Class #3183

Foundational Mat 2

30 min - Class


You will work from the top to the bottom in this Mat workout with Kathryn Ross-Nash. She adds on to her foundational Mat series, focusing on you can develop your powerhouse to support the weight of your legs. She also works on learning how to move your body as a whole so you are prepared when you start to incorporate more advanced exercises.
What You'll Need: Mat, Baby Arc

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Hi, I'm Kathi Ross-Nash, here for Pilates Anytime. We're going to be doing a second foundational mat. Just like in the first mat we wanna work on the upper stomach first. So a lot of times we'll go from top to bottom. Yeah, you need to develop that upper stomach so that it can support the weight of the legs to develop the lower stomach.

Remember that Pilates is always gonna be a full body workout so you'll hear me reference reaching with legs, reaching with arms throughout the whole thing. Pilates no matter what level you work it you wanna feel open and good. You don't wanna feel that you're struggling and straining. Sometimes we'll do an exercise or a mat really, really quickly. It should feel as good as when I'm moving this slowly and deliberately, okay?

So first thing that I want you to do is make sure you have your little baby barrel in place and you're gonna roll back to the point where my shoulder blades touch the baby barrel mkay? From there, I'm going to lengthen, not tuck, lengthen my spine so that it fills here where my lungs sit. I'm gonna lengthen my legs down and now use the barrel to open up my pelvis. Remember, every piece of equipment in a Pilates studio has a definite purpose. Barrels are to open.

So if I'm grabbing a barrel, there's a reason. You might have thought I was doing it to support my upper body but in actuality, I'm doing it to open the front of my hip to make more space behind me. 'Cause I'm gonna need that opening to correctly support my pelvis when my legs are up. So, I want you to bring your arms up. Up, we have the barrel here, let's give it a nice big stretch back.

Just because we can. Bring the arms up, lengthen the spine back. Reach the legs forward, bring my head up. Have my arms six to eight inches over my legs and a nice vigorous pump. Inhale deeply and exhale.


Pull the stomach back. Back, back, back. Inhale, two, three, four, five. Exhale, two, three, four, five. Open the chest as you inhale.

(breathes) And exhale through the nose. Reach with the arms and squeeze more air out. As much air as you can get out and vigorously pump those arms to get the circulation going. Inhale, two, three, four, five. Big exhale, two, three, four, five.

Pull the stomach back. Inhale, reach the legs long. Three, four, five. Open the shoulders, exhale, two, three, four, five. Halfway there.

Inhale, this is your fifth one. (breathes) And exhale, squeeze it out. Out, out, out, out. Pull the ribs back as you inhale. (breathes) And exhale, reach the arms long.

Reach the legs long. Reach the pelvis back into that space opening up the front of the hips. Inhale deeply. (breathes) Exhale, pull the stomach in. In, in, in, in, inhale deeply.

(breathes) Exhale, pull the stomach back and in, two, three, four, five. Two more sets, come on, put a little pepper in those arms. Inhale. (breathes) Exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, last one, make it your best. Inhale deeply.

Pull the pelvis back, open the front of the body, lengthen the back of the body and reach, two, three, four, five. Excellent, roll up. Remove your barrel. And we're gonna be going from this sitting upright position, bend the knees, sit up tall. With this length, roll to touch just the low back.

Half Roll Back

Touch the low back, pull the stomach in. Roll up and this time sit up straight. Adding a little more difficulty than before. Feel as if the head is attached to the ceiling and your spine's getting longer and your stomach's going, "No, I have to go down to the back." And your head's going, "No, I have to go up "to the ceiling." So that you get traction throughout the entire spine. This time go little lower.

And feel as if somebody's lifting you up by the tips of your ears. I don't know about you but I was naughty little girl and I got my ears pulled a lot and lift up, I know you're shocked. Pull the stomach in, keep it long. Long spine, no collapsing down. Use your hands on the legs.

Notice the elbows are lifted and out. This is actually my first shaving. Reach, the arms are working in a shaving position. But low, and pull the stomach in and up. And let's challenge it to a double leg pull.

Bring your legs a little closer. Lift that spine up and roll back with a long spine. Find a gaze point or a focal point in front of you and keep your gaze there. It'll help keep the neck long and not collapsing down. We don't wanna sink.

We wanna lift. Two, three, four, five. Roll all the way down. Now bring your feet in a little more and you're going to lift this knee and have the leg parallel to the mat. And we're gonna do that little circle with both knees bent.

Single Leg Circle Variation

This whole exercise is about stability right now so that even though you're doing the internal twist that it eventually becomes you really need to keep this length as the knee goes up to the nose. Around to the side and you need to keep the box quiet. If your box moves, you've gone too far. So nothing moves in the box as the leg stirs. Pull the stomach in, slide the leg by the other leg so that you find your midline.

Slide the leg up. Keep it parallel to the ceiling. Pull the stomach in and circle the leg. Lift it towards the nose across the body. Really keep it small and controlled.

So that it's actually massaging all those insertion points in the hip as opposed to struggling. And lifting that hip and doing all sorts of non great things for your back. And good, bring the leg down. Now you notice that I did one direction. When you do this other direction, you're going to begin that same way and reach across the body as your first move.

You should go across the body every time you work it because it helps to really stabilize this hip. Across, across, across. Pull the stomach in, anchor. Bring the leg down. Slide it up so you find your midline and go across the body.

Pull the stomach in, across. Across for three. Across for four. Across for five. Pull the stomach in, slide the leg down.

Good, just like in the other, the first foundational mat. You're gonna lift up. Slide your hands as much as you can towards your heels. When you can't go up anymore without clear articulation you're going to use your arms to come up. We're gonna work on the balance part of stomach, of rolling like a ball.

Pull the stomach in. Slide your feet in and hold the balance. Hold. Two, three, four, five. Bring your toes down and then your heels down.

Rolling Like A Ball Prep

Slide in, this position is imperative. It opens the low back up. If I'm here and I balance, my low back is flat. If I'm here in my balance my low back is pulling in and you can see the double leg pull right there. And pour your toes down for two.

Pull the stomach off of the thighs like in the tree, slide your feet in. Hold it, try to get your head a little deeper between the knees. Try to get a little more space between the thighs and the stomach and pour your toes down and deepen it even more. Shoulders down, elbows lift, stomach goes back. Feels so good go a little deeper in.

Reach your heels together. Hold, two, three, four, five. Pour your toes down, bring your feet flat and slide in. Two, three, four, five. Bring your toes down.

Good, pick up your seat, move it down a little bit if you have to on your mat. If not, don't. Pull your legs all the way in. Now, in the first mat we did our change with our legs in our chest. This time we're gonna do a fluid switch.

And if you noticed before, I reference sliding the legs along each other. This will help keep them from wandering all over the place. Not so fab. In, slide 'em along. Pull, deepen.

Single Leg Stretch

Slide along, elbows lift, just like before. Slide along, left hand to left ankle. Slide along, right hand to right ankle. Keep the heels touching. Reach, a nice fluid switch so the knee arrives in when the leg fully extends.

Learning to work the body in tandem where the arms and legs arrive at their points at the same time is really important. It teaches us to move our body as a whole. Not in bits and pieces. We're not just legs and arms, we're one connected being. Slide.

And one more set, slide. Pull both legs in. You're gonna stretch out and hit the same position we did in the foundational mat but now we're gonna draw our hands in. Like we did as we went into our open leg rocker position. Massage the thighs, and pull in.

Double Leg Stretch

Stretch out, press. Hands come in. This reaching up for the ankle helps to prevent the people from dropping their heels down as they bring their legs in. So many times you'll drop the feet and when you drop the feet, it's actually a tip of the pelvis. But to actively reach yourself as you stretch out, reach.

Now really reach for those ankles. Try to get them. Try to get them. Try to get them and pull it all the way in and stretch out and reach towards the ankles and you're also beginning to introduce the seal. And stretch out.

Pull in, pull in, pull in, pull in. One more time, just 'cause it feels so good. Stretch out, pull the stomach in. Pull the stomach in and bring the head down. Stretch both legs up.

Hands to the ankle. Lift your head up. Hold onto the right leg. Don't move your hips and reach the left leg out of the body as much as possible without losing the pelvis. Pull the stomach in.

Single Straight Leg Stretch

Bring the leg up. Reach, once again, beginning with the leg up and ending with the legs up. So that your reestablish your box and you reach away and from here you're pulling the stomach back. Reaching a leg, pull the stomach back and bring it up and lengthen. Reach the leg out of the hip.

Just like we worked when we had that little barrel. Pull the stomach in and up. And stretch. Notice that we're beginning, introducing this exercise the same way we introduced the bent leg version in the Foundational One mat. Reach out, pull the stomach in and back and of course only lower that leg as much as you can control.

You work where your body can find space. And up, pull the stomach in. Pull the stomach in, pull the stomach in and up. Bend both knees, hold the back of the legs, roll up for your first introduction to your rolling like a ball. Slide your legs open to the corners of the mat.

Or if you have boxes they can go the boxes. Now not, the other one we walked down. This time we're gonna slide. So you're gonna lift up, slide your hands and we're gonna actually slide 'em along our legs and slide them back. So now we have tactile points that we're moving at the same point in speed.

Spine Stretch Forward

My hands are on my knees. I pull my waist back. I arrive to the end of my pants at the same time. I arrive to my ankles the same time. I roll back up and fill the lungs as I come up.

(breaths) Exhale, pull the waist back, shoulders down, press the hands on your legs. This is also establishing the open leg rocker position. And slide all the way up reconstructing the spine, lifting the chest with soft ribs, inhale deeply. (breathes) Exhale, pull the stomach in. Keep the spine long, the crown of the head reaches between the knees, the hands move evenly down and a fluid roll up.

Excellent, now just like we did in the double leg pull, we're going to slide our hands on the inside. Hold onto the ankle. Remember not to let the hips move like we didn't in the other mat. You're gonna stretch one leg up. Now we're gonna stretch both legs up and hold the balance.

Open Leg Rocker Prep

You're gonna pinpoint one foot down with control. Don't shift the hips, pinpoint the other one down. Control, name of the game. Right leg goes up. Left leg goes up.

Right leg goes down. Left leg goes down. Left leg goes up. Right leg goes up. Left leg goes down, right leg goes down.

Box doesn't move. Right, left, left, right. Left, right, left, right. Right, left, right, left. Left, right, left and right.

Right, from there slide the hands and sit up. We're gonna do one of my favorite exercises which is the Side Bend Into The Twist. It really helps establish where the box is and it builds off the exercise from the foundational one mat. Take your hands behind your head. Some people like to interlace, some people like to placed hand on hand.

Side Bend w/ Twist

Let's do interlace today. Lift all the way up and lengthen the spine. Turn just the upper body. Keep that lower body quiet. Touch the knee down.

Now maintain that rotation. And lift and curl the crown of the head to the knee so you shoulders are square and your box is square. Roll up to reconstruct the spine and deepen your twist. Inhale, come to the center. Continue over, touch the elbow to the knee.

Lift up, maintain that squared box. Pull the stomach in and reach the crown of the head. To the knee. Roll up while you're in that twist, get a little more joy and deepen the twist and not move the hips. Inhale, come up.

(inhales sharply) And stretch elbow to knee. Lift up, crown of the head to the knee as you exhale. Roll up, reconstruct the spine and deepen the twist. Deepen, deepen, deepen, lift center, reach over, delicious side bend. Keep that twist.

Curl down, one thing I really love about this variation is that as you do the side bend it really anchors the hip that likes to move when you twist. So as I'm here and I stretch over to my right. Right, my this side is gonna really wanna anchor. So I'm gonna keep that anchored as I lift up and as I curl over, I'm gonna think about that side that I was fully anchored on and I'm gonna roll up and I'm gonna anchor it even more 'cause I know what the feeling feels like. Other side, now feel the anchor happen on the left 'cause the weight of my upper body's now on my left.

Keep the weight on that left side. Keep the weight on the left side as you go over. Keep the weight on the left side as you roll up and even more reestablish that your weight is there and come to center. Draw the legs together for once more, nice little split. And flip yourself over.

Now, we worked on the diaper last time where we were pulling out stomach in and off of the mat. I want to have the elbows down, roll the shoulders back and this is also your introduction to your pull straps that the shoulders draw down. I want you to pull the stomach up, off of the mat. The chest reaches forward, the legs reach back. The pelvis is on the mat.

Single Leg Kick Prep

I'm not sinking into my low back. I'm lifting my chest forward. Think of this as a front body opening exercise. Not a back bend. And all I want you to do, is slide the right leg away.

Slide it, slide it, slide it and move the chest forward in opposition and lengthen down and slide the left leg away. Bring the chest forward as much as I reach that leg. I am going to lengthen my chest and down. Chest goes forward, pull the stomach off the mat. Stretch that leg, stretch the right leg, stretch it.

Stretch it, stretch it, reach it out and down. Chest forward, pull the stomach in. Stretch the left leg. Reach, reach, it's a lotta work. And down, roll the shoulders back.

Bring the chest forward, pull the stomach in. Press down your hands. Find your pull strap. Pull those arms in. Bring the chest forward.

Reach the leg out and bring it down. Roll the shoulders back. Press the hands down. Pull the elbows back, pull the stomach off the mat and stretch the other leg away. Away, away, place your hands down by your rib cage, pull the stomach up and in.

Sit all the way back. Pull the ribs up and open up the low back. Slide right out there, into that side kick position that we worked on before. Hand here, bring the bottom leg forward, top leg forward. Place the hand right here and find this house for the mouse.

Child's Pose

I always introduce this exercise up and down first. So turn this leg slightly out, keep your house for your mouse and lift the leg up, only as much as you can control your box. Push through the heel and lengthen down. Reach through the leg, stretch the leg, keep your hip on the hip, only as much as you control. Flex the foot, later on you can let that leg fly but you have to have the control first.

Lift and Lower

Reach out, anchor the bottom heel. Reach through this hip, reach through this heel, keep your house for your mouse. Reach the leg long, lift it up, anchor the bottom heel. Flex, think about your whole star situation. Here's your very first star.

Reach, see that, first week of Pilates, you're doing the star. And push out through the heel and lengthen down, down, down. If you build your work cleanly, you can do everything and reach out, out, out. Let's suffer through two more together and reach, keep that house for the mouse. Little space underneath there as you reach that leg out.

Push through the heel, push through the head, reach in two directions. One more time. Reach it out, out, out. Lift up under your ribs and flex all the way down. Beautiful, place your two hands here.

Bring your knees up for your first little cancan for the day. Slide them to the other side. Lie down and reestablish the position. Hand goes behind the head, flex your feet, walk your foot forward, walk your other foot forward, find your house for the mouse. Mine has a little backpack there.

And you're gonna reach the leg long and stretch out and up. Don't let this hip move. Flex and reach down. Pull the stomach in, reach up, up, up. Control, keep that hip down and lengthen all the way down.

Pull the stomach in and up. Stretch that top leg. This is my harder side. We all have one and flex all the way down. Some days it's harder than others and reach out, out, out.

Flex and remember, always respect your body. What you do one day you might not be able to do another day and reach out, out, out and flex and if you had a bad day before, you walk in the next day, you might have an amazing day and do crazy things. And stretch up, up, up. Flex, that's a beautiful, most beautiful thing about Pilates, it meets you where you are. And reach out, out, out.

Flex down, one more time. Let's make this your best. Reach that top leg long. Push through the bottom heel. Lengthen through your head.

Push through the heel and reach down, down, down. Excellent, now let's swing our legs around and before we went from the top to the bottom and from the bottom to top but we had two legs bent. Now we're gonna be a little evil and do one leg. Okay, so we're always challenging. Glue the legs together.

Teaser Variation

Much like we did in our leg circle combination the first mat, you're gonna arrive to this position. This has been developed and established now. You're gonna reach your arms back. Bring the arms up, lift your head and keep your arms parallel over that leg. Pulling the stomach back and you're gonna press the legs together for five, four, three, two, one.

Reach the arms back. Pull the stomach in. Head up, roll up, up. Parallel planes, lift, slowly come down five. Pelvis hits, waist hits, ribs hit, back of the shoulders hit and lengthen.

Arms up, head up, reach parallel planes, peel yourself off the mat, lift up and reach up as you roll back. Think of that spine stretch forward where your waist pulled back but your hands reached forward. There it is again. And arms go back. Little sexy switch there.

Pull the stomach in. Glue the knees and arms come up. Head comes up, keep it parallel planes and lengthen up, up, up. Slowly come down. You know it's funny.

I do these workouts all the time and everybody's like, "Oh, how many times "do you do the super advanced workouts?" And I'm like, "Hmm, once a month." But I can do them because I make myself suffer and work like this. Hips, waist and back. Last one, arms up, head up, parallel planes. Try not to let those arms drop as you reach up, up, up and roll, roll down. Bend your knees, lift your head, slide your hands and roll all the way up this time.

Pinpoint your feet, point your toes, your hands down, loop your arms through and lift your two feet at the same time. Readjust so that your elbows are all the way through and you're gonna press the soles of your feet together. Squeeze your knees in and press the elbows out and scoop the stomach back and hold it, hold it, hold it. Release the pressure. Press the elbows out, pull the knees in, press the feet together, pull the stomach in, open the back, press the feet.

Seal Prep

Press the feet, press the feet and release. Press your knees in. Press your elbows out. Pull the stomach in. Open the back, shoulders draw down 'cause those elbows are really reaching.

Down and out, just like they did in your single leg kick. Back prep, and draw your legs together. Good work.


8 people like this.
Just when you thought it couldn't get better - it does! It must be Kathryn Ross-Nash. Seriously, I am getting so much from this series. I'm blinded by the light bulbs going off!

I love what you said about doing super advanced WOs less often. I have postural imbalances and have been working slowly and meticulously for months and watching them come back into alignment. The crazy thing is the resulting strength. It makes sense when you think about it - total sense.

Thank you so much for this amazing series and for teaching it as only you can!
Pilates Emma
Two super classes ... I am teaching a new beginners class next week ...& this has just helped me feel Pilates refreshed & enthused for my group of newbies.... Thank you
what can I use instead of the babt arc? I don't have it at home :(
1 person likes this.
Can a spine corrector be used "backwards" in lieu of an arc?
2 people like this.
That was so good!!! Kathy, you are such an amazing teacher! I am in love with this series and i crave more!!! Please make more! Thank you so much!
1 person likes this.
I love the focus of the whole and not bits and pieces. The simplicity is refreshing and hard, and I love it. Just what I need. Thank you!
Lannette Thank you! I am very excited about this series!
any arc can be used- depending of the needs of the client. I try and choose the one that best supports the curve.
1 person likes this.
I'm in love with this video. It's an uplifting video that kept me going even when I was getting tired. The motivational words make it a workout I do weekly. So happy I tried it!
3 people like this.
SO great!! Just what I have been craving.
1-10 of 33

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Pilates Anytime Logo

Move With Us

Experience Pilates. Experience life.

Let's Begin