Class #417

Mat Workout Breakdown

30 min - Class


Niedra offers a technical breakdown of her Advanced Flow class offered in class ID # 416. Enjoy Niedra's expertise in breaking down the important points of exercises such as the super advanced criss cross, Swan Dive, Scissors and Bicycle, Twist and more! This is a great review for anyone wanting more detail in their advanced level work.
What You'll Need: Mat

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All right. So this is going to be a technical breakdown of the super advanced exercises that we did in the class. It's not the full class, it just the ones that we added in or new aspects of the exercise that are ways to challenge you, you know, at the super advanced level. So the first one is the crisscross cross. Now Chris Gwas, we've been doing all the way from beginning all the way through advance. And if you start to take it to a higher level where you're up in the air and twisting or going down and coming up, it's working a whole nother aspect of your powerhouse. So yeah. So just to break down what you're trying to do, let's have you lying on your backs and bring and bring your hands behind your head and if bend your feet up. So you're at a tabletop position.

So tabletop is always this angle of the size going straight up. And then the shins apparel to the floor. Now see if you can come up to a sitting position without your legs were moving. So see if you can bring yourselves up or just fake it. If you can't make it, that's the idea. So whatever you can to do it now, take your left elbow to your right knee and get that right elbow way, way, way back. Good. And then switched to the other side. Very good and come back and then lower back down. So there's then, then you do the different variations.

Now if you can't quite get up and you, you want a friend to help you on the way, you can actually come and hold someone's feet. So Emma was having some trouble coming up. So let's have you come up again and she will be able to get up because I'm anchoring her feet and now twist to one side and then twist to the other side and then come back and roll down. So of course you'll do more variations and so little trick, you can help somebody do it. If you're a teacher, you can put your feet against the wall if you're just at home and you're trying to figure out how to do it. But that's a way to go to the next level with that exercise. Okay, next stretch.

Next stretch is not done very often anymore and it's actually a wonderful way to start to add remove tension. So let's have you, this is what it looks like just so you can see you're going to be lifting up into an [inaudible] usually before Cobra. But what you want to watch out for is this position. This happens all the time. So there's different modification and then there's a rotation of the head from one side to the other. So let's do the first variation where you come up into sphinx pose.

So your elbows are down. Now all three of you, let's pull, you want to watch the pull the shoulders away from the ears. So you have this very elegant position in the upper body now without the shoulders coming up, bring your right ear, right. I'm sorry. Turn your nose to the right. Absolutely right Emma. And now check that the shoulders are down cause they go to want to get engaged and I've dropped the nose way down. So you let the head drop way down. And then look to the left and keep pulling the right shoulder back and then look straight and reverse the position to the left. Roll it down, keeping the shoulders way down and then look straight ahead.

Very good. And now the next variation, you take your right ear to your right shoulder so you stretch the side of the neck, roll the head down and the ear to the shoulder. Make sure that it's exactly a sideways bend. Come to the center and reverse it. Left ear to left shoulder. Roll down, right ear to right shoulder, look straight and then lower down to the mat. And I will go for the full lift. So this is one a more modified way to approach it. Also, anytime you're doing back extensions, if your back is very stiff, you start with the legs, wider part that can be hip with the part, they can even be wider if your back is very tight.

As you get more flexible, you can bring the feet together so the heels are together, the knees are together, you want to make sure the hips are narrow and now press up to a full lift of the chest where the arms are straight in this position. Check the shoulders are down and that's totally fine, Debra. You don't have to have the elbow straight. And then again, turn your head to the right and see how far you can look backwards. See if you can actually see your right ankle without the left shoulder coming up. Roll the head way down here. The head can hang and then turn your head to the left and look way far to the left or keep the right shoulder back and if the stomach come to the center and then reverse it, look to the left looking way back. Way, way, way back.

Roll ahead down. Look to the right, try and see your back leg. Look straight ahead and then lower your body down. Adjust your hands because you may be more flexible now that you warmed up so you can move the hands even further down. I think for you, Emma, you could probably go to here. Check that the shoulders are lifted off the map so you roll the shoulders back, narrow the hips, and then lift up even further and pull to Emma. Emma's very flexible so she can go even further.

And now take your right ear to your right shoulder. Roll the head down, left ear to left shoulder, and then look straight. Now checked shoulders down, chest lifted, then reverse it lefty or to left shoulder. Roll down right here to right shoulder. Look straight, lifted chest even more, and then lower back to the mat. So this is a wonderful way to stretch out the neck and work the mobility. Now Swan dive is really no different than super advanced from, but let's just sit back towards your heels for a minute.

Let's just review what happens in swan die. So when you set yourselves up, just have a quick look for a minute. Swan dive is when you will be walking forward and up. When you set up, it's very easy to be saggy or just to sit into the joints, but you won't be able to sustain the energy of the swan dive unless first of all, you stretch the backs of the knees. So that engages the hamstrings into the buttocks. You lift up in the stomach, so you want to feel that from the crown of the head to the heels. You, you're actually contracted. So the whole back body is tight in the front, body is lifted. When you go forward, you have to throw the legs up. It's really, there's no way around it. You just fall and you want to think of legs to the ceiling, arms to the ceiling. You're like a big [inaudible] rocking horse.

So conceptually you're rocking back and forth like there. So they, they huge momentum going up. So if I'm like extended, I'm going to fall away forward and reach and try to think of the lakes to the ceiling, who reach, reach, reach, reach. Sometimes I like to tell people to think like they have a ball and they're throwing the ball backwards to get this momentum because you will need to work if you already ready for it. You need to work the arms way, way, way back to get that full arguing. So let's have a look at you three ladies and see. And if you feel that you want to do more modified version, that's also fine. So move your hands a little bit under the shoulders before you lift up.

Roll the shoulders away from the mat so you almost like close the shoulder blades a bit and then lift all the way up nicely for long body. So check from you, get your knees straight, your hamstrings are straight, your stomach is lifted, the shoulders are why? To all the way up, narrow hips. And here we go. Ready and legs up and lift the arms and legs up and arms up and legs up and arms up in, relax down. Very good. Works it back towards your heels. Stretch your body out. You had a question?

Um, I can feel one side of my body working where the other, okay. Do you have scoliosis? Okay. It's very common. Let's have you just lie on your stomach for a minute. Just want to have a look. Okay. Some of that can be just spotting, but lift up. Let's have a look at you. Do Swan dive. It's very, very common advanced work that didn't you start to find deeper imbalances in you, so, okay. Have a go. Yes, you're definitely rocking off to the left. Okay. So are you aware of what's happening with you? You're rolling to the left. So in your case you need to press the right hip way down to keep the right hip forward. And so you don't kind of twist that way. Let's have you have one more.

Try on your own. So as you set yourself up now, before you even start, you need to anchor the right side. Yes. Just let an energize this whole side so you make sure it doesn't become lazy and power better. Better, yes, yes. And sit back. Actually, that was more balanced this time. How did that feel? Good. So advanced work. All the work is interesting cause we eat, all of us have little imbalances and we need to kind of discover them so we can get better. Okay, next exercise. Our right shoulder bridge with the high kicks.

Wonderful. Because it gets to open it to strengthen the very lower back and the hip flexes quite a bit. So let's have all three of you lying on the floor and the most advanced version. Your feet are together. Now this is a fine line because if you've still got a lot of tightness in the lower back, you don't want to push yourself to this level before you're ready. So let's have a look at all of you ladies. You want to Tuck your tail slightly under and lift your hips up. So Rebecca, I like your decision to keep your feet apart. Let's have her. That's it.

So Rebecca, let's open your feet a little bit higher and all what we're looking for is a plane that goes straight all the way from the hips to the knees and down to the armpit. So it's a long line, not a highly lifted. We lift your chest even further. That's not the position we want. You want this long plank and roll back down again. Now Rebecca has slightly tighter hips. So the feeling is going to be, I want you to open your feet a little wider and I just want you to go up for a minute.

So you lift up and now it's as though someone's grabbing the sacred [inaudible] and lengthening it. Literally if you could get a hook on the sacrament, pull it now, lift the hips a bit more and then as you roll down close the ribs tracks in that sacrum, traction it, traction, traction it and down. Yes. So this gets very, very long. No that it's, it's subtle work but it will in time your email gating all the muscles in PyLadies anyway. So when you do the roll up and roll down, you're actually preparing your body for this length. So let's have you, all three of you ladies roll up to utility pelvis and roll up checking it from the armpits to the thought through the size. Its very long. See if you can get yes a little bit higher. And then roll down once and just imagine someone dragging your spine and lengthen it. Even for that already looking better.

Now we'll get into the full kicks. So roll the hips up again. So you're setting up this plank position. Very important. Get those hips a little bit higher, Rebecca, and now bend right knee to your chest without the hips and lift the leg to the ceiling. So you're looking to keep these hips very steady, so you have to anchor them one towards the have enough. Flex your foot. And as the leg low is down, you press into the heel and you don't let the hip drop. Then kick the leg up and keep the hips lifting and lower down, lengthening out.

So you get this opening and lift in. One more time. Keep the hips lifting, lifting, lifting, and then bend the foot and put it down. Lift your hips up again. Lift the hips up, keep the and bend the other knee. Lift the leg up to the ceiling. Keep this lifted and then lengthen the foot out and lower. Keep this lift to keep it so it doesn't matter if you don't get to the floor.

So more important to work correctly and go halfway down than to go to the floor before you're ready. Then bend the foot and come back down. Very nice work. Now again, undulate through the spine. Go all the way down, all the way down, all the way down. Very, very good. Okay, now this is setting you up for scissors and I'm bicycle, which is one that's again, not often done. So there's a trick to this one. Usually you prepare people forward with a spine. Correct. Or if you're working with the equipment, because when you lift up, you're not looking to get the hips fully up. You're looking to get them on a bit of a diagonal and almost create a ledge with your hips, a very slight ledge so that when the leg goes out, it can start to go towards the floor.

So creating this angle of the leg, because the scissor is actually extending into the hip flexors quite extensively. So some people like the fingers pointing in, some people even have the hip sitting on the hands this way so that they can have a ledge to work with the hips. When you do the bicycle part, you want to get the foot going all the way to the floor. You will not be able to do that if you have the hips worn, an upright position. So it's really a slight arking out of the spine. Um, in preparation for that. So let's have you all lift up and then really support your hips and us very slightly. Lengthen the sacrum out. Yes. And if the legs up and then as your one leg goes out, you want to let the pelvis open. That's so much better. Am I? Yes.

And switch your legs. That's it. Good. I think for you, if you turn the hands out a bit, you may find it easier and switch, switch and switch. Switch. Now bring your legs up again and um, rosemary, lower your bottom a bit and turn the hands. So the heel of the hand and almost like sit. That's the feeling you want. It's almost like you're sitting on your hands and now go for the bicycle.

So you lengthen the leg out and let the, the stretch come from the pelvis all the way out to, it's not from the hips, it's from all, almost from your waist. So you're trying to touch the floor. Exactly. And then you reverse it to extend down and up, down and up, down and up and down and up. And then both legs come back up and you roll down. So it's a tricky one. It's not one that's done very often anymore, but it actually is the mat evolution from the spine corrector variation that sometimes is done in, in an equipment class.

So in the side kicks, we were doing the sidekicks high up. So, um, also with bevel a pays. So let's have you lying on your right side. Yeah, why don't you turn your head around this way and bring the legs on an angle diagonal in front of you. So this is again, to get more mobility, more movement in the hips. So just for now, let's keep the hand in front of you just so you understand the choreography. So the first movement, you bring the leg way up and then lower the leg down.

That's the bit the position of what you're doing. But when you start your devil Alipay, you bend and blow blind your big toe up the inner part of the thigh and you need your hip, knee to the ceiling, but your bottom forward. Now you bring your knee towards your armpit. Now keep the knee there and extend the leg beyond your leg, your head if you can, and then flex the foot and bring the leg down. So again, glide the foot up.

Bring the knee beyond your shoulder if you can stretch the leg out, keeping your OSI there so you have a huge stretch. Flex your foot and bring the leg down. And now reverse it. Point your foot and swing the leg way up towards your head bend you need to your arm pit, and then bring your foot to your inner groin and slide the leg down. And one more time. Swing the leg way up, bend it in as high up into your innercise. You can and slide the leg out. Slide the leg out, slide that.

I said it's a lot of fun. It's big work. The next one is the big scissors. You need to be very strong in your center. Lift both feet off the floor and big movement forward and back. Big Scissors. That's it. So a lot of stability in the trunk.

You don't want your shoulders or waist moving, but everything below is powerfully lifted and held and big movement. Big Movement back and forward and back and back and forward and bring the legs down and rest. Very, very good work. Okay, so that was big scissors, hip circles going into Cannes cans. Let's have you all just facing [inaudible] coming to a sitting position. Okay. And there are two ways. Let's do the first, the more simple variation. We on your elbows. Now important the shoulders usually slump. Keep the shoulders, the collarbones broad and the waist long.

Now bring the knees in and lift the legs up so the tail is very slightly under. And if possible, you want your feet right over your hips. Yes. Even more, Rebecca. Yes. So you're really opening up the lumbar spine, but you're strong already. So one, this is your starting in any position. Then you circle the legs around and bring them back up. And if anything, bring them even further up. Yes. And then reverse a circle and up. Now Bend your feet to the floor for a minute. Very good.

So that's your simple variation. Your more advanced variation is coming up. If your shoulders are really open, you can move the hands forward. Most people prefer the hands to the side or even back. So the shoulders are wide. It's up to you. Now someone like Emma, you want to watch, you're not hyperextending so very, very slightly soften the joint. Can you, for you? I would want the arms long.

So you go kind of, you open the joints a bit more now, same thing. You need to bring the legs up, try to get the legs vertical up. So you will need to let the tail come under a little bit more and move the hands back. So the feet are right up here. And then you draw a circle and bring the legs to the ceiling and reverse. So you're really using the whole waste to bring it up. One more time.

Circle the legs and bring the legs up and reverse a circle and up. Very good. And then bend the feet onto the mat. Close to your bottom per cancan. So very tight position. You can bring the hands in a bit really tight. Now keep the hit the, the um, hips on the mat.

You one bottom will come up. See if you can get your knees all the way down. And then other side and first side and uh, and other side. And you're writing. Okay, let's start again cause I messed up with this one. So what you'll be doing is rolling onto one hip and then the other, but you keep the knees and the feet together. The center of the movement is coming off from your waist. Seriously. You're massaging your waist and you're working there.

So you dropped the knees to one side, drop the knees to the other side, drop the needs of the first eye. Now here you bring the knees up and you try to flick your skirt. The feeling is that the head, the feet go beyond your head and that's the concept and drop, drop, drop and kick weight up and back. That's it. And drop, drop, drop and kick, weigh up and back and drop and drop and drop and kick up and back and put your feet down at. That was really nice. And what all of this work now you've already built a strong core.

You're not getting very, very loose because these swinging of the legs is actually linked, sending the lowest spine, very extensive but in a natural organic way and allow you to really work on your flexibility as well. So that was cancan. So balanced control front and balance, control back, just the transition because you will doing that exercise already in, in the advanced work. So let's have all of you in plank position and just with your shoulders right above your hands, you want to make sure the hips are very strong and the legs will need to be together. When you twist, now move your right hand towards your left hand. And then twist around. And the big thing is that's it, that's it. And then sit back down on the mat. So that's the trick. Now what are you working on here?

You're working to keep the hips up because if your hips drop or you get loose in that area, they become like a sack of potatoes. That was better. So let's have you go through this one more time. Come on to applying position. Take the right hand and move it towards the left and turn it in. And now flip around keeping your bottom up. Very good and lower your hips down.

So just that would like to make a point about the hand position, which you were doing so correctly as well. Not only do you bring the hand over, but you actually rotate the hand in and then flip around so that it works. PR. So you're set up for the other position. Takes a little practice but keeps the flow going. Okay, snake twist, snake twist. You want to be on your side. Um, let me just go over a few things. Now when people go up, they often the placement of the the back leg, you want it flexed with the little toe pressing in because that's what's going to help you push. If you're standing with your foot like this, everything is in your upper body and it's like it's your all hell, hell heavy. If you can get that foot anchored, then you can get all this outside of the lower leg to help you and then you can balance it and then you'll be very strong and stable. So that bottom leg, back leg is really the secret of the pose.

The other thing you need to watch for is where this the arm that you're taking the balances on, you need to pull the shoulder onto your back and lack it, lock it into your lats. Otherwise it's going to roll up and it you'll be heavy and it'll hurt your wrist because all the weight will be doubt. If you can pull the shoulder down, it takes away into the side of the body and into the hip. So those are the things you need to watch for that you set, you build the pose correctly, then it's the easy part. It's doing all of this fancy stuff because you have a foundation for it. So what you showed it doesn't pop out and that the foot is anchored in.

So you're literally pushing into your feet. So let's have all three of you facing the camera. Rebecca, let's have you facing the same direction as these ladies so that we can kind of have the same language. So the right hand just already here, start pulling it a little bit. Pull the shoulder into your back and make sure that the right foot, the little toe is anchored. That's right. So the right foot is very active in the little toe side because that's going to be what's going to stabilize you.

Now lift your hips up and pull the right shoulder down your back and didn't really push into the right foot. Yes, and stretch the arm up over your head. And now bring the arm to the ceiling and go for the twist part where you roll in and then roll back and open up and back, and then come back down to a sitting side position. Now one other thing, when you go into this, the twisting part, what a lot of you all doing is you're lifting your bottom way up and you're going down and you want this. You have this plane. So let Emma, let's have you try one. So you're going to go up and just take your arm over. That's it. So this is a straight line. Now when you go for the twists, do not lift your hips, so you have to stay lower with a yes. Not all the way, just a little bit. Just a shoulders to the ribs. Now come back. So the hips stay at the same height and now, okay, so it's another variation then. Yes. And come back down. So you don't want to lift up. There is a slight pulling in that's better.

So much better what you're doing now. Yes, yes. And there are different variations of this, but this is a nice one. You want to have a try. So that's it. Keep the hips down. Keep the tail even more there and then come back up. Now I want you to narrow the sip, the whole lot more. Yes.

And then come back down so that you what will help you either hugging the midline to Ding your inner thighs towards each other. But there's these muscles that run up the side. You want to pull them together. That gives you so much more stability. So you're getting into your glutes. Or just one more time, Rebecca, take your arm up over your head. First of all, don't lift the hips too high. Now bring the arm to the ceiling.

Now see if you can stay in the same plane, your chest. That's it. So you spiral in. Excellent. Then roll back and take your arm to the ceiling. Keep the hips narrow. Good girl. You just locked them and come back down. That was very good. That very good. Yeah. Different Work, Huh? Okay. Excellent. All right. Now we have the bridge, the high bridge.

I know the one where you lie on your back and you push up into wheel. So let's have you lying down on your, so a few things to think about here and then I'll talk you through it. So when you position again, if your hips are tight, you want to let the legs go a little bit wider as the lower spine decompresses and gives you more options. You want your legs together. So for you I would take your legs wider part cause you still have more tightness there. When you start to lift up, if you're stiff, you want to first of all lift your bottom and pop onto the crown of your head. It just sets you up. Now you want to start by moving towards your legs and then over towards your chest. So you have a little bit of, you can get the hips up and then move forward into the chest.

So it's almost like a wave coming down. If you're new to this, you want to make sure your head is lifted. So if heaven's forbid you fall down, you fall on the back of your neck and not on the top of your head. This is not fun. This is no, this is nothing happened. This is something happen. So it's not a natural movement to lift your head up as you go down.

Your instinct is to do that. So you have to really think your way through if you're new to this. So let's have a try. Just checking with all of you. Three ladies. So on your backs. First of all, get your feet close into your, towards your bottom. And then yes, now lift your place your hands under your shoulders. And first of all just lift your bottom up in the air. Just lift the bottom.

Now rock up and pop the crown of your head on the Mat. So you're just kind of set and adjust your hands if you need to. If your shoulders that's okay, are tight, the elbows will be wider. Now start lifting up so you move towards the size and then rock the chest up and then forward. So you have a wave and then coming back down, the head lifts you lower down to the math, very good and down. So we don't do too much big backbends in piles, but it is part of the method and it's a very useful part of the method.

So this is Joseph [inaudible] used to have people push up into that and it feels good and it's fun to do. Make you feel like a kid again. So definitely approve of it. So one other back extension, which is part of the super advanced, um, uh, method is the rocking one. So let's have you all on your stomach and it can be, it definitely has stages to it. So first of all, bend your feet up and grab your ankles. If you can't get your ankles, you grab your toes. So just grabbing the feet and pulling them towards your bottom is a very, very useful thing to do. To stretch out the thighs and stretch out the hip flexors. So if your bottom is really arched up and this can happen, Rebecca, why don't you stick your bottom out for a minute? No, no, don't lift this there.

This can happen. If you're tight, you will have space in here and you'll be very curved. You say you want to, as you pull your feet down, press down the area from your hips to your pubic bone. So you practice opening it. So that's the, the first movement. Now start rolling the shoulder blades back and together. So they move away from the floor. And then use the strength of the legs to pull back into the hands and lift the thighs up.

And that movement lifts the chest and soften in the waist. So you can lift up as high as you can and make sure your elbows are straight because, and then once you're lifted, rock forward. So here the momentum of the movement opens the spine, opens the chest even more. Very good. And then lengthen back down and relax. And all of you three ladies, please do sit back into your heels. And just a little note about this sitting back into the heels.

So Emma, would you come forward again on your stomach? You've just finished the exercise. As you start to lift up and sit back, lift your bottom up. A lot of you are sticking your bottom out and going back this way, but you want to pull the powerhouse in enough to really open here and take this movement every time you're going into the opposite shape from the one from back extension, you opening the spine, that's who you, we really use that movement to decompress the lower back. And then when you take that deep breath into the lower spine, you open it even more. So you want to make sure every time you breathe, we breathe into the sacred and the lower back because that it takes a long time to open up and release tension. Something that we need to keep doing in the method, no matter how advanced we are as its weight bearing in our daily life and hesitancy to get tight and then roll up to a sitting position.

So thank you ladies. That was the review, the technical breakdown of the advanced exercises in the lab work.


Wonderful class. Loved all the stretches we did.I wish you would do an advance class using the foam roller.
Thank you for to see more breakdown - perfect time, perfect variation, and perfect language!
Hi Jennifer ~
Just for clarification... did you want more breakdown of this class or other classes?
This was so great!! I would love to see more classes like this on this site....because I come on here not only to work out but also to learn and I love her knowledge and energy.
Thank you; the clarity of the explanations coupled with instructor demo is wonderfully educational. I am a relatively new (and coming to Pilates at an older age) mat instructor, and find the breakdown enormously helpful.
1 person likes this.
Defining the Mat Methodology. EXCELLENT.
Amazing.. you brought a new perspective to the way we move through this method. Many thanks Niedra and PA!
1 person likes this.
Very educational. Indeed a workshop. Thanks Niedra!
1 person likes this.
Very informative. Would love to see more classes like this. Thank you.
Thank you all for your comments. I will do more classes like this as there is demand here.
happy HOlidays,
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