Class #2403

Expansive Mat

30 min - Class


Find expansion in your body in this Mat workout with Amy Havens. She uses the Foam Roller to massage and release all of your tight areas. She encourages you to let gravity assist you so you don't force any movements during the class.
What You'll Need: Mat, Foam Roller

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Hi everyone, we're here to do a short foam roller segment. And I'll focus a little bit more on the releasing and we'll roll through some areas, but not as much ab work or balancing work on the roller today, so, I don't know of a person who doesn't need to do this sometime during the week, so come on down, put your pelvis at the bottom end, slide down carefully, you don't want to roll off. And right away let's just take our arms out to the sides on the floor, palms face up. And just recognize where your spine is right now. Don't judge it if it's really, if you feel like there's a huge arch in there.

Gravity's gonna help us, it's gonna help get our spine closer to the roller, I just don't want us to just jam and think flat spine right away. Just let things evolve, and sometimes the tissues, the muscles and connective tissues themselves just need to kind of chill out. A lot of times that's what needs to chill out. We don't have to work so hard to make it happen. So as our arms are out to the side palms face up, also think about where the roller is touching you on your upper back.

And I do want us to focus quickly here that the shoulder blades are not pinching tightly against the roller, but rather that they're trying to move away from the roller a little bit. That will feel better, probably, and allow the front here of the chest and shoulders to also get expanded. So, let's think of expansion, all right? Arms are wide, let's take a deep inhale through our nose. (inhaling) And just as we exhale think of extending the line of the arms a little bit more side to side.

Inhale. And exhale. So you can physically reach your arms if you want, or you can just think about it, or just a little bit of sliding your hands on your floor. I want it to be generated more from inside, around your shoulder blades anyway. A couple more breaths.

This might be a nice time to see if gravity has helped your spine get a little bit more in touch with the roller, so we didn't really have to think about doing too much to make that happen. Okay. So, let's begin moving the arms. I'm gonna have us breathe in again, and as we exhale, just lift both arms up to the ceiling. I'm gonna have us stop with the arms are shoulder width apart.

Inhale as we widen again. Fill up the room with the reach of the arms. Let's do six of these, Hailey, exhale as we come up. And inhale as we open. Feel the stretch of the chest muscles, arms, maybe forearms, you could even feel this down into your wrists.

Inhale on the expansion, on the opening. And exhale as we close. Three more, inhale expansion. And exhale close. (exhaling) Inhale open, and exhale close.

Now let's do one more open, this time, pause with your arms wide, about the height of the roller, so not all the way on the floor. And now with a little bit of muscular effort, reach even more from chest to fingertips. And keep that outward reach going as we take our arms above our head. I'm gonna touch my thumbs together overhead. This would be a place to not arch the spine.

And ribs, where are my thumbs? And then open the arms. You can come lower, bring your fingertips like your pinkie finger toward your hip. And let's do five more of those. Inhale, all the way up overhead.

(inhaling) And exhale as you come down. I don't need you to take your arms all the way on the floor for this. Keep them kind of hovered the height of your body off the floor. Your arms are in external rotation down here as well as way up here. Kind of doing an angel in the snow.

Two more times, and we're going overhead. Think of reaching out wide, wide, wide, wide, wide. How much space can you cover? One more time from the bottom all the way up. Fill up the room with your arm reach.

And all the way down. Okay. One last thing down here, make the goalpost position of your arms, so it's a 45 degree bend in the elbow on each side, and just hold this for three to four breaths. Now if your shoulders are flexible like Hailey's, feel free now to take your arms lower to the floor if you'd like to, I'm just happy as a clam like this. This is fine for me.

But I do want you to start moving the roller a little bit or your body on top of the roller. Let gravity help your arms sink down a little bit. And perhaps your fingertips will find the floor at some point. And let's just pause there and then come off the roller. So I'm gonna roll over to one side, I'm actually gonna come up to sitting.

Yeah, good, and let's roll on our lats a little bit, okay? You can face out. So we'll face you, and we're gonna get into the bigger muscles in the side of the shoulder and the back. So almost, almost on your armpit. So I'm rolling about an inch toward my chest wall and toward my elbow, it's really tiny.

Just right up in the side of that shoulder. It's probably tender. And sometimes with the roller work it's nice to just explore and you've heard me say that before but just move a little bit, if you find a hot spot or a spot that's really sensitive, that's most likely where you need to stop and let your body weight sink into that area so that the adhesion or the little stuck spot if you will can kind of open up. I'll just say it that way. But if you're feeling fine, you can keep moving in a little bit bigger movements.

I'm gonna go through kind of now from underarm to the side of my shoulder blade, and my feet are gonna help me, I'm gonna roll a little bit. Yep. So, I'm not really talking so much about sports enhancement, but boy, this is a great exercise, all the roller work, to do for sports to keep yourself injury free. You want those adhesions gone, or fewer than more in your body, and a great way to get rid of the adhesions, body work of course, going to get massaged, but doing your own with something like this tool, keeping those shoulders free. Yep, good.

Now let's pause for a moment, and I'm gonna now have us roll front to back. So I'm gonna roll a little bit more chest toward roller and then chest toward ceiling. Do what you need to do, you can put your one hand behind your head if you need a support. And all of this is really right around the back of the underarm. Good, and you're good, Hailey, you can put your hands behind your head.

Just moving around the tissue slightly. Let's do two more. And getting some nice spinal rotation also, we didn't really tell you that, but you're getting some of that in this movement. And then go ahead and pause, extend your arm, let's move the roller into the triceps. Okay, so this is a little more, probably a little tender area and you weren't even aware of it.

I'm right in the center of my upper arm bone. And I'm just gonna roll a little bit again toward my elbow, and roll the roller toward my underarm. And toward my elbow, and toward my upper arm. Toward the elbow. Good.

And I love that I didn't have to tell you what shape in your body to make. You see two different things going on, we're exploring, we're becoming explorers of this fascial release. That's great. So here's something we can do with the hand. Do a few movements with your palms facedown and just feel it.

And then do a couple with your palms face up and feel that, probably feels a little different. And then do a little bit of like an infinity or palm up, palm down. Palm up, palm down. Palm up, palm down, two more. Palm up, that's kind of interesting, huh?

Palm up, and down, and then just roll yourself all the way up and just move your arm around. It hopefully feels a little bit wispy, a little free. Let's do the other side. So we started on our lat, and then get right at the back of the shoulder. Back of the armpit is what I said on the first side.

Yeah, and just find it first, and then we rolled about an inch back and forth, it doesn't take much. Good. So again, if you're not feeling as much and you want to feel a little more, make the movement bigger. So that's what I'm doing now. I'm gonna try to kind of trace the side of my shoulder blade, there it is.

And if it works for you to kind of settle on one of the moments where it got a little sharper feeling, just let yourself get heavy on that spot. (exhaling) And breathing. Yeah. Good. Yeah, gonna move a little bit bigger.

And sometimes the roller work is, you need to put your hands around your neck and your head to support the weight of your head, so be mindful and take care of that feeling if it's feeling strained. Okay. Now let's pause again right at the back of the shoulder and do the forward and back movement, so chest toward the ceiling, and chest toward the roller. Chest toward the ceiling, maybe on an inhale and an exhale forward, but really make it make sense for you. Try to sink your body weight down against the floor a little bit more.

Couple more times. Open. And close. And open. And close, good, nice.

Okay, to the triceps. So, positioning your upper arm bone about halfway between elbow and armpit on top. And then same thing, I'm just thinking, reaching out through the elbow, and then pulling it back toward me. Reaching toward the elbow. And once again, the arms feel different.

Yeah. And explore a few with palm face up. And some with palm face down. And then some of each, palm up, palm down. Palm up, palm down.

Palm up, and down, or vice versa. Couple more. And all the way up. And then, just again move your arm around, hopefully they feel pretty good. But Hailey has pretty flexible shoulders where I do not have them as flexible, so for me, rolling through my triceps really does help my shoulder flexion, and makes it feel a little bit better.

Okay, calf, calves, calves, the time for the calves. So lying on your back, all the, well, I'm not, I'm gonna stay like this. It might look a little casual, but I'm gonna do that for two reasons. I want to be able to regulate the weight I put down on my calves a little bit better, and also to watch some alignment, so here we go. I'm gonna now, instead of just two feet by each other, cross one.

That, how's that feel? Okay, so when you have the weight of this leg over this one, you might already feel it, it's gonna make it more intense, so just be ready for that. So I want to bend my knees a little and straighten them a little. So we're moving the roller, in essence. And I didn't really say where to put your calves on top of the roller, but it's midway between knee and ankle.

Yeah, there, you need to go up a little bit. Yeah. You feel that now? Oh yeah. That's probably why she didn't go there first is because that's a tender spot.

She did some crazy dancing on Saturday night and her calves are a little tired. Little sore, so this is great, it's not just, you know, torture. (laughs) Now make a circle. So I'm doing knees in a little circle. How's that feel? Yeah! Again, we're exploring, you can be your own explorer, you don't have to do exactly what I'm doing, but, now make the circle go the other way.

We're really hydrating the tissue here, getting some good movement in it. Okay, let's do the other side. So high, yeah, that's my side, okay, wow. So first just bending, straightening. Little knee bend, little extension.

Top leg can press down on top of the bottom one slightly if you want more pressure. If you want less, just take it off. This way. Mm. And if you find that little sweet spot, you might want to put a little more pressure to break up that section, and then let's go, ah, yeah, yeah, let's go into these little knee circles.

Relax your feet, try it. Different? (Hailey talks off microphone) Yep. I don't know if anybody saw it, yeah, and I was kind of doing it too, my feet were getting a little involved. That's probably because the calf sensation was a little sharp, so my feet were trying to help.

If I relax my feet, guess what, it goes more into the belly of the calf muscle. And that's what I need right there. Relax those, ah, the feet. Yeah. Crazy, huh?

Who knew? So let's go side by side and just now give each its own. Just kind of rocking. Maybe go up a little higher on that roller up there. Mm-hmm.

She does not want to go there. Okay, so go into almost fully extended knees, flex the feet, open, make some circles. We can actually circle the whole leg if you want. But again, see if you can put some downward pressure of your calves against the roller. And then the other way.

Trying to see that your leg circles are relatively even. Yeah. And then again now a little faster, and I am gonna have us go down the calf toward the ankle a little bit more now. Just see if you can feel if there's a big difference between going lower, maybe add some flex and point for lengthening. Okay.

And maybe, it didn't feel like much and you want to see if it's more up here, if you need the release higher. See for me, I'm not feeling as much higher, either, I'm feeling where it was mostly was right in the middle. So I'm gonna go back to the middle and now side to side. Saving the best one for last. So roll, one leg's turned in, one leg's turned out.

Oh, man. And turn in, turn out. And swap. If your arms are getting tired here, feel free to just lie all the way back. Let's just do a few more maybe a little bit faster.

You can also try it or get the same amount of turn in and turn out on both legs, but that's a whole nother thing too. Yeah, okay. So we're not out of the woods yet with the rolling on some tender spots. I'm gonna go to the quads. Those little quads get left out sometimes.

Here we go, so we're going over, we're gonna put the roller right at the top of the leg where it almost to the hip bone or the pelvis. Oh yeah, there we go. And I've got the balls of the feet tucked down and let's just start working the longer length of the quad. And again, some of this work may not feel really comfortable, so leave it your judgment to do these or not, but we need this kind of movement in the tissue and hydration of it. A shiatsu massage does just the same thing.

Can, someone else doing it for you, though. How's that, kind of moderate? Yeah. Nothing too crazy. Nothing crazy, okay.

So why don't we go to the belly of the muscle, more midway, just like we did in the calves. So, oh mama, so here it is. I'm gonna stop right between the hip and the knee. Keep your toes down and then here we go, my friend, bend one knee, think single leg kick. And then extend, other side.

Not too bad huh? No. Okay, so-- Comparatively. (laughs) Comparatively. If it were excruciating, what you might see and feel would be the pelvis would respond like, (gasps) like that. And in the knee bend it would probably jut up, so we see that in single leg kick on the mat work kind of a lot where maybe you get cued, keep your pelvis down.

Well, it could be because your quads are tight, so this is a great exercise to lengthen the quadriceps muscles, the front of the thigh, open up your pelvis, and this can actually help restore knee movement, if you have click-y knees, sometimes the quads just need to be lengthened out. And I know that. From myself. So let's do one more bend and hold, okay, and then on that bent, yeah just roll a little bit now you can almost get to the knee. Good, yeah.

And again play with it. If that doesn't feel like as much as it was prior to having the leg straight, feel free to go back to a straight leg. Okay, mm. Now right now we're doing this with legs parallel. Pause for a minute, put both feet on the mat, turn the legs out.

Now roll a little bit. So you're gonna get more of the inner line of your quads. A few passes. This is some nice abdominal work because you're having to hold your abs up to your spine so you don't stress your low back. Okay, and then pause and then try to get your legs close together turning in a little bit.

You may not get a whole lot of range on that, but it's gonna slightly get a little bit different part of your quad. And then of course we're gonna do the other knee. I'm gonna go back to parallel. I want to bend that one knee and just roll a little bit with the bent knee. And straighten it, good.

Okay. And just come off, you could have done all that with one leg at a time, I just chose to do both, and then lastly, the glutes, so let's sit on the roller, Hailey, in kind of a figure four. I'm quite sore here right now so this is, (Hailey laughs) I'm gonna thank Dana Santi, I'm gonna shout out to Dana, thank you, killed me, lady. Love you! Yeah, this is really good, so. (laughs) Just here we are, I'm gonna come back on my fists and my knuckles, and just try to let the leg drop for right now. Okay.

So you can roll a little front to back, not gonna feel a whole lot probably. Where I'm gonna feel more is if I take and roll side to side, that's the side. It's really stretching this out for me, and then rocking this way, there's the pressure on that glute. So this is stretching it long, this one I'm putting some pressure on the glutes. Good.

You feel that? Is it, do you feel some? Yeah, I do, it's not too-- Not too intense? Yeah. So go to one side and kind of hang out on one side.

And let's let gravity help drop us into it a little bit more then you may feel more. But again, you might not be too tight in there. Roll a little front to back. And then switch the direction of your leg and roll front to back. So now it's gonna be hitting the other glute.

Good. Feel free to spend more time on all of these positions if you want to. We're gonna swap legs now, and... Mm-hmm. So just letting one knee open, I've got ankle over knee.

Then again we started going, oh, front to back. Wasn't a whole lot happening there. Still not? So we're gonna go side, oh yes, to side. And side to side.

Good. Kind of prepping for cancan in the mat work. (chuckles) We're not doing that today though. Okay, go to one side, hang out, and do a little front/back movement. Yeah. And then the other side, so you're putting more pressure, I know, my roller's moving away too.

Putting more pressure on the down hip. Ooh, mama mia! Good. Okay. We're gonna do two more yummy, yummy, delicious things. We are putting our mid back, our roller right in the middle of the back.

I'm gonna have us put our hands behind our head to support that neck position. And going over, so an upper back extension, and I talk about this a lot, delay letting your head go. Think about going long before you go backwards, so it's like if your spine were a really large rubber band or a TheraBand or a spring, you'd stretch it, and then it molds over the arc, or the roller in this case. That's really nice. Try to let the elbows drop wide, you'll see two different things happening here.

More tightness in me, less in Hailey. Both good and good for both of us. And then as you bring your head and chest up, try to keep the elbows open. Let's do that two more times, so thinking about going long and then over. Little bit further, taking some deep breaths in.

(exhaling) And then bringing the head and chest up. And one more time. And then we'll end with a very nice neck release. Yeah, okay, and coming up. So the neck release is all the way down here.

All right, so here we are, we've got our occipital bone, occiput on the roller, using our hands on the outside, and I think it's just nice to be here. You don't have to do anything fancy. But what does feel nice as well is a little bit of cervical rotation so that you're putting some weight on the base of the skull, and there is quite a bit of musculature there. Short, but thick muscles, and they hold quite a bit of tension. So, give them some love and just roll your skull to one side.

You can do a little say yes action with your head to massage that section a little bit. And then gently roll your head back through center and over to the second side so that you're right on the base of that skull. Do you feel that? Yeah, so nice. And think the roller work also can bring especially this particular pattern into the parasympathetic system of the body, which is a good system to pay attention to, and it's the system that we're more mellow, in more mellow state, rather than the vigor and the excited state.

It's not the fight or flight response state, it's the everything is chill, everything is fine. Come back to the center. Parasympathetic state is very healthy to come in. We're in a world that's very frantic and frenetic and the energy is very, ah, up a lot of times and our body takes that on and sometimes we're not even aware of it, and it shows up in places, connective tissue, joints, muscles, so dropping in sometimes and doing a mellow class or mellow session is really another way of exercising, it's really important to do. It happens in Pilates, it happens in yoga, it happens in meditation.

It's good to balance things out. Let's open those arms, take one more deep breath in, and I'm gonna roll toward the front of the room here to come up to sitting just nice and easy. And I hope you've enjoyed rolling and releasing with us and we will see you next time. Thank you.


1 person likes this.
Excellent release work! Thank you Amy! I always enjoy your classes you have lovely cuing and help me bring greater awareness with my mind and body! :)
1 person likes this.
That was heavenly. The lats one was so good! Lower back and hamstrings? Any tips on how to release those using the foam roller? Or maybe there is a video already... Thx
1 person likes this.
Agree the lat release was great it is such a difficult area to access. Yes agree with above would love to see QL release techniques and of course hamstring IT area too .Amy you have such a natural and inclusive way of delivering your ideas and methods. That is a gift.
Sarah Pritchard
After a tough workout yesterday this was great to start the day and get moving again! Thank you !
1 person likes this.
Thank you, Amy! My body is buzzing and I'm breathing better.
1 person likes this.
Thank you Amy that was wonderful. I really liked the lat and triceps release. The circle roll with the calves was very effective for me. Well needed release as a runner. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
As a massage therapist...this is a must! Yes, for everyone...but, mostly me!
1 person likes this.
Super class, Amy is right to note the importance of such a class. Loved the neck releases!
3 people like this.
This was a great class to restart a pilates practice after a lull.
Trisha Donnelly
Ouch and lovely at same time. Thanks
1-10 of 81

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Pilates Anytime Logo

Move With Us

Experience Pilates. Experience life.

Let's Begin