Hi, everybody, it's Jo Bezzina here. I'm so excited to take you through a mat class today. And today we have Jacob, Amy, and Mary joining in with me. We're going to start with a little standing roll down. Let's start off by just finding a connection to the ground.
Feet hip-socket-width apart, arms by the side, and giving yourself time to lengthen your body. You might even like to close your eyes at this point and just really feel the way your body is feeling, eliminating the distractions of the room, noticing the length of your arms by your side, the sense of reach from the crown of your head up to the ceiling. Let's take a breath in, and as you exhale, begin to roll down. What we're going to allow is, as you roll down, your arms to come into a little internal rotation, so the backs of your hands will actually touch one another. And what this is going to do is allow some release through your lats.
And then rolling up, using that opposition in the movement. And then finding that little bit of external rotation, opening your chest to the front of the room one final time, breathing out as we roll down, feeling that beautiful roll of the arm. It's like really drawing everything inwards. And using this time to open the back of the body, breathing into the back. Now let's stay here, and actually bend the knees, so that we come down to a small squat.
You can allow your arms to just find a more comfortable position, going deeper and deeper and deeper, allowing the heels to come off as necessary, beautiful. And then, almost like we're going into a little rolling like a ball here, because then we're just going to allow the body to slowly come onto the mat. Use your hands to help you, and then lay your spine down onto the floor, arms long by your side. Fantastic. Use this time just to adjust your shoulders as necessary.
Feel that connection down to the ground, and we're just going to start really simply with a little bit of pelvic clock. So starting off by tilting the pelvis in to a little posterior tilt, and we'll go in a clockwise direction, about six movements, just allowing that swirling motion through the pelvis, to allow your hips to move, good. And challenging yourself each time to use a little less effort, and making sure that rotational movement is just coming, just from somewhere within, not overusing the upper abdominals, but feeling that connection nice and low, beautiful. And we can go the other way now. Fantastic.
This time, we're going to borrow from the reformer a little, and go into something a little similar to our semicircle. So we're going to roll the spine all the way up to a normal bridge position. Perfect. Now from here, we go into a little anterior tilt, so the pubic bone goes forward, pausing here, making sure that you're not flaring the ribs, but the movement actually coming from the pelvis. Now maintaining the extension that you find in your spine, come down just a tap, and then float straight back up again.
Find your neutral spine, and then allow the spine to flex as you come back down to the mat, fantastic. So let's do another three of those, breathing out, rolling up, as you normally would, feeling that scoop, and then leading from the pelvis, finding the length and the extension in the spine as we come down. Rebound back up, finding that movement, and then rolling the body back onto the mat. It's quite liquid. Curling up, and surging the pelvis forward, use that time to find the openness in the hip.
Tuck down, rebound up, roll the spine through. One more time, breathing out to curl, good. Find the extension, good. Rebound back up, now here, pause, take the arms up and over, rest them on the floor behind you, because it feels so good to roll down like this. Ahhh, feel that weight through the ribcage.
Oh, beautiful; now, from here, we'll leave the pelvis on the floor. Circle the arms down, palms can face the floor, not all the way to the hips. We can take them out to about a 45-degree angle, I think. So you can take your arms just a little bit wider there, Jacob, perfect. Let's take the legs up into a tabletop position for a little bit of side-to-side.
So we'll press the feet and the knees together. Let's all move over to the right, inhaling as we travel across, and then exhale to feel that beautiful rotation to bring us back through. Inhaling as we come over, and then exhaling to roll. As we roll to the right, we're peeling the left buttock off the mat, and as we exhale, we just melt back into our own footprint. Inhale, peeling the right buttock off the mat, and then rolling back through.
Now we continue, but we add a little, so going over to the right. Let's lengthen both legs out long, good. And then fold, mm-hmm, and then roll it back to the center. Beautiful, going over to the left, and lengthen. Feel that energy through the top leg, and then bend, and then rolling back, good.
Two more to each side, lengthen. You're moving so much through the lower part of your body that the upper body can just chill out and rest and relax. Rolling back, going over to the left, and lengthen. Reach through the pinky toe side of the leg, good. Bend and center; one more time now, going over to the right, good.
Notice the openness through the chest. Bend and center, and last time now, going over and lengthen, feel the openness through the chest, and the connection through the hands. Center; let's straighten both legs, straight up to the ceiling. Pendulum, going over to the right. Feel the peel and roll of the pelvis.
Stay there, and we'll just come straight back to the center. So going over to the left, reaching through the side of the body, and then back to center. Two more, going over. So your movement might be a little bit smaller, because it's a longer lever. As long as it's all coming from the center of the body, and you feel like it's coming from a sense of purpose, then we're all good, good.
One more to each side here, and center, and last one, good, and center. From here, we're just going to activate the backs of the legs, and lower the legs all the way down to the ground. Arc the arms all the way up overhead, and we're going to focus on our flexed spine. So as we curl forward into our roll-up, pressing down through the flats of the arms, and just going forward and staying in our flexed spine alignment. Breathing into the back.
Taking the arms up and overhead. This time, we'll take the arms, and we'll lead that chest lift as we normally would. Beautiful, find that curl, all the way up and over the legs, reaching through the pinky side of the arms. Now, though, we'll sit tall, so feeling the weight of the pelvis reaching down, and then still leading from the pelvis to start the descent back down, good, very nice. Arms come up and over; one more time like this.
Inhale, rolling up, using the exhale, very nice. Not only reaching through the pinky fingers, but also through the pinky toes. Now sitting tall, weight goes down, lift comes up, and roll that pelvis under. Now for something a little bit fancy. So, we're going to circle the arms out to the sides of the room, okay.
We're going to take our right arm, sorry, our left arm, and circle it up by our head. Our right arm comes down by our legs. Neither of the arms are resting on the floor. They're just hovering off the ground. As we curl up, the left arm circles overhead.
The left arm comes down, and we circle ourselves up and over, until both arms are matching in front of us. Then our left arm takes it up. We're still reaching with our long arm beside our body as we roll back down. And then we circle the arms around. I think you all have it now, so we'll do one more to each side, leading with the left arm coming up and over, good.
Little bit of oblique work here. And reaching forward, and then, we take the other arm up, and there's still that energy through the long arm, good, very nice. And you might notice, your pelvis wants to move a little bit left and right, but we're keeping that nice and still and stable, and now, I'm not even going to say which arm, (laughter) it's just going to be too tricky. Reaching forward, and completing the circle going the other way, well done, very nice. Circling the arms to that side position, but then continuing them both down by the hips.
Take a little inhale, exhale as you curl head, neck, and shoulders forward. Hover the arms off the ground; scoop the legs up. If you can, leave them there for the hundred; otherwise, you can feel free to draw them in. Breathing in to pump those arms, and exhale, two, three, four, five. And continuing with that nice same rhythm, and exhaling nice and deep.
And exhale, two, three, four, five, very nice. And let's draw ourselves in; don't rest the head. We'll take the right arm and the right leg out, away from us, keeping the body still, circle the right arm, and draw that right knee in. And then the left arm and left leg move away. And then we circle and draw it back in.
One more time, up, and scoop it in, great. Keep the legs where they are; hands go behind the head. And let's straighten our right leg, yes, out away from us. And rotate towards the left, good. And switch it up, good, and switch, maintaining this beautiful rhythm.
And we're going to do some rolling like a ball, but starting from the ground. So curling forward, aim to keep the head as close to the knees as you can. And once you get all the way to the top, we'll do another three, good. So keeping it moving at that point, beautiful. Good, so I find that really helps us start the movement from our lower abdominals, rather than by leading from the head and pulling back from the ribcage.
Let's do four more, but just let it flow. Twist, and dive, and lengthen, and twist, and dive, beautiful. And using the breath to create the movement. And twist, good, and feeling that energy up. Notice what's going on through your hips and feet.
Keep them nice and still. Oh, let's do one more to each side, because you all look so beautiful, go on. Good, and last one now, to the right, perfect. And sitting tall, let your arms rest by your side. Let's cross the legs over, and take the hands onto the floor, so that we can find our quadruped position.
So we're going to use this little exercise to help find our correct shoulder placement, and also, as an opportunity to find the flexion in our uppermost part of our ribcage, rather than always pushing back from the mid-to-lower part of the thoracic. So from here, we're just going to let our bodies sink to the floor, but keep the arms straight. So your shoulder blades will actually feel very close to one another, almost like they're bumping into each other. Now, your chest, on the other hand, will actually feel quite open. The pecs have an opportunity to let go, everything's just falling, falling, falling.
And then we invite the rest of the spine to follow along. Beautiful, that looks really fantastic. Now our focus is this part of the spine. So we're actually going to release the pelvis first, and then allow that to release through the rest of the spine, and then, eventually, the rest of the thoracic is in neutral, and we wait, and then we fall. Ahhh, what a relief, and then again, energy up.
Find the openness between the shoulder blades, and then the head will come in. And we open up this space. The spine is able to peer through, like you're peering through the curtains, rounding the lumbar spine, allowing the pelvis to follow. So in our usual lovely cat shape. Then we release the pelvis, we lengthen through the lower spine, and we allow the ribcage to move.
We hold that little bit of exaggerated position, and then we sink, good, yes. Okay, one more time, finding that energy, lengthening through the top of the body, good. And then the head comes in, and we're going to keep our flexed spine position after this. Rolling through, good. Now, let's curl our toes under, perfect.
And we're going to keep our knees on the floor, but I want you to feel that ... Oh, knees can stay down. We're going to feel like somebody is pulling you backwards so much, it's coming from the abdominals, further and further and further and further. How round can the spine be; how scooped can you be? Now, using the backs of the legs, you're going to push yourself forward, maintaining flexion, but getting your shoulders back over your hands. Head stays in, and then we scoop again from the deep abdominals, like somebody's drawing your navel so far back into your spine, it comes out the back of the body.
Keep the flexion; now we can hover the knees. And we're going to do another three just like this. So take it back, exhale, exhale, exhale so much as you move backwards. Now, here, Jacob, take it backwards, backwards, backwards, and then press forward, beautiful, and again. And round back, it's deeper and deeper and deeper.
The lower the knees, the better, but they are off the ground. And then press it forward, beautiful, one more. Scoop it back; how much flexion can we find in the spine? And then bring it forward. Here's the good bit; the knees come down.
The body comes out of flexion into neutral, ahhh. Yeah, right? Walk forward, maybe Amy and Jacob, a little bit, so you've got enough room behind you on the mat. We'll take the body out into a leg pull front position. That's it, fantastic, and then we'll simply bend the elbows until the body is on the mat.
Ahhh, good, okay, make sure that your face is on the mat, because it's a much nicer experience. We're going to use that last exercise, where we really found the backs of our thighs, for some double leg kick. So let's all turn to face the right, beautiful. And then you can use this time to allow the shoulder blades to open up a little bit. If there was a time to have a little bit of internal rotation and openness in the back, this is it, right?
So we're also used to constantly being told to pull our shoulders back. We need to have that flexibility so we have our leverage for later. So, from here, let's start with the legs, pulling the heels towards the buttocks three times. One, two, three, and as you stretch the legs out, come on up into extension, and I want you to feel like you're pushing your shins down into my hands. And that's actually going to give you the connection into your hamstrings.
One, two, three, open chest, open hips. How long can your quads be each time you bend the knees? Good, one more time, now one, two, three. Extend, extend, and hold this. Look up just a little, feel that openness in the chest even more.
How about we press the arms up higher to the ceiling? Get those triceps working, and now we can rest back down to the ground, beautiful. Hands can come down under the shoulders for a little bit of swan. So, this first one, let's just get the thoracic moving a little bit. So before we get started, let's find our neutral spine in this position.
Imagine that there's a hot stone resting on your sacrum, and then the stones continue up the segments of your spine, beautiful. Allowing each segment just to feel like it's connected, not only to the one above and below, but also to the mat beneath us. So as we start to brush the nose forward, the shoulders can roll back, the elbows tip towards the hips, and we're just going to keep the legs really rested, and feel that beautiful sunshine resting on your chest. Take a breath in, and then as we exhale, we'll just melt it down, and imagine those hot stones going back down onto your spine. This time, we can go all the way up into a full swan, so again, starting with the position of the head.
And the elbows are coming back, the chest is staying open, the spine is staying long. How beautiful, good, one more time. Coming on up into our swan. And if you feel like you can, we can let that swan rock. So we can bend the elbows real quick, and then come back up again.
I'd like you to bring your head in. Your challenge, can you flex that part of your thoracic spine right at the top between your shoulder blades, and then continue to flex your spine more and more and more and more and more, until you end up in a beautiful child's pose, resting forward? It's such a neglected part of the thoracic spine when it comes to flexion. Notice your glutes, allow them to release a little. And your pelvis can just nestle into your feet.
Adjust your feet if necessary. Let's try this; imagine that you're standing, and you're going to do a squat, so your body actually pivots at the hip joint. In an ideal world, we would make a right angle with the body. And then, from here, back to upright. Feel the way the backs of the legs support this movement.
The arms can reach forward. Keep that awareness of the backs of the legs, good. Reaching for me, I have a present for you, Mary. If you reach a little further, you might be able to reach it. The present is thigh stretch.
So we're going to start to lean back, good. Further and further and further and further. And then when you reach forward for me, open up your heart, and come a little further forward than you might ordinarily, because that present is right here. And then let's take it back again, one more time. Take it back, good, fantastic, and bring it forward.
Reach forward as much as you're reaching back. And back up again, and last time. Oh, beautiful, whoo-hoo, and then the arms come down. You can spin around to face me. Well, you're all still smiling, so this is good.
Come to the center of your mat so that you've got room either side of you. We'll take the arms out to the side. We're going to do a little bit of kneeling side kick here. So let's all move over to your left side of the mat. Going up, and over, and the leg can find its position in the air.
Now, somebody has come along, and they are pulling your leg over, away from your head. Then, another person comes, and pulls your head over your shoulder. And one more time; notice the feeling that this creates through your supporting leg. It really wakes up those stabilizers. Now find the place where you'd like to be, and then find the place that challenges you, and that's where were going to stay.
Other way, one, two, three, reach, lower the leg down. And take your arm overhead, and enjoy your beautiful side stretch, ahh, how good does that feel? Now, from here, flip your palm up, and we're going to do like a cartwheel, up and over for a stretch the other way, ahh, good. Not for too long, just enough to keep you my friends. Then we come up and over again, but this time, this top arm can just stay long.
Circle the arms up and around, enjoy that. Let's keep the arms moving as we peel up into our teaser, reaching up, longer and longer and longer and longer, opening up through the back of the body, and then rolling through the pelvis, reaching through the legs as we come on down. We have two more; circle the arms around. I like this circular movement for a change. Curl through, find the connection from the bottom of the spine to the top, and how much length can you get through the arms, yes?
Fantastic, keep the body down on the ground. We're so close now, everybody. We'll take the legs straight up, and we'll go over into our rollover position. And let's just pause here for a moment, and use this time to find that same opposition we've been finding all session. I want the backs of the legs to be part of this movement.
We'll roll down the right side of the spine, circling around that sacrum, coming up the left side of the spine, pause there, come to the center just for a moment, and then find the twist from the trunk, going to the left. Roll down the left side of the spine. Circle the legs around to find that movement in the pelvis, and then center. Keep your hamstrings on for one more to each side. Twist and roll, good, scooping up, like you're scooping up the cake batter.
And then to the left, and roll, and scoop it up, don't leave anything behind, good pause here. Let's, just for fun, let's just go up into a little jackknife, why not? Lift, lift, lift, lift, and lower it down; one more. Lift it up, up, up, up, up, keep that sense of lift, lower the legs down, and then roll the spine down, good. Once you hit vertical legs, let's just lower them straight back down.
We're going to do three in a row on the same leg. So let's do it, the right leg first, lift it up, and down, and two, and last one, other side, lift it up, one, and lower, and two, and lower, and three, good. Allow the bottom to rest. Effortlessly, sweep the arms up off the ground. Bring yourself forward into that rest position.
And find that really nice length through your body, cool. Releasing the lats, and feeling the way your hips are connected to the ground. Let's sit tall, and then, because it's important, we'll cross one leg and see if we can come up, without any hands, preferably, good. Take a step back to the back of your mat, for a little pushup action. So, standing tall, finding that energy, let's roll it down.
If you need to come down on your knees, go for it. Bend and stretch, good. Bring yourself back, but from the head, so the head goes first. And now, the important part of the spine. Let's roll back, good, okay, now from here, once you've got your weight in your hips, I want you to leave your left hand on the ground, and just walk your right hand back one step.
Push with that right hand, to take yourself back two steps, and then bring it back all the way upright. So I love that shoulder strength, single-arm shoulder strength so important. Let's do one more, inhale, lengthen. And we'll roll it down, and when we walk back, the challenge is to use our other hand to start the movement. So one, two, three steps.
Remember, knees down is perfectly fine. Find the length here, so we're not overgripping. Bend those elbows and press the ground away. Now the head comes in, and we open this part of the upper back, push up into it, beautiful. Yes, and then the rest of the spine is so happy, the weight is in the hips, and we can step back, one, ugh, two, three, and then rolling up, beautiful.
Let's stand tall, take a breath in, exhale, rolling down, no more pushups, I promise. Rolling through, feel the weight of the head and the effect it has on the neck. This time, let's bend the knees, quite a nice, deep bend. Feel the stretch that that creates in the lower back. And then scoop up into your belly as your legs straighten.
Bend the knees if you need to and find that length, good. Feel the weight of your arms, the openness starting to form through the chest, beautiful, long gaze in front of you. Imagine the most beautiful view you've ever seen in your life. Close your eyes, energize just that little bit longer. And then, as you open your eyes and set forth into your day, there you go, you're all prepared.
Thank you so much, everybody. (applause) Thank you, Amy; thank you, Jacob; thank you, Mary. It's been wonderful, thank you. See you next time.