Class #3102

Mat for Neck Awareness

40 min - Class


Gain awareness of where your head is with this Mat workout by Cara Reeser. She uses the concepts from her tutorial on the cervical spine so you can feel these techniques while you are flowing through a class. She encourages you to think about your relationship between the crown of your head and space so you can be in good alignment while you are supporting your head in each movement.
What You'll Need: Mat, Towel

About This Video


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Hi everybody! Hi ladies. We're back, and now we're doing the mat class that supports the neck, the cervical spine tutorial that Laura and I just shared. So welcome you guys. We're gonna be doing, using a hand towel. So what you need to have at home is a hand towel or a dish cloth or a t-shirt rolled up.

We're gonna use this towel in a variety of ways. But we're gonna start with using this to help us sort of gain some awareness of where our head is and how it moves standing. So we're gonna start, ladies, let's just pick this towel up, over your head, right, and you wanna not be over-fixating about your scapulas, so let them be free. And go and get your eyes out to that horizon. And let's just take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, bend your elbows and tap the crown of your head, so you really know where that is.

And then inhale, stretch those arms back up, right. And just keep doing that. Exhale, tapping the crown of the head, just finding, and then as you stretch up, see if you can have a sense of reaching that crown up. Again, inhale we're coming down, we're tapping the head, and exhale, we're reaching up. Right, so we're gonna be thinking a lot, two more, about this relationship during our Pilates practice today between the crown of your head and space.

Where is your head? One more time, yeah. So we're just waking up those little cells that remind us where we are. We're gonna bring the towel now behind the back of our heads, and you wanna really be cradling the back of your skull with the towel. And I want everybody to lift their elbows up so that their scapula's wide on their back.

And right away you'll feel, there's kind of a tendency for a lot of us to think we should just rest our head in the towel. We're actually gonna actively go into extension. Right, you're gonna, elbows reaching up, you're gonna lift your chin up, and you're gonna pull that towel up towards the ceiling, and you're gonna feel that active extension. Chin is up. And then you're gonna bring that head back to center.

And I just wanna make a shout out to my yoga teacher, Angie Arnold, who I'm borrowing some of this from, this standing work from, 'cause I think it's brilliant, and I think she's brilliant. Here we go, we're going back, and we've got this, right? You're pulling that towel up, you've got that extension, and then you're gonna come forward and you're gonna go into flexion. And go ahead and give your neck a little tug and stretch it there. So, in this moment you want just your neck going into flexion.

One more time, taking that head back, feeling the sides of the neck staying elongated, chin is reaching up. And then as you come forward, you're really doing that movement we talked about in the tutorial, that number one capital flexion, neck flexion, yeah. And then come back to center ladies, nice. So, it's kind of a nice stretch straight off the bat, right? So, let's go ahead and take that towel forward.

You guys come to the front of your mats, and you're gonna go ahead and take your towel up and just squat on down to seated, just for fun, it's always good to do a squat. Go on down ladies, good and good. Now, what we're gonna do, everybody, is we're gonna take this towel, you're gonna take it up over your head, you're gonna bend your elbows, you're gonna tap the crown of your head so you know where that towel is, where that crown of the head is. Bring your arms forward and then just track that towel with your eyes as you roll back all the way and then take the towel under your neck and let it inform that negative space or that natural curve that would be under your neck. Bring your feet in, and you're laying on your back now.

So get your head and bring your arms down by your side. So what you're thinking now is, oh I've got this rolled up towel under my neck. I want you to start to imagine how you're gonna keep the honor of that rolled-up towel. So you're not gonna be pushing the back of your neck down into that towel at any moment, right. You're gonna be keeping your natural curve.

Okay, we're just gonna practice a couple of moves where we might feel that that's challenging. So let's start with some pelvic tilts. So you guys are pressing your feet down, you're gonna start to rotate your pelvis, you're gonna come into a pelvic tilt, or a small shoulder bridge, and you're gonna come down and go into a small opposite tilt or a arched back, and you're gonna keep doing that, guys, inhaling, curling up, yeah, curling up, and then exhaling coming down and going into a little bit of lumbar extension. And I want you to do that three more times everybody, and I want you go make sure you're not pushing back into that towel. So it's a lot of awareness, but it's kind of cool, right?

Because you can feel how, some of you, right away, you're gonna wanna push back there. Good, one more time, still, this looks good, yeah. Good, one more time, so maybe go a little higher. Like, could you get your butt off the ground and not push back on your neck? That would be super.

And then you're gonna come on down, really nice, you guys, and rest, good! And interlace your fingers right around your pubic bone, let them rest down. And we're gonna start to do the ribcage arms from Kathy Grant's work. We're gonna let our arms float up and back, you're gonna go all the way over your head, and then you're gonna bring your arms all the way back down, and you're gonna be really clear that that gesture of the arms does not push your neck back. Right? So it's sort of fascinating, how we'll do these small movements, but we'll add parts of the body that are actually not invited, right?

Good, very nice, you guys. So we're gonna keep everything at its own invitation, right? So right now, the cervical spine is in neutral. Good, good, and let your arms drop down by your side, and let's do knee folds. So the same thing, right leg comes up into a knee fold, and it goes down, and switches, and just keep doing that little marching movement, right, and don't let yourself push down, good.

Mary, you could bring your chin up just a little bit, there you go, yeah. So oftentimes, guys, you have your necks tucked when you're laying on your back. So you just keep reaching that chin away, yeah? Great, one more on each leg or until you're squared off. Great.

And rest when you're ready. Okay, so you've got this towel under your neck, right, and now we're gonna do some head lifts. So we're gonna straighten our knees. And these exercises come originally from Kathy's work, from Kathy Grant's work. So we're gonna do the head lifts with the towel at first.

Bring your elbows narrow again. And the first thing, flex your feet. I want everybody do float your head off the mat, just like a teeny sliver, just your head. As if a piece of paper could slide under. But don't tuck your chin yet.

Right. Now, start to flex your neck. So you're gonna go, that capital number one flexion, and then the rest of your neck, then your sternum, then your upper ab curl. Right, so don't rush the upper ab curl. And then go back out.

Upper ab, sternum, and then the head has to spiral back out of that. So I'm gonna do that with everybody a couple more times so we can see that. We've got our feet flexed. First we have the head floating, right, as if you just slid a piece of paper under it. But see, I'm not flexing yet.

Then, you're gonna spin the skull, right on this first vertebra on the neck. And then you're gonna bring the rest of the neck up a little more and pause. And at this point, my sternum and my spine is not really flexing yet. I'm gonna lift my sternum up and I'm gonna flex my upper abdominals. Exactly! And then, good, Mary, so let your chin be down more.

No, you get to flex it there. And go back out. All right, ladies. So lay that towel out, and feel that negative space being filled up under your neck again, and let's do two head lifts without the assistance of the towel. So yeah, if you don't practice this, it's gonna be new to you, and your neck is gonna get super tired.

That's a good thing. Float your head up, curl your chin in, get your neck up even a little more, pick up the sternum. Pick up your upper ab curl and hold that. Good, so Mary, you can let that chin come down a little more, use that capital flexion, yes. And then go back out, I know.

Good. And spiral it, yes. You're gonna feel this toning up your neck. Bring your knees in, guys. Go ahead and bring your feet to the mat, let's do that head lift again.

We're gonna float, we're gonna do capital, one, cervical, two, sternum, upper ab, float the legs. Stretch 'em out. Keep the head doing that the whole time and start pumping your arms, inhaling. (snapping) Exhaling. Good, now you can go back to that question, boy, where is the crown of my head?

Could you get that crown of the head reaching towards the ceiling? Right? So you could go at this a lot of ways. You keep breathing, exhale. Inhale, good.

Keep gesturing with your head, Mary. Exhale, yes. Good, you guys! Inhale, I know, exhale, and lie back. Legs in, straight along the mat, take your towel out from under your neck, and reach the towel over your head. Bend your elbows, slide the towel to the crown of your head and stretch it away.

Good, we'll do that again. Inhale, you're now doing crown of the head awareness again, exhale. I'm honoring the negative space. Keep doing that with your arms. And now, we're gonna lift the arms up to the high diagonal in front of you, you're gonna do that same head lift, and you're gonna roll up into a roll-up as if the crown of your head was reaching for that towel, and the towel for the crown of your head.

Good, inhale, roll back, that looks great. Yeah, we'll get a little help from our friends here, and roll it back. Keep thinking of the crown of the head awareness, better. And towel back. Good, and again, take it up! Good, you've got your head reaching towards, the crown of the head reaching towards that towel as if it's pushing it through space, right?

And everybody make sure the crown of your head is on the same plane, no matter how low or high you are, and roll back! Super! Yeah. Great control, ladies. Last time, inhale, you're gonna pick the head up, you're gonna curl up, you're gonna feel that head reaching to the crown of the head, good, and then let's just stack our spine up for a second, taking the arms over the head. And let's go inhale, bend, tap the head, exhale. Keeping that sense of awareness, one more inhale.

Exhale. Good, now we're gonna roll back down, and you're gonna take that towel underneath your neck. So now you're going to the neck roll portion, right? So you've got that towel under your neck, and what you're thinking to yourself is, I'm gonna honor that space that the towel fills. We're gonna do rollover.

So take both knees up to table, up to the ceiling, and start your rollover, and do not push down on that towel. Inhale, over, open the legs, flex the feet, exhale, down. Good, so you could think to yourself, keep going, you have three more in this position. You could think to yourself, where is the crown of my head? Right, so don't tuck your chin, untuck your chin.

There you go! Yeah, it's gonna feel new, guys, that's good. So yeah, keep that reach there. But what we're hoping is that you're not putting a lot of body weight on your neck, right? Scapula's gonna stay close to the spine here. Yeah, Mary, so draw that scapula together and roll back down.

Good, let's do one more still. Keep the legs in the same choreography for right now. And up and over, yeah, great. Chin off your throat, Mare, yes, and open and roll down. Better.

Good, lower your right leg, keep your left leg up, stretch your hamstrings with your hands on your shin or leg. Good, now again, try to watch that you're not dumping back in your necks. So we're gonna do cervical curve awareness. Keeping that. Okay, lower that leg a little bit, ladies, let's walk up to tree, and do that head lift.

That zero, one, two, three and four, all the way, very nice. Walk, walk. Right, where are your eyes now? Head to, exactly. Go back down, and as you go back down, you want that head to be going right back through those same positions.

Beautiful, and one more time, up, zero, one, two and three, and as you go up, let your eyes look up at your ankle, so your head, nice, comes back to neutral. And then you go back down, and there's gonna be a moment where you're gonna feel that neck needing to go into flexion again. Really nice, great. Keeping the sense of your cervical curve, single leg circles, inhale. Exhale, home.

In, exhale home. Keep going. We're gonna do four in each direction. Good, and switch. Now just keep that awareness.

You've got that towel under your neck. Are you pushing down? Is that one of your strategies for stabilizing? It's not, probably, a great one. Good, and bring your knee into your chest, give it a little squeeze.

You don't have to push your neck down when you do that, either. And go ahead and switch legs. (class laughing) Just saying! Just saying, since we're here together! All right, so let's stretch the other hamstring sides, please. A lot of times, it's also the case that we start looking down, down our front, and that tucks our chin. So it's also good to keep your gaze up.

Yeah, you're stretching your hamstrings, you lower that leg a little bit, and then you have a head lift that brings you into this tree. Yeah, and then let your gaze go up to your ankle. Yeah, good. This is good motor control of your necks, ladies, and back down. And gentlemen, who are watching on Pilates TV.

I say ladies, but I know there are guys out there. Let's do that again. Up you go, all the way, and that's it, Meredith, so yeah, figure out where the crown of your head is! Whoa, up to the sky! Crown of the head, crown of the head, lift your chin up, yeah, there it is, right. And back down. It's weird! You know?

That's right, yeah. And so you're gonna, there's the crown, right. Circles, here we go. Inhale, exhale home. Inhale, exhale home.

Good, so now the sides of your neck are elongated, one more, other direction. The sides of your neck stay elongated. Keep going, you have three more, right? The towel, the space that's behind the towel is honored. And rest, bring the knee in, roll up to seated.

And just for fun, take your towel and hold it at your ankles. It's just a fun way to use the towel, might as well keep it happy. So we're doing roll like a ball. Now what happens here, a lot of the time we throw our head back to get back, right? So let's just keep our flexors working in our neck.

Let's not extend our head, our neck to go back, and let's inhale, go back, exhale, home. Inhale, exhale. So you should be keeping the same level, keep going, of flexion in your neck. Inhale, exhale. Great, inhale, very nice you guys.

Exhale, one more still. Yeah, and maybe your shoulders wouldn't have to take over too much. Good, rest, here we go. All right, we're gonna go, mm, let's be nice today. Let's use the towel to help us with the abs series.

So we're gonna hold the towel into the neck, the neck into the towel, as we roll down, right knee's bent, left leg straight. Here we go, inhale. One, and two. Exhale, three, four. Now I love this version because sometimes this is what people need.

It's just a little help to stay up in that forward fold. Exactly, both knees in, inhale, exhale. In. Now let's go ahead and move the towel away, and see if you can keep it! In. Ex, come back and stretch it.

In, reach. Ex. In. Ex. Last one, ex, keep it up, scissors.

One, two, switch, one, two, switch. One, two, keep it going. Two, one more set, good. And, double leg, lower lift. Inhale, good.

Let that towel help you stay in that forward fold. Keep the back of the neck on the stretch. Remember those little rubber bands we talked about. They're on the stretch right now. Good.

And we'll stop there, lie back. Honor the space behind your neck with the towel again. Yes, just take a moment there. And do a little bit of a shoulder bridge, a small shoulder bridge, and continue to honor that space, please. Yeah, can you get your bridge up there?

Gorgeous, take a couple breaths there just to calm it down. And roll back down. Super. All right, we're coming up for spine stretch, seated forward, so just pick that towel up and come on up to seated. So here we go! We're gonna get that, let's go ahead and do another ding, so we know where the head is.

It's also nice on the shoulders. And then we're gonna bring this forward and then, you're gonna deep breath in, and then exhale, curl in, and reach that crown of the head towards the towel. Know where thy head is in space. Roll back up. Good, and as you come up, bring the towel up, and that should lift your chin.

Yes! And again, forward, inhale, take it over! Right, so Pilates is about awareness. This is an awareness practice, gorgeous, ladies! Go back up. Right, and the find the crown of the head, right, so you don't wanna keep your neck tucked the whole time. Beautiful, one more time like that. Really nice.

Great. And home, you go up to the top. Good. Super. And then let's come on in for open-leg rocker.

You're just gonna keep that towel here. And now you've got the same thing as you had for rolling like a ball, you're gonna have to keep your neck flexed, right? You don't wanna throw your head back. You're gonna pick up your booty, inhale, exhale home. Keep that sense of where the crown of the head is facing, inhale, back, exhale home.

Crown of the head, crown of the head! Yeah, go ahead, Meredith! Inhale, exhale, yes Pilates is hard. Yes it is, one more time. Be nice to yourselves. And bend your knees and plant your feet down. Super, okay?

Yeah, so you feel that little tingle at the top of your head now. It's like getting it going, good. Let' go onto our bellies, please. We're gonna do a Kathy Grant exercise here called Number 14, head only. You can just lay your towel down and put your, yeah, you can have it at the front like that.

Turn your head to the right, and your arms are down by your side. So now, we're gonna get that head moving in extension. You're gonna pick up your shoulders just a few inches off the mat so they're the level of your body. You're gonna turn your head to center so your nose is straight down. So this is you if you were standing.

And now you're gonna lift your head up into extension, just look right in each others' eyes, ladies. You can't extend your head too much, here, Meredith, so let it go. Right, now dial that head back down, the crown of the head facing each other, and turn your head the other way. Right, and let your shoulders relax. So again, you're gonna bring the shoulders around, you're gonna bring your head to center, good, and then you're gonna go ahead and lift that head up, yeah, great, and let the, yeah, stretch the front of your throat! Come back down.

And turn your head, and release. I love this. One more time, Amy said she loves this. I love this too. It really feels great.

Go ahead, up, as a matter of fact, this is my favorite exercise for when I have one of those neck crinks, that I can't turn my head in the morning? This is a real special remedy. Yeah, get that head moving, and come back down. Nice, Mary! So you guys don't even need to work on spinal extension there, just cervical. One last time.

So you're gonna bring it up, right, you're gonna bring your head to the level, turning your head, and then just cervical extension. Perfect, I know. It feels kind of naughty, right? We're often told not to go for that movement. But it's a real good one.

Great, and come back to center. Now let's get ready for swan, and let's use that capital flexion, cervical extension, sorry, on your swan. So hands in positions. Hips smoothing into the mat. Let's lift the head, bring it up through the eyes, and go ahead, good.

And go on up. And you can do crown of the head awareness week! Whoop, whoop, whoop, yeah! Where am I! That's it, and come all the way down. And what happens when you come down is you bring your spine down, and then the crown of your head will GPS back to where it would be if you were standing. And again, you float your head up first, everybody, don't let the neck sink. And then you're gonna come up.

Crown of the head awareness, you know, you could just go around poking your friends in the crown of the head this week so everybody would know where their head was in space, and back down, right. So it's not really about correcting your neck, it's about knowing where it is. One more time, please, take it up. Mm-hmm. Super.

Great, and back down, right? Our eyeballs are in our head, so it can be kind of confusing. Sometimes we look up or down without moving our neck. So just be aware of that. Good, and ladies, let's bring you guys all into quadruped for a second.

So just pull back onto all fours. Let's do a little crown of the head awareness here, where we start to think about how do we execute a plank, right? So I'm gonna have my head reaching out, crown of the head, and I know where it is, and go ahead and just shift your weight a little bit, forward and back, at first. So I want the crown of your head facing each other right now. I know, right?

It's like, where is the crown of my head? Okay, good, now tuck your toes under, float your knees. Higher demand. Float back and forth and reach the crowns of your heads toward each other. You don't have to tuck your chin, you have to reach the crown of your head.

Right, now pull back into a plank position, one leg and then the other, and do that forward gliding movement, and keep that crown of the head reaching. Super nice. Really nice, great. Now, with that, guys, let's, okay, stay with me. We're gonna lower down.

Don't drop your face, lower your body all the way down. Elbows anchored, up you go, crown of the head facing ceiling, single kicks, here we go. Inhale. Good, ex. In.

(exhaling heavily) Good. Good, keep reaching through the crown of your head, this looks fantastic. You can smile at each other if you like each other. Yeah, I like it! Good, all right! So then lie down. Interlace your fingers or whatever your protocol is in the back here for triple leg kick, here we go.

Triples, go one, two, three, stretch, now where's the crown of your head? Mary, crown of the head up to the ceiling. Yeah, it's okay! And change it! One, two, three and reach. Good, and one, two, three and reach the crown of the head to the ceiling. And one, two, three and reach, good, now just stay here, and imagine how this would help you in your swan dive, and if you would like to put your hands down in front, and try a couple swan dives, I'd appreciate it.

Go for it. Right, so where's the crown of your head? Right! So don't drop, right! So what happened, right? Exactly, keep it reaching! Two more, guys. There you go, much better.

And rest, pull back into child's pose. I could have sprung that on you guys, right? But that's one of the reasons that's not successful is because we just drop our heads, right, and our head weighs, like, I mean, I'm sure mine weighs like 25 pounds or something. So, no, like eight pounds, so it's a lot of weight. Good, all right, so come back around onto your seat, please.

And let's take a little moment and do a little releasing of the neck here. So you guys face each other. And we'll do two exercises from Kathy's protocol. There's one called Suped and one called Listening Ears. So what you're gonna do now is just drop the head down, and imagine you have a spoon dangling off your nose and you wanna put that spoon directly down into the bowl of soup that's right in front of you.

So you want your nose perpendicular to the surface of the floor. And then you're just gonna do a very small stirring. So you're doing a very small stirring, and you're letting your, yeah, nice, you guys. Right, so those of you at home, the movement is small. And you're gonna go in both directions.

And you're just getting a little bit of mobility there at those first couple of joints, the atlas and the axis. Right, beautiful. And then let's bring ourselves back up, crown of the head to the ceiling. Close your eyes. And everybody, imagine your left ear is tracking a band of sound that's moving forward.

And as it does that, your head will start to spiral to the right. So you're gonna be doing a turning motion of your head, but you're gonna be thinking about the crown of your head and your ear, yeah. And then guide that back forward. Right, so the axis of rotation is at the crown of the head, the ears are traveling your head, they're listening, yeah. And you might just find at home that suddenly you're turning your head more than you used to.

So let's do that one more time to each direction. Right, yeah, beautiful. So you're getting that nice spiral that we rely on for so many movements. Including driving, yeah. That was a good one in the world.

And come back to center. Great, and open your eyes if you're ready for a neck pull, and I'm sure you are. So let's take that towel. Oh boy, I got some crown of the head awareness going on here! How am I gonna control this neck as I tip back, right, as I roll back, bring that towel in front of your eyes now and let that chin come to the horizon. Pause.

Honor that negative space, take the head back. Reach the arms forward, very low to the thigh, curl that head in and roll up. Imagine you're pushing that towel with the crown of your head, yes. So again, you're gonna reach that towel up and over, you're lining up the head, and you start to tip back, you're going on a straight diagonal. Then you're gonna bend your elbows, bring that towel to your eyes, right, so you bring it in front, and so as you roll down, let your eyes stay on that horizon, that's exactly right, yes it is, Meredith, and take it back.

You've got one more like this, you have the towel coming really low, you roll up as if you're pushing the crown of the head, right, into the towel. I know, yes! And then stack it up, find that, good, find that awareness there, and then you're gonna tip back, and you're gonna move that pelvis. Now pull back down toward your eyes and let it help you navigate your neck on the way down. Super. Great.

Get back on your mats if you slid off, please, and take your towel back under your neck for another shoulder bridge. Okay. So now we're gonna up the ante here, you guys. So I would like to challenge us by trying bicycle and scissors without too much compression here. So take your legs up, bring your pelvis up, hold onto it, and get off of that towel.

Whoa! What does she mean? So maybe I'd use my butt to hold my butt up instead of my neck! That would be interesting, and then here we go. Let's just do the scissors today, right? So scissors you're gonna do, yeah. So you wanna kinda contract under your booty here, and switch.

Good, and can you execute this without bearing down in your cervical spine? Maybe the answer's no. That's awesome, that means you need to practice, right? But you should probably be using your butt muscles, I'm just saying. And you're gonna bring your knees in and roll down.

Good, and plant your feet on the mat. Cross your right leg over your left for crossovers, winding down a little bit. You're gonna let yourself come to the outside of that supporting foot as you breathe in. So interesting how much we might wanna push our neck down here, right? Exhale, come back.

So again, chin off your throat, crown of the head awareness. One more time to that side. Right, so your neck may change positions, but it's not flexing for no reason. And come back. Good, and then switch positions, please.

Other leg. So you're gonna go to the other side, you're going to the outside of the supporting foot on this twist, guys. And then exhale back in. Good, and the outside of the supporting foot to twist, beautiful. Nice necks, you guys, exhale back in.

Let's stretch both legs out. And let's say how we do with this. Let's take that towel and let's play with some teaser here. So we're gonna hold the towel out in front. I want you to do the head lift first and get your eyes on the horizon with that towel, right?

So everybody's got that head lift, that sternum, and that number four. And now I want you to reach that towel up towards your toes, track it with your eyes. That was great. And then roll down, but only go down with the head is still up. The feet go all the way down.

So we're heading down, but we're gonna keep our head lift to number four, and then back up. Back up. Yes! This is great! I don't see any chicken necks right now, it's fabulous! And go on down. Yeah! Oh yes you can pick up the weight of your head, yeah, one more time, you've got this thing! I know! I'm sorry! And roll down, you're gonna let your head down this time. Take the towel over your head, bend and stretch three times, crown of the head.

Know where it is. Right, know where it is. You bend and straighten. And on this last one, you're gonna lift the arms, you're gonna lift the head, neck and shoulders, you're doing that same head lift every time, and you're gonna roll up. Put your towel out in front of your mat.

Great, we're gonna do crab, okay, which is, we get to actually put the crown of our head down on the mat! So it's like a great way of imagining that execution, right? So you're gonna scoot a little bit back, or maybe take your towels off your mats so they're not in your way, and you're gonna cross your ankles. Okay, and I would fall off my table if I went, so I will just demonstrate and pretend. So you're gonna roll back, where is the crown of your head? Criss cross, change your legs.

Now, tap that crown of your head down. Gorgeous! And scoot it back. Roll it around, here you go. Tap the crown of the head down. Nice, you guys, three more! Inhale, criss cross.

Tap the crown of the head, really reach the crown of your head, that's your headstand too, right, on your reformer, on all the places you do headstands. That's where you're going, the crown of your head! It's even got a chakra name in yoga. One more time please. Good, great. And then go to rolling like a ball to squat to standing if you have that in your practice.

So it goes straight back, and squat to stand, crown of the head. Right, so we're gonna do this in parallel right now. We're gonna do about four more of these guys, you're gonna go down, roll, squat to stand, find the crown of your head. Yeah! Crown of the head, good. Down, good, now find the crown of your head when you go up, Meredith, yes! And last one.

That was great you guys. Crown of the head! Good, let your arms come down, close your eyes. Let's take a couple breaths, and what you're gonna feel is a lot of buzz in your head, right? You know, it's a free buzz. Not even bad for you! So, you kinda have a sense of where that is.

And then let's just imagine that, what we talked about in the tutorial is, the crown of the head is the first vertebra. So let's just do a roll-down, standing, just drop your head, and let the weight of the head be the thing that takes you down here. Right, so you really have a sense, like you're rolling through your spine, one vertebra at a time. This is the vertebra leading, the pelvis is the last. Right, and just hang over there for a minute 'cause that always feels good.

And then roll up. Starting with the pelvis, make your head the last thing to come up. So everybody pause before they lift their head. You can whisper something positive into the night, and then just let your head lift. (mimicking alarm wailing) Thank you! (all laughing) (all clapping)

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Cara !!! this class is full of incredible information ! I love your teaching personality :) thank you !! Cara will you be teaching at Pilates on Tour in Chicago ?
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such great work, in the middle of the class I felt like my neck was 6 inches longer and by the end my head felt like it was floating with no effort to keep it up:)
Yes, I will be at Pilates on Tour Chicago hope to see you then.
Really looking forward to it Cara ! Thank you for responding :)

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All fantastic,txs !!
I sang 'thank you' from the top of my head at the end Cara. The crick in my neck has gone and as I type this I am honouring the curve in my neck.

Such profound work but explained so clearly that it seemed so simple - this is the hallmark of tge truly gifted teacher that your are.

As an aside I love that you honoured and thanked your yoga teacher - I have learned so many things from my Hatha and Iyengar yoga teachers too. In fact I had some really wonderful transformation moments recently watching James Boag on Yoga Anytime re cervical and thoracic extension.

This is the work that we all need to do but most won't until pain intervenes. In your honour I'll be offering this up to my classes next week.
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Thank you Cara! I taught some of these exercises in my Mat class this morning and already received a thank you from one of my students saying she hasn't had her neck and shoulders feel this great in a long, long time! Thanks for sharing a new perspective on the cervical spine! xo
Cara Reeser
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Absolutely loved this class, we really need time to break excercises down and practice, and as you say acknowledge where we experience limitations. Thanks
Fantastic in all ways. Cara Reeser you are a pleasure. Thank you
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This awareness just brought my mat work to a new level. My roll up has never been better. Much love and thanks!
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