Class #2020

Intentional Mat

55 min - Class


You will get a full body experience in this Mat workout with Tom McCook. He focuses on creating awareness of your breath and your body, which makes the class flow from beginning to end. He also encourages you to set an intention for the class, so you can notice what is happening in your mind as well.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Jan 12, 2015
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Hi, I'm Tom McCook. I'm here back at Pilates Anytime with Christi and a great group of students to do a flowing mat class. This class will be a full body experience. Stay with your breathing, stay close to your intention, and enjoy yourself. We're going to start with just first the sense of your body.

I'd like you to bring your feet in line with your sit bones. And as you stand, lift and spread your toes nice and wide, and lay them down reaching into all four corners of your feet. Just become aware of your posture and just notice can I have the weight 50-50 on the front and the back of my feet? Soften the knees just a little bit. Now I'd like you to close your eyes for a moment and just bring your attention to your felt body.

Letting go of what's happened earlier today, what's gonna happen later. See if you begin to just stop thinking in words and just sense sensation, which means breathing, the sensations in your body, your posture, tension levels. Noticing what's happening with you on a feeling level. As you're noticing, just start to formulate your own intention for your practice today, those particular areas of your body you want to become more skillful with, qualities you wanna develop, more graceful, more fluid, a little stronger, if you'd just like to have a good movement experience. Whatever it is for you, let's set that intention before we begin.

If you don't have a clear intention, just set the intention of making progress. So go to the end of your next exhale and just softly open your eyes. With an inhale I'd like you to slide your shoulders straight up towards the ceiling. As the shoulders lower on the exhale, soften the knees and then round the upper spine a little forward, just like a quarter of the way. Inhale, lengthen the legs, lift the shoulders up with a neutral spine.

Exhale, lower the shoulders, let the head follow and pour, feel gravity, feel the weight. Inhale, stack and lift. Exhale, melt the shoulders, let the legs bend, and pour halfway forward. And one more time, inhale, lengthen up and lift. Exhale, lower, let the head follow, soft knees, curl.

Lengthen up, bring your hands to your shoulders. Now roll the shoulders back and bend the knees. And imagine your knees and your hips are headlights and the headlights are gonna stay forward and rotation's gonna happen from the bottom of the ribcage up. As you roll the shoulders back, just inhale and exhale, just start to rotate around the midline. But notice, can I keep my knees and my hips still?

And as you're moving, notice, can I move more from below the shoulder girdle and leave the tops of the shoulders and the arms relaxed? Now whichever direction you're going, let that shoulder blade pull back more and look back, so you feel your middle back a little bit. And then turn the other way and feel how you can get a little deeper into your rotation to warm up your spine. Come back to the center. Now as you inhale, I want you to slide the shoulder blades, so you gotta lift the heart up and look up.

Now exhale, bend the knees, and empty, as the elbows come forward. Inhale, lift and open. Exhale, empty. Inhale, lift and open. Exhale to empty.

One more time, lift and open. Exhale to empty. Now lengthen up and side bend a little bit to your right. As you inhale, slide the shoulder blades together and look up. Opening, exhale to close in that side bend.

Inhale, open. Look up, exhale, look down and close. One more time, inhale, open. Exhale to close. Lengthen up, side bend to your left.

Inhale, open, slide the blades together. Exhale, close and open. Inhale, open. Exhale to close. One more time, inhale, open.

Exhale to close, lengthen up. Lower the arms, shake out your limbs. Now we gotta take that right into a spinal roll down, so I'd like you to bend the knees slightly. Starting from the top of the spine, let the head pour forward. Curl over like you're curling over a ball.

Now let the pelvis roll over the top of the leg bones, and at the bottom feel the weight of your head and nod it a couple times forward in a yes motion, then rotate no, and take a nice fluid breath, now feel the sit bones get heavy and stack the spine one vertebrate at a time, equal pressure into both feel. Let the head be the last thing up into align posture. We're just gonna do that one more time, inhale to bend. Exhale, sequence down, space through the spine, you're lengthening out the back chain of the body. At the bottom take a breath.

Exhale, stack the spine one vertebrate at a time, arriving at aligned posture. We're gonna roll down again, but you're gonna come onto all fours. Take a bend with the inhale, exhale, curl down, and help yourself onto all fours. Now on all fours, I want you to hands directly under your shoulders, your knees under your hips, and tuck your toes under. If that's uncomfortable for your feet, you don't need to do that, but we're gonna do a rocking motion.

So externally rotate your upper arms and open across the top of your chest. On the inhale, hinge back in your hips towards your heels without rounding your back. Exhale, forward. Inhale, back, feel the deep hip crease. Exhale, forward.

So think of what you did when you were a baby. You rocked a little bit. So inhale, back, so it's hips, knees, and ankles, exhale, forward, two more. On the next one, inhale back and hold it back. Now have your hands about six inches in front of your knees and open the top of your chest, so this is thoracic and cervical spine, so as you inhale, take your throat forward to look up like you're gonna put your face on the ceiling.

Exhale your chin to your chest. Inhale, look up. Exhale your chin to your chest. Breathe diaphragmatically, deep and low, inhale, look up. Exhale, chin to your chest.

Feel like you're pushing the floor down and forward. Inhale, exhale. One more. This time as the chin comes to the chest, hold it there. Now let's take five diaphragmatic breaths, let the belly move, breathe deep, let the belly and the pelvic floor stretch.

Exhale deeply. Inhale, feel everything move on the inner body. Exhale completely. Three more breaths. Feel the effects from the diaphragm on your belly and your pelvic floor, two more.

And exhale. And one more. And exhale. Help yourself back up onto all fours, untuck your toes. Now when we do the calf stretch and the going back, you're gonna focus on your lower back, so on the exhale, lift the pubic bone up, round your lower back and let your hips transfer back a little bit.

Now as you inhale, come forward to neutral, straighten the spine, now exhale, lift the chest through the arms but bend the elbows. Feel that in your thoracic spine. Inhale to lengthen the arms. Exhale, round back. Inhale, forward, exhale, bend the elbows, slide the breastbone through the arms to the front.

Inhale, straighten. Exhale to curl. Inhale to straighten, exhale to bend. Slide the chest through. Inhale to straight, swing your feet to your right.

Exhale, round back. Inhale, forward, neutral legs. Swing them over to the left. Exhale, curl back. Inhale, forward center, swing them to the left, right.

Exhale, curl. Inhale to the left. Exhale, curl. Inhale back to center, now we're gonna do a multiple movement for your thoracic spine, so on the exhale I want you to take your right hand and thread it through to your left. Inhale to the center.

Now take your right arm forward and take the armpit towards the floor. Inhale to center, swing your right arm back, and put your right hand onto your lower back, now rotate open. Inhale to center, we're gonna switch sides. Exhale, reach your left arm through, thread the needle. Inhale to center.

Exhale, reach it forward, extend the thoracic, take the armpit towards the floor. Inhale to center, swing the arm back, put the hand on the back of your pelvis, rotate, open to the left. Inhale center, switching sides, right arm through, thread the needle. Inhale, center. Exhale, right arm forward, armpit to the floor.

Straight line, head tail. Inhale center, swing that right arm back, put the hand on the lower back, rotate, open or the back of the sacrum. Inhale to center, one more time, left arm through. Inhale, center, slide it forward, armpit to the floor. Inhale, center, swing the arm back, put it on the back of the pelvis, rotate, open.

Inhale to center, we're gonna go right into calf stretches again, so on the exhale, curl. Inhale, forward, bend the elbows. Slide the chest through. Inhale, lengthen the arms, exhale to curl. Inhale, back to the straight line, we're gonna go right into opposite arm and leg reach, but on the exhale, first pull the body away from the arms and lift up a little bit.

You're not rounding your back, you're just creating oppositional lift. On the exhale, slowly reach your right arm forward, your left leg back, think light in the lifting limbs, strong in the weight-bearing limbs. Inhale, back down. Exhale to reach. Inhale, down, and again, exhale to reach.

Inhale down, stay long in the lower back of the neck. Exhale, reach. Inhale, down, and the next time, reach and hold. Now get a little longer through the spine, and on the exhale, as you round your lower back, touch the elbow to the knee. Inhale, reach into a line, do that spine more on that side.

Feel your weight through it. Notice, can I keep the neck long, The breath smooth, all the way through? That's it. Round in, beautiful. Two more.

And one more. And in, nice work. Come back to your starting position. Feel the nice line through the body. Exhale, reach the opposite arm and leg away, second side.

Feel the length, exhale, curl and touch. Inhale to reach, five more. Breathe through. Think of the spine as like a fluid spring. You're compressing the spring, then you're releasing that energy into a line.

One more. And down. Awesome, everybody. As you complete, help yourself onto your back, preparing for supine work. So you're gonna bend your legs and bring your feet flat with your heels in line with your sit bones.

Now in this position, just first find neutral in your pelvis, your heels are in line with your sit bones. Arms are long by your sides. Now in that position, we're just gonna start with a simple arch curl. So as you breathe in, just take a breath and on the exhale, before we even move, just let the front of the body fall into the back of the body, just notice you can acclimate to this relationship with gravity first. Let the front of the shoulders soften, your jaw soften a little bit behind your eyes.

On the next exhale, as you start to follow the belly in, curl the tail towards the knees and imprint the lower back into the floor. Inhale into a slight arch, reach the tail the other way, you're rolling the pelvis forward over your leg bones. Exhale to curl the pelvis under your leg bones and imprint. And do two more each direction, and notice, as you're doing that, can I keep the front of the shoulders soft? Kinda work from that lower end of the spine and pelvis, one more.

Now in the next one, from the curl position, hold the curled position, we're gonna go into a clock. So inhale, lengthen towards one hipbone and down to your tail on one side. Exhale, curl on the other side, imagine you have a clock face on the back of the pelvis, and you're hitting all the numbers between your bellybutton and your tail and your two hipbones on the back of the pelvis. You're inhaling as you're going towards the tail, you're exhaling as you come towards the bellybutton. Pay particular attention to those numbers around 10 and two.

They tend to get left out. One more in that direction. And as you get back to that curl position, reverse. Inhale, lengthen towards the the hipbone down to your tail. Exhale, curl, so think of pelvic clocking is really the beginning of a lot of the exercises we do, you're learning how to control the middle of your body.

Also helps to free up the lower back, do two more. And one more. As you come back to the center, find that neutral position and bring your awareness to your feet. Imagine that the shape of your foot's not gonna change, and the pelvis is gonna stay level. So as you inhale, let one knee fall out to the side so you end up on the side of your foot without losing the neutral pelvis.

Now as you exhale, press into the side of your foot to come back to the center, so you feel the relation between your feet and your hip muscles. Inhale, open to second side. Exhale, back to the center, now just lightly touch the front of your hipbones, and notice as the leg's moving, you don't want your hips to be moving with it. So inhale, open. Exhale, back to the center.

So you think of it, when you walk or you're moving, the first thing that gives your hips feedback of what to do is what your feet are feeling. Inhale to open. Exhale, back to the center. One more on the second side. Back to the center, now bring the arms long, we're gonna take that right into a bridge, so on the exhale, curl, tail towards the knees and peel the hips off the floor.

Now in the bridge, take a breath and reach the arms to the back in high V position. Exhale, traction the spine down away from your fingertips one vertebrate at a time. Once the tail is all the way down, inhale and float the arms back to your sides. And again, initiating from the bottom of the spine, curl and peel the hips off the floor. Inhale to reach back.

Exhale to sequence down, long fluid spine. Float the arms to the side, now we're gonna add a little variation, so take a breath and exhale, curl into the bridge again. Now keeping the hips level, ribs in, on the inhale, let the right knee open and going onto the side of the foot like you did a moment ago. Exhale, press into the side of the foot, come back to center. Inhale, the second side.

Exhale, center, notice, can I keep the hips level? Inhale to open again. Exhale, center. Inhale to open. Exhale, center.

Inhale, reach the arms to the back. Exhale, traction down through the spine. Inhale, bring the arms to your side. Two more versions. On the exhale, curl into the bridge again.

Now this time, take your arms straight up above your chest and bring your palms together. Now imagine your fingertips are gonna reach towards the ceiling, but your shoulders are gonna widen and lower. And then your front ribs are gonna melt a little closer to the floor. Imagine your pant pockets are filled with sand. On the inhale, pour your right pocket towards the floor to empty the pocket.

Exhale, squeeze it back to the center. Inhale, the left pocket. Exhale, squeeze it, feel the feet and the hips. Inhale, the first side. Exhale, center.

Inhale, the second side. Back to center, bring the arms long by your side, just take a breath as you stand and do your left foot, go into marching. Inhale to lower, exhale to lift. Feel a little bit of that work in the middle of the upper back. Soften around your jaw.

Nice. That's it, and, alternating legs, yes. Definitely alternate each side, and as you keep the pelvis square, feel the strength in the standing leg. Now we're gonna change it, so on the next exhale, next side you do, reach the leg straight out in line with the other knee. Now take it straight up to the ceiling on the inhale.

Exhale back out to straight, and place it down. Exhale to reach, alternating, lift on the inhale. Reach long and place it down. We're gonna do two more each side, exhale to reach. Inhale to lift.

Reach long, and place it down. Exhale to reach, lift. Reach long and place it down, we have one more each side, everybody. Reach, and lift. Reach and lower, last time.

Reach and lift, reach and lower. Inhale, the arms to the back. Exhale, sequence down through the spine, as you get to the bottom, just slide your hands right behind your head in preparing for an abdominal curl. Take a breath from the upper body, in the exhale, as you roll the head forward, slide the breastbone away from your chin to curl without pulling on the head at all. Inhale, lengthen down, just before that touches the floor, exhale back up.

That's it. Inhale down, feel how there's a wrap from the shoulder blades across the waves to the opposite inner thigh as you come up. That's it, and do two more. Imagine the torso's being lifted from the abdominal muscles. One more.

Exhale to lift. Inhale, the head all the way down. Now we're gonna go to obliques. So take a breath and curl again. Hold it in the midline, imagine your ribs are gonna slide to your opposite hips, so on the exhale, turn opposite rib to opposite hip.

Inhale to center, exhale to turn. I didn't say which direction, so I'm letting you choose. It's all good. Exhale to turn, that's it, and notice, as you're turning, keep sliding the shoulders away from the ears. Two more, each side.

Both hips are weighted, you're still feeling the feet. That's it, and again. One more each side, everybody. Now we're warm, last side. Back to the center, lengthen down.

Bring your arms long by your sides, we're gonna take it into the 100s, so I'd like you to take your arms straight up to the ceiling. Imprint the back of the shoulders, and just feel how you can drop the back of the ribs into the floor and widen the blades a little bit. Inhale the arms to the back without letting the back of the ribs come off the floor. On the exhale, as the arms come forward, do an abdominal cramp, pull both knees in towards the chest. Looking at your belly, inhale for five beats through the nose.

Exhale for five beats through the mouth, slide the legs straight up to the ceiling. That's a zip up the inner thighs, inhale for five, exhale for five, now at your own pace, start to lower the legs a little bit to the degree you can keep your back in a good position. Back of the waist is heavy. Inhale for five. Exhale for five.

Let's do three more sets of breaths, inhale for five, exhale for five, feel the tone of the inner thighs, the lower glutes, inhale for five, exhale for five, one more set, everybody, strong connective movements. Hold on the inhale. Exhale, lengthen down, bend the legs, have the feet a little further away from you this time. We're gonna do a roll-up, but we're gonna straighten the legs as we come up. So arms up to the ceiling, inhale the arms to the back.

Exhale the arms forward, let the upper body follow. Curl, slide the legs long, and reach forward. Inhale up tall, bend the legs. Exhale, curl down, and as you get towards the bottom, straighten the legs. Inhale at the bottom.

Exhale, start to come forward, as you curl, start to bend the legs. And then reach them forward. Inhale up tall. Bend the legs and roll down with control. Slide them long at the bottom.

That's a little confusing, huh? One more time. Exhale, forward, curl, let them bend. And then slide them long when you get up there. Take a breath, exhale, curl and bend.

Opening up the lower back, and slide them long. And again, last time, on the exhale, curl and bend. Slide them long, now we're gonna keep them long. We're gonna do three more. Hold position, exhale, curl, squeeze your inner thighs.

As you reach, keep the body long. Exhale forward, curl, curl, curl. And reach. Hold the curl, start to sequence back. Strong legs as you reach.

And again, exhale forward. Ha, beautiful, everybody. Hold on the reach, take a breath, exhale, sequence down. As you arrive at the bottom, bend the legs, bring the legs up to tabletop. Imprint the back of the arms.

Take the legs straight up 'til they're rolled over, we're gonna start with legs open, so inhale, open a little wider than shoulder width. Exhale, point the feet, let the tail chase the feet into the rollover. Inhale, close the legs, flex the feet in sequence down as you stand and do the arms. Inhale to open. Point, exhale to the back.

Inhale to close and flex. Exhale, traction down nice and smooth. Let's do one more, inhale, open and point, exhale, back. Inhale, close, flex, traction down, reaching through the feet. As you get to the bottom, keep the legs together, just inhale the point.

Exhale back. Inhale, open, flex, now traction down through the spine, that's it. Inhale together and point. Exhale back, there we go. Inhale, open, flex.

Exhale, traction down. One more, last one, everybody. Inhale together and point. Exhale back, beautiful. Inhale, open flex, traction down.

As you come to the bottom, bend the knees, draw the knees into the chest, and rock right up to a seated position for rolling like a ball. We're gonna begin holding the back of your thighs, so just practice a few moments. So I want you to bring your knees in the air, widen your shoulder blades, and widen your elbows away from each other. Now imagine the spine above your sacrum is where you're focusing on, so pull the lower belly back on the exhale to roll. Now as you come up, straighten up through the spine.

Then exhale to curl. Inhale up and lengthen up through the spine to straight. Then exhale to curl, there you go. Inhale up and straighten up. Exhale to curl.

Now roll up and hold the curl and bring your hands to your shins and bring the ball in a little tighter, let's do three more times. On the exhale, roll. Inhale, up. Exhale to roll. Inhale, up.

Exhale to roll. Inhale up, now slide your, one of your legs out in front of you and hold the other knee for single leg stretch. Now the leg that you're holding, I want you to hold it with your opposite hand, outside hand lower on the leg. Now as you sequence down through the spine, reach through the long leg and keep the pelvis square. Right when you get the tips of the shoulder blades on the floor, float that long leg and widen and lower your blades.

With an exhale, switch. Hands switch, knees are tracking right over your hips. The reaching leg is strong, your shoulders are wide and low. Two more, each side. One more each side.

Back to the center. Now we're gonna do a little variation. So just bring your head down for a moment. Exhale, curl up in the upper body, and slide both legs long. Now as you're sliding them long, don't let the lower back arch, squeeze the inner thighs together, and then come down with the upper body.

Now the arms are gonna come to the back. On the exhale, as you curl up in the upper body, press the arms towards the feet in the floor, pull your left knee into your chest. Inhale, down, reach long. Exhale again, curl, pull the knee in, imprint the back of the waves. Inhale down, now we're gonna add, exhale, curl, like you're rolling up, pull the knee in, take hold of the lower leg and lengthen up into single-leg teaser.

Now like rolling, round the back, pull the knee in. Roll down, slide the leg long. Reach the arms to the back. Exhale, curl, pull the knee in. Reach up, open the chest.

Pull the knee in, round into the back. Slide the leg long. Two more each side, exhale, curl, pull the knee in. Reach up. Exhale, curl, round.

Reach long, active legs. And again, exhale, curl, pull in, lengthen up. Exhale, curl, lengthen down, reach long. One more, each side. Exhale, curl, draw the knee in, reach up, open the top of the chest.

Exhale, curl, round back, slide the leg long. One more time, exhale, curl, pull in, lengthen up. And exhale, sequence down. Lengthen to the floor, now hold at the bottom for a moment. We're gonna take it right into single leg stretch.

So bring your right leg up to a tabletop. Bend your down leg just a slight amount, and find neutral in your pelvis and your upper body. Now in the exhale, as you sink in your belly, slowly straighten both legs, one to the sky, one on the floor. Inhale, bend both slightly. Imagine you're picking up the leg from the spine, Sink in your belly, straighten both legs.

One more time. Exhale, reach, now hold, flex the down foot, point the up foot, press the back of the arms into the floor. Stable pelvis. Inhale in the midline, exhale into your circle. One breath each circle.

Strong standing leg. Breath is smooth. Chest is open. The spine is pretty quiet. Two more.

And one. And now reverse, inhale away from the body, exhale to circle. That's strong in your standing leg, nice fluid motion. And smooth. Two more.

And one. Bend the knee, pull it into your chest just for a moment. Slide it long on the mat. Slide the other leg up into tabletop. Bend the down leg just a little bit.

Now on the exhale, just straighten both legs at the same time, but feel like your goal is to connect the legs to the spine. Inhale to bend. Exhale to reach into both. That you're anchored in the middle. Inhale to bend, one more time, exhale, reach.

Now flex the down foot, lightly point the up foot. Inhale into the midline. Exhale to circle. Inhale. Fluid motion, that's it.

Stay with it. Two more. One more, let the ground support you, and reverse. That's it. That's it, fluid, everybody, two more.

And one. Back to center, draw the knee in for a stretch. Slide the leg long, reach the arms overhead, we're gonna do a transitional roll-up to come up for spine stretch on the exhale, arms forward, peel off the floor. As you get to the top, open your legs shoulder width apart, get right up on your sit bones, say hello to the train. Float the arms right up at shoulder height.

Now on the exhale, as you activate the back of the legs, feel like you're hollowing the belly and you're curling over a beach ball and the top of the head is moving towards the mat. On the inhale, stack the spine from the base. Slide the shoulders slightly back and out. And again, exhale, forward. Inhale to stack, feel the strength coming up out of your pelvis and legs, exhale to curl.

Inhale to stack, we're gonna do two more times, feel the space length you're creating in the spine, exhale to curl, you're giving to your spine. Inhale to stack it up, and one more time, exhale to curl. Inhale, stack it up. Now we're gonna go side, I'm just gonna demonstrate this way, but you guys are gonna be in the same place. So you're gonna take your right arm overhead.

Now on the exhale, side bend, but keep your right hip heavy. Inhale, lengthen up, switching arms. Exhale, over. There you go. Inhale, up, switching arms.

Exhale over, energy out your legs, into the hip. Inhale, up, exhale, over. And now we're gonna add, inhale, up. Now on the exhale, side bend, inhale, spiral forward. Exhale, side.

Inhale, lengthen up. And again, exhale, over. Inhale, forward. Exhale, side. Inhale, lengthen up.

And two more times, exhale, over. Inhale, side forward. Exhale, back. Inhale, lengthen up. And again.

Side. Forward. Side. Lengthen up, one more each side. Side.

Inhale forward, feel the stretch. Back to side. Lengthen up, and last side. Side. And forward.

Side, and lengthen up. Now bring your legs right together for what's called a reverse plank. So have your hands a little behind you. Now we're gonna start with the feet flexed, so flex your feet and press the thighs down and pull your shoulders back. On the exhale, point your feet, extend the hips, and create a nice line from your feet to your head.

Feel like you're pushing the floor down and forward. Now inhale, flex the feet, hinge from the hips, and lower with control. And again, exhale. Point, squeeze the legs, extend the hips. Keep the front ribs in as best you can.

Inhale, flex, and hinge. Three more times, exhale, point, lift. Strong line through the body. Inhale to flex. Hinge from the hip joints and lower.

And one more time. Exhale, point and lift. That's it. Inhale to flex. Exhale to lower the control, we're gonna take that right into the saw, so we woke up our back so it can support the saw, so get right up on your sit bones, arms to the side, a little bit in front of you.

Inhale, spiral to your, your right. Now exhale, as you flex and reach, hold for a moment. now absorb your left leg into the hip joint and get weighted into your left hip and look towards your back hand. As you come up, stay in rotation, now turn that right palm away from you, and pull up and grow tall so you feel the middle of your back right here. Exhale, center.

Inhale, turn. Now flex and absorb the right leg. Pull back through that hip and down. Inhale up, turn that palm up, now reach out of your back. Exhale, center.

Inhale, turn. Exhale, flex, and reach. Heavy in the weighted hip that you're moving away from. Inhale up, stay in rotation, feel your back. Exhale, center.

Inhale to turn. Exhale, flex and reach. Inhale, lengthen up. Exhale, center, and again. Inhale, exhale, flex and reach.

Inhale, lengthen up into twist. Exhale, center, I think this is the last side, inhale to turn, exhale, flex and reach. Inhale, lengthen up. Exhale, center, very nice, everybody. Come onto your side facing me.

So this is side series. This first movement will be to find your obliques. I have this little extra guy on my obliques, but we're gonna work around him. So I want you to put your hand, you can cradle your head or have your bottom arm long, but you don't wanna be up with your head. Put your hand above your hip in the space between your lower ribs and the top of your hips, that's right where your obliques are.

Now flex your feet and take them about six inches forward of your body. Now your obliques can contract from the top or from the bottom. So what I want you to do is draw your hip towards your shoulder into your hand to contract your obliques. You should feel your obliques become hard. If they didn't become hard yet, guess what.

They're not working yet. So draw them up, everybody feel that? Now put your hand on the floor in front of you. Now you're gonna lift both your legs from your obliques. So I want you to flex your feet, but on the exhale, lift the hip to the shoulder to lift both legs.

Inhale to lower. And again, exhale to lift. Inhale to lower, that's it, now bring your chin back so your head's in line with the spine. Exhale to lift, there you go. And again, exhale, lift.

We're gonna do two more and add something to it. Feel the waistline, that's great for your lower back. On the next one, exhale, lift and hold. Now just lower and lift the bottom leg. Doing some beats, so now you're using your waistline on the top, your inner thigh on the bottom, that's it.

That's it, nice and strong, do five more. Smooth motion. One more. Lower both, bend your bottom leg like you're sitting in a chair. Now take the top leg straight off your shoulders, so you're gonna bring it back a little bit.

Now straight line, bring the chin back off your chest. Now as you reach out of that leg in parallel, now the hinge is at your pubic bone level, it's at your hip joint, so you don't want the waist line to change at all. So flex the foot. And on the exhale, just lift the leg straight up to the ceiling in parallel, which won't be a big lift if we don't change the spine, inhale to lower. Exhale to lift, now feel your outer hip muscles and your waistline.

Your glutes, your hamstrings, but that waistline-hip connection, see if you can feel that. Bring the leg back a little bit in line with the body. There you go. Challenge yourself possibly to be slightly behind yourself. Do two more.

Now lift and hold at hip height. Imagine the middle of the figure eight is the straight line off your body, I want you to start to trace the figure eight, front to back, with your foot, in parallel. Challenge yourself to get into those back ranges. A little behind the body. Fluid motion, that's it.

One more the direction you're going. And now reverse. Say what? Trace it to the back. There we go.

Three more. (laughs) They're looking somewhat like a figure eight, it's all good. One more. Now as you come back to the center, we're gonna go right into side kicks, but kick to the front for a moment, kick with a pulse with the point of the flex foot. Now as you point to the back and reach the back slowly, feel like you're also pulling you down into your chest, as you reach to the back. That's it, not flex and kick to the front.

On the back motion, pull the down knee to your chest like you're activating it, just like if you were sprinting. And again, inhale, kick. Exhale, point, and reach back, good. Feel the stability of that action of the down leg. There you go, do one more.

Now the next one, on the back, hold it to the back. Hold it to the back, keep that down knee active, and now bend the knee and go right into bicycle. And forward, reach to the back, feel that oppositional lift of the down knee to control the position. That's it, one more in that direction. As the leg comes to the front, bend the knee, and reverse.

Sweep it to the back, feel like you're pulling the down knee to your chest. That's it, three more. Fluid, there you go. One more, everybody. As you complete the one you're on, straighten your bottom knee, put your top knee on the floor, and just tap your hip for a moment.

And then roll it right over to your other side, we'll go right into side two. We're just gonna keep it moving. And take your feet about six inches forward of your body, the head's back in line with the spine. The feet are flexed and your top hand is in that space between the top of your hip and the bottom of your ribcage. Now just first feel how you can draw the hip up to the shoulder to activate your obliques.

Don't even need to lift the feet yet, you're just gonna feel how you can find those muscles. That's it. Now that you've found them, put your hand on the floor in front of you, shoulders low. Now on the exhale, as you lift the hip, lift both legs from your obliques. Inhale to lower.

And again, exhale to lift. Inhale to lower, that's it, smooth, lift. Inhale to lower, we're gonna do four more. Feel how you're using your side body to lift the legs, but the legs are toned. Two more.

On the next one, lift and hold. As you lift and hold, lower and lift the bottom leg, keeping the top waist active all the way through. Easy in the neck, smooth in the breath. That's three. Two.

And one, bend the bottom leg like you're sitting in a chair. Bring that top leg back in line with your shoulder. Straight off the body in parallel, now the waistline stays equally long, on the exhale, pulse up. Inhale to lower, that's it, notice that you want both sides of the waves to stay equal, so now the hinge is your hip joint at the level of your pubic bone. That's it.

Check in with your posture, head's in line with the spine. Your breath is smooth. One more, now lift and hold. Go right on tracing your figure eight, back to front. Strong energy out the leg.

You're feeling the sides of the leg, you're feeling the waves, you're feeling the glutes. And reverse. Trace it forward and back. It's a nice fluid movement through the hip joint with an active hip and waist. Back to center, right into side kicks.

Inhale, kick to the front with a pulse. As you reach to the back, lift that down knee towards your chest, just activate it. Inhale, forward with a pulse. Exhale, point and reach, that's it. Smooth motion, everybody.

Let's do three more. Feel that, both legs working together on the hip extension. And two more. And one more, now this next one, hold it to the back, preparing for bicycle. Draw the heel to your butt, knee to your chest.

Leg long to the front, sweep it back, feel that you're still pulling that knee forward on the down leg as it like goes back for support. That's it. There you go. Give a little brush stroke to your partner in front of you. It's all good, one more.

On the next one, as the leg comes to the front, hold it to the front, and then reverse direction then and reach to the back, find that low glute hamstring connection. Stay long through your spine. There you go, fluid motion. Three more, everybody. And two.

And one. As you complete the one you're on, straighten the bottom leg, put the top knee on the floor. Just tap out your top hip for a moment. Very nice. Now let's come forward onto your belly, we'll come to the middle, we're gonna go right into some extension work on your stomach.

So as you come onto your abdomen, rest your forehead on the back of your hands for a moment. Now let's just take a couple crocodile breaths. A crocodile breath means you're gonna breathe your belly into the floor so you feel your lower back move. And on the exit, just soften around your neck and the tops of your shoulders. Do that for one more breath.

Now energize your legs by reaching through them. And out the top of your head, just sit the shoulders low and wide. On the exhale phase, activate the lower belly and the upper inner thighs. As you inhale, slide the heart forward to lift your head. And rotate your upper arms out so your elbows and hands are parallel to one another.

Now the exhale, straighten the arms, reaching out of your middle back. Inhale, pull yourself forward as you bend the elbows. And exhale back to the start. And again, inhale, slide the heart forward, and externally rotate the upper arms. Exhale, extend out of your back.

Inhale, pull forward to bend. Exhale, back to the start. We're gonna do that three more times. Inhale, draw forward, open the upper arms. Exhale, reach out of your back with active legs.

Inhale, pull yourself to come back, exhale back. And again, inhale. Feel that middle upper back, feel your leg strength. Exhale, reach into the arms. Inhale, traction forward.

Exhale, down, one more. Inhale, extend, open. Exhale, reach. Inhale, pull down. Exhale, back, very nice, now just do the first part of the movement, but you pull the chest forward and hold it.

But your arms are gonna stay the same. Now reaching through your legs, we're gonna do a little hamstring locator. So on the inhale, bend at one knee. On the exhale, lift a leg from a low glute and reach it long. Inhale to bend the second side.

Exhale, lift the knee slightly off the floor, and reach long, feel like you're connecting to your low glutes and hamstrings, your lower belly, and the middle of your upper back. Lift and reach. Inhale to bend, exhale, lift and reach, good. Two more each side. Inhale to bend at the knee.

Exhale, lift and reach, notice, can I lift and reach without taking my hips off the floor? That's it, and again. Exhale, lift and reach. One more each side, everybody. Inhale to bend.

Exhale, lift and reach. Inhale to bend. Exhale, lift and reach, very nice. As you come down, bring your hands long by your sides with your palms facing up, and I want you to have your wrist on the floor. So we're gonna do a variation of rocket.

So on the inhale, as you press into your wrist, slide the chest forward to come up into extension. Now exhale, as you pull the blades closer together, reach your arms to the ceiling. Inhale, lower the wrist. Exhale, lower the spine. Inhale, slide the heart forward, press into the wrists, get long.

Exhale, reach up. Inhale to lower, exhale down. Now we're gonna add, so inhale, extend up. Now on the exhale, from here, you're gonna bend at the elbows, reach the arms forward, inhale, open the arms, now press back as you extend more. Exhale, down.

Inhale, press into the wrists and extend. Exhale, bend at the elbows, reach forward. Inhale, open, press back for breaststroke, open. Exhale, down, wrist to the floor. We're gonna do three more, inhale, press into the wrists, extend.

Exhale, reach forward and through. Inhale, open, press back. Exhale, down. And again, inhale, lengthen forward and help you use that wrist connection. Exhale, forward.

Inhale, open, press back. Exhale to lower, one more time. Inhale, lengthen up. Exhale, reach forward. Inhale to open.

Press back, exhale to lower, slide the hands under your shoulders, press back to child's pose. Stretch back for a breath or two. On the next exhale, roll up, come onto all fours. Now we're gonna do an active cat stretch into thigh stretch. This time your toes will be untucked.

So on the exhale, as you start to round your back, let your hips transfer back, so you can use your legs and abdomen to float the hands off the floor. Inhale, back down, come back to neutral. Now we're gonna take it all the way up to full tall kneeling. Exhale, curl, roll up. Now inhale, float the arms to shoulder height.

Activate your glutes and hamstrings and abs and lean back. Inhale, up, exhale, hinge from the hips to come down. Inhale, curl, or exhale, curl back, roll up. Inhale, arms to shoulder height. Now keep that line and lean back.

Inhale, up, sail hinge down, feel the hip crease. One more before we change it, exhale, curl. Inhale, arms up. Exhale, hinge. Inhale, up, exhale, hinge down.

Now we're gonna add rotation. So exhale, round up. Inhale, lift the arms, now exhale, you're gonna rotate right, lift the left and reach back, keep both hips pressing forward. Inhale, forward. Exhale, rotate to second side, reach.

Inhale, forward. First side, exhale, back. Inhale, forward, exhale, rotate. Inhale, forward, one more each way. Exhale, turn.

Inhale, forward. Exhale. Inhale, forward onto all fours. Now we're gonna do a leg pulled back variation. So widen through the chests, step both legs into a plank one at a time.

Now the sequence will go like this, I'll just show you one, on the exhale you'll pull the knee in. Inhale long, then exhale, pulse twice. Inhale, down. Just let me talk you through that so you don't have to wait in a plank. So step back into your plank.

Inhale to prepare, exhale, pull one knee in. Inhale, reach long, exhale, pulse twice. Inhale to lower. Exhale in with the knee. Inhale, long, exhale, pulse twice.

Inhale to lower, and again, exhale in. Inhale back, pulse twice. Inhale to lower, exhale in. Inhale, reach, pulse twice. Inhale to lower one more time, in.

Back, pulse twice, and lower, last side. In, back, pulse twice, and lower, float your knees down. Come to a kneeling position facing me for kneeling side kicks. So reach the arms out. Side bend to your left.

And extend the right leg long, now reach out of both arms, then bring that top hand behind your head. Now that long leg, circle the leg, three circles in one direction. And reverse. Now hold the reach, swing the leg to the front, exhale, point and reach to the back. Forward.

And to the back, one more, forward. To the back, bend the knee, come back to kneeling. Extend, side bend, second side. Feel the line through the arms, reach through the leg. Bring the hand behind the head.

Circle three, one, two, three, reverse. One, two, three, swing to the front. Reach to the back, that's it, and to the front. And to the back. One more, to the front.

To the back. Transfer back to kneeling, come back to your second side, but come down on your side for side plank. So in this position, you have options, you can either stack your feet, more challenging, or the top foot is forward. Either one is fine. I'm gonna do the staggered version today.

So on the inhale, I want you to lift to side plank, create a line through the arms, line through the legs, now zip up the legs. On the inhale, lower the hips, press the arm down, look towards your feet. Exhale, lift the hips, come over the top, lift the waist, look towards the floor. Inhale to lower, squeeze down. Exhale, lift and reach.

One more. Inhale. Exhale. Back to straight. Bend the knees to come down, swing around to your second side.

And again, keep the reach out of the shoulders. Inhale to lift. Exhale, hold it. Now inhale, push down to lower the hips. Exhale, lift, look over the top, reach, look towards the floor.

Inhale to lower. Exhale to lift. Inhale to lower. Exhale to lift. Inhale to straight.

Bend to bring it down. Come to a kneeling position, facing the middle. Now I'm gonna do this on the floor, it's gonna be hard up there. I'll be right here, it's okay. And now sit back on your heels, now this if this is uncomfortable for anybody's feet, you can stay up, if you can't tuck your toes in enough, sitting here, I want you to lift up.

Now you're just gonna see if you can keep your leg in line with your hip, and step your left leg through. That's it, now bring your arms up to shoulder level. Now on the exhale, as you push down, squeeze up to straight. Inhale back down, just lightly touch. Exhale, squeeze up.

Feel your glute on the back leg. Inhale to lower, squeeze. Now lower halfway. Inhale, rotate to your left. Exhale, center.

Inhale, rotate, just to left. Exhale, center, one more. Exhale, center, now slide the back foot forward. And let's step back a little so I'm out of your way. Now from here, with the back leg a little bit forward, you're gonna lean onto your front leg and think of swan on the mat.

Still left leg forward. Now as you're there, you're gonna float the back leg and create a nice line from your back leg through the top of your head. Tip a little more forward, feel your middle of your back. One more breath. On the exhale, swing the back leg through, touch the ball of the foot to the floor lightly.

Bring your fingertips to touch, bend your knees, round your spine and pull your knee to your chest. Lower. Step back down to your lunging position. Hi. Very nice.

Now again, from under your glutes, come up. Step your right foot through. Float the arms, squeeze up. Inhale to lower. Squeeze up.

Two more. One. Lower halfway. Inhale, rotate right. Exhale, center.

Inhale, open. Exhale, center, one more, inhale, open. Exhale, center, now as you slide the back foot a little closer, come up, we're gonna go right into the extension exercise, tip forward, lift the back leg. That can use the middle of your back. Keep that line from head to tail, one more breath.

Straight spine if you can, yeah. Straight standing, you can bend the standing leg a little bit. I can't talk and do it very well. That's enough, swing the leg through, touch the toes to the floor. Fingertips now, as you drop down, round your back and pull the knee to the chest.

And lower. Very nice, come to the back end of your mat for pushup. So stand tall, now when you do your pushup, it's more important the line of your body than how deep you go. So see if you can get the sense that your shoulders are gonna stay low, and you're gonna stay zipped up through the middle. So inhale the arms up overhead, exhale, spine stretch forward.

Walk your hands out to a plank. Now find the strength in your plank, inner thighs, low glutes, inhale to lower, elbows in close. Exhale to straighten, three reps. Strong and connected. One more.

Press back to downward dog. Walk your hands to the feet. Soft knees, roll up the spine in a fluid fashion. We're gonna do one more set, inhale the arms up. Exhale, curl down.

Walk out to plank. This time, in the plank, take your hands a little wider. Turn your fingers in slightly. This is gonna be a little more chest action, so inhale, bend the elbows wide, away from each other. Exhale to straighten, three reps, keep the tone and the midline.

One more. Back to downward dog, you could turn the hands back in, walk it back in. Soft knees, roll up through the spine. Now we're gonna finish with a simple balance in the exercise that's really great for your neck and your whole vestibular system, so I want you to take your right foot a little bit off the floor in front of you. Now anywhere in this sequence, if you need to touch the floor, just do it.

So all you're gonna do is we're gonna do six head positions, so keep the nice line through the body and turn your head to the right. Back to the center. Turn your head to the left. Back to the center, look down. Back to the center, easy shoulders and arms, look up.

Back to the center, side bend your head to one side. Back to center, side bend to the other side. Back to the center and place it down. That's a little bit of work, huh? So balance is for a lot of things, so we gotta include them all, so now take your left foot off the floor.

Again, touch the floor if you need it. You don't need to strain when you do this stuff, turn your head to the left. Center. Right. Center.

Look down. Center, look up. Center, side bend. Center, side bend. Center, and lower.

Bend the knees as you inhale. So roll down through the spine in a fluid fashion. Again, at the bottom nod your head yes. Rotate no. Take a nice fluid breath on the exhale from the bottom of the spine, stack the spine one vertebrate at a time.

As you get to the top, bring the heels together, small V. Now bend the knees about a quarter of the way. Imagine from your upper inner thighs to your lower belly, you're gonna zip up your legs, keep those muscles active, and float the heels. Float the arms up. Stay tall as you open.

And lower the heels. And again, and. Lift. Lift. Reach.

Open. Lower, and last time, bend. Lift, grow tall, feel that center line. Imagine the periphery is soft, the center line is strong and bright. Open.

Lower, turn back to parallel. Close your eyes, come back to your intention for yourself for your practice today. Sense your breathing, your posture, and acknowledge yourself for your reference. Great to be with you, hope to see you again on Pilates Anytime. Thank you, everybody.


3 people like this.
Thank you!! It was wonderful!!
5 people like this.
Thank you! Loved your cuing and attention to the sensations in the body. Wonderful!
5 people like this.
Great teaching from parts to whole allowing the body to make the deep connections needed for success in the related Pilates exercise. Tom, thank you so much.
8 people like this.
TOMMCOOKTOMMCOOKTOMMCOOK!!! Never have I been more integrated or been given a happier spine! Thank you!! And I have a feeling I could do this one class for the rest of my life and discover something new and profound each time. I bow to you, Sir. :)
3 people like this.
An absolutely beautiful class, I loved every moment of it! Thank you Tom McCook. :)
5 people like this.
Thank you all for your comments on the class! So great to hear this medium for being lead and having a quality class experience is happening! I wish you all continued benefits and insights. Thank you PilatesAnytime!
Great video! All about moving...and having fun with it. :) Will defiantly add some new exercises that you have shared into my early am class.
1 person likes this.
This was a wonderful class! I loved the warm up and flow throughout the whole class. I'll definitely do some more workouts with Tom!
3 people like this.
Totally loved this class and how aware it made me. I would have hit 'Like' eight times if I were able.
I will definitely do this again and look out for more of Tom's classes! Thanks for the experience!
1 person likes this.
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