Class #2548

Creative Mat Variations

40 min - Class


Try new variations in this creative Mat workout with Niedra Gabriel. She teaches an eclectic-style class focusing on moving your joints. She works all sides of the body, making sure to add strengthening and stretching so you can feel strong and open.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

May 14, 2016
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Good afternoon everybody. I'm going to be doing a an eclectic style mat class today just to move my joints. I hope you enjoy joining me for this. Let's see what will happen. So starting out as classic fingers together, stretch the arms out and pull the fingers back and lift the rib cage. Weigh up, bending over to one side, open up the side ribs, bending over to the other side, stretch the side ribs, pulling the shoulders back and bringing the arms back. Have a look at which index finger is on tops, which your hands.

Press out again, lift the rib cage up and just for a moment, pull the shoulder blades forward in order to get a sense of how to widen your back and take the arm pits and press them down. So if you think of bringing the armpits down, you find your lads and it actually allows the shoulders to drop down, but you're not jamming your shoulders down. You're stabilizing your trunk, which is what we're really trying to create an achieve here to see if you can go a little bit deeper now and up and go a little bit deeper. Now, opening up the side body, bring the hands down on, clasp your fingers, class the hands behind your back again, squeeze the shoulder blades together. See if you can pull the arms away. Fill up the back ribs and stretch the arms out and back. Change the class. Same thing. Shoulders back, filling up the back ribs and lifting up the waist.

Stretch the arms downwards first and then pull the arms back just to kind of open up the tissue in the body. Pilati stance. Just bend the knees and up and again. Bend the knees and up and bend the knees. Lifting up in the waist. Now narrowing the hips, seeing if you can rise up and down again. Bend the knees and up.

When the knees and up, bend the knees, press the heels together. Feel all five toes on the mat or the floor depending upon where you are. Lift up, hold it, hold it, work those inner thighs. Start to wake up your body and coming on down. So coming to the front of your mat, if you're not already there, cross your feet and see if you can sit all the way down on the mat and move your hips a little bit back.

Now this is just to stabilize the trunk and kind of get into our bodies before we actually get into more exact mat work. So just working a little bit into the flection. So see if you're lengthening the tail towards your heels and back, lengthening the tail and bringing the broadening the back ribs and back, broadening the back ribs and back, broadening the back ribs and then holding this position as the arms go back three more times and two and three and stretch the arms and the legs out. You get a sense of length and now narrow those hips just like the way you did before. Heels are together and simple. Roll up, extending out and rolling down, narrowing the hips and stretching out. Arms above the shoulders. Find that school. See if the scoop can bring you up.

Keep the scoop there and roll back down. And one more time lift. Find the school, narrow the hips, press the heels together and roll back down. So we kind of warmed up the front body. Rolling onto your stomach. Heels are together, fingers just under your forehead. The elbows are on the mat or an imaginary mat.

Lift your head up and look forward. Now, this is a tricky one because you want to feel that you're tractioning forward and up, so you're getting the upper back to wake up a little bit. The other thing to watch for is it. See if you can get your armpits to drape all the way down to the mat and believe it or not, it will lengthen out your upper back to as you coming up, you may feel your lower back move upwards. You want to literally feel yourself extending forward and up to wake up the spine. You don't want the spine locked in one space. You wanted very mobile so it can shift and adapt and move.

Because movement is about shifting locations in the physics. In space one more time. So because I can tend to be hyper mobile, I'm literally thinking of where is the center of my throat, how do I open up the front of my throat and then extend forward and it integrates a front and the back body to create all of this length that you're searching the field as you wake up your back spine. And then with the hands long, same thing again, lifting up, lengthening up and then seeing if you can keep the extension and move into long lengths and arms. Just again, start to get the spine to move. So face forward, chest forward, narrow hips, lengthen the stomach and feel the chest coming.

Way Forward. Can you look up at the ceiling now to open up the throat even more and then stretch the rib cage away from the pelvis. One more time like this. Lengthening the chest, the throat, the face forward, kind of like a little snake or something. Lifting, uplifting, uplifting, uplifting up. See if you can feel those hamstrings engaged as well too. To a certain extent, the whole back part of the body is working. We were flexing the front body. Now we're flexing, extending the back body fingers back under the forehead.

Lift everything up and lift your legs up. And let's start beating the heels. Five five beats for breath in and five beats for breath out. Five beats for breath in when five beats for breath out. So as you do this, start to focus on the intensity in your hamstrings. Some of us have one leg much more dominant than the other, and if that's the case you want to activate the side, it's a little bit more sluggish in order to just even out the energy running through your body as best you can. I haven't been counting, so I'll take one more breath in, breath out, hold it, lift the legs, lengthen all the way down.

We do the hips a little bit to release any tension and with a hand bright under the shoulders, pull the shoulders down. So I'm taking the elbows and extending them towards the hips. I'm literally using my hands to push back. Now in contrast to the direction I was moving before, but I'm going to do the same type of lift. Looking to have the front body or pan up.

So I'm just warming my spine up, scooping the stomach, coming to four limbed position and just to warm up the trunk a little bit more. Cat Cow, tail up, head up, chest up, scooping and opposition again in opposition. One more time extending out, opening the chest in our position, rounding all the way down, bringing the hands down and just for a moment pulling the navel in and seeing if you can articulate through the spine one bone at a time until you find that vertical plane where the tail is lifted, the waist is lifted, the ribs are with lifted, the shoulders on the side and the head is on top of the rib cage coming out on your side body in a straight line. So I got my hand long and the legs are in line with my hips from an incorrect play in a flat plane. This hand is an almost in front of the shoulder with the fingers out.

I'm pulling my lower ribs up to my waist is actually off the floor and then lifting the feet up a few times. So I'm keeping my spinal column parallel to the floor in order to stabilize the trunk. So this is just again, warming up the trunk muscles. Can you take the other arm out? Whoops. This is a day by day process as everyday my muscles are slightly different so I'm tending right now to fall back so I have to work extra hard in my upper front ribs to keep me balanced. He, whoops. Here we are working the feet trying to keep a little bit more.

Yes, I do have to struggle with this. That's why it's so good for me. Let's see if I can balance can you, I bet you can and there we are. Rolling down other side. Let me just adjust the the mic a little bit as I'm on my other side. So on your side, feet, hips, shoulders and head and hand just about in a straight line.

So the curves of the spine and now engaged but there long because you want to find the area of the waist. So I'm pulling my lower ribs up, my lower waist up. I should really say so the bleaks are intact and start lifting and lowering the legs and you will be exactly on the greater trocanter, which makes it even more precarious. A place, the balance or a lot of subtle weaknesses that may be existing in your body get challenged, which is what makes us so amazing. Now here we go. Other arm comes over. See if you can find your balance. Whoa, hard for me to do and then I'm lifting and lifting. Woopsie daisy, keep going. Don't pay any attention to me.

Falling all over and lifting and then forward and back. So all the side body work, which we usually don't do as much of. It's being challenged right now. Lower down. I survived it. And Rolling on your back and then up to sitting. Let me adjust the Mike again to the side with the knees bent.

So just like we were doing before when there was a slight flection, see if you can find the same flection and just roll back to the tail and three times up and down with the arms and roll a little bit further back. Now I'm on my sacred and rolling a little bit further back and then rolling all the way to the mat, extending the legs out and peeling up. Moving the feet forward. Going into teaser and same thing. Rolling down, rolling up, rolling down, rolling up, rolling down. [inaudible] rolling up. And now just getting a little bit of a stretch, pulling the legs up, seeing if you can lift out of your spine, finding that full teaser and articulating down nice and slow onto the mat. Let me move back into the middle here and going from here into the hundreds.

So bring the knees into the chest. I'm finding the lower abs and the upper abs. So here's my connection. Imagine a weight on your sternum, pulling that way. So the trunk is very, very long and slit. Start beating, breathing in and breathing out and breathing in and breathing out. So as you keep on with the pump, let one leg float down and floated back up and float the other leg down and float it back up and bring the knees in and extend the legs out and bend the legs in and extend the legs out and bend the legs in. Extend the leg out. Now here I am again. I'm taking my sternum and I'm sending it that way to see how much I can balance the trunk with the legs. Big Stretch.

I'm a letting the spine arch to relieve tension. Find a natural curves. Gather into the Corset, roll up and grabbing the ankles like my whole spine. Just relax for a minute. Rolling back down for leg circles. So left leg or the grounded in. Literally take that foot and dig it into the mat so you create resistance in the hamstring. Check to see is a hamstring engaged. And then do your circles.

One, two, three. Reverse it. Keep digging the foot on the ground down and then give a little stretch. Flex your foot, point your foot, circle the foot, reverse and float the leg down. Take the foot on the mat and dig it down. We usually pay so much attention to the leg in the air that we forget about the the foundation here. So circle one, circle to circle three. Reverse it. Circle one, circle to circle three.

Nice stretch. Flex the foot, point the foot, flex the foot, point the foot, circle it. Reverse can go a little bit deeper. Float the leg down and let's start rolling like a ball in. So again, see if you can feel lower and upper abs. Whole the ankles and see if you can come up and roll down and up and rule out.

I'm down and up and roll down and up and roll down and up being the intensity. Can you get the heels right in and your head if possible. Right between your knees, down and up and down and up and extend the lights and bend them down in up. Extend the legs and bend them. Then up, extend the legs and open like rocker.

Oh, and again, see you can go just to the shoulder blades and one more time like that. And up teaser. Float down, float down. Float down, float down and rest going right into single leg stretches. So neesen and nice tempo for this. Make sure you're pulling the elbows out to the side every time to get space under the armpit and double leg stretches, [inaudible] and scissors and I'm actually working on the leg going to the mat versus the leg in the air just to get that hip flexor to open out and elongate and bending the knees. Head to the mat, hands behind your head and just to have a different variation here. Scooping the navel, lifting the head and chest stop. Can you go up from, from the mat, lower all the way down, up from the Matt. Lower all the way down, up from the Mat.

[inaudible] lower all the way down and one more time up from the mat. Lower all the way down and one more stretch. Really pull out, flex your feet, point your feet and let's do the same stretch we did at the beginning. Clasping the fingers turning the hand inside out. Check that the neck is long.

Heels are together and keep thorough ribs down. This is a wonderful place to see if your ribs are popping. It really means that the, the, the lats are short, so they are pulling into the rib cage. So the more you can keep the floating ribs anchored towards the Mat, you have to isolate the armpits and stretch to one side, stretch to the other side change, have a look, change your index fingers, extend up again, anchor the floating ribs into the mat, extend back, try to keep those roots in, tack Ben to One Ben to the other side and come back. Bring the hands behind your head and curl up for criss-cross.

So let's extend and reach this hand over. So I'm taking my right side and tried to go as far to the right as I can and as far to the left as I can and as far to the right as I can and to the left and to the right and the laughed. Bending the knees in, rolling up for spine. Stretch forward. So lovely, lovely exercises. When can be done so many different ways.

Let's start just the good old traditional spiders up the wall, but down in front of you. So how much can you lift the back up and just bring the shoulders for to literally just retract them. Imagine someone punching you in the chest. Now don't collapse but feel the lift right between the shoulder blades. So if you can open that part of the back and start to mobilize it, you will start to create more breadth across the shoulder blades, which is what you really want. And then keep lifting the, it's a way from the hips and that they had dropped down.

So you get this massive stretch on the spine. Come back up, lift the arm so you can get a little bit more height all the way down. Again, lift, Ding. The ribs away from the hips of the lumbar spine is getting longer and you're spreading the shoulder blade and wrapping them around. Imagine you have a magic circle between the upper arms, so you're squeezing them to actually find the pecks.

A lot of times I've found that women don't understand the energy in this front body because they've, they opened their chest beautifully, but they actually don't know the power that they can find there. If they take the shoulders into the side, body can go a little bit further, come back up, lift even more, lift all the way out and down. Now this opening up the spine can be a challenge for a lot of people in a way I love to do it is with the feet together and the hands behind the head and the very first movement, same feeling. The elbows are coming forward and the head is down. Now I am imagining pushing up between my shoulder blades as I wrap my arms around and I'm aiming my head mid thigh, so it's not a long stretch.

It's literally like you're the magician's assistant and you need, I need to get into minuscule little tiny box and you're stretching all the middle tendons and separating out the vertebrals the spy. I'll keep pulling the stomach way back in in and they can provide a massive stretch into the lower back and come back in. So as this is called spine stretch forward, really search out the spine. You want to take the full front body and push it backwards so the back body expands. So here we go again. Head goes stone, elbows come forward. I'm pulling the ribs back and up and my head is tucked way in to facilitate this release across the whole spinal column.

And I'm pulling back in the waist very, very actively and trying to make myself into the smallest ball I can possibly be. Now rolling back up and last time saying the thing rounding. So the ability of the front body to contract is dependent to great extent on how much the back body can release the supplies across the boards with every section of the human anatomy. So the CSI effect happens everywhere. So Open Lake rocker again, rolling back and rolling up and rolling back and rolling up.

No hands rolling back and rolling up and rolling back and rolling up legs together. Rolling down up onto the shoulders. Who corkscrew and rolling one side, the other side and lifting and rolling. One side, the other side and lifting. And again first side the other side and lift and reverse and around and lift and rolling down says this has a twisting element. Tit and I can see that I'm feeling a little bit tight. I am going to hold the top of the Mat.

You can have your hands just flat on the floor and bending the knees in and my knees are right above my hips and I'm going to roll and keep the knees stacked. I'm trying to keep my shoulders in place. I'm actually grabbing onto the back of the mat and then rolling to the other side to open up all those little tiny connections along the lower back, the lower spine. Now I'm bringing my knees higher so my knees are opposite my rib cage, same thing. So it's a bit of a broader stretch across the pelvis into the waist area.

And then the third one I'm going to bring my knees up towards my shoulders. So the whole side of my body is being stretched and the other and back. So now I'm going to do corkscrew again and see if I can get that full roll down the whole side of the body. So legs come up, hips come up right away, up as high as I can get them. And now I'm starting rolling right now from the shoulder blade, waist, hips and up. Whoa. And then reversing it left shoulder blade, waist, hips and up and first direction and up and other side and up and then rolling down, lowering the feet to the mat. And from here, rolling up to sitting and flexed feet for saw.

Now I love this variation. It really allows people to feel the stretch on the side body. I'm a big side body stretch person because we all get very tight there. So I'm twisting to the left and I take my right elbow to my right knee and just pause there for a minute. Trying to get the shoulders stacked, one on top of the other, and even the elbow stack one on top of the other and come back up. So it just opens up the side body, twisting the other way, elbow to knee, other elbow to the ceiling and twist into it.

And Center first side again, stretching that whole side, see if you can take the arm out this time, bend it back and come up, twist to the other side. Time bending down. Now I'm taking, I'm lifting the ribs and I'm stretching this whole side and it's a fab. It's Kinda like the mermaid really. And come back up one more time. This way over stretching out. Now stretching up to the ceiling, bending back with that elbow wide, twisting to the other side, opening the elbow, stretching out, up to the ceiling, bending back, pulling this elbow back, come back up and going right into the twists.

So now fall traditional saw the head is going to the knee. So this is like spy. I like to think of it as a bow and Arrow alignment. So it's not just a twist, it's kind of a long diagonal spine stretch and it's opening up the side body and it's also bringing a certain amount of reflection into the spine and trunk. One more time this time so you can get your head even lower. And I'm trying to get my head to the floor on the outside of that knee.

Legs are together and rolling down. Coming on to the stomach for single leg kicks. And just to get this lang, let's actually start with neck pole. So lifting up the same way we did right at the beginning to [inaudible] and three and I want to feel the back of my neck is really long. Dropping my left ear to the left shoulder, rolling down right here to right shoulder straight and reversing it as I stretch to the right. I'm pulling the left shoulder down, rolling down.

Now I'm pulling my right shoulder down, lifting up, coming down, and repeating this one more time with another variation. So now I'm going to turn my head, pull the shoulders down, turn my head and pull the opposite shoulder away to straight and reverse it. Rolling down. Lifting up straight. Now I'm taking the hand straight out. I call this karate chap. The little fingers are into the mat.

I live my face the same way we did right at the beginning of the mat, but I'm pulling my shoulders down my back. So I'm thinking in my armpits. Moving towards the waist to find those infamous slats and pulling into the whole trunk is nicely stabilized and supported and I get this sense of lift in the stomach and first time I love to go slow to really check that I'm opening up the hip flexor and not shortening in the stomach and trunk and really pulling into feel the hamstring and then the other side, lengthening the hip flexor, keeping the stomach lifting, lengthening into the quad. How much can I make the quad stretch by contracting the glutes and hamstrings. Okay, warm myself up. Here we go. Kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick and kick. Kick lowering down. To prepare or to add spice to life, we're actually going to go right into rocking.

So the quads have just been opened up a little bit with this first one. So want to really anchor my tail down and stretch the heels in. Can I lift the knees? See if you can get a sense of lifting the knees. Now shoulders pull back because the feet pull back. The feet are like leavers and then the thighs lift to get as much height as you can. Same thing again.

Thigh pull back and shoulders pull back in. My chest is going forward and the third one size pullback chess comes forward and I'm going into the rocking so the more I can pull the feet or the ankles away from the chest, I actually, it allows me to stretch my chest out. And then from here, nice stretch back just to really slow back for a minute and coming right back for double leg kicks and both hands are behind the elbows along and tick clip, clip and stretch. I'm lifting my hamstrings as well as my feet. Kick, kick, kick and laying, filling everything out. Kick, kick, kick and lengthening everything out. Kick, kick, kick and long and last one and out and other side and out. Again, sitting into the heels, pulling the stomach into to release the lower back. I'm going to walk my hands all the way to the right.

So my left hip is pulling down and I'm stretching out that left side coming in the opposite direction, coming back on the hands and knees. And one more time. This loosening and enjoying the freedom that starting to come into the spine. Now bring the knees together so you can get a neutral spine and cross one knee over and then literally be like a dog wagging their tail. You're going to look towards the foot, look in the other direction, look towards the foot, look in the other direction, look and look. It's just kind of, if you can't get the knees cross, you can do it without. This just adds a little bit more interesting angles to loosen up the hips and the lower back at the next level and back coming back, sitting into your heels one more time and coming on to your side.

Of course, sidekicks. So here we go. See if you can find that lift of the way. So the spine is being held parallel to the mat and let's have both legs up in the air just to really anchor the legs. I'm going to do my forward and back kicks. I'm kicking to the front, kicking to the back and without this other leg in the air, it changes the exercise. Totally. I have to stabilize my trunk so much so it's at the other level.

Lower down for minute, lifting up again and now be up to the ceiling and up to the ceiling and up to the ceiling and little scissors just like we did at the beginning. Lower down and relaxing the ribs. One more time. Lifting up in little circles, so a whole other experience when the bottom leg has to be pulled in and up into the trunk in order to hold the position. Other side, just make sure my Mike doesn't get squashed. Okay, so here I am. The legs are a little bit in front and I am lifting this rib area. What you want to see is it can you feel that your spinal column is in a straight line parallel to the floor when the ribs are totally down, it's a little bit like a curve, you could say.

So can you hold the trunk right in the middle? Lift both legs up, anchor the trunk and here we go. Leg to the front, leg to the back, leg to the front, leg to the back, leg to the front leg to the back. Legs together. Just a minute for a minute. Relax the ribs again. Pull the waist in and lift the leg up and lower down and lifted up and lower down and lifted up and lower down and little forward and back movements just like you did on the other side and lower down. And now lifting up again in little circles, one, two, three and reversing it. One, two, three, four, five and lowering down and rolling back on the back.

So no matter whether I'm doing advanced or beginner work with Teaser, I always do the single leg once as we all tend to slip and slide in our bodies. And what this does is it just allows us to set the right and left side lifting, lowering down, because it's quite easy. Maybe you've been sitting with one leg crossed in front all morning in a conference call and suddenly that side's nice and strong and the other side is not doing the job. So it's a day by day process. Here we are and up and up and up and rolling down onto the mat.

Now Jack Knife, so arms of flat floating the legs up over and rolling up again and lowering down. And I like to think of it as a diagonal, diagonal. So here we go. Diagonal, straight line, diagonal, diagonal, again, diagonal up and roll and down. Last one like this and up and roll and all the way down into bridge, fetal hip with the part and rolling the hips up and rolling the hips down. Now you all have your heels. Can you think of dragging your heels in toward your buttocks?

As you do, you can track that instantly contracts your hamstrings, your calves and it actually creates a lift into the arch. So keep that drag and then see if you can roll through the spine. So there's a lot more work that's gonna start to happen in the hamstrings in the hips this way, which if you have a flexible spine, the legs sometimes don't do as much work as they should be doing. Kind of depends upon your genetic pattern. But this I found very, very helpful to activate that part of the body. So here we go. Now feet are together, lifting up again, anchoring the hips, lifting one leg up and all the way to the mat and up all the way to the mat and up to the mat and up thing up.

I can lift my hips a little bit more before I roll them down. And same thing on the other side, pulling my hamstrings and my heels towards each other and then rolling up, keeping that contraction, lifting up to the mat and up if you can. This is my stiffer side and one more time and up and then lifting the hips a little bit more and rolling down, up to sitting position. Same thing. Lifting up, rolling down, lifting up, rolling down, lifting up, right leg. Two, three. Lift the hips a little bit more. Rolling down and other side. Lifting the hips up. One, two, three and rolling down.

Just to relieve tension a little bit with the feet. Bend into what we used to call Cancan. So one side just to relieve tension around the trunk. Three and my teacher used to say, flick the skirts. So kick, kick, or I should say twist and flick your skirt, twist, twist, twist, flick your skirt, twist, twist, twist, flick your skirt and coming right into seal.

So scoop the pelvis, scoop the rib CIF and get along waist. And let's have the feet a little bit higher right now. It changes the angle. So clap three times and roll up to your shoulders. Can you balance here? Clap, clap, clap, roll up again. Balance Clap, clap, clap, rollback. Balance, clap, clap, clap, roll up. Balance, clap, clap, clap back. I'm going to be standing up here. Clap, clap, clap and sitting up. Standing up.

I should say. Swiveling around into plank position. So now we're just going to get that final trunk stability going down. So walking out one, two, three and four and I want you to hold, now there's a fine line between two dropped and two lifted. Can you feel from your heels all the way through the crown of the head, the links and there's a point where you literally feel the center of the body being wrapped around like a corset.

So you want to sometimes fatigue the muscles a little bit so that they actually start to activate. Now we're going to go to the same thing to the side, so if the hips are too low, you're just sagging into the shoulder. If you're too high, you're just balancing. You want this long straight line and you can feel the oblique start to kick in and the fatigue to kick in back to plank. Again, I'm holding my balance, starting to really fatigue that part of my body and other side, finding that fine line and you literally can feel it where the muscles are being challenged and they just kick in so too low doesn't work too high, doesn't work. Where's that point? For you right in the center and come back and walk your hands back. Tricky part because you want to flop your bottom. Don't walk, walk, walk, walk, roll yourself up. Lift your arms up, fill up the back ribs. Can you lift your heels, keeping the heels together.

Find that plum line that's unique to you and as you lower, can you get taller and then float the arms down. Take a well-deserved deep breath and you're done. And thank you very much. Enjoy.


1 person likes this.
Good pace. Fun variations!
It was great to see how many exercises and variations can be done in just 40 minutes! Great Class!
wonderful class!
Perfect 40 minute class!
Thank you for the challenge to the mind and body.
1 person likes this.
Brilliant Neidra, great pacing and variations. love your arrangement, Fun!! Straight to my favorites, will practice this again and again. Thank you so much.
Great class! Thank you!
1 person likes this.
wow bellissima lezione. Grazie
1 person likes this.
This was fabulous!!!
Challenging and refreshing, thank you !
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