Class #2043

Stability Challenge Mat

45 min - Class


Challenge your stability in this Mat workout with Amy Havens. She uses the shape of the ball to work your body with wonderful imagery and cueing. This is a great class to work through the "sticky" areas of your body.
What You'll Need: Mat, Overball

About This Video


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Hi everyone, I'm here to do a mat class, and I'm using the blue overball. I think they probably come in different colors, but this is a nice squishy ball. I wouldn't have it too squishy for lack of support. It is gonna challenge stability, and that's what these are kinda nice for. But I also wanna connect a little bit with the idea of the size of the ball, the shape of it.

It's, of course, round. So some of the exercises I've chosen to do in this class are really thinking about really more wrapping around it. So it could be my tailbone wrapping under, your tailbone wrapping under, the back of the legs wrapping under, the spine wrapping over, things like that. So just kinda using that image, and I'll do my best to give the cuing in there. But let's go ahead and start.

I don't know what level it is. I don't know how long it's gonna be. Let's just kinda play. I'm gonna have us put it between our knees, right above the knee, inner thigh, and let's stand in parallel. And I want us to squeeze the ball a pretty good amount, not from the front inner thigh, so much as the back of the inner thighs.

So that you get that sense of the hamstrings and the low gluteals right away connecting and solidifying how your legs are underneath your pelvis. And let's just take a couple deep breaths. And as we're doing the breathing today and through the hour, class, really think of the inhalation as bringing the ribcage more up, away from hips, out of your low back, stretching up through the chest muscles or the tissue of the pectoral muscles, so that the inhale actually does give us a lift. Not maybe the diaphragm in the abdomen here, 'cause that diaphragm is supposed to lengthen down, but that the chest has more of a lift and a lightness to it. All right, so we'll do a good deep breath.

And exhale and just feel some of the softness come through the neck and the shoulders. And then this one I'm gonna have us bend our knees, round the spine, I'm just bending about 1/2 way over. So right away, the first movement, thinking of rounding over this ball. And then inhale as we come back up to standing vertical. And exhale it's just a curving of the back, rounding of your spine, droopy arms.

Inhale as we come back up, a light press on the ball, or a lot of squeeze if you want that, and curve over. These first movements very often are a chance for you to check in on how your body feels. Let's do three more, exhale. If you're feeling a little stiff or tight in your spine these curving movements are going to open you up and hopefully feel good. Be patient with that if that's how you're feeling today.

If you're feeling great, no tension, no stress, no stiffness, have fun, and curve. So let's stay here. I'm gonna have us just pulse. What I'm doing with the pulse, I'm trying to be heavy in my arm bones, heavy in my leg bones, but have a little rebound quality from the ball up into my belly, and just kinda pulsing. I feel like just a bounce happening.

Letting some of the tissue along my back, along my spine kinda loosen, four, three, two, one, and then coming up. Let's take our arms up, we'll do a little swing. You've seen me do these before, so just adding a little bit of that rebound quality. I've got a squeeze on the ball. Remember it's from the back of the inner thighs if you can get that, back of the inner thigh, low glutes.

It's easy, three more of these. It's getting some circulation. Think about the curve in the lower spine. One more, and up. Let's take our body to the side.

Just swing your arm, swing, I'm adding a little bit of bend in those knees again. Try to focus on your low back making the C-shape. Not really muscling this through the arm, it can be kind of Raggedy Ann-like, just really loose (breathes deeply), and four, three, two, and one, okay. So I'm gonna step on this end of my mat. You'll see me turn sideways.

I'm gonna try to keep a hold of the ball. Well, I had to readjust. Let's do a nice standing roll then we'll walk ourself out to a front support position. So we'll breathe in. And there we go again, a rounding over, keeping the contraction in those high hamstrings, low gluteals, lifting the stomach up away from the ball, and walking out.

Just establish a nice, stable position now. We've done a lot of movement, feel some stability. Four-point balance, hand and hand, and foot and foot. And we're gonna walk back, bend the knees, a chance to round your back again, and roll up. That'll happen two more times.

Breathing in, and exhale (breathes deeply), lift the stomach up away from the ball. You're trying to get some of that space between your pelvis and your ribs again. Establish the balance, stomach up, inhale, chest is open, legs are strong underneath, and as we push back I'm gonna go into the C-curve, rounding through as if I could wrap my tailbone underneath that ball to get that long lower spine. Let's go one more. Here we go, rolling down, lifting the stomach up.

So hopefully by now, at least my body, my spine, and my back are starting to feel a little bit looser, getting some stretch back there, okay. So I want us to bend our knees, reach the hips back, still look forward at your fingertips, and just push into the arms. Four more of those. Preparing for a little jump of feet to hands, good stretch in your triceps and lats right there, a little stretch. Let's go one more.

Ready, lift up your hips, jump. Okay, you've gotta take the ball away from your knees, you're gonna put it your the sacrum, or small of the back. If it rolls away, just grab it. You can also kinda put this right on your skin if you felt you needed to keep it nice and stuck on you. Reach the arms forward.

Let's just do some easy flexion, again, of the spine. Inhale into the chest, and as we exhale (breathes deeply), curving back. So if you've used the ball before, you know that the ball can provide a deeper connection to certain exercises, certain musculature. The sheer nature of it's squishy-ness challenges stability, and you'll see some of that in a few minutes. But I want us right here with this abdominal warmup or exercises to really press into it not with a flat back, but try to round underneath it again.

So I'm thinking of my tailbone coming underneath my body. I'm gonna hold right here, and pulse tailbone curling. You might not see a whole lot on me, but I'm gonna curl and curl. And the arms are just reaching with some energy, nothing tight or tense. Four more times.

Trying to posteriorly tilt the pelvis deep in the low belly, easy across the collarbone and shoulders, last one. Now I wanna emphasize my upper abdominals now. So I'm gonna pulse this way, and four, and three. Let's do this eight times, four. So it's upper abdominals, three, and two.

Let's go all the way up to sitting for a moment, and take a breath. We'll roll back, exhale, C-curve. I'm gonna move this everybody just a little bit. All right, so let's make this a tiny bit more challenging. We're gonna get into the waist, the sides of the waist.

Fold your elbows, let's do some easy rotation. I'm gonna go your way. On an exhale bringing the right side of my ribcage in toward my spine as I twist or rotate to the right, and center. We'll exhale, left (breathes deeply), inhale, center, get the exhale started, and then turn your ribcage. Exhale, start that breath out and turn, four more.

Ribs in, and center, exhale, twist, and center. So I'm pressing on the ball, but not a whole lot. I'm using it for a little bit of feedback for me to try to keep my own body in flexion. All right, and then from here, let's just go ahead and turn again toward the right. Open your arms out, and really feel like you can stretch across your chest, refold, and turn back to center.

Exhale, twist, follow that with a nice reach of the arms, fold them back in, and inhale, return, stretch, and return. So I've just decided to kind of flow that all into one return here, not so piece-y. Twist, reach, untwist, return, let's take it three more. Twist, reach, trying to stay in that flexion of the spine. Twist, reach, this is very challenging for me because I have a rather flat spine.

So C-curving shapes are often really hard for me, so this ball is useful. So if you're one of those bodies, this is a good thing to practice with I think. Bring it back in. All right, so let's add a second variation here, or another variation. I've got my hands stacked or layered, placing those right on my forehead, and I want us to wrap the shoulder blades now kind of around the sides of the ribs.

So we're not pushing those ribs forward, and really that's gonna allow our sternum to come in a little bit and our scapula to wrap the ribs, just maybe deepening your sense of flexion. So let's take a breath. Here we go, exhale and I'm wrapping back, so using that wrapping image again. Now in this position, go into your body, think about your tail, feel those low abdominals, and have those lower abdominals contract so much that it really does take your tailbone up off the mat a little bit. And I'm gonna pulse that eight times, that posterior tilt again, and two.

But I'm also trying to wrap my scapula forward around my side ribs. It's really deepening into my center body, definitely starting to feel my obliques kicking in which is what I wanted to feel, and hold. Now I'm gonna do the upper body flexion again, and curl, and two, eight pulses, three. Try to keep you posterior tilt here, four, and three, and two, that's it, come all the up. All right, let's keep moving and take the ball away from the back, reach it into the hands.

Take a nice breath, exhale as we flex the spine, and lengthen the legs, and just feel a moment that you're still wrapping under with your tailbone, your scapula are wrapping forward across your side ribs, and we're gonna roll backward, roll back, lead with your lower back. So let's go ahead and see how we're doing with our roll ups here everybody. And take your arms up, head, chest follows, and exhale, and pressing against the ball a little bit, stretch but still pull back into the stomach. Pull it back into the low back so that you open up your lumbar vertebra joints, even down into that sacrum. So again for my flat spine, these are good exercises for me.

Always have to check in with my roll ups, and my articulation, so really trying to leave this back there. Inhale, and take it down. Let's do two more roll ups. Inhale, exhale, and down. We'll take one more full roll up.

If you get stuck, try again, pause if you need to. We're gonna now take this behind the knees. Scoot your hips forward, lie back, and we're gonna once again focus on the lower abdomen. Now I want us to squeeze the ball, so fold your knees tightly around your ball, and try to fire your hamstrings there with that knee bend which is really what's supposed to be happening. And we're gonna combine the feeling of hamstrings with lower abdomen again.

I wanna visualize here's the wrapping that my tail is gonna wrap around and almost up to my heels to get my pelvis to tilt. You can rock a little bit. I just don't want you to throw yourself into this flexion 'cause really, of course, what we're trying get is the feeling that the abdominal muscles as they fire in, pulling in, contracting in, move the lumbar and move the sacrum into flexion. Okay, and it's so important, especially as we're about to try a rollover. It starts at that feeling in the abdominals and that lower spine, okay.

Now let's move this into between the ankles. And I want you to just to keep your feet softly pointed. Now as we go into rollover, it may really easy for you to throw your legs over. So this is what I'm talking about, try to get it from down there first. Here we go, lift and roll over, flex the ankle, squeeze in on the ball like we did in our standard roll up.

Take a breath and as we roll down, try to drag down slowly, just slowly, and slowly, soften your feet. I'm gonna lower my legs just a little bit, challenging my stability of my spine, inhale through 90, up we go rolling over those vertebra. Flex, squeeze in on the ball slightly, peel your shoulders back so that the chest muscles are staying open and stretched. Those shoulders love to kinda curl their way forward on these rollovers and roll down. Keep the breath flowing into those lungs (breathes deeply), rolling down, we're gonna do this two more times.

Bend your knees if you're feeling a little sticky in that spine. Flex the feet, inhale, and exhale coming down. Trying to enjoy that loosening up of the back, last one (breathes deeply), flex, rolling down, all right, so you've gotten quite a bit of mobilization here already, we're gonna move into some bridging. So placing the feet right on your ball, knees together, ankles together. Now think about what's going over the ball, it's the foot and if we're on the reformer it could be kind of like a prehensile position.

I'm in my mind thinking that my feet are somewhat like suction cups, holding the ball. That, just the image for me wakes up and connects my hamstrings. It's a really nice thing. And that's also making me get into my abductors into my lower abdomen. So once again, how am I using myself with the ball?

Are you using the ball to connect? Bridging, take a breath, articulate, roll up. All right, so you can see and you're probably feeling you're standing on this squishy ball. It would be really easy, let's roll down, to wobble. You're gonna wobble a little because you will, try to wobble less.

Here we go, suction cup those feet, contract your hamstrings and abductors, pull into the stomach, wrap those back inner thighs toward one another, breath in, and roll down. So we're adding two concepts, that's stability, pelvis, this way, mobility of spine going up, down. Here we go, and deeply feeling those legs. Now I'm gonna have you hold there, and reach, take your arms up, and back a little bit. I'm gonna feel for the edges of the mat, and I wanna roll down now from that to feel some awakening and stretch in my upper back.

I'm gonna take this two more times, rolling up. If you don't have a raised mat, take your arms overhead if your shoulders allow (breathes deeply), and roll down. Do your best to keep your knees together so that you keep tone and work and strengthen your inner thighs. We're coming up, let's breath in here. And as we exhale, come down, lift the sternum up toward the top of the head, and come all the way.

Okay, so I want you to put the ball into the inside edges of your feet and bring your legs up to kind of a tabletop position. Squeeze in with your feet, but it should make you be working your inner thighs. And then I want you to do these thigh openers and then close in. It's an interesting stability exercise. So I don't wanna drop the ball.

I want to keep my pelvis down flat. Now nothing is really wrapping over the ball in this exercise, but you're working your hip joints. Femur's rolling open, back to parallel, and open, and back to parallel. We're about to do some additional leg things on top of the ball, but I wanted to get your hips moving in this plane first or this range. Okay, one more time, and in.

All right, now let's lift your hips, place this underneath your sacrum for a moment, feet down, ribs are easy, sternum is coming down the front line of the body so that you're not here with a big arch in your mid-back and upper back. All right, take an inhale. Now, what's wrapping? Well, I'm not gonna talk too much. I may maybe just think of this as that we're spreading our back across that ball, and the ball is accepting us to just lie into it a little bit.

So I'm gonna start with my right leg, and I'm gonna bring it into my tabletop and then extend. This stretch feels really nice after those bridges. Flex the foot, point the foot, flex, and point. Meanwhile, the other foot on the mat is pressing down. I have that hamstring and glute connection happening.

I need that to stabilize, I'm about to move this leg. Let's do three times, just down and up. Feel free to go to the mat if your back allows for that. And lift, try to avoid excessive wobbling, and up. One more time, reach out.

Yes, you're going down, but you're also going out. Now let's just slide that foot in. We'll check that out on the other side. So this leg comes through tabletop, extends up, flex the ankle, and point. Standing leg strong, point, flex, and point.

Last two, and point, and last one. Let's point, keep a point and start to reach out. But what if you didn't have the ball underneath you? This leg would be doing quite a bit of the support, the glute, the back muscles, so that might be what you can think about that you're not so heavy on the ball. It's accepting your weight, but you're now smashing it here.

Last one, slide the foot in and let's go into two legs. So bring one up through table. All right, stabilize that pelvic girdle, bring the other leg up. Hopefully, you're not falling off, if you are climb back on. Let's take both legs up.

So both feet are going to flex and point four times. I want you to really enjoy the feet. Flex those ankles and toes, and extend, and moving (breathes deeply). So I'm in parallel right now, so this is that hip opener. I want you to right now to rotate those thighs away from one another, and then back together.

Three more, rotate them away from one another, and back together. So there's a lot of inner thigh and that wrapping hamstring, glute. So it's kinda working to keep those thighs turned open. All right, let's flex point here four times. And then turn out, flex, point, flex, and point, and flex.

We're gonna go into a little slow scissor. Take one leg forward, the other leg back. Which leg to focus on? I'm gonna let you choose. What do you feel like you need more of?

I feel like I need more of my upper leg coming toward me, but I don't wanna lose my pelvis on the ball. So I've gotta extend my tailbone toward the down foot, then I bring them in. Slowly scissor the other side. So they'll be some wobbling, but again, our objective is to stabilize as much as we can. Let's flow, exhale (breathes deeply), inhale, left, exhale (breathes deeply).

So I'm gonna concentrate on the leg that's coming toward me now to stretch my hamstrings, opening up the back of my pelvis, this back line. I'm going four more, everybody. Flex that hip, and lift, and flex, and lift. So we're gonna move this into a little bicycle. Okay, I'm gonna start here now.

So you've taken it already, you take that bottom foot and drag it in, and then for a moment you're in scissor. Bottom leg reaches, drag on that mat, start the other one, reaching out, and you're in a scissor. So without breaking it down too choppy, it's like a slow-motion taffy machine, if you know what that looks like. It's always a visual that comes to my brain. And I want to get my leg muscles longer, more like Cyd Charisse, a dancer from way back there.

All right, let's go the other way for eight. Stretch, fold, meanwhile, my abdominals working deeply so I don't fall off the ball, stretch, and stretch. How far can you reach that leg out? How far can you go? Three, two, and one.

Let's fold the knees for a moment. Let's concentrate on the inner thighs for this next little series. So you'll take your legs up. Let's externally rotate, flex your feet, and just let both legs stretch open or control how far open you go. Now again, I don't want you to curl your tail off the ball.

That would look like this. That's not it. I've compressed my hip joints, and my neck actually I feel. So I'm gonna actually let the ball support my pelvis, but again, I feel like I'm a little wobbly, teeter tottery, so those deep abdominals have to go to work. They're what's wrapping the ball inside, okay.

Bring your legs up, point the feet, and you're doing cross, cross, flex to open. I do this a lot, it feels good. And it's a little brisk change (fingers snap), open, lift, open. Feel free to add three beats. I'm gonna go for it, beat, beat, beat, open.

Beat, beat, beat, so that's inner thigh work. But the faster you move, whoo, I'm starting to loose my balance, the challenge is that reaction time or that feeling of being steady (breathes deeply). I'm gonna go four more rounds. One and open, point the feet and flex. You could also reverse your foot work, and last one.

And let's bring the legs together, fold, one foot down the other foot down. Let's do a nice iliopsoas stretch, so take one leg long, the other arm up long, three breaths (breathes deeply). Legs up overhead takes a lot of strength in hip joints, and hip flexors, and abdominals, so this is a nice way to counter that and give it a good stretch. Other side for three breaths (breathes deeply). It's okay to let that belly puff when you breath in, but also bring the air up into your chest (breathes deeply).

One more time (breathes deeply). We're gonna move into some side lying now, so I will face you. That's gonna put me on my right side, but first take that away and just enjoy that sensation. It's worth about five seconds of enjoyment, or longer, but we'll keep moving on. So I'm rolling toward you.

Bottom leg will be the straight leg. I'm gonna prop up on my elbow for this one today, and I'm going to need to be very close to the front of the mat for the next part of the choreography. So if you have a lot wider mat, you're fine. But here I am, I'm gonna flex my hip, press the ball down, but it's the bottom foot. I'm flexing that ankle, and I'm gonna lift for 10 repetitions.

So I've got a little slight press on the ball here, but I wanna concentrate, again, on the high inner thigh. Five, six, seven, and eight, and nine, and 10. Hold it there with a pointed foot. Let's do five circles, two. I'm gonna stay nice and stable, four, five, other way.

One, two, three, four, and five. And let's come all the way down for a moment. Okay, taking the ball from the knees to the ankles, this is where I do have to scoot towards you. And I wanna come up onto my elbow for a moment. Bring the knees in close.

Try here to wrap the tail underneath the ball, it's an image. So that we're actually going into a little bit of flexion here in the lower back. And then I'm just gonna extend the legs, and flex them in. You can't probably tell exactly, but my legs are in a slight diagonal from me. I am leaning and balancing on the side of this hip.

Okay, that was four, let's go four more. I'm really flexed, push through those ankles. See if you can keep balanced with the ball between, three. Okay, holding here now, four. So I'm gonna reach this arm.

Here's where I'm gonna need some room behind me. Hopefully, I won't roll off. I'm gonna roll into my hip, and just pull myself up into what would kind of look like a teaser. This hand is down, but let's just see what it feels like to lift it for a moment. All right, place it back down.

Let's do that thing three more times, just three times. So we're gonna push, in, push, in, keep push, out, roll, lift. Give it a test. Oh, and one more time. One, and a two, I do know how to count, three, and hold.

All right, I'm gonna challenge myself everybody, and take this hand off, and come to teaser (breathes deeply). Bend your knees for a moment, place your feet. I need to move onto my mat 'cause what I want you to do, or stay there, is come up lift your rocker. So it is somewhat of an open leg rocker, but not what we're used to 'cause usually our feet are a lot further open. Wrap your tail toward the ball, three more, wrap.

Wrap, here we go, one more time, wrap, and down. All right, I wanna focus on one more piece for our obliques, very simple actually. Lie flat on your side, take your bottom arm long, but then from your wrist and forearm face down, and then just take this arm up for a little balance work. And I want you to contract your abductors, inner thighs, and your stomach, and try to float your legs up. Let's just do 10 simple lifts.

If you're not feeling steady with your balance, this hand can always come down to the mat. You wanna think of the oblique muscles, I'm thinking my top side kind of pulling my bottom inner thigh up. So for me there's like a diagonal pulling connection that's happening, five, four, three. I'm feeling those good center line muscles, and five. Okay, let's do that on the other side.

Try to keep a hold of your ball, all right. Up on your elbow, whoo, bend the top knee, set it down, bottom leg is long, foot is flexed, press down slightly. So we started fairly basic just with the leg lifts. And two, three, four. Really important, keep toning and working that inner thigh line.

Six, seven, slightly pressing on the ball. Nine and 10, point your foot, lower your head. Five circles, pressing up, and two, three, and four, and five. Let's take it the other way. Can you go a little higher, two, in each of those circles?

Three, and four, and five, and down. Okay, take it into your ankles between, come up onto your elbow. So I'm gonna move a little more toward my front mat, and pull those knees in, hand on hip. You're on the side of this hip, flexed feet, and just eight pushes first. Once again, you're on a diagonal.

As you get stronger, this actually might end up going straight out from your hips, but for now, four, pull in. To really get the stomach wrap the tail under the ball and in. Okay, hold with the legs out, reach your arm. Now here we go, we're tipping over to the back of both sits bones, reach up to your toes, and see what happens, if we can balance for just a moment, and come back down. Three more times, in, push, in, push, and in, and push.

Feel the weight shift on both sit bones, test the balance, and last one. Two, and three, and go for the full teaser, just get myself on the mat. Hands on your legs, let's go five rockers. So I'm not really thinking of my ankles squeezing the ball as much as I am my upper inner thigh, hamstrings. Wrapping my tail to it, one more and we're gonna hold the teaser at the top, (breathes deeply) and hold.

All right, let's bend our knees and just rest for a second. Okay, coming onto our tummy for some prone. Put it behind one knee, bend that single leg, stack your hands, reach your chest toward your hands, and then put your chest down. All right, so before we lift this leg, do pay attention to how your back feels. If you start to feel really pinch-y, down here you'll probably know it right away.

So you don't really even have to lift your leg very high. I probably won't either. What you want to think is can you keep your legs close together, wrap your heel towards your ball, and try to wrap your knee around the ball. Even just that image, what I'm feeling again is more work in my hamstrings. It's kinda like that suction cup from earlier.

Okay, let's go with eight small lifts everybody, but I'm gonna add a little variation. So you'll lift your thigh, externally rotate that thigh, you've done it twice already, this kind of prep, back to parallel, thigh down. Here we go, anchor the pubic bone, thigh lift, turn out, parallel, and down. Thigh lift, turn out, parallel, down (breathes deeply). You're trying to get some hamstring, glute going here, it's pretty easy to feel.

Don't think you'll be confused on that. Up, turn out, parallel, and down, last one, turn out, hold it there, let's flex our foot, ten little pulses of this added to position. I'm thinking heel to ball, wrapping that in. Wrapping my knee around it more, using the glute to lift my thigh. Four, three, stomach is up off the mat a little bit.

And last one, make sure to go to parallel. And then reach back, take it away, put it behind the opposite knee, bend, reach your chest toward your hands, anchor your pubic bone, easy neck, shoulders, stomach up. Here we go, so lifting your thigh, externally rotate, come back to parallel, and down. It doesn't have to be big movement. Do you feel for your weight staying on that pubic bone?

Abdominals lifted to support your low spine, turn out, parallel, down, last four. Up, turn out, and down, lift, turn out. And last two, up, turn out, parallel. Here's the last one, we're gonna stay up there, turned out, flex your foot, contract your glutes. Here we go, eight, 10.

Little extra efforts, three, heel to ball, knee wrapping the ball, six, seven, eight, nine, last one and 10, parallel. Okay, keep that one wrapped. Let's actually kind of adjust this so that both knees are wrapping. And you might have to, actually, I'm sorry guys, it's supposed to be between the ankles, thought that felt a little weird. Can't do it if they're not there.

So we're taking our hands to our ankles, little bit of a bow shape. All right, before we lift our thighs, let's try to lift our upper spine. So I'm gonna take my shoulders, my deltoids, and open them up, reach my chest forward, and my upper spine up a little, and down. Focus upper spine, try to keep your thighs down. In my mind I'm almost thinking of reaching my shin bones to the wall that's behind me, so that I don't just pick up my thighs yet.

It'll allow my upper spine to open and lift (breathes deeply). Now the full, kind of the full bow. Pressing feet to hands, shins back, just breathe. Remember that breathing into the chest? Here we go (breathes deeply).

Breathe up into the chest, last one, and down. Okay, time to rest that low back. Come into a C-curve, I wanna move this so it doesn't look like I'm laying an egg. (laughs) Just round my back, hands on the ball. You can move your hips a little bit.

Okay, time for a little mermaid. So I'm gonna face you. And one foot folded in front, one knee folded in front, the other leg behind. Let's go out to the side. So whatever leg is in front, that same arm out to the side, arm to the side.

So instead of bending to the side, I wanna actually just somewhat lean in a diagonal line. So it takes a tiny bit more for me rib control, so I don't just flop over in a curve. Now from here, I'm gonna take this arm, and here's my wrapping. What if I had big wings and I was gonna wrap around that ball? I'm gonna open back out toward you, and come back up.

Let's do that five time total. So here's our second one. So ideally the pelvis stays there, and we take the ribs and wrap those, and the arm and shoulder toward the ball, and center, (breathes deeply), and leaning out. Important to keep the low abdominals inward, upward. Trying to get some mobility in that thoracic spine in rotation.

Last two, leaning, rotate, use those obliques, use the waistline muscles to turn the ribs and spine. Last one, we'll add a little variation, so lean, turn. If you have it available for you, I'm sure you guys do, take this hand and put it on the ball. So you may have to adjust things a little bit. Let's do five little tricep bends.

Ideally, elbows to the mat, and extend, and bend. If this does not feel good in your shoulders because it's pretty narrow position, just do one hand on the mat, maybe like this, and work a single arm tricep press. That's completely doable and fine. I just wanted to see if I could rotate far enough to get both hands on there. Okay, other side, it's an easy change of the legs.

All right, out to the side. Here we go, leaning, diagonal lean with control, breath, let's exhale. Now I didn't mention on the first side, sorry should have, I'm pressing my hand the ball slightly, and trying to pull, bring that arm bone back into my shoulder to assist the rotation. You may have already been just connected into that naturally, but if you didn't, here's what I mean. Hand on ball, press in, move that arm bone toward the shoulder bone, that might allow for more rotation.

If it doesn't feel good, don't do that. Three more (breathes deeply). So anytime you can use that image of wrapping, right, so I'm gonna think about my ribs, and they're wrapping toward the ball, turning. Last one coming up with that tricep variation. Again, if you don't have it, don't strain to push it there, put this hand down on the mat.

You can always just do the single arm. As you get more extension, more rotation, maybe that hand comes on that ball, and here we go bend. And if the tricep work isn't working for you, you can also just hold the pose. Three (breathes deeply), upper arm bones wrapping back. Last one, there we go, and rotate, and coming all the way up.

All right, I wanna do a jackknife. I don't like to feel like a finished twisted there, so I'm gonna do one more rolling with this nice challenging exercise for me again, flexion. So starting on my back. We have jackknife and then a thoracic extension, so we're almost there. Legs over, here we go.

I'm gonna roll over my head, my shoulders, and take myself there. Okay, so lifting your legs, lifting the ball, maybe look at that ball. If you can, keep your legs up, just start rolling down your spine. If you get sticky, you might accelerate, if you have a sticky spot. You may accelerate and do what I call is the flopping or the kerplunking which would be like that.

We're really trying to avoid that. So if you need to, I'll show one with a slight modification. You don't have to keep your leg so high. Come down a little bit where you can control your timing. So it might look a little bit like that rollover from earlier in the class, that's fine, so you build up to it.

If as you get stronger, more control then definitely more mobility in your body, you can keep your legs up a little higher, and roll down from there. Nah, I started to accelerate (laughs). I'm only going one more. And up (breathes deeply). I might need to squeeze the ball a little more.

I feel better about that one. Okay, let's end with a little, kind of yummy piece here for the chest opener and upper back. So I'm gonna have you place that ball right between your shoulder blades on your back. Take your hands behind your skull, interlaced, and let's go into the wrapping idea again. I'm gonna take my thoracic spine, wrapping it over the ball, notice I didn't say my head, I want my thoracic spine, those vertebra right between my shoulder blades to stretch, wrap the ball.

Coincidentally, my head will get over that ball, but I want my spine to go first. I have to let my neck wrap. I'm gonna bring my chin towards my chest, and curl up out of that. Let's do that again. I'm gonna move my pelvis toward my feet for just a little change of location, lengthen, stretch the spine over, there we go.

So I didn't do swan and in our normal way. This is kind of the swan here, and up. Last time, stretching, really opening the chest. Let's stay here everyone for three big breaths, so getting inhalation into your chest (breathes deeply). Let's finish by moving the ball into the back of the neck.

It's like a supported pillow. And I'm just gonna take three more breaths here, and just try to relax and just drop into the closure. So I hope you've enjoyed this ball class for all my flat-spined friends. Let me know how it felt for you. The flexion exercises are challenging, but very important for those of us who have that really long, flat spine.

So let me know what you think. I'll see you next time.


5 people like this.
I think it was a yummy class. The references; whether to suction feet or Cyd Charisse, were helpful. I especially appreciated the way you demonstrated three different versions (including what not to do) of Jack Knife. As always, I feel like you are taking care of your students. What also comes across beautifully is the inner dialogue you are having and think we might be having too!
Of course another great class Amy! I love your imagery! Feel so open and unstuck Thank You!
1 person likes this.
Thanks, Amy ! I really enjoyed.
I really enjoyed this too. No flat spine here, but I had a happy back, despite issues, with all the wrapping! An innovative class using the overball! Thanks Amy.
Thank you really enjoyed it??
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much ladies! I enjoy hearing from you all!
Thank you so much Tamara!! :) feel un-stuck!
I totally agree with Joni. Your descriptions of the moves are so good. Really liked the variations,too. I always enjoy your classes!
1 person likes this.
Hi Amy,
Thank you, this lesson is great for Pilates@school with my students. I knew many of this movements, but found some new variations. Great! Looking forward to your next classes, may be we need more extension-movements, because when sitting infront of their laptops in the classroom for hours, the girls come in the PE classes with rounded spine and shoulders inwards. The the stretch at the end was perfect for them.Greetings from AUSTRIA Evi
Taghrid K
I agree with Joni and Sharon. I love this yummy class, loved the explanations and the variations. Thank you Amy for a great
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