movement. We create so much space, but we got to load it so that we take it home.

Hm. One more thing while we're here. Now bring your legs just a little bit closer together. We're going to do what we did before. Just going to get into it in reverse. This time. Lift your left leg up in, off of the Mat.

Take your leg, your left leg across the back of your right leg until it lifts your hip up and off of the Mat. If it's comfortable so that your foot come down towards the floor, you can do that. Otherwise your legs gonna stay in line with your hip. Your leg will stay there. And as you exhale, reach your left elbow away from your left foot so you can keep your, your leg lengthened out just a little more. And let your shoulder come down. Let your leg, there you go. And then instead of trying to go back into a deep twist, think more of increasing the length between the left elbow and the left foot.

Try and let this relax into gravity. Yep. And then lift this leg up a little higher. There you go. And then reach back this way. Two more breaths while you're there. So I can come by, give her a little bit of a gentle more than a pool.

I'm just trying to help her direct energy and not really trying to forcefully pull here. And then as you're ready, starts to bring your feet together again. Bring your feet together to help find the center for a moment. Notice of one side of your body is quite different than the other again. And then as you're ready, we'll even that out. So we'll lift the other leg up. Now start to take it across the back of the leg that stays down.

And every time that you exhale. Notice if you can give into gravity a little bit more. We're really trained, we've trained ourselves really well to go, go, go. So as you exhale, notice if you can let go, right. And the irony is always at the more support you find, the more support you have in life. The further you're going to move ahead. So we can use gravity in the floor. That way the more support we can create, the further we're going to move in our bodies. Let's take one more deep inhale and it's a fun place to try and take a deep inhale because of the very same restriction that we created in the other m rotation movements where you can't really fill your lungs the way you would otherwise. And then as you're ready, bring your feet together and go ahead and roll back onto your tummy and notice if legs are about the same length now or perhaps the other side feels like it got a little bit longer. And as you're ready, we'll bring the hands underneath the shoulders.

And on the inhale we're going to press up into a baby. Swan, reaching the breastbone forward and up the rib, staying on the mat on the following. Exhale, push down with your hands and knees to come up into pad. As you come up into Quadro peds. Scooch your knees up just a tiny bit, spread your fingers apart and make sure your middle fingers are pointing straight ahead. On the following. Exhale, start to push the floor away. Tip your head and your tailbone down towards the floor. And as you inhale, start the movement from the top of your head. So we're going to reach the crown of the head forward first and wait for the movement to trickle back towards the tail to where we feel the top of the head and the tail expanding. Hold it there and that extension.

Exhale and start from your tail. So you're going to send your tailbone down. Often the way we do in bridging roll through the lower back, roll through the ribs and wait for the movement to make it to the top of the head. Once you're there, start from the top of the head. Shoulders stay wide, middle fingers pointing straight ahead. Wait for the movement to make it to the tail. Once you're in extension, start from your tail. Wait for the movement to ripple through your spine so you really have to pay attention, especially when the movements are super familiar.

Okay? It's probably easier to learn something completely different than trying to make something very familiar. New Six, a lot more mindfulness, so the tailbone whips through the spine. We'll do this for two more breaths. Everyone can follow their own breath. If it's helpful to close the eyes, close the eyes.

Start from the tail. When you're rounding, lifting through the low back the ribs, push the mat away to open the back of your heart and let your head release last time. Start from the top of the head [inaudible] and then we'll find the place that feels like we're in between those two extremes. Looking straight down at the floor, pressing the mat away, and also broadening through the collarbones. You can imagine your hands want to pull that mat apart and slightly bend the elbows. If it helps that feeling of pulling the hands apart, you'll find your triceps a little bit more that way. As you exhale, now push the left hand into the floor and reach the right hand back out into the tea, half of the letter T. Bring that hand back under your shoulder, push that hand into the floor, and then reach your other arm out to the side. Keep alternating this way. Inhale to bring the arm under. Now wait for the exhale to happen as you're reaching the other arm out into a t. And notice if you feel the relationship as you keep alternating sides between one arm, leaving the floor and one side of your abdomen having a wake up a little bit more. And again, the part that's really important is to notice that it happens as a result of the way you're breathing and the way you've positioned your body.

Rather than saying you're going to activate one bleak to free up the other arm. So notice how we can use the body position, the breath, the floor, and awareness, right? To increase the connectivity between the trunk and the limbs. Yeah. And when you don't feel it, it might also be letting you know that your spine is not quite lined up on the horizon.

So you can use that lack of sensation to increase your awareness about where you are in space when now you don't have the floor, anything giving you any feedback and then we'll take a moment in child's pose to rest those risks. Nice work. You guys really focused. If your hands get really achy when you're on all fours, a little trick. Um, you can slide your hands underneath the top of your feet assuming that child's pose is comfortable for you of course. But if you slide your hands under the top of your feet, um, the weight of your body will put some pressure on the heels of your hands that get tired and that pressure is going to help increase circulation and decrease any potential inflammation. Not to mention, it just feels kind of good cause you can also then pull yourself in deeper into that child's pose and maybe expand the lower back a little bit more as long as your hips are happy about that. If it feels like there's a traffic jam in there, lots of compression than it wouldn't be a good idea to do that. All right, and as you're ready, you'll bring the arms up and over your head. One more time. Coming back up into Quadra pad, back backup onto all fours.

This time we'll tuck the toes under and start to send the sitz bones back. As you pushed the hands through the floor, let the knees come up that way. Going into an inverted v and then as you exhale, bend your knees and come back down. Inhale, roll the shoulders wide. Reach the breastbone forward and up. Exhale. Start from the tailbone now also pushing back through the hands to lift the knees off the mat to go into inverted V. Inhale, bend the knees back down to all fours. Roll the shoulders wide, Baby Swan at the top of your chest. Exhale, start from your tail to roll back to go into inverted V. Inhale, bend your knees, bring it down, shine your breastbone forward.

Exhale, send the tailbone down, curl back, and then hold it there. While you're here, you're spreading your fingers apart. Your shoulders are staying wide away from your ears. And if we had a Dowel, a, a stick post sorts the back of your head, the space between your shoulder blades and your sacrum would all line up on that dowel. So gonna bend your knees just a tiny bit and reach the Yup. Your hands are good. And reach your tailbone up a little bit more. Yeah. And you can still look down. Okay. Take one more breath while you're there. And on your following exhale, start to walk your hands back towards your feet.

Notice that as your hands walk towards your feet, your feet got a little more weight. Your heels specifically start to get a bit more weightbearing. And now let your head arms and your shoulders just go. Let everything go. So this idea in quadrant head that we did from leading with our tailbone, we're going to put that to work. Now here again, inhale while you're here into the low back and as you exhale, start to send your tailbone down towards the floor. Pretend you want your head on your shoulders to stay. Where they were.

So it's like you wish your head and your shoulders could stay down, but you are going to come all the way up. But again, energetically we want to create ideas of opposition to help increase the articulation we get through the spine. Once you come up to standing over your heels, have a moment where your arms are just hanging out your sides and relax all of your muscles. As we inhale, we grow taller through the top of the head. As we exhale, we start to curl down, tip the Chin forward, and let that movement roll through your spine. As you're curling down, allow yourself to lean forward just a little bit, just enough to feel like there's a little more weight in the front of your foot, because the tendency is, especially if you have flexible hamstrings, is to want to hand back in your heels. So let your weight kind of shift forward just a little bit. You still want to be able to anchor your heels again. Let your head, arms and shoulders hang. And as you start to curl back up, pretend that you want your head and your shoulders to stay where they are, but your pelvis is going to pull your spine up.

It's like the sacrum is the handle of the spine. And as you come up, let things soften. Let the glutes release. Trying think of moving through bones like you're just a bag of bones that happens to breathe and there is no muscle activity last time. Oh, exhale. As we wind down, as you're down there for a moment, notice the way your toes connect to the floor.

Can we relax the toes a little bit? Keep the weight through the front of the foot and then again gently start to curl up and it's perfectly safe. It's actually good idea to keep the knees slightly bent when we do this. Um, just because if we take away some of this stretch on the hamstring, it might make it easier for you to move through the pelvis on the femoral head and through your spine. Once you've come back up, take your time to get there. Let your arms just hang at your sides for a moment and close your eyes. Take your awareness down into the soles of your feet and notice the weight under the right foot and the weight under the left foot.

Start to become aware of the weight through the front of the feet and the weight in the heels. Does it feel like there's a difference between left and right? Does it feel like there's a difference between the front and the back of the feet? And as you inhale, start to again, slow the inhale down if it's not still slow. And notice the upward quality of the inhalation. As you exhale, take your awareness back into the weight, the souls of your feet. Contact the floor.

Inhale slower and fuller so that you can experience that expansive quality. It almost lifts your shoulders when you inhale and this time as you exhale, notice if you can keep the space the inhale provided and just soften your tissues around it. So we inhale to fill like a big balloon feeling our skeleton being supported and we exhale. Keeping that quality of ease and just softening around the space. The inhale provided.

We'll do that for three more breaths. [inaudible] and take one more breath while you're here, notice if there's any tension you can let go of anywhere in your body or in your mind. And on the following inhalation, reached the arms out to the sides, bringing them up over your head. Look up at your hands and open your eyes. If you haven't already, find your hands reaching up and over your head. Take a really deep breath and then exhale and just let it go down.

Let the arms drop, and again, we're gonna inhale and reach up. Get really full, and then just let it go. One more time. Inhale, grow, grow, grow, grow out of your skin, and then let it all go and shake out your arms. Shake up one leg, start to move around a little bit, shake out your other leg, shake it all out at the same time, and then forget all about everything. Awesome you guys. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for joining us today. Until next time.


Simone M
These movements are gentle yet they really get out all the kinks and tightness held in the body.
1 person likes this.
I think the same And my question is :
What name must be used for this lkind of lesson ?
Pre mat ? Restoraiive mat? Gentle mat ...? I don't think mat lev 1 is right in my opinion ....
Simone M
I am not sure if the level needs to be changed. Even though it was gentle I felt the benefits of this class right away, and that night/today, I see the results in my torso. A lovely class.
Monica, I'm not sure what Christi would say (and for the record, Pilates Anytime described and chose the level after the filming process), but if you have an association with Mat level 1 as being something different than what we have here, I would say call it whatever suits that model; pre-Pilates, Restorative etc... . For us, Mat Level 1 makes sense in the context of all of our other classes which is how we try to distinguish level, description etc... When it comes to describing a class the opinion of the viewer is always going to be right because it is subjective. On the other end of the continuum we sometimes have people tell us our level 3 classes should be level 10! Unfortunately, we have limited ourselves to 1-3. Continued.....
Continued from above....
We do the best we can to help people know what to expect from a class, but due to different schools of thought on Pilates, different skill levels and just differing opinions, we don't always get it right for everyone. We really appreciate your feedback and know that it will help others who may feel similarly discern whether this is the class they want to take. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
The point is completely different . I like this class so much that the question is how to put correctly in the schedule of my classes ?
Usually I teach level I Class with more traditional exercises in one hour
Thank you everyone for the feedback! As Kristi mentions, the level I is subject to the categories available on this wonderful website.
Monica, I would call this class a Mindful Mat class or a Restortive Pilates Mat class. Glad you enjoyed it!
Absolutely wonderful. My new favorite. Thank you, thank you!
Thank you Christi. Monica, I'm sorry I didn't answer your question as specifically as you wished I might have. I'm not really sure I can do any better than my first attempt not knowing the context of your studio/classes etc... My suggestion would be that you decide how to your label your classes based on your own audience rather than ours. Good luck!
That was an amazing class! I'm so glad I stayed present through the whole thing. (although it was not easy to do so!) I got so much added mobility in my thoracic spine and balanced movement in my shoulders. Can wait to see how this changes my practice!
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