Class #2396

No Flexion Mat

30 min - Class


Strengthen and tone without any flexion in this Mat workout with Blossom Leilani Crawford. She teaches a warm up that keeps your spine in neutral position the entire time which is useful for people who are not able to round their backs. Even though all of the movements are small, you will still feel the challenge throughout your entire body.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


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Hello, I'm blossom. Laelani Crawford. Um, we're here to do a flection list warm up. So often when you have people who have sort of back issues or who are prenatal or postnatal flection is a really hard thing for them to do, but we still need to strengthen tone and work our bodies. So I've come up with sort of kind of mash, did like a little flection list, Nash up of some of my favorite exercises and we're going to put it all together into a nice little warm up this morning. So, um, follow along and hopefully you'll be able to sort of just come with me and see how it goes. So, um, come forward to the front edge of your mat and we're just going to start with a little bit of a longe, which is a great balance and strengthening thing to do. So if you want to put your hands on your hips, that would be great. I am not going to put my arms up.

You're gonna just take your slide that right foot back and reassign it back. You want that to be up on the heel and you're gonna start to bend that back knee toward the floor, but not actually on the floor and come back up. Let's do that again. Choo Choo train. Gussy and again, bend down. It's my son's favorite part. He just watches the videos for the two two trades. I'm going to get them to start clicking more and again, bend down.

Now if you think you can go all the way down, great. And then take a moment here. [inaudible] and then come back up. Let's try the other side cause I think it's important to do both sides. So here we go. Slide the other leg back and come up on that really high heel. Yeah, a little balance, right? And when you're ready, bend the back knee down to the floor and come back up just a couple more times.

Right? So think of rib cage lifting away from the pelvis, descending and come back up. You've got one more to go lunging this time. Maybe come all the way down. Yeah. Untuck the back toes and make your way to a side. Sit. So sit on your side any way you wish. Let's all sit facing away from the ocean and just sit cross legged however you're comfortable and let's just breathe. So hands at the rib cage, if sitting up on a flat surface is difficult, being up on a box really helps, or a rolled up mat. So just inhale, rib cage goes out to the side.

I like to close my eyes for some reason. The next hail close. So a few nice deep accordion breaths like this. Inhale ribs open out to the sides. An exhale close two more times as you breathe and feel the ribs. Do you feel if one side is opening more than the other or less than the other?

Exhale. If you feel one doing less, inhale on that side more and exhale this time. Remove your arm. Still doing that. Great breathing in the rib cage. Think of an umbrella opening. Inhale, let the ribs go forward. Back all the way to the side. Let them just open lift and exhale. Let the air out. Two more times like that. Inhale, fill the lungs, lift up, and exhale. Breathe the air out. No direction on the exhale. Just let it go. One more time. Inhale, deep breath in. And as you exhale, release the breath out.

So sitting for this small side or short side of your mat, come and get ready to do some leg extensions along the floor. So I'm going to use a towel on my mat cause it helps me. But if you have a nice slighty surface that helps. And let's talk about just sitting up. I've been like, uh, sitting up is one of the hardest things to do. It's almost like walking and when you dance, walking across the stage is one of the hardest things.

Sitting up tall is the next hardest thing. So, um, ideally we'd all be able to sit up like this. I can barely do that. So if you want, you can put your hands behind you is and just have a nice sort of flat back. And maybe that's back here for me from about the tightest of my hamstrings or you can hold on and be nice to sort of help you stay lifted. So guys, find yours position, whichever works for you. And when you're ready, hold onto one leg if you want to though. We're going to just extend the leg farthest away from the ocean along the floor. So as you extend, you want to be able to keep the big toe down on the floor as much as you can.

And as you exhale, slide it back in as you slide it back in and try to get that big toe down as soon as you can and slide it back in. Let's do that again. Slide the leg along the floor. It's hard. And sometimes that slidey thing underneath your foot really helps and you draw it back in. Let's do that one more time. Slide the leg along the floor. So as you slide, you want that big toe to stay down.

And there's a moment right about here. Stop right there where the big toe is down and it's struggling to stay down. Lift up in the chest and now extend the leg all the way forward and watch how your leg extends along the floor. Keep that knee right in line and slide it back in. Let's change sides.

So bring the other foot farther out and bring the other leg in. And now extend the other leg along the floor. Find the lift of the spine and extend the leg along the floor and slide it back in. Exhaling or inhaling, whichever works best for you. Two more times sliding along the floor. And if you are doing this prenatal, you can always just let the leg come out to the side a little bit to make room for the belly. You've got one more to go all the way to straight lifting up and you're going to pause at that moment where the big toe just wants to pull off and you can really feel the arch lifting, tracking that leg.

Extend the leg all the way forward and slide it back in. Okay, let's go for both. Both feet on. Yeah, so big toes are for me. Bunyan's together. Heels are apart. Knees together as here we go. Lift up in the spine. Extend both legs along the floor. Yes. Here's my hard moment. You can see my arches lifting. Go all the way to straight this time. Flex the feet, spread the toes.

Point the feet. One more time. Flex the feet and point the feet from here. Can you grab on with your toes and you're going to curl up to you with curl toes. So as you do this, be careful of what most people want to do, which is big toes closer to you, right? And said you want to really even not getting little toe and big toe equidistant. Flex the feet. Let's release that. Woo. And let's point the feet.

Let's do that one more time. Grab on with the toes and you're going to curl up to you. Yes. Stay there. And then both feet going toward the ocean. You're going to circle your on a circle on the ceiling. I call this the misery foot circle. You should really be somewhat zippy.

Yes. I like to say it's spicy. It's the spicy one. Reversed the circles. Uh, it got called the misery foot circle because my professional dancer friend hates it. And I was like, wow, if she hates it and she works her feet all the time. Ooh. Spread the toes and release. Okay. That was interesting, right? So when you guys are ready, let's um, slowly lie onto the floor. So this is difficult at times, especially if your back is hurting.

So just make your way onto the, your back any way you wish and sit up in facing toward each other. That's it. Lying down on your back. That's great. That comfortable. Make sure your heels are in line with your hips. Arms are down by your side. So inhale and just exhale. One more time. Big Inhale and exhale. Good. From on the next inhale, you're going to slowly bring your right knee into your chest.

Try not to Tuck or arch in the back, right? You're going to try to keep the pelvis still. Bring the right knee into your chest and bring the right leg down, bringing the right leg into the chest just a few more times. So if there is a moment, especially on the way down where you feel like you're losing the integrity of your back or the strength of your back, then only let it go halfway down. It doesn't have to go back to the floor. Do what you can and with control, lower the leg down. Let's try that to the other side.

We really do have two very different sides. Yeah, and take it down. And if you'd like some imagery for bringing the leg up, you can inhale. And as you exhale, think of zipping tight jeans on as you bring the leg or knee into your chest and take that leg down. Or one of my favorites is one from Kathy grant and she would say exhale through number three. And think of that energy going down around the back of the leg and bring the knee into your chest and take that down. Let's try for both. It's harder to legs, right? So here we go.

Energy down through number three or that sternum that comes around under the sides. Bring the knees into the chest. Let's do that one more time. [inaudible] and I'm only gonna lower to where I can, which is about here this morning. And as you exhale, bring it back in. Yes. One more like that. Inhaling to lower the legs down. Exhale to bring it in. Grab onto your shins, the backs of your thighs, whatever you can, and give yourself a nice pole of the legs. Go to chair position or table top of the legs.

I personally like to flex my feet, but you can relax the feet if that's not comfortable for you. And put your hands on the tops of your knees. Yeah, and you really want the legs to be a part they're not touching cause I don't want them to brace themselves against each other. Hands at the tops of the knees. Inhale, I believe these are eve gentry's knee presses. You're going to gently press the knees up to the ceiling as you press the hands down in opposition while you exhale and relax. Inhale, do nothing. And as you exhale her ass, and I'm doing the tiniest little lift of my bum, but I'm not really doing it on purpose. It just sort of happens and release.

If that's painful, then don't do the lift and just energetically press one more time. Exhaling. And the second part, you're gonna put your hands on the inside of the knees. Knees, press in as the hands press out. Exhale you do this. And be careful with letting the legs go too far away or letting them be too close. You want them to be right over the hip. Second, one more. Nice. Press enhanced. Press out. Exhaling hands on the outside of the knees. Inhale, do nothing. And as you exhale, knees press out. Hands, press in. I like to soften my elbow so that I don't lock in my joints, especially those elbows. Exhale, I have a trick elbow that likes to hyperextend. You got one more.

Inhale as you exhale, knees, press out. Hands, press in from the outside it looks like we're doing nothing, but we're working. I promise. Hands on your thighs close to the knees. So the hardest one in my mind. Inhale as you exhale, knees press up, hands, press down towards the feet and you can hear my voice. You shake. Bonus. Inhale. And as you exhale for us, uh, why fight it? One more time. Inhale. And as you exhale for arrests, eager to use it and pull tight.

I always tell people I shake life like a leaf on that one. That's proof. That's right. Instantly sweating. So from here you're going to gently put your feet down on the floor and you know you can put your hands at your rib cage to help find where you're lowering the legs down from. Keep the feet slightly together, heels apart. You're going to bring your arms down by your side. So big toes are touching, heels are apart, knees are together. Little lift of the pelvis, one to two inches. And you're not going to curl. I say elevator up. That's all it is. Hopefully I can find that. There it is. Inhale.

And as you exhale, take the pelvis down thinking lengthening the pelvis away from the ribs. Two more times, pushing down into the feet. Lift the hips. This is from Irene doubt. It's a borrow from and take it down. You're going to add on, you know, do that little pelvic lift. And as you do this, put weight into the lace cause there's the want to sort of push and press the energy toward the shoulders.

Keep weight in the feet from here without shifting in the hips, which is a big statement. You're gonna try to extend one leg along the floor. I'm going to do my right. Yes. From there, pushing down to the hands. A little lift of that right leg. Yes. And take it down.

Let's do that one more time so you're not changing in the pelvis. And when I lift my leg, you're, and I'm not lifting it from my foot, my knee, or my hip. I'm thinking of lifting it from my rib cage. You're pressing into the floor and if you're having a hard time feeling the press of the arms, you can bend the elbows and press down that way. Lower the leg. Slide the leg in. Lower the pelvis down. I call that micro polities, right? I know. So arrange your arms if you want.

You can bend the elbows or hands pressed out. Use those arms. Lift your pelvis up, weight in the feet. Now when you extend the leg along the floor, remember those leg extensions we did earlier? Big Toe tries to stay down as long as possible. There's a moment where you find the arch of the foot. Yes.

Try not to shift in the hips. Find those arms, lift the leg up, one or two inches tiny and take it down. And when I teach this in classes, I say, well if you lifted your hips up one inch and you lift your leg up a couple of inches, why is your leg up that high? Or I say is that what four inches looks like? And again, lift up and balance. I know it's a dirty joke. I can't help it. Take the leg down, slide it on in and with control. Come down so small yet so hard. Let's do that one more time. Pushing down into the hands a little faster. This time. Extend the right leg.

Try to find the moment where your arch naturally lifts. Those feet need the work most of the time from here pushing down into the hands. Think energy in that upper body too. As you do a little lift of the leg and with control, come down. Try Not to change in the hips. Just one more time. Smile.

I think that's why I cracked the dirty jokes. Take the leg down, slide it on in. Cause sometimes Falaise is hard. Other side, extend the other leg along the floor. We're not going to come down this tight little lift of that leg. Ow using those arms and take it down. One more time. Little lifted the leg. Take the leg down, slide the leg in. Inhaling. That's it. And as you exhale, slowly come down. Ooh.

So Your Hampshire, you should be speaking to you at this moment. So let's talk back. You're gonna extend the eye for me. I'm gonna do my left leg along the floor. I'm gonna hug my right knee into the chest. [inaudible] intertwine your fingers behind that right thigh and press the thigh down into the hands to where you can. So this is a straight as your leg gets.

I'll take it if you can get all the way straight. Awesome. If that's difficult for you, you can also watch me with working on my hair with it. Oh, I'm doing good. I'm doing good. So, um, you can also just intro, sort of grab a towel and press the towel down. Cause if your leg extension is here, that's fine too. But I want you to think of pressing to extend the leg. So from their point, and flex the foot or yeah, circle, circle in the other direction. Inhale and exhale. One more time. Little tiny bend.

Inhale. Exhale, straighten that leg by lengthening and pressing it down. And let's just do this little thing. Keep the press down as you take the leg across the body a little bit. If it looks like we barely moved, it's on purpose, right? Less is more on this one. And come back to center.

Hug the knee into your chest. Other side, easy stretch on the other side. So again, towel behind the thigh if you need it. Or if not, you can just intertwine your fingers behind the thought and think of pressing the thigh away to straighten the leg. Little point of the float. Phylaxis point of the foot and flex a couple of circles. Wow.

And in the other direction, inhale, it'll bend. Acts, help. Lengthen and press the leg away. One more time. Inhale, a little bend. Exhale, lengthen and press. And on this next one. Keep the pressed out of that hip as you take the leg across the body.

Ooh, I'm feeling that. How about you guys? Yeah, and come back to center and hug the knee into your chest and give it a nice pool. So from here you can do both like straight along the floor. Keep the knees, Babel. Let's just do a little neck roll. So turn your head and look toward the ocean. Circled and lift the chin up to the ceiling. Jutting the jaw muscles up to the ceiling.

Go up and over to the other side and look up to the ceiling. Reverse it. Look away from the ocean, just the jaw muscles up to the ceiling. So I'm kind of pressing my head into the floor as I go up and over and look straight ahead. Up to the ceiling. One more time to the ocean jet and it should feel good. Don't go to the place that it feels bad. Stay away from there.

Please come back to center. It's a good reminder and again away from the ocean and jet the jaw muscles up to the ceiling. Over to the window and come up to this center. Good. Then this is just some arm circles inhales. You reach the arms back, circle the arms out to the sides and down to the hips. So as you do this, um, try not to let the ribs come off the ground. Keep the ribs in contact within that one more time. Inhale, reaching up to the ceiling, back out to the sides and down to the hips.

Just reversing the circles. Inhale, reaching out to the sides, up and over. And if this is a little too easy, you can add some weights to it if you wish. But sometimes just circling without weights is just as good. Last one down to the hips, out to the sides, reaching back and on this one I want you to end with both arms up to the ceiling. We're going to have a little check in with the arms. Reach up to the ceiling, drop the shoulders down into the floor. Two more times. Reach up to the ceiling, drop into the floor.

Last one, reach up and drop it down to the floor. Stay right here. Inhale, open the arms out to the sides, like you're making a letter t with your body. Exhale to close. So as you do this, can you feel if both arms are moving at the same time? That's why I close my eyes. Sometimes it's help to fight close and I could feel it a little bit more.

And if you feel that one arm is moving faster, which I think is my right, I'm going to make my s faster arm. Follow my slower arms. So here we go. On the exhale close, I can't really talk and try to do that at the same time. So I'll say it again. The faster arm, which is my right, is going to follow the slower arm. So I have to think yes and as you exhale close, close, close from here, extend the legs along the floor. Keep both arms reaching up to the ceiling.

And so we're going to keep our ocean side arm, which is in Hawaiian. That would be our MCI side arm up to the ceiling. The other arm is going to come down to the side. You might want to watch this for the first time. So reaching up with that arm. My little trick is you're going to think of looking to where you're going.

Glue those legs together. And this is Kathy Grant's Feldon Christ's like rolling. Going to reach up and they'd like to say look to where you're going as you roll to one. Oh, it's going to take me a long time. Sigh. It's different up here. Yes. They here. Hold the phone. I'm coming. I'm coming guys. I promise. Here we go. We're reaching energy in the arm.

It's hard to get the head in line with the spine because how often do we try to do that? But hopefully we're there. Inhale. And as you exhale, keep reaching up with that arm and with control. Roll to your back. Let's do that a couple more times. So the arm is on the floor is up to you. Reach and roll. Yes. Ooh. Takes a long time for my butt to catch up with me and reach out to come back down one more time please. Reach in. Roll.

Yes. And with control. Exhale. Roll. Keep reaching up onto your back. Let's try that to the other side. The other arm goes up. For those of you who want to know that aside, that goes toward the mountain would be your mouth aside. It's hard to do it onto a towel. Very difficult. Yes. Or at a microphone. Battery pack.

And as you exhale rural on to your back. Let's do that two more times. I might have to make a battery pack. Adjustment. Reach roll. Ah, yes. And rural. Back Down. Energy in that top arm.

Ah, last one. And it's a doozy. Reaching role. So from this position, we're going to go to the next one. You're going to roll onto your back and try to roll right away to the other side. Here we go. You're gonna end reaching the MCI side up and [inaudible] to the other side. Yeah, that's how long it takes me. Ooh, roll one more time. Reaching rural.

Yes. Here it comes. Last one reaching. Roll over to the other side from here with control roll onto your back. So that was hard, right? Let's add on my chi arm and leg goes up to the ceiling. Here we go. So it's the same as what we just did.

Reaching the arm and leg together. If this is too much, just do the arm one again. So here we go. Arm and leg. Reach up. Head in line with the spine. Yes. Reach out of that arm and leg as you control the coming down. One more time. Arm and leg reaches up. Oh yeah. And Roll back down. Change your arm and leg.

Yes. Who knew that not doing any abs was so hard. Oh boy. Yes. And Roll back down. You can tell when it's really hard. I stopped talking and yes, there it is. And with control you're in a roll onto your back and roll over to the other side. Here we go. Arm and leg come up.

Yes. Arm and leg. Come down and go to the other side. Arm and leg up. Almost lost me on that one. Marmot link. I'm up. And from here you're going to roll onto your back. I'm going to hedge my bets and just call it a day at that one. Okay. Hug your knees in and pull when you're ready.

Come up on your knees guys. So I'm going to roll on my side and we're going to help. So just come up on your hands and knees. Carolyn, I'll face in with you. What'd you call it? Battle cats. Romina battle cats. So assume you're a battle cat position. Let's go to a nice flat back. Yeah.

So from here, you know, get the whip the hair out of the way and so you're going to find your flat back. Easier said than done. So a little arch in the lower back, lifted the rib cage, head in line. Find that position. In fact, let's try a little something. Tuck all 10 toes underneath you. My poor little students are like, oh, just lift the knees up in whole. Yeah, and take it down. Let's do that one more time. Inhale again. Lift the knees up and hold. So when you lift up, I don't want to see but go back or rounding.

You're just going to elevate that shape and take it down. Reach untuck the toes. You're going to shift forward. Inhaling and lengthen. Out of the top of the head. As you shift back, that's all it is. Do that a few more times. It's the new cat in town. Shifting forward. Lengthen out of the top of the head. As you shift back. I think that's better alignment for me. One more time.

Shift forward and shift back from here. Leave your spine as it is. You're going to Tuck the toe what? The right toes underneath you and extend that leg along the floor, reaching that leg, reach to the opposite arm off the ground. So as you do this, you're trying not to lock in that standing arm and take it down. Change sides. Tuck the toes underneath you. Slide the leg along the floor, lift it up, and then add the reaching arm and take it down. One more set please. So I call this the reaching cat.

I read Dowd calls it bird dog, which I kind of like because if you've ever seen those hounds at hunt, they sort of do make that shape where they're like reaching with their whole body, looking for their catch, and take it down. Change size, her reaching and sliding. Whew. And take it down from here. We're going to try that last. The first cat we did took all 10 toes. Again, inhale. So we'll lift the knees up one more time and just hold.

And if you are really crazy, you'd throw the bird dog in. Now we're not going to do that from here. You're gonna sit on your heels, walking yourself back and keep your [inaudible]. If your spine nice and flat and come up sitting on your heels for a moment and come on the news. So again, hands at the hips. We're going to lunge forward this time. So the first time we went back, now we're going to go forward. So let's bring the MCI leg forward. Tuck all 10 toes underneath you. And so find that internal connection, inner thighs tummy. Push down into the floor, lift up to straight, lay eggs and lunge back down.

One more time. Come up and take it down. Change sides. Please. Bring that front leg back. Bring the other leg forward. I know it's not easy, is it? I know that's the whole point. Exactly. Took all 10 toes underneath you. Yes, I really am using my hands here. Press down. You're going to come up and come back down. When I took prenatal yoga classes, this is one of the best things they taught me. And come back up. Yes, and this time with the back leg. Step forward. Just face forward. Everybody take a nice moment. You're going to inhale and exhale. Sometimes I have to remind myself just to breathe as well. Inhale again, an exhale. One last time. This time with some arms. Inhale, reach out to the sides. Exhale, bring the arms down.

One more like that. Just big inhale, lifting up, reminding our rib cage that it can do this. Action. Yes, and exhale. Take it down. Great. So I'm a little sweaty. I hope you're a little sweaty too, and we didn't even do one crunch. Awesome. Thanks guys.


beautiful class!!!! enjoyed every minute. thanks
1 person likes this.
Awesome Blossom. So while there maybe no flexing, does not mean that lateral motions are easy to control, and just as important. You rock.
Love it, thank you Blossom!
1 person likes this.
So wonderful that you include foot exercises! So necessary!
Super class!
1 person likes this.
Happy new year thanks for a great start to my day! I drove 300 miles yesterday now I am feeling great!
Thank you. Loved this class. Great for stiff lower back
2 people like this.
Thank you all for your lovely comments. I am so glad you are enjoying this. Who says you need to do spinal flexion to strengthen your abs?
1 person likes this.
I'm so grateful for this class! After a year of classical pilates, my lower back is shot and my hip flexors are SO tight! I'm being treated with prolotherapy for my lower back pain as a result and have been warned against too much flexion...but I miss my pilates. So, this is perfect!
Love the subtle work, thank you!
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