Class #3147

Back to Basics Mat

35 min - Class


Learn to move with grace and intent in this Mat workout with Tracey Mallett. She goes back to the basics, encouraging you to listen to your body so you can learn what you need. She focuses on establishing a mind-body connection so you can stay present in your practice and really enjoy each movement.
What You'll Need: Mat, Overball

About This Video


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Hi guys! Tracey Mallett here. We are going to do a Pilates mat class with my favorite piece of apparatus of course, the blue balls, they get everywhere! And they will be in action today on our mat, so grab a ball, and let's get moving. Alright, so we're gonna get down onto the floor. And we're just gonna start, put the ball in between the knees, the heels in line with the sit bones, and all we're gonna do: place the hands behind the back of the knees, we're gonna take a deep breath in. (breath in) Exhale, squeeze the ball round into a c curve, in, around, and then come back up to an extension.

Roll Back w/ Extension

Exhale. (breath out) (breath in) And then back into an extension. Squeeze the ball, feel those inner thighs, as you round through the spine, and then come all the way up to an extension. And again exhale, squeeze. This time let's see if we go down a little bit further, release the hands, and going down, and then squeeze, and coming up. So we're slowly making our way down, through the spine.

(breath out) A little bit further! (breath out) (breath in) (breath out) Down. Exhale, round, squeezing that ball, this time we're gonna go all the way down. (breath in) (breath out) Rolling down, and then slowly bring the heels, shift the heels so they level your sit bones, release. Take the hands up, palms facing inwards, inhale, take the arms out to the side. Exhale, and come back.

Open Close Arms

Focus on pulling the shoulder blades down towards your pelvis, keeping that beautiful neutral spine. Inhale, now keep squeezing that ball, don't forget the ball is there between the knees. Feel the inner thighs engage as you pull the pelvic floor in, up, and draw those abs in at the same time. Squeeze, inner thighs, pelvic floor, abdominals. (breath in) (breath out) Two more.

(breath in) (breath out) One more. (breath in) (breath out) Reach the palms out, and take the arms all the way back feel that lovely stretch, pull the shoulder blades down, lift the hands off the floor, draw the ribcage in. Inhale here, exhale, lift the head, neck, and shoulders off the floor, as you squeeze the ball. And then inhale, come back. Exhale (breath out) Drop the tailbone down, peel the head, neck, and shoulders off the floor, and then inhale back, keep squeezing that ball.

Chest Lift

Inhale, exhale. (breath out) You can see, you can actually see your abdominals draw in as you lift up, pulling those abs in nice and flat without moving your glutes, your glutes relaxed, squeeze that ball. Let's just do one more like this. (breath out) From here, take the palms up, reach the hands behind the head, interlace the hands, and lift. Cradle your head, lift the head, neck, and shoulders off the floor, and just squeeze that ball. So all I'm doing now is, looking at the pubic bone, squeezing that ball, an I'm massaging the spine with those abdominals, right?

Inner Thigh Pulses

(seven short breaths out) Four more, in four, three, two, one, hold it there, lower down. Lift the knees off the floor, bring the feet back down, lift the head, neck, and shoulders off the floor. Head goes down, brace the abdominals pull them in, lift the knees up, drop the feet down, heels in line with the sit bones, and lift the head, neck, and shoulders off the floor. Let's keep doing that movement. Be mindful that your keeping the spine in that neutral position, not over arching the spine, and also be mindful that the ball is there, and you're squeezing the ball.

Alternating Knee and Chest Lifts

(breath out) (breath in) (breath out) (breath in) (breath out) Keep the elbows to the side of the body, your abs causing your upper body to lift. (breath out) Last time, bring your head and shoulders off the floor... (breath out) and then back down again. (breath in) Inhale here, exhale, lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor, reach towards the ball, hands behind the head, come down. And lift, and reach, and head, and down.

Chest Lift w/ Arm Reach

And lift, and reach, and head, and down. And lift, and reach, and head, and down. And lift, keep the head high, don't lower the head, two more, and lift, and reach, and head, one more, and lift, and reach, and head, and down. Relax the arms down by the side of the body, and slowly draw those abs in, lift the legs up, having the knees to the chest. Now grab the ball, put the ball just, right by your ankle joint.

Double Toe Taps

Return the knees into chair position, knees over hips. Hold it there, we're gonna take a deep breath in, exhale, toe dips. (breath out) So now we're working those abdominals through stabilization, we're just moving at the hip joint, so everything else is staying stable, and we're disassociating at the hip joint, and dropping the toes down. Keep squeezing that ball, and back. Now be mindful that the head, neck, and shoulders are relaxed, and if you do feel comfortable, you can lift your hands up.

This stops you from using your upper body, a little bit more challenging, so you can choose where you feel most comfortable, and your toes might not even go down to the floor, they might just go to here, that's totally fine as long as you've got beautiful form, of abs are pulling in and the pelvis is stable, that's our goal. (breath out) Let's just do a few more like this. (breath out) One more. (breath out) Hold, arms go out to the side, knees side-to-side. Inhale over.

Supine Spine Twist

(breath out) Exhale center. Keep the knees over the hips. The knees kinda wanna migrate to your chest, and you have to be mindful to keep the knees over the hips, so they're not migrating towards your chest. Now the obliques are pulling you back into that center position. Your breath is inhale as you go over, you lift the hip, exhale now focus on the oblique pulling back.

Remember it's mind over muscle, if you don't put your mind to that muscle, something else is gonna take over, so it truly is mind, body. I know it's kinda hard, we wanna do our to-do list, think about we've gotta do today, but take time for yourself, this is about you and your body, and it's about learning how your body actually works, and to take control of your body, not about your washing and your shopping. (chuckles) (breath out) Two more. (breath in) Exhale. (breath out) One more.

(breath in) (breath out) Place the hands underneath, draw the knees in for a little stretch, and we're gonna gently roll up, roll, and lift, keeping the ball where it is. Reaching the hands forward, then we're gonna clasp the hands in around, so you're making that round position here, reaching out with your elbows, and we're gonna roll down, keep squeezing that ball. Very slowly we're gonna rotate. (two short breaths) Center. (two short breaths) My arms are staying still, I'm just moving in the torso, right?

Rotation in C Curve

(two short breaths) (breath in) (two short breaths) (two short breaths) Those obliques are firing, the knees are still, the hips are still. (two short breaths) (breath in) (two short breaths) (breath in) (two short breaths) Two more. (two short breaths) (breath in) (two short breaths) Hold it. Around, back again, nice and tall, arms staying where they are, elbows pointing to the side of the room. Round, hold it there, release your hands.

Rotation and Reach in C Curve

From here we're gonna rotate, reach in and back, let's try that again. Rotate. And back. We'll rotate, tap. We'll rotate, just tap.

There we go. You're reaching out, and your gaze is following. Reach. So let's do one more. Hold it.

Around and all the way home. Let's try that again for the other side. Around, you ready? (breath in) (breath out) Rotate. Look at your hands, get the extra rotation.

And breath. (breath in) (breath out) Good, keep that rotation, squeeze that ball! Last time! Hold it there, hold. Around, and all the way up. Slowly grab the ball, inner thighs connected together. Okay, ready?

Roll Up

We're gonna start where we're gonna finish, which is in the c curve here, shoulders over your hips. Alright, ready for our roll up? Let's roll down, arms over your head. Inhale, slight pause. (breath out) Exhale, roll forwards, reach, the arms are reaching, the abs are going into position, and then articulate, roll down.

Inhale here, slight pause. (breath out) Exhale, reach forwards. Inhale, slowly roll down. Remember that slight pause. Trying to minimize momentum.

(breath out) Inhale, slight pause. (breath out) Okay, and so let's do one more like that. (breath in) (breath out) and then slowly roll all the way up. Bend your knees. Grab your ball, and we're gonna lower down, so your ball wants to be kind of where your mid thoracic spine is.

Thoracic Extension and Flexion on Ball

We're gonna shift down a little bit, we're gonna bring your heels level with your sit bones, we're gonna squeeze those inner thighs together, cuz we wanna get those adapted to nice. Gonna move my hair out the way here. Okay, so clasp the hands, lift up. Now you're in that beautiful c curve position, drop that tailbone down. Now from here we're gonna go into that gorgeous extension.

Ah that make, feels so good, you're elbows are wide. Gonna stretch out through your pecs, which we all desperately need, including myself. And then we're gonna come back up, as you breath and exhale into flexion. And inhale back. Exhale flexion.

(breath out) Inhale, open that chest. And exhale lift. (breath in) (breath out) Breath that deep breath, breathing through the back of the throat a little bit more, connecting to your core as you lift up, open up through the chest. (breath out) Let's just do one more. Hold it here, separate the feet, hip width apart, a little bit more stability.

Lateral Flexion and Rotation on Ball

Now this is flexion, this is extension. We're gonna go somewhere in the middle of those positions, so kinda look, like flat kinda thing, right in the middle of those two positions. Now, we're gonna side bend, from here we're gonna rotate. Side bend, back, to your kinda neutral position. Side bend, shoulder going over to knee as you rotate.

Side bend, back to neutral. You'll feel the ball moving with you, which is awesome, cuz it's supporting you. So listen to my cues here. Side bend, shoulder going over to knee, side bend, back to neutral. And side bend, lateral flexion, rotation.

Side bend, and back. Let's try that again. Side bend, rotation, and then back to center. Hold it there, bring the feet together, lift that right leg up, see if we can grab that leg, stretch. Flex and point, flex and point, flex and point, flex and point.

Single Leg Lower Lift w/ Flexion and Extension

Hands go back behind the head, be ready for abdominals. Center it up again. Inhale back, (breath out) Exhale up. Inhale back, exhale up. Open that chest, feel those abs.

Feel the flexibility in the hamstrings. Inhale back, exhale up. Inhale back, exhale up. (breath in) (breath out) Inhale back, exhale up. Bend the knee, switch to the other side, so we grab that leg, and pull, feels good.

Flex and point, flex and point, flex and point, and flex and point, hold it there. Are you ready to try the other side? Let's take the hands behind the head, clasp the hands. Okay. We go...

down, and up. Inhale, exhale. (breath out) (breath in) (breath out) Breath and control--(breath out) (breath out) (breath out) (breath out) (breath out) (breath out) We have a couple more. (breath out) One more! (breath out) Beautiful, take it down. Reach the legs out, round all the way back, high v position, and just hold that stretch. Enjoy that stretch, open up your chest.

Thoracic Stretch

Now, reach the hands over your head, pull your scapula down. Ready? We're gonna roll up. (breath in) Exhale. (breath out) And then extend up, beautiful. Take your ball, and now we're gonna do some side line work, so we're gonna put the ball just underneath your ribcage, and the elbow's gonna go on the mat, and you're gonna lift up. The ball's there just to support you a little bit more, and also have little bit more stability.


So from here we're gonna take the hand behind the head, lift that top leg forwards. We're just gonna do some little circles here. We're gonna circle forwards. And circle back. (three short breaths out) Good, enjoying that nice circle with the toes.

(five short breaths out) And hold it. Now, slowly, we're gonna bend the knee, extend, flex back. Bend the knee, up and back. And in, forwards, flex back. And in, forwards, flex back.


Four more! And in, forwards, and back. And three, forwards, and back. And two, forwards, and back. Last time and in, forwards, and back. Hold it there, point the toes, and we just take it down and up, down and up, down and up, down and up, and four, and three, and two, hold it there, underneath leg, and lift, and lift, those underneath obliques have gotta work really hard, up, and up, and up, and up, hold it there.

Lower Lift Top Leg

Kick, kick, kick, kick, then four, then three, and two, and one, hold it there. Reach that arm out, look down, feel those obliques. Slowly come into z position, into that lovely stretch. Slowly come back, let's switch to the other side. Hold it there.

Lower Lift Bottom Leg

Now lift away, feel the abs, and press the elbow into the mat and lift up, hand behind your hand, you ready for circle? And eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, reverse. Eight, and seven, keep the hips as still as you can, and four, and three, and two, and one, hold it here, we're gonna forward, we're gonna bend, reach, and flex. And in, forwards, and flex. So you can see the knee goes forwards, flex back.

Flutter Kicks

(breath in) (breath out) (breath in) (breath out) (2 short breaths in) (breath out) (breath in) And last time. (breath in) (breath out) And we're gonna lift, and down. Lift, and down. Lift, and down. Lift, and down, keep the upper body still.

Mermaid Stretch

Four, and three, and two, and one, underneath leg, and lift, and lift, press down into that floor you're gonna need it. (breath out) Four more! Four, and three, and two, and hold it there, and scissor, scissor, scissor, there we go! And four, and three, and two, and one, lift up, reach the hand over, look down, feel those obliques firin'! Z position, and over. Sometimes the smaller motions, are the harder motions. Hold it there. Now, we're gonna turn, get the little ball, and now we're gonna put the ball underneath the sacrum.


So we're gonna roll down, take the ball underneath the sacrum, it's going into lower body, some nice flexibility here. We're just gonna walk up, and then press down. And lift, and down. So we're walking in place. Exhale, inhale.


Exhale, inhale. Now this time exhale... And then lift that other leg up, ready for toe dips. Exhale down. So now you're on that unstable surface, it's gonna be a little bit more challenging, as you exhale down, inhale back.

Lower Lift Top Leg

Now if you want, you can bring your hands to this position here, so that you're not heavily relying on your hands, a little bit more challenging, we don't want you to fall off the ball, so be careful. (breath out) Let's just do four more, like that. Four, and three, exhale two, exhale one, to here, hands down. Now lift those legs up, now we'll do leg circles, so we're gonna take it down, we're gonna open, come overhead, and then back, so you're in parallel position. Feel those abs, and then round the flexibility as you come back up.

Lower Lift Bottom Leg

And inhale down, exhale, you can get a little bit progressively bigger. Good, and down. Now, we're gonna reverse it, so we're gonna go up, around and down. Inhale, and then exhale. You can keep it smaller, if you would like, it might be smaller, more controlled, depending on how--if you're really flexible, the best it to keep it small and controlled.

Flutter Kicks

If you're not so flexible, you can try and go for a little bit more flexibility, but at the end of the day, it's whether you can control it with your abdominals. (breath out) Just do a couple more, just feels good, get that synovial fluid going in those hip joints. Last time. And then hold it there. From here, we're gonna drop down, so you're in that incline position, we're gonna bend the knees, you're gonna tap, extend, and then pull back up again.

Mermaid Stretch

So you're just gonna inhale, feel those hamstrings, feel your quads, feel your abs pull back. Hamstrings, quads, abs, pull back. Let's do three more like that. Two more. Let's just do one more.

Alternating Knee Lifts

And then hold it here, scissor. Ooh, just look at those legs move that feels good! Nice scissor splits here. Exhale four, exhale three, exhale two, exhale one. Take that right leg, bend the left leg, and we're gonna hold that position there. Now, I'm going to pull, pull, pull, feel that stretch! And then bend, bend, bend, extend that bottom leg.

Double Toe Taps

Pull! The more you can pull that knee to your chest, the more your hip goes into hip extension, you can open up your hip flex, and your quad. Hold it there. Bend the knee first, join the other knee. Lift it up, extend that leg! Stretch, stretch, stretch, stretch, stretch! And then bend, bend, bend, bend, and extend that leg, and press the knee to your chest, there's your stretch. Bend this knee first, so you get off the ball safely, take the other leg down.

Leg Circles

Now from here, we're going to go into a pelvic lift, so you're lifting your buns off the ball, and I'm gonna go into a releve, lower the heals, and then down. So you go up, releve, down, press down. Up, releve, the hips hit the ball. Up, releve, down. It's gonna work those hamstrings...

Double Toe Tap w/ Extension

(breath in) Up, releve, down. Two more. Up, releve, down, one more. Up, hold it there, hold. Draw the heals together, so you're in like a diamond position, and the knees go out and in.


So you're in that little diamond position, your booty is not on the ball, the ball is just there right now hanging out, and not doing anything. However, your hamstrings and your glutes are doing a hell of a lot more! Get your hips up high! And four, three, two, hold it there, hips up, reach the hands over your head, slowly come back again, bring the feet back into parallel, lower the heels, drop your hips down onto the ball. Enjoy that rest for one second. Lift your hips take the ball away, lower your hips down, don't your hips feel really good now!? Beautiful, reach the legs together, take the hands over your head ready for transition, inhale through the spine and roll, roll, roll, roll, all the way up.

Hamstring and Hip Flexor Stretches

Reach, and then come up. Now from here, we're gonna take the ball forwards, right into the sternum here. So you're gonna think of putting the ball just right where your sternum is, and I love this exercise because it really helps get a little bit more through, little bit more extension through the mid thoracic spine, as opposed to the lower spine, so I'm gonna position it right forwards, elbows down like in a sphinx position, pull the scapula down, now you're in this position here, and I just want you to think of lifting up. As you lift up, I'm pressing the elbows down as much as I can, pulling the scapula down. And then, I'm going to try and look up, as much as I can, so I'm trying to look, to see where the ceiling meets the wall.

Pelvic Lift w/ Releve

And I feel an incredible extension through that mid thoracic spine, and then I'm gonna come back down over the ball. Let's try that again, press the elbows down into the mat, pull your shoulder blades down, now follow your gaze, you're gaze is gonna glance all the way up, walk up the wall, walk up the wall, as you press down your elbows and reach out for the crown of the head in opposition and hold it there. It looks very small, but I can promise you, I'm working really hard right now in my mid thoracic spine. And then come back. And press down, lift up, look as much as you can, high, hold it there.

Pelvic Lift w/ Butterfly Pulses

Now we're gonna come down just a tad, and them I'm gonna see if I can lift my hands off, and my elbows to the sides, I'm in a external rotation of the shoulder joint. My feet are slightly apart and my glutes are relaxed. I'm gonna shoot the hands up, I'm gonna open all the way around, and then I'm gonna bend the elbows. So think of the biceps by the ears, palms are flat, external rotation of the shoulder joints, hip pinky on the side of your body, elbows, bend arms flat. Let's try that again.

Swan in Sphynx Position

Inhale. (breath out) (two short breaths in) (breath out) (two short breaths in) (breath out) One more. (breath in) (breath out) Hold it there. Now reach one arm forwards, and rotate, it's kinda like a bow and arrow, and then go to the other side. Elbow back, and reach.

Swan w/ Bow and Arrow Arms

Kinda like side bending, you'll feel the obliques, back to center. Let's try that again. So reach the arm forwards, side bend, elbow coming down, open up your chest, and rotate. And then come back, let's do that one more time. Keep that external rotation, reach, press the elbow back palm is flat, get that nice side bend, you're gonna feel those obliques! And then come back to center, swim.

Swim, just the upper body. Swim. Swim. And eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one, and down. Hands back, stretch back.

Swan w/ Swimming Arms

Yes if you were looking at it and not actually working out with me, you'd think ah that was really easy. But if you're actually working out with me, you realize it is not easy, there's a lot of upper body work going into that. And then slowly roll all the way back. We're gonna the ball to one side here, we're gonna walk forwards. We're gonna go into a plank position, and then bend your knees.

Plank w/ Knee Bends

Back into a plank position, and then bend your knees. Inhale, exhale plank as you transition forwards, inhale down exhale plank, and just hold it there, pull the abs in. Transfer, the left leg lifts up for four times. Four, three, two, one, bend your knee forwards, lift up. Come back, transition back, opposite leg.

Leg Pull Front to Lunge

(four short breaths) Bring it in, transition, stretch. Back into your plank. Rotate to your side, reach the hands around in that side oblique plank. Back to center, rotate, around, and center. And then rotate, reach over, and then back.

Plank to Side Bend

One more time, rotate, back to center. Slowly come up into your pyramid position, or your downward dog, and really enjoy that stretch, as you press your heels into the floor, your chest towards your knees. It's an active stretch, not passive, you're continuously trying to get your chest towards your thighs, stretching out those hamstrings, stretching out your achilles, your calves, extending the spine, and breath. A second nice deep breath in, inhale. (breath in) And then exhale. (breath out) slowly walk your feet to your hands.


And then slowly we're gonna round all the way up, very gently, the head is the last to uncurl. We're gonna come back into your center just to finish off your class. Gonna put the arms by the side of your body, I just want you to rise up onto your toes, and back, and test your balance. There we go, you've been working on your balance, now we're gonna put it to play, into functional movement. From your core, let's do a few more.

And let's hold your balance. Reach your hands over your head. Slowly lower you heals, release. Let's finish off with a gorgeous roll down, inhale here, exhale chin-to-chest and roll yourself down through the spine. Slowly inhale, exhale roll the way up.

Roll Down

And give yourself a clap, yay! (clapping) Good job! You did a nice, a nice class, it was nice, it was, it was nice? What does nice mean? (stammering) I can just see the comments now: can you just tell me what nice is? You know what, that felt nice! (laughing) It just felt really good. It's, sometimes it's nice...

I said it again!! To actually go back to basics and appreciate what the basics of Pilates is, and I've been doing Pilates a long, long time. And I appreciate the fundamentals, just to go back, and go back to your basics, you don't always have to keep beating your body up, just learn the fundamentals, learn how to move your body, and learn to listen to your body. Learn to move with grace and intent. Anyway, you did great! I hope to see you soon, and also, I have a ball class, I'm gonna, little bit, I have a ball class from way at the beginning, when I first came on here, so go back, and watch some of the older videos on there, and you're gonna come up with some real gems, I think, some real classic gems. So if you love this class, then you'll probably like the other class even better.

(laughing) Okay! So don't forget there's some gems out there, some great older classes on PilatesAnytime. Alright, I'll love and leave you, see you next time. Bye guys!

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Excellent moves!
11 people like this.
Great!!! Please please please more Tracey !!!!
I Love your Workouts!!!
2 people like this.
I love using the Overball !!! Great class....
2 people like this.
Awesome Tracey - LOVE it!!
5 people like this.
A "NICE" class indeed!! Thank you Tracey!!
3 people like this.
Very nice. Basics feel good and are very intensely focused. I needed that ! Thank you! ❤️
Nice! You are such a sweetheart :)
It felt really NICE !!!
Hips & thoracic spine thought it felt super NICE!!
4 people like this.
Great! Going to fit into fave . I love it when we had ball at the sacrum with one leg straight and the other knee bent.. the thought of pulling the bent knee in really does give a much better extension in that hip psoas area of the opposing side. Thank you for the great cue!
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