Class #4242

Straightforward Mat Flow

55 min - Class


Sarah Bertucelli invites you to play with movement in her series Zesty Mat Play with Sarah. In this class, she guides you through a straightforward Mat flow while thoughtfully articulating each movement and sensation to deepen your awareness. She gives modifications throughout the class to help you get the most out of your personal best.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Hello, everybody. I I'm so very excited to be with you all this morning. Unfortunately, I can't see everybody out there, but I know you're there watching and doing class. We are in my garage this morning in California. Not as sunny as I'd like, but I'm still ready to move.

So I'm gonna assume that each of you has some knowledge of Pilates. If this is your first time doing Pilates, then just make sure that you listen to your body and don't do anything that doesn't feel perfectly wonderful. Feel free to modify. I'm hoping that through this next eight week series, we're gonna have some fun. Work hard but also play hard too.

So let's go ahead and get started, all right? I'm gonna have you lie on your back and just settle in. It is morning time for me. So I would like to just feel where my body is, where I I'm. And just settle in for a couple moments.

So start with your knees and feet together. And then separate your knees and feet just a little bit. And feel your pelvis grounded. Find your breath. Feel the backs of your ribs grounded.

Feel your head grounded. And then check in for a moment with your arms and notice if your chest is open or if you feel this closed off feeling. If you feel that closed off feeling, try turning your palms up and allow your bones of your arms to soften. And let's just all breathe together for a few moments here. Inhale through your nose.

And exhale through your mouth deeply and completely. Inhale through your nose. And exhale through your mouth. Just one more grounding, calming breath before we move. Inhale.

And exhale. Let's start with a pelvic rock. So inhale through your nose with an exhale. Engage your abdominals and feel your low back ground down. Your tailbone may lift and then relax back to neutral.

So a various small movement, exhale. Abdominals first, we're gonna ground through the low back, feel that adjustment in your spine. And then relax back to neutral. As you continue to do this with your breath, make sure that you're not trying too hard from your upper body, your chest, your head, any of those areas. To see if you can feel breath and engagement of abdominals.

Rocking and then tailbone down. Moving into the pelvic curl, we engage the abs first. And then we lift the hips articulating through the spine, lifting up as high as your body says it's okay. Inhale at your top pelvic curl. Use the exhale to articulate down one lovely vertebra at a time until you find yourself home and neutral again.

Inhale. Use the exhale first to engage your abs. Second to lift your hips, using the backs of your legs. Opening across the front of the hips, inhale here and exhale to lower down. So I invite you to continue with the patterning with me, even when I stopped cuing this specific pattern, exhale abs first backs of the legs.

'Cause what I would like to do is try to find other cues to give you. So inner thighs are engaged, inhale here. Use the exhale to lengthen your spine and lower down one vertebra at a time. Spinal articulation, exhale. Abdominals first.

Backs of the legs second. At the top, try to feel a spiraling in of your thigh bones. A slight spiraling in, inhale up there. And exhale to lengthen the spine as you lower down, one vertebra at a time. Let's do two more pelvic curls, please.

Exhale to peel up, just warming up the spine. I like to notice where I feel sticky when I start with my pelvic curls. And then hopefully later on in the workout, when I try a pelvic curl, it feels less sticky that's the idea. One more time here. Exhale to peel up, one vertebra at a time.

And then holding that lifted position here, lift your heels away from the mat. And then press your heels down engaging the backs of your legs a little more. So as you lift, keep your pelvis where it is. But as you lower, think of tucking the pelvis. And then again, inhale.

So we're trying to keep the pubic bone lifting high as you press down, waking up the hamstrings. Good, one more time with flat feet. Lower your spine, one vertebra at a time. And let's do that pattern one more time. Inhale through your nose.

Exhale. We pelvic curl up. Inhale, lift the heels. Exhale, flatten the heels. My friends make sure you breathe, exhale.

Two more like that. Inhale and exhale. Just one more time with flat feet, take a breath. And then lower your spine one vertebra at a time. Reach your hands to the ceiling for me.

Open your arms nice and wide. And then lift back up. And again, open your arms wide spreading through your collarbones and your shoulder blades. So one of the things I'm very into these days is trying to find the edges of movement. So this is a very simplistic movement.

But if you think about opening of widening your collarbones and your shoulder blades, you might feel more sensation throughout the arm, the wrist, the fingers. Waking up some of those tight spots. So hold your arms now wide like this and allow your legs just to relax one side. It doesn't matter which sides we're twisting. Push down a little bit through your feet to give yourself just a little bit more twist.

And then use your belly muscles to pull back. Go the other way. Just flop them over a little bit. Notice how you feel, notice what you feel. Push down just a little bit through your feet to give yourself maybe a little more stretch if it feels good.

And then come back through to center. Good. Hand twist the other way. So we are going to get zesty. We are going to get energy, how to wake up all those edges first.

Pull back, just one more time. So we've done two on each side, nice and relaxing. And then come back through to center. Keeping your arms stretch wide, lift one leg to tabletop, engaging your abs. Bring the other leg to tabletop and let's hold the legs like that.

We twist, how about to the right? If we all go to the right, then we'll be on the same side. And then we exhale and pull back to center. Inhale, twist the other way. And exhale to pull back to center.

So as you twist, be mindful of your opposing shoulder blade, staying grounded. And pull with your abs back to center. Opposing shoulder blade stays grounded and pull back to center. So if you find you wanna give yourself more range of motion, feel free to do so. You're not arching your back or lifting your shoulder blade to give you range.

But that it's really actually happening from your spine. Good, let's just do one more to the right here. Exhaling back to center one with the left here. And exhaling back to center. Keep those legs at tabletop.

Reach your hands to the ceiling. And then stretch those arms behind you. If you're able to place your arms on the floor, great. But check in with your rib cage. Make sure that the ribs have stayed engaged, that you're not flaring open there.

In fact, I want you to try something. Take your hands back up to the ceiling, I'm changing my mind. I would like you to reach your arms up as high as you can, feeling your shoulder blades, lifting away from the mat. And then check in with your abs right here and notice that they just naturally will work. As you soften your shoulder blades in the direction of the mat, can you keep that engagement.

Do that again. Lifting the arms up, feel that engagement in the core. But now keep the bones of the spine where it is as you soften the shoulder blades back where they came from maybe. And one more time like that. So that's the feeling that you want when you take your arms overhead.

Take the shoulder blades where you can. Keep your abs engaged. Inhale, reach your arms back. I hope that worked for you. Exhale, let's lift the head and chest.

Take the arms down by your side. And then we lower down. Again, we're gonna exhale to lift that and chest, get a nice abdominal curl reaching through the arms. And then we lower down. Let's do two more like that.

Just exhale to lift the head and chest nice and high. And we lower down. And just one more time, I'm gonna exhale to lift the head and chest, nice and high. We're gonna go right into a lovely single leg stretch. Hold onto one leg, lift, keep that body lifted.

So notice you're using the arms to hold onto the leg, to create a little bit more of a lift, perhaps. Change sides, nice and slow, hold it. Feel your alignment, feel your abs. And then let's just gently change. Again here, change and change and change.

Good, find some breath here. You can move slower if you need to. I told you we were gonna get zesty right away. I really liked the single leg stretch actually as somewhat of a warmup for me. If you feel like you can't quite stabilize this, don't straighten the legs all the way.

Good, one more time each side. Draw two legs and take the hands to the backs of the legs and then lift your pelvis as well. And let's just get a little rocking and rolling here on the spine. And try to feel that massage on your back. The idea here is to really feel that the spine, the body, nothing changes as you rock and roll.

Until then maybe you can come up to a sitting position. Here I'm gonna scoot back just a little bit. So my feet have a place to go. And I'm gonna go right into the spine stretch here, loosening up a little bit. So ankles are flexed.

So slightly modified spine stretch here. We're gonna inhale. Exhale, peel your head forward first. Roll down through your back just one vertebra at a time. And then find where your hands touch.

Is it your legs? Is it the floor? Wherever it is. Here's where I want you to put your hands down. And I want you to reach a little more even if your shoulders lift up by your ears.

Now keep the connection of your hands and draw your shoulders back. Now, keep the connection that you have in your upper body and draw your belly in. And then stack your spine one vertebra at a time. I want you to feel that the abdominals really support and feel this. Exhale.

We're gonna just peel forward a nice little modification. Feel where your hands go, continue going as far as you can. Even if your shoulders go a little up by your ears. So touch your hands wherever they are. Maybe they're on your feet, maybe they're on the floor.

And then see if you can keep the shape of your back and draw your shoulders back a little bit. Now keep the shape of your arms and draw your belly in. Hopefully you're getting a little stretch. Maybe through your spine, maybe through your hamstrings. And then stack your spine, one vertebra at a time.

Good, let's do it like that just one more time. It's more of a warmup spine stretch. Exhale to peel forward. Reach your arms out a little bit, just breathe here. Draw your shoulders back.

Use an exhale to draw your belly in and then stack your spine. Good, let's keep this sitting position with the arms crossed out in front. And just feel the twisting for a moment. Feel the twist to one side. Good and feel a twist to the other side.

Nice, just one more time. A twist. Nice, just loosening everything up. And a twist. Good, release that.

Take your body forward so you have plenty of room to roll like a ball 'cause that's where we're headed. So here, knees are together, round through your back. Find fully committed abdominal wall here. And then that's where I want you to lift your feet up. Good, I didn't do a very good job.

I'm gonna do that again. So I want to be fully committed. I wanna lift my feet up without changing the shape of my spine. That was better. Now, without using my arms to hold it together, I'm gonna bring my legs in as far as I can.

Hold on close to the feet if I'm able to. And let's roll like a ball, here we go. Inhale. And exhale. And inhale and exhale.

Keep your rolling going. See if you can feel your balance each time. If you find yourself not able to balance, check in with your body, is it staying still? Check in with your feet. Meaning, are you kicking with them?

Check in with your legs. One more time, rolling like a ball, balance on your tail. Shins are gonna come parallel to the ceiling. Release your arms and roll back and gently, one vertebra at a time. Draw your legs in, hold on just above your legs.

Double leg stretch happens now. We reach away, we pull in. So, legs straighten, arms go back now. My newbies to Pilates, if this doesn't suit you, go back to your single leg stretch. Or simply take a little abdominal curl or even just stretch.

But stay with me. Inhale, exhale in. And inhale, exhale in. The idea here is that you're staying lifted through your body. And your abdominal stay engaged.

One more time, reach back, pull in. Lift a little more. Let's take both hands to the outside. How about of your right leg? I'm gonna twist away from you so we can all be together.

Stretch the other leg to straight. Lift a little more using your left arm and feel the support from your core. Gently change sides. So we're gonna take both hands to the outside of the leg and get a nice twist. Good, feel that lift straightening the other leg.

Option one, this is your option. We gently change, option two crisscross. The hands are behind the head. And we change and we change and we change. Good, feel the knees grazing by each other.

Feel the abdominals juicing up. Breathe. Let's do just a couple more on each side. How about one more now? Draw two knees into your chest, lift a little higher.

And rock and roll up to a sitting position. And once you find yourself up, bring your forehead in the direction of your knees. Beautiful. My spine is starting to feel loose and ready to go. Yay.

Let's do the more traditional spine stretch. So your feet are at the front corners of your mat here with your arms outstretched. So more traditional means that we keep a flow here. Inhale. Use an exhale to peel forward one vertebra at a time.

Find the reach, inhale here. Use an exhale to stack your spine, supporting with your abs until you're sitting tall. Exhale to peel forward. Make sure you're inhaling and exhaling when you need to. Try to stick with my breath.

But the more important thing is that your listening to your body and doing what suits you. Good, let's do another couple there, exhale down. Inhale in that forward position. Use the exhale to stack your spine. It's called the spine stretch.

Many of us are inhibited by our hamstrings. But really you wanna feel that you're moving your spine, you're supporting with your abdominals. And exhale to stack your spine. Good, let's do the twist here. First, lift one leg up, bring the other leg up and squeeze the legs together.

Clasp your fingers and press your head back into your hands. Use the connection of your fingers to spread your shoulder blades and collarbones, East-West. Let's twist to the right first so we can all be together. So twist to your right with a little pulse, pulse. And back to center, we pulse, pulse.

So try to feel that you're sitting up tall all the way through. That you're lengthening out through the crown of the head. And that's you're twisting with a little extra. The double part of the twist is more to twist more rather than like a sprinkler. So we wanna twist, go deeper.

Use the breath, twist, go deeper. Just one more time, each side, please. Twist a little deeper. And last one here, twist a little deeper. Good, scooch forward on the mat.

Those of you that know me know that I often say everything is my favorite exercise. But, open leg rocker truly is. So tip back (chuckles) Open through your heart. Go ahead and lift one leg up, lift the other leg up. So what I'm looking for here is a straight back, pretty straight, right?

And you're holding with your arms in a position that you can manage on your own. But go ahead and give it a hold. Let's do a preparation first. So we inhale and we roll back. We find that rounded shape.

And then we find our balance by really opening the heart and gazing up. Inhale, round back. The leg piece stays exactly the same. So ideally you're not kicking with your feet. And open.

Good, just one more preparation. Now those of you that wanna stick with the preparation, feel free to. Those of us that feel ready for my favorite exercise, you straighten your legs you hold on. Open leg rocker, here we go, it's the same rules, but the legs being straight makes it a lot harder. It's also harder to do when you're talking (chuckles) Inhale, round back, that's okay.

Exhale. Straighten your back. Good, the calm before the storm, I said. Good, I don't think it's a storm yet, but hopefully you're starting to feel nice and warm. Open through your heart.

Good, enjoy the movement, right? Balance on your tail this time. Bend your knees and bring your legs together. We're gonna roll back one vertebra at a time. Slow, slow, slow.

Hug the knees into your chest. That was my slow, my friends. Good, hold on your for right knee for me. Bend the knees to the back of the leg. Straighten the leg so you can see the top of that leg that's on the floor and allow it to ground your hands.

Be mindful of where this is. So we want the pelvis to be square here. The tendons hold the leg in. See if you can pull this. Now the leg that's in the air, the right one, is at tabletop.

And I'm just gonna hook with my hands and hold back, okay? I wanna use my hand stretch in leg. Try to feel that with a purpose. Stretch that right leg up in the direction of straight and then bend. So I'm using my arm connection to try to push into the hands with the back of the leg as I attempt to straighten.

Now, some of you may get all the way to straight and some of you may not, and that's okay. So here I want you to hold your leg where it is. Is it straight or is it slightly bent? That's okay. And then you're gonna release your arms.

I'm gonna take them out to the side, spreading through your collarbones. Flex the ankle. A circle inward pausing at the top. And another circle inward pausing at the top. And circling and circling.

Let's just do one more breath. There's an inhale for a circle and then an exhale for a circle. Let's change sides or directions. Inhale for a circle and an exhale. So this is really an abdominal exercise.

The legs should be free. And the abdominals in the hamstring of the other leg are supporting you here. Hold, point your foot. Bend your knee and come into a nice little spine twist. That should feel really lovely.

Breathing in. And breathing out. Oh, that was good. So let's change sides. So slightly different way to get into the leg circle.

I'm gonna ask you to hold onto your left leg, clasp the fingers and hold on. Even if it feels like you wanna be further away. I want you to push into with your hamstring, those arms, that connection. And try to wake up the hamstring, the back of the leg. Straighten the other leg.

Check in with your pelvis. So you wanna feel that your pelvis is square. You want the straight leg on the floor to be soft across the thigh. So feel free to pat it. Feel the hamstring, feel lengthening through the left waist, abdominal supporting.

And then you're gonna try to straighten that left leg a little bit and bend. And you might see me quivering a little bit on your phone if you happen to be looking at me. If you're on a bigger screen, I'm sure you can see it. But this leg is a little off for me and I can always feel the difference between the two. And I found this exercise is wonderful for me getting in the right spot, for my leg circles.

So, that suits me. Hold the leg where it is, straight or not. Release your arms, take them out to the side. Flex your ankle. And let's go ahead and do a little twist first and again.

So we're doing three full breaths here. Here's an inhale and here's an exhale. One more breath here, inhale and exhale. Change outward now. Inhale, we pause at the top and we exhale.

The goal here is to keep the pelvis still. So if you can make a bigger circle, wonderful. If you need it to be a little smaller, that's okay too. I think this is the last one, bend your knee. Come into a spine twist.

If ever I lose track of my numbers, don't hesitate to do an extra one. If you need to be perfectly even, I understand that. Sometimes it's hard to count and cue with the same time. So beautiful spine twist here, hug your two knees into your chest everybody. And let's work those abs a little more.

So we're now gonna stretch the two straight legs up to the ceiling. You're gonna send your arms up. Inhale the arms overhead. We're gonna exhale. Lift the head and chest up nice and high.

Hold onto your right leg. Slide the other leg down in the direction of the mat. Hopefully you're able to do that. If not, go where you can. There's a little pulse here.

You change legs and we go and we change. Now, the idea is that you can keep your body completely still. The idea too, is that you can, when I say body, I mean your core. So the legs are swinging around really, but with control, right? Find a double breath with your abdominals.

So it's not about yanking the leg in, it's about using your abdominals a little more. And a little bit, beautiful. I don't know where I was going with that cue. Hands behind your head if it suits you. Here's five on each side.

And five. And four. And four. And three. And three.

And two. And two. And one. And with a twist, we've got it. Here we go, five and five.

Getting nice and warm, four and four. Breathe, three. And one more time on each side please. Hug two knees into your chest. Give them a nice little hug.

And then place your feet back on the floor. Let's work on the shoulder bridge. So you're gonna start with your knees and feet together. Revisit your pelvic curl that we did at the very beginning of class. Feel your abdominals.

Exhale to flatten the low back as you lift your pelvis up. Sense the backs of the legs, open across the front of the hips, abdominals. Use an exhale to lower down, one vertebra at a time. Go again, inhale. Try to feel those inner thighs as you peel yourself up.

So spiraling in a little bit with your legs rather than spinning out. Try to sense that and then lower down. Good, we'll do one more, inhale. This time we stay. So we're gonna to exhale to lift up.

And we hold this beautiful position. Good, let's keep the left leg grounded. Lift the other leg up to the ceiling, flex the ankle. We're gonna point the foot as you reach down and flex as you lift up. It's an exhale down and an inhale up, a little faster.

One and two and three and four. Nice pace. And five. And breath. And just one more here, hold it.

Place your foot down, reconnect. Find your abdominals, feel your right leg. The other leg goes up to the ceiling, we flex the ankle. We point to go down, we flex to go up. Good, exhale and inhale faster.

Eight. And seven. And six. And five. And four.

And three. One more time, please. Hold, place your foot down. Separate your feet a little wider and press your pelvis into a nice big lift if that feels good to you. So this is a little bit less abdominal centered.

This is more using the legs and being in a bit of a back then. If it doesn't feel good, simply lower down. But you can in fact arch your back a little bit. Yes, my abs are supporting me, but I'm in a hyper extended back. And this feels really nice.

So if it doesn't feel nice, don't do it. And then find your way down. So you can roll down. You can just put your spine down, whatever it is you need. Go ahead and hug your two knees into your chest here.

And then once again, I want you to hold the backs of the legs, lift your head and chest, lift your pelvis. And we're gonna just rock. And we're gonna roll until we find ourselves sitting again. Those of you that know me know, I love that transition. Bring your forehead in the direction of your knees.

Good, stretch your two legs straight. One of the reasons I love that transition is because the roll up is always difficult for me. So let's see how the roll up works today my friends. Point your toes, inhale here. Exhale, we're gonna round through the low back and roll down.

Now, if you feel that you cannot control this, feel free to put a towel underneath your low back or bend your knees. If you're able to control it all the way down, decide if you can roll up. We lift the chest and then we roll up. And boy, I'm a little tight today. So I'm gonna use my leg.

Or I'm gonna use my little towel as a little helper so I can roll with you all, okay? So here we go, we're gonna exhale. I'm just putting this towel right where it would be underneath my low back. Gives me just enough support to make a connection in the morning time. We're gonna lift the head and chest.

We're gonna roll ourselves up. Staying rounded through the low back shoulders, softly away from your ears. Use an exhale to peel down one, two. Try to keep your feet pointed if you can. And then we lift the head and chest.

And we use the exhale to roll up. Good. Couple more here, exhale rolling back. I bet you to know I had a towel hiding in that basket over there. And roll up.

This time we're gonna add on. So, meaning we're gonna move on. I'm gonna take my towel out of the way and we peel down. Find your control. For me if I separate my legs just a little bit, I can sometimes control it a little better.

So let's go ahead and make sure you have enough space behind you to try the rollover. Those of you not comfortable with being the pressure on your head, feel free to return to your pelvic curl. The rest of us are gonna lift the legs up. We're gonna then stretch the legs to straight. We're gonna take the legs just a bit away.

We inhale to 90 degrees with the legs and we exhale to do a rollover. That first one sometimes is a little tricky. You can always use your hands if needed to help. Flex your feet, your legs should be parallel to the floor. Separate your feet a bit.

If you can, from your hips, tap the toes to the floor. And then roll down using your arms here to support you. Rolling one vertebra at a time. Bring the feet together, inhale, exhale, we rollover. We flex the feet first, we separate the feet.

We try to make our way to the floor and we roll down. And again, the toes point, inhale to 90 degrees. Exhale to roll over using the abs. The arms are there to help you. We almost didn't make it over friends.

Separate and touch. And let's all do one more rollover together here. Point the toes, here we go. Exhale, rollover. Flex.

Separate, touch. And roll down. Good. Hug those knees into your chest. Either do a roll up or a rock and roll up to sitting, your choice.

We're gonna get up however we decide to today. For me, oh, my back is so much looser, that felt good. Now, scoot back on your mat quite a bit. Let's transition to a different relationship. Your legs are crossed out in front of you.

If it suits you, you're gonna roll over your legs and find your way to a quadruped. If that doesn't suit you for any reason whatsoever, get there however you need. Your hands are underneath your shoulders. Your knees are underneath your hips. Let's do a little bit of Cat-Cow here or cat stretch for backs.

So we're gonna round through the low back. Let the head respond. So it's a smaller movement than we would do in yoga. And then we come back to neutral. And we extend through the upper back, that's the inhale.

And then exhale. Round through your low back, just let your head respond. It's not a lot of upper back work. And then come back to neutral and extend your upper back. So you're working your upper back here.

The cue I gave before, I didn't like. So we're gonna round through the low back. What I mean by, it's not a lot of upper back, 'cause I'm not really pushing into my arms and opening through my upper back. Instead, I'm doing the majority of the movement through my low back. And then come back through and extend.

And then find your neutral here. Let's do a little planking. So support with your core slide, one leg back, slide the other leg back you're in a plank. So be here for a moment and ground in. I oftentimes feel that I'm holding myself up a little too much with my hip flexor.

So I have to think about tucking my pelvis slightly in order not to not overextend my back. So I welcome you to play with that cue. So you're using your abdominals here. Go ahead and point your right toes. And then that straight leg.

One. Two. Three. Four. And five.

Try the other side. Five. Four. Good three. Two and one.

Good, tip forward onto your tip toes. And as slowly as you can lower yourselves down to the floor. So, bring your hands outside of your shoulders for me, okay? So as far down as possible, but hands and elbows are down, yeah? So take a moment here.

And I always like to let my legs roll in. And then I use my arms to pull forward. This is a relaxing moment, it's not meant to be pretty. When I pull forward with a slight internal rotation, sometimes I'll get a little adjustment in my pelvis. It feels really wonderful in my hips and my low back.

So I welcome you. And then organize your legs so they feel like they're in neutral. Feel your shoulders pulling open away from the floor. And then down a little bit, away from your ears. And then we're gonna find upper back extension.

So we inhale and we just find where upper back without using the arms, right? Lower down. Now I realize my extension is pretty big. I I'm moving through my upper back and I'm moving into the extension that I can do without assisting with my hands. So for some of you, it might just be a real small little lift.

And some of you will find that you have a bigger lift and that's okay. So if we move through the upper back first and then into the lower back, that's a nice uniform arc if you will. Lower down, we're adding on this time. So inhale to your upper back extension and then beyond. So wherever it suits you, you're gonna hover your legs here.

You're gonna take your arms out in front of you so that you can clasp your fingers. And then lift. Now press into the wrists a little bit or the pinky fingers and pull your body forward more as you gaze. Bend one knee with a little pulse, pulse. And then the other one pulse, pulse.

Single leg kick. And we inhale and inhale and exhale and exhale. Good, anybody who's taken a class with me knows I often sing during this one. So, maybe that'll happen today. Maybe we'll save it for next time.

What I want you to think about though, is that your thigh bones are trying to stay lifted the whole time. Feel your breath. Feel that your abdominals are supporting your low back here. You should not feel your low back or your knees. If you feel your low back or your knees, you should probably be in a much lower position, okay?

The kicking in front of the legs, the support is coming from your upper back. And the arms are just propping you up a little bit. One more breath, beautiful. Two legs are straight, gently come to rest. I love it.

Nice and warm in my space it is at least. So I've changed my position here. I'm relaxing with my arms down. And I've turned my head to face one way. So my cheek is resting on the mat.

Just settle in and relax for a moment. And then take your fingers on the small of your back and try to clasp them together. Allow your elbows to rest in the direction of the floor. Breathing in and breathing out. Release your hands and do other side.

So turn your head the other way, rest your head. And then take your fingers together. And I'm actually not fully resting my head just because I don't wanna squish the microphone. I wanna make sure you can hear me. So you should be resting for that.

Only I get the pass to keep my head floating. So my elbows are resting toward the floor. So that little piece is really important for this exercise when we move a little faster, okay? So now, let's piece this piece together here. So we're looking forward again.

Let's find once again that upper back extension. But just to where you know you can lift on your own. And then hover your feet away from the floor. And then take your hands behind you and see if you can clasp them together and stretch, stretch, stretch them to straight. If not, you could use a towel or you could just have your arms back.

Keep this clasp if you're able to. Look the other way. We pumped the knees through. We inhale to extension just a little bit. We look the other way.

Hands, elbows, pump one, two, three. Nice and slow today. Inhale. Look and pump one, two, three. And we're gonna inhale again.

And the lock hands elbows pump one, two, three. Let's try just one more on each side. Lift, look and pump. One, two, three and last one. And pump, one, two and three.

Good, bring your hands underneath your shoulders. Tuck your toes under. And then push yourselves back to your hands and knees. With your feet tucked if possible. So we're gonna stretch the feet and the low back simultaneously.

So I'm in a modified type child's pose. And I'm actually swaying side to side. Feels a little release in my back. But also feeling a nice little stretch in my feet. And then come back to center.

Untuck the toes and sit on those feet. Let your forehead rest on the mat out in front of you. Let your arms be wherever they need to be so that you feel nice and relaxed too. Couple breaths. And then come forward to your hands and knees.

And this time, let's do the reverse transition. So cross your ankles and roll to sit on your bottom, sending your legs out in front of you. Let's do a little bit of back support here. So your feet will be in the direction of your mat, that way. So you have plenty of room behind you.

Bring your hands behind you to start. Let me just push my watch up. Bring your hands behind you to start. And I want you to feel like you can firmly put your hands down with your fingers facing forward. Now, if you need to modify, feel free to go to fists or to turn your hands out if you need to.

But please avoid turning your hands facing back. That's a little dangerous on the shoulder. So what I want you to do here is have your hands firmly grounded. But then don't really use them. So what I'm gonna do is use my body to press my heart forward.

And I'm feeling a nice little stretch in my right wrist. That shows me that one's a little tight today. I don't feel that in my left one. And then here, I'm gonna round through my back and I'm gonna start bending my elbows. And I'm gonna roll down and hopefully my elbows will find a nice connection with the floor.

Now here, I'm rounding in my back. Now I want to extend slightly opening through the heart a little. And then I'm gonna around again, looking at the feet. I'm gonna press into my two hands. Hopefully without going side to side.

We're gonna press up, see how that works. Many of you might've had to wiggle side to side that's okay. Try not to though, okay? Open through your heart, this is more of a stretch. Feel that side to side action if you want.

For me it feels good today. And then I'm gonna round through my back. I'm gonna try to stay rounded. Notice my friends, rounding is my hard point. So if you see that, I'm not that rounded, I'm doing my best.

So the elbows are now down. I'm still rounded (chuckles) And then I'm gonna open and extend. I'm looking up. I'm just staying light. So I I'm actually extending my neck a little.

That feels good to me. And then I feel a nice openness through my chest. And then I'm gonna round. And then you're gonna press into your hands and you're gonna try to come up. I don't know, it's a sneaky exercise, isn't it?

And I hope you're feeling something. If not, stay with me there's more to come. And then we're gonna round again back just one more time. Now, when we do the back support, if you find that you're not happy, feel free to come to this elbow position and do it. It is actually harder in the upper back to work from the elbows.

But it's kinder on the wrists, which is a good thing. We're gonna press through the hands. And oh, I got a little side to side action. Shake your arms out. My arms get a little bit awake.

A little bit but it feels energizing when I do that. Just take a nice little forward fold stretch. I purposely have my shoulders up by my ears so I can feel that stretch through my side body. I don't really want you to think too much about this stretch. It was just a moment to pause before we do back support.

So take one hand behind you and then the other. And really ground down through those hands. Now support with those abdominals, open through the chest. Backs of the legs, back of the body, lifts you up. And then lowers down.

And try again, we lift and we lower down. And we try again, we lift up and lower down. And we two more lifting up. And one more time let's lift and hold for a few breaths. Opening through the chest here, lifting that pelvis a little higher.

So you wanna think of tucking the pelvis a little bit from the abs, not the glutes and then lower down. Nice. Let's come right around onto the side. And rest your head in your long straight arm. So you've got two straight legs and a long straight arm.

You can take your palm up on that long arm if you want. It doesn't matter which side you're on right now, does it? So, think about that bottom rib cage though and pull it up. Engage the abdominals. If you know you tend to use your low back too much, take your feet, just a tiny bit in front of you so that you can be sure that you're using your abs.

But if you're good with this position, keep the legs straight in line with your body, okay? So we're hovering the two legs up. I want you to think for a moment about your bottom leg specifically. Many of us will do this thing where the knee turns down. It changes the relationship of the legs here.

So even if you think you're doing it, try turning your knee so it feels like it turns up a little bit. And then hold that position. So the feet are softly pointed maybe, or you could flex them if you want. And your abdominals are really supporting this position. If you're able to balance, feel free to put your arm by your side.

Otherwise keep it down. Flat hand is ideal. Exhale to lift the legs up and inhale to control down. And exhale to lift and control. Now, when I control down, I'm not actually resting my legs.

I'm just going down, right? Use your breath. And see if you can feel that you're really lifting the legs with the waist here. We're just gonna do three more here. And two more.

And one more time, find that breath. Hold this position for a moment and feel those legs nice and high. And then take your hand and push into your hand. And we're gonna transition into our sidekick position by just coming up onto the elbow. So option one, I would really like you to have a flat forearm if you're not familiar with this exercise.

And really focus on opening through the chest here. My legs have found their way to the floor. I wanna support from my core. Option two, you can feel free to go to the traditional version, which is with your hand behind your head, balancing on your elbow, yeah? Hover the top leg up, stay supported from that core.

And we swing the leg forward and we swing the leg back. And forward and back. Good, now the idea here is that you can stay very supported through your core. There is a little bit of an adjustment happening. But you wanna make sure that the core itself stays long and pretty taut.

Meaning your pelvis doesn't tuck or archer anything. Your pelvis tuck or your back arch. Take the leg back and stay here. Let's both all put two hands down. So you've got a forearm down and a hand somewhere.

Take the leg back a little more. Ooh, there's my basket. Take your body forward. And that feels like a stretch underneath here for me first. Now I wanna take that leg back a little more and lift it up 10 times.

One, two, beautiful. Make sure you're supporting with your belly. And five, I think six and seven, eight, nine and 10. Do an extra one if I was off, hold it. Hug that knee into your chest.

Come to a seat, looking forward here. And make sure that you're first sitting on both sides of your pelvis. I know I have a hard time with this position. So I have to sit first and then pull my leg in. And then eventually I can get to that crossed over position.

Although eventually is usually at five o'clock my time. Not so much at nine o'clock my time (laughs) Oh, it feels so good though. Thanks for playing with me today everyone. Let's change sides. So we're gonna just flip to the other side so we can see each other.

Here we go. So we're gonna lie on our side, take two on this. Turn that bottom knee facing upward. Your head is resting in your long, straight arm. And you can choose to keep your hand down if you need.

We're gonna lift those two legs up and we lower down. And we lift and we lower. Now, if you feel comfortable and you feel balanced, feel free to have your arm resting by your side. Like afraid to touch my mic now. Everybody, I don't want to turn it off again (laughs) Here we go, we'll do four more, here's one.

Good. And here's two. And here's three. And here is four. Good, keep the lift here, keep the lift here.

And then we're gonna use the hand to come up. We're gonna find that place where the forearm is flat. For those of you that need that support, stay with this. If you're new, keep the forearm flat. If you know the exercise, go right to the full expression of it.

With your hands behind your head. The key here my friends though, is that you're using your abdominals, right? To support and your upper back as well. So then we float that leg up and we swing it forward with a little pulse, pulse. And a little point, point.

And a little pulse, pulse. And point, point, good. You're trying to keep your body very still. So anybody new to this exercise is gonna wanna really feel the opposition of the pelvis. Couple more times.

Good, we'll just do one more here. And then take the leg back and stay. So we'll all take a flat forearm and a hand down. And you wanna rotate and pull your body forward. And that should feel like a little bit of a stretch for your underbody.

Feel free to just stay with that if that's enough for you. Or if you wanna work your glutes, take your leg back and up a little more. And we're gonna lift from the glute, 10, nine, good. Eight. Seven.

Six. Five. Four. Three. Two.

And one. Hug the knee into your chest, come around to a seat. So make sure that you can sit on both sides of your pelvis. And then find the position where you can feel a little bit of a stretch. So again, this is personally my tighter side.

So it takes me just a few moments to settle in and then find a place where I can stretch here. Oh, it feels so good to be doing mat work with all of you. So let's do a little bit of pushup preparation, okay? That's where we're headed here. I'm gonna rest this stretch.

We're gonna come around to our hands and our knees. And with the hands underneath the shoulders and the knees underneath the hips, you're gonna tuck your toes, right? And then you're gonna push your hips high so your feet are flat. So this is a Downward Dog from yoga, yeah? You're gonna feel that nice little stretch there.

Let your head dangle. Anyone who wants to can just stay here, right? But I think we should all walk our back to our feet. Let your body dangle for a moment. Maybe slightly soft knees or straight knees if you're able to.

And then you're gonna roll up through your back until you feel yourself standing nice and tall. For fun here, take your arms, whoops, my walls there. Take your arms up and look up just for a moment. Feel that stretch through the body. Take your arms down and then we're gonna roll down.

So earlier I said, if you wanna just stay in the Downward Dog, you can. So from this role position, we're gonna walk out and we're gonna find what feels like a Downward Dog or a pyramid position. Stay here if that's where your body is today. If you'd like to continue on, support with your core and come through to a plank for me. So you're in a nice, powerful plank.

If you'd like to continue on, do a few pushups. I said we were gonna prep the pushup today. So I really just want this position for those of you that are new, yeah? And then we're gonna lift the hips high. Lower your feet flat.

Let your head down angle. Walk your arms back, straight arms if you can. And then you're gonna roll yourselves up to a standing position. Now, anyone who wants to add the pushups when they go down, feel free to. Stretch the arms up, lifting through your side body, feeling yourself very light.

Take your arms down, we roll down. We walk out to pyramid position. Anyone who wants to stay there, feel free to stay there and breathe. We hinge through to plank position. Feel free to do some pushups if you want.

Or just hold that plank for me and feel the power in your plank. Feel your abdominals, feel the lightness in your legs. So you're really supporting yourself with your core here. Lift your hips back up and then straight arms. You're trying to walk with a straight arm as you come back.

Couple steps and roll yourself up. We're gonna do that just one more time. And then we're gonna move on. So we take those arms up, we take those arms down. And we roll down.

And then, walk out to your pyramid position. Breathe my friends, enjoy that stretch. Come through to your plank position, feel that. And then very slowly, lower yourselves to the floor. You can go really slow, you can put your knees down.

You can do whatever you want. Next time we meet, there will definitely be some pushups. But today I thought I'd be kind to you. So here, let's work our back extension a little bit deeper. So take your hands so that they're outside of your shoulders.

We're gonna revisit that same thing we did earlier. Where you feel your upper back working, right? Without using your arms. And then it gradually moves into your lower back. So it's upper back extension, a little deeper.

Then, we kick in with the arms to pull forward and perhaps straighten the elbows. It's a Swan prep basically. And the elbows make their way to the floor and we lower everything down. Good, let's do that again. Inhale upper back, feel the low back chipping in.

And then we press up in the position of straight. And we lower down elbows and then the whole body. Let's do two more like that, please. Inhale. And exhale.

And just breathe. We don't have to have specific breath. One more time please. Inhale for that first part that's important. The exhale here.

Beautiful, just breathe. So go ahead and push yourselves to your hands and knees. Sit back in your child's pose or your rest pose for a couple moments here, breathing in. And breathing out. Shift forward to your hands into your knees.

And let's do an exaggerated type Cat-Cow. Not the one we do with backs traditionally. Instead I want you to round through your low back and see how much opening through your back body you can create. Your chin is tucked in, your shoulders are spreading. You're pushing into the floor with your hands and your feet.

And then come to neutral and do that again. We're gonna round, let the shoulders stretch. So they're less up by my ears and it's more of an opening through my back body. And just one more. Come back to the neutral tuck the toes.

Come into that Downward Dog. And then walk in the direction of your arm letting your head go for a moment. You can hold your elbows if you would like. And let your head relax. Bend your knees a fair bit if that's what you need today.

Breathing in. Breathing out. Holding yourselves up to a standing position. Go down or two from standing together. So with your feet, if you check in with your own body for a moment, feel where you are.

With your next exhale, go ahead and roll forward. Head upper back. Let the arms dangle. You can let your shoulders go if you want or you can keep them plugged. I like to let my shoulders go.

And just see where they are. And then I invite you to bend your knees and go a little deeper. Or let that knee bend, help you to stay supported for your low back. Suck your belly for me and then roll up. You can straighten your legs if that suits you.

Otherwise just keep them a little soft. That's usually a little bit kinder for most people. As you lift open through your heart. Lift your chin just a little bit. Let's do one more roll down, please.

Exhale to peel forward, head. Try to feel that you've got equal weight on both of your legs. Belly is supporting you. The arms can dangle, the head can dangle. And as you come to standing this time, when it feels like the right choice, go ahead and soften your eyes for me.

And then when you bring yourself to an upright position, do so if you're able to with eyes closed for a moment. And feel equal weight on the fronts and the backs of the feet. Belly in a little bit, but your whole body is light. Just bend your elbows for me so your palms are facing up. And go into a little bit of external rotation.

That means hands go to the outside a little. And then allow the arms to straighten. Feel your heart open. Breathing in. And breathing out.

Awaken your eyes when you're ready. And to each and every one of you, I thank you so much for playing. I will see you next week. I'm gonna do some foam roll fun. And I hope that you join Amy tomorrow.

Zesty Mat Play with Sarah: with Sarah Bertucelli


2 people like this.
Good Solid Class. I liked the stretch, and triceps-dip beginning of the reverse plank series. That was cool. I had fun and a good workout. Thanks Sarah:) 
1 person likes this.
Thanks Sarah, that was awesome, just what I needed.
2 people like this.
Thank you for this class Sarah! I struggle with my roll-up sometimes too, so it's nice to know I'm not alone. I know we're all different every day, but sometimes it's tough to remember that!
1 person likes this.
Thanks Sarah. I got some great teaching ideas from your class. Nice rollovers.
Gary thank you!  So glad to hear you enjoyed the class. Hope to "see" you again soon.
Olivia Wonderful that the class delivered what you needed. Take care!! 

Michele always happy to share my challenges.  Pilates is a practice...Sometimes roll ups work beautifully and other times, I need some help.  You are defiantly not alone!! 
Rena Yay! Have fun:) 
1 person likes this.
fantastic class!!!!!! Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Thank you Sarah, that was beautifully. Ready to conquer the day!
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