Class #3211

Towel Mat Workout

45 min - Class


Lengthen the back of your neck with this Towel Mat workout by Blossom Leilani Crawford. Her class is inspired by a head lift that her mentor, Kathy Grant used to teach. She includes a mixture of creative variations and traditional exercises so you can find new ways to challenge your body.
What You'll Need: Mat, Towel


Read Full Transcript

Hi, I'm Blossom Leilani Crawford. Thank you for joining me in beautiful Santa Barbara at Pilates Anytime. We're gonna do what I sort of call my towel mat work. It's a short little ditty that I like to play around with. The inspiration comes from a head lift that Kathy Grant used to do for the head when our, sort of, necks got really tired.

And if, at the end of this, your arms are really sore, you probably are doing it right. So let's talk about this head lift with a towel to begin. So take a, I forgot what this size towel is called. You know, hand towel, it's called a hand towel, not a bath and not a washcloth. Okay, so you wanna put it out, and when you go to lie down, I hate to make you be an example, but see how Gia's head is almost to the end of the towel?

Not so bueno, so she should scoot down a bit. You really want a little bit of your rib cage being on. And see how Julie has a lot of towel pointing out? You really actually wanna have more towel under your ribcage. So Julie, sit up for a second and put that towel down.

And Cynthia, actually, you could come down a little. (gasps) The perfection was not quite there. All right, and then let's talk about the set up of it. So when you lie down, you want a little rib cage on the towel, and let's talk about the hand hold. So grabbing on, most people want to grab on, and sort of go elbows wide, which does feel good, but what I'm looking for here is elbows slightly up to the ceiling.

And I often think of a hammock from elbow to elbow, and when you grab, the other thing that I see often is sort of this wrist thing. See how my wrist is sort of on a funky angle? If you can think of a line from the knuckles all the way to the elbow so that you don't break in the wrist, that's what I'm looking for. So let's talk through this first head lift. So you inhale, and as you exhale, just pull on the towel.

Don't really think about it too hard. Look toward the knees, it's good to have a focus. Now, staying here with the arms and the towel, let your head fall back into the towel, but maybe feel the work in the rib cage, and maybe even lift up a little higher, but keep that head heavy, but the rib cage comes up. Okay, I'm feeling that, and maybe you can hear it in my voice. You inhale, and as you exhale, you rest your head down.

Let's do that a couple more times. Inhale, keeping the elbows as is, and as you exhale, pull on the towel to lift up, and think of sending that energy all the way down to the navel or pubic bone. And staying here, count out loud slowly to five. Say one, two, three, four, five. Big inhale, and as you exhale, gently press your head into the towel to lie back down.

Let's do that one more time and then we'll add on. Big inhale, please. As you exhale, lift your head up, send the energy down to the navel. Yes, yes, take the focus to those knees, stay here, counting out loud to five, and you're pulling. Like, really use those arms.

One, two, yes. Three, four, five, big inhale. Think of putting a belt on, narrowing the waist as you rest your head, almost press the head back into the towel to lie down. You guys feel your arms already? Yeah, okay, here we go.

Adding on, inhale. As you exhale, lift your heads up. Find that focus right away, know where you're going. Good, now stay here. The urge is to go forward with the head.

Let that head drop back, yeah, but still keep that rib cage working, staying there. Just the right leg goes up and down a few times, so you're gonna float it up, yes, keep going. And as you float the leg up and down, you want to sort of relax that lower leg and make sure you're not pushing off the foot, which is very tempting, right? This is the last one on this side. Really bring that knee into your chest.

Mm-hmm, that's it, that's it, and take it down, change sides, the left leg goes up and down, right. Mm-hmm, and Gia, what if you widen those out? Yeah, that's it, 'cause you sort of want it to support, yes, that's better-slash-harder, right? She's like, yes, and now she's shaking. Good, last one.

And with the leg going down, big inhale, and as you exhale, exhale at the rib cage to lie back. Press the head down, take a moment. If you need to release the arms, do so, 'cause we got one more variation! Big inhale, and as you exhale, pull on that towel to lift up, look right between those knees. Beautiful, yup, pull a little forward, staying here. One plus one is two, both legs go up.

Yes, both knees, yes, and slowly take the legs down. Do that a couple more times. So think, when you're doing this, almost think of lengthening your head back into the towel against the weight of the legs going down especially. One more time. Hey, we're done.

Let go of the towel, grab on to your shins, pull your head to your knees tight, let go of the towel. Yeah, pull the knees into your chest, give me a big exhale, rest your head down. Yay, take a moment to breathe. (exhales) Put your feet down, extend the legs forward along the floor. Reach the arms over your head, take a nice moment to stretch and lengthen.

And any way you wish, ladies, sit all the way up and turn around. So the next bit is we're gonna sort of unfold the towel. Now, it's gonna go sideways, and we're gonna put our feet on top of the towel. So this is sort of distraction. The hard part, really, is sitting up tall, and I can barely do that.

So I actually am gonna go back a little bit. If this is too hard, go to where you can. Even if you have to go back here, do sit up tall, even if it's on an angle back. So sit up tall any way you can. I'm using those arms, that's great, and so, let's start with the leg.

So you're gonna start to slide the legs along the floor, and I'm gonna ask you to stop when you feel like your toes are gonna come off. That's right about here. And take a little moment, try to press all the toes into the floor, even the little baby one. And as you exhale, completely go to straight, flex the feet, thank goodness. Point the feet, the end's a little harder.

You're gonna really zip tight jeans on, try to slide that towel in. I barely make it, yes. Ooh, let's try that a couple more times. Here we go, slide the legs along the floor. Stop at the moment, that's it, Cynthia, right there for the toes, and press all little 10 toe pads into the floor, feel the arches lifting.

Julie, say lifting the chest. And as you exhale, completely straighten the legs, flex the feet. Point the feet, and let's just do that one more time. Slide it back and take that moment where you find the big toes touching, arches lifted, and slide back in, adding on. Here we go, slide the towel on the floor.

Flex the feet, and cir, not circle, actually. You're gonna point the feet, grab with the toes, and pull up to you with curled toes. (groans in disgust) At least, that's how I feel when I do it. Hopefully, you'll feel better later. Flex the feet, let's do that again. So what I mean by that, you're gonna point the feet, grab with the toes, and let's pull back to you with curled toes.

Now, this is the hard part. Now, staying there, my big toes really want to come up toward me. That is my happier place. This is my less happy place with my little toes coming up. You feel that?

Now draw circles on the ceiling. Let's try to not make the face, spa face I think is what my friend used to call it. He'd say spa face, reverse, 'cause I'm making, like, stinky face. (moans) Yeah. Okay, how's the cramps in the foot?

Yeah, okay, flex the feet. (groans dramatically) Slide it back in, one more time. From here, soles of the feet come together, hang over your legs. Just take a nice little forward bend to stretch. It's hard sitting up tall. All right, next bit, you guys turn around.

Keep the towel there, just unfold it so it's purty, right, and let's flip around again, and put the hands on the towel behind you. So again, sitting up nice and tall, but now we're gonna start rolling back. So here's the trick with the towel. We're gonna be sliding it back and forth, and especially up here on this mat, it's very hard to slide. In fact, I'm gonna grab it a little bit, but I can't press down too hard or the towel won't move, right?

So that's sort of the point. And when you're ready, you're gonna curl back up, so the knees are bent, and let's do that a few times. Rolling back, slide that towel, that's it. Now, looking straight ahead, that's sort of the hard part here, and slowly come up. Two more times.

Looking straight ahead, paint down the wall with the focus of the eyes. Try not to hyper-extend on the elbows, ladies. I'm looking at this side of the room, and slowly come back up, yes. And one more time, curl, zip, and lower, rolling through, try not to go into those elbows, that's exactly it, and slowly come back up. Let's add on.

So, from here, roll back, sliding the towel. I'm gonna slide the towel. From here, reverse your spine, arch your back, lift your chest, slowly come up. Chin to the chest and roll back. One more time, roll, slide, reverse the spine, lift the chin, lift the chest, and slowly come.

Now, adding on, I'm gonna scoot back a little bit. From here, we're gonna extend the legs and lower back. Arch the back as you start to come up. Keep the legs straight, chin toward the chest, one more time. Roll back, but Julie, don't look down, look straight ahead.

I want to look down too. And reverse the spine, arch your back, slowly come up. Are you feeling your bellies? Great, chin to the chest. I heard a yes.

Hopefully you're saying yes at home. And when you're ready, reverse your spine, come on up. Let's add on. Please bend the knees as well, chin to the chest, roll back. Mm-hmm.

Reverse your spine, slowly sit up, straighten the legs to come up. It's like teasers forever. Chin to the chest, bend your knees as you roll back. Straighten the legs, slide the towel along the floor as you come up, up, up. From here, drop your head, go for a little forward bend, and take a little stretch.

With your head hanging down, look side to side. Mm-hmm, keep breathing, and hopefully, it's just the head. And staying there, so as you're looking down, maybe think of lifting the back of the head up a little bit more, so you're really looking down at the knees and not so pubic bone. Not down there, just to the knee. Yes, and now look side to side.

(exhales happily) And then while you're looking down, draw a little circle with your nose, really looking down at that floor, but not at, that's right, with the pubic bone. Hopefully, that feels good. And one more breath, please. Okay. Yes.

Good, from there, use your tummy, sit up nice and tall, head is the last thing to come up. Turn around again when you're ready. So we're gonna put the feet down, and when you're ready, you're gonna give me a big inhale, and as exhale, hum as you lie down. Go (hums) nice long sound, low, kinda helps us to roll down. Adjust your feet so that your towel and heels are right underneath your knees.

Pressing down to the hands, let's just pick the hips up, push down to the floor, and lift. (sighs happily) Inhale, and as you exhale, come down, breasts away from the chin, coming down upper back, middle back, waistline, and then the tailbone comes down. One more time, pelvic lift, please, pushing down to the feet, that's it. Good. Julie, scoot in a little bit more, love, with your body, yes.

And as you exhale, roll on down. Upper back comes down first, beautiful. Middle back, reaching those knees forward still, Cynthia, waistline exactly until the tailbone comes down. Adding on, please, lift your pelvis up one more time. Mm-hmm.

Oh, hi, hamstrings. That's exactly why we're here, that's it. So staying here with the hamstrings. So you're gonna lift the hips up, and now, this is a funky one. You're gonna just try to slide that right foot forward a little bit.

Uh-oh, I'm not sliding so well, and slide the left foot. The towel, in theory, is supposed to go with you. Oh-oh. Don't notice that I just grabbed it with my toes, and slide it on back. Oh, man! It's one thing when you have your own physical problem, it's another thing when it's on camera.

Left foot's fine, right foot, slide. So we're just sliding back and forth, and my image for this is a little bit like shuffling in snow, for you East Coasters, or people who are in snow. Come on down, let's give the hamstrings a break. Let's do that one more time. So, let's talk this through.

Pushing down into your hands, lift the pelvis up, and you're trying to not move the hips so much as you slide one foot forward with the towel, and slide the other foot forward. And the forward is not so bad, do one more set. It's the coming in that's hard, so keep the hips lifted and slide the right foot in. Look at that towel movement, oh, there we go! Right leg, come on, Blossom! Yes, both feet are even, hopefully, and as you exhale, come on down. Last little bit, you're gonna stay there.

Grab with the toes and crunch the towel up. I'm sure you've tried this before. And release, one more time. You're gonna grab with the toes, and it's as if you're pulling the towel. And release, and this is where my big toes come in handy.

And again, grab with the toes, and can you keep grabbing with the toes and pull the towel up off the ground and grab on to the sides of the towel? So, we're gonna stretch our hamstrings, right, Gia? Thank goodness. And you're gonna do what I like to call the foot taco. You're gonna stretch the legs up to the ceiling and pull down on the sides of the legs.

So if this is too hard, you can slide your towel down to your calves, or even your hamstrings. You're just trying to get a hamstring stretch using the towel. What I like about my really large, solid feet in the towel is I can pull down on that little toe side of the foot and get a nice stretch on that little toe side. Keep breathing there. Really anchor the pelvis down, exactly.

Great straight legs, and don't even think of pulling the legs toward you so much as I want you to lengthen those legs away from you. Yeah, that's exactly it. Take your right leg down and just stretch the left leg up only, so left foot taco only. If your hamstring is tight, keep your right leg bent like that, or you can straighten it along the floor, just a nice stretch. And again, inhale, keep the leg straight, and when you go to pull, think of pulling down to that little toe side of the foot, but do not twist the knee, which is tricky, right?

'Cause we all want to pull in the knee once. You feel the difference, right, so little toe down. Now, staying here, take the leg across the body just a little bit for extra fun. Masochistic Pilates, yes. Mm-hmm, and it's funny.

Cynthia's hiding her stretch here under her taco. I want a little more ankle flection, yeah! She hid that from me. Okay, you guys, yeah! (growls playfully) And come back to center, right foot taco, please. I'm calling this trip the taco tour, Santa Barbara. Yup, San Diego's next.

I hope Chicago can give me a taco or two. All right, so here we go, foot taco number two. So easy, bend and stretch, or just lengthen that leg away. Yeah, whatever feels good. I'm just not really militant about, just, I want you to stretch your hamstrings before we do more Pilates.

So the part that I like to emphasize is you're gonna flex the foot a little bit, right? There's such a thing as too much flection or not enough. You could use a little more flection, and you're gonna think of pulling down on that little toe side of the foot. And when you do, the knee likes to spiral in, but you're gonna try to keep that external rotation in a little bit as you think little toe side down, good. And then from there, you're gonna take the leg across the body, and as you're pulling that little toe side down, you anchor that right hip.

Ooh, yeah. I usually know it's right when I get an eyebrow going up, or, like, a little twist in the mouth. I'm like, ooh, yeah, that's when I know it's right. Okay, you guys. All right, when you're ready, come on back.

Just release both legs, and let's go for our hundreds and roll-ups. So you're gonna make the log. These are all trademarked, no, they're not. Just kidding. You're gonna make a towel log, so you're holding on, and let's talk about the hold.

So, in the hold, everyone wants to put thumbs on the outside. For this, let's go for thumbs on the top, and we're going for what we were doing earlier, where you're trying not to break in the wrist, which often happens when you tip the thumb on the other side, so go for thumb on the top. So, let's talk about the hundred. So ideally, we're doing the pumping, sort of low in here, and you're pumping here, but if that's too much for you, you can also put the arms here and just pump up here. So you pick your hundreds position of choice.

So when you are ready, you're gonna inhale, and as you exhale, lift your head up. Extend your legs forward into your hundreds position, and let's pump. Inhale, look, I did the wrong hold, and exhale. Two, three, four, five. Inhale, three, four, five.

Exhale, four, five. Inhale, three, four five. Exhale, pulling out on the towel. Inhale, three, four, five. Exhale, good, a few more breaths.

Inhale, three, four five. Exhale, adding on, inhale. On the exhale, go (shushing forcefully). Inhale, four, five. Exhale. (shushing forcefully) A few more like that.

When you exhale, you're using the exhale to draw the belly down to the floor. Again, four five. Exhale, yes, last one, please. Inhale, three, four, five, big exhale. That's enough, grab on to the backs of the thighs, pull the knees into the chest and pull tight.

Remove the towel from the back of the legs and hold on to it like a log again, and bring the arms up to the ceiling, take a moment here. Yes, the legs are straight. You can either flex or point the feet, and the legs are together. Give me a big inhale. Thumbs on the other side if you don't mind.

Yes, okay, let's talk about another thing about this towel. So often, when people pull, there's this thing, hopefully, you can see this, where the wrists go out to the side. If you can pull out on the towel and almost draw the wrists in, you're gonna really feel the back of your arm. And then, you kinda want the insides of the elbows, I say kinda want because when you get the insides of the elbows to face each other, it's even more work. Yeah, you feel that?

Exactly, from here, inhale, and as you exhale, bring that rib cage to the floor, bring the arms over your head, and take a moment to stretch, right? Here we go, arms up to the ceiling and hold. Lift your head up, give me a big exhale. We're gonna hold here for just a moment. That's exactly right.

Now, Cynthia, arms a little higher up. Inhale, and as you exhale, come up to that next wrinkle, and just stay here and count to 10. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10. Two more spots, arms a little higher, Cynthia. Come up right there, count to 10.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10. One more spot, oh, right there! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10. Start to count as you go forward, inhaling. Big exhale to go forward, drop your head, two, three, four, five. Exhale with the stomach in, six, thank you.

Drop the head, seven, eight, start to roll back, nine, 10, you keep going and say one, you keep counting to 10 like a crazy person. That's it, head goes back right there, yes. Four, that's it, five, beautiful, six. That's your 10-count roll-up from Miss Kathy Grant. Now let's go for the regular roll-ups.

In one motion, sit all the way up. Inhale, roll up! Exhale, drop your head, go forward. Inhale, roll back. Exhale to lie down, a few more times. And I say a few because it could be three if you want to go slow, it could be eight if you want to go fast.

Yeah, just breathe through it. I kinda don't care how you breathe, just keep breathing. When you go forward, give me a little lift of the back of the head, right. A couple more times 'cause sometimes, when we do this, there's often this, like, diving that happens toward the pubic bone, so when you go forward, top of the head goes forward. Yeah, oh, look at that! Roll back 'cause one of the things I want to play around with in this class is that idea of lengthening the head back, as opposed to always bringing that chin too close to the chest.

I say stay forward and just go for a nice breath here. Roll only halfway back and stay halfway back. That's exactly it, rolling back, rolling back. I'll take that, now, stay here. Take the focus a little above the hand, so maybe lower, that's exactly it.

Now, just stay here, just reach up. Inhale, put a belt on, oh, that's fun, and exhale, go forward. One more time, inhale, (inhales deeply) exhale, go forward. From here, draw three circles. One, try not to move the torso, did I mention that?

Two, yes, one more. Three, other side, please. And go one, I know, yes, keep breathing through it. Two, look straight ahead, you got one more, and three, reach up, inhale as you exhale. Lie all the way down.

Bring the arms over your head. Take a moment to stretch and reach. (speaking in Japanese) Yes, okay, that's enough, you guys. Leave that towel right there. You're like, "Thank you, no problem." Are you guys comfy?

Okay, good, hug your right knee into your chest for a moment, and just pull, and we're gonna play around with this. So we're gonna do what's called the point up, flex down, also sort of a Miss Grant thing. It's a little bit taken from the shoulder reach. So right now, put that right foot down, and hug the other knee in, just for another moment. Just give yourself that nice little hug.

From here, you're going to put both feet on the ground with the knees bent. Now, practice what I sort of like to jokingly call the Michael Jackson. It's not the Michael Jackson. You're gonna extend the right leg along the floor to straight, change legs, slide in, slide out. The Michael Jackson, can you see it?

Do you see it yet? Maybe if I had a glove on one hand, maybe. (laughs) All right, end with the right leg straight. Point up, flex down four times with the right leg. Point up, flex down, two more times. No, that's not true.

Now two more times, up, flex down, and one more time, change legs. Slide, slide, left leg up, flex down. Three more, up, flex down. Two more times, up, flex down, one more. Change legs, now twos, right leg up, flex down.

Point up, flex down, change legs. Up, flex down, point up, flex down. Change again, twos, flex down. So this is my sneaky hamstring stretch, change legs. Are you guys changing the legs along the floor?

Singles, up, flex down, change legs. Left, flex down, change legs. Up, flex down, change legs. Up, flex down, rest for a second. Let the soles of the feet come together and take a moment to breathe.

So the whole point of that, nice and light on the feet, knowing where you're going. Fun-slash-not so fun, right? Okay, let's move on, guys. So, any way you wish, sit all the way up. Let's go for rolling like a ball, let's just roll it out a little bit.

Grabbing on to your shins, just take a little bit of a balance. No, no towel yet, just balance. Yeah, let me just see that balance, and take a moment there. I'm gonna mess with you, put your feet down. Exactly, use those arms, pick up again, yes, and put the feet down.

Keep the torso right where it is and just pick the legs up. Ooh, yeah, there, that's betta, and take it down. I use accents. I have no other language that I speak, I'm sorry. I pretend to even speak Japanese, I don't, just FYI, 'cause it's coming, I can feel it.

Bring those legs up again, and just balance is enough work. If you want to add on, do your rolling like a ball, roll back to the shoulder blades. Yes, pull on those legs to come up, rolling like a ball. Good, a few more times. So remember that feeling of the head sort of falling back into the towel?

Right, I want a little more lift in that spine. Lifting, Cynthia! Beautiful, one more time, you guys. Yes, and come back up tall and stay here, give me a big inhale, and as you exhale, put the feet down. Grab on to your cute little towel that you love now. You're gonna arrange it again flat, and you're gonna flip back around, 'cause we're gonna do, I'm sorry, the head lift again, 'cause the stomach series is coming, yay! (squealing) Okay, and watch how I'm gonna not demonstrate this as much, and they're gonna do it.

So when you're ready, lie down on your back, mm-hmm. I'll get in there at some point, don't you worry. Okay, inhale. Also, Julie, go for the towel this way, love. I messed you up, yeah, there you go.

So, grabbing on to your towel, and really grab on, yeah, that's right, hold it like that. And then remember, try not to break in those wrists, elbows are a hammock from one elbow to the other. Big inhale. Julie, scoot back a little bit more, love. And as you exhale, use those hands to lift the towel up, bring both knees into your chest.

The rib cage should be keeping the towel down. Now, staying here, can you almost feel a press of the head back and against the pelvis being down-ish? Good, that's right, Julie, and maybe a little more upper body curl. Here we go, left leg goes forward for single leg stretch. Change sides, right.

So as you're sending that leg forward, you're pressing that head back. Keep breathing, side to side. And change and change. Keep breathing. Change and change.

I'm not really giving them rhythm as much, so you can do whatever rhythm you want. And with both knees into your chest, take a moment here. Big inhale, lie down for a moment, and just breathe. Yes, keep the knees into your chest. Big inhale.

As you exhale, use that towel, lift your head back up again. How are those arms, ladies? Here we go, both legs go forward. Inhale to reach those legs forward, yes. Bend the knees into the chest.

You can really feel the head going against the legs. Now, in this position, that's exactly it. Keep that upper body curl as you bend back in, yep. And if you lose the towel, then you need to go lower down on the towel. You can fix it, Julie, sit up and just fix it.

And again, that's it. Again, reach both legs forward, inhale, and keep pressing that head back, yes! Rest your head down, take a moment to breathe. That was a good time to take a break. No, I'm just kidding, Julie, inhale. So let's add on, let's go for the scissors, please.

So inhale again, and as you exhale, head up, both legs up to the ceiling, good, and then right leg stays to you, left leg goes forward. Go for a little scissor, you're in a parallel position. Give me a little reach, reach, change, and a reach, reach, change. Now, what I like to see is the belly is connected. Keep it connected between sides, yes! 'Cause it's not during the exercise, it's the transition between, yes.

And if you want to go crazy, you can add a little flex of the foot for a reach, reach. Change in a reach, reach. Last side coming up. I think that's enough, everybody rest. (exhales) Really rest, really put your head down, really let your elbows flop open, and look side to side, 'cause we got the last two, which are doozies. Do kids still say that, doozy?

I say it, I'm not a kid. I know, poor thing. Okay, so when you're ready, you're gonna grab on. Inhale, and as you exhale, hammock of the elbows, pull on that towel, bring both knees into the chest. Extend both legs up to the ceiling, please.

Good, so double straight leg, lower, and lift. So inhale, lower those legs, and as you exhale, think of that belly going wide as you press your head back into the towel. Do that three more times. Inhale to lower the legs to your level. Just slowly bring the legs up.

Two more, inhale to lower. Big exhale, 'cause remember, you have to have some energy left for the criss-cross. At least, that's what I'm thinking about. And as you exhale, slowly come back up. So you're gonna bend the right knee into your chest, twist toward the left, no, twist toward the right, whoopsie.

Change sides, it's elbow to knee. Now, not just thinking elbow to knee, but press your head back into the towel. Right, Gia, that's great. Change again. Pull and lean.

Change, twist and lean. Change, twist and lean. So hopefully, you're feeling a nice long twist through that whole spine. Last side coming up, yay! And rest it down, hug the knees into your chest, pull. Put the feet down and just take a moment to stretch your back in the opposite direction, ladies.

We're gettin' there. Yeah, just regular old pelvic lift. Yeah, big inhale, and as you exhale, slowly come down. So when you're ready, sit on up. We're gonna flip the towel again, so we're gonna face the other direction, and we're just gonna do a simple spine stretch forward.

So open up your legs a little bit past the shoulders, right? I'll go narrow for mine. And just put your hands on the towel, which is, you know, how you see people, and they just go forward, and just take a stretch going forward. Now, stay there and breathe. Inhale again.

Exhale, draw the stomach back, and no, no, stay there, stay there, and just think of exhale, deepening the stretch as you just think stomach back, so you can even go more forward, Cynthia, yeah! I know you're like, "Really, I get to go here?" Yes, you can. One more time, go big exhale, go forward a little bit more. Now stay here. Here's the trick. Keep that towel there, keep your head there.

Can you keep the belly engaged and bring your hands to the height of your shoulders? Sit bones stay down, that's the hard part. Mm-hmm, no, so the body stays, just the arms lift up. Yeah, use your tummy, sit up nice and tall now. Yeah, arms, and reaching forward, let's do that one more time.

Big inhale, sit up tall. Exhale, lengthen the crown of the head forward, and forward, and forward, as your belly goes backwards and backwards. Yeah, this time, the hands stay the height of the shoulders, Julie, so it's a little bit harder. That's exactly it. Now, staying here, shoulders down the back, give me a big inhale, and as you exhale, you use your stummy, stummy, stomach to sit up tall.

Stomach, tummy, stummy. (laughs) And more time, drop the head and go forward, hashtag. Go forward and stretch, yes. Mm-hmm, and what's happening is I want to remind you that it's called spine stretch forward, not shoulder stretch forward. Yeah, that's the slappy hand flop that I like to say that's like a Kathy Grant thing. She'd go, "No." When you're ready, put your hands on the towel.

Use your belly, slide that towel back in when you're ready. All right, now we're gonna do a little kitty cat, and so, let's all face forward for a moment. Go on your hands and knees. You can still face the same way, but I feel like it's an easier way to see it this way. So on your hands and knees, yep.

Both hands on the towel. Good, and let's come back a little bit. So your hands toward the front, and Cynthia, come back just a smidge, good. So staying here, just take a moment. Your hips are gonna stay right where they are.

You're gonna give me a big inhale, and as you exhale, you're gonna slide that towel forward, and think of just dropping the chest down to the floor, but keep your head off the ground, and hopefully, you're getting a great thoracic spine stretch. Julie, bring your hips back just a touch. That's it. (exhales) And use your tummy, drop your head, come back to a rounded spine to come up. Do that a couple more times. How's this feel, you guys?

Yeah, drop your head, go forward, get a stretch, mm-hmm. Now, staying here, Julie, send those hips back a little bit. Now, if you want to play around with a little more triceps, you can roll to the pinky side of the hand, and get an extra stretch that way. Yes, look up toward the ceiling just a touch, but you can't really see it, I can't either. Look down to the floor, drop your head, and round up.

Just do one more time, and you decide if you want to stay on the palms or go to the pinkies. Here we go, go forward. And you go as far forward as your back and shoulders let you, right? Enjoy that nice stretch, yes! I feel like in our world of texting, these are really important moves, yeah. And when you're ready, drop your head, round your spine, come on back to that rounded spine.

Now, staying here, come to a flat back for a moment. I'm just gonna go a little forward, so Gia doesn't kick me with her long leg. Right leg out to the side. Ta-da! Right, so you want the toes going forward. It's a little bit of a stretch in the ankle for me, and so, from here, same thing.

You're gonna slide on forward. Yes, yes, yes, that's it! Hopefully, you're getting a great stretch, and when you're ready, drop your head, round your spine. Let's bring it on back, mm-hmm. I'm gonna bring this leg a little bit out so that the hips stay even, go forward again. Drop your head, yeah! Hello, inner thigh stretch.

Are you feeling that? Yeah, now, stay here. From here, I call it a windshield wiper. We're gonna call it mop the floor. We're gonna slide over to the right, yeah! This is not classical Pilates, just FYI.

Okay, and bring it on back, but doesn't it feel so good? And come on up with a rounded spine, change sides. (exhales happily) Yes, yes. Other leg goes out, and even just this position itself is a stretch for me. And when you are in this position, you really want the hip right over the knee, correct, and you want the toes forward.

And when I say you want, I don't know if you really want to, but that's what I want. So if this doesn't feel good to you, do something else. Go forward when you're ready, drop your head and stretch. That's much better on this side. Yes! Get a nice stretch in the thoracic spine, so staying here, lift the chin up a little bit higher, and almost think boobs down, chin up.

Yeah, drop your head, round your spine, come up one more time. Mm-hmm, and again, go forward. This time, rotate to the pinky side of the head and go for a nice stretch, big stretch on the triceps. That's it, oh, no, no, don't windshield wiper yet. It's okay, she's like, "I like that one!" And drop your head, come on back.

And now, do one more. You decide, palms down or pinkies, yep, go forward again. Don't freak me out, Gia, I can barely count. When you're ready, slide over to the left and stretch. Sometimes, when I do single leg circles, I'm literally counting them with my fingers.

Just FYI, if you ever see me, that's what I'm doing. We're gonna stay here for 20 minutes. Come on back to the center and round your spine. Come on back. (exhales happily) Feel good?

Excellent, so from here, we're gonna just go into a little Sphinx position, so let's go again, bring your towels to this position. Let's go and face the beautiful ocean. I was worried, I thought we'd get not a pretty day. It's a beautiful day! All right, so bring the towel a little more forward. So this is a little more forward than my usual Sphinx, and you're just gonna slide it on in, in case you didn't get tricep work already.

Just (groans) and slide forward. (exhales happily) So as you're doing this, I'm thinking slide the elbows in to where you can, and maybe lift the tummy just a touch. My towel's rolling up, it's okay. And go forward. It's hard for the Virgo in me, but I say it's okay.

Here we go, one more time, come back up, and stay here. Keep your palms where they are, straighten your right arm only, look toward the right. So the hands stay right there, so Gia, keep your hands in line, so yeah, that's a funky twist, and take it down, change sides. (exhales deeply) One side might be stiffer than the other, and again, straighten the arm, yes. And take it down, last side, straighten that other arm, and take it down. So from here, just staying with that nice lift, drawing the belly in, just a little right leg goes kick, kick, extend, other side.

So single leg kick. Oh, we're back to classical Pilates, people. Yes. So hopefully, you're opening the front of the hip, yes, and working the hamstring. Keep going side to side, and a kick, kick, extend.

Last one, and a kick, kick, extend. From here, you're gonna push back, sit on your heels, yoga pose of the child for just a moment. (exhales happily) Yes. This is yoga. Right. (humming) I don't speak yoga, I really don't.

I once sort of faux taught a class. Turn around, face the other direction, and the woman from India came to the dance program and it was horrifying, so I had to take all my faux Sanskrit that I tried to remember. I was like, "And this is cobbler's pose." So here we go, we're doing neck pole. Grab on to your towel. And the thing in neck pole that I see a lot is people sort of do, I call it the nautilus shell, where they really bring the chin to the chest in an effort to come up, so I'm gonna try to sort of mitigate that a little bit with the head taco.

I gotta come up with a better name for that. Sounds like head cheese to me. All right, so, it's, you know, kinda like the log, but I want a little more open position, so you're really pressing the head back into the towel. Uh-oh, sorry, microphone. So from here, let's start seated, you're gonna press the head back to curl the pelvis.

Keep pressing and start to lie down, you got it, Julie, keep rolling, keep rolling, keep rolling. Ooh, that's about as low as I wanna go, come back up again. As you go forward, head to the toes, and give me a little pulse, pulse, and you go rolling back. So it is activated, the rolling is activated by the head pressing, which you can't really see because I'm in my taco, yes. So, that's it.

You're gonna roll back, and you're trying to roll back, I'll give you the front view. You're gonna roll back to where you think, oh, there is about as low as I can go. Ah, that's about all I got! Come forward again, and go for a little pulse, pulse. But even when you're pulsing forward, Gia, do you feel that head pressing back? Yeah, that's what I really wanted, yes.

This is our last one, coming forward again. Now, really pressing that head up into the towel, but you still go forward. Now stay there for a moment and breathe. Use your tummy, sit up nice and tall. You know what we look like?

The Flying Nun! (laughs) From here, sitting up tall, you're gonna lean back. Keep leaning with your head, and on the lower part, you're curling. Keep going to all the way, that's it, so curl on the inside, lean on the outside. Keep going, keep going. (gasps) That was purty.

Yeah, keep going, Julie, keep moving through it, keep moving through it, too slow is too hard! Yes, yes, yes, rest. (gasps) We're almost there. Merperson is next. You're gonna unfold the towel, please. It's gonna go the long way, and you're gonna lie on your side.

I have to do the other side 'cause of the battery pack, but you guys stay there. You're gonna lie on your side and go this way, yeah? I'll talk you through this. So from here, go for a long line from your fingertips all the way to the heels. Flex the feet like crazy.

Yeah, you got it, I'll talk you through. So staying here, inhale, lift the waistline up. That's about it. Exhale, keep it lifted. Inhale, keep the lift, and as you exhale, take it down.

Do that a couple more times. And again, inhale, lift the waistline. That's it, exhale, keep the lift. Inhale, keep the lift. And as you exhale, let it slouchy back down.

Yeah, one more time. Inhale, lift the waistline, that's it. And if you don't physically lift off the floor, that's fine. We're just going for that internal lift. And on the next breath, take it down.

Adding on, you're gonna come up on your left elbow, please. Uh-huh, but just on the elbow, like you're watching Game of Thrones. I'm mildly obsessed, I just started. I only have 37 more hours to go. So from here, you're gonna lift the waistline and a little bit of the armpit.

That's it. Stay there for another breath, and on the next breath, take it down. That's it, a couple more times, and do you feel, already, how your feet are like, "I wanna go forward!" You're gonna keep, that's right, inner thighs engaged. That's right, Cyn, hold it up there. Keep those feet there, lovey.

Inhale, and as you exhale, lengthen back down. One more time, inhale, armpit, waistline, hold it there. Can you stay there and bring both hands behind your neck for fun? Inner thighs, oh-oh, feet, what happened to my feet? Keep my feet on the floor! Feet down, yeah! And lengthen back down. (exhales happily) So from here, lie back down on that left arm, yes, good.

So from here, we're gonna go for the full exciting situation. So from this position, so feet are still flexed, you're gonna start to slide up into the merperson. So top of the head lifts up, reach the spine up to the ceiling, slide that towel, and grab on to the shins and hold. Now stay there. Bring that right hip forward, and really get that, sort of, work in the waistline.

From here, you're gonna reach that right, sorry, that's my left arm, left arm up and stretch, so stay holding on with the right. Reach the left arm up, reach it up to the ceiling. That's the merperson. Put the left hand down. Don't you want to come down now?

Let's slide that towel back out. Hey, what do you say, one more? I got lots of nods, lots! From here, start to slide on up. Slide, move that towel, grab on to the shin, and hold. Now, as you reach your left arm up, let the ribs arc to the left.

There's your merperson, and I'm pulling with that right arm and pushing with that right leg. Put the hand down. Now, here we are. In theory, you would go into your side bend, and notice how there's no weight in that left arm. It's like magic, other side.

So, you can flip to face me, right? I think we can do this. You want the towel to slide on because bruises on the elbows are only good for certain things. Dirty joke, I mean, can't I? I can't.

It's not HBO, dammit! (laughs) Okay, so here we go. So from here, you're gonna just lie on your side. Cynthia, flex, yeah, there you go. So here we go, inhale, lift the waistline up. No, you're down.

Exhale, keep the waistline lifted. Inhale, keep the lift, and as you exhale, take it down. Again, inhale, internally lift the waistline is what Kathy used to say. Exhale, keep the waistline lifted. Inhale, keep the lift, and as you exhale, let it smoosh down.

Last one, inhale, lift the waistline. Exhale, keep the waistline lifted. Inhale, keep the lift, mm-hmm, and as you exhale, take it down. Come up into Game of Thrones, watching. Right, so from here, inhale, lift the waistline and the armpit, and I sort of reach the crown of my head, yeah, and that's it.

Yeah, don't go too high, Cynthia, or you get bruised elbows. And take it down, only good for certain things. Here we go, inhale, lift the waistline, no, no, armpit, and take it back down. Anyway, lift the waistline and armpit. I'm just digging, I'm digging my hole deeper.

Stay here, both hands behind the neck. Now, this is work, yeah. Staying here, I call it the shrimp banana. It's like, this sort of, right? So you go to, really, inner thighs, rib cage, and on the next exhale, come down, reach over the head and take a moment.

Now we're gonna go into the merperson. So from here, you have to sort of see. In my mind, I'm seeing my position in my head, and I start to lift the crown of my head, slide that towel, come on up, grab on to the shin, and I am pushing and, that's it, and really bring that hip forward. That's exactly it. Knees are slightly open, bottom leg is lifted, reach up, stretch.

(groans) Other arm, Julie. Yeah, it's okay. (groans) Hand back down. Slide it out with control. It's this part that's actually really hard too.

It's all hard, I don't know what I'm talking about. Inhale, as you exhale, slide on up, grab the legs, reach the arm, and let the rib cage go. Yeah, let it go, yeah, yeah, 'cause we think, oh, we're not supposed to do that. You can do that and it should feel good. Put the hand down, and if you're feeling crazy, you go into the side bend.

All right, enough, we're almost there, you guys. So lie on your tummy, please. You're gonna make a little log, right? Reaching forward, we're gonna get a little swimming in, so staying here, you're gonna reach right arm, left leg up, and take it down. Left arm, right leg up, and take it down.

Take a moment, lift your head up, and let's try that wrist thing we did before. Thumbs on the top, pull out on the towel, the elbows face each other, but the wrists are in. That's not easy. Here we go, right arm, left leg, the head is slightly lifted, and take it down. Left arm, right leg, and take it down.

Lift your legs and your arms and start to swim. So the towel's gonna sort of slide back and forth, kinda tilts back and forth. Now, on the next exhale, lift your head up, look over that towel. Two more breaths, inhale, look down. Exhale, look up. (exhales deeply) One more breath, inhale, look down.

Exhale, look up, and rest. From here, release the towel. Push back, sit on the heels, yoga pose of the child again for a moment. Tuck all 10 toes underneath you and stretch those feet, and go into a squat. Don't fall off of here.

Take a moment here, breathing. Slowly using those legs, come up to standing. Yep, just use those legs, come up. Last little bit, you're gonna inhale, lift the heels up. Uh-huh.

Come halfway down. I know, halfway's harder, that's why we're doing it! And take it down, one more time. Inhale, full Manolo Blahnik, as I like to joke. I haven't found a good brand for the in-between. Yeah, and lower it down.

Inhale, reach up, looking up, and as you exhale, look straight ahead, but feel energy out of the top of the head. Hopefully you feel your arms by now. If not, you're maybe not human. Thank you very much, and scene. (laughing)


Very creative class. I love knowing a simply bath towel can and should be used as tool. My cycling clients will appreciated these exercises. I also connected to Blossom's personality.
1 person likes this.
Every time I take your classes I cannot wait to teach. Thank you, Blossom! Your teaching is a gift to all of us. You are so beautiful and this was so much FUN!
2 people like this.
Loved this and especially liked all of the foot/arch stretching in addition to everything else.
1 person likes this.
Loved this! So yummy! Thank you, Blossom!
2 people like this.
Beautiful class!!!!! thank you very much, from Spain!!!!
1 person likes this.
excelente clase
Love, love, loved it!!!
What a Super class with the towel....very invigorating and effective for the total body especially the core and neck. Felt Great!! Thank you Blossom.
Love that
Great class and fun!
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