Class #3065

Tension Release Mat

45 min - Class
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Play with the connection of the feet into the leg with this Mat workout by Debora Kolwey. She uses this theme of feedback from the feet to help release tension in the rest of the body. This will help create the muscle memory needed to have support during each movement in the class.
What You'll Need: Mat, Foam Roller

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I'm Debora Colway, back at Pilates Anytime very happily. We're going to have a little mat class with my friends Shelby and Jackie and Anna and Amy. There's a little theme that you might notice as we go. Something that I think about is how with regard to the mat work, one of the things that's difficult is we have very little feedback through our feet once we get going. As a result of that, people tend to hold tension in their body, often the over tense, overly work the legs or the lower back.

So what we're going to play with a little bit today, in the context of our mat class, is how to keep a sense, throughout the class, of the connection of the feet up into the legs so that even when they're not actually touching anything anymore, we have the memory in our body of what that support could feel like. So we'll see how it goes. Go ahead and lie down onto your back. Start with your knees bent and your feet flat onto the mat, and your toes pointing straight ahead. You don't have to have your feet and legs absolutely together at this point, if you're more comfortable with a little bit of space.

Feel your feet. Gently notice your feet, ten toes. Try to soften the pads of the toes so that they're not gripping, but then bring your awareness back through your foot, toward the ball of your foot, and press. Put weight into the ball of your foot. See what that feels like.

See if you can balance the weight evenly, big toe to little toe and all the ones in between. So there's that pressure, and coming a little further back into the dome of the foot, right under the ankle, the arches of the feet, and then coming back a little further, press the center of your heel down. And do you notice, when you do that, some toning, up the back of your leg? So if you kept doing that, even more strongly, your pelvis might lift up. You can feel that, right, Shelby?

As you press through your feet, it's natural. The pelvis lifts up. And when the pelvis lifts up, it's not down. So it's not hanging on you, it's not pulling on your lower back. It's supporting itself, and the feet and the legs are helping you lift up your pelvis.

So I don't want you to have to hold your pelvis up, but I want you to notice that tone, and that what the result of that is that your lower back can rest on the mat. You're not pushing it, but neither are you hanging into yourself. So we'll just see how this goes as we keep going. We'll do a few arm circles. I'm gonna move your roller down so that you don't hit it.

Circling the arms up to open up the chest, the shoulders, to lift the body up out of the pelvis, and then out to the side. And this is just totally a feel good movement, and also something to just get us coordinated together, to start to coordinate the breath with the movement, to just get some circulation going. Inhaling as you lift up and out, and exhale as you come around. And at the same time, however, notice that you can get more length, more lift, more openness if you don't lose the ground, if you don't lose the feet, and the support through the pelvis, right? So only take your arms to the degree where you don't feel that you have to push your back off the floor or tighten your spine.

And then let's go ahead and go in the other direction. So spinning the arms out, reaching out, feeling the back of the ribs, the side of the ribs, lifting away from your lower back, and exhaling, come down. And if I could get my arms under you, or if you had another pair of arms, it would be as if there was that other pair of arms holding you and massaging, using my hands, my fingers, from your sacrum, all the way up through the back of your skull. So all of that, just with the simple arm circle. And then let's stay out to the side this next time and hover your arms a little bit off the mat or the floor.

So literally pick 'em up so that you're using some muscle, and curve your arms a little bit as if you had one of those huge fit balls and the ball is full of air, and you don't want to feel like it's coming down and crushing on you. So as you breathe, you expand your chest. It's almost like you're lifting yourself up into the ball. Now you're toning around the back of the shoulder girdle as well, because you're having to exert a little bit of effort to hold this imaginary ball. So the back of you is down on the mat.

Maybe your arms are getting a little tired. But you're not hanging down, you're not heavy down. You're just using the mat because that's where we start for our class. From there, reach your right arm out as if somebody gently pulled you by the wrist, and see if you can feel that tug all the way into the inside of your left shoulder blade. And then reach your left arm out.

And see if you can feel that tug all the way from the inner border of your right shoulder blade. And then even everything out. Big breath into that imaginary ball, and then keeping all the width, bend at the elbows. Interlace your fingers all the way to the base of your skull and hold the weight of the back of your head in your hands. So now, that power of your arms is actually holding your head.

It doesn't really have to, 'cause you're lying down. But in a minute, it will. So take a breath and let your elbows lift a little off the mat. And on your exhale, pick your head, neck, and shoulders, and upper back off the mat. Get that it's your arms helping, right?

Take a breath here, breathe up into that ball, and then lay yourself back down, rolling through those upper vertebrae. Inhale, the elbows lift slightly off the ground. Exhale, pick yourself up. And feel the difference between pulling on your head and neck, and literally feeling the strength of your shoulder girdle. Breathe into that space to get any amount a little bit higher, gorgeous, and exhale.

Roll back down. We're just gonna do one more. Inhale, keep the power of the foot to the hip, bring the elbows up, lift up, stay up, and now come onto the balls of your feet or your tippy toes, and walk your legs much closer to your body. Bring 'em in really close so that they're not as far away. And let that curl your tail for you, just a tad.

So now the weight of your legs is held more in the front of your body, right? Now, exhale, bring your knees to your chest. Okay, good. And now, no more feet on the floor, right? You still have to feel like the back of the leg could lift the weight of your legs up into you.

That is so beautiful. And now, couple of times, touch the tippy toes down with a breath, and then exhale. Curl the tail to bring the legs in. Keep the suspension of the upper body. Last time, inhale, touch down.

Exhale, come back in. Very good. And now, rest your head down. And I'm gonna place you rollers so that you can put your ankles on them. Go ahead and extend your legs out.

Pull it in so that basically, you don't want to hyper extend your knee, if that's your tendency. So just be mindful. And then go ahead and bring your arms back down by your sides. So you can feel now not the sole of your foot but the back of the ankle, right? So if you were to press down on the roller, exactly.

And start to pull it, roll it, toward you, you feel that same lift of the pelvis. So if you want, yes, exactly, Jackie. Go up into a kind of a straight-legged bridge. So press down on the roller, roll it toward you. Now you're doing that thing that's kinda jargony, but we talk about the legs being drawn up into the body as opposed to hanging off the body.

And you feel that, right? Now, if you were to put your rear end down, you could put it down, but it didn't have to go heavy down. So we don't often start hundred this way, but let's give it a shot today. With your arms by your sides, take a breath. Lift your head, neck, and shoulders as if your arms were still holding your head.

Exhale, and pull the roller to you until you feel like you could lift your-- Could you, lift your feet off it? Yes, and then start the pumping! And if you wanna put your legs down at any time, do so. Keep going, 'cause I wanna show what the two over here, that I'm gonna take their rollers. What you can do, if you start to get tired, is bend one of your knees and place the ball of your foot on the mat. Push back through that foot.

You feel how it drives you back again? And it revitalizes your upper body. Now I'll let you guys try it. Switch legs, the other two. Put one ball of the foot down.

Push back through the ball of the foot. Do you feel how it drives you into your upper curl again, and you can keep pumping and it's not so hard? And bend your knees and rest now, relax. And not only that, but it gives you the opportunity, we're gonna go up one more time, to have your legs lower in the hundred than you usually do, right? Which is good, because it starts to open the hip and strengthen up the backside of the leg.

So let's do one more version of getting into the hundred. Go back to having your knees bent into your chest. Curl the tail. Hold your head again. Come up into your curl, take a nice deep breath.

Exhale, feel everything we've done already. The ball on your chest that you're lifting up into, the curl of the tail, the back of the leg lifting, and now hold the back of your legs with your hands. Use the pressure of your hamstring on your palm to help tilt you forward. And start to straighten your legs but as you straighten your legs, maybe slide your hand up toward your butt a little bit so that your arms are now pulling your legs back into the socket, do you feel that? This is where we talk about being our own good backpack.

Because you tighten your straps down and you tighten your waist belt, and everything gets pulled right back up into you. Good. Bend your knees, relax. So now we're gonna extend out for our roll-up. Legs outstretched, feet flexed.

Take your arms up overhead, and here we go. If you had the roll down bar with the spring, from behind you, and then it switched to being in front of you. Here we go. Start to pull on that imaginary spring, lift your head, inhale. Pull down on the spring, and now let the spring pull you forward, exhaling.

Now, pull gently down on these imaginary springs as you begin to roll back. Dig your heels into the mat. Feel the back of your leg drawing up into your pelvis to control you, and then exhale, go back down. So you have choice. We could do that again.

Inhale, bring the arms up, pretend you have a roll down bar with springs. Pull down on it, but then suddenly it shifts and it's releasing you forward. Then, you have to pull down on it again to roll back. Draw those heels up as if you still had the roller, and exhale back down. So then, let's do one more.

Bring your arms up, bring your head up, now grab the sides and back of your legs like you did when your knees were bent. Put on your backpack, exhale, come on up, and then roll back down. If you wanna pull on your legs with this one too, you can always bend your knees a little bit, but dig those heels into the ground. Dig the heels into the ground so that you find the backside of the leg, keeping your thighs from overtaking your belly. So let's take these again.

Have it just by your side. Now we're gonna move a little bit more swiftly through the class. Just have it by your side. Bend your right knee up into your shoulder. Have the left leg extended out, and flex your foot.

Bring the left leg slightly out to the side. When you do that, do you feel your outer hip helping hold you down? So again, we're just trying to trick out that quad. Use the strength of your arms to gently tug the knee into the shoulder. The closer you get, the easier it is to have the back of your shoulders rest on the mat so you don't have to reach for them as much.

Okay, now, start to extend your right leg up toward the ceiling. Hold the back of your leg with your hands and at the same time that you're gently tugging the leg in, you're also pushing it out, right? So you feel that pressure of the hand on the back of the leg. And if you wanted to exaggerate it, you kind massage up a little bit. What we're trying to get is that when you let go of this leg, the quad's not gonna take over and just grab you, but that you can actually feel a lift.

Almost like a lift of that leg. So, take your roller and put it under your left ankle. Ready? Okay, so there's your right leg. You can let go of your hands now, but keep your arms down by your sides, remembering the feeling of the back of the palm up into the back of the shoulder.

Okay, so here we go. We're gonna reach the leg up. You cross over, and as the weight of the leg starts to pull, push down through your left ankle, yes? And at the same time that you push down through the left ankle, you could pull, there you go, Jackie! You could pull the roller back toward you. Do you feel how free that makes it?

Yes, beautiful. One more time, breathe in. Push down on the roller, and then let's stay at the top. Reverse it, so inhale. Take the leg out now.

As it crosses, push down on the roller, and think of rolling it back up into you to free that crossing moment, so that you get that the spine rotates the leg, passing across your body, actually turns and twists you, and squeezes your exhale out. You feel that? It's kinda nice, right? Instead of the quad being so bossy in those moments. Okay, great, let's switch sides.

So go ahead and have your right ankle on the roller, somewhere between the foot and the knee. Hold your left leg, gently tug it in. There's so many other things we could be doing at this moment, but this is, you know, so even here, do you remember the feeling of having your hands behind your head? As you pull your leg in towards you, go ahead and extend it up toward the ceiling now. So you got hands, now, that are behind your thigh.

So touch it. Hold your thigh, and can you feel the connectivity of the back of the shoulder into the palm, which is holding the leg, which is drawing you back up the back of your body, back up into the shoulder? So there's this continuity. You feel it? You might as well be here, but now you're here.

Now you put your hands by your sides. Same thing, all right? Reach the foot up toward the ceiling, start to cross it over, and then when your leg starts to feel heavy and like it might pull you, press down with your other leg, and pull the roller's roundness up into your hip. Exhale. That's it, good job.

In with the breath. Just a little sooner for you, as soon as it gets down. Yes, much better, one more time. As soon as it gets down, pull. Very great.

Reverse it, take it out, and cross it over. Take it out, and push down. You feel me? It almost picks your right buttock right off the ground, doesn't it? What does that do?

It frees the movement of the circling leg because of the base of support being there, so that your circling leg gets to be big and free, but it doesn't pull on everybody else. Because the ground is coming up as opposed to you falling on the ground. And it's really hard to feel in mat work, right? Okay, so let's get rid of these, and then we'll bend our knee and just come on up for rolling like a ball. So come to the front edge of your mat.

Bring your hips as close to your heels as you can, and draw your heels into you. So now you have hands and arms and shoulder girdles and everything, you still have all that stuff. So you grab around, and you're gathering those legs up into you. You wanna have a little room between your knees, and then you're gonna lift your backpack butt, and roll back. Exhale, come up, that's it.

So I'm not gonna say it too much. You know what you're searching for, right? And if you need to touch your toes down in between, this is just like you started, except that you're rolling. But your feet remember, they remembered pushing into the floor to lift the back of the hips up to help you. Couple more times.

Breathe in. These look great. Exhale, come up. How much can you suspend your pelvis when you roll back? Have a little game of it.

There you go. Last time. Lift, roll, and now come back. Place the feet down. Now, this is very obvious, right?

Because the feet are down again. So we all know this transition. We put our feet down, we put our hands, and we go into it. But then what do we do? We lie down, and we get all quaddy again.

So I want you to take the moment to stay and lift your butt up. So Anna, come back into bent knees, okay? Put your feet flat, that's it. Lift and hold this position. Inside you somewhere, you know that this ends up being leg pull, which is much harder.

So I want you to get your pelvis up, pull back, but keep the feet driving it. Keep the feet driving your hips back. And as you lie down, curl in, bring your right knee to your chest. Feel how bending that knee in gets the belly to lift the left leg. Start switching, but keep the idea that the back of your leg has to keep picking up so that you can get the knee closer and closer into your shoulder.

Get a deeper and deeper flexion at the hip, and that the strength of your arms aren't just holding. They're actually pulling, and when they pull, they're strengthening that whole back line of your shoulder. So now we'll go ahead and go into the doubles. Exhale, bring everything in. Breathe in, take the arms back, circle from the back of the shoulder, and come around.

Bring the arms back into the same musculature that was holding your head up when your hands were behind your head. Little faster. Inhale, pull, exhale, circle. Like taffy, so beautiful. Last time, come in.

And now stay very curly small. Take your legs up for the scissors. Don't throw 'em away from you. Keep 'em right where they are, like someone's picking up the back of the leg. Reach for your ankle, and give it a tug.

Switch and a tug. And here, we got long legs that are gonna pull off the front of our hip, but can you time it? The one that comes toward you tilts you back. Do you feel that? Bring the one over the head so that the other one doesn't fall.

Good job. Okay, let's stop with the right leg up. Pick the leg up, pick the hip up, pull it over your head so that your left leg can't fall off its thigh. It has to extend from the...yes. Okay, do that on the other side.

Hold that leg up, just don't pull it down on you. If you have the range, you go all the way up to your ankle. Pick it up, there you go. And then bend both knees. Okay, rest.

That was awesome. It's all in here, though, right? Okay, good. Roll up to sitting. Because now, when you do spine stretch, you'll be happy.

Take your arms up, legs apart. So now, there it is. Those muscles are gonna draw you over, and you're not gonna fall on your thighs. Exhale as you go, inhale as you roll back up. I'm not gonna go sticking the foam rollers under your ankles, but you know we could.

So as you go over, can you imagine the back line of your leg because you're flexing, toning, and pulling or toning or pulling itself back under your pelvis to free the movement in the hip a little bit more, so that as you go forward, you can keep going forward. You feel that? Doesn't it feel good in your lower back? And now you're right on the back of your leg. The upper hamstring, which is essentially your beginning little shoulder bridge.

That was beautiful. One more. Go over, stay over. Do you want me to do it to you, too? Well, I feel like I'm feeling a little bit up it, but-- Yes.

So your pelvis literally rotates, and then you could choose to curl way back into yourself like an accordion. Yes, beautiful. It just feels good, right? And it's not dry and shapey. It's moist and squeezy.

All right, let's go ahead and take those ankles. And here's another one. You're gonna come up, for open leg rocker. As you extend your legs, it's as if you had your own harness. So you extend your legs.

You don't wanna push the knees away and fall. So you feel that harness, you feel the strength lifting your chest so that you're free to breathe and open the hips and roll. Inhale. Go back and exhale, come right back up. So if you still had the hands behind the head or some such memory of the arms coming from the power of that upper back, that would be like somebody's pushing you from behind.

And you could then bring your chest up and forward, which would be nice, because then it would pull you up out of your lower back. There you go, that is gorgeous. One more time. Roll back, find your balance, bring your legs together. And then go ahead and put your hands down and lie onto your back.

Little bit of a corkscrew, right? So we're gonna circle around. If you can't out of your quads, you can always put your hands under your sacrum. Be at 90, start to circle, inhale, not too big. Around, exhale, come back.

We'll just kinda warm it up. As you look at your own legs, make sure that the toes and the ankles and everything is all together. So you're not shifting. Circle. Try pointing your feet as if you were pulling something back with you.

There you go, good. Now let's do it a little bigger so when you get to the top, you're actually going to lift the back of your leg to lift your hips, and come back down. So, doesn't have to be big, but you're gonna try to go straight up. If you need to bend your knees a little bit. Now, what's the thing with the feet?

It's air. Do you feel that? Your feet are pushing air, which lifts the back of your leg just like it did when your knees were bent originally at the beginning of the class. Okay, beautiful. Bend your knees and roll on up.

And we'll do our saw. If you get into the big corkscrew, then you're really like a ship at sea. So take the arms out, and here we go. Go a little teeny bit wider with those legs. And then make sure the toes and the knees don't roll out at all.

You're sitting right up on top of everything. So breathing in, I want you to rotate to your right as far as you possibly can before that left hip pulls forward at all. Keep pulling back through that right shoulder blade until it's naturally gonna turn that hand over. Exhaling into the curl. And then roll back up.

Remember at the beginning? Go ahead to the other side. Remember how we reached one arm from the opposite shoulder blade? And then roll back up. So you're gonna twist to the right.

The right arm keeps pulling all the way into the left shoulder blade. And then you come back up, and the left arm opens the chest and pulls all the way into the right shoulder blade. Last time, come on over to the right. Take the palm of your left hand somewhere on the outside of your right leg. Feel the pressure of the leg into the hand and the hand into the leg.

What I'm hoping that gives you is a tone up the whole outside line. If you need to move the hand in closer to feel that, like higher up if you're more flexible, does that not give you a lift up off the right butt and the right hip and give you more access to your waist, not collapsing, and give you more access to twisting your ribs more? Yes. And then come back up, and we'll do the other side. Breathe in.

Keep going, now. Put the right hand on the left leg. And you don't wanna push on your foot or anything. It's sorta like side splits in that same way that you wanna keep this whole outer line. So when you press your hand into your leg and your leg into your hand, you feel more tone up the outer line of your left hip and leg.

I can feel the other hip. You still feel the other hip? I feel both opposite hips just as much. That's really good. For me, it's just another place where we tend to struggle with getting up.

We're tight, and so we get pulled down, and then we strain to pick ourselves up. Instead of that being the power, and then what's also very nice is that now we flip onto the belly and do the prone work. Having that balance of the inner and outer hip is very supportive for the low back. And we're less likely to just grip glutes and low back. Okay, so spin around onto your belly.

I kinda can't resist this, actually, because we have the rollers right here, and this just feels so great. Put them out in front of you. You can do the palm down or the little finger. Have you ever done this? Either way, yeah.

It just feels so good. So it's that same idea with your legs. You're actually gonna roll the roller toward you to find the connectivity of your arm into your shoulder girdle to lift your chest. So breathe in. A gentle pressure down on the roller, just to get it moving.

Pull it towards you. Adjust your arms as you need to, if you have to start with more of your arm on there. There you go. That's nice, right? You're coming up so beautifully.

And then roll the roller away, starting all the way at your pubic bone. Inhale. Just enough press down of your arm onto the roller to get it. And then begin to come up. Notice as you pull it towards you that your pubic bone is stretching away from your belly button, and your belly button is stretching up to your sternum.

Wow, that is really nice. Does that feel good? Should we do it one more time? Okay. Inhale.

Start to come up. Press just enough down so that you connect. Roll it toward you. It's almost like you're rolling it under you, or that you're gonna get over...there you go. As you come back down, lengthen your pubic bone away from your belly button, and bend your knees as you do that.

Do you feel how free your knees are when you lengthen your pubic bone away from your belly button? That's really good. Come up with your pubic bone down. Lift your head, roll on the roller. And then as you come back down, lengthen your pubic bone away from your belly button to bend your knees.

Literally, bend your knees. And pick your feet up. Do you feel the ease of that? Yeah, okay, cool. Now, let's go ahead and come up onto the forearms, and we'll do our kicks.

So you can have your fists, you can be in two parallel lines, or you can press. So here's a backpack moment. As you press down through your fists, wrists, and forearms, and not have a lot of weight in your elbow, imagine that you're pulling on your straps and lifting your back up and forward. Isn't that nice? See how it pulls your legs with you?

And as you start to kick, kick, kick, kick, the weight is all being driven up your back so that the action of kicking doesn't pull you down on yourself. It literally picks you up. See if you can do the switch at the middle. So switch. So the feet are very vibrant and very awake.

And switch, and switch. We'll do a prep and then the whole double leg kicks. So put your right cheek on the mat, but have your arms down by your sides at first. Let your shoulders roll onto the mat, kind of in a collapse-y way. And then as you breathe in now, shrug your shoulders up.

Roll the whole arm off the floor, bringing the blades into the back. Let that lift up the chest, the front of your shoulders. And then turn the head, and release back the other way, keeping the chest up until the head turns. Inhale, roll the shoulders. Feel the whole long line.

The palms are facing up to the ceiling. Let the chest lift to free the movement of the head and neck, and exhale, back down. Inhale. Shrug, lift, straight arms from all the way up into the back of the shoulder. Get the chest up.

And exhale, back down. Last time. Inhale, roll the shoulders, try to press the feet down. This time, as you put your head back down, bend your elbows and take your hands way up high on your ribs. Keep moving those hands up higher and higher.

Tilt the pubic bone forward a little bit, and kick. Exhale. One, two, three. Now, feel the back of the shoulders. Come on up and turn to the other side.

As you bend your elbows, pull and kick, kick, kick. I care less that you straighten your arms and more that you find this power. And kick, kick, kick. In with the breath. Keep lifting the front of the shoulders, the front of the chest to free the neck, to turn the head and pull the hands up as you kick, kick, kick.

Last time. Don't pull down on yourself. Remember, you have to go this way. So these are coming up this way, you feel that? Okay, good.

Sit back over your heels for just a second. You can stay kneeling, or you could stand up if you don't like to kneel. Come on up to your knees. Come on up to your shins and your knees. Take your hands and interlace them, and just remember which thumb you have on top, because we'll switch it.

Go ahead and take 'em behind, and let your elbows be a little bit bent. So what I want you to practice is, if you don't like being on your knees, just stand up, okay? So you wanna roll those shoulders back and feel the width across the front of the chest, the side of the chest. And maybe we'll straighten the arms, maybe we won't straighten the arms. But as you do go toward that direction, don't pull down from the elbow to the wrist.

Tone those arms back up into the strength of your upper back. Going way back to our beginning of our class, right? And then if your arms are straight, and you're clear that you're not pulling your back down to do so, then, if you have the inclination to lift your hands up higher, but not let your chest come down. See, that's what we're really looking for. It's really hard when you're laying on your belly, right?

Okay, relax. It always feels good when you're done. Switch thumbs. Not just the thumb, you know. Switch the cross.

Take some breaths. So you feel, we all do the same things, right? We just kinda push down, roll the shoulders. Like, I can totally squeeze my shoulder blades and still have my shoulders forward. So I really wanna feel that as I start this process, I have to widen.

I have to widen circumfrentially. So my arms are actually the agents of picking my chest up as opposed to the agents who wanna pull my back down. And I've got my straps on really well. So then here I am doing my kicks. If I wanna take my hands up higher, to get the rest of my body to come up higher, everything has to expand.

I know that's difficult, and probably a lot because of our lifestyle, but notice how easy it is to turn your head right now. Just for kicks, right? So let's go back down one more time. On the belly, real quick. Clasp your hands as high up on your ribs as you can.

Exhale, now kick three times. One, two, three. Now, think about what you just did. There you go. It's as if someone came and just lifted you, and lifted you, and lifted you...doesn't that feel wonderful?

Okay, beautiful. Finish that up. And let's transition back into shoulder bridge. So here, Amy, let's not turn your hands inside out. Start to go, kick, kick, kick.

Now, right here, keep moving something here. Keep pulling all this up into here. Don't care about straightening. You don't need to. And then it's this feeling.

You see, then your arm will be freer eventually. Okay, so let's go back to-- (thud) (laughter) Let's go back to how we were at the beginning. Lying on your back, with your feet hip width apart and your feet flat down. We're in the home stretch. So start to tilt your tail, and roll your pelvis up, and then when you get to that place where you're not rolling anymore but you just kinda feel like you're shoving your mid back, take your arms overhead and let the naturalness of that movement-- even if you don't think you need it, do it, 'cause it feels so good.

Naturally open the chest, open the shoulders, and you probably feel the back of your upper back more on the mat than you usually do, right? Now, your feet are stronger to press the center of your pelvis up. Lengthen your spine down, keeping your arms where they are, segment by segment by segment, reaching your sacrum closer and closer and closer to your feet, and then once your sacrum is down, go ahead and bring your arms back down. So let's bring the feet very parallel. And the knees, not turned out.

Wanna do that again? Tilt the tail, arms down to start. Curl, roll up, breathe in, and then you feel that moment when it just changes? It's no longer rolling. It's kind of pushy.

Let your arms come up. Reach them behind you and let the chest open. Let the upper back start to strengthen. Let everything get drawn which direction? Up, exactly.

So you feel you can get more power out of your feet. You could walk your feet in closer if you wanted to, as long as it doesn't bother your knees. Do you feel that there's real strength there? And then lengthen the spine back down. When the sacrum touches this time, bring your hands forward and roll yourself up to sitting.

Slide your legs out in front, and we'll do a spine twist. Have the feet flexed and the arms out to the side. Legs together. Take a nice, deep breath. Feel it?

And exhale to the right. One, two. Inhale, come center. And left. One, two.

That's it. Feel like your arms are like rutters of sort, and so your hands can't keep going if the blade, ribs, spine is not actually going. Twist, twist. And come center. Twist, twist.

And come center. Twist, twist. Last time. So not the arm, right? Good, and one more.

Twist, twist. Okay, very good. Let's do a jack knife. So your hands are down by your sides. Point your toes, shift the weight back, and pretend the roller...like, pull your heels back with you.

Start to roll down, and then jack knife over. That's it. Press the soles of the feet up into an imaginary floor. Press the palms down to open the chest, and then stay standing on the ceiling as you lay your spine back down. Exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale.

Lower the legs any amount. Inhale, over and up. Stand on the ceiling, open the hips. But open the chest to make room, yes. Palms down, beautiful.

And then come on back down. Lay yourself back down. One more time. Over and up. Can you actually feel that there's something that you're holding onto with the sole of your feet?

It's air. And then hold that up, keep the chest high, breathe out, arms strong, and then bend your knees, and we'll go into our side kicks. So go ahead and roll onto your right side. Have your back lined up with the back edge of the mat. The right hand that's holding the back of your head is half of what we've been doing, okay?

So the connection of the palm, all the way up the arm, into the side of the chest, and then with the left hand in front of your body, you can push on that, right? To feel the ribs lift. You can press down through your underneath hip to free the top leg, and you can feel the legs being sucked back into you. So as you pick your leg up, it's free. Here we go.

Kick to the front, kick to the back. Inhaling, beautiful. Exhaling. And as you kick to the front, don't pull away from it. Stand on through your left hand more.

That's it, great job. Heel to sit bone. If you had another pair of arms, you could feel the hand pressing into the back of your leg. Inhale, and out. Look straight ahead.

Last time. And very good. Close the leg, turn out from the back of the hip around to the inner thigh. Kick it up to the side. And pull back down.

In with the breath, kick it up, and keep it on a slight angle forward so that it doesn't roll you back at all. In this moment, we're gonna do a couple more. Can you feel what your sacrum is doing? Does the kick of your leg pull your pelvis down off your lower back? Or can you bring everything up with you?

Yes, so that it's freer. Last time. Feel the difference? That's beautiful. Just roll through your belly, and we'll go to the other side.

If you really had a wall there, behind you, then you could feel that sense of lifting up the wall. Top leg up, now, here we go. Kick it around, and to the back. And as you come around, come with it. It forces you into your belly and onto the side of your other leg.

Now, point your foot, catch it, and let your back extend. Kick to the front, with the front of you. Kick to the back, with the back of you. To the front, with the front of you. To the back, with the back of you.

Couple more, keep going. Let your quad get drawn all the way up into your abs. Don't let it be the boss. Last time. Pull it around, and stay to the back just for a sec, and then close the leg.

Turn out from back to front, let it go up. And come back down, that's it. And as you breathe in and you kick your leg, let the breath fill and open your chest to what? It's our theme song. To make room for the hips so the leg is freer.

Press down into the side of your other leg, if that helps you, or remember the foam roller. Maybe you're drawing that foam roller up with the back of your leg. Okay, very beautiful. Last time. And then lie on your belly.

Oh, I'm sorry, I meant on your back. So we're gonna do a little teaser, but it's gonna be a fun teaser. Start with your knees bent and your feet a little farther away from you than you would ordinarily have your legs bent, and draw them together. So we're gonna play with the shift of weight here a little. Upper body, lower body, kinda like we did at the beginning with our roll-up.

Take the arms overhead, you've got your pretend roll down bar with the springs. So you start to come up, you breathe in, and then exhale. Wait til the weight gets over the pelvis. Lift your legs, bend your knees, push through your feet, on the mat, to find the back of your leg to help you roll down. Okay, good.

Inhale. Come up. Exhale, wait for it. And then extend the legs from way up in your curl. Bend your knees, put your feet down, find the back of the leg, helping to tilt the pelvis to roll you back down.

Gorgeous, one more time. Inhale. Exhale. You feel it naturally lift you if the timing is right. There you go.

Bend the knees, put the feet down, and roll back. Turn onto your belly. Two more things. Bend your knees, take hold of your ankles, have your forehead just on the mat. Start with your feet flexed, 'cause there's a little bit more muscle there.

And then keeping your thighs down, start to press your feet back into your hand to lift the head, neck, shoulders, and chest. So let your legs pull you backwards til your chest comes up. From here, point the toes. Lift the thighs higher and higher. I don't care if you rock.

But I want you to keep pressing your legs back to open the chest and then lifting your thighs up and up. That is gorgeous. And then suspend, come around for a little quick swim, and paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle. Take one more big breath, release down, sit back toward your heels and then turn around to face your person away from you, and we'll do the seal. So your hands are in between your legs, holding your ankles.

And then press the soles of your feet together if you can. And feel, now they're pressing on each other to strengthen the hips. And you're gonna clap three times, only to the front. Feel the whole leg. And then lead back with your big toe.

And lead forward with your heel. Exhale, and a clap, clap, clap. Inhale, roll. Exhale, roll. Keep exhaling through the clap.

Inhale, suspend. Exhale, roll. And a clap...that's so great. So you really feel your whole leg moving in the hip. There you go.

And clap, clap, clap. And you can lift your gaze just a tiny bit so you don't crank on your neck. Two more. Roll, and roll, and a clap, clap. Last time, inhale.

Roll, and roll, and a clap, clap, clap. Cross over your ankles and come to standing. Okay, should we call it a day? Okay, that was fabulous. Pull your straps.

Get your straps on. (clapping)

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Comments

LOVE your teaching style. Thank you. I love the constant connection into the back of the legs and hips.
1 person likes this.
Love you Deborah....going to get my backpack on!
1 person likes this.
Thank you very much, Debora, the your own backpack image is so smart. Loved it.
1 person likes this.
another super great class to enjoy, and who could ever forget that backpack? :) I love you teaching, it is a gift to us all!
1 person likes this.
That was a very informative class, Debora. Thank you!!
I had fun with this one, too! So pleased you all enjoyed it
1 person likes this.
loved, loved, loved the fabulous cuing - made it very easy to get the back of the legs of working. More please!!
Too much talking, can't finish.
Such a nice class
1 person likes this.
Love the imagery cueing thank you!
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