Class #31

Mat Basics

25 min - Class


It's almost like a private lesson! Take your first Pilates class with another new student. Kristi takes the insecurity out of starting your Pilates practice by inviting you to participate while she guides another beginner through class using the fundamental exercises. There is a lot to learn here even if it isn't your first class.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Dec 27, 2009
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Welcome to the fundamentals class. This is a class designed to teach you some of the basic movements that you're going to find throughout all the exercises in your Polonius classes. So we've got Perry here today WHO's agreed to take his first class with you. Or perhaps you are coming back to review the fundamentals. In any case, we're going to start with the basics. So Perry, if you'll lie down on your back and just relaxed, just rest. Um, a word about some of the cues that your instructors are going to give you. And then I'm going to give Perry today, is that we often talk about the breath and we tell you when to breathe, when to inhale and when to exhale. And ultimately that's going to matter.

Right now it's more important that you just remember to breathe. So if I forget to say when to inhale or exhale, please don't hold your breath if I am, if it becomes the only thing that you're thinking about is much more important that you just relax with it and breathe as naturally as possible. Part of the reason I'll be saying it is to help you help teach you the movements. We find that the more repetition there is including breath patterns, the easier it is to learn the movements. So that's what that's about for now. If you'll start with knees bent, we're going to begin with the first fundamental exercise, which is the pelvic curl. Pelvic curl is going to come from a place of neutral position, which is where you are now. It's your hipbones are level a.

You are not forcing your low back into the mat and you're not overly arching at, you're basically relaxed. Um, maybe there's a little space between your low back periapsis feet slightly apart, about four or five inches comfortable distance away. If you feel like I've put your feet a little too close to you, you can move them out or you can move them in once we get going in the movement. So never feel like you have to stay where I put you cause I'm giving it my best. Yes, reach your shoulders down your back. So you're going to feel your arm, slide down the mat and hopefully that'll give you a little sense of activity in your upper back. All right, here's what I wanna do. Just Perry, just roll your low back into the mat. It's going to feel like your butt might start to lift off the ground and you've pressed yellow back. Perfect.

And then just release it and I want you to breathe in wherever you want here, just getting a sense of a rocking motion. The entire hips are going to move. There we go and release back to where we started. So from where he Perry is, he's got a little space in his low back naturally, and that's good. As he rolls his hips, these hipbones dive toward the floor and now he has no space between his low back. You might hear me call that a tuck or a pelvic curl. Pelvic Tuck. That's where we are now, and release it down. I'm just going to give you a breath. With that take. Inhale, no movement.

Start exhaling, just kind of naturally and follow that exhale with that pelvic tap. Very nice. Inhale, release, controlled back to center, and good job. And exhale again to roll into it. There we go. So that's the basics of the pelvic curl or pelvic tuck. We're going to take it into the full exercise. Just exhale, relax for one breath. Good. Inhale, prepare.

We're going to take it a little higher this time. Start exhaling and roll the hips up the same, but you're going to keep rolling up all the way. The tips of the shoulder blades, that's plenty. That's more than enough. And notice the long line here. That's what you're looking for. He's not arching, you're not arching. Inhale, hold it there and sequentially. Slowly you're going to start coming back down from your upper back.

So lowering your chest. There you go. Calming all the way down. You got it. You got it. Bone by bone. Inhale for no movement at the bottom. If you need extra breath, please take them. Exhale, roll up. So you're gonna feel your low back. Go into the mat, you're gonna come up and that's high enough. Take a full breath and enjoy it here. And now come down. Slow, period.

Push onto my hand. I'm just having you pressed your spine. That's it. You see how much more curved you went down and inhale at the bottom. Start, exhaling and roll up. There we go. Look at already even getting more precise, which is one of our key principles. Take your inhale up here and exhale. You press the upper back, then the middle back. Then the lower back. Good work. Let's do two more.

Inhale and exhale. There's never a rush, right? It's all about just sort of exploring the body. Certainly let me know if anything's working that you don't feel like should be excellent. I'm going to hold your hips up so that you think about pressing your upper back down. There you go. There you go. There you go. And down. Now from here I said one more, so here it is. Inhale, last pelvic curl.

Exhale to PLF. Good common thing. If you can just breathe here. I just want to point something out. The real natural tendency is to let the knees splay to the side. Usually because the butt works a lot. That's okay. Let's just think of keeping them straight ahead. So I'll watch for that.

Take another inhale. And when you're ready, slowly rolling down. Let your waist hit before your tailbone. Good work. So far so good. Okay, so now we're just going to take your arms out to a low v position. Sometimes your instructor, I'll have you do it in a t, but for now that's fine. Just rest your arms. It's going to help balance you. For this next one, which is the spine twist supine. Bring your knees and feet together. This some going to build on this one.

We're going to start simple and then take it up. So now you've got your feet and knees together. It's as if you had one leg. So there's, they're gonna stay together as if, as if you have just one leg. It's to warm up your waistline and start to get the abs more prepared. So as you inhale, we're going to rotate your knees toward me, keeping the feet lined up so they're stacked. There you go. It's not real big.

Then exhale and take the legs back to center. Just like that. We're going the other way now. Keeping the feet lined up. We'll go to the, to your right and now that's it, and exhale to bring it back. Your knees are just sort of swaying as if they're swaying in the wind toward the front. Inhale to rotate. Stay here for a moment. It heavy on the ribs, so it's just like you leave that and you're doing great. I'm just trying to point out what you're doing. Well, exhale, bring it back to center. Good. Inhaling over. It's like the upper body anchors as the lower body stretches and exhale to bring it back. Good. And why? Where I'm putting my hands as ended up being where your, you end up working, there's your oblique start, exhaling and draw.

Nice for that resistance I gave you before long, you'll create your own resistance and you're, you're doing a great job of keeping the knees lined up. I'm going to keep going. Just warming up. Good notice he's not arching his back overlay. Just sort of a natural knee drop. It turns out that often it's not about how far you can go or how fast you can go. It's much more about precision and control and PyLadies in this case, basically trying to separate the upper body and lower body to have that rotation and bring it on home. Good. Let's make it up. Um, take it up just a little bit of a notch. Peri. Just bring one leg up.

Keep the knee bent, and we call this tabletop. You're going to hear that a lot in class, tabletop or 90 degrees. Think of tightening the abdominals a little. I'm actually gonna bring your knee a little closer to you so that when you pick your other leg up, your back doesn't lift up. Go ahead and bring your other leg up to match it and we're really doing the same exercise. I've just advanced it on you already close up the knees.

This is the one you're going to find in your fundamentals. Our exercise menu. Same thing, Perry. So here we go. Inhale. As you rotate, you're going to lift that opposite hip, not real far. A little lighter on my hands and exhale center. That's it. Inhale the opposite way. Still getting that rotation. Only now you have to carry the weight of your legs.

So if you've done this version and it doesn't work for you, know that you can always go back to the feet on the ground and exhale and I'm going to let go of your legs. You've got them in here, that's far enough and exhale good. You'll know when you're starting to go too far when that opposite shoulder comes up. So really let it stay heavy and down and it might mean that your, your position is quite small. Continued and exhale home and last two for you're coming towards me. Inhale and exhale and you're doing right with the breath and in that it's, it doesn't seem to be too straining for you and it's happening pretty consistently. Okay. Feet or get back down. Okay. Next exercise. Take your hands, lace the fingers fully together and support your head. Okay.

All right. Common Cue that you hear, um, out in the fitness world are used to be maybe is to keep the elbows really wide. And that might be a cue that I give you, but for the most part I'm thinking you want to see your elbows and your peripheral vision, so pick your elbows just off the floor. That'll allow you to keep the shoulders down, which you've done nicely. This is the chest lift. Hips are going to stay just as they are, knees and feet as well. Take an inhale on your exhale. Start picking up your head, your neck and your shoulders and curl the upper body up. Keep coming.

That's about it right there. Hold for a full inhale. This is where it gets hard and then start exhaling to lengthen yourself out. Nice work. All of them are going to be just like that at the bottom. You take a free breath. Keep those elbows up though and exhale here. Become shh. Blow out. If you haven't, there it is.

Hold it there for a full inhale and then exhale to lengthen yourself down. Very difficult to breathe while you're up like that, so do the best can, but certainly come away. If you need to. Exhale, curls you up. Good holding it there. I'm just going to come behind you to point out that little curve right there. That's plenty. Inhale, hold.

Try to expand the ribs to this idea and Xcel controlling your way back down. Looking good. Usually shooting around 10 but you'll be the judge of that exhale. No more than 10 when you come up. Good. Good, good, good, good. And I like what you're doing. Maybe look up just a little too.

Your Chin's not quite on your chest. That's it. Now if you have the ability, the Sud, inhale, hold, exhale down. Don't you love it when I talk that much. Inhale. Oh, could feel to see that expansion. I love it. Exhale. Let the ribs close to come up. And what you're doing really well is keeping this nice and firmly into the ground when you come up. Inhale and exhale down. Good. Let's get about four more. Period. Inhale, prepare. Let the exhale started.

Proceeds the movement. You're following it. Good job ever. So slightly. Good, good, good. In a tiny bit more curl up. Yup. Inhale, exhale down. Yes. Three to go in there looking. Good looking. Good seed. I'll plant. You've got the breath pattern, so you're okay. How about eyes right there in here. There we go. And exhale down. Two more a seed.

I want a plant as the idea that we start to become aware of where the whole body is. You're doing great with keeping the leaves where they started in hell hole. That's a good position. Yup. And exhale down. Last one like this. Inhale. Exhaling, blow out. It's helpful. It's very helpful. Now here's the time. I'm going to give you that cue where you've gone a little bit too wrapped up.

Take one more. Inhale Perry. Just inhale and I'm going to fold you just a little. Shh. Blow out. Blow out. Yes. Fabulous. And arrest it. Job. Do you feel it? Okay, good. There's more where that came from. Take a stretch, stretch your legs out on the Mat, stretch your arms off the other end and just go ahead and arch your back. Whatever would feel good. Fabulous. Okay. Enough Fun for you.

Back to work. Knees bent. Same place that you were. This is the chest left foot with a rotation this time, so it's the same thing. Just a slow, just as controlled, but we're going to deviate from one side. So hands behind your head again, your head can be resting. So when I said that the elbows can come up, it's just so that you don't over tense the neck, which a lot of people are already tense there. All right. Same breath patterns. So it goes like this. Inhale, prepare on the exhale.

You just gonna come into that chest lift that you were just at. You're going to stay in the chest, left. You inhale, hold. I'm gonna get behind you. You just keep your firm grip. We're going to your right. Exhale as you rotate, she blow out. Chair. Good. Come back through the center, Ania. We're going the other way. Exhale, blow out.

Inhale as you come to the center and exhale. So it's not a huge move. It's like shoulder to hip. Inhale through the middle and exhale, blow out, blow out, blow out. It's much easier. Inhale, hold g a little bit. Exhale, blow out. Good. Hang on. An exhale. I'm here. There we go. Email to get to mark. Keeping those hips still. Last one. Don't hold me quite so hard with those forearms. Thank you. And rest chest lift with rotation. Good job.

Oh, excuse me. So abs heated up a little bit. Yeah. Good. Next one is called supine rocking. So we're going to get into, there's a lot of rolling exercises in our Palladio's move and I want to just start teaching the basics of that. What you do is bring your legs back up to that tabletop position. Good. Hold on. Behind the size. So you're going to get a real firm grip. That's right. That's right. And then for the moment, put your head down just for a second, uh, on the mat. Um, to get going, I'm going to ask you to press your thighs into your hands a little bit, just to push away the sort of like that. There we go.

So you a little resistance. Now Curl your head, neck and shoulders then. Okay, good. That's enough. That's enough. And what you're going to do is get a little rocking motion so you get to kick your legs. Do you just keep the shape and just rocking back and forth? There's no breath pattern. Just exactly. Wow. Very nice. Very good. I'm going to give you a breath. Inhale back. Okay, good. As it gets a little bigger, notice that it's fine to let those hips come off cause that's what's going to keep it fluid. Yep. Hips up, hips down. That's it. Inhale, exhale.

Inhale. It's feel that exhale. Okay. Let me hear it just so I know you're doing it. There we go. The XL turns out helps kick in the abdominals a little more. It's going to help him to inform or actually set up a one if he excels every time you inhale, exhale to blow out right there on the next one.

You'll come all the way up. Ah Woo. Perfect. Yeah. From here we're going into our seated work, so now separate your feet about the width of this mat, which it turns out is a bit wider than our hips. It good, and then let me see what it looks like to have you sit freely straight. You can hold onto the knees. Good. As tall as you are with a long back that you have. I'm going to have you move your feet a little more forward for comfort.

So these are adjustments we can make for everybody. Now, even taller. Still good. All right, I'm going to get behind you just to, that's a nice position. Take your hands. This is spine stretch. This is a modified spine stretch. Take your hands just alongside your legs. You're just going to kind of hold there. Great. From the start position, looking out on the horizon. Take an inhale on your exhale. You're gonna let your head drop forward, tighten the abdominals and start to slide forward. Rounding your back. Good, good, good. You'll feel yourself almost almost resting on your thighs, but rather than just resting, you're trying to draw the belly button backwards towards the spine or a pull and tightening. The abdominal sort of feels like a punch in the stomach.

So just stay here in this position for a moment. You're not going to see much at home when with Perry's movement here. But what I'm going to ask you to do is take an inhale, just exhale for as long as you can until you start to feel the abdominals are the front of your trunk. Pull away from the thighs or just less than the pressure simply by exhaling. Good. Then inhale, let's see the ribs expand. That's great.

Start exhaling again and it takes a while. So don't be worried if you don't feel it blowing out the air. I can see the back of his body moving, so I know the front of his body is moving and that that's what we're talking about when we're talking about engaging the ABS. Inhale, release or fill up and let the ribs expand and as you exhale, you're going to feel the hunter tire trunk sort of shrink, almost like you're wearing a corset, which this is not a great example of that cue for him or this position, but it is a sense of cinching inhale he up. Can you feel that? Yeah, especially on the exhale. That's the cue. Okay. So going back into the spine stretch now he's a roll down. So we'll take one more inhale. And then on the exhale, pull the abdominals in, but also start to roll back up your spine.

So you're going to restaff to upright good. And the deal with the hands is if you push into the legs a little on the side, um, you get, you get a little resistance. So don't let your legs move, but do push into your legs a little and it gives get your back and upper body, um, engaged. All right, so here's our start position from the top. Inhale, prepare. Exhale, draw the abdominals in. Head falls forward. You slide forward thinking of holding the abdominals back, a little. Nice work. Full breath in. And then you're going to restack like you're sitting up against a wall.

Just roll into my arm. There we go. There we go. Pushing me into the leg. So you get the lats. Very nice. Inhale and exhale forward. Inhale and exhale, roll up, stretching the spine. A watch those shoulders. Pull them back down. No need for that. Good. Inhale.

The first thing to happen when you start excelling, you feel that sense of pulling the abdominals away from the thighs as you rule back up. Good work. And one more. Inhale, straighten your back, lift your chest, lift your chest. There's it is an exhale. Chin to our chest. Okay, good. Again, it's a sequential movement of the spine. We want flexible spines to have healthy spines. He inhale, prepare, and here we go from the low back. Push into my hand as you come up, heads down. Let's go back for just a second.

The reason I stopped you at that time period was just because you started to lift here for the first time too much. Literally push your low back like you're gonna just try and get me away from you. From down here. Exhale when you come up. So pull back. That's it. Oh, okay. Now he gets it as he really knocks me down. Good. Good, good, good. Okay. Next one. Lie On your side. Okay, you're going to face out front line. Your right side. Good. And what we're going to do here, this is the single leg side. Bend your lower knee 90 degrees so it comes out of your head. There we go.

And the top leg is just stretched out long. You get to arrest your neck on your upper arm. So just stretch this top arm all the way down and are exactly, exactly. I'm just going to line you up exactly as I want you. Okay. This forward hand gets to be on the ground and actually stabilize you a little bit. So it's all about stabilization.

And then at this point I just want to ask you, does it feel relatively comfortable on the bottom hip? You look pretty well stacked, but I'm feeling like I want the bottom hip to slide towards me a little. Yep. It's so from my vantage point, looking straight down, his hips are stacked. He doesn't have one behind him. He doesn't have one in front. Okay. And the reason for that is because the muscle focus in this exercise is going to end up being the abdominals. Specifically.

The obliques are emphasizing this top side. All right, here's how it goes. We're going to keep this shoulder down. It is in how prepare Perry start exhaling and then as you do, you're going to reach this leg so far that it lifts off the ground. That's all it is. Inhale, hold, exhale, reach it down further and lightly touch. So that's all that's going on there. Inhale, no movement.

Start excelling and then eventually you start to lift the leg in. Reach along. Now I told you it's an AB exercise. Inhale, exhale down, and yet I'm making him lift his leg. What the focus is is as he's exhaling, as your exhale, you're going to really feel all of this tight and if you let the leg be relaxed, good memory, good memory could, can you feel that that looks awesome. Inhale, hold, exhale and reach that like further than where you picked it up. It's more image than reality. What I'm saying? Hold for an inhale and right where my fingers are you going to feel them? Tighten and cinch. Keep exhaling, Perry longer, longer.

You don't have to do anymore with your leg, but don't you feel that when you really make the air go out? Inhale, exhale down. Just to fill out is used to say that if you exhale out all the or you've got to exhale the air to inhale the air, so we're really wanting you to force the air out, but not with an explosion. Sorry, starting the breath again. Inhale, start. Exhaling. Allow this imaginary band of our belt to tighten. Hold for an inhale and start. Exhaling. I want to feel more engagement of the ABS. That's it. And lower the leg.

Real Nice. Real Nice. You get two more. Inhale, no movement. Start exhaling. Don't worry about what the legs going to do. Just that's it. Now lift. Why? Why I keep saying that it is. I'm feeling his whole trunk. Just sort of shrink just by that breath. Inhale, exhale down and one more. Inhale. Exhale, lengthen and lift. Yeah. Fabulous. What's going on up here? Everything. Relaxed. Good.

Inhale and exhale down. Good. Subtle. In the beginning. This one I think is a little tough to feel because often we put a lot of energy in the leg. Um, in time when you get more comfortable with these contractions, you'll feel it here first and then the legs. So keep practicing that one. That looks quite good to me though. We're going to flip you. So put your head on the other end. Still facing out. Exactly.

Same exercise, stretching yourself out long. The setup is everything. So we never just sort of start an exercise. We kind of go through this checklist of are my hips stacked on my shoulders down? Am I in this case relaxed on my upper arm. Good, good, good memory. How you really nice. Okay. Again, so it looks good. Just a thought since you have your hand here. Um, the lats, the muscles in the back here are important one for us among others. But what I just want to point out a pair a year in a good position, but with the subtlest move, um, he's going to end up engaging the muscles that support the shoulder a little more. Go ahead and leave your arm up here just for this part. Um, think to reach your shoulder toward your ankle just like that. Good.

And don't you feel a little bit more energy through the upper back. So often you're going to hear your instructor say shoulders down. Most of the time we mean literally down toward your hips, no matter where you are in space and that that's so that you get this sensation of everything's starting to fire up here closer to the powerhouse. Um, I just think I wanted to mention that because all too often people have been taught to pull the shoulders back and that sometimes is what we're asking for, but typically not, certainly not the position I just did hand to the ground, like he had it before. Shoulder gently down. Here we go. Inhale, prepare. Starting your exhale. You'll feel the band of abdominals engage, and then the leg reaches to lift. Good. Inhale, hold, and exhale. Maintain some of the abdominal contraction as you lower down.

Ah, lowering on that. Exhale. Inhale. Try not to just completely let go. Exhale and reach to lift. Good, good, good. Inhale, no movement, and as you exhale, you reach it down to lightly touching the foot to the ground. Yeah. Exhale, lengthen and left. Ah, good.

Inhale, hold. You can relax the photo bit and exhale down, so at home or even you right here with that forearm, right in close to your abdominal as you might feel on the exhale that it, the p abdominals, lightly start to pull away from that forearm. Start Your exhale when you're ready to lift and yeah, do you notice how there's space, a little more space and then inhale, exhale down. You get two more after this one. Good long waist in him. Just imagine you're going to lift your leg for a second start. Exhaling. Just imagine it tightening as if the leg and then go ahead and add it in. Yeah.

Sometimes it's just the thought of the contraction you've got to do. Inhale, exhale down. Makes it so makes the muscles kick in as we want. One last one. Inhale. Exhale. Might as well think of that lat while we're here and exhale, lift. Fabulous. Inhale and exhale down. All right, good. Almost there.

This last one is going to be to work all the muscles at the back. Um, so Perry, I'm going to have you lie face down. You're going to end up with your forehead resting on the mat, your arms alongside your body. Yeah. And so just to be clear, this is not going to be a major league high, um, lift. So if anything, you're thinking of just lengthening, not super comfortable for the headiness that for some people they like to wrap a towel or place a small pillow so that therefore hate could be there and their nose is, has plenty of room. So it goes like this. He's nice and long. I want you to gently draw the abdominals up or it's going to feel like a tuck. So just inhale Perry, start exhaling and just lightly pull the end. Perfect.

Perfect. You didn't have to do it that fast, but that was great. That's what I wanted. Inhale, hold again. If he didn't exhale, do that. Now as you exhale, you're gonna reach your arms down your legs and hover your head and chest. Okay, good. Right up to the point where you're looking straight ahead. Just keep looking at the mat right there. There you go. Now remember that arm movement you did reach your arm. There we go.

Inhale and exhale down. Okay, I'm going to keep the breath a little more simple. Ah, don't let go. You don't need to let go. Let's work the whole time your head can touch. You just don't completely collapsed. Inhale, exhale to reach your arms towards your ankles and you hover the head and chest. Good. Inhale down, letting the chest slower. Everything can lower. Just don't completely let go the arms and exhale to rise up again.

Shoulders reached down. Very good. Look at that energy all the way through. Inhale as you lower down. Good and exhale to reach up. Good. Now I've over corrected you, so I am going to let you look forward a little bit. Just not quite as high as you initially a tiny, tiny bit more. There it is, and inhale down so it's sort of feels like the chin is slightly reaching forward, right as you start to exhale and lift up. When you're ready, your exhale, Chin slightly reaches forward as the shoulders reach down. Good position, very good position. Inhale to lower, and two more. Exhale to rise up.

Good, good, good. Okay. Inhale down. If it only, if you feel it only in your low back, that's your tip to sort of gently pull the abdominals in more or around the low back. This is your last one. Good. And then also check to see how high you're going. But this is a good position. Inhale. And finally just released down. Good. Let everything go including the arms. Good.

It's always worth letting the back settle just a little bit. And then what you'll do is just put your hands by your shoulders who just bring your arms forward, press yourself up to your hands and knees. Yup. However you see fit, and just press your hips back over your heels and arrest. That's it. That's it. At this [inaudible] knee position didn't work for you. You could just lie on your back and hug your knees to your chest.

That sometimes works better, but you want to let the back release the neck release if it overworked. And just take a couple of deep breaths there and you have this successfully done your fundamental class. How about one more deep breath and you can roll yourself up. All done. Good work, Phil. Okay. Yeah. Okay.


very good and relaxing.
wow! I felt great after just 1 session.
4 people like this.
I've taken several beginner classes, but I learned new things from this one as well. It was nice to see a new student doing the moves; I made several of the same mistakes and as she corrected him I learned quickly. :)
2 people like this.
awesome beginner video.. i liked that she made the corrections so I could be aware of if I was doing the same. Felt pretty good just after this!
That's great to hear Jessica! Thanks!
1 person likes this.
great instruction! Good to review basics when starting off with new clients. you do a wonderful job!
It felt great. Relaxing and yet effective, even as basic as it was.
Great basic refresher! Effective and relaxing.
4 people like this.
So great! I recently got my Pilates Certification, and even more recently began teaching. I struggle with explaining the fundamentals, because I feel like I am being too wordy....But I know it's so important!. This is such a fantastic video!!
2 people like this.
Jessica ~ Congratulations on your recent certification! If you are looking for some great instructors teaching classes for beginners, I would check out our Beginner Playlists by some of our regular instructors. This Workhop by Julian Littleford also guides an instructor on how to best teach a first-time Pilates student. Good luck!
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