Class #3965

Mat to Release Tension

50 min - Class


Learn how you can release tension in your neck and shoulders during movement with this Mat workout by Tom McCook. He teaches a class designed for men to find better alignment of the spine and a deeper connection to their center. He recommends focusing on your form so that you can enjoy this full-body movement practice.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Dec 30, 2019
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Hi everybody. I'm Tom McCook back here at [inaudible]. Anytime I'm here with Andy and with John and this class is designed specifically with men in mind. And um, we'll do some tutorials throughout. That will be just quick based on the tutorials I've already done, that'll relate to the neck and the spine and the shoulders. And we'll tie that into the mat. Class B full body. My suggestion is to focus on form and enjoy your movement practice.

So we're going to start with your feet right under your sit bones. And when you put your feet under your sit bones, visualize that you're putting your feet right under your hip joints. Now lift all 10 toes off the floor and sense your key weight bearing points in your feet, the ball behind your big toe, the ball behind your little toe and the center heel, like a triangle on each foot. And just lay the toes down and do that a few times. Lift and lower. And as you noticing that, notice is there any one of the three points that you're tending to leave out as far as putting weight on it and start to balance the weight 50 50 front and back of your feet, but also on those front two foot points. That's it.

Then as you lay them down this next time, just lean a little forward on the feet. Come back to center. Lean back, slightly back to center. Lean to one side, back to center. Lean to your second side, back to center. Now see if you can center the weight front to back, left to right with your head, right up over your spine. Just close your eyes for a moment and take a few deeper than normal breasts through the nose and on the exhale. Settle down into your foot points, but also lengthen and straight. And at the same time visualize you're creating a little more space between each one of your vertebra and as you're noticing and you're bringing your attention more into a feeling space, just sets your own intention for your practice today. Particular as your body. You want to heal.

Or if you just want to have a good movement, experience, whatever it is for you, set that intention. And then when you're ready, just softly open your eyes. And as you bend the knees slightly, slide the shoulders straight up and as the legs length and release the shoulders and see the spine getting a little longer. And again, hips down, shoulders up, legs, lengthen, shoulders release. And one more. So we're just coming into our body. And now as you keep your foot points, just bring your fingers just below your ears. We're going to feel where the head rests on the spines, right below your, as you've got the mastoid process, that bone right there. And I want you to visualize that your head rests on your spine straight in from your fingers, about an inch on each side. Now just slowly nod and extend your neck and visualize your head is rocking on the end of your spine.

Straight in from where your fingers are and stay aware of your foot points. You'll notice that your posture stays more organized. So we're getting very curious about our design. Not put one thumb onto your jaw and put the other hand down the back of your head where it was your head. Your neck starts to indent and keep nodding, but press your fingers into these two points, like you're massaging the muscles, recognizing that both places you're touching and not designed to be supporting. Wait, you want them to be soft and deep. That's it.

And let that go. Let your arms hang. No, we're just going to take the head to the front and glided to the back to the front. And when you glided to the back, think of going back and up. So you're getting a sense of stretching the muscles of the base of the skull, keeping the jar relaxed. And now keeping the shoulders level. Lift your jaw up on one side and reach the fingertips down on the stretch side and then come back to center and lift up to the second side. Reach down through the fingertips on the stretch side. One more time, each way and down and last one and back to center, letting that go. Take your left hand onto your right clavicle at.

Take your arm forward, clavicle forward, show the blade forward, coming back, show the blade clavicle arm and just feel, Oh my shoulder girdle is designed to easily slide around my rib cage. Organize motion of the arms, shoulder girdle connection. There we go. We're saying wow, I have an amazing body. How great is that? That's pretty cool. Now take your hand, leave it on the cloud and take the shoulder up.

So you have elevation and depression. Do just a couple. So one of the primary ways we can release tension is just being in better relationship with gravity. How our body's designed to relate to it. That's it. And then one more time to the front and then to the back end. Last time, arm, clavicle, shoulder blade, shoulder blade, clavicle, arm.

And then as you come back to center notice. Okay, how that feels. Kinda nice. I think we'll go right into side too. I'm just going to keep it rolling. So go arm, clavicle, shoulder blade, shoulder blade, clavicle, arm, nice and fluid. Arm, clavicle, shoulder blade, shoulder blade, clavicle, arm. And feel that fluid quality as you move that you're cultivating. So your nervous system is embodying that fluid quality.

One more and then let the show the blade go up. So now this is elevation clavicle and shoulder blade are married, so they have to move together and again, and one more. Now let's finish the next shoulder girdle standing piece and take your TheraBand and we'll put the band behind your, the thick part of the band behind the back of your head, just above your ears. And while you're here, let your knees be a little bent so you can lower your center of gravity. I think if you want to keep your head right over your pelvis and let the elbows be a little bit forward. Now a breath and on the exhale, draw your head straight back into the band and measure this going back and up and then release it to the front and do about four or five.

Actually let's do six of those and notice, can I draw my head back without tensing my jaw? That's it. Couple more and two more and one and really release. Nice work. That'll drop the band. Ah, take a moment to notice. Ah, here we go. Now we're gonna work our way down into the pelvis and the hips. So let's take our feet about shoulder width apart.

We're going to take our pelvis through a circle of their motion. So bend your knees. Now shift your weight to your left. You're loading your left hip. Now start to sit back into imaginary chair. Shift to your right. Open the front of the right hip to the front. Then the front of the left. Go out to your right or your left, sorry to the back to the right.

Now open the front of that right hip. Open the front of the left hip. And one more in that direction is for. Feel how you're affecting all the muscles around the hip joint and in front of the right, in front of the left, and lengthen up. Now bend again. This time, shift out to your right. Go to the back. Stick your bat out the back. Go to your left. Open the front of the left.

Open the front of the right. Didn't know you're going to do hula today. Here we are. Going to your left. Front of the left, front of the right, and one more. So that's circular motion. Open the front and then lengthen up. Now bring your feet back together, or um, hip joint with sip phone with and just practice lifting your knee and touching your opposite hand to the knee. Now focus on the standing foot pressing into the ground with your three foot points and challenge yourself to get the knee maybe slightly above 90. So we're waking up, our hip flexors are waking up our standing hip muscles and our connection to the ground. That's it. Now from there, going into our hamstrings stick, take your left foot forward, really small step and put the weight on the back. Outer part of the heel.

Like think of back here. And imagine the first movement you're gonna do is you're going to bend your back knee and pull your pelvis back, reach your arms forward and down, and then come right back up. Let the foot come down, lifted again. Shift and reach acid. Now add to it as you're going back. Press the heel into the ground so you're loading the muscles that are lengthening. That's it. And then add your Xcel to that.

Think of exhale into the stretch. There you go. One more now, same exact movement, but the left arm going to go to the back and back up and again, just one more fluid. Same exact movement, right? Arm's going to go to the back. There we go. Thank you. The pelvis pulls back the back knee bands. There you go. One more nice work and we'll switch. Now we're getting warm snow. Take the right foot.

Feel that lateral heel and just think of the initial movement as your pelvis pulls back your back knee bends, arms reach forward and down. Let's make it fluid. No strain shift. There you go. Exhale through the stretch phase and add a little load into that heel. So now you're loading the muscles that are lengthening. One more same exact movement, but you're going to take your right arm to the back. That's it. Nice and smooth and one more.

Same movement. Left arm to the back. There we go. Last two and one very nice. You guys can take your feet about shoulder width apart. Again, as you sit your butt back into an imaginary chair, reach the arms forward into a squat, no exa. Press into your midfoot and come all the way up. Inhale, exhale. I said fluid. Feel how you can keep a nice line from your head to your tail, even though you're hindering forward, the foot stays flat. Two more. And why?

Awesome. Now help yourself down into a lunging position where you'll have your left foot forward, your right knee back. Now I'll show it this way so you guys can see it from the front view. So have your back knee just a little bit behind you, but not too far. There are no. What we want to do first is turn on our glue.

So push your right knee down and backs you. Fill your right glue. Turn on. Now keep that. It puts your right hand on the top of your right thigh, which is basically at the level of your pubic bone. Now all you're going to do, it's really small. Keep your back glued on. Shift your pelvis laterally to the left about two inches and then come back and feel how that's opening up your hip flexor in a plane. We don't tend to open it up in, but it's super relevant to walking, gait and freeing up your lower back. That's it. Now go into it and hold. Take your left hand inside the knee.

Press them into one another and take your right arm overhead. I do a small side bend, but keep reaching into that. Yeah, back glute. Take a couple breaths. Relax the neck area. One more breath. Lengthen all the way up and we'll switch sides and again, just like either straight onto you or slightly behind you.

Take your left knee down and backs you. Feel your butt turn on, and then put your left hand at the top of your left thigh. That's a nudge. Just just think of a lateral glide of your pelvis to the right. Really small. There you go. That's it. Now you can shift the pelvis and you go, Oh, I didn't know I could move in that plane. There we go. That's it. And just do two more.

Now. In the next one. Go into it and hold it. Take your right hand inside the knee and press them into one another. Take your left arm up now, small side bend. Keep that back hip active and just take a few deep breaths. [inaudible] there we go. One more breath. You guys lengthen all the way up.

Now help yourself onto all fours. Now this will be a breathing exercise for your upper spine and your diaphragm. So I want you to take your knees really wide and then untuck your toes and sit your hips back towards your heels. Now this is uncomfortable if anybody's knees, you could even put your hand on a ball or on a chair. You could even sit in a chair and do this.

Now have your hands pretty close to your body and all I want you to do here is pull the top of your chest forward and up through your arms and extended open. Now set your shoulders back and imagine from your shoulders down. You're going to keep that on the inhale. Take your throat forward to put your head on this. Put your face on the ceiling without any strain.

Now Xcel tuck your chin to your chest. Inhale, breathe deeply and look up. Exhale, chin to chest and do four more and really keep the top of the chest opens. You start to feel that relationship between your upper back and your neck and also your diaphragm, your deep breathing muscle. [inaudible]. Just one more. Inhale to open this time as your chin comes to your chest.

Hold it now. Breathe in and let your belly while completely relax and feel the stretch in your pelvic muscles in your abdomen. Do that for five breaths. Let all of your inner body move. Keep your jaw relax the top of your chest open. Just two more breaths. [inaudible] at the end of the next deck. So let's just do three more head movements in.

He'll take your head forward to look up. Exhale, chin to chest. Two more. Good you guys. That's it. One more. Excellent. Now from there, shift yourself up onto all fours hands directly under your shoulders, and just do your best to come into a straight line from your head to your tail. Now we're just going to practice sliding your shoulder girl around your rib cage like we did when you were standing, but we'll do both together.

So as you inhale, let the body slowly dropped between the shoulder blades as the shoulder blades come close in the back. Now widen them and lower them as the body floats up. And do that four or five times at your own pace. Just feel your way through that. Feel as you're widening and lowering the shoulders are basically hugging the ribcage throughout that slide. There we go. One more.

Now when you come to that lifted position, now puts your uh, right hand behind your head. Now press your head back into your hand and make sure you still get the line from the top of your head to your tail. As you inhale, push into the floor and rotate. Open towards the sky from behind your heart. Exhale, bring that free elbow towards your other elbow. Rotate into yourself. Inhale to open. Exhale, rotate down. Just take it nice and slow and challenge yourself to keep their weight fairly even on your knees all the way through the rotation. That's it.

Good. Just two more, everybody. That's it. And one more now. Right there that you had. Come up a little bit more. There you go. That's it. Beautiful. Rotate in. Awesome. You guys can go right into side too. As you complete for a set yourself up, press the head lightly back in hell to open. That's it. There you go. Now as you open, stick your butt out a little more. There you go.

That's a pill. They gave you more space. That's it. Good. Couple more. One more you guys. And as you come back to all fours, just get the feeling that you can set your shoulders low and wide and have the top of your chest open your neck long. Now just practice. As you exhale, start to draw the lower part of your belly away from the floor. And as you start to feel that, reach your right arm forward into a high V with your thumb up and inhale to lower and practice. Alternate. When you do the armies. Can I reach the arm without struggling my shoulder North towards my ear?

Keep the both sides of the neck long as you do that. That's it. There you go. Really feel how you're working into your middle back muscles where our scat, we're a shoulder blade. Stability comes from. Now add the opposite leg. Press back like you're pressing your heel through an imaginary wall and then bring it back in. That's it. Even flex your foot.

Draw your toes back towards your shin. Feel how that activates your glute a little better. There you go. Nice. You guys. Now on the next one we're going to add, so reach and hold. Now as you exhale, round your tail under. Bring your elbow to your knee. Inhale into the reach. Do that for five on that side.

There you go. Fluid movement, fluid breathing. Two more. That's it. And one more. [inaudible]. Excellent. Really good work. And just take your time.

Set yourself up for side to open. Chest, shoulders low. Go into the reach. Opposite arm and leg hold. Then on the exhale, round in touch. There you go. Nice and fluid. They give your spine like a spring. It's curling. And then lengthening. One more.

Last one on all fours. This will be that connection of the shoulders to the, to the chest so that your hands directly under your shoulders. Press the floor away again and wide and lower your shoulder blades. But this time after you feel that, squeeze your upper arms towards one another so you feel your chest muscles. Keep all those, those muscles really active. And as you inhale, bend your elbows towards the floor without the back changing. Now exhale, keep that all on as you pull away from the floor to lengthen your arms. Do that two more times and one now for the final for a little more strength, tuck your toes under. Keep that feeling.

Float your knees two inches off the floor. And now we're just going to do four of those small pushups the same way. Keeping the shoulder blades open. That's it. Just two more. Excellent you guys. One more really good and lower. Great work. You guys. Help yourself onto your back when you're ready. And as you come onto your back just as a nice counter, turn your palms up towards the ceiling and have the feet in line with your sit bones. So just the width of the bottom of your butt.

And then just take a moment and feel your three foot points on each foot. Now breathe into your length and width for a couple of breaths. And on the XL phase, just let go. The usual suspects where we hold tension, the jaw behind the eyes, the front of the shoulders. [inaudible]. Now on the next exhale, as you start to follow your belly wall in, curl the tail towards the back of your knees and feel like you're, you're tractioning your pelvis towards the back of your knees as you come up into a bridge. Now in the bridge, bring your hands to the bottom of your butts for a moment from where you're touching. Take your pelvis more towards the back of your knees.

Now your front lower ribs. Let the front ribs melt in. Keep all that in. Reach your arms straight up to the ceiling. Inhale the arms overhead into a high V thumbs towards the floor. Now exhale, soften your chest and use your abs to roll back down onto the mat. Lower the arms to the sides and again on the exhale, curl into a bridge. Inhale into the reach. Exhale, traction down nice and smooth. Inhale the arms to your side.

One more time. Nice. And for the field that's full body connection. Curl and reach traction down away from your fingertips. Float the arms to your side. Now this one we're going to add in a leg. Reach to the palms will stay on the arms. We'll stay on the floor, but the palms are facing up. Xcel curl under that bridge and hold it. Now feel that your ribs are in in the front and you've got that nice strength in the back of your hips. And on the exhale, reach one leg straight out in line with the other knee.

Now with a straight leg lifted towards your head, reach it back out to straight and place it down. Take it that slow. Do forward side reach, lift, reach and place. Nice and smooth. Beautiful. You guys. Three more each side. That's it. Feel how you have pelvic stability, lumbar stability and hip mobility. Top of your chest stays nice and open. Good. Now one more each side you guys. That's it. Nice and fluid last side now and then sequence down nice and smooth.

Now this next one is going to be a rotation, a low thoracic rotation. So I'd like you to take your arms like this on the floor like w and have your elbows a little below your shoulders. Now at home, if you feel like you couldn't put your hands on the floor, you could pad your elbows, you could have something under them. So in this position, just feel that you can pull your shoulder blade tips a little bit in towards the spine so you feeling your back muscles are working. Now bring your knees up over your belly button, but relax your lower legs completely. Let go tabletop completely. So let the lower legs just hang.

That's going to put less pressure on your neck and your lower back and bring the knees over your belly button opposed to over your hips. Now just practice really small. Is your inhale. Let your pelvis slowly rotate towards your right to keep your left shoulder blade on the floor. Xcel from your belly wall, come back to center. It's going to be really small. If you don't let the shoulder blades come off the mat and feel that you're, you're not just strengthening your core, you're strengthening your mid back feel the shoulder blade muscles are pulling in towards the spine and you have that head tail line.

Good work you guys. Just one more each side like that last one. Now from there, just the interlace the fingers behind your head and you can let your knees open a little bit, but keep your lower legs relaxed and let your elbows be a little bit off the floor. And think of that shoulder work we did. Pull the shoulder blades down and wide cause you're already feeling the connections to your apps. On the next exhale, do an abdominal curl. Roll the head off the floor and curl in hell back down. Take it nice and slow like that. Feel how your dominal wall is sliding towards your pelvis to lift your upper torso and as you curl, feel the shoulders widen and lower all the way through the lift. That's it.

Nice work, Andy. There you go. Two more like that. That's it. Really good. Now the next one, come up and go into a rotation towards the opposite knee. Inhale, back to center. Nice and fluid like that. Just for each side. Feel it from under your shoulder blade across your waistline to your opposite hip. Excellent. One more each side as you come back to center, just take hold of your knees for a moment.

Relax your belly just for a moment. Relax your legs into your hands. Now we're going to take it into the hundreds, but we'll start here. So just let yourself bring your knees together. Now take your arms straight up to the ceiling. Now when we curl up, you're going to send your leg straight up to the ceiling, so inhale wide and low. Exhale, curl up of the upper body and reach the legs up. Arms parallel to the [inaudible] flora. Inhale for five. Exhale for five.

Strongly reached into your arms, even feel your chest muscles like we worked on earlier. That's a smooth breathing. Now if you feel like you have room to move, let the legs lower just a little bit without any change in the lower back. That's it. Let's do three more sets of breaths. Nice and fluid. Really good. Two more sets. One more set. Now from there, staying in the curls. Slowly lower your legs to the floor.

Take your arms straight up to the ceiling. Preparing for the rollout in a first. Just feel that lowering and widening of your show, the blades that we were working on and activate your inner thighs. Inhale the arms back just about two thirds behind your head. Exhale the arms forward. Let the head peel off the floor into the roll up in reach forward, keeping your arms parallel to the mat. Inhale, start to roll back. Exhale, downward tone through the reach. Keep the tone.

We're going to do four more nice and fluid. That's it. Move with your breath. That's it. Beautiful. Feel as the muscles that are controlling it are the ones that are lengthening. As you go back. Nice and smooth. Good. Three, nice and smooth. It's like a moving meditation. Two more nice and strong.

Feel that connection you made with your shoulder girdle. We've worked on earlier. One more. That's it. Now this time is your roll down. We're going to do a variation on the rollover will be a combination of rollover and short spines as you come onto the mat.

Then your knees up and just take a moment there where you can set your shoulder girdle, lengthen a little bit through the back of the neck as you. As you exhale, take your leg straight up to the ceiling. Hold on the inhale. Exhale, go into the rollover. Now. Inhale, bend your knees, shoulder with heels together. Know through your abdomen and the strength of your arms. Roll down with control. Now press the legs out to a high 45 on the exhale.

Take them over. Inhale to band. Exhale sequence down through the spine. Take it that slow. Do three more. It's your own pace. Nice and fluid. There you go. Feel the strength of your shoulder griddle.

The connection to your core breathing is fluid. One more. That's it. Awesome you guys. As you get to the bottom of the one you're on, bend your knees and just hold your knees for a moment. I just want you to practice just letting your legs relax for a second.

Now slide your right leg long on the mat and flex your foot and press the heel into the floor and take hold of the back of your left leg. Now just sense can you bring your pelvis into relative neutral shoulders? You're wide on the XL. Press the leg you're holding into your hand and straighten it and help the band. Just do that three times on the next one.

Reach up, bring your arms long and strong. We're going to go right into leg circles. Think of the circle dimension as in between your two shoulders. That's you. Don't go any wider than that. Inhale into the midline, exhale into a circle. Feel the lower belly working the back of the shoulders, strong standing leg.

Good one more in that direction and then reverse fluid. Good. Two more and one and then they pull it in for a little stretch as you reach through. The back of the downhill. You can pull the knee more towards the armpit, not slide that leg long and take hold of the back of the right thigh. Now just to have that down like bent slightly and pressing into the floor. And on the exhale, press the leg you're holding into your hand and stretch it long up towards the sky. Inhale help to bend. Nice and fluid.

There we go. One more. Now stretch long. Bring your arms long tone the whole body in how the leg into the midline. Exhale through the circle. Feel that connection to your waistline, back of your standing leg, back of the shoulders, and then reverse. Inhale away from center fluid. Good. Two more and one [inaudible]. One more time. Draw that knee into your, towards your armpit as you're reached through the down leg. Now bring both knees in and rock up for rolling like a ball.

Now you can either hold behind the thighs or you can hold the front of the shins and as you curl back, think of you're lifting your sit bone, sores of the back of your knees and sit your shoulders low and wide. Hold that shape. Inhale to roll. Exhale up and find that balance point and again. Breathe all the way through it. That's it. Beautiful you guys. Three more.

Two more and one as you place your feet down, take hold of your left knee with your right hand roll down and reach your outside hand long and reach your right leg out for single leg stretch. Now where you're here, pull your elbows wide and set your shoulders low. Look towards your belly with an exhale. Sweat and switch. Knees are tracking right over your hip joints. Your breath is wide. Neck is long. Good. One more read side.

Back to the center. Just for a moment. As you bring your head down, take hold of your knees. Now we're going to do the same upper body shape, but it could be double leg stretch. We'll do a prep than the full one in the prep. Your arms will reach towards your legs while the legs extend out on a 45 so take a breath. So roll the head off the floor and do an abdominal curl. Now looking at your belly. Connect to your shoulder blade muscles. Inhale, arms and legs reach forward. Exhale N just one more XL N now, same shape. This time slowly arms reach overhead Xcel circle. Draw it in.

Three more at your own pace. Xcel N good. Two more and one awesome. Rock yourself up to a seated position for spine stretch. So for spine stretch, we'll take your legs out in front of you about shoulder width. And what I recommend in the beginning is put your hands on your knees and push your knees up to feel how that gets you more up on your sit bones. That's a now reach your arms up. Now as you inhale, grow a little taller and the bottom of your pelvis filler creates a little lift. Now the XL, nod the chin, pull the waistline back and curl over an imaginary beach ball like the top of your head is going towards the floor. Inhale, push down to stack up to that starting point and again, XL up and over.

That's it. Feel that rapid the shoulders. Inhale, grow tall. Do two more. Inhale up tall. We'll do one more. Last one. Inhale up til now. Take your hands behind you for reverse plank, a little counter pose, and then your legs so you can open the front of your hips before we do the next few exercises. So first thing, draw the shoulder girdle back. Lengthen through the back of your neck and on the Xs.

Swing your pelvis up towards the back of your knees. Slowly lower and feel as you're coming up, you're using your middle back to open your chest and again and lower. Now stay with that if that's enough for today. Otherwise straighten your legs. This time as we go up, we're going to take our head to look up. I don't want you to think of what we did with the TheraBand with your neck, so set the shoulders back and then reach forward and up. Lengthen through the neck with the band slowly lower and do two more.

Hips levitate up. Lengthen slowly. Lower. One more lift in lengthen and slowly lower. Beautiful work you guys know with your legs together. We're going to go right into spine twist. Bend your knees as much as you need to and take your arms out to the side. It's shoulder height. Now feel like you're pushing down with your arms, with your lats. Grow tall with the inhale on the XF from your waistline.

Turn to your right with a small pulse [inaudible] in health center. Xcel left [inaudible] one more each way. Let your legs open shoulder. With that, we're going to combine the two movements of spine stretch and twist into the sauce to take the arms out. Slowly do a twist here right now. Flex and reach towards the outside of your foot. Look towards your back arm. Inhale back to center XL. Rotate flex in reach. Press down to come back to center. There you go. And again, XL, flex and reach.

Inhale, center. Exhale, flex and reach. Beautiful you guys. One more each side. I sinned. Fluid last one and reach. Awesome. Now help yourself down onto your belly as you come onto your belly. Let your forehead rest on the back of your left hand. Bend your right leg and take hold of your ankle.

Now see if you can anchor your front of your hip and pubic bone close to the mat and start to contract your butt by pressing your thigh towards the ceiling and start to add a little tension of kicking your foot into your hand. Now if you feel like you can take it further without any knee stress, let your heel come a little close to the back of your butt and just take a few breaths there. Breathe deep and low. One more breath on that side, and then when you're ready, just gently let go and we'll take side too and get that feeling. Once you take hold that you're going to anchor their hips to the ground so you're getting a sense that you're not letting your lower back substitute. Press your thigh up to activate your glute and start to resist the foot into the hand. It's still got room to rod, a little tighter to your backside.

Just make sure there's no strain. Couple more breaths. One more breath. You guys. Now from there I'd like you to extend your legs long and take your hands one hand placement further in front of your forehead with your first finger at them together like a like a diamond shape that's an in that diamond shape. Reach back through your legs and draw your shoulder blades down, your back and away from each other so you feel your neck gets longer and then floats your head a few inches off the floor.

Now imagine you're going to move from the muscles right behind your heart, so using those muscles start to slide your heart towards your hands to lift your head. Now rotate your lower arms so then your hands and elbows are the same distance apart. Now keeping your shoulders down, your mid back active, reach into your arms to come up at higher. Your arms will lengthen, lower your elbows, rotate them back to the start and lower your torso and again, slide your heart forward. That's it. Rotate the lower arm and then press and come up. There you go. And then lowered down with control and rotate the hands back to that diamond shape. There you go. And again, slide the heart forward.

Rotate the lower arms, and as you come up, keep the legs nice and tones. You feel the support of your legs as you open up your hips and use your back. That's it. Do one more nice and fluid. Feel that that slide. Lower arm rotation. Extend into it.

Lengthen back down with control and rest. Now from there we're going to go right into single leg kicks a come up onto your elbows and think of have your elbows is. Why does you need to do not feel lower back? Stress and bring your knees really close together. Now just practice pushing into your elbows to lift out of your shoulders.

Tone your in seams and think of you have tension between your elbows in the front of your hips so your abs are actually turned on on a sniffing breath. You'll go or you'll kick twice. That's it. That's it. Nice and smooth. Feel that tone through the whole body. You're stretching the front of your thighs, you strengthen the back of your hips. Two more each side. One more resign.

Awesome. Now from there we're going to transition to an eight point plank. The eight points are your are your elbows, your wrists, your knees, and your feet. So your elbows will stay on the floor. Now just practice when you're here. Tuck your toes and press into your elbows so you can lift out of your shoulders. Now imagine your spine begins right below your chin, so you're going to pull your throat away from the floor.

Pull your breastbone away from the floor, pull your waistline away from the floor and let your knees bend in. Your hips come up so your hips are basically level with your shoulders or close to it. Not start to resist the elbows and knees towards one another. Start to squeeze all four limbs towards the mid line. Now breathe into your width and your length you're going to, you'll stay up there in that plank if you can. There you go. Breathe into your width and feel like you're pulling it together.

Now if you feel like you could take it a step further without moving your pelvis slowly, straighten your legs and then inhale. Just touch your knees back to the mat to that four times. That's it. Nice and smooth. One more. This last one. Hold it for three breaths. Breathe low and wide energy out your heels, out the crown of your head.

One more breath. Now with control floats your knees down. Just help yourself back into a child's pose for a couple breath. You sub, stretch it back. Good you guys. [inaudible] in the child's pose. A nice way to get the lower back to stretch a little bit more is feel like you're going to draw the bottom of your waist away from your front thigh and curl your tail a little bit more forward.

Feel that stretch in the bottom of your lower back. That's it. And then slowly help yourself up. Now we're going to come on to your side for a little side leg work short and sweet. Why don't we all face this direction and just cradle your head with the bottom arm and let yourself take your feet a few inches in front of your body with your legs straight and your feet flexed.

And then put your top hand on the floor really close to the, to your body. So the first one is just with flex feet. Squeeze your in seams and lift both legs off the ground together and help to lower both. And again, exhale to lift. Inhale to lower. And again just two, two more. And lift on the next one. Lift and hold.

Now just lower and lift your bottom leg and work from your pelvis to your inner knee. Feel that for five more. Feel that work in scene, pelvis, hip muscles all working together and two more and one. Now as you lower bend your bottom leg, like you're sitting in a chair, bring it all the way up to 90 degrees and bring your top leg back in line with your shoulder with a straight leg. Now as your top arm take straight up to the ceiling and absorb it into your shoulder joint. Like it's being sucked into the joint and lift your top leg up about four or five inches for sidekicks. Now flex your foot. Inhale, kick to the front with a straight leg, no XL point and reach to the back and hold it there for a moment. Now activate your down knee towards your chest like you're striding up a Hill.

Inhale, kick to the front exit point and reach to the back. Each time you go to the back, include that action of the down leg to that four more. There you go. Feel that head tail line all the way through. Really good you guys. That's it. Two more. One more on this next one. When you go to the back, hold it to the back as you hold it to the back.

Let's see if you can leave your knee where it's at, and bend the leg going into bicycle, not take the knee to the chest. Reach it long to the front. Nice and smooth. There you go. Just take your time through that range. Good. Just two more feel. It's a big combination, stability and mobility. Now as you get to the front on this next one, Bandon, reverse breach deep to the back and then sweep it to the front. Nice and smooth. Good. And just two more.

Awesome. You guys last one now. Now as you complete the one you're on, straighten out your bottom leg on the floor. Put your top knee on the mat in front of you with your knee bat and just tap out your hip for a second. There we go. Good work you guys. And we're going to roll right on the side too as a little hip. Love for you.

How's good? Now let's start with your cradling the bottom arm. A cradle cradling your head with the bottom arm. Chin off the chest and your feet a little bit in front of you. Now flex your feet. Set your shoulders low and on the XL.

Lift both legs off the ground. Inhale to lower. That's it. Nice and smooth. There you go. Include that feeling of turning on the middle of your body right before your legs. Lift two more on the next one. Lift and hold. Now just lower and lift your bottom leg work from your pelvis to your inner knee. Those muscles, they get left out of so many things. Great for your leg. Alignment, your posture. Two more and one as you lower bend your bottom leg like you're sitting in a chair.

Bring it up pretty close to hip height. Bring the top leg back so it's in line with your ear, ankle, and ear, and take your top arm straight up to the ceiling and absorb it into your body. Lift that top leg a few inches and flex your foot. Inhale, kick to the front XL point. Reach to the back and activate that down knee towards your chest. Each time you stride to the back, that's it.

Then give including your abdominal wall as your leg goes to the back so you feel that support for your lower back as you take your leg behind you. Two more. There we go. On this next one. Are you going to transition right into bicycles? You'll reach it to the back and then bend at the knee. Need a chest leg long to the front. There you go. Get that feeling of using the back of the leg as you bend the leg.

That's it. One more in that direction. And then as you come to the front on your next one, bend in reverse as it sweep it long to the back. Since that you can keep your head and tail in line with each other all the way through. Just two more and one more. Very nice. As you finished straighten out your bottom knee, put your top knee on the floor and you can tap out your top hip for a moment. There we go. Now come up and face me on your side. I want you to be like this.

We're going to do a side lift, and in this particular exercise we want to be really sensitive to the shoulder. So with your shoulder, push the floor away and lift out of your shoulder and your feet will be crossed where your top leg will be a little in front. And we're going to go and you might want to have your legs about a little more than half straight, so that way you don't feel like you're jammed up. Now you're going to push the floor away. So I'm already feeling my bottom waist. And as you press into your feet, you're going to reach into a side plank. Now, right there, bring your head back and zip up your legs.

Now as you bend your legs, pull yourself back down and again, lift. Now pull yourself back down. Now this time we're going to go up and hold it. Take your arm overhead. Bring your head back now just slowly lower your hips towards the floor. Now pull through that top arm as you use your waist to lift. And again, just two more and one slowly lower and we'll go to side two. You guys can still face me if you like. We'll just switch directions. There you go.

Now come right up onto your hand and again, make sure you have enough space that you don't feel jammed up. And with that bottom shoulder, just take the shoulder blade and tuck it in a little bit. And as you press into the floor, extend through the limbs, come into that side plank. Now pull yourself back towards your feet so you feel like you don't lose the line of pressure into your limbs and pull yourself down. This time will come up and hold. Now take that top arm over the top.

Now just do a small hip, lower as you use your waistline, traction through that top arm one more and lower and help yourself on to all fours. We'll finish with the greatest stretch in the world. That's a little compelling, isn't it? Now step your, um, your, your foot that's closest to me forward and then have your on the backside puts your fingertips on the floor and go ahead and straighten your back leg. Now if you needed to use a block or a ball for this when you're at home, that's totally fine. Challenge yourself to open the top of your chest and not let that back hip drop when you do this next opening movement. Now as you inhale with that free arm out to the side, spiral your chest open to look up.

Now take your arm inside the knee as you bend the elbow slightly. Keep reaching through the back leg. Inhale, lengthen. And open. Exhale, take it inside. Just two more times. Inhale, open. Exhale inside. Last time. Inhale, open. Excellent side. Slowly lower. We'll switch legs and just take your time.

Just get your setup where you straighten that back leg front knee, right over the ankle. Open the top of the chest. Strong back leg. Free arm reaches out. Inhale, spiral open. Xcel. Take it inside the knee. Do a small elbow bend as you keep your legs active. Inhale, open. Exhale inside. Just two more excellent side, one more.

Back to center. Now c'mon to all fours. Tuck your toes under and just gently shift yourself back to a downward dog with your knees quite bent. Now just since your legs quite bent that you can traction your hips away from your hands and just straighten your legs a little bit to where you feel like you're not going to change the shape of your spine and take three more big breaths. That's it. Easy, easy, and the neck. Shoulders are plugged in. Now just walk in place. That one leg band is the others straightens.

I feel how you can press your thigh bone back into the hamstring. Reach your heel towards the floor. There we go. Nice and smooth. One more reach side. Now when you're ready with soft knees, just walk your hands to your feet. Either way, it's all good.

And when you're ready to slowly roll up through the spine [inaudible] and as you arrive at the top, place your feet under your sit bones. One more time. And then center the weight on your three foot points. Close your eyes just for a moment. Let the breathing drop lower in the body. Relax your jaw behind the eyes now as yourself, your focus and hard work. You guys and hope to see you again. I'll pull out his anytime. Thanks you guys. Good work. I pleasure.

Really good.


Lina S
2 people like this.
I've enjoyed the class, its pace and the precision of your cues. Maybe I missed it but can you tell me what makes this class particularly suited for men? Thank you.
Body feels open, free and strony, lovely class as usual with Tom
Thank you Tom, terrific, as all your thoughtful work! Any suggestions for the rollover with a kyphotic client? Light padding OK or just avoid? His head leaves the mat on the return. We are always working on stretching hamstrings, and working on rotation. Will try the prone variation for thoracic extension with diamond to straight arms. Hope you have some equipment workouts coming too! Many thanks. Happy New Year!
2 people like this.
Excellent class. So easy to follow Tom, yet very challenging internally. Loved it. I wish there were more classes from you. Especially mat classes. 
Emma B
Lovely pace and easy to follow. Will look for more mat classes by you Tom. Thank you.
2 people like this.
Fantastic class with Tom who I have just discovered on Pilates Anytime. Love the cueing, flow and relaxed but challenging energy of the teaching. Will look out for more classes with Tom.
Thank you 🙏 Tom, lovely class! “It’s like a moving meditation.” When I heard you say that, I felt so connected: that’s exactly how I feel en what I say to my clients! The Roll Up can go on and on, with no beginning and no ending, one continuous motion... just breathing and moving.
3 people like this.
Thank you all for your great feedback! Lina, thank you for your question. It's titled for men to encourage them to experience Pilates and how the mat can both create a balanced body and address the imbalances of modern life styles. Theirs more focus on neck, shoulder and upper back mobility. It's also great for women and we highlighted men to peak their curiosity!! Rosemary, I would use the Reformer to practice the lower half of rollover to highlight lumbar flexion and not push more into thoracic flexion. Keep working on extension and rotation along with mid-back strength. Thank you all and wishing you a fulfilling 2020!!
1 person likes this.
Great class; I love your method; easy and smooth; releasing most of the tension through the whole body at the end ...thank you so much
2 people like this.
Fantastic for women too!   Very relaxing and invigorating leaving the body relaxed all over and energized!
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