Class #3701

Restorative Foam Roller

35 min - Class


Get back into your body with this restorative Mat workout by Amy Havens. She teaches a gentle class that is perfect for tough and stressful weeks. She includes simple movements that will help you breathe fully and find release in your spine.
What You'll Need: Mat, Foam Roller

About This Video


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Hi everyone, I am here for some foam roller and some mat, and some movement. I've had an interesting week. I feel like this week has been very stressful for various reasons. I didn't wanna work out much this week, and I'm being honest about that, but I do know that movement always makes me feel better so. And here I am doing that.

I also know that because of the stress that I was experiencing this week, my body felt more constricted, my spine felt tighter, straighter not breathing as fully as I know I can and often want to. So what better way to manage all of those things out of balance than with movement, all right. So come along. And if you've had a week like that then this might feel really good for you too. Kind of a little more of a mellow class, but let's just remember the ability that we have to move, and the ability to bring our Pilates principles in to restoring ourselves when we've had an off balance week or time in our life.

So, I'm using the softer foam roller style for specific reason also, because, because it's soft and a little bit more pliable and gushy-er, I'm gonna use that texture that quality and kind of bring that into my own body. That quality of kind of ooshy gushy, a little less rigid intense. But certainly you can use any roller, this one just feels right for me it's the softer one. So let's begin with it underneath the knees, let your legs do what they need to do. I've got mine a little bit externally rotated, and I just want you to take your arms a little bit off of your mat with your palms facing up.

Your upper arms rotated back gently. And I'm also gonna try to touch on a few things in class of the simplicity of just even like contact points, and how nice it is sometimes to just that is enough of knowing oh, I'm aware right now, this is enough okay. But we'll do a little bit more. So as your knees are resting over the roller, let's begin some deep breathing and I'm gonna have us work on expansion of the ribs side to side. A little bit of up and down is fine as well, front to back, so let's go with a breath.

And exhale. And a nice deep breath in, and the exhale. So when you're taking that generous time on the inhale, kind of from the inside of you expand out, and just even in that bringing our awareness of breath can start to kind of shift the thinking or shift the tension of the stress. There's such a hot topic right now of self-care and absolutely this is about that. I think all of our Pilates principles are self-care principles though.

Breath being the number one. We'll take a couple more, and just acknowledge you're really relaxing those legs, your pelvis, your hip flexors, your back, your ribcage even the neck. And so one more preparatory breath. Okay, so we add a little texture to this a little bit of movement, and we're gonna go with our pelvis first. Rock your pelvis back, just pull your tummy muscles in a little bit to move the pelvis into that leaning back or posterior angle.

You're gonna notice the roller comes with us, it's gonna come with us. And then as we go the opposite way with the pelvis, the roller moves away from us. So there's like a teeny a little bit of massage already going on in the back of the leg. It's not what it's about so much but it feels kind of nice. So just feel that strong abdominal muscles pulling your pelvis back, and then rocking your pelvis forward that might be coming from your spine muscles.

And again, rocking the pelvis back know that conservative range of motion is also okay, whenever you're doing Pilates or movement. Pulling that back just feeling that simple, simple stuff. One more time concentrating on simplicity, yeah, and some ease okay. So that's just that rocking that really beautiful oscillation of the pelvis. So I'm gonna ask us now on to take both hands interlace behind your head, pick your elbows up, let your head cradle back into your hands.

And for me right now I'm gonna walk each shoulder blade a little bit up to the top of my mat. And just want a little more length through my chest spine right there. Take a deep breath. Let's keep the pelvis really relaxed everybody and the hips relaxed, lift your head and your neck and your shoulders, and take a scan at your legs and at your pelvis look for as balanced as you can be across the plane there. If you see a little asymmetry or one hip a little higher spend a moment and try to drop it down.

You might be holding tension in your buttocks or your hip, which might be causing that up. If you've had a stressful week, there's a good chance that you have some stress in your hips so just acknowledge that, and then take it down. A little more flow inhale there, exhaling to lift coming up just a tiny bit higher than your shoulder blades acknowledging that stretch in your upper spine bring you new deflection. And again, exhaling as you come up and inhale as you lower down. Go for breath, exhale sinking your navel, sinking your tummy, lifting yourself up off the mat.

Inhaling down, feel the mobility of those upper vertebrae. Two more basic chest lift, exhaling up. Hands just cradling your head and one more time, curling up okay. That's enough right there but what am gonna ask us now to do is take one hand off, I'm taking my right one off just by the way, and my right hand is going on the side of my right ribcage there. And so if you like your muscles that's the external oblique line right there okay.

So place your head back down, keep your hand on your ribcage let's take a breath and before lifting your head again use your exhale, right, and use the hand on your right ribcage and kind of just touch that. And I want you to exhale and feel that part of you contract, just gentle. So the external obliques acting in a minute, will focus more on helping us flex our spine, okay. And just notice that exhale feel underneath your hand. Go in mind to body connection okay.

Let's use that same thing as you exhale chest lift, here we go curling up. You're probably gonna really feel that okay. And if you need a little more pressure of your own hand on you go for it. Use that to help you come forward and then release it as you go back. We'll do twice more, and exhale.

And back. Really concentrate your mind to your muscles on this side of you, and exhale okay. So that's three without the chest lift, three with the chest lift, let's do the opposite side. Acknowledge the different sensation because it probably feels it. And then again just use your hand, and just kind of put it on those left ribs now and just kind of move your hand toward your navel, or your centerline on an exhale.

Twice more. And does it feel the same? Does the texture feel the same? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Mine doesn't feel the same over here, I need a little more of my own feedback on me so I'm gonna press my hand, kind a bit more, yep.

And we're really gonna do that when I chest lift. So here we go, it's an exhale up, using those external obliques to help flex the spine. Twice more exhale. So I'm thinking less about the six-pack muscles, anyway. You use more about the waistline the sides, here we go last one.

Okay, so let's move that on, take both hands behind your head place your feet on top of your roller by bending your knees. We'll come back to that external oblique stuff in just a minute, but for right now, what I'd like us all to do with the elbow slightly lifted, press your feet on your roller and ever so lightly lift your pelvis up off the mat. I'm thinking an inch is all and then set your pelvis back down. Start at your feet, really press them on the squishy roller you feel the muscles in the back of the legs work, lift your hips just about an inch and to come back down. Again simplicity is good, here we go.

And feet, all the way through the back line and the leg to the seat, and then lower. And last time and and lower okay. Need to walk my ribs back again. Okay now, coming up again same little one exhaling a little lift, and have us go back into the pelvic movement that oscillation. So now, the lower abdominals, and have you activate those to curl the pelvis or rotate it back, and then try to level your pelvis.

And yes we're still about an inch above the mat. And exhale, rotate the pelvis back away from the thigh bones, and inhale rotate the pelvis toward the thigh bones. Twice more exhale inner tummy muscles. Deeply pulling them in, rocking the hips back rocking forward just to neutral, and then once again exhale. And inhale rock them forward and then set your hips down.

So that's a nice way to connect the muscles in the back of our legs, inner legs toward our abdomen. Okay, right hand back on the right ribcage side, take a breath in, flex the spine forward exhaling. Now we're gonna stay up here on the next inhale using the exhale rotate toward the right, okay. So on your exhale I want you to rotate toward the right, use your right hand and kind of nudge your waistline in. I'm gonna use an image of the hourglass just because that tapering in, okay.

And then inhale come to Center. So what the heck are the feet doing? They're pressing on the roller a little bit, stay connected to the muscles in the back of the legs and those abdomen muscles, twice more on this side. So my right hand is suggesting an inwardness of tapering in on that side, okay. And then Center once again, simple can be great for us, here we go, mind to muscle exhale.

So there's different layers of our obliques going on here. Change sides, left hand, left ribcage, inhale get ready exhale curl first just to your chest lift okay. Next exhale, we're rotating to the left. Use your left hand to press in on your left waist rotate to that side. Inhale face center, and again exhale left hand presses in creating a little tapering and inhale center.

Last two, and press. And center and, and center and then relax everything back down. Okay, stretch your legs back out long again, your head is down your legs are straight. And I want you just, if you wanna peek up and look from your watching device there. I'm just bending my knees slightly, kind of feel like I'm splaying my hips open, it feels nice, and then extending the knees.

And it's very undescriptive, bend the knees, I'm rolling the roller that's so it's getting some joint action in the hips, this feels like enough right now okay, and that's it. So what I'm gonna next work on, is rotating my leg bones in, leg bones out. Leg bones in, leg bones out. Internal and external rotation and there's just this, it kind of a little soft rebound that's going on in my knees when I turn out, it's nice and soft yeah, okay. And we roll that roller in, let's put our feet back on it.

And I'd like to see what it feels like for us to do a larger bridge now, here we go. So we can start with the breath in apply some pressure with your feet. Let's lift the hips up in a neutral design. I'm going fairly high up my back. And then roll on the way down, roll on the way down.

So it's a different way to go up right? Sometimes you will roll to get up, this one is a neutral lift, so it's a neutral lift working from here. Yeah, it feels really, really nice. I feel like I'm quite supported by the roller and the floor, I hope you all are feeling that too. And then roll it down.

We'll just do it twice more. Get all the way to that level position take a generous breath in, and strengthen, just feel yourself stand up, stand on those legs. Inhale, and rolling down. Giving some tender touch to your back on your mat. Again my back really needs this today, it has felt like us straight board all week due to some tension.

So this part feels pretty easy to get up, but what I know is more beneficial I think is this moment, this rolling, yeah. Move, in other words let some movement occur through there. All right, Take a leg up give your hamstrings a little stretch so I've got my hands interlace behind one thigh, the leg is reaching to the ceiling. I like an active hamstring stretch so I want you to press your leg against your hands. Sitting your sits bones forward.

Circle your foot a few times, okay. And then swap out the stretch on the other side. Tension has a way of kind of finding its way in all kinds of places in our body, our mind, our joints, our tissues. Yes, so what helps that movement. Breath, focus, concentration.

Okay, so guys let's go ahead and roll ourselves up to get the roller. So I'm just gonna use myself and set myself up, cross your ankles. Place your hands on your roller now. Strangely enough, all I want us to do is rock your body weight forward, roll the roller to your forearms and then roll it back. Keep your hands really spread, okay.

And just put a little bit of pressure across the palm of your hand. Go as far forward as feels good, you might notice the stretch going on in your hips. We'll do four with this leg on top and four with the other one on top. And if you're going forward with round the spine that's great, if you're going forward with the straight spine that's fine, either way, it's really about your hips. Just open those up okay, and then change the cross of your legs.

It's always gonna feel different, here we go four times. So I've got a little bit of downward pressure happening with my arms. And press. Might feel some stretch coming from the stem of your low back, your sacrum and your lumbar. Simple is good, simple is good, okay.

Now here's the deal. Take your legs forward and pick up your roller. Place it on the top of your ankles, hands on top of the roller and round yourself forward. And this little extra bit here, kind of stretching the tops of the feet, feels kind of nice they need some attention too and go as far forward in the stretch as you feel comfortable going. Okay and now we're gonna roll backward I'm just gonna pick up the roller and just roll back.

Feel free to bend your knees if you need to. Reach your arms overhead and feel that gesture. How nice it is to be long and open. Let's see what it feels like if you come up. Lift your roller, pick up your head.

Roll yourself, I'm gonna walk my fingertips down to my feet stretch a big stretch, and I'm gonna roll backward. Stretch it out. How about twice more, unless you use a little breath inhale it is okay if you bend your knees at any phase of this movement. Reach and stretch and roll back. Oh man, two days ago I could not do that, a lot of days I can't do that.

Two days ago I was, (knocking the floor) like that, so hey I'm feeling like I'm making some progress. All right, so here we go that's enough of that one. All right, turn to face me. I'm gonna turn to face you, we're gonna put our roller right here on the side of our hip. And first what I want you to do is just bend your knees, your knees are stacked, your heels are in line with your sit bones back here.

I'm leaning on my elbow, and all I want us to do now is just that so the oblique muscles that we were working on a minute ago, use this hand now, reach underneath your waistline side and touch that same area, all right so there it is. These external obliques. I wanna have us do a little bit more of a strengthening exercise, slightly lift your hip up off the mat. You're gonna think hips up and these muscles in this way okay. So on an exhale we go, it doesn't have to be big, and then set it down.

Four times just regroup, exhale so use your hand to guide the direction. We don't want the ribs to be hanging down unsupported right? We wanna pick up use these muscles and lift, and lower, one more time. And now, we'll stay here, you can stay with if you want you can go down if you want, I'm gonna stay up there. Let's add a little more task for the glutes, why not?

You don't have to do this with your hip elevated but it is kind of fun to challenge that four more times. So this is five, and six. You might wonder why is the roller there? Well it's reference, stay lifted away from it. Lift away from it, last one and then set your hip down.

But then, we gotta do this. I want you to roll it, put your arm on it and just roll a little bit back and forth. You can put your hand behind your head. Let's move massage through those tissues, okay. And then stay nice and still and roll your body weight forward just a little bit, and roll your body weight back just a little bit.

Whatever you need to do with your legs is fine. So your body weight rolling, kind of helping your body get heavier on the roller. And again, this nice squishy roller it's kind of easier to be on. Get kind of cozy on it, release into it, there we go. I felt myself holding back just a bit.

All right, one more, I'm kind of doing reps of four today. Here we are, number four. All right, let's just do that little bit on the other side, simple, simple. Okay. Down, knees are stacked, ankles are stacked, heels are in line with our sitting bones.

Shoulder over elbow. Bottom hand holding those ribs or at least touching so you're feeling that directional contraction, here we go. On your exhale and lift. So the hip comes up, you lift those ribs up away from the roller and set them down. And, if you feel like this is too much for your shoulder you don't actually have to lift your hip up you can do an act as if you lift your hip.

It's one of my favorite things that get going, pretend or act as if here you go, okay. And you can repeat that or join along for eight of our clam movements. And let's exhale and exhale, and four more and one two, feeling just a little, little intense in my lat right now. (laughing) Last one, and then setting it all the way down okay. Going on to that tricep the back of the arm let's roll a little bit through there.

Release your body weight, get into this squishiness of the roller, yeah. Okay and then hold the hand behind your head in that body weight motion rocking forward and back. And see if you can give yourself down, and let gravity help on release into that. You could continue rolling in this fashion all the way around your body, in and out, I'm just doing one tiny little spot on my arm it kind of feels, or it needs it right now. Okay good.

Now we're gonna do a wonderful stretchy releasy for the hip, and I need you to come over it and put your sacrum on top of that roller, so it's this kind of a supported bridge position. And then either leg, I want you to straighten one of them out long. Don't hold it so specifically like pointed foot, flex foot I'm gonna let mine just kind of flop out, believe it or not just let the leg relax, okay. Whatever leg you reached forward, take the same arm and reach it above or back behind you, like there's something at the wall behind you reach for that so we basically got one side of our body extremely open and long, be kind of passive about it for a moment. But now I want us to be a little more active with the extension, for this intention do flex the foot.

And notice it will probably feel different in in the skin and stuff around your abdomen. And they'll make the arm reach more, okay yeah. It should feel pretty yummy. Let's enjoy a few breaths, big ones very expansive. A little bit more expansive.

One more time real expansive, move that tension out of that body and bring it in, okay. Lower the arm and leg, take the other leg forward the first round through it. Just let your leg go where it needs to go, nothing too descriptive in your foot. And then the arm, again kind of passive first, all right. You could stay passive but let's go active, so flex the foot reach the arm, try to create more distance between your ribcage and your pelvis.

Generous breathing inhale, exhale. Reach a little more. Twice again. One more breath, focus intention and bring it down, okay, yum! Okay, carrying on with that, bring that knee in so I've got two feet back on the mat let's just take our arms off the side kind of a T position okay. I need us all to walk our feet wider, so I'm going to feel for this side corners of my mat that's pretty wide and lower the knees to either the right or left.

So the pelvis also in the spine take a teeny bit of a rotation. But the leg of that's down lower. You may feel like you get a little bit of release on that hip from the roller being there okay. Give your weight to it, just let it go and let's do the other side. If you don't feel that it's fine some of you might feel more of the release in the front of the hip flexor.

Okay, just toggle the legs back and forth. Just toggle, now what we're gonna keep the legs doing this but add some arm movement, let me break that down quick so you can rest your legs. Raise both arms up, I'm going to softly interlace my hands get my self adjusted. Raise my arms overhead and then let the arms kind of sway from left to right above the head, okay. They're gonna do that in opposition to where the legs go, so if the knees go right, sway your arms to the left and vice-versa.

The knees go left, sway it to the right okay. And just keep doing that. I'm gonna change where my arms are. I have a feeling I'm gonna feel more of the release yep, if they're kind of gyrating above my head. So don't worry if they're too specific, just move through those arms.

It's kind of give them a little bit more of a circular movement above you, okay. One more each side, yeah. And then rest your legs, bring them back together keep your arms overhead maybe a more snug clasp of your fingers and your hands and reach more, reach more, pick those ribs way up away from your hips and enjoy that and release those hands okay. One more thing here in this orientation when your pelvis is on top of the roller. Let's pick up one leg to the ceiling, pick up the other leg to the ceiling so you've got a little balance work going on.

And then we'll work on it and do a little scissor stretch okay. So one leg comes forward, the other leg comes towards your torso however far. I just want you to feel like you're getting stretch in your muscles and your legs, this one and this one okay. Now do a bicycle movement with your legs so it's gonna be a little bicycle pedal that changes legs. Just feel the stretch, so the leg, that's from the bottom make a bicycle movement to bring it up the other one stays straight, and we're going to just flow through a little slow bicycle pedal.

Nice move, yep. Go for the stretch, and the stretch. Now reverse our directions, the top leg comes down by bending it does a little backward pedal action. My joints are kind of snapping and cracking I think I'm getting circulation in them. A couple more times.

And then two or three more little bits guys, it would not be a soft roller segment from me without a figure four stretch, it's so healthy for the hips. So we've got our feet down choose a leg cross that ankle over that knee. Oh yep so here we go, we've got this hip opening. If that's satisfying you could stay there or come along. I like to bring the legs closer to that torso.

Oh yeah, and the back is going to go into a little bit of flexion and that's all right, you will notice it through here. Most likely and maybe the inner thigh. Give it a little rocking movement toward the chest, and then take a little rocking movement side to side, notice that. And if you've been gripping your hips this week from tension or anytime, Wow! Does it need that? You'll notice that.

Yeah, twice more just rocking and rocking, okay. And then change legs so feet to the floor other cross, different hip, bring them towards you. allow your lumbar to flex, soften or bend whatever word you like and then rock your legs towards you a little bit towards you, and away. Maybe a little exhale and inhale. One more there, and then we'll go side to side with the legs, oh yes and across, oh delicious! And open, and across.

And across. And open twice more. And then mid-back stuff, and then a little bit for our neck okay. So put your feet down, lift your roller get your sacrum off of it. Roll yourself up, and let's move the roller now behind our back.

I'm gonna be right it, kind of the mid back. Feet staying on the mat right now, hands behind the head again cradling, okay. And that we did this earlier with the feet on the roller but all I need us to do, is just barely lift the pelvis we don't need to go very high. See I've just got my hand underneath there okay. And then use a little bit of hamstring work to roll yourself, and that is going right between the shoulder blades and mid back.

Kind of behind that diaphragm and the lungs all right. So I wasn't really breathing sufficiently throughout the week, because of what I was encountering. And that's the part of my back that felt really rigid, well coincidentally of course is where the breathing zone is. So breathe, take in some big air. Loosen those fibers of tissue up and release yourself to it.

Hopefully, that's feeling good. And of course you can do them with the hard roller, but the squishy one feels like I can really get in there, and squish, hydrate, good. One or two more passes, and then the last little bit will be for the suboccipital muscles of your neck you can put your hips down guys. And what we need with this is to move my hips forward. Don't go to sleep yet, but this is the kind of that feeling.

So I'll lift my ponytail up. It's the base of the skull. You've got a bumpy Ridge on either side of your skull, left and right and then you've got one in the middle but it's a little bit higher than the two side ones. Just let that come down okay. I'm gonna just flop my ponytail over, I think we're fine.

Okay this is plenty, you could just be here, you can also do a little gentle say-yes action with your nose, and your skull really. Yeah, oh gosh it feels so yummy. Tension has a way of creeping up here doesn't it? So this is fantastic for releasing and forming, changing that tension dial okay. But also there's a direction of right and left we can do so just roll a little to the left or right.

Let the roller support you, you need to hold it, yeah. One more each way. And then last little bit, if you go back to one side either your right or left. Now say yes on that side, just feel how that is a very specific little stretch on this suboccipital muscle group on the back of that skull, that side, other side. Yep, it'll say yes Wow! Say yes so that feels better.

Say yes, so I don't always have to push myself through it's all gonna be okay. Sometimes there's stress, but we know how to get away and we get out of it by coming down to the floor doing some movement and breathing together. I feel better and I hope you do too and I will see you next time perhaps with a bit more vigor. (laughing) Thanks guys.


2 people like this.
Loved this! Feel more relaxed with less tension and ready for whatever the day brings.
1 person likes this.
👍👍😍👏👏👏bravo for CC
Mary Jo K
1 person likes this.
Thank you Amy, that was perfect!
2 people like this.
I love the way you take me with you on your personal journey, Amy!
Hayley H
1 person likes this.
I really loved this. I had some inner shin splints and a little hip pain, what a great relaxing stretch to help all that :)
5 people like this.
Thank you for your honesty with your body, life and practice.
1 person likes this.
Authentic, human and inspiring ...I needed this movement too thankyou Amy!
3 people like this.
Loved coming to this class, and your presenting you being you, as life happens. Such a nice way to embody and take what you need and in doing so reminding us all that we can give ourselves permission to do that too! So grateful for you Amy!!
2 people like this.
This was a God-send, thank you Amy! I cancelled two of my real-life classes this week because my energy was just too low. This got me back to gentle, stressfree movement for its own sake.
1 person likes this.
Hope everything is going well with you Amy! Stress will knock us down! Keep breathing girl!

This felt incredible and luckily enough I have a pink foam roller. I loved the oblique work.

Mostly for me though just the whole feeling of coming back down with some centering and getting in some breath work instead of always running on that hamster wheel! Loved it! Xxoo
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