Class #3182

Foundational Mat 1

30 min - Class


What comes after pre-Pilates but before a full basic Mat class? If you are new to Pilates, this foundational Mat workout by Kathryn Ross-Nash is perfect for you. She works on breaking down the exercises so you can build them up as you progress. She also informs you of the purpose of each exercise because this will remain the same, no matter what level you are.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hi. I'm Kathi Ross Nash, here for Pilates Anytime. We're gonna be doing foundational mat work today. I like to call it break it down to build it up. A lot of times in Pilates, you'll see things called modifications, I really don't like to use modifications I prefer to break down the exercises.

That's what Joe did when he used uses all of his apparatus you break the exercise down. The difference being is that the purpose of every exercise does not change. No matter what level you are doing it. Whether you're just doing your pre Pilates or you're doing some crazy workout that's super advanced. The exercises purpose always remains the same.

So in these foundational mats that we're going to do today our focus is going to be, what comes after pre Pilates and prior to a full Pilates foundational or basic mat. So we're gonna begin lying down. You're gonna lie all the way down flat with your legs long. Your stomach lifted in and up, the ribs soft. Make sure you're not pushing down or tucking the pelvis.

You wanna lengthen the spine long as if my head is moving in one direction my legs are moving in the other. You're gonna take a nice inhale bring the arms up exhale stretch far behind you and make as much length in your waist as you can. You're gonna inhale bring the arms up to the ceiling plug the shoulders in the mat, pull the stomach in and up and as the head reaches the legs reach away in opposition as I peel off the mat, notice my arms don't drop down, I want my arms six to eight inches over my thighs and they're gonna move in a six to eight inch radius and you're gonna inhale deeply, reach those legs long, for five counts, and exhale through the nose reaching the legs long, two, three, four, five, lift the stomach in and up inhale, two, three, four, five, exhale reach the legs out of the hips, pull the stomach in as you're exhaling, squeezing all the air out of the lungs. Inhale press the legs together, full inhale, filling the lungs up. Full exhale ringing the lungs out, continuing this pattern lowering your head if you have to pulling the stomach in and up, two, three, four, five, out, two, pump those arms, vigor, in two, three, four, five out, two, three, four, five, roll up a little higher, pull the stomach back, three, four, five, exhale, two, three, four, five, last set, make it your best, inhale the lungs fully fill them up.

And exhale out. Good. Right from there you're going to do a little baby single leg pull, don't move your box, slide the leg up, pull the stomach in and up, slide the leg up, now, without losing your pelvis on the mat, reach your fingertips toward your heels, lift the head up, exhale and reach your hands all the way to the heels, pulling the stomach in and up slide the hands, slide the hands, slide the hands and lengthen all the way down, open the shoulders first, lengthen the spin down, notice the tail bone does not tuck inhale. Exhale slide the hands towards the heels, tailbone reaches towards the heels, feet flat on the mat in seam of the legs, pressing together, pelvic bones on, bottom of the shoulder blade on, reach those hands more, pull the stomach in and up, and lengthen down, feel that glorious stretch of the neck, as you elongate it down. We're gonna add the arms going up, inhale bring the arms up, exhale stretch the arms back.

Inhale bring the arms up, plug those shoulders bring them down, reach them towards the heels, roll up on the exhale, roll up a little more this time try to get to the bottom of your ribcage, keep those hands on the mat, hold, it helps to keep the chest open. Hold, hold and roll down. Inhale bring the arms up, exhale stretch far behind you inhale bring the arms up plug the shoulders in bring the hands down by the side, open the chest, exhale as you roll up, you want to keep that chest open. Really press those hands, press the feet, and try to get up another vertebra, keeping the tailbone long hold it, pull the stomach up and in, open the shoulders against the rounding of the head coming up and hold it and roll all the way down. One more.

Reach your arms up, stretch back, try to find a little more length in your waist this time. Bring the arms up to the ceiling, press the shoulders down, arms down by your side and remember if you come to a variation and it's too difficult for you let's say your shoulder gets stiff and won't go all the way back, you go within your own range of motion, or you stay with the prior variation. Hold it, hold it, hold it, hold it, have to work that stomach, and articulate the spine as you lie down. Now keep your arms close to the side and you're going to bend the knee into the chest and you're gonna stretch this leg up and all I want you to do without moving anything is to bring the leg towards your nose, nothing moves, pull the stomach in, bring it back to center, reach over the opposite hip but don't let this move. Bring it back to center, reach your knee to the knee press your legs together to find the midline, pull the stomach in and bring it back to center.

Open it out to the side, anchor more in opposition with the opposite hip and bring it back to center. So you're working up to the nose, all the points that you use for your leg circle but every time you're coming back to center, to re-establish where your center and midline is and to help really find where your box is when you're doing this exercise. It's also great this breakdown because you really learn the points of stability and opposition and with Pilates most of the time it's what's not moving that's important as opposed to what's moving. Reach the leg across, up, pull the stomach in in opposition as it lowers and up, open it to the side anchor the opposite hip, last set, go a little deeper this time stretch it up up up up up to the nose keep the whole pelvis flat, pull the stomach in now anchor the hip of the leg that's moving open the chest, pull the stomach in to bring it up. Now lift the navel up the spine, don't let the ribs flare out, and lift it up and anchor the opposite hip and very good.

Bend the knee and give it a little stretch. Pull the stomach in as the leg goes down, bend the other leg and extend it up. Reach your arms long, reach the leg towards your nose, hold. And down. And cross anchor the opposite hip, and center, slide knee to knee it helps you find that midline.

Pull the stomach in and up look it's a little hidden single leg pull, over to the side, and up, up to the nose, anchor the hip, anchor the hip. Lengthen the stomach in and up. Anchor the opposite hip. Two more. As you reach leg notice the angle of the foot is not changing, so I'm already learning that the leg doesn't rotate in and out during my leg circles it really becomes about the stabilization of my box as opposed to the moving of the leg.

Back to center, reach it across, reach it down. Reach it across, and bend the knee into the chest. Now we're gonna do the reverse and I like to do the reverse very old style Joe. I'm going to squeeze my knee to my knee and that's where I'm gonna begin and then I'm gonna bring it up. Center, now I'm gonna bring it across.

Center, now I'm gonna bring it up, to center. Open, center. Reach it down, squeeze. Pull the stomach in and bring it up. Side.

Nose. Anchor the opposite hip, center. Reach the leg long out of the hip. Stomach lifts in to stabilize stomach lifts in to bring it back up, cross. Nose.

Side. Reach it down last one pull the stomach in and up. Over anchor this hip, lift the stomach up. Anchor this hip bone, anchor the opposite hip, bring the leg down, bend the knee, other side. Press it together.

Find that length in the hip. It actually helps to really stabilize that side that leg is moving from, reach it across. Up to the nose, feel the sit bone reach down. Reach open. Knee to knee re-establish the box, find the power house, lift the spine in and up, arms close to the side, leg goes up, reach it across, up to the nose, over the side, reach it down hold.

Bring it up. Side. Nose. Anchor the opposite side. Bring the knee to the knee, bend the knee in and very good now.

We're gonna work on rolling like a ball. You're gonna move your feet a little further away from you hold the back of your legs and come up to sit. So when you're here, you wanna make sure that the feet are not gonna move and that the feet are even in together. The knees press together you're gonna start working that midline which you're really gonna need. Elbows are lifted, pull the stomach up and in and roll back and feel your feet anchor in opposition and notice how long the spine is I'm not collapsing down.

From here go up and over to return. Pulling the stomach in. Pull the waistline back shoulders down use the arms, you're already working on the next exercise your single leg pull arms. Pull the stomach up and in and curl over. And again pull the stomach in, roll down the spine, feel the spine, get its massage, open your low back by really reaching the back down and back and it's if somebody has their hand and they're wasting they're pulling you back, you're gonna curl up and in, which actually is a great spot for your students to really pull the hips back, shoulders drop down, give it a little more love here, go a little deeper, lengthen the legs, pull the stomach in and come up.

Move your feet a little more in to make it deeper for the next few repetitions, pull the waist back, touch the hips first, touch the waist, the bottom of the rib, peel the bottom of the rib off, the waist off, the hip off and curl over two more, pull the ribs back, lift the waist, shoulders down, remember it's chin to chest not to throat. All the way down, pull the stomach up and in, curl over and very good now, lengthen the spine, roll yourself back and let's pull both legs into the chest, there's that little rolling like a ball position. Okay notice how every exercise has the exercise before in it. Hug it in, elbows out, here's that arm lifted position, slide this leg just like we did in that single leg circle exercise and find that position, slide it along the other leg and hug it in to re-establish your stomach. Slide, stretch.

Pull the stomach in and come all the way in. Keep this hand on the ankle, slide the other hand directly to the knee. I love doing it this way because one, being, bringing my legs in, I keep re-establishing where my box is and where my stomach is, and i don't have to fight about that low back. The other thing is is that my hands begin on my ankle and so I know that the one that's extending and the one that's moving will go to my knee and it doesn't get so confusing when you're trying to teach the hand position two hands around the ankle as this one goes, it goes to the knee. Pull the stomach in, bring it back, give it a nice, deep hug elbows up.

One more set each side. Pull the stomach in, bend both knees in, last one. Slide it along the leg, it helps you find that midline pull the stomach back, reach the leg out of the hip like we did with our legs on the mat, pull all the way in. Now, stretch your legs out, glue your heels, and hold your legs. Pull it back and slide your hands to your heels just like we did in our roll up reaching our hands towards our heels, here's that rolling like a ball position.

Press the heels together, pull the stomach back. Slide the hands along the legs grab the ankles and exhale, now let's add the breath, inhale deeply. (inhaling) exhale squeeze all the air out and press the legs against your body to help bring the lungs out, really reach that head in between, if your neck gets tired you may put it down, inhale, or use a pillow if you want, hold, exhale ring the lungs out, out, out. Elbows lift to make more space along the back body every repetition go a little deeper, try to press that tailbone down as well, press the heels together, don't let the feet collapse, pull the stomach up in and up, press your heels, reach for your ankles, press the heels, reach for the ankles, reach for the ankles, and pull it in. Our transition is going to be the reverse of the roll back is the roll up feet a little further away to help pull you up and slide your legs open.

Just beyond your hips width. Have the hands here now very much like we did in the roll up we're going to walk our hands forward and that same as the roll back pulling the hips back they're gonna stay stacked, so they're not gonna collapse forward as I roll walk my hands forward, and I fold in the other direction. When you get to the point where your fingertips are by your heels push on your hands, anchor your tailbone and lift your ribs off of your waist and walk back the same way. Let's add the breath, nice long spine, anchor the tailbone down, reach the crown the head up, hands pressed inhale. Exhale as you walk the hands forward, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, line up your fingers and heels, anchor the tailbone, lift the waist up, completely exhale, ringing out the lungs, all the way.

And inhale to come back up. And exhale. Exhale. Anchor the pelvis. Pull the stomach in and back, open the ribs, work yourself up your spine and expend the back body as you press down on the hands and you push the heels away and the knees and toes point towards the ceiling and then your spine reconstructs into a lift one more time with this delicious exercise, inhale, and exhale.

Exhale. Exhale. Exhale. Exhale press on the hands, open the back body. The head continues the line of the spine the tailbone anchors down the crown of the head reaches and deepens, deepens, and deepens with the curve of the spine.

And reconstruct the spine as you walk your hands back. Now, slide your hands along your ankles all the way to the ankle. Roll the shoulders and open the chest up. Now this trajectory of the leg is gonna be the exact same as it was down here, it's gonna stretch up, hold it, hold it, hold it and come down. And stretch up.

Now we were developing this when we did our single leg circle where we brought the foot back to center. Here's the angle with the leg out to the side if I was to lie down it would be there and fold it in I don't move my pelvis or shift side to side as the leg extends, pull the stomach in, open the chest, leg goes up, anchor on the other side, lift the waist, pinpoint down, leg goes up, pull the waist up and in pinpoint down, two more each side, lengthen the spine up, up, up, and down and just like with any leg circle you get a spinal massage when that leg moves inside its socket, very good now, you're gonna go back to that position that we were in for our spine stretch, and we're gonna do a side bend. I like to call bending the mother of the twist. So lift up nice and tall, and you're going to turn, there's our little twist, but this time we're gonna bring the elbow to the knee and exhale. You're gonna reach long the opposite hip comes up and you're gonna turn to the other side long waist anchor, don't let that pelvis move, so just like when we were doing our leg circles and the pelvis wasn't moving, as we're twisting our spine around our pelvis, the pelvis isn't moving.

Lift up. This is delicious this is my desert, also looking out the beautiful window is my desert. And come up, lift up, twist, keep the head right on top of the tailbone exhale over, pull the waist back, try to make as much space under the rib and the waist as possible you're gonna need it for the next exercise, well actually the side bending exercise. You need it for all the exercises. Reach over.

And lift up. And I really want you to reach that elbow right towards the knee. Keep everything open, reach up and center. Reach your arms to the side and here's our first side split bringing that carriage in like you would on the reformer, draw your legs together you're gonna place your hands here, transitions are everything, you're going to twist over because right there that was my first hip twist, yeah? So, we're gonna do an exercise called the diaper.

I know I'm dating myself. You're gonna lie down here, you're gonna pull your stomach in and up and off the mat for five counts, then you're gonna press the heels together and that pressing of the heels together makes the muscles of the legs wrap around the bone and you're gonna hold it, hold it, hold it and relax down. Pull the stomach in and up for five counts, press the heels together for five counts. Reach your legs away, reach the head away, keep the stomach off of the mat, hold it, hold it, hold it and relax. Now we're gonna reverse it, we're gonna press the heels together for five counts, for some people the reverse connects to them more, and then you're gonna pull the stomach in and up and press the heels together, press the legs together, make one leg out of the two, reach with your feet reach with your head, keep that tummy off the mat, lengthen the spine and relax down.

Press the heels together, reach the legs long, pull the stomach up and in off the mat off the mat. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. And relax.

Might look easy but it's not. Press the heels together for five. Four, three, two, one, pull the stomach off the mat five, four, three, two, one, and relax. Place your hands underneath your shoulders, pull the stomach in and up for your first sit up, sit back on the heels, don't let the belly collapse there pull the stomach off of the thighs for a little baby bent tree, hands face this way and you're going to do another hip twist in the opposite direction, good. So now what we're gonna do is the setup for your side kick series you're gonna lie long and this is a lot of work.

Begin with your arm down in line with your ear. Have the legs long, walk the bottom foot forward, walk the top foot on top of it, this is a great way to find where your should be the angle you should be, back body against the back end of the mat, this hand comes forward, reach this arm out and place the hand right behind the nape of the neck, now, right here is something that's called the house for the mouse, okay, remember when we were talking side bents and I said lift it I want you to hold that up off the mat, just like you held your belly off the mat and hold it five, four, three, two, one and relax. Reach the heels away pull the stomach in, don't do the fatal mistake of taking the ribs off, right? We want the waist off, hold it five, four, three, two, one, reach out of the head and out of the tailbone and lengthen down and again, lift the waist up, pull the stomach up and in, hold it five, four, three, two, one and down. This is your first big, advanced, exercise side bend.

Reach your heels away, notice that my heels are together my feet are flat as I make my house for the mouse I'm on the back edge, I'm lengthening out of my head there's so much happening, pull the stomach up and in. Five, four, three, make that little house bigger and relax, beautiful, take your hands here, we're gonna just swivel right to the other side, there's your little cancan. And you're gonna lie nice and long once again along the back edge of the mat, head goes down the setup for this exercise is key. Flex your foot, bottom foot takes the step forward, top foot joins it, the heels are long and together this top leg helps to make the house for the mouse. If I collapse I'm dead in the water.

I've gotta reach that leg long so my hips stack and is here, slid this hand behind, open up the neck, pull your stomach in and lift your house, two, three, four, five and lengthen down. Pull the stomach in anchor the heel and make space, two, three, you wanna be able to slip your hand under there, four five and relax. Lengthen the neck, pull the stomach in, push through the heels, lift your house two, three, make a mansion, four, five, and relax, pull the stomach up and in lift, lengthen, five, four, three, two, one and beautiful. Once again, press your hands, do that little swivel over to this side. And now we're gonna really suffer a lot.

Reach your arms up, something very important. If my hands are down here, can you see how my body drops? You wanna have parallel planes between your arms and your legs, teach them early, pull the stomach in and you're going to roll down, let gravity help you, go all the way down to touch the shoulders, keeping the arms parallel over the legs. Head comes up keep the arms parallel over the legs and reach up, up, up, up, up. Long waist, roll down, keep reaching up.

Reaching up parallel over the legs with those arms and pull the stomach in and reach it back and look at all the exercises that we did today all are in this exercise here. And lengthen down, reach with the arms, reach with the knees, pull the stomach in, roll down try to feel each vertebra as you roll down, open the shoulders, head, reach your arms back. Bring the arms up. Head comes up, find the parallel planes, find your parallel planes, find your parallel planes, let's make a little nest here, bring the right foot in, bring the left foot in which means your arms have to lift even more your goal one day is to do this with your arms behind you. Roll down, keep the parallel planes all the way down.

Ribs go in reach up and back. Arms up to the ceiling, plug it in, head comes up, feet are flat, roll up, pull the waist in, keep the parallel planes, articulate all the way through lift up and roll, roll. Roll. Down. Bend the knees into your chest, give yourself a hug.

Do a little circle on the pelvis to one direction, little circle on the pelvis to neutralize the spine, another circle around. Another circle around. Hold the back of your legs, roll yourself up and excellent that was your first foundational mat.


17 people like this.
Outstanding! I'd love to see a series with Kathryn breaking down all the Pilates exercises.
Thank you!
1 person likes this.
That was great! Teaser was Stomach Massage- first time making that connection! Thank you.
I am so thrilled! This is why I wrote the Red Thread of the Mat and continue to write the books- I feel these are the lost exercises that connect the pre-pilates to the work as we know it as well as eventually using the work to build to the more advanced exercises. The Purpose and knowing the purpose is so very important! there will be more levels of this class to come- each getting a touch more difficult and faster so you can build your workout as your work builds and strengthens. THANK YOU!!!! I appreciate your taking the time to write!
1 person likes this.
I have a new starters class tonight Thank you for taking me back to basics - will def help me
1 person likes this.
Great , thank you! Looking forward to your workshops at the PAA conference! :)
2 people like this.
THANK YOU so SO much Kathryn,
\This was AWESOME!
1 person likes this.
You made me work! WOW! The breakdowns were incredible. Absolutely great. Oh, and I love your new haircut. :))
1 person likes this.
Amazing! Love this for my beginners! So clear, thank you.
sorry-- the breathing on Hundred is wrong-- Joe would have corrected it if he were here now. LONGER exhalation or no benefit.
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