Class #4165

Mat with OverBall and Towel

30 min - Class


If you find that you're stiff due to working at your desk too much, Amy Havens has the perfect workout for you. In this Mat class, you will combat stagnant patterns and hunched posture through movements that encourage length, extension, and mobility. The Overball will be used as a mini Spine Corrector and the towel is used for head support.
What You'll Need: Mat, Towel, Overball

About This Video

Sep 01, 2020
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Hey, hi everyone, it's Amy again, live for Pilates Anytime. I'm really excited that you're here with me again and thank you for everyone who continues to come back and move along with me every Tuesday morning or evening or day or wherever you are and whatever time it is. So today what we have is we're, you know, who's been at the desk a lot? Who's been maybe working from home, spending more time at their desk, over their laptop, their devices, zooming, you know, with teaching clients and things, which all kind of lend itself to, you know what, forward head posture, shoulders forward, possibly hips that are kind of tight, sitting into a chair for too long. Maybe you haven't gotten up and moved enough, all those kinds of things.

So we're working on some of those, you know, getting out of that, those stagnant patterns. So we've got the ball, think about the today, a little bit more like a tiny spine corrector in a way so that we can work on going over it backward into extension and arching this way, and also rotating around it this way, okay? I'm doing a little less flexion focus with things today because we don't want to stay in flexion if we're in that chair, or over the desk, we wanna get up and open. And then the towel, I've got a hand towel, tea towel would be fine as well. And why I wanna work with this today for some head support to give us something for behind our head, you'll get there in a little bit, so that we have some feedback to move our head back into rather than just our hands all the time, okay.

So I'll get there. I'll explain it and you know how I do it. So right now we're gonna warm up. And the way I wanna start the warm up is on our hands and our knees. And yeah, enjoy. Thanks again for being here, everybody.

So find yourself in or get yourself in a quadruped position. Okay, and take a moment to widen your hands, get your hands nice and spread, shoulders over wrists. And before we get moving too much, let's just kind of settle into our body and think about when you are working for hours and hours, we end up drifting our head forward, we end up kind of slouching into the front of the body. So right now I want you to really, almost think about the back of you, even your head, your back body, your pelvis, almost kind of levitating to the ceiling, taking a little weight out of your wrists. Okay, so there's gonna be a lot of focus on the back of the body today.

Let's do some scapula warm up, some scapular glide, so I'm gonna let my scapula on a neutral spine, let the scapula glide back around the ribcage, the chest will come lower to the floor and then move your scapula apart, not going into thoracic flexion though, this is not a spine movement, this is scapular movement, okay, sometimes it's hard to differentiate the two. And especially when the second phase of this when we widen the scapula, sometimes we get so into widening the scapula that we then push the spine up. And look that's that flexion, right that we're kind of maybe slouching over the desk so no spine movement. Let's do it again scapula glide, this is that retraction, scapula is really close to the spine itself, and then widen the scapula. I also think about pulling my hands apart on my mat to help me get those scapula wide.

Let's take two more, scapula together, the sternum drops toward the ground and then scapula apart, sternum kind of comes up and just snuggles itself right in between those ribs. And then just sit back off of your wrist for a minute, move forward and back. Back and forth to just kind of getting those hips also some creasing in there. So it's thoracic ribcage mobility, thoracic spine mobility today, hip joint mobility and back body focus. Okay, so now I want you to come around, grab your ball and stay in your quadruped and what I'm gonna do is have us do a little, kind of mini thread the needle, so you can take the arm that's holding the ball and lifted and then open up toward the front of my monitor.

If you don't wanna open with the ball, or arm, you can put your ball right at your shoulder. But don't worry about the arm. Let's think about okay, this is thoracic spine we wanna start getting that thoracic spine to rotate. Open that chest, now I do want you to take the ball on the floor put your hand on it, roll it, I'm in the pinkie side of my wrist and forearm and I'm gonna roll it and thread that needle. The other arm bends a little bit, but I'm focusing more on the arm that's on the ball and allowing that thoracic ribcage to move into rotation.

Okay, so unwinding. Same thing again, you can either have your ball at your shoulder here, or you can take it all the way up. Let's take a big breath in and exhale, this comes to the floor, pinkie side of your hand on it, roll, reach toward the wall that's on the side of you, you can let your chest drop down. Remember it's rotation, we'll do two more, a little more flow, inhale and exhale. (exhales loudly) I'm still thinking around my central axis with my thoracic spine, so we're not in flexion.

I'm gonna probably keep repeating that in case, you know, it'd be easy to go thread the needle in flection, but we want long spine, really long spine, rotate, rotate, rotate, maybe you get the side of your shoulder all the way to the floor and return. Okay, we'll do the other side in a minute, set that they're still on quadruped, I'm gonna use the knee that's closest to you all, I'm gonna bring that knee toward my chest, once again, staying neutral spine, okay. Let's do some big knee hip circles. You've seen me do these before. Okay, if you've been sitting for hours, this is gonna feel pretty good.

And, or if you're just waking up for the day, it's going to feel good to get your body ready. I'm doing as big of a circle as I can with my knee. Trying to keep my shoulder square to the floor, doing about five each way. Let's go the other way now. So the knee comes forward, out, back and circle down.

(inhales and exhales loudly) It's about mobility, right? Yeah, two more. My hip is clicking and making some nice, wake up sounds. Okay, and then sit off your wrist. I'm gonna just turn around so that I'm closer to you for this demonstration and visual.

Okay, so again, quadruped, hand on your ball, you can have your hand at your shoulder, like the ball at the shoulder and rotate toward the front of the room. Push with the other arm is down to the floor, or you can take this arm all the way up. It's a big breath in, and then this arm comes down, remembers the pinky side of the hand. Roll that underneath you, then the other elbow a little bit, but think about the side of your ball arm shoulder, getting closer to the mat. Three more to go, inhale, reach, really open, exhale and thread that needle, roll that ball.

See if you can get lower to the floor by stretching the side reach that ball, turn the ribs, inhale. It can be at the shoulder or all the way up. And then exhaling under. (exhales loudly) One more time, pushing the other arm down, opening the chest, deep breath, trying to get some of the stiffness and the desk posture out of our body and rest, okay, set the ball to the side, quadruped, big knee circle, so knee to the chest. Doesn't matter what direction you start with in the end, okay.

Remember, this is mobilization, okay, we wanna mobilize those hips. You'll probably start to feel the glutes contract on these big circles, which is really nice also, okay, five the other way. Now, if this were to be a real strengthening kind of workout, we would definitely focus more on contracting. But I want you to think more about mobilizing, okay. Two more.

Because I think it, when we spend a lot of time sitting, we forget to actually move, right? We're just sitting there focused. Okay, get off of those wrists. Great, you guys hope you're feeling warm. Now, grab your towel.

I'm just gonna sit facing you for just a second. And how I, oh boy, how you have folded your towel. Here's the hand towel, right? I'm gonna fold it in half and then fold it in half again. So it makes a kind of a long, skinny piece like this.

Hands on the very ends. And then what I want you to do is gently put this behind your skull, okay? Lemme just sit facing you for a second. It's not forceful, please don't just jam your head back. But I want you to feel that your head, the back of your skull, I talked about the back of the brain a lot, I just like that image a lot.

That it's kind of nestling back into the towel and just feel that, now the elbow angle is in what we're, you know arms are in scaption. So that what that is, is that really just natural place, you can aim your elbows, you really don't have to think about where they go for your alignment. This is where mine go from my alignment, some of you naturally have it more open and that's fine. Some of you are a little more closed, that's fine. What I want you to notice on my shoulders, the top of my shoulders are down.

I'm not forcing them down. I'm not even pulling my lats down. I'm just settling, okay? Now from the side view, it's something like that so that the back of the head and skull is right along up above that thoracic spine. So we've got that beautiful connection, okay.

And then just breathe in and out here several times. I will address the squeaking in the background. Yes, that's Luna, that's my dog. And she's not allowed in this room because she doesn't know how to behave yet. Some of you have asked me about her, she'll make an appearance someday.

But she has a cone on her head and it's just not appropriate today, okay? Bless her heart. Okay, also from the side view. Take a look at my underarm right here, bottom of my scapula. I'm gonna imagine that it's arching up toward the tip of my elbow, and then the tip of that elbow arching more up the wall in front of me.

What that's doing is also waking up the connection in my upper back musculature, and then I'm actually gonna even raise my sternum a little bit, okay. So you've got that really beautiful upward back lift. Now just relax for a minute I'm going to turn around to face so you can see the back of me. What I want you to do everybody now is lean your head to one shoulder and then lean your head to the other shoulder. And then lean your head to one shoulder and lean your head to the other shoulder.

And just one more. This is to giving your neck a little bit of love and TLC. Remember, keep your skull back, okay? And then do a really easy, a little gentle circle of your head in one direction, just a circle. Elbows are reaching forward, there's a little energy out the front, tips of the elbows, okay, and then rest.

So if I refer to skull back, which I will, that's what I want you to feel okay and connect to. We'll be using the towel in a little bit. So just kind of keep that nearby. Let's go ahead and keep moving and we're gonna bring our ball into the story. Everybody sit up please, place the ball right on your shin bones.

Sit up nice and tall. My hands are just on the side of the ball and here's a moment that we can feel our head pressed back, gently imagine that towel there. Reconnect to the feeling on the side of your shoulders that helps support your shoulders and your neck. Let's take a deep breath and exhale, contract the abdominals now, it's not that we won't focus on the abdominals in this class we will but it's just a little less of that. And more about the mobility of the tight spots which are your hips in your thoracic spine.

I'm having my hands lightly pressed down on the ball, I'm contracting those abdominals, lumbar flexion here. She is really mad at me today. And exhale and curve in and inhaling up. One or two more times, exhale, lumbar flexion. they're starting to get a little motion.

And inhale and exhaling and curve, yeah. Okay, come up to sitting tall again, and then just lift that sternum again, see if you can get a little more sense of that, Oh, it should be starting to feel a little bit easier to move. Reach your arms forward, hold that ball. What we're gonna do now guys is take a breath and do a little bit more movement of the lumbar flexion and I'm going down to my sacrum, okay, and then coming forward and let's reach the ball up any amount but I'm thinking of the relationship of the shoulder blade to my elbow, so get the upward rotation of the scapula, get up out of your spine and exhaling, flexion. Try to keep your feet down, they might come up a little bit try and just get down to that sacrum.

We're reaching forward, and we're coming up. Two more times, (inhale and exhales) I have to give one quick shout out to my friend Alex who might be watching right now. Hey Alex, I did try the Kong toy peanut butter trick. And she likes peanut butter so much she gets through the Kong toy peanut butter, which is what just happened in like 10 minutes. So and all my dog loving friends (laughs) Okay, here we go.

Guys, we're gonna put the ball between the knees and come down on our back. Bring your towel with you, please. Okay, the ball is between your knees. Take the towel in your hands and have that towel come right above your shoulders, okay, let's open up the shoulders easy does it, take the arms into shoulder flexion any amount, arms overhead. Chin is not resting down on the chest.

My chin is pointing more towards the ceiling and I'm getting my shoulders open, not forcing the back of my hands down. But I'd love for my hands to get down. But we'll get there in a minute. Think about elongating your whole back body. And then bring the arms right back up to the ceiling.

And overhead, inhale, exhale. And inhale, exhale up to the ceiling twice more. Inhale, exhale, over And inhale, exhale up. And inhale, exhale overhead. And inhale, exhale, just straight up to the ceiling.

Okay, this is called Pull to W, okay, take one elbow, everybody bend your elbow and that elbow is coming closer to the floor. I've got the other arm reaching quite nice and high to the ceiling, and then both arms back up, you're gonna alternate sides. And as I pull one elbow down to the floor, I'm also trying to monitor that that shoulder doesn't elevate on my neck, but you actually can do a little bit of scapular depression here. Okay, so pulling to W, elbow down, and elbow up one more, elbow bending, touching to the ground, trying to open the chest line. And then the other side, elbow, and elbow.

And now place your towel right forward on your thighs. The bow is there the towel is against your thighs, let's press ourself up into a bridge. Now you've got a lot of feedback, you've got two props, the towel and the ball. I want you to feel that you're opening your hip flexors, pressing the pelvis high, you can press the ball a little bit. Now, unroll your spine, take those arms back overhead, get that line nice and long through your shoulders and your spine.

Three more here, curling up. Okay, so again, as we've been probably sitting for hours, our butt muscles get a little bit sleepy, so use them, press those hips up, I'm putting my towel down just a little bit, and then unrolling, take the arms overheads, a good chance for big breath. Exhale and rolling up, pressing the hips up into the towel, the towel down over the hips. You can press your legs against your ball and unroll. It's gonna get a little spicy on this next one when we're out there, and then curl yourself up.

Okay, not spicy, but you're gonna mobilize. So I want you to roll your right hip, left hip, right hip down to the floor, and back up, you're alternating, so I'm articulating the spine, trying to dip one hip down, and then roll back up. Just one more each side, down and up. And one more down, and up. And then come all the way down your spine, arms up, and let's place that towel behind the head again, okay.

We could interlace your hands, but I wanna use the towel so that we can keep the feeling of letting our head just drop back into the support of the towel. And then the support is for the neck is coming from the last in the shoulder girdle. Take a breath, let's curl into chest lift, chest lift, keep your head drifting back, lean your head back and roll everything down. Inhale and exhale, lift the head, neck and shoulders. Keep leaning your head back so that you have to use your abdominals to flex your spine.

And coming all the way down. Inhale, exhale and curl up (exhales) Inhale and roll down. And one more time, curl up, we're gonna stay here at a little bit of torso rotation I'm rolling toward you. Inhale through center, and exhale toward the wall, both side, keep leaning your head back. See if you can use the abdominals to sit more forward, leaning your head back.

Okay, and second side. We'll just do one more each direction. Inhale and exhale to the front. Inhale leaning the head back and exhale to the side and center and everything comes down. Okay, move your towel just out of your way.

Bring yourself up with the ball right behind your thoracic spine, everybody. I didn't wanna lose my towel, I actually wanna keep my towel. So keep your towel with you. The ball is behind your thoracic spine and the right at the base of the shoulder blades. And then take your towel again behind your head.

Let's work this little ball like a spine corrector. So I want you to inhale and start to extend that spine. Any amount over I'm gonna go for it and let my thoracic spine really wrap over that ball. Pick your head up to level and then curl toward your legs. Three more times, inhale, exhale and over.

And inhale, exhale and round. So I've got the elbows in that scaption line again everybody. I'm trying to imprint my lumbar toward the ball slightly so that I'm not in a lumbar arch, exhaling up. And one more time, inhale and exhaling over and then curling up and hold. Okay, one leg extends out long.

Try three more, over the ball, it might feel like a nice stretch through your abdominals and hip flexor and curl up. And inhale, give energy to that leg, exhale and curl up one more time, and then we'll do three on the other side. And exhaling up, slide that leg in, slide the other leg out. Here we go, try to keep your hips square, and exhaling up, keep energy through that leg. So you wanna get that leg as long as you can.

I've got a little sense of my heel pushing down on the floor to engage those hamstrings. One last time, inhaling over, and then exhaling up. Try to take both legs out now straight, elbows still in scaption and really working the articulation through that thoracic and cervical spine. Stay here for one breath cycle. exhale, bring your head to level.

Lift your arms up, continue rolling all the way up like you've just done a roll up, okay. Everybody, come on up. We're gonna move into some side lying. And I'll just preface this now, this might be a slightly abbreviated class because you can guess why, okay, I wanna complete your movement, but I also don't want to abuse my dog. So here we go.

You're in a side lying, I want this ball underneath your ribs way up by your underarm, and lean on it, your legs are in clam. Place your hand behind your head, get your towel ready, this is gonna actually be really nice. So I've got one end like this, the other end in this hand here, and then I'm gonna change my hand and put my head here. All right, so you know, there are days where things flow and days where things don't. And today is kind of those wacky days.

So press this side of you into the ball, really press and then lift a little bit. You won't have a lot of mobility here, but you'll have some, this is related to that thoracic spine, right? Right by our sternum, and these ribs right there, okay. We're going to get to the yummy thing. Take your hand on the towel, take this hand on the towel, rotate your body, slide this front arm forward and your top leg back, so you're actually looking down to the floor.

My face is close to my mat. My back and top leg is way behind me. And then I'm gonna return facing you. The lead comes to clam and I just slide the towel in. Three more times.

So leg slide, arm slide and bring the leg in, arm in. Take a breath in as we extend, that's gonna feel really nice. Try to stay pressing down on the ball a little bit and exhaling in. And then one more time, inhale, reach, stay here. Now this long arm that's out in front, I want you to lift the arm, rotate toward me, the other arm stays on the floor.

Ah, three more, inhaling down and exhaling up and over, facing you, two more times. Keep energy in that back leg and exhaling up and one more time inhaling over. And exhaling up and everybody come out of that position. Take the ball out from underneath you lie on your side, and just give yourself one big book opener stretch here. Ah, okay, now we've got to do that on the other side.

And then here we go. So you're on your side, hand on your head, get your towel nearby. Okay, like in a diagonal here, and then head on your hand, knees in clam. Take a moment to press this bottom side into the ball almost doing a little side, lateral flexion right there. It's so tiny, and then lift off the ball slightly.

Three more, you're just, you're trying to engage the sense of side bending your upper thoracic spine, and then lift off a little bit and bend and press and lift and one more and then we'll do that nice big yummy towel stretch, sliding and rotation. Okay, so here you go hold the towel, extend your top leg behind you. The front arm is on one end of the towel, the other hand is on the other end, and I'm sliding the long arm forward as I extend my leg behind me into hip extension. My face is down. Then the top knee back into clam as you slide the towel in.

Three more, inhale as you extend and exhaling in. Two more, inhale, stretch, get that leg extended. Stretch your body open, exhaling in and one more time, inhale, extend. Now from here, we did the arm arc. So lift those arms, top arm up, and inhaling over.

And inhale, reach that arm up, we did four of them, exhaling down. Last two, lift and lower. Last time everybody, lift and lower come out of this position and then I gonna do one last thing and then I honestly I'm gonna have to abbreviate class. I want us to come back and put our sacrum on top, just like you would be on the spine corrector, hips on the arch, put your sacrum on the top. Allow your feet first to be on the floor of your mat.

Okay, and then let's take one leg to tabletop, the other leg to tabletop. Extend both of your legs vertical to the ceiling, flex the ankles, and then extend and then find a scissor. Ah, just hold. Let's do a little bit of pulsing the scissors, so we have an inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale, four, three, two and one leg goes up changing sides. Oh boy, a little bit of pulsing, Inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale.

Four, three, two and one, all the way up. One time only I really apologize, flex your feet everybody open to a big straddle, hold right there. I want you to bend your knees to a sumo wrestler squat, kind of place extend your legs, point your feet, come all the way up rebend your knees, tuck your legs toward you. And then place your feet down, lift yourself off the ball. And I want everybody to come on up and I promise I'm gonna finish this class another time where it's a full, my full program.

You should see all the notes on my wall, but I do have to end it because I feel horrible and I'm causing stress to that animal. And I'm not giving my complete attention to you and this is live. This is What happens live, okay. I think you all know me, this is not my normal. Okay, peace out.


2 people like this.
Thank you, great stretch class, I have been playing golf and the exercises were targeting all the stiff and sore spots. When you have any chance, please record the complete program in a more relaxing setting. Thanks again.
2 people like this.
Using the towel to assist in the head lift was very fatiguing for my arms.
1 person likes this.
Great first half of a class LOL I teach with my dog in my studio ( Jesse a Rhodesian Ridgeback)  He is very well behaved BUT when I zoom teach he lies by the computer and snores very loudly :D We all know the old saying NEVER work with animals or children.  Well done you - that must have been very distracting for you.  Hope your fur baby  got a big cuddle afterwards.
4 people like this.
Great class, thank you! No worries about the pup calling for you. We put peanut butter mixed with kibble in the Kong and freeze it. It lasts a bit longer. Cheers!!
2 people like this.
Love all your classes, complete or otherwise! And I hope Luna happy! Hope we get to meet her one day! Thank you!
3 people like this.
Thank you Lu Amy Debra Teri Sonia -- thankful you all understand the dog thing!!!  I'll try to film the other 1/2 of this soon.  Luna, my dog, is so sweet, she just wants to be in the room with me, but she'll want to wrestle and play, and not allow me to really give the class the way I intend to, ha!  She secretly wants to be on camera I think!!  
1 person likes this.
Loved this class.  You were so professional even with the puppy barking in the background!!  I teach as well and my cat always joins me on my mat for part of the class and I panic in case I'll squash her.  But my clients love seeing her at the classes!  I'm also getting a puppy soon so it will be interesting to see how that all pans out when I'm teaching.  Thank you, you've made my morning.
Loved the class Amy, loving all your sessions over recent months!  Life is getting in the way of work for all of us right now so please don't worry and have a big cuddle with Luna! x
3 people like this.
Loved it. Instructor to instructor... my dog story is R-rated. My dog, Jones, loves to drag his "girlfriend", Shirley, the stuffed penguin onto my mat for a little action of his own while I'm teaching my mat class. I  toss the toy down the hallway repeatedly and he drags her right back to the mat, into the shot and insists on having a party during class. One day I threw that toy about six times and he brought it back every time.
You have fun with Luna!
BB Louisa Sarah you get it, and me!!  Yes, Luna was simply not happy being in my room in the other part of my house and my neighbors probably weren't either!  I just couldn't have her continue that extreme barking.  I'd prefer if she could be in my teaching space with me, but for our LIVE classes, unless it's a standing class, she just wants to be down on the mat with me, and it's really distracting!  I know all our fur babies want to be with us like this!!  :)
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