Class #3415

Mat for Traveling

30 min - Class


You will feel the length in your body after taking this Mat workout with Gia Calhoun. She teaches a class designed to ease the stiffness that comes after a long flight. She focuses on opening the front of your body while activating your back body so you feel tall while you are on vacation.
What You'll Need: Mat, Overball

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Hi MGM, we're going to do a mat class today. I recently went to Australia and I learned that the long flight and just walking around the city a lot, it took a toll on my body. So we're going to do some of the exercises that I did to kind of help ease the swelling of my ankles and feet and just getting my legs back to where they should be. So misa overbought for the first few exercises, if you don't have one, you can still do these exercises without them so they can lie down on your mat. You're going to put the ball under your sacrum. You want to make sure it's not too high up your back.

If it's under your low back, it'll arch your back too much and they won't feel very good. And if it's too low, it'll slide out from under you. So you want to try to find that sweet spot for you. So take a deep inhale here, letting your pelvis sink into the ball. Exhale, inhale, find a neutral pelvis and exhale one more time. Inhale this time as you exhale, you're going to tilt your pelvis up and then as you inhale, you're going to go into your arch. Exhale.

Pelvic Tilt

As you tuck under, inhale, as you arch, if you're trying not to push from your feet or your legs, you're just letting your pelvis move. Inhale. Good. One more. XLC, CLC Tuck. Inhale as you arch, and then come back to neutral. Now keeping the knees still, we're going to rotate your hips and just let one drop down to the mat. So you're gonna rotate the right hip down and then bring it back to center.

Hip Rotation

And then left hip. We'll go down and then back to center. So I'm trying to keep my knees facing the ceiling. They'll shift a little bit to the right and then back up and left. I'm also focusing on not hiking my hip up toward my shoulder while I'm tilting. So I'm just rotating the pelvis and left.

Looks easy, but it's actually pretty difficult to keep them on the same line. Last one, and the left one way is easier than the other. So we're going to go into a circle. So you're just going to tuck under like you did before, rotate arch other way. So you're just combining the two movements that we did before into a full circle, trying to get full range of motion with your hips.

Hip Circles

A lot of people try to skip out on the arching, but it feels really good. So you want to make sure you get that position as well and reverse your circle. So you're gonna go for to the other side. This breathing while you're circling your hips, trying to settle into your breath. Good. Come back to your neutral pelvis. Really let your pelvis feel heavy, heavy into that ball. You're gonna float your right, like up to tabletop theater. Just relaxed, left leg up to tabletop, keeping your ribs back on the mat so you're not popping them forward like I like to do. And you're just gonna Inhale as you bring your right foot down toward the mat.

Toe Taps

Exhale as you pull it back up. Inhale left foot down. Excellent. Pull it back up. Just keep alternating your legs. Trying to maintain that 90 degree angle from the knee, trying to keep the shoulders open. No tension in the shoulders or neck. Right leg should start to feel your abdominals warming up. Minor shaking cause I'm balancing on the ball while I'm moving my legs.

One more each side. Last one. Now I'm going to glue my legs together keeping this 90 degree angle. As I inhale I'm bringing my legs down toward the Mat. I'm going as far as I can without arching my back and then back up.

Double Toe Taps

So I try to get to that point where I want to tilt my pelvis but I'm not going to let it and back up. Trying to go a little bit further each time, keeping that connection to my ribs and back up. I'm trying not to let my head and shoulders pop off the mat and then back up. One more time. I don't know about you but I can definitely feel my abs shaking. Now turn your legs out so you have your heels together. Toes apart.


I like to flex my feet but you can point them if that feels better to you. My knees are just about as wide as my shoulders. I'm going to inhale as I stretch the legs out x hills. I pull them back in and he'll reach out. So I'm going to about a 45 degree angle. If you can go a little lower, keeping that connection so you're not popping your ribs, go for it.

If you need to go a little higher, that's fine too. Just find what works for your body and back and inhale, stretch x helpful. Two more. Exhale, last one and back in. Bring your feet down one at a time. Take the fall out from underneath you. Just hold onto it for a second. Just take a few breaths here.

Chest Lift

Letting your pelvis feel heavy into the mat should feel different than when you first slide down. Inhale, expand the ribs. My spine feels a little bit longer so I feel like I need to adjust already. And then we're going to take this ball. I'm going to put it behind your back, right about where your scapula are. Again, you may need to adjust as you go. Find that sweet spot for your body and then hands behind your head and just let your head sink back to the mat should feel good. It's nice little chest opening. Again, you can kind of play with the positioning to see what feels good for you.

For this, I like, my elbow is pretty wide just to kind of open my chest and just keep breathing. Okay. My feet are parallel hip distance apart. Now bring your elbows for just slightly so they're in your periphery. We're going to find that connection to your ribs. Take a deep inhale while you're back here, and then as you exhale, you're gonna curl up off the ball. Eight hills, he lower excellent. He curl up, so while you're lifting your chest up, keep going. You want to make sure you're not curling your pelvis under too.

You're trying to keep that neutral pelvis that you established earlier and you're just moving your upper body. Oh, I'm shaking, rolling back and curling up one more and hold it up here. Try to come a little bit higher off the ball so you're not just hanging out on the ball. You're lifting yourself off the ball, using it for support, reach, arms forward. I like my palms in for this one. You're going to inhale as you bring your right leg up by your ear. Right arm. Lower it down, left arm up and lower down. Good. Keep curling up.

Single Arm Lift

ARIDE arm and lower and left and lower. One more each side, right? Still curling up and left. Good. Keep checking your pelvis. Now both arms come up by your ears as far as you can. I'm going to adjust my feet forward a little bit cause it helps further away with your feet a little bit easier. Okay, and lower.

Double Arm Lift

Still a challenge though and up lower two more. Trying to keep the shoulders away from the ears. Last one. Good hands behind your head. Just relax back again. Give yourself a little break. Just take a breath and then on your next exhale, bring your elbows back forward. Curl back up and keeping the pelvis still watching your neck.

Chest Lift w/Rotation

I tend to push my head head forward, so I'm trying to keep my head in line with the rest of my spine. I'm just twisting my upper body to the right and then center and then to the left. So lower body's not moving. It's just from my rib cage up basically and center and left using the obliques to twist. Right. I'm left trying to keep my head heavy into my hands. Last set. Right. Okay. And left [inaudible] lower town. One more time.

Leg Circle

Take breath and then remove your arms. Fine from behind your head and just move the ball and just get rid of it. We're not using it for the rest of the class. So tug your right knee into your chest. Left leg is going to reach out and you're just going to circle your legs around.

So after a long flight to Australia, I noticed my legs and hips were very tight from sitting for about 12 hours, 15 hours or maybe 15 hours. Reverse your circle. So even though I got up off, I got up while I was on the plane a lot, it still is very stiff. So this is kind of helping to get the movement back in my hips and come back to center. With your leg, you're going to open your right arm out to the side, cross this lake over to your left into a twist. Trying to keep both shoulders on the mat. If you want to turn your head to the right you can.

Spinal Twist

And then I like to think of pushing my top hip toward my feet a little bit just to get a little bit more length cause I tend to hike my hip up. Just focus on the length in your waist. Coming back up to the center, crossing your right foot over your left knee and then pulling your left leg into your chest. My hips get very tight. So this is my number one stretch that I have to do every day. Switching sides, left knee into your chest, right leg is just relaxing on the mat, circling your leg around, making sure you're really crossing the midline as you circle to get rid of any scar tissue or just gunk. That's their reverse the circle.

Figure Four Stretch

Add a lot of hip issues. So this was really useful for me to Kinda get my hips moving in the socket, left arm out to the side. Keeping that left shoulder down. Cross over to your right. You can turn your head to the right if you'd like. And then just focus on pushing that top hip toward your feet to keep your waist long so you're not shortening anywhere.

Leg Circle

Coming back up to center, crossing your foot over your opposite knee and then pulling that leg into your chest. I like to pull in with my hands and then use this other elbow to push my knee out to the side just to get a better stretch. And then just hug your knees into your chest. We're going to go into series of five. So for the series of five I'm focusing on the length is much as I can, reaching out toward the window and pulling the leg in toward me if I'm pulling it. So I'm curling up on my right hand on my right ankle, left hand on my right knee.

Spinal Twist

I'm reaching the left leg out toward the window and just really reach and pull and switch. Reach and pull. So I like to inhale for two inhale and an exhale for two exhale and exhale. Still curling the chest up and exhale. Exhale. Last elbows are wide and exhale. Exhale both knees in. Curl up, a little deeper. Inhale, reach the arms and legs out. Exhale as you circle around, hug your knees in and heel reaching out, gluing those legs together. Circle around region. So I'm really getting a nice two way stretch.

Figure Four Stretch

Arms are reaching back. Legs are reaching forward. Circle cool in two more as her glow around last one and I'm back in bringing the right leg up, grabbing onto your ankle, your calf or your thigh, whatever you can reach. You're trying to pull yourself up and pull this leg up. You're going to pull, pull, switch, pull, pull, switch. So you're really focusing on getting the stretch behind the leg. Reaching the opposite leg out, trying to open the front of that hip.

Single Leg Stretch

Good pool pool and pull. Pull [inaudible] good. Both legs up at my heels together, toes apart, hands behind the head, reaching those legs. Long inhale as I lower. Exhale to lift. So I'm really reaching for the window and Baca. And then I have to keep checking my head cause I like to push it forward. Inhale, the hip is popping and back up. Two more.

Double Leg Stretch

Last one. Inhale, reach and back up. Bend your legs. You're gonna twist to the right. Switch it left leg out. You're going to try and twist, twist a little more and twist a little more and center twist to the left a little more. Really bring the opposite ribcage to the knee and to the right to wist, twist and to the left. Twist. Twist a little faster for seven, six, five, four, three, two, one and rest. Yeah, so because my feet were and ankles were so swollen on the, after the flight I'm gonna do some foot exercises with my legs elevated just to kind of get the blood flowing back. So we're going to start with the feet flex.

Single Straight Leg Stretch

You can have them together like to me meant if you're tight, whatever it feels good to you. It's going to curl the toes first and then you're going to point the ankle and then flex the toes. Flexing ankle. So you go toes, ankle, toes, ankle. Trying to keep the feet parallel. Toes, ankle. One more set toes, ankle, toes. Now we reverse. So you point the foot, so it's like a Barbie foot.

Double Straight Leg Stretch

Point the toes and then pull the ankle back. Keeping the toes curled. Flex Atos. So point the ankle, point the toes. Flex the ankle. Flexes. Hose. Point. Point, flex. Flex. One more. Point. Point. Flex. Flex. Good.

Criss Cross

Now come back to that prehensile position with the toes curl. Plan this from blossom. I find it really effective. So separate your feet, hip distance apart. You're just gonna keep the toes curled as you circle your ankles around. Let's getting this feet woken up. One more in this direction. Reverse. She usually makes my feet cramp, but it feels pretty good right now.

Foot and Ankle Mobilization

Two more good. Shake out your feet and then nice full circles with your ankles all the way. Keeping the toes long. One more in this direction. Reverse it's mobilizing your feet. One more. So just hug your knees into your chest.

Come on up and we're going to flip over onto your stomach for some back extension. So we're gonna start with your arms at a 90 degree angle. Kind of like goalpost arms. Shoulders are away from your ears. Your head is just down on the mat. I land this exercise from Brent Anderson and I really enjoyed it.

Prone Thoracic Extension

So starting with just a external rotation of the arms, elbow, stay down. You're just going to lift your hands off the mat and lower hands come up and lower two more like this. So it's a little progression so you can kind of find the level that you want to stay at or you can keep progressing. Now you're gonna lift your hands. Keep the hands up as you lift your elbows, elbows come down, hands come down, hands up, elbows up, elbows down, hands down. So you're externally rotating those items and then lifting the elbows, trying to keep a long spine. Good.

Now the next one to add a chest lift. So the hams come up, elbows come up, lifting your chest, low, your chest, elbows down, hands down, hands up, elbows up, chest lifts, lower your chest, elbows down, hands, hands, elbows, chest, reaching out through the top of your head. Lower all those hands. One more hands. Elbows, lift your chest, lower elbows, hands. Now you're going to come back up. Find that long position. Reach out through the top of your head. If you can float your feet up and then reach your arms out to a tee. Palms facing down. You're reaching those arms nice and wide.


You'll inhale as you reach your hands back. Try to get your head chest a little higher and then reach back out to your t as you lower your chest. Just like on the reformer. Nice t press, pushing back, keeping the palms facing down. And then Lower Timor, reaching out through this feet, trying to find length through all parts of body. Lower one more and then reached back out and hands right by your shoulders. Uh, mine a little bit in front. Elbows are just pointing back. Same beginning that you did with your chest before. You're going to lift your chest up and then just push into your hands, get a nice little swan and then back down.


Should feel good on your back. Two more. I always really like extension and back down. Last one and I really feel my upper back from that first exercise, so it's not all just dumping into my low back and then back down and then push back into child's pose. I like my feet together, knees apart, and just sit back and breathe. Hello. Then roll up that we're going to sit back down feet in front. If that doesn't feel good to, you can always roll up your mat or sit on a boxer, a blanket. We're going to do a spine twist, so I'm gonna flex my feet just so I can kind of check to make sure that my hips aren't shifting around. I'm bringing my hands behind my head.

Child's Pose

You can also do it with your arms side. I just find that I twist with my arms more than my waist. If I use my hand, if my arms are out to the side, so I'm bringing my hands behind my head. Elbows are just in my periphery and I'm watching my ribs because I like to Chet them forward, so I'm trying to keep them in line with the rest of my spy. Inhale as I grow tall. Exhale, twist to the right two three and center to inhale and twist to the left. Two three inhale center and to the right, two, three center watching my shoulders.

Spine Twist

I felt them creeping up to three. Good again to the right and center. Trying not to shift my sit bones. Two three center, one more each way to the right. Two three center and left two three center. Now bringing the arms out to a t, opening my legs just about as wide as the mat, trying to keep the hips stable again without gripping in the hips.


I'm going to go into saw some twisting to the right, twisting that back hand, reaching toward front foot and reaching for three two, one and backup twisting to the left and reach to three up. Now my body's already warmed up from twisting. Should feel a little bit easier to get that twist in the saw without shifting in the hips and twists. Good. Keep checking to make sure that your feet are flex and reach two three trying to lengthen those arms so you're getting longer every time. And then long spine as he passed through the center one where each way two, three and up and to the left, two, three at good. So we're going to lie down again.

We're going to go into some bridging. So my feet are just hip distance apart close to my hips. I can kind of touch them with my fingertips and making sure that they're parallel. And to take a deep inhale here at the bottom. As I exhale I'm going to roll up to the bridge, one bone at a time till I mental straight line and health the top exhale ruled down, peeling down one bone at a time. So I'm pushing down into the mat just to get my triceps activated a little bit and rolling up.


And then I'm thinking about reaching my knees over my feet to activate the backs of my legs a little bit more and then rolling down. Okay. Eyes are looking straight up at the ceiling so you can keep a long neck. You want to keep your chin off your chest while you're up and then as you roll down you're sinking your sternum down. And then the backs of the ribs and the low back all the way to that weighted pelvis that you got in the beginning of the class to you more trying to keep those big toes down. Cause I like to roll out and then ruled. Yeah, you're gonna roll up one more time and hold.

Keeping the chest open and lifting the right leg up to the ceiling. Point the foot. You're going to flex that foot as you lower it down to meet the other leg point as you bring it back up. Flex as the lower point as you lift. Trying to keep the hips even and up one more. Really pushing into those hands again, Ben, that leg blow or the foot down.

Shoulder Bridge

Left leg comes up, checking your hips again. Flex as you lower point as the lift. Lower. Trying not to let the hips drop as I get tired. Last one, lower lift. Bend the leg. Put the foot down. Take a deep inhale here. Lift the hips a little higher and then roll down. Keeping the shoulders away from the ears. Chest Open.

Oh and hug into your chest. Flip over onto your side. You can have your hand all the way down. You can have it behind your head or you can even come up to your elbow if you'd like. I'm going to lie on my arm this way. Legs are bent. I have my feet in line with my tailbone and there are about at a 90 degree angle. I'm trying to keep the bottom waist lifted so I'm not just hanging out. I'm still using my abdominals and keeping my waist active.


And then this front handed just in front of my ribs, so I'm gonna start with some clams. So keeping the hips stacked, I'm just gonna open this top knee and then close. So I'm only going as far as I can open it without letting the hip shift back. Trying to keep it on top of the bottom. Hip. Open the knee and close heels are sitting together. Open and close.

Using the external rotator of the hip and open is the weakest part of my body. So these are always hard for me. One more. Okay, now we're going into hydrogen. So you're going to keep this like parallel. You're going to lift the top leg up and lower lifting up. So you're going only a little bit higher than your hip. If you go too high, then it has to turn out.


So you want to try to keep it parallel as much as you can. And then I'm trying not to sink this hip into my waist is I lift trying to keep pushing it toward my feet so that I keep the waist long. One more going into circle. So we'll keep the leg up. We're gonna do four circles each way. So you're gonna go front, up, back, front, and around making sure you're going to the back. So that's the part we always like to leave out. One more and reverse. So I'm doing my stronger side first.

Leg Circles - Parallel

Still feel the burn. See more. Second side is not going to be much, much fun for me. Last one, that last exercise here, you're going to lift this leg up hip height. This is going to be your transition position every time. So you're gonna Bring your heels together and turn out that leg, come back to hip height, and then turn your legs in, bring the knees together and then back up through alternating. Turned out parallel and then turned in. This was the one that usually gets me the most.

Alternating Internal and External Rotation

Turn out and turn in heels together and knees form our sets. Okay, and in three more, I don't know about you, but I hit this dying two more. And last one. Good. Bring your leg down. I'm just going to lie on your back and stretch out. That hit before we do the other side. So just like we did in the beginning, you're going to cross that foot over your knee, opposite knee, and then pull that leg into your chest.

Figure Four Stretch

There's breathe into that stretch. So now we're going to flip over onto the other side. I'm going to face you, but you can just roll over. It's again, you're lying down on your arm, however it's most comfortable for you. Your front hand is in front of your ribs. Legs are bent about 90 degrees and your feet are in line with your tailbone. So we're gonna start with clams. Oh, we'll open that and talk knee. Highland close, keeping the heels together open and close so each side will feel completely different. Besides always harder for me. It's my mobile side, but it's definitely not as strong for more trying to find resistance in both directions.


You're not just letting the knee fall down. Two more [inaudible] last one, and then into hydrant. So leg will come parallel as you lift up and down, trying to keep the hips stacked, one on top of the other and three resisting down. Four try my best to stay parallel so that knee and foot in this same line the whole time. Three more and to, and I'm checking to make sure my waist is still lifted last one and circles to four to the front all the way around. Trying to stay parallel with that leg again so I'm not going too high. I'm focusing more on going back cause that's where I don't want to go.


Reverse back and around. And two, three, I feel this side way sooner than I did the first side. Good. Coming to parallel with the leg. You're going to rotate. So the heels come together back to parallel and then the knees come together. So that's one set. Heels together and knees. Try not to shift the hips around so it's just rotating in that hip socket.

Leg Circles - Parallel

And for that, for more sets and internal rotation as external and internal, two more, last few or where I don't want to go and rest and lie on your back, stretch out your hip, see across that foot over the opposite knee and then pull your leg into your chest. And again you can use that opposite elbow to push that knee out to the side. I'd come on up and we're going to go into mermaid to finish. So you can sit in, as he said, if you like, I prefer the legs stacked one on top of the other. I'm gonna Start by grabbing the ankles of this leg at the top leg, reaching the opposite arm up and lifting up to go over into a nice stretch.

Alternating Internal and External Rotation

Watching that shoulder, I felt mine coming up, coming back up, you're gonna reach the other way, keeping the waist long and just reach out. And then using your abdominals lifted back up. Lift up to go over your so you're not just sinking into your side bend. You're really getting length in your waist and up and reach away from your legs. Last one, reaching up. You're gonna reach over. And this time added twist.

Figure Four Stretch

You want to grab your ink, your leg with the top arm. Go ahead and then backup and then we're just going to flip the legs around to the other side. So however you were sitting on the first side, tried to do the same thing on the second side, reach that arm up to the ceiling. The opposite arm is holding your leg up and reach over toward your legs and then back up. You're going to reach away from your legs, keeping the waist long, trying to get that length in the spine. Lengthen the arms up and over and then back up and reach away. Last one up, you're going to reach over, add a twist.


You can grab onto that top leg if that feels good, and then come back up and over and then just come to a standing position. So you can just stand with your feet hip distance apart, either just soft. I'm just going to roll down trying to keep your weight forward over the balls of your feet. Who's hang here for a second? Layer your arms and head be heavy. You can shake your head no, if that feels good. And then with your weight forward, arms are still loose. You're gonna tilt your pelvis under trying to bring it back to neutral. Well, once your pelvis is neutral, you're going to stack your spine on top of your pelvis.

Standing Roll Down

Just roll your shoulders back and you're all finished. I hope your body feels nice and long and thanks for taking class with me.


2 people like this.
Excelente clase.
8 people like this.
Just perfect! Really good cueing and the right balance between strengthening and stretching. I loved this and it's going in my favorites! Thank you, Gia!
Laurie C
4 people like this.
Loved this class! I look forward to taking the class again on my travels this summer! Thank you, Gia! šŸ˜Ž
5 people like this.
I agree with Kandie , you cueing is really superb! The hip cueing was especially helpful to me. Another one for my regular rotation and Iā€™m so looking forward to more of your classes!
1 person likes this.
Thank you, Gia! Just what I needed after a 10 hour flight.
1 person likes this.
This an excellent strechting class...more please...thank you
1 person likes this.
Really enjoyed this, thank you Gia
1 person likes this.
Great class Gia! Excellent cueing - I feel perfectly aligned!!
3 people like this.
How terrific to have you not only working "behind the scenes" at PA but right out front and center leading classes too. I so enjoy my first class with you!
1 person likes this.
Thank you Gia!! Body is alive again...Great class
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