Class #4132

All You Need is a Mat

55 min - Class
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You will lengthen your spine and open your chest with this flowing Mat workout by Kristi Cooper. She starts with a standing warm-up to get your body moving and then goes down to the Mat to mobilize your spine in all directions. She also includes work for your hands and eyes so that you find a connection in everything you do.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hey, everybody, welcome to class, a new time for me. Hope you're here with me because you knew it was a new time and that you're here to do the anti-screen workout. Oh, the irony, (laughs) but so many of us have just been well, Zooming out quite a bit, it's gonna become a word or a thing, I'm sure of it, maybe even a cuss word (laughs) for some of us. But anyway, I'm really happy you're here, and so today is all about just chest expansion, about lengthening your spine, extending your spine, supporting yourself through the middle of your body and even a little side action. My hope is to do a couple little eye things at the end as well so that we can kind of remind ourselves that we have to be doing some things to talk to our friends and family right now, but we can also expand our horizons (laughs).

So, I'll do my best to cue so you don't have to look at the screen so much, and let's just begin, shall we? Thanks for being here. Stand up. And as always I just wanna like feel where I am in space, I wanna see where I start so I know where I wanna go. I like to set intentions, I like to remind people that you are your own teacher...

If it doesn't feel good, question why and see what you can do to make it feel better or pick something else to do, but this'll all be pretty benign in terms of like complex, but we're just really trying to (inhales) feel better, deal? All right, So standing on your mat or your floor or wherever you are, parallel feet for me for now and just rock, just sort of feel where you are, sort of like, "right, I made it, "the hard part's over, I'm here..." Shifting your body back and forth, you know, kinda going, "oh, okay." And then find what feels like a little bit of a middle ground, if you will, maybe ever so slightly more forward on the foot, not quite on the toes, no strain, okay? And then just feel up your body. Are your knees pointed straight ahead? Are your hips over your knees?

Are your ribs over your hips? Are your shoulders over your ribs and where the heck is your head? The anti-screened, meaning anti-computered... I feel like I shouldn't say that (laughs). It probably means your head is forward if you've been doing more of it, especially than you're used to.

So, find your head in space. I kinda sometimes think the ears over the shoulders is another cue. A few weeks back we did touch the top of your head and reach into it so that they automatically start to create a little more space in your body and if that's all we did, we're on the right track. All right, from there keep that, just rise up on your toes and fall, like land, and see where you take the impact? I mean, I'm not trying to hurt you, but just notice where you take the impact.

Some people will feel it, "oh, that goes into my lower back." I kind of feel like my shoulders go, "huh, that feels kinda good." But that's where I feel it, 'cause they've been up here for some long, oh... And then I adjust my position again. I want it to feel kinda like a goes all the way through, so I'm part of the ground that I'm trying to get us back on. And just drop, a couple more of those, breathe however you want, as always. (exhales) Okay.

(inhales and exhales) From there we're gonna take a deep breath, just inhale, standing up, standing tall, reach up, like shoulders, everything, ribs up off your body, give some space, 'cause usually on the screen... Just let the arms come down and exhale whenever. Usually when you're on the screen you tend to be sitting. I did get a standup desk, highly recommend it. Reach, reach, reach, go ahead and go way up, way up, way up, way up, who cares about form right now, just get some more room for us and exhale (breathes deeply).

One more time, take it up (inhales). This time actually, once you're there, let your shoulders settle back down your back, widen your arms... I'm just going sideways so you can see I'm not gonna be arching my back, and bend the elbows, bend the elbows, bend the elbows and then just let it all come back down, okay. So, inhale again, I'll give you a little more to think on that if you want to think. Reach up, let the shoulders come down, maybe turn your palms forward toward me and then bend the elbows, and as you do, it's like your chest is rising up through the window, it's not your lower back, it's nothing like that.

Rising up, the elbows are just pulling down and somewhere around this point where your elbows are a little lower than your shoulders, start squeezing your shoulder blades, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, go ahead, just do it. Try not to arch your back though. Just, I mean, you know, stick your butt out. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze and then keep the squeeze as you take the arms down around behind you, keep squeezing as if you're gonna clap your hands, oh (exhales sharply), but you don't, you're like, "oh!" We do it again, inhale up (inhales). Now we don't have to raise the shoulders anymore, we're kind of over that part.

Start to just let the elbows go wide, like and wide, and just dropped. Wide and let them come, start to come in, but because you're squeezing your shoulder blades, we squeeze those shoulder blades, squeeze, I mean, like hard, it's okay. What you don't wanna do maybe is drop those arms forward, so try to keep those elbows in-line with the wrist, as you squeeze, you can take the whole arm back if you want, you can lift the chest more if you want, you can work your back if you want, take the arms down and around, like you're gonna clap, without rolling those shoulders forward, and then let go. Oh, it almost makes me sick (laughs). Okay, I should have done this two months ago.

Lift up, actually I do, I do this. This sort of what I do when I get irritable, and we bring it down, but as the elbow... And this time make it a little more like something, you're gonna pull those elbows down or something's pulling those elbows down as your chest rises, so your neck is free. If it's not, figure out a way to find freedom there, 'cause it's not supposed to be doing a whole lot. It might look up, might look up...

Squeeze those shoulder blades, really squeeze! You can pull those arms way back! Take the arms down. If you can, clasp the hands together, reach down first, like knuckles to ground, watch the ribs, they're still in there, and you squeeze those shoulder blades, maybe you can even lift the arms. Maybe, and let it go. (exhales forcefully) One more. (exhales) I'm sweating.

Sweating... Here we go, up. (inhales slowly and exhales) Again, you're breathing how you want, you find more room in your own self. I can only give you some suggestions. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, I'm going back a little bit.

Taking the arms down and around lace those fingers together, reaching down... Maybe eyes straight ahead, maybe you're looking up a little, just be mindful of what your pelvis and lower back are doing, try to keep 'em where they were. Oh. Can you breathe here? You might have to let go of your hands, you might not ever have grabbed 'em, you could touch your sides, anything, and then just let go.

Right, slight change. We're gonna come up again, just inhale and shake it out. As you exhale, come down half way. Take those arms together, right there, somewhere in front. Flex the hands.

Check it out too, this is interesting, are you right-handed or a left on a computer? (laughs) Anyway, I'm right-handed, I kinda wanna an assist here, and from here all we're doing is opening, pushing, reaching. Don't worry about the rest of you, right now, just open, try to keep the flexed hands 'cause you'll start to feel it somewhere around here. Reach! Turn the palms up! Let your arms drop. (Kristi breathing deeply) I know you feel better, either that or sick (laughs). Maybe not, any how, keep coming with me, I'll get on the floor in a minute, in a little while.

Come down half way. From here, consider it an ab contraction, but don't change your spine, squeeze forward. If you can, you're gonna touch those heels of the hands together, spread the fingers out, open up, keep the wrists together for a second, reach forward away, put your shoulders back then, and now start to open it up. This one is more for just the arms and the chest and the hands and the forearms so just try not to... (inhales) We're not going from a big back extension here, and just let it go, one more, up! (inhales deeply) And around, about chest height, shoulder height, something like that, come in...

Flex the hands. Push forward so you get that sense of like, "oh, if I'm gonna be rounded, "I might as well stretch while I do it." Bring it back. So that means, when I say, "bring it back" I'm thinking collarbones, they're back in line as best they can be, and then we reach out like you're gonna touch the side of the walls, the side of the room, wherever you are, reach, reach, reach... Let your head be free. Oh, oh, pull that middle finger back even more, flex more, and let it go. Yeah, speaking of wrists, while we're here, circle, just circle.

And then remember how we started with our feet? We were kind of slightly forward, we had everything stacked, I'm just swirling up... I promise you're gonna get a workout in a bit (laughs) but this is the thing that makes you feel freer when you go to do anything else you wanna do. We all wanna do Pilates so we'll get there and by the way we're not far off already. Keep your elbows straight, elbows straight, heads on top, ears over shoulders, ribs over blah, blah, blah, you know the drill, just keep...

Oh, Kristi, you just said, "keep your elbows straight." You have to look, you gotta be your own teacher. Oh, it's harder down here for me for some reason. Whichever way you're swirling your hands, reverse it. If you were doing it the same way, I kinda went up this way and went down the other way so I'm gonna keep this one on my way back down. It's really about the wrist with the open hands, okay?

So I'm gonna keep going 'cause I told you to reverse and I didn't, so, same thing. (breathing deeply) Elbows, (laughs) it's funny, when the shoulders are down the elbows bend for me sometimes. Funny, funny, weird little things. All right, so now... This one I think, well, I don't know if it was Joe Pilates, but I did learn it from Rachel and Amy, and I'm gonna share with you, it's really kind of hard for me, I do a lotta typing.

So, you're taking your fingers, your thumb is kind of over the top of the four, see? Get it in, not like a tight fist, but get it in there and then just with those arms straight again, you're gonna flick, like it's... You really don't want on your fingertips. Elbows straight, Kristi, here we go. Flick, flick, you might even hear it, flick, flick...

By the time we're done with this your forearms will be nice and fatigued so you'll be able to focus on the middle of your body. Let's go up, up, up, up, up, up... ? Keep going like you mean it ? ? Like you really need it away from you ? Keep going.

Up, up, up (humming softly). We're going down. Do you hear it? Do you hear your fingernails? Do you hear the ta, ta, ta, ta?

Are your elbows straight? Yay, success already for me. Shouldn't have got a little too cocky there... Come up the front. Make it, make it, make it, do it, do it, do it, it's just the hands, just the hands, not the wrists, just the hands, just the hands...

Up, up, up, up, go down, down, get away, go push, push tension out even though you're creating tension in your forearms, that's sometimes how you get to relax them. Up, two, three, four, five. How wide are your fingers? It doesn't matter, but go for it. And down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down, relax.

Shake it out. (exhales) Sort of the stretch I think most of us know, but we are gonna be on our hands a little bit later. So, not from the fingers, but maybe from just above the upper palm, just take that little stretch. And if it's too much 'cause there is tension just shake it out, go back, et cetera. Switch sides.

And again, if you feel too much on the fingers, you kinda miss the point so makes sure you... Maybe in the middle of the palm was even a better cue so that you can get more of a stretch. If you are someone who hyperextends your elbows, Kristi, let's not do that and you'll get more of the stretch you want. So if you really just pop through the elbow you're not gonna feel anything. Rather, maybe engage your bicep, like you're about to do a bicep curl and then stretch the hand, the forearm, the wrist, whatever you feel, (inhales) okay?

Shaking it out. Again, I kinda designed this one for my own life and when I'm really get locked into working on the computer, which is a lot of how I do my work, I'm sitting. So, we're just gonna do some squats, or you could call it foot and leg work if that feels better to you? I'll turn sideways just for the sake of, I don't know why, so you can see. We've already shifted our weight forward.

On this one we might have to put the weight back just a little bit into maybe the middle foot or even the heel. Like you can, you wanna be able to lift your toes at the start of this at least. All right, so here we go. We're just gonna sit down and now our arms are all nice and light, but I am thinking of pushing against an imaginary solid, which is the air, I guess that's not imaginary, but as if it were thicker, and you could still lift your toes down here... Can you go any lower?

And be mindful of your back, right? You're not doing this to be round, you're keeping as if you were on a reformer maybe, or just keeping your back straight like you're lifting something heavy. Up we come and we push back, we're not gonna arch your spine, but we're just gonna push those arms down and back like we're against a wall, let's go! We bend, we straighten and push, we bend, we straighten and push, and those alignment principles or points that we started with are pretty much still true with exception of the hinge at the hip. Let's go, push up, push down, and I'm talking about the arms there, push up, push down so I can find all parts of my body while I'm doing this. (inhales and exhales) Keep going, do several more, but when you go down can you get more space between your waist?

Or between your ribs and your pelvis, I guess is what I meant to say? (breathing deeply) Let's stay up on this next one, but stay connected, stay connected. All we're doing is rising up on the toes and slowly down, no drop this time. Rise it up again. Good idea to kind of look out ahead, but look with wide eyes.

If, it's the only way I can think of that, you're not focused like on a word on a screen, you're wide eyed, you're seeing everything you can without turning your eyes. (Kristi exhales) And up. And it's just like, "oh right, okay... "I can do this, I'm upright... "I can look wider, I don't have to zero in on one thing." And it actually makes being upright easier, she says.

One more time. And let's do another set of the same thing, okay? If you had weights you could use them, but anyway for now just like, "oh, my hips, my glutes, "my quads, my body is here and moving as it should, "or at least moving (laughs)." (exhales) Find the room, find the space. (breathes deeply) God, it's amazing. So yes, it's like a whole day can go by and then I'm already happier the minute I start moving again.

Not that I didn't move yesterday, but that's a good way to start or end the day or just anytime. One more time! Let's just do a few of those heel rises. Again, I like to imagine I'm pushing against a wall, holding myself in a little bit up front, and just like, "right, okay, wide eyes." It's like, let your face be bigger. Put your eyes over here somewhere so you're not... Whatever.

I don't mean whatever, I just don't know what the word is I was looking for (laughs). How's your neck? Can you wobble it even while you're rising? Oh, that's different... It's easier if your eyes are wide.

Ride on, all right, almost there. Go wide! Let's just see what we have here, okay? It's not really... It is a squat, but see what you/we can do. You may have to adjust, but I wanna see how low you can go.

Somebody cue the "Grease" movie. Okay, I'm gonna put my elbows on my knees for a little support 'cause I'm not sure yet, it's early where I'm at, for me anyway. All right, so I'm this, I'm here, it's not hurting my knees, I'm cool. If you need to be higher, be higher, or you could also maybe go a little lower with a hinge forward, but let's keep it about the legs and glutes rather than anything else. So we're there, almost.

And now I'm a little more comfortable so I'm gonna take my elbows off, maybe, actually I'm not, I like it. And I'm just holding my hands together to give me a sense of safety. Breathe. All right, now, if your heels are off the ground, you're probably to low or widen your stance maybe? And let's just push up.

Oh (exhales sharply). Go down, help yourself, whatever that point was... Think about your spine, think about the alignments so wherever your spine is get your head following, maybe even your eyes, and then push yourself up, here's a hard part. Try to make it even on the feet. We'll only do like six, so four morish? Come down and sink into it.

Feel how those hips are just like, "oh, thank you for sitting "sort of as the body was designed." Maybe not quite, but close. Stand up, oh! Three more, down. Hold. Feel free to help yourself up however, right. (exhales) Two more.

Down, it does get easier. I was on a long roll of doing 10 of these a day, which is surprisingly hard, not only to remember to do, but also to do. One more, down, down, down... And up, oh! I wish I would've let you stay down there on that one, but we have one more thing to do standing. I promised you a little bit of side opening as well.

This one's pretty, pretty easy. I'm gonna start with just our hands behind our head. All right, feet together. If they're not totally together, that's okay, but think whole inner seam of a leg together. Maybe the toes are turned out if that hurts...

You're your own teacher. All right, but as we rise up we think about those points in our body that we started with. Something that helps me when we get into the ab work is a cue that some of us say about pressing your head back into your hand with a subtle, like lifting up, so my thumbs are right where that ridge is, and I can't really hook under there, but I am thinking about hooking and lifting as I press back and I'll tell you what, that is a stretch for me today. Just a nice gentle stretch of my neck and shoulders, so that's what we're doing to start. We press her heads back as if you're just pulling your face away from your finger, just straight back, that's it.

It's not a tuck of the chin, although, but yeah, it's just not. So from there just press your hips to the right. Try to just leave your head where it is for now. Come back and you could, yeah, to the left. And just to try not to rotate or anything right now, just center it.

Press the hips, and come back up. Press the hips. kind of feels funny, right? You can't really go anywhere, but maybe if you raise your arms up, whether they're up straight or they're to the side is not critical, but still push your hips. And I am trying to keep my feet flat, both, so I'm not rolling out on one, I'm trying not to anyway.

So there we go, come back up. It's the hips reaching and then to come back, and there's a reason I'm saying it for later, push the hip to get you back up. So you sort of let it fall out to the side, oh, watch that foot. And then as if something was pushing you from this outer side to bring you back up. Again, over.

Oh, boy, it's easy to roll off that foot, isn't it? But you missed the point of the stretch, so go with that. Let's start the same way, go over, then once you're there, feet are flat, you're gonna stretch up and away over there, not forward, but just trying to be in, you know, two planes of glass, that cue, trying to be that way. If your arms a little forward, no big deal, but push, push, push, push, lean! But how're we gonna get back up from the hip? Push and then it's easy to get up, it's not so stressful.

Let the hip go first, as you start to reach up and away, it might go further, that's cool... Let's not go down on ourselves if we're trying to lift ourselves up, so get over there, that upper corner, you can look at it, look away from the screen (laughs) and then use your hip, push it back to help the rest of your body feel light. Here we go! A little faster, I started with the hip, I'm reaching over, I come back with the hip and I'm up, whoa, almost fell over there, push! Reach long! And lift up, and again, push... Reach, lift up! And push, reach, lift up, let your arms come down. From there, take, let's say your one arm, left arm, up.

As close to your ear as you can, you can even raise that shoulder, in fact do. And this is one of those things I worked on forever. As soon as my shoulder comes up, or down in this case, I would bend my elbow 'cause it's hard so if you need to keep your arm out here, I'd prefer you to try it with a straight elbow 'cause then too much gets lost in translation here. So! Proud of myself. The other arm, not so much.

Okay, same idea, you're gonna push with the hip, then keep it close, reach... And the other arm by the way is going right down your leg, right down your leg, right down your leg, let yourself rotate, but keep everything connected, just look toward the floor, "hey, what's up?" No crickets today... So far (laughs), reopen, I'm in my garage so I do watch for that (laughs). And come up to change arm, lift the other arm up. Yeah, this one's a little tougher for me and a little tighter, don't know why, just so, it's what's so.

So I'm gonna leave it out here to save myself. We're up reaching, reaching, reaching, and in opposition that other arm goes, almost use the hand to push the hip out (exhales) and over we go. Now when you're not touching your head and I don't mean go to your arm, I mean your arm to your head, you, kinda have to really think, You don't want your head to be off like way down there thinking you're bending, so keep it kind of as best you can, that same distance. It's hard to do when you don't have a mirror so I'm watching you! Reach, get longer, just find some sense of opening the side and come back up. We'll just do one more each way, or as Mary would say, "one more." Up, you can drop the shoulder anywhere or not, it's really fine.

Press the hips, get your stretch, feet together and flat, go for it, go for it, go for it! Oh, I didn't look down on the other side, did I? Uh-oh. I bet you did, you're like, "whatever, she just missed it. "I'll take care of myself." That's good. Let's just do one more and then get that stretch. Up, up, up! Find your spot, find your spot.

Sometimes I hold my arm 'cause it's a funky arm, you don't need to hear the details, (laughs) but then I can keep that long line and rotate it. Just the upper body, hopefully, it's not this huge thing, just there. All right, help yourself back up (exhales). Let's get on the floor, shall we? Right...

Yeah, have a seat. Nothing special with getting down, but just get there. (exhales) Hopefully there's some freedom in your body, or a lot of tension that now we'll focus someplace else. Hold thumb behind the knees, sit tall! We're gonna take a deep breath, we already know about the alignment for the upper body so we're just gonna roll the pelvis back, now we're rounding, now we get to play. We get to find more space in different ways.

Let your arms go straight, inhale. Start the exhale, pull the belly back, as you come forward stay curved but long in the curve, whatever you need to do to get as tall as you can without a whole lot of strain anywhere but the middle of your body. Take it back, exhaling for me (exhales). I do take an inhale down here, but again, (inhales) shape your breathing, it helps you, helps to... If it's more staccato, meaning like (breathing rapidly) (laughs) notice it, you know, see if you can stretch it out whichever way you wanna do it.

But let's get outta the hyperventilation thing now that we opened up the neck a little bit in the upper body. Inhale (inhales), start the exhale, sink the belly, can you let go and come forward? Sit up, and take it back, right back, back, back. Inhale (inhales), start the exhale (exhales forcefully). Up we come.

This time just a subtle change, and you don't have to even make the change, soles of the feet together. Okay, so it's like this (laughs), diamond shape, I guess some people call it, and you can spread it out as long as you want, as far as you want, I mean. We're just changing something up top for more extension of the back, go down, down, down, take that breath, inhale, start exhaling, come forward like, not that your shoulders are coming off of your back, you're just bringing that same shape back up but when you get to the top, if you press your feet down you can open up. When I get out there to the side I like to turn the palms up and maybe even look up, not because I just needed my neck up there, I don't, I'm trying to lift up from the chest, and then come back round, go down, (exhales) inhale (inhales sharply), start the exhale (exhales sharply) hold on where you want so you don't collect more tension. When you get to the top it sorta start, doesn't sorta, it starts at the base of the spine, I'm lengthening lower back, middle back, upper back as my arms start to float open, eventually ending with the palms up.

Exhale, sweep and go down, (exhales) hold, inhale (inhales), start the exhale (exhales slowly). Keep the curve until your shoulders are over hips. Inhale, start to lengthen from the tailbone up, palms are up and one more, exhale (exhales). One more sort of. Inhale (inhales sharply), exhale up (exhales slowly).

Lengthen the spine, turn those palms out. We are going down again. Right, you're coming with me? Please? Down, down, down, down, down, down, right there we stay there.

I'm gonna inhale, exhale, start to come up, change your mind, go back. Up, back, exhale though (exhales sharply). Let the breath almost move you (exhaling sharply). Two more (exhales), one more, oh, about one to get up, c'mon you could do it! Can I do it? Of course we can do it! It might take a while, ah! (exhales) You should never do what I just did, I held my breath to get up, but some days it's just like that.

Open it up. Palms are up, you're gonna stay here this time and just take a moment 'cause we're all different so this is one of those "be your own teacher" moments. Some of you, I'm not one of 'em that, well, you might just thrust your ribs, that I would, but some of you are so flexible in your hips that you can rock forward a lot, so I'm just gonna ask you to think about where you are in space, and sometimes for me it's just a tactile cue for myself, hand on the top of the head, my lower back, and then kind of sensing where my ribcage is, is a way forward of those two spots or is it somewhat in line? Am I leaning back like I think I just was 'cause I'm tight today (laughs). Anyway, once you find what you think is upright, arms out to the side, rotate towards me (exhales sharply).

Then turn (breathing deeply). Little, sort of, not a trick or a tip really, but I do push the opposite foot into the other one to give me a little more support so when I'm going away from you I'm pushing that away leg into the other one, it kinda anchors me a bit. You could play with your hands here too if they're still feeling tight, you could flex the hands, anything, just find yourself some room in your body 'cause it's there, and (exhales), last time (exhales) and center. Take the arms up, reach up, go ahead, lift those shoulders, round forward. Yeah, I know, we're trying to not round, but we are.

We wanna round under our own influence, not just gravity's. Lengthen your neck here, it's so my position here is just simply to have my arms resting on my knees... And I am kinda drawing my hands up the shins, not really moving 'em, but just using it as traction to lengthen myself out and to round over ever so slightly. Great, just breathe there. From here, again, you're using the forearms for traction, I'm starting to lengthen my spine.

Same direction, tailbone all the way up, looking for, if I had a pole on my back, a sense of length through the neck. From there we'll just roll ourselves all the way up. Right, from here just get this one... Go into a rolling like a ball. Totally random order, but we're doing it, or I'm doing it, I hope that you'll join me?

From here to sit back behind the tailbones without collapsing, right, that's the whole point of this is we're not collapsing ourselves, we draw back a little. Same traction on those shins to draw the legs up, they can be as close as they want, they can be apart at the knees, I'm gonna ask for feet together, and today I'm going for knees together. Elbows up and wide. You still have that sense of curve, get deeper into it, can you touch your forehead to your knees? Maybe, someday?

Can you go through your knees? You gotta keep picking up those legs, you can't just do it from the hip joint, you gotta do it from the spine too. All right, I'm going back to not letting my knees roll back. Come up, exhale, try to hold. Roll back, trying to keep the shape you started with so where are you start you stay.

Maybe start a little wider, see if that's better for you? And you just notice, I'm gonna challenge myself to go tighter so I may not land the next few, but no, I'm being my own teacher too, oh! And back, keeping the shape. Looking somewhere else, whoa, forward, told you! Back, and up. I'll wait for you 'cause I kinda rushed that last one. Here we go, two more! Back, and on up, one more, shoulders, check 'em out.

And up, setting your feet down, let yourself lay down. Gimme that version of the hundred I sometimes like to do, which isn't meaning we're not gonna do the whole thing, (laughs) and also that we're not gonna lift the legs the whole time. So for now, lying here on the floor, press your legs down into the mat as best you can, it's not just heels, I'm not trying to bend your legs or anything, it's just the energy is downward. If anything, think hamstrings, the floor. Arms are just straight up for now.

We're not lifting the legs, but we're gonna pretend we're gonna lift the legs, right? So, our collarbones wide, engage your whatever you engage, thinking you're about to lift your legs from this position. If I were gonna lift my legs what happens? You're not, so don't overdo it. Here we go, we're just gonna think we've lifted, we're gonna curl our head, neck and shoulders, we're gonna look at them, "I mean, hey, what's up, what's up?" But then we're gonna go forward toward them, it's like everything angling toward them, not up, but for them.

And then just inhale two, three, four, five, and exhale, two, three, four, five. If you hyperextend your knees, check it out, try not to. Get those hamstrings down, in (inhales) and out, one more only, in and out, two, three, four. Take yourself back down, keep your connections. This time we are gonna float one leg up.

Pick a leg, doesn't matter to me which, we'll do two rounds of breaths. Get it ready. The one that's leading has everything's engaged, the other one is still pressing down. Here we go. Think about it before you do it, and off we go.

And in, two, three, four, five and out, two, three, four, five, just one more. (breathing rapidly) Put it down, stay connected, arms back up. You know what the other side's gonna feel like, sort of, here we go. Think about it, you're lifting it in your mind already. Exhale, come up (exhales).

Find that position, keep your energy going forward and in, two, three, four, five, and out, two, three, four, five, in, two, three, four, five, out, two, I know you can count, I can't so I have to say it out loud. Go down. Shall we try it with both? If you don't want to, don't, just leave 'em the floor. We're only doing, well do two rounds, which I think adds us up to more than a hundred, but hey, that's a first.

Inhale, think about it. Exhale, curl up. You'll find the point where they naturally float up. Here we go, in, two, three, four, five, and out, two, three, four, five. In (inhales) and out, two, three, four, five.

Take it down and hug your knees to your chest. I went one at a time, do it however you want. I'm bringing 'em both in though eventually. Yes, yes, yes, yes. If your legs aren't already together bring 'em together in bent, curl your head, neck and shoulders up, and today all I'm doing is, well, no I'm not, I'm stretching it out, the opposite leg, other hand on the knee, but I'm gonna pull that knee in as I go to it and really focus on the lengthening of the other leg, or that hip more specifically.

Switch, take a minute, it's like a deep, deep knee stretch, right? And then a nice long line. A little quicker. Pull, pull, pull, breathe however you want, I'm gonna go inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale, and in, in, out, both knees in. Double leg stretch, I'm reaching arms forward for now, everything goes forward.

Inhale. Exhale, hug it in. Go ahead and lift your butt, it's okay. Hug it in, get everything in, but bring your body up to it as well, right? Inhale, out.

Exhale (exhales sharply). Inhale, and by the way, put your butt back down when you go out. And inhale, and exhale. If you want to reach in, circle around, grab, hold, in, circle round, grab, hold, just two more. In, circle around, hold, one more.

In, hold, head down. Without looking up or down if you can, turn your head one direction, just sliding it on the floor. (exhales) Can you look down at the floor? Use your eyeballs. Look down at that shoulder, actually not in the shoulder, look down at the floor, eyes just direct left or right, whichever way you are.

Other side (breathing deeply). So, it's weird, you know, the tight side I tend to look up, I don't even know I'm doing it so I'm just gonna pull... I'm just thinking about it, this a directly side? And center, all right, hands behind your head. Remember the traction we were giving ourselves when we were standing?

Give it to you now, push the back of your head into your hands with the elbows off the ground, curl yourself up, extend one leg, maybe rotate towards me. Get the long, long hip stretch, pull that knee in, way in, way in and change. Hold, get it, find it. Pull, pull, pull. All right, oh, watch your head, pushing it back still.

Switch, inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale, and in, in and out, out and in, in and this'll be it, out. Both knees in, put your feet down, arms down. You can hug your knees for a second, but then put 'em down parallel, sorta how we started when we were standing, feel the back of your body, feel the bottoms of your feet, collarbones wide. We're rolling up through the spine, standing more on our feet and maybe a little bit more on our upper arms. Oh, that's the anti-screen workout.

If you don't have that stand up desk, touch yourselves, it's another be your own teacher. Are you piked at the hip? If you are it's kind of okay, but that's information, maybe your quads are tight? Maybe it's something else, who knows? I'm gonna ask us all just to drop a inch or so, just however you are, drop an inch or so, and then re, what I call tuck, it means pubic bone more towards my sternum.

Tuck. You might feel more hamstrings or glutes, and knees are still parallel. Stand more, keep that shape even if you don't get as high. Check out your shoulders, your collarbones, wrists even. It took a long time for me to get my wrists on the ground and it's getting hard again on that right arms (laughs) because of the computer so I'm working on that again, and I'm pretty much always.

Take up one leg, reach it to the sky. Point it down, go as far as you want to or can without changing your spine. Flex and kick up one outta six, two, three, four and five, here is six. Replace it. Do the halfway down thing again.

Shake out any cramp you might have (laughs) and then re-tuck, stand on your feet, think of your alignment. Up you go, nice broad collarbones. Opposite leg goes up. We kick down, flex up if you think about it. Two, three, four, five, and finally, six, it's up, you replace it and roll yourself down trying to put your bones down further than where you picked them up from.

Hug your knees to your chest. Ah (exhales), let's turn onto your side. We're getting there, we're getting there. Elbow, I like... This is the side kick, I like being on the elbow a lot, particularly when I'm trying to just open up a bit so I don't have to think too much.

I don't like to think too much generally. Slide that leg down to the mat so you have the sense of lifting and it's almost light on the lower elbow, whatever you wanna do with the top arm. The leg lifts, you kick forward, two and back. Kick, two and back. Watch your hyperextension, she says to herself.

So I'm gonna say too... Kick, kick and back, kick, kick and back, try and free the hip so you could actually kick further, right? You're not placing it where you think it should go you're placing it where it can go. Go, go, last one, take it to the back, hold it to the back. Look at your knee if you can, use your eyes.

I didn't mean to sound condescending (laughs). I don't wanna just be like, "oh, there's my knee." It's like, I'm in position already, take your head as far as you can and then use your eyeballs to do the rest 'cause hopefully that leg is back behind you. Keep it back here, just push back, not up, back. Back, the knee is straight, that's why I wanna do the look. It's straight 'cause sometimes we think it is, it's not.

You could even relax this foot, just a few more. Feel that upper leg meet the glutes, yes. And voila, just bring it in, you can cross it over right here. You can straighten the lower leg and move it forward wherever you want that, just to kind of get the sense of, "right, okay." The bit we've worked, the hips, including the standing, can we angle it toward the ground? Open it, stretch it...

Any other adjective you want, adjective? Yeah, adjective? I don't know. You could sit up if you're flexible. I'm not going to, sometimes I am, sometimes I'm not.

You could be up here, but that's about it for me. Right. We are just gonna go to the other side, again, not thinking too much. I just wanna feel better. I think it's working.

So, we're at about a 90 degree... You know, just get some support with this leg, make it so it's okay on the lower hip. For some of you may need to, again, stretch it out a little bit, it's not meant to hurt. What does really matter though is that we're not sinking on the shoulder. You're lifted, you're starting to feel like, "I got room!" Maybe, lift the top leg, I reached it and lifted it, so now I'm there, I'm set.

I'm gonna see where I'm at. Flex, flex, point. Kick, kick, and back. Even now it's really tempting when you'll still feel the hamstring even if you bend your knee, but it's a different kinda action than what I'm going for. I really wanna be able to lengthen off the front of the hip, so that's what I'm almost wanting to feel, but really I just feel my glutes and upper hamstring.

Okay, next one, stay back there. Here's that, seemingly condescending cue bit. You're gonna look back, looking for the straight knee. When you can't turn your neck anymore you can use your eyes. 'Cause boy, isn't that nice to look some more than others, other than straight ahead?

And then press back, press back, press back, back, back, let's do five more. One, find it, get longer if you have to. Almost to stretch in front of the body. A couple more. And voila, all right, bringing it forward.

You can cross it in front, adjust the lower leg or yourself, however you want. You could even lie down all the way, it might be hard to find the stretch that way though. So find out for yourself. I do like to push on the knees a little hard in this position and by push on the knee I'm just like opening the whole leg, that's what I mean by that, just push it out. Nothing too technical here, just what feels good.

I notice I really wanna rotate on this leg for some reason to feel where I need it. What about you? (hums softly) Can you tell we're getting close? We are, but, and, give us about three or four more exercises before you start winding down. All right, turn onto your bellies, to tummies, your abs, your front and we're doing the single leg kick...

You can do it traditional, whatever, but I like to spread it out a bit, especially when I feel kinda constricted, and that's where we're focused today is like expansion. So... On your elbows, parallel or out a little triangle, maybe a triangle's a bit better when we're low like this. What I'm gonna try for first is to draw my abdominals up, not so much to change my spine, but just to protect it. Okay, so it's just a subtle...

It's really just like a little exhale, I don't need my ab support so much 'cause I have the ground to help, right? But I do want that sense of length. From there I'm actually gonna traction my elbows to... You're not gonna see any movement, even in your own self if we do it right, but I'm pulling my elbows backward to place my chest more forward then almost down. Okay, if in that attempt it feels super crowded and you look like you're watching TV, it's not what I'm going for (laughs).

You either widen your elbows or move your hands forward. I had to widen my elbows just a smidge. All right, so from there, your legs are long, remember the feeling we just gave ourselves when we engaged the leg going to the back on that leg kick? Same exact thing only we're gonna do it with both at once and lift them both, didn't change anything else. Maybe you have to think about your chest reaching forward.

From here we kick, kick, straight, knee caps are off, kick, kick, straighten, and a little quicker. One, one, straighten. One, one, straighten. ? Da, da, straighten ? ? Back isn't moving ?

? At least not much ? ? Alternate now ? ? So it's in, in, in, in ? ? And out, out, out, out ? ? Keep your neck on your head ?

or whatever head on your neck, try not to drop it, or overly look up. Inhale, inhale, inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, straighten both legs, reach 'em longer, let them come down. Take your hands by your side, let your butt go. Maybe shimmy if you need it. Actually put your forearms down.

Push into your forearms just to lift your body, round yourself back, drag your hands with you to feel the stretch there. If you can't be on your knees, one thing you could do next time have a towel or something handy for this kinda thing. You can put it between your knees or you can just turn onto your back, but I am gonna go right back down and do just a little bit more back extension. So let's do that, come forward, ease yourself down. And then from here, we're doing a good 'ol like, I heard different names so I'm not even gonna give you one.

Put your hands, you're long, your feet are as close together as you can. You know, so try, but make that come from the inner, upper inner thigh first and then if your feet come together, cool. If you can you're gonna take your arms and touch your thighs. That's just like not physiologically possible for a lotta people so aim for straight elbows and the sense of a dart, reaching long, looking at the floor... Not really even, you're not even lifted that much, but some, okay, we're not going for height here, we're going from length, so everything's kinda squeezing tight.

We're just inhaling (inhales) and then we exhale. We inhale and on the next exhale just lower yourself down knowing that's what we're going back to. So you can kinda relax for a second or stay ready, which is what I like to do 'cause we don't do many. Inhale, exhale, you start to slide those shoulder blades, you draw those inner thighs together, the abdominals are ever so slightly engaged too, you're like a dart. Then this time inhale, take your arms out to a T-position, palms facing downwards.

Reach long, think Michael Jordan, that poster wingspan. Then whenever it's time you bring 'em back right where they were and lower your body down. Two to go. Inhale, I'm doing a... Breathe however you want, just lift, have that, lift.

Take the arms around to a "T". I'm breathing a lot, that's what I'm noticing so.... Reach longer, reach longer, we're not pinching shoulders this time, and then come back to the body with your arms and lower down. One more. Thinking long more than high.

Long, aerodynamic event. Take those arms out to a "T". Whoa, hang on, stay with me. Rotate from the shoulders so that the thumbs point upward, so you just literally turn 'em backwards in my mind, not under. So it's just, right there.

So you could clap overhead if you could. Lift up, just the arms, the arms, the arms are still reaching long. Thumbs to ceiling, lift, lift, you don't need to be high in your chest, in fact, don't be, it's not as fun and it's not as good, and by good I mean effective. Oh, can we do three more? Yes! One, here's two, this is it.

Three, take 'em back to your body, lower yourself down. When you're ready bring your forearms or hands, whichever is easier, or yeah, whatever's easier actually. Settle your back, help yourself up. Slide back into that position again. Take a breath or two (breathing softly).

And then when it feels right just come to a seated position, oh, or kneeling even, or a chair, (laughs) whatever. I just wanna do a couple more things with the eyes. Let's see, how do I sit? We won't be here long I just wanna kinda do a clock with the eyes because it's shocking to me sometimes where time has gone by, weeks have gone by and I realize I haven't like held my head still and looked up. You know, and that sort of...

If you think about it... I forget the whole pattern, but when you are thinking, you're looking up into the left I think it is, when you're trying to remember something, there's all these things that your eyes are supposed to do to help your brain (laughs) and so all we're doing right now is just for this exercise is try to keep your head still and level, you know, like horizon-like so you're not up. If sitting doesn't work, it won't, so sit comfortably where you can keep your back in that alignment we started with and then all we're doing is going to look at, see, it's a clock. 12 o'clock is the top of the forehead, look up, don't move your head though. So, don't worry about looking weird either, I can't see you and if you do it right you can't see me.

(laughs) So here we go. Not right, look up. Go to six o'clock, look down. Try not to move your head, it's very, very hard I think. Look up, 12 o'clock, six o'clock.

Ah, there's muscles in there too. I'm holding on 'cause it makes me almost sick sometimes if I haven't done certain numbers. Up and down, you can go as fast as you want. Down, there's lots of logic to doing that too, maybe not in this direction, but anyway. Okay, settle on the middle, close your eyes for a second.

Right, so if you know where 12 and six are you know where one is, find one. Find two. No moving your head, that's the hard part. Find three, that's the hardest one for me. Three's like way over there for some reason, I can almost see it.

Okay, four, back to being my friend. Five. I know where six is. Let's keep going, seven. Eight's getting tough.

Nine, piece of cake for me. 10. 11. 12. Go the other way, go 11.

Sit tall, if you need to like lean back and do it, no, don't do that. Try to stay upright, get on a chair or on your knees. 11, 10. Nine, eight, seven, six, five, I believe, four. Oh, come on three.

Two, one and 12, okay. Fluidly, fluidly, like you're the second hand, go from 12 to one, or I guess I'm doing it in the reverse for you, but anyway, keep to your clock. Here we go. You'll find it, just find all the numbers. Go 12, one, two, three, four, five, six, keep going, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, reverse.

11, 10, nine, eight, seven, oh, just moved my head. Six, five, four, three... Okay, now I'm gonna just do one, oh, whoa... Shake it off if you get dizzy. I'm gonna do one more round each way without me talking.

So just trying to keep it fluid, take your time. Ready, go, whichever direction you want first, off you go. Did you skip any numbers? If you did, I did, I'm not telling you which one, but I'm gonna hang out there a little longer. This time reverse it, last time.

Don't look up at Kristi, chin straight ahead, find your horizon. And then just see where your head is, is it on the horizon? If not, find it, loosen up a little bit. I think I want us to end standing 'cause that's a big part of not being at a computer. So, however you need to, just come to parallel feet, maybe keep the knees bent, fold yourself over.

Straighten your knees if you want to. But from here, just let really go, let go, like, can your skin be heavier? Can your hair be heavier? Anything to just like let, give in, 'cause you're really not, there's always gonna be some rebound to that so just let yourself be supported by the earth. Maybe you have to shake your head out, whichever direction, and then when you're ready just start to roll yourself up.

Roll yourself up, protect yourself. Use your hands if you need to, use your abs if you want to. Find your way back to that upright, expansive, wide eyed person you were born to be. Take a deep breath, inhale (inhales), floating up, raise the shoulders, raise the ribs, raise the roof if you can and then exhale and just let it all come down, and carry on with whatever comes next for you and just know that is such an appreciation from me that you were here today, thank you. Next time.

Garage Sessions with Kristi - Playlist 1

Comments

1 person likes this.
Thank you Kristi! Particularly loved the new-to-me stretch after side lying kick - felt really good in tight QLs.  Loved the thumbs up arm movement in dart, too.  Katie
1 person likes this.
That was great thanks,  stretching here in NewZealand
1 person likes this.
Loved the eye movements too.  Thank you.
1 person likes this.
Thank you SO much Kristi 👐 Such an awesome session. 🙏
1 person likes this.
Hi Kristi x another fan in New Zealand also x always fun and energetic to train with you - eye circles who would have thought :D  my eye muscles strong and flexible now LOL
I love New Zealand!!! I just hope to actually visit one day! Thank you all (Adrian Debra Nancy Steve Katie) for visiting my garage and letting your eyes get a little 'workout' too! 
1 person likes this.
Eyes, eyes, eyes - really loved that. Thank you 🙏 
1 person likes this.
Thank you Kristi Cooper  
That felt great on my back ! 
Also loved the pants....where did you get them?
Thank you @Kristi! Love your style! 
Come to visit Italy!
MKV
Kristi ..... that was a brilliant class ! Thank you 
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