Class #4247

Foam Roll Fun

55 min - Class


Sarah Bertucelli brings this fun Mat class using the Foam Roller to her series Zesty Mat Play with Sarah. She begins the class opening up your body by leading you through massages on the roller, and then flows into traditional Mat work with other creative movements. Mix up your typical Mat routine and enjoy the room to play!
What You'll Need: Mat, Foam Roller

About This Video

Oct 19, 2020
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Hi everybody. Welcome to my garage studio space. I am so excited to see you this Monday morning. It is morning time for me although if you're joining me throughout the world it could possibly be a different time. Today we're gonna play with this foam roll and do some nice rolling and some slightly different creative exercises somewhat following the BASI Block System.

So I hope you're open and wanna have fun with me right now. One thing to always remember is if something doesn't feel right please modify, okay? And take care of your body. We're gonna start by sitting on the roll. So please sit on your mat space in a way that you have a little bit of room to move forward and back.

I'm gonna face you so that you can see me and I can look at all of you out there. So just find a spot where you're sitting on the roll and you feel as though it is in front of your glutes and a little bit on your hamstrings, so more on your legs. And just kinda wiggle in a little bit and see what happens there. We're gonna play with loosening the tissue on the back of the body for a few moments. So I'm using my feet right now just to roll forward and back.

My body's just staying restful in this sitting position. And then I'm gonna ask you to roll forward, allow your hands to go along your legs until you feel that first bit of resistance and just notice where the resistance is. I feel a little bit of a stretch in my neck and a little stretch in my back here. Take a breath. Use an exhale to let go a little more and then just roll back up.

And option one there. You can do anything you might like in that position. We're gonna exhale and peel forward again. The arms will find their way to whatever, so you might be touching your ankles. If you can touch your feet you might wanna back against your calves a little bit.

You might wanna sway side to side, just check out what you feel. Allow your shoulders, your neck, your back to be fluid. Roll yourself right back up. Now dig into the feet, round through your back here and kinda scoot forward. So I want you to play a little bit with balance.

Oh yes, the foam roll, lots of balance. My feet are grounded to the floor and I'm in this rounded shape kind of teetering on the edge. But you don't wanna fall, right? So push into the feet, round and roll back and then come forward again and this time, whatever it is you're holding onto I want you to play with this, pushing forward on one foot and pulling back on the other. So your whole body will respond to that.

Make sure you're breathing, my friends. Breathing and moving, that's all we're doing here. We're gonna loosen up the tissue and then play a little bit with some challenging exercises so be prepared for that. So we're pushing side to side here. So I've done that a couple of times just kind of breathing into my own body.

And I come back to what feels like center. Round up through your body, bend your knees as you do. Find that rounded shape, so we're working here on balance a little bit. And just kinda teeter there for a moment. This is a really great activator for me for my abdominals and it's a functional movement here because I'm really holding this position with my pieces if you will.

Round and roll back up. And forward, now just reach through one foot that should feel nice this morning. Reach forward through the other foot. Let your head dangle, let your shoulders go where they wanna go. And then maybe try it again on each side.

And then we're gonna round and roll back up find again that position where you're in that rounded back. Be there. Now if you feel yourself losing your balance just put hands down, that's fine. But otherwise we're just gonna stay here for a moment and see if we can create just a little more flexion, roundness through your back. I've got my arms forward and I'm just kinda floating around a little bit.

And then I'm gonna take my hands down behind me and then allow myself to roll a little higher up on the glute tissue keeping the shape of the spine rounded and then I'm gonna roll myself back, I'm gonna let go with my hands and I'm gonna do that forward fold thing one more time. So I'm in that forward fold or like a modified spine stretch. I've got my shoulders open here so I'm gonna reach through my foot and stretch. Whatever feels good to you. Flexing the feet or pointing the feet.

So I'm going to go ahead and turn my body so that hopefully you can all hear me just a little bit better. Let's just shift to that in that rounded shape and just shift onto one side here and allow your glute tissue to soften into the foam roll and just loosen up a little bit there. Notice I like to go real slow here. Nice and slow. You can go fast and furious if you want.

But let's take three or four breaths on that one side. Breathing and moving, ladies and gentleman. Boys and girls. Whoever's out there. Go ahead and go to the other side please.

I'm gonna be mindful of my mike pack here so I'm just gonna stay right in the center of my glute but you can feel free to go all the way to the side if that feels better for you. And just loosen up through that tissue a little bit, softening, try to find something. Sometimes you'll hear me say I want you to scratch an itch. So if you feel something to sit with, sit with it. Enjoy that.

Ah, beautiful. So just one more moment here and then I'm going to change. We're going to change, right? So I've loosened up my glutes a little bit and now what I would like you to do is to come to your bottom on your mat and place that foam roll back behind your back, okay? So it's on the rib cage area.

You're gonna do your best to let your head be heavy in your hands, allow your elbows to maybe be forward. Then you're just gonna kinda loosen up through the back body tissue if you will. The back body bone. So what I like to do when I roll up and down is I kinda think of it as ironing out my spine. Loosening up through my ribcage and my spine, the muscles around all of that and just kind of released.

And if you don't feel much maybe you don't need this very much but many of us will feel quite a lot of sensation here. Let the head be heavy in the hands. I purposefully take my elbows forward to take my shoulders out of it, right? I'll explain that a little more. So drop your pelvis down to the floor with the foam roll in the middle of your upper back.

And then feel your head heavy in your hands. So you're holding your head with your hands. Keep your pelvis grounded as you relax over the roll. And then a little hint of abdominal engagement as you lift up and you're gonna look in the direction of your pelvis, yeah? And then you're gonna relax over again.

Now if you prefer to have your elbows wide that's fine. That opens up the shoulders and the chest a little more. But I'm doing this with the intention of it being more of a spinal mobility exercise, so taking my elbows forward allows me to keep my shoulder tightness out of it. So we relax down just one more time in the center there. Feel free to wave in the wind, let your head relax, that should feel nice.

And then you lift. Look in the direction of your pelvis. And now we're gonna make it a little bit more challenging. You wanna roll that foam roll so that it's lower down on your ribcage, not actually on your low back, but lower means more challenging. So find the place where it doesn't feel vulnerable.

Let the head rest in the hands once again. Go ahead and clasp the fingers together if you'd like and then we're gonna relax over a little bit but stay engaged in the abdominals. We're gonna exhale and engage the abdominals, lift the head and chest. We look in the direction of the pelvis and you can add a little more flexion by pulling your low spine down in the direction of the mat. And then we're gonna inhale to lower down.

And then we exhale. Engage the abs, we lift. We find that lifted position and then add that little more of flexion, so I'm actually, I'm tucking my pelvis a little bit with my abdominals, and then relax back down. And we're just gonna do that one more time here and then I wanna add on right up here this time. So here we are, we're in that lifted position. We have those abdominals working.

I'm gonna take my arms forward just so I can get this openness through my back body. It's like I'm doing a ballet arm if you will, or a rounded arm. Now look at your pelvis, soften the tailbone down so the three points, the hip bones and the pubic bone are on the same plane now and see if you can keep the pelvis just like that as you lift one leg up. And then you're gonna lower that leg down and lift the other leg up. And notice that it actually might take a little bit 'cause you can see that a little bit of focus to keep that pelvis still.

So keep doing this walking action. Don't really rest the leg, you can just change simultaneously. And change, and change, yeah? So breathe when it makes sense to you and focus on keeping your pelvis still. Also focus on rounding into the foam roll with the part of your back that's touching it.

And my abdominals are heating up a little bit. This is nice for me. Let's just do one more here and then bring your two legs in and then kinda hug in giving yourself a little rounded back shape. And then put your two feet down. And then let's do that again adding on a little bit.

So we're gonna inhale to go over. We're gonna exhale. Draw your belly in, lift. Good, just do one more, and now we add on. And go over, draw your belly in and lift.

Lift your right leg up, rotate to the right, come to center, foot down. Go over the foam the roll. We lift, other leg up, rotate. Back to center, put it down. So what's nice about using this roll, we repeat please, lift, rotate, back to center, and lower down.

The foam roll props you up a little bit. It might make it so that you can do abdominal work without feeling your neck. That's kinda nice. For those of us that have tighter low backs, it's a nice way to work on trying to find a little bit more range through that low back to stretch a little, that works really well for me. It's also just different, right?

So here we go. Now stay lifted this time for me, okay? Lift your two legs up for me and now we're gonna do a little criss-cross type exercise, so you're gonna twist, tap one foot down, and you change, yeah? So option one, keep the movements small so you don't lose your foam roll. You gotta keep something grounded.

Option two, I want you to take your elbow down behind the foam roll and give a little pull each time. See if you can just create a little bit more intention there in this position, all the while keeping your pelvis still. Right? Breathing and moving. One more on each side please. And then we're gonna go ahead and bring the two legs in, give 'em a little hug.

Put your two feet down. And then I'd like you to roll down so that the foam roll is resting on your neck. So I'm gonna have to modify a little bit, I hadn't practiced this with my mike pack on but we'll see what we can do here. So you're gonna rest with your head on your neck. I'm sorry, your head on your neck?

I hope your head is on your neck. Your head is on the foam roll and your neck is resting as well. It should look kind of like me. But just let your arms rest maybe out to the side or perhaps hold the foam roll with your two hands. And just relax maybe your legs side to side a couple times.

This should feel really nice on your neck. If it doesn't you can just move on or do something different. And then here try rolling your head side to side. Again, I'm gonna limit how much I roll just because I do have some cords back there that I don't want to get too squished but just roll side to side here and maybe stay on one side where you feel a little more stretch. Breathing and releasing. Scratch an itch.

And then maybe go to the other side and do the same thing. You'll sort of scratch an itch there. Breathing in and breathing out. And then you're just gonna very slowly slip that foam roll out from underneath you and rest your head down. And you may fee like your head is so much lighter than it normally feels, that's a good feeling.

So take your roll and place it between your tush and your leg as if you were gonna do a curl. My (indistinct) here. Let's just sit with that for a couple moments and just feel how your body feels, a little looser I hope. Hoist your pelvis up and roll that foam roll up underneath your pelvis here. So the foam roll is propping you up.

So sometimes people wonder where it should be. Well it should be where it's comfortable. You don't wanna be too much on your low back and you don't wanna be directly on your tail really. But you should also try to feel that it's comfortable for you. So feel that the pelvis is being supported and you have some opening maybe happening.

Maybe you feel something, maybe you don't. But if you're curious and you're patient you might start to feel things that you didn't know where there. Tightness perhaps. So let's slide one leg out to straight and just relax and see how that feels. Sometimes people will feel a little bit tight in the low back here. If you do feel any vulnerable tightness just step back, don't do the next piece.

And then slide that leg in, slide the other leg out and just notice how that feels. I get a really nice release across my hip crease when I sit in this position for a few breaths. Breathing in and breathing out. Go ahead and slide that leg to bent again and then lift both legs up for me, so support with your abs as you lift. Give your knees just a little hug in giving your back a little bit of a rounded shape.

It doesn't have to be super organized. And then come back to what is like a tabletop. Hold the roll for security with your hands and then support with your abs as you tap one foot down and then you're gonna change. And you're gonna change. Now ideally the pelvis is super still.

So it's pressing down, you're pressing down into the roll to create the stability here. This is happening from your core, from your abs and your back muscles a little bit as well and we're mobilizing at the hip joints. Just do one more like this and then go ahead and place both feet down. You can go one at a time or both at the same time. Keep your left grounded as it is.

Lift your right leg up to the ceiling. We want to stand on the left side of the pelvis enough and feel the hamstring working on the left leg. And then we wanna feel that we're staying supported through the core with the other leg. Lower down and lift up. So that side of the abdominals are supporting you as you move the leg is really the cue I wanted to give.

Just lower the leg down and lift up. The focus here though is actually engaging the hamstring of the leg that's not moving. I want you to think about that. And let's just do that one more time please, just loosening up the hips there. And then bend the knee and place the foot down.

Right foot is on the floor. Feel the hamstring working. Ground down through the right side of the pelvis. Lift the other leg up, stretch it to straight. You wanna feel the other side of the abdominal wall staying engaged, and just float the leg down and float the leg up.

You can keep your foot pointed, you can flex your foot, you can also really relax the leg. I personally like to do this better with a very relaxed leg although my habit is to point the foot because it looks pretty. So let's just do a couple more here, try to feel the opening. And then the engagement as you lift the leg up from the core. Last one. And then lift the leg up, lift the other leg up, give your body a little bit of flexion, meaning the knees come in.

And try just rolling your legs side to side a little bit and just see how that feels. Sloppy rolling side to side, so you might get a little release in your glute when you do that. A little bit of a high glute stretch, that should feel nice. And then slowly roll that roll out from underneath you. And again, have it stored between your bottom and your feet.

And now we're ready to really move here. Inhale through your nose. With an exhale, will you do pelvic curl for me. So engage your abdominals, lift your hips up, and find your bridge position. I hope that feels a little looser and a little easier than it sometimes would.

Use your exhale to lower down. So this is a warmup example really, but I just want you to assess where you are. Exhale to peel up. Feel that tucking of the pelvis, the opening through the hips. And exhale to peel down.

Now when I add on here and give you an opportunity to challenge this, if you feel tension mounting in your low back or your knees or something, just go back to a less challenging position. Remember that, okay? That's important as we add on 'cause it's coming, I promise. (laughs) Go ahead and exhale and peel up again, my friends. We're gonna stay in this lifted position. Feel that idea of tucking the pelvis using the backs of the legs and the abs.

Lift the heels up. You might wanna keep your foam roll near you, and press them down. Lift the heels up and press down. So you should feel an activation through the back of the leg, using those hamstrings, using those abdominals, let's do two more like that. Pressing, good.

And one more time, pressing. And then lower down. Okay. So now I would like you to place your feet on top of the foam roll. And option one, we're gonna keep this movement pretty small.

Okay, so you're gonna see how far you can pull your legs in and you want the middle of your foot on the foam roll, wherever you are. Slide out and slide in. If you feel comfortable, go ahead and slide all the way out here. Although when we lift the pelvis I'd rather you didn't do that unless that suits your body. Just do that one more time. It's a pretty easy movement, just mobilizing, right?

Now hold the roll close to you and feel the feet. Use your belly muscles and do a pelvic curl for me. So you may find that you don't lift nearly as high as you did before, I know I don't. We don't wanna feel tension in the back. You wanna be able to keep the support.

Then we're just gonna slide along the feet and pull back in and see how much range you have, keeping a connection to the feet. And do two more. I have an nice warmed up, hot hamstring, I hope you do too. Pull in and then lower down. Remember my friends, breathe, yeah?

So let's move the foam roll away a little bit. Much more challenging further away like this, believe it or not. Feel the middle of the foot grounded to the roll and then we're gonna take a breath and we're gonna do that same pelvic curl. My hamstrings on fire. Slide out and pull in.

Good, breathe, slide out and pull in. Use those abs. And pull in. Two more please. And pull in and one more. Pull in and lower down. Woo.

Slide the legs all the way to straight, your hamstrings appreciate that. And then glide back in. So if your roll gets off center like mine just did just fix it. So feet are the roll, knees are bent. Knees together, that's internal rotation, yeah? And then you're going to go to external rotation outsides of the feet on the roll.

Slide your legs out to straight. Roll to internal, slide your legs in. So external, just move the foam roll around with your feet as needed if it slips and slides. And we're doing like a circle, right? So you're sliding in with internal and sliding out with external, yeah?

So that should feel nice, not that hard. The more you push down through the foam roll, the more sensation you may feel. Good, just one more time like that. And then come on in. So arrange your feet once again so you feel that you're in a comfortable spot with the middle of your foot on the roll.

We're gonna play with that feeling in the up position. Here we go. Take a breath. Do a pelvic curl for me and then find your high point. Where is it? It may not be that high. You're gonna roll out and you're gonna pull in.

And you're gonna roll out on your foot and you're gonna pull in. Now if it doesn't feel right on your ankle, work with a flexed ankle so that supports the ankle more. The idea is that you're challenging your hips more than anything. We'll do just one more here. And then roll yourself down. Woo, stretch the legs to straight.

(sighs) Take a breath. Pull the legs in and then kick your foam roll out of the way, hug your knees into your chest. And we're gonna try to find a nice rock and roll up to a sitting position, just a nice rock and roll. And then when you find yourself sitting just sit for a couple of moments with your legs straight. Go ahead and find two straight legs for me.

Now I'm gonna give three options for our spine stretch. Boy, my hamstrings are warm so I may stick with option one, that is for sure. So if you have a hard time sitting up revisit the position where the foam roll is underneath your tush and sit up straight here, okay? So ankles are flexed. You're gonna just go ahead and round down one vertebrae at a time, so revisiting like that thing we did at the very beginning you're gonna feel more stretch, more sensation in your hamstrings and then you're gonna round and roll up, so I'm modifying this spine stretch here just for the purpose of stretching a little bit more.

Exhale to peel forward. I want your hands to go along the legs and if you can you're gonna reach around and hold on to your feet. So if you're quite flexible you'll reach all the way over your feet, you'll pull back and flex the ankles with your hands and then you'll draw your belly in and you'll round and roll yourself back up. Let's just do it one more time, inhale. (inhales) And exhale to peel forward. (exhales) Reach over to the feet. Pull back with your arms. Feel your upper back working, feel your neck free.

Beautiful. And then release and round and roll back up. Now we're gonna roll like a ball without the foam roll so I'm just moving mine so I don't end up kicking it. So scooch forward a bit on your mat, make sure your spacing is there. Round through your low back for me hugging the belly to the spine, if you will, really supporting completely. Then, without changing a thing you float the feet up, right?

And then you hug those knees in as tightly as you can and then that's where you use your hands just to kinda seal the deal for you. Inhale to roll back please friends. And exhale to find your balance. Let's do four more. Inhale roll. Breathing and moving. (exhales) (exhales) (exhales) One more roll please.

And then just a creative little idea to challenge some of the abdominal work, scoot that roll right back underneath you again and just roll back on vertebra at a time keeping the roll in place or somewhere where you can get it easily. So feel that support. Beautiful. Hug that right to your pelvis, lower your head down for a moment. We're gonna do our single leg stretch here so first take an inhale, use an exhale to lift the head up, head and chest, the pelvis stays square. The two legs lift up to table top.

One leg stays in, the other leg, I want you to press with the back of your leg into that foam roll without changing your pelvis. Nice and slow we change. And we change. And we change. So you're using your breath here.

You're using your arms to pull the leg into socket every time you hold on, and to help you keep the lift. And then you're using the foam roll to create hopefully an activity, an activation in the hamstring of that straight leg. Just do one more here for me and we move into the criss-cross in this same way. So you can slip your hands behind the head if it suits you. If it doesn't suit you, go ahead and reach up and hold on to create a little bit more lift.

The key here, my friends, is lifting on the diagonal. So you wanna think of lifting with a twist rather than twisting. Yeah, so we're lifting and twisting simultaneously. Breathe, three please. Breathe. One more time on each side.

And then you're gonna hug your two knees into your chest and lower your head down. I have more for you here. And I love using a tool like this to feel my hamstring. So make sure your foam roll is still near you. Stretch your two legs up to the ceiling.

Put one leg down till you feel the roll. The other leg straight up, yeah? Bend your knees if you need but if you can be straight that's wonderful. Let's just take the arms overhead 'cause it feels good to me. Exhale, we're gonna lift the head and chest.

Feel that nice curl and figure out where you can hold on here. So I want you to really keep your pelvis nice and square and that activity of that hamstring involved. And then we're gonna change. And just hold it, no pulsing, just hold. So your hand may come up closer to your foot.

You may hold onto the back of the leg. You may hold on to the back of the calf. But just breathe and feel this. Now if you feel tension mounting in your neck or your back put your head down and practice this without the lift. That's a great way to work the stability here so let's just do one more on each side here.

And then we're gonna add rotation. So modification here. You're gonna reach one hand to the roll, one hand to your leg. And then you're gonna change. One hand to the roll, one hand to your leg. So I wanna connection with both hands.

And I want you to find your breath. (exhales) And feel. Beautiful, twist. Really use your arms, don't be shy. Good, one more time here please. Good, hug those knees into your chest.

Woo, I am nice and warm so we're ready to change relationships. Go ahead and kick that foam roll once again out of the way and I would like you to rock and roll yourself up to a sitting position until you find yourself upright. Allow your legs to open, we're gonna shift to our hands and knees. To our quadruped position and I'm gonna stuff this little guy down a little more so it doesn't keep coming out. Challenges of pants with not deep enough pockets.

I will fix it though. Your hands are gonna be on your foam roll, hopefully straight, now if your wrists don't like this just don't do it with the foam roll. Put them flat. But this hopefully give you a little bit of freedom and a little opportunity to feel your wrists differently and to wake up some of the connectors. So I'd like you to make this about stretching a little bit. Hands are on the foam roll.

Without putting too much weight in your hands you're gonna roll yourself back a little bit and you're gonna roll yourself forward a little bit. So you're just kind of rolling around without a lot of weight. And then see if you can start to push into a little bit more of a wrist stretch. Leaning side to side and then you'll just take a break. Kind of a child's pose, right?

And you'll come forward to your hands and knees and you'll stretch a little. And then rest that for me. If you did that and you said, "Man, I hate having my hands "on that foam roll, it does not feel good," then just put it out of the way and come to your hands and knees without the foam roll. The rest of us who want to challenge our balance and stability, you're going to put your hands underneath your shoulders, you're gonna find this nice powerful plank upper body. You slide one leg out, you slide the other leg out, and here we are.

Opening through the back body and the front body simultaneously. Using those abdominals with power and feeling like you have freedom in your legs that means I can jog a little. Point the right foot, lift the leg up and down. And up and down. Using those abdominals. And up, and one more time.

Good, other side. Five, feel the backs of the legs. Four. Good, three. And two. And one. Two feet are down. Just for fun try giving a little tiny elbow bend, back and press back up.

If your wrists don't like it give it a break. A little tiny elbow bend back, and back up. And one more time please. And back up. I'd like you to walk your feet to your foam roll. Relax your head and dangle in what feels like a stretch for a moment.

Just go ahead and let go of the connection of the roll and allow your head, neck, shoulders, everything, to dangle in this forward fold. I like to do this with soft knees these days. Feel free to straighten yours if your hamstrings allow you to. But the soft knees really makes me feel way happier. (laughs) All right, we're gonna stand up and do a little bit of powerful leg work and then we're gonna come back to some of that play with the roll there using our hands.

So I'd like you to go ahead and I'm gonna use my, have my foam roll as a balance beam, basically, with my right hand. Now if you know that you're really good at balance you don't need to use this, but I like to have this here so I can push a little bit, my range, and not worry so much about balance. So just stand first on both feet and then shift your weight to the leg, so for me it's my left leg. If you're mirroring me us just wanna have the same shape. So what hand you're using to hold it's that leg that's lifted, right?

Flex the ankle here and then we're gonna extend back. Put the ball of the foot down and bend a little bit. And then we're gonna stand up flexing the ankle. That's the option one, okay? The option two we're just gonna go a little deeper, maybe you'd even touch your knee down.

And then maybe you'd extend your leg. And then the option three would be as we go down and back you'll reach your arms up and then you'll take your arms down opening your heart. Think chest expansion. We're gonna reach the arms up, beautiful. And we press and extend.

So whatever version you're working on, my friends, this is a balance exercise, so please allow this to be an opportunity for you to work your balance and also work your strength, you're comfort level. I have no problem going all the way down. Do make sure that if you're going all the way down that that front foot stays grounded the whole way. Good, we have two more. Please.

Good, I can feel my leg waking up, my whole leg, which is nice. My balance gets a little bit less good once we wake up like that, and here we are. So hold this. We're just gonna pick up the foam roll and move it to the other side. So now you're holding with same arm as the leg that's standing, we're gonna lift that same leg that was lifted, so we're still standing on that same leg the whole time and we're gonna lift up as high as we can.

Back in the fitness days we'd call this the fire hydrant and that's kinda funny. But this is like a martial arts type kick. I really want you to feel the glute here, the hip working, and we're gonna try to extend the leg. So some of you may be extending down here. That is fine.

But we're gonna try to keep the they where it is as you extend, that was two. And here's three, good. And here's four, and if you don't need your foam roll don't use it, we're gonna go to 10. And six, and seven, and eight, and nine, and 10, now I feel everything. Let's feel everything on the other side.

I'm gonna have you now lift the leg, same hand. 'Kay, so we're using the other leg as a standing leg. And then we're gonna just feel where we are here. How much balance, how much help do we need. Come back, you might just pause.

And then lift. That could be plenty for you if your balance is challenged. If you're ready to move on you straighten the leg and reach back and maybe you work your balance. Arms down and arms up. Good, and arms down, think chest expansion here.

Really work that flexed ankle as well. It's important for our wellbeing of our feet. And the gait cycle. And I'm feeling a little wobbly on this side, that's fun. Fun to feel wobbly, fun to feel the challenge.

That's what this is all about. Good, aah! Especially when I'm talking as well. (sighs) Last two here and then we're going to do that beautiful glute buster. Here we go. So take your roll to the other side. You wanna have a good hand on it if you need it.

I like to use this because I wanna be able to lift higher. So I'm taking my leg up and lifting as high as I can. I'm feeling that outside glute. Ankle is flexed. You can take your arm in a jazz hand if you want. And let's go with 10, beautiful.

And nine, and eight, and seven, and feel free to not use your hand if you like. And five, and four, and three, and two, and one. Come in, beautiful. Let's just go ahead and hold the foam roll. 'Cause we are roll down and I'd like it to be ready for you when you get there, so stand the back part of your mat and just take a roll down and just kinda roll it down. This is just to give you some choreography to put it down to the floor.

Bend your knees if you need to and then kinda roll it out of your way a little bit. And then do me a favor and then walk out to a downward dog type shape or an up stretch. Feel a nice little stretch there through the backs of your legs. Go ahead and lift one leg up, enjoy that stretch. Figure out where you wanna go, scratch an itch that maybe needs scratching, and then change sides for me lifting up and scratch an itch maybe that needs scratching there.

Breathing in and breathing out. Put your two feet down and you're gonna come forward to your hands and knees. We're gonna play a little bit here. I find this to be quite a fun exercise so I hope you're up for it. You're gonna place the foam roll underneath your shins, right?

Now if your feet don't do this, adjust to something that works for you, and certainly you don't have to use the foam roll, you could do it without the foam roll. So you're gonna bring your hands down, right. And you're gonna kinda roll just a few times on your shins, now if that doesn't feel good then don't do it. But to me it feels really nice on my shins. Feels like a nice little massage.

Now I'm gonna find a place where my feet are down and then I can come into my hands and knees. And my foam roll is not on my kneecap but it's maybe on my shin and then I'm gonna bring my knees and feet together. Point the toes, round through your low back really hollowing that belly in and pull in as far as you can so the arms and the upper body stay still. In as far as you can. So the back stays rounded and you're rolling around here.

Now you can put a lotta weight on the legs and this is very doable. But if you put more weigh in your arms, in your core in your mind you're gonna feel this more challenging, right? Rest down for a moment. Hopefully you can find a position that feels restful for you here. For me with the feet like this it's a beautiful two for, I'm getting a back and a foot stretch which I really like.

Now we're gonna try another option, are you ready? We're gonna come out to plank position. The roll stays there, you're in plank. Your feet are powerful, meaning you're really pushing through the heels. Draw that belly in. Nice and powerful through the upper body.

Find your right leg and then as you bring your right leg in you're gonna feel the foam roll and you're gonna use that to pull in as far as you can five times. And two, so you are going to flexion, so look at your knee, three. And four. And five. Extend back out, change sides, here we go.

We pull in, five, look at your knee. And four. And three, breathe please. And four. And five, or something like that.

I think I counted forward and backward. Go ahead and push yourself back up to a downward dog position. We're gonna roll that roll out of the way, it may not look pretty but there it is. Take that nice little stretch for a moment there. And then shift yourself down into plank and to the floor.

However you'd like to get there is just fine for me. 'Kay, so make sure that you have enough space to roll your foam roll forward a little bit, so make adjustments as needed with your body so you can do that. And just start with your forehead resting and your arms are straight over head. And if that doesn't feel right in your shoulders at any point you can modify and change this, okay? You can not use the foam roll is what I mean.

Take your hands so they're a little wider than your shoulders and you wanna have your wrists on not your hands, 'cause what I'd like you to do is keep your forehead resting, keep your belly active, and you're just gonna bend in and think of spreading outward. So I realized I had to adjust because I wanna be able to touch my head, so this is wear I would have my fingers on and then as I go out I'm just a little more on my forearms and I'm pulling outward as I come in and I'm trying to get my elbows to maybe touch down and reach out. So my hands are behind me, my elbows are sort of down toward the floor, which promotes a little external rotation. Just do that two more times, nice little stretch, nice little open, should feel like a little bit of a shoulder stretch. And then we're gonna just walk the hands a little in there or out here, keep that same position you were in and let's find a little bit of back extension.

So you're gonna inhale to back extension, find the back extension that suits you. Maybe you're gonna lift high, maybe you're not. And then you're gonna lower yourself down. And then again you're gonna inhale to back extension. Feel, feel, feel, elbows slightly soft maybe, my friends.

Your gaze changes with your back extension. And lower down. And then this time we're gonna hold that lifted position. So you're gonna inhale to back extension, your belly is active, your legs pretty soft here. Or you can hover them and lift them if you want.

Bend your elbows to maybe touch. And reach. So I want your elbows to go down rather than out. Play with that. And your hands stay on that foam roll. Beautiful.

We'll do two more just like that. And one more. Good, two straight arms. And lower down. Just leave your foam roll there and shake out everything. Give it a little bit of a rest.

How 'bout we bend the right leg and we reach around and we stretch for a moment, the quadricep. So rest your forehead on your hand and allow that hip ball to kind of press into the mat. The pelvis to press into the mat. And breathe in and breath out. And remember in any of these stretches if you're curious and patient you're going to feel a little more.

So try to feel your open chest, so I've got my elbow kind of reaching up toward the sky and my chest is open. If you'd like to explore this position just a little bit you can kinda roll in the direction of the right, so I'm stretching to the right, I'm rolling into the direction of the right and that gives me just a little bit of a stretch on my outside thigh quad. Be curious, enjoy the stretch. Come back through to center. Release for a moment.

Shake out anything that needs shaking. And then take that leg, that same leg, out to the side a fair bit so it's straight and it's out of the side. And then assume the same grip, so reach back and hold on. Rest your forehead down but try to feel the stretch somewhere. So if you don't feel it right a way try to be curious and find something new by maybe pressing your pelvis down a little bit and softening.

I don't feel it so much in the belly of my quad anymore but I do feel it pretty powerfully in my hip crease as I maneuver around, that's where I feel I need it. Breathing in my friends and breathing out. And then release, (sighs) yeah. Shake that out please. Now lets go ahead and do the second side.

So you're gonna bend the other leg, reach around and hold onto the foot and find a stretch. Now if for any reason you can't be in this position you could always do the standing or side lying. I should've said that on the first side, I apologize. 'Cause there's always something you can do. You can also hold on with a strap or a band or something like that so you can, if your shoulders are a little bit less open or your leg is less open.

But feel here, your chest open give you a two for here. You're getting a nice little opener through your chest as well. About this position, maybe press into the pelvis. And then here you can roll to your side. Once again, I have this little mike pack on my side so I'm just gonna roll a little bit.

But you can feel free to roll all the way onto your side here if that feels like a good idea for you? Do it, if not, you may find you get plenty just staying face down. Really my ideas are exactly that, they're ideas. You need to make sure you're working with what works in your body today in this moment. (sighs) That feels so good.

So release that for a moment and then take the leg kinda far out to the side and you're gonna reach around and then hold on again and see what you feel there. So find something new. Roll the leg in, roll the leg out. Breathing in, and breathing out. (exhales) Still have some more fun stuff to do here. Release that.

Come around again to what feels like a neutral position for me. And I would like to work... I'm sorry, neutral position, come around to rest with your hands and your feet down. And then bring your hands underneath your shoulders and let's go ahead and push up to a child's pose. So you're gonna push back in the child's pose or the rest pose, so your knees can be open if that suits you, your arms can be out in front of you and your forehead may be resting on the mat.

Try to feel the release in your low back. Release in your legs. Breathing in and breathing out. And now we'll come forward and do a mermaid. So those of you that are not familiar with the mermaid it really has to do, in Pilates, with the arrangement of the legs.

So I've got my right leg out in front of me. My other leg is underneath me bent behind me. Now if this doesn't work for you you could try sitting up on something, on a box or something, or you can arrange your legs differently if you need to, you could even have this leg straight if that was the problem for you. I like to have my foot close to my bottom because it gives me a nice little secure seat and it allows my quad to stretch in a slightly different way. Try to arrange it so that your thigh that's going out is going more forward than out to the side if you can.

So you wanna try to be more forward. Not perfectly forward but more forward. So the foam roll is gonna be next to my leg that's going out so they're kind of the same relationship. And then I just want you to think about sitting up as tall as you can and settling here first. I'm gonna ground down through my hand where it is, okay?

And I'm going to just in this shape, rotate around and see where I can touch. And then I'm gonna undo it. And just one more time. I just want you to feel that. (sighs) And undo it. Now we're gonna add a piece. When you reach out to the side, so if you start with just your fingertips touching right now and you reach out to the side you'll have a little more room to move, but for some people this could be tricky on the shoulder, so if this doesn't feel okay modify to the first version.

Now we're gonna rotate around, put both hands on the foam roll and feel that you are using the foam roll as a brace to help you rotate a little more supporting with your abs. And then undo it and come back in. So my fingertips just on that foam roll adjusting as needed. Inhale, we're gonna reach away, the arm will go up. Exhale, we rotate around, I want you to connect with both hands, so make adjustments as needed.

Ground down through that right leg for me. And then here we're gonna add on, we're gonna bend the elbows a little bit keeping pressure in the foam roll, maybe the forehead will touch the foam roll, that would be great, maybe not. And we're gonna lift back up. And we're gonna bend. Maybe you would touch, maybe you wouldn't.

And you're gonna lift back up. Good, and one more time, we bend. And we lift back up. That feels like a good stretch. And let's go ahead and change sides. So we'll change the legs and we'll change which side the roll is on.

So place the roll to the other side and settle your foot close to your butt if that suits you, if not arrange it differently. I can feel my stretch in my glute that I worked earlier, that's a good feeling, and just sit for a moment. Settle in. And then I gave you that first option just to make sure that if you need to modify you can do a smaller move and still get something out of it without having to put any pressure on the shoulder at all just by rotating around. However, you may not get as much range.

So if it suits your shoulder we're gonna reach out, feel that layout, you're gonna rotate around, get two hands connected to the roll and use the connection you have to rotate a little more. Then if you have your arms straight that's great. If not that's okay. Inhale, come around. And come back in.

Next time we do the foam roll I have some add-ons for all of these exercises, that's my plan. Come around. Now we're gonna hold that beautiful stretch we've got going there and you're gonna bend your elbows, maybe your forehead will touch, and you're gonna press. So you're using the elbow bend to help you create more stretch, I hope, more sensation. As you press up look up extending the spine.

Rounding down. And then looking up extending. Remember to go with the pleasure principle, this shouldn't hurt, it should feel good. Maybe challenging, but good challenging. Good, and round down just one more time.

And then we come up. We come around and we sit. All right. So let's sit on the foam roll now. So I'd like you to place it so it's long wise for me on your mat. We are gonna take the arms over head so be mindful you have enough space there to be able to move fluidly into the next piece.

Now before we get into the good stuff, the shoulder stuff we get into some other good stuff. (laughs) So sitting like this is going to stimulate quite a lot of connectors and tissue in your pelvic floor, and while it may be uncomfortable for some it's something we should do more often. So I want you to visualize your pelvis as a bowl and we're kind of massaging the bottom of the bowl here. You may find some tight points, you may find some tender spots. Go with what you can manage. If you're foam roll is too dense feel free to put a towel on and make it more comfortable for you. With your feet down like this it's a little bit less severe on the pelvis, so feel free to keep your feet down like this.

If you happen to know I can handle this and it feels good and wow I like it, try taking your legs out in front of you. And then sitting on that roll you're gonna kinda roll a little forward, roll a little back. Do little circles and just kinda notice what you feel. Again, if your foam roll is too dense, feel free to put a towel or a pad down so that it doesn't hurt. It should feel pleasurably uncomfortable. (laughs) So go with what works for you.

Sit for a moment longer breathing in and then breathing out. And then we're gonna bring the feet down to the floor and you're gonna wanna scoot forward as far as you can on the roll here without falling off 'cause we are gonna roll back. So I challenge you to go with me because it doesn't look pretty when I roll back but I still am working on it and I like to try. So you're sitting up tall, your arms are out in front of you nice and graceful, you're gonna flex around your spine, you're hopefully using your hamstrings a little bit to engage, you're gonna find that place where you first lose balance and then you're gonna come back up. So we practice this with your bottom on the foam roll the other way at the very beginning, this idea of finding this place while you're balancing, like could you even lift a foot up here?

And then another foot up. And then notice which one is more challenging, right? And maybe you can get back further, maybe not, but I want you to go to the place where you're sure you have it, right? And then that's where we're gonna stay for a moment here. And then you're gonna slowly roll down.

Now if you have to put your hands down just put your hands down so that you feel safe, but if you have to just find your balance to get down that's pretty fun too. Your head should be currently on the foam roll as well as your bottom. So make adjustments as needed and bring your knees and feet together first with your hands on the floor. And try to sense that you're centered. Now if you know you're pretty good with balance try to keep your feet together.

If you're a little bit challenged with balance, separate your feet about hip width. Holding on with your abdominals and holding on with your core, basically, float your arms up to the ceiling. Keep your gaze straight up to the ceiling and see if you can balance here. We're gonna inhale, we're gonna open the arms wide stretching through the collar bones and the shoulder blades and we're gonna lift the arms back up. So simple choreography, but what I want you to think about here if you've not done this is the idea of spreading through the shoulder blades you open.

If you just relax your shoulder blades will kinda hug the foam roll, and I want you to feel the openness across your back and your front. So find the spot where you start to feel your shoulder blades hug and spread them. It's a little counter intuitive. And then lift back up. And then do that again for me. So find that spot, maybe you're hugging, now find the activity to spread and then move your hands around.

Do you feel some things, some stretchy spots, some tingling maybe. If you feel tingling, taste it and then come out of it. So one more time like that, we find a spot, try to get the spreading but just go ahead and stop. And then spread a little more. What's interesting for me is I can feel quite a lot of resistance in my bicep. My left bicep is very tight.

Although my body's learned how to work around it this is a great way for me to learn to work through it. Try turning your fingertips down toward the floor and maybe straighten your elbows. That should offer you some sensation. Curl your hands in. Curl your arms in to your chest. And reach your arms back up.

Let's do that one more time. Open. Spreading, spreading, spreading. Flex so your fingertips go down toward the floor. Elbows are straight, check it out, scratch an itch. Curl your fingers in, curl your hands in to your heart.

And then arms go up. Take your arms over head, inhale reaching back and exhale to lift up. Now keep reaching back for me but really be mindful of your ribcage staying grounded. So many of us will compromise our shoulders or compensate for the shoulders by lifting the ribs. You wanna keep the ribs down.

So as you explore your range make it less about where your arms go, more about where your core is, right? So if you're quite flexible you may be able to bring your arms all the way to the floor but if you're not, stop where you're sure you have your core where it should be. Just do that one more time. And then next time we do foam roll we're gonna do quite a lot more here, that's the plan. Ah, now I invite you to feel a nice little stretch through your neck so it's a release through your neck. So what I'm gonna ask you to do is slip off the foam roll until your base of your skull is just resting on the edge of the foam roll.

And see if you can really just relax here. You may wanna take your feet much wider and you're gonna take the heels of your hands and you're gonna but them on the skin of your forehead and just encourage the skin to stretch a little bit and let your head maybe roll side to side. You may feel some releasing in your sinuses. If it doesn't feel good don't do this part just lie on your back or slip off the foam roll. But if this feels good try using your legs maybe to create a little bit of traction by stretching one to straight and then you can stretch the other to straight.

You can roll your head a little bit to one side and just again, you're stretching the skin of your forehead and the skin of your temple. Breathing in and breathing out. Try rolling your head to the other side. Again just stretching the skin. This should feel quite nice.

Let's all take the head back to center. Arms are wide, legs are wide. Take one or two breaths like this, two straight legs if it suits you, bend the knees if it needs to be that way. (sighs) Breathing in. And breathing out.

Gently slip off of your foam roll. Anybody who's done the foam roll knows this is the best part about lying on it long wise. Just slip off, roll the roll out of the way and lie, both grounded and floating at the same time on the earth. Breathing in. And breathing out. (exhales) One more deep breath together.

(sighs heavily) Just slowly wiggle your fingers and your toes. And slowly, as if you're waking up in the morning, move your body into a fetal type position or a side lying position, and so slowly bring yourself up to an upright position. And sit in a comfortable seat for you. And thank you all so very much for playing. I'll see you next week.

I'm gonna go back to a zesty mat flow with an extra twist. So I hope to see you then. Bye bye.

Zesty Flows with Sarah - Playlist 1: On the Mat

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Oct 19, 2020
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1 person likes this.
Thank you! This was a lovely way to ease my way into a new week! Looking forward to your next foam roller class!
2 people like this.
i always appreciate when an instructor takes a piece of equipment & works it into an entire class... ans Sarah did:) I particularly liked the mermaid and side twist.. what a wonderful upper back stretch. While all her cuing was excellent I really liked her transition from sitting on the foam roller to rolling back on it.  The class was not super hard, but it was interesting, fun, and the time flew. Thanks Sarah!
1 person likes this.
Fantastic class. I really enjoyed the prone quad stretch with the slight variation of the leg abducted. I am a PT and may try that stretch for my patients post total knee replacement. Less tension on the quads. 
Anna I am so pleased this class helped you ease into your week!  Hope you have a great one! 
Gary, thank you for taking the time to comment again.  Generally I do not use too many props, but when I choose to, I try to really use it.  Glad the choice made sense for you.  In my early pilates years, I always wanted to push hard and "work out" in mat class. While I still love a hard push, I also find a lot of joy from the "work in". Glad the class flew by.  More classes  are coming! 
Diane thank you!  So please to hear you enjoy the class and that you can "use" the variations in your work.  YAY! 
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much Sarah this is fantastic class and such innovative use the foam roller :)
Such a great class! Thanks for the balance exercise! I didn’t realize how difficult that was!
1 person likes this.
I loved all of this and especially the neck stretch!
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much ... I feel stretched, energised yet relaxed, and ready for my day
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