Class #4269

Mat Mixer with (Thera) Band

55 min - Class
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Sarah Bertucelli mixes it up with fun variations using a Theraband in this class from Zesty Mat Play with Sarah. She calls it a Mat Mixer because you will be playing with other movement modalities that involve your Pilates principles along with some traditional Mat exercises. She uses the band at different points throughout the class to give you extra arm work, aid in your stretches, and deepen the sensations you feel in your body.
What You'll Need: Mat, Theraband

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Good morning or good whatever time of day it is wherever you are. Thanks for joining me today. We are going to as always breathe and move and play with our mat work. I call this a mat mixer. The idea is that we're going to explore some slightly different things, not just pure Pilates mat but there will be some Pilatus mat as well.

And hopefully you do have a TheraBand. I do have a heavy one. If you happen to have a light one or a heavy one whatever it is that you're using will work just fine. A couple of things to be mindful of. I do have a long one here so sometimes I'll be folding it in half and using it a with little more firm tension.

And sometimes I'll be using it as it's a full band, but you know, just modify if you just have one choice or you have a short band, and everything will work out just fine I'm sure. So I've folded my long band in half, yeah. And I'm just gonna hold the edges of it. And then I'm going to wrap my hands around, so that I don't have to hold the band so much with my fingers and my hand. So it gives me just a nice little bit of pressure to work with.

I find that the band is a really useful tool but my hands do get tired if I hold it too much. So I've tried to come up with ways so that it doesn't feel like you're so stuck there with your hands. Let's breathe and move my friends. So standing here with your two feet grounded beneath you, just breathe for a couple of moments and create a little bit of external rotation and then slight, slight bit of pressure into the band. I'm not trying to squeeze it.

I'm just creating an opposition, an energy, a lifting of my heart. Let's take the arms up with an inhale. Stay connected to your core. Two straight elbows if you're able to, and take your arms down with an exhale. Or just breathe when it makes sense.

Inhale up, growing a little taller as you do, and exhale down. Let's add that inhale up and just a little heel lift. Feel your body lengthening, growing a little taller, and down. And just one more time, lifting, heels up, and down. Now take the arms up without lifting the heels and reach.

Either go into internal rotation or stay with external rotation. As you reach up bend to one side and then come back through to center, breathe, bend to the other side. It doesn't matter which way you're going. Just explore how you feel. And then again, reaching up.

I even like to lift my shoulders up by my ears and feel a little stretch through my side body with that. Sometimes that feels good to me. Ah, good, go ahead and take your arms down. Just a little bit of tension. We inhale through the nose.

We exhale to roll forward, soften the knees if you need to, rolling into your roll down. If your hands touch the floor, feel free to touch the floor with flat hands or touch your shins or your thighs. Bend your knees a lot and straighten your knees. Go ahead and bend your knees a lot and straighten your knees, and bend your knees a lot. Let your head relax and straighten your knees.

Now hollow your belly inward and lift off, using those abdominals all the way back up. Take the arms up overhead. Now, in preparation for going onto the mat, I've changed my relationship for you. Take your arms down and exhale to roll down one vertebra at a time. If your hands touch the floor, go ahead and do so now.

Bend the knees a lot. Let the shoulders do what they wanna do. Exhale, lengthen, bend the knees a lot, relaxing the head, neck, and shoulders, and lengthen your legs. And then one more time like that. Just bend the knees.

Feel the release, shake anything out that needs shaking and then roll yourself back up. The legs can be straight or they can be just a little bit bent. Take the arms up, push into that band just a little bit. Start to sense where your shoulders are today. Take your arms down.

And one last time we're gonna roll down. Supporting with your abdominals your hands will come to the floor, bend the knees a lot here. Unhook your band and then just walk out hands and knees. Have your band resting on the mat somewhere near you. Round through your back, creating a cat stretch.

Your neck is relaxed. Shoulders away from ears here, and then flatten your back, opening the heart, maybe wag the tail side to side. Let this be exploratory, playful. Rounding up, hmm, moving around if you need to. And flattening or extending.

One more time, rounding, feel the stretches, iron out any pieces that need ironing today and then rolling a bit. Beautiful. So go ahead and walk your legs into a position forward so you can come to a seat. So you can use your band right now as a double band like we started with, or a single band, depending on what you need. I'm gonna take it as a double band and wrap it right across my feet.

Hold on close to the feet and start with a slightly bent knee. So I've got a lot of tension to work with here. I really like that bit of tension. Do you have a good grip here? Sit nice and tall, opening through your heart.

and then round through your low back gazing down and just take yourself back as far as it feels really good and you're not stretching too much spring, but you feel very supported here. And then round yourself up and sit nice and tall, open the heart as you do. Round yourself back, feel the shoulders away from the ears, but feel stretched through the backs of the shoulders as well here, and rounding back up and sitting tall. So we're really using the tension of the band. Round back and stay, keep your feet flexed here.

So that you have a secure band connection. Rotate slightly externally and pull those arms back, stretching a bit of that band and release. So engaging the abdominals, feel the upper back, opening through the heart and release. And two more just like that. Opening through the heart and release.

Just waking up those upper back muscles, opening through the heart and release. Round and roll all the way up. Release the band from your feet, stretch your legs straight or keep them bent. A little tension on that band as you roll back one lovely vertebra at a time. Bend your knees quite a lot.

Place the band either just on your belly or place it completely out of the way. We'll begin with a few pelvic curls, or we'll move into a few pelvic curls here. So inhaling through your nose, exhale, engage your abdominals, tuck your pelvis. Go ahead and lift off all the way if it feels good to you today. Opening across the front to the hips.

Use the exhale to articulate down one vertebra at a time. Check in with your chest and try to keep it open. Perhaps you need your palms up to do that. Curling up one vertebra at a time, finding that openness across the top, inhale here, and exhale, lengthening through the spine as you lower down. Inhale through your nose, exhale, abs first, liftoff second.

Find the backs of the legs, find the inner thighs. Inhale here and exhale to peel down. Let's do that two more times please and then we'll add on. Exhale to peel up. My back is starting to feel like it's warm and ready to move now.

And exhale to peel down. This time let's add some leg movements. So we exhale, we peel up, and then we stay in that lifted position. And here I'd like you to lift your heels away from the floor. Feel tucking of your pelvis in your mind, and then press the heels down.

The idea here, inhale, lift, exhale, press, is that you keep the pelvis nice and high and that you can wake up the backs of the legs in addition to the abdominals. And two more, just like that, pressing down. And one more time with flat feet, take a breath, lower your spine one vertebrae at a time. Good, let's repeat that. Inhale.

My legs are just starting to get warmed up. I hope you're starting to feel some awakeness in your legs too. So here inner thighs engaged, backs of the legs, abs. Inhale lift the heels, exhale flatten. Inhale lift, exhale flatten, and inhale lift, and exhale flatten.

Just one more time, lift and flatten. Take a breath and lower your spine one vertebrae at a time. Good, just take your nice and passively out to the side. Palms facing up and sway your legs side to side. Nice and relaxed here.

Remember, just releasing through the legs and just sort of exploring what your body feels like helps to pave the way for more mobility and then hopefully more strength at some point. So let's go ahead and think a little more about the abdominals. Let the legs go to one side, use your abdominals to pull back through to center, inhale, twist to the other side. You wanna think of flexing your spine as you pull back through to center. Just one more time to the right like that.

Exhale, pulling back, nice and relaxing, juicy. And exhale to pull back. I'm gonna ask you to float your two legs up and have them in like a sloppy kind of happy baby position. Reach your arms up as well. I want you to think of creating a ball shape with your body.

So you're rounding through your shoulders. You're rounding through your back. Your head might be lifted a little bit or maybe you're just flexing your low spine, it's up to you. So see if you can rock and roll side to side and if that feels okay. If that feels good to you, actually clasp your hands together or push them together, whichever feels better, and continue to rock and roll until you find yourself catching yourself with one of your arms.

Catch and catch. So we're creating a rolling shape side to side here. And then continue to go and feel yourself grounding through the leg as well. So we're grounding through the leg. We're grounding through the arm, And then slowly we start to come up onto the elbow.

Pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa. As you come up onto the elbow, you're gonna wanna let go of your hands and you're gonna want to put your flat hand down. So you're gonna roll, roll, roll, roll, and hold. Roll, roll, roll, roll, and hold. Just one more time on each side.

Hopefully that feels like a good idea to you. If not, always modify or hold back. And we come back, hug the knees into the chest. We're going to rock and roll up to a sitting position. Lift your head and chest, lift your pelvis and rock and roll until you find yourself ready to come all the way up for rolling like a ball.

So nice rolling massaging type warmup here. So your legs here are together if possible, round back through your low back. Feel your position, fully committed to your rolling like a ball. Float your legs up. Hug your knees deep into your chest without changing the shape of your body.

And then just hold with your hands. Hopefully your body's ready to roll. If not, you can just balance here. Inhale to roll back. Exhale to find your balance, repeat.

Inhale, rolling back. Exhale, finding your balance. Couple more like that. Really just warming everything up. And one more time, balance on your tail for me.

Take your shins parallel to the ceiling. Let's heat up those abdominals now. With an inhale, prepare, with an exhale, roll back with or without the use of your hands. Draw your legs into your tabletop position, stay lifted. Double leg stretch first.

Inhale, reach, exhale, in. Inhale, reach, exhale, in. Try to keep your chest lifted the whole time. The legs stay glued together and you really wanna think of pulling in, creating resistance, single leg stretch. Hold one leg, the other leg goes out.

Stay lifted with the body, change, bah, change, bah. Find your breath my friends. Find your flow. Find your power here. If this doesn't feel right, if you feel snapping or popping, feel free to just take the legs out of it or take a break, or modify as needed, but we should be getting nice and warm here as we continue on here.

One more time, two legs in, use your hands to lift again. Float those hands behind your head. Stay lifted with your body and add rotations, straightening the opposing leg. And we change, we change. Stay lifted my friends as you pass through center.

Try to actually rest the weight of your head in your hands. Keep your legs clean and neat. So watch that you're not throwing them around. They're controlled, controlled. One more time each side starting now.

Here's one and here's one, two legs in, lift your head and chest again and find that beautiful rocking and rolling. That beautiful rocking and rolling. So try not to move the arms or the legs, the energy to get the roll comes from the inside out. All the way up. Allow the legs to open, allow the head to relax, sway side to side.

Hmm, nice. Take your legs in position for your spine stretch. So your feet are on the front corners of your mat perhaps. And then let's hold on to the band, this time a single band. So that's not a lot of tension.

So your hands should be about the width of your shoulders. So you have a little bit of stretching room here. Sitting up nice and tall with both sides of your sits bones each, so equally weighted, inhale. Use an exhale to peel forward one vertebrae at a time. Oops, my hands need to be a little narrower because I want my hands to go inside of my feet.

Now with the inhale I'm gonna lift my body to extension or to a flat back. And then I'm gonna pull a little bit. Good, come back to just very light tension, round down and all the way back up. Sit nice and tall, inhale, exhale, peel forward, inhale. Lift to extension, open through the heart, pull just a bit and then round down.

Use your breath, my friends, and come back up. So the way I'm holding the band right now which makes it a little easier on my hands, is I'm just hooking it with my thumb. And so I'm not pulling with so much effort that I feel like I have to work my thumb too much. It's just a little pull. And then rounding down and all the way back up.

Let's do that one more time in. Exhale to peel forward. Find your beautiful breath. Inhale, lift, extending the back. Pull, let's hold the pull and the arms go back.

Eight, seven, six, lots of upper back, five, four, three, two, and one. Rounding all the way down, come all the way up to sitting. Okay, so you're gonna wrap the band around your back for me. Hopefully you can keep it somewhat wide. It's more comfortable that way.

And you're gonna hold a little ball in your hands. Okay, now bring your feet close together, flexing the ankles. I think I need to stretch just a little more. So I'm gonna hold a little bit more of a ball. So I'm looking for this idea of creating energy across my back with the band so that I can really feel a little bit of stretch in my shoulders and I can feel where my arms are while I do my spine twist sitting.

So sitting up as tall as I can. You wanna keep the band with the same amount of tension. So you wanna make sure you're not stretching more. Let's twist, keeping those arms stretching east-west. Come back to center and twist the other way, stretching east-west and back to center.

Repeat with a double breath, pa, ta-dah. Sit tall and dah, dah, dah, sit tall and dah, dah, dah, sit tall, and dah, dah, dah, sit tall. So think of spreading the both the collarbones and the shoulder blades and use this little bit of resistance that you have from your band to feel hopefully more length through your arms. I have my hands, so my thumbs are up, which is the more comfortable grip for me. But you're welcome to explore your hand position here.

Good, rest that, take the arms forward. Try not to let the band slip off your shoulders but just take a little forward fold here, beautiful. So we are gonna keep the arms like this. I know that's a little funny. It's a little funny.

We're gonna go ahead and roll back one vertebrae at a time. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Float the legs to tabletop and take your arms straight to the side. So once again, I'd like you to keep that idea of spreading through the collarbones and the shoulder blades with the palms facing up. So squeezing the knees together, using your abdominals, we're gonna twist one side.

It doesn't matter which way you're going, exhale to pull back, feel your shoulder, keeping the band grounded. Think about that. Inhale to twist. My shoulder blade is keeping the band grounded. Many of us do our spine twist supine and we lift the shoulder blade off.

So when you're using the band like this, it gives you a little bit of feedback, which is kind of nice. Keep the band grounded. So you're actually using your upper back muscles a bit more, breathing and moving my friends, remember that. Inhaling to twist, exhale, use those abs to come back and last one, inhale to twist, and exhale, gently come back. Just carefully get that band out from underneath your shoulders and wrap it now wide across the balls of your feet.

So you're just gonna find a nice position so that you can get both feet connected or the band connected to both feet, yeah. And then give your hands just a little bit of a wiggle break and shake your hands out in case that needs to happen. Keeping the band there. I want you to hold with not pulling a lot of tension. So you're gonna hold kind of, I'm starting at my knees.

That's about where I wanna be. And I'm gonna wrap my hands one time and then I'm gonna take my arms out to the side, yeah. And then come back up. If that's too much tension, adjust. I'm gonna reach out to the side and then I'm gonna come back up.

So I'm getting a nice little bit of upper back work, rear shoulder work. And the legs are just kind of staying there. Now, if you needed to lessen the tension, you could also bend your knees a little bit. That would lessen the tension. Or you could just change your placement.

Press out this time and hold, try to feel what's. I have bitten off a lot here. I'm gonna go ahead and just shove down a little bit because what I would like to do is go to that same position and hold my arms down with two straight legs. Now we try a spine twist here. So keep your shoulder, your arm down as you twist in one direction, and pull back through to center.

So the band is supporting your legs, but you're really having to work your upper back quite a bit more here. Inhaling, maybe we twist, and exhale, we pull back through to center. And inhaling to twist, back to center, lots of rear deltoid work, inhale to twist, back to center. One more time. Twist, come back to center.

Let the band come to rest. Keep the band on say your right leg for me. So sit here for a moment with your leg just up in the air, organize your pelvis. Pelvis should be grounded on the left side, long through the right side. See if you can straighten your other leg and keep that pelvis arrangement.

And then reach up and hold on to the band in a way that allows you to pull your elbows back to the floor without a lot of tension. And let's bend the knee and lengthen. Now bend the knee and lengthen. A lot of times when people try to stretch here, I see them getting real caught up in bringing the leg close to you. I want you to use the resistance of the band to reach the leg a little bit more away and focus on letting the ankle be flexed, dorsi flexed, inhale to bend, exhale, sort of reach the leg away from you and organize your pelvis.

Be curious about this. With this next one, keep the legs straight. Feel your pelvis. Make sure that it's nice and grounded. The opposite leg, the left leg is grounded as well.

Let's take the leg across the body till we feel something. And then let's take the leg out to the side until we feel something. Maybe you don't feel anything in one direction. Maybe you feel a lot in both. It doesn't matter, just see where the restriction is.

Where do you need to stop? So for me, when I go to the side, the restriction comes more from my ability to stabilize. And when I go across, I feel it in my outer leg, my outer path, my hip, any of those places would work. Let's stick with this same leg and make a circle. Across the body, down around and back to center.

Very relaxed, down, around and back to center. Let's just do three more like that and down around, nice and yummy in the hips and the legs. Down around, we're going for stretch and stability here today. Down and around. Good, release the band, bring the other leg up, give your fingers a little wiggle break, shake out if needed, and change sides.

So let's put the right foot down. And before you pull on the band, see if you can organize your pelvis, standing on the right side of the pelvis or grounding through the right side, lengthening through the left side and then reach up and hold in a way where you're not holding a lot of the band. It's just a little bit of support here. Slide the other leg just straight so the right leg is on the floor. The leg that's in the air is attempting to be straight as well.

And the band should allow you to do that. Bend the knee, inhale, and exhale to lengthen. Inhale to bend, and exhale to lengthen. So my friends, be curious here, try to find some new stretches, maneuver your knee, maneuver your foot in slightly different ways. So perhaps you'll feel a little more.

Pay attention to grounding through the other leg. And maybe you'll even feel a little openness across the front of the hip. Just one more like that. Keep the legs straight and then go across the body til you feel the first bit of restriction. And then out to the side and just kind of check that out.

Again, try to discern why you're restricted. Is it stability? Is it flexibility? And just see if you can tap in to what it is that you need to create. Maybe just a little bit more space.

And let's just do that one more time, side to side. You're welcome to stay with it or just move and explore. Come back to center and we do circles inward. So we're gonna go across, down, around. We're looking for mobility and some nice little stretches around the edges there.

So we're not going super fast. Instead, I want you to slow down where you feel the sensation. And do make sure you're breathing, please. Circle one more time I believe, that feels about right to me. Nice and yummy there.

Good, lift the other leg up. Go ahead and hold the band with both hands close to the feet, stretch two legs to straight, ground through your pelvis and then pull your elbows to the floor and reach back up. So pull your elbows to the floor, opening the heart, and reach back up. So make it about the collarbones opening, the backs of the upper arms grounding as well as the elbow. So see if you can really create that each and every time.

And let's just do two more like that. Just a little bit of awareness in the upper back, and bam. So now I'm gonna have you push your legs down until you feel like your legs are just being held up without working your arms too much. And then I want you to lift your head and chest as well. So we're creating a rounded shape in your back.

And then you're just gonna see if you can get that. Ooh, I'm gonna need just a tiny bit more tension. You're gonna see if you could get that rocking and that rolling without really moving the legs or the band too much. It's trickier to do than you think. This is kind of like the boomerang shape which next time we're gonna really work on the boomerang.

So once you feel like you can keep your body still, see if you can roll a few times, keeping the shape, the band giving you just a little bit of support. And then come on all the way up, gently release the band from your hands. Go ahead and scoot back on your mat so that you have a little bit of space to move, come around to your hands and knees for me, and just be on your hands and knees for a moment. Feel how you feel here. I wanna do a little bit of an experiment, just so you can feel your shoulders.

Slide one leg back, placing the ball of the foot down, slide the other leg back. Now we're gonna to try a push-up without a lot of coaching, and just see how it feels. So if you'll just try a push-up or two, give it a go. You could put your knees down if you needed to, If you're comfortable with push-ups, just kind of see how they feel right now without doing anything else. Whichever push-up you do is fine.

Tricep, peck, it doesn't matter. Then put your knees down for me. Sit back in child's pose for just a moment, take a couple breaths. Let's work a little bit our stabilizers of our arms. So come forward to your elbows and your hands.

And I want you to put your attention on making sure that your arms are very straight. So a lot of times we're lacking in our external rotation and the hands will be in and the elbows out. So see if you can use the stickiness of your mat to try to really straighten out on the hands. And I want you to pay special attention to your wrists. Oftentimes the inside of the wrist, especially if we have some tightness, is not grounded.

So I'm gonna take my tension to my left hand and I'm gonna really use my right hand to ground down through the inside of my left wrist. My hand is just gonna stay soft, and I'm gonna explore what that feels like. Just kind of checking out forward and back. I can feel a tightness, a restriction in my wrist area actually, in my forearm. Try the same thing on the other arm.

So on this side, I know for me it's really not very, it's not very difficult for me to keep that wrist down, but for you, you may find that it is difficult on that side. So give it a go, and see if you can put a little bit of pressure right on the inside of the wrist with your other hand. I'm just gonna check that out, see how it feels. So it's clear to me that I'm more challenged on one side than the other. And so if you are as well, put the tension on the more challenging side.

So reorganize your two hands so that the wrist are hopefully down and your elbows and hands are about equal distance. Now we're going to go forward as far as you feel comfortable bending your two elbows and then you're gonna press back as far as you can, without your elbows bowing out to the side. And then you're gonna come forward a few times. So you're just kinda moving around here, keeping equal pressure, hopefully on both of your legs, and just sort of checking that out. Both of your arms, rather not your legs.

But I actually do have equal pressure on both my legs too. And I'm just kind of exploring what it feels like moving forward and back here. So now, ultimately we should be able to bend the elbows and bring yourself all the way down and then have the power, the strength to push back up. It's very clear to me that my left side is much weaker on that. So there's some tightness and some weakness that I'm working through personally.

So try it one more time and just kind of feel what you feel and then bring yourself into a child's pose, a rest position, give a little bit of a break to that. Forehead can rest down, take a breath or two, come up to your knees or shake your arms out, shake your wrists out. And now what I'd like us to do is go back and try another push-up and just see how it feels. So you're gonna come to your hands and your knees. You're gonna slide one leg back, slide the other leg back.

And just out of curiosity, do you feel more freedom in your push-up when you bend now down and up? Do you feel a little bit looser? Do you feel a little more capable? Hopefully. So try it maybe, maybe just one more time to see how it feels and then lower yourself all the way down.

So we're gonna rest with the knees in a little bit of internal rotation. Take your hands just outside of your shoulders and kind of pull yourself forward a little bit, creating just a little bit of traction, and then relax that. Put your two hands on top of each other. Rest your forehead on your hands. Allow your legs to slightly spin in so that they're not spinning out, and then press down through your pelvis.

Hollow up through your belly, hover your two legs and see if you can really feel your hamstrings provoking that hovering versus so much the glutes. Doesn't it sound wrong to use the glutes? I just want you to try to feel hamstrings first. And then try bending just one knee at a time, hamstring, and lengthen. Try lifting the leg a little bit and then bending and lengthen.

Try lifting the leg, and then bending and lengthen. and just try that one more time. Lifting, bending, and lengthen. So when you're supporting your back extension, try to really get those hamstrings to kick in as well as the glutes. Let's take our band and I would like you to have it just a single band.

So out in front of you. And I have my hands about the width of my mat. That's where I'm going to begin. I'm gonna stretch my arms to straight and hook with my thumbs. And then here I'm going to think about my legs.

So my hamstrings, my abdominals, and I'm just going to bend my arms until they make what is a goalpost shape. So what I'm looking for is my elbows are down, my hands are hovering off the floor. So the band is on the tip of my head. And I wanna feel this idea of spreading the collarbones and the elbows east-west. And then we're gonna just stretch the arms to straight, just grazing the floor.

As I come in my elbows touch the floor, my hands lift away from the floor, and reach out. Just breathe when it makes sense and feel how it requires a little bit of work. But it's also a bit of a stretch position here. So with elbows down, hands lifted, lift as much as you can. And then now keep the arms on that trajectory.

So you're gonna go up in space and you're gonna bend and touch the elbows down. The band is now coming behind my head because of my flexibility here. Reaching up and touch the elbows down and two more, reaching up and touch the elbows down, and one more reaching up, and hopefully you've messed up your hair as much as I have. Let the band come to rest, bring your hands underneath your shoulders for me, and then really engage your abdominals, tuck your toes under and press into your feet so you have this openness across the front of your hips. And then I want you to hollow that belly in.

I want you to use your hands, elbows tucked in tight, to pull forward until you find what feels like your back extension, without yet using your arms to help and lower down. Go again. So you're gonna open through the heart. You're gonna find your back extension, and lower down. So yours might be smaller than mine and that's okay.

Pull forward and hold. Now, use those arms to pull you a little bit more forward and then slide them out to straight. Grab your band. We're going to keep this shape and we're going to try to lift the arms up five, four, three, two, and one. Good, rest.

Bring yourself to a child's pose. Sit back and breathe for a couple moments there. Hmm. So come to your hands and knees. Take your band with you as you tip your hips high in the air and find a child's, not a child's pose but like a downward dog or a pyramid pose.

Bend one knee, stretching a little bit. Then the other knee, stretching a little bit. And then walk your hands back to your feet, taking your band with you. Roll yourself up to a standing position. And I'm gonna turn around and face you so that perhaps you can see a little better what I'm doing.

We're just gonna hold the band. Let's actually do the wrap thing. So let's do the, keep it one band, but wrap it around so you don't have to use your hands quite so much. Stand with your feet underneath your hips first. I'm gonna stay standing on my left leg and I'm just gonna lift my other leg up.

My arms are gonna come up as I do. So what I'd like to do is step back, open through the heart, stretching east-west, control as I come up to standing. And again, exhale, stretching east-west, and control. Go again. So decide if you wanna go deeper.

You're welcome to tap the knee down and practice a more functional squat that takes you down. Split leg squat that takes you down to the floor, or you can just keep it small if you need to, working your own balance. This time, let's go back and stay, okay? So I'm in two legs, mostly on my front leg but some weight on my bottom. I want you to lift up, allowing the spring to unstretch, look up, straightening the back leg, and then we're gonna come back down opening and we're gonna lift up, allowing that body to stretch a little bit.

Just check out what you need and open, good. And lift up, and open. Now we're going to lift up, look up, and then now my right leg is back. So I wanna reach more with my right arm and just check out that stretch. We can pull down with the left arm on the diagonal five, reaching up, four, and three, and two, just breathe, and one, good.

Give it a little rest. Bring your two feet together, shake out. Let's do the second side. So feel yourself standing now on your other leg, lift up, same thing. Step back and open east-west.

Chest is open, and come forward to find your balance and go again, stepping back, bending a little deeper if that suits you. Breathing, enjoying the movement. So there's strength, there's function here. There's also a lot of upper body work and a lot of shoulder work. I laugh whenever I try to talk and do this, I start to lose my balance, but being off balance is part of it.

Learning how to catch your balance is very functional for life. We're gonna go back one more time and we stay. So now hold, allow the arms to come to rest for a moment. And you're going to stretch up. And come down and stretch up, and come down.

And stretch up, and come down, and stretch up, and reach a little more. Feel, beautiful stretch on the one side. Now we're gonna pull down with the right arm, five, and four, and three, and two, and one, good. Go ahead and stand with your two feet underneath you. Let's do just a little bit of shoulder, kind of traditional stuff.

You're gonna hold the right, the strap in just the right hand for me. And then reach up. I'm gonna turn this way so you can see and then I'm gonna bend my elbow until I feel like I can comfortably hold on to the band on my back. So it looks like that. And then what's nice about this is you can pull up with your top arm and sort of pull your bottom arm into a little bit of more of a stretch.

And then you can pull down and pull your top arm into a little more of a stretch. So just do that a couple of times to see, noticing where your shoulders are and go with the pleasure principle, this shouldn't be painful, and pull down and then settle with the bottom arm at about 90 degrees or perhaps a little straighter if you need to for your shoulder. And then we're gonna do just a little bit of tricep work. So the top arm goes up to straight. Here we go, 10, nine, and eight, with a little bit of power, and seven, I'm counting so I can stay with it.

Six, and five, try to keep your wrist straight, and four, and three, and two, and one, good. Rest that, give your hands a little wiggle break. You're gonna change arms. So here you'll take the arm up first. And then with the other hand, you're just gonna kind of find your way to the band and kind of check it out, right?

So you may find that one side is significantly more challenging than the other. You're gonna pull up a little bit with your top arm to stretch your bottom arm a little bit, and then kind of pull down to stretch your top arm and you can feel free to explore here. Let this become your thing, your stretch. Pull up a little bit and pull down a little bit. Be mindful of your wrists.

I noticed my left wrist I'm not behaving as well as I should, so I try to keep it straight. I can actually see myself in the shadow here. So now keep your bottom arm at about 90 degrees. And then you're gonna just straighten your other arm for me 10 times. Here we go.

10, top arm, and nine, and eight, and breathing, seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two. With control, but power and speed is wonderful too, and one, release. So let's do one final thing standing here for our shoulders. Nice little shoulder stretch. So you may wanna start with a pretty wide grip.

And I do like to wrap my hands around here so I don't feel like my hands have to hold the band quite so much and we're going for stretch. So what I would like you to do is just take the arms up over your shoulders, then check in with your body and make sure you're not flaring your ribs too much, but that you've got your your support still from your belly. And then decide if you can go back without stretching the spring too much and kind of hang on the spring and feel a shoulder stretch. And then come back up and down. Now I realize right now that I'm, if I'm gonna get all the way around comfortably, I'm gonna have a little bit wider stance to begin.

So we're gonna come up, and as I come back, I do want you to entertain the idea of bringing the arms behind you. But I want you to try not to stretch the spring so much, instead work into the spring and let it stretch you a little bit. And then you can come around. and then we're gonna come up and around. So here, same thing.

It's like this real yummy working around the edges stretch. So if it feels good to you, continue on. If you wanna just stop at that high position, stop. But if it feels like a good idea to go into that stretch and really let it happen, please do. Up and around, good.

Feel free to go with little side to side if that feels necessary for you. Wherever, let's repeat that two more times, whatever it is you're choosing to do. Remember this is practice and play and we all need to work within our comfort zone and where our bodies need to be. All right, that makes me happy. Let's go ahead and just toss the band out over there, so it's available when we want it.

So it's out where my head's eventually going to be again. And then let's take the arms up and we're going to roll down again, one vertebrae at a time. And then when you find yourself forward, bend your knees, crawl out to your hands and knees once again. With your hands underneath your shoulders, your knees underneath your hips, around through your low back and then arch through your back and round again. Just check that out, see how that feels.

And then arch, good. Come down to your elbows once again. Our arms are a little bit more worked. Can you find that same position we were working on earlier, where you can really try to put a little focus on grounding down through both of your wrists, okay? We're gonna add on here.

So your belly is active. You wanna come forward as far as you're able to. You wanna press back as far as you're able to, without the elbow shifting away. What I can feel is a restriction, a tightness in my arms when I go back, specifically on my left shoulder, which relates to the one that is difficult for me to keep the wrist down. So just be mindful and kind of try to soften the edges and work through it.

So now we're gonna add on here. So we come to that forward position for me, okay? Now, don't be at your most forward position. Be at maybe about a 90 degree elbow bend. I'm gonna ask you to push through your wrists and flatten your hands and press your arms to straight.

And then you're gonna lean into your hands so that you're supporting with your two arms and your hands are nice and flat. And then you're going to try to bend your elbows and put them right back down where they came from. And then you're gonna go forward in space, bending the elbows and go back and space, your arms. Go forward in space. Find the place where you feel you can lift up.

Try not to go back, try to go straight up, push through the wrist, straighten your two arms. Your hands are flat, sway side to side perhaps, sway forward and back perhaps, and then bend your elbows and come down. Good, go back, go forward. Find the middle ground and press up. Lean forward, lean back, lean forward, perhaps side to side, so feel nice on your wrist actually since we're not in a full plank, and then bend your elbows.

Good, sit back in your child's pose. It should have felt interestingly challenging in your arms, especially if you're really thinking about moving your forearms into a different relationship than they're used to. So let's work on to our sides. I'm not gonna use the band for a little while, so just put it to the side and let's lie down on one side. It doesn't matter which side you've chosen to lie down on.

Rest your head in your long straight arm, and have your legs straight, to your straight down from your body if possible. Err on the side of caution if needed and bring your feet a little forward. Otherwise, straight down is great. Hover the legs up, we're in our side lift position. Check in with your legs for me and feel them, both knees kind of turning inward, supporting from your core.

Perhaps your arm is at by your side or helping you down below if needed, and let's lift the legs and lower. And again, exhale to lift, and lower. So the side lift here, lift and lower, and lift and lower. And let's just do two more like this, and then a little add-on. We're gonna lift here and hold.

So I want you to really think of squeezing the inner thighs together, let the top leg slip forward and squeeze them together a little bit more. So we're really using the inner thighs, especially the bottom leg inner thigh. And then we're gonna take that shape and the feet are kind of relaxed on purpose because I wanna really feel my inner thigh. And we're gonna lift the legs up with that shape. And lift, and lift, squeezing the legs together and lift.

So my feet look funny, I know. Lift, and one more time, lift. Go ahead and rest that. Take the top leg and put it flat on the mat in front of you. Use the hand that's free and push that leg away so you can get a little bit of a stretch perhaps.

If you need to modify your leg, your foot is like closer to your knee. Otherwise it's as high up as it can be. Mine's in front of my hip bone and I'm gonna lift the bottom leg up, supporting with the abs. And we're gonna lift up 10 times, and nine, and eight, beautiful, and seven, and six, and five, feel free to point or flex your foot, it's up to you, three, and two, and one, beautiful. Bend the bottom knee, take the top leg to straight.

So now try to find a looseness in your hip and your legs supporting with your core. We're just gonna kind of float that leg up and down a little bit. Hopefully you can feel something wake up right in the center of your hip. I like to keep my foot very relaxed and passive here. And it's interesting because a person can do this with their hamstring and the outer quad.

So try to feel the center of the glutes, something inside your hip working. Now we're gonna take the leg forward in space, lift and lower and reach back. We're gonna go forward, lift and lower and reach back, and forward, lift and lower. You can see my knee is starting to bend. I'm doing that on purpose because I'm trying really hard not to use my leg right now.

I'm trying just to feel my hip, really moving my leg around. So I'm exploring where my body needs to go. Take the leg forward and stay and just kind of bounce around up and down and sort of like tap the toe on the floor and bounce around. And so to figure out where it feels maybe challenging, where it feels like more sensation and let things just kind of be a little bit playful here, and then rest that. So you should feel a nice little bit of heat in that outer glute.

Let's come on up to a sitting position and stretch that glute for a moment. So I'm gonna take, I was using my right leg. So it was the leg that was on top. And I'm just gonna try to get both sides of my pelvis to be grounded and enjoy a little exploratory stretch there. Breathing in and breathing out.

Let's do the second side please, okay? So come to your side, one long, straight arm, two straight legs. Remember the legs can be a little bit in front of you if need be, or straight down from your body if that's accessible. Try to feel both knees kind of rolling toward one another so that you're not an external rotation. And then if you can, stack your arm on your body.

We exhale to lift, and we inhale down. So remember, I'm talking a lot about the legs but the lift is really being propelled from your obliques, your abdominal obliques. Sometimes we use our low backs a little bit much here, I know I tend to. So you may even touch your low back and check in and make sure that you feel the recruitment of the side body versus so much tension in the low back. So oftentimes I'll just put my hand where I know I need to put focus, and that helps me find the right muscle sometimes.

So now lift up and hold here. So I'm gonna have you take this little modification, the top leg goes forward a little bit and you're sort of squeezing the legs together, right? So squeezing the inner thighs together and really work on that continuous squeeze as you continue to lift. Five, and four, and three, and my feet are purposely relaxed, two and one, good, rest. So go ahead and bend that top leg and put the foot down flat if you're able to and push the knee away from you.

Hover the other leg up for me and keep thinking about your core, only lift 10. And nine, and eight, lots of inner thigh, there's seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one, rest that. Good. So bend the bottom knee, take that top leg and just kind of explore. So part of the challenge here is making sure that your body is aligned.

So your pelvis is stacked, your shoulders are stacked and you're just gonna kind of float the leg up and down a few times. So rather than needing a specific path here, see if you can find that outer hip if you will. Sometimes it's helpful for me to bend my knee a little bit til I can feel it and then I can keep it with my legs straighter. So we're just lifting and lowering and kind of exploring where is it that you feel it, let that be your start point. I feel it now.

So now I'm gonna swing forward, lift up, down, and go back. The leg is literally swinging. The big muscles of the legs are nice and relaxed or the leg is nicely relaxed. And I'm really trying to feel the movement with what's underneath my hand right here. Hip harness you'll often hear me talk about and let's do two more like that.

And then we'll do the little dance with the foot. So very playful here. Just kind of tap the toe to the floor and just explore where you feel it. Hopefully it's clear to you. I can feel it actually in this like kind of like middle range the most for me.

So it's probably that's where I'm the weakest. So when I come up to this higher range, it's actually a little bit easier for me. And then when I come to the lower range it's a little bit easier. So I'm in this like kind of middle range, just moving my foot around. I'm even letting my pelvis move a little bit because you know, life is messy.

So it's important sometimes to use your body a little messier to see if it shows up and then rest that. Got that hip out, good. And then let's come on up to a sitting position and let's stretch that hip again. Beautiful. So try to get both sides of your pelvis equally weighted and give that knee a little bit of a hug.

Oh, that feels so good, oh, it's good. We'll do a little bit of prone work next. So in preparation for that, I'll get my mic pack out of my way. Nice little breath here. So come around onto your hands and knees and make your way onto your belly.

Or however you wanna get to your belly is fine, we don't need to organize it right now. And let's just do a full back extension here. So with your legs in neutral alignment, draw your belly active. Your arms or your hands are down just outside of your shoulders. Inhale your lift back extension upper back extension.

With the exhale you'll pull forward and perhaps you'll stretch your arms to straight. Maybe you will, maybe you won't. And then you'll lower yourself all the way down. Let's just do that two more times. Just giving your body that bit of opposition, inhale, exhale, and down.

And one more time, please. And down. So now stretching the quadriceps, bend one knee, reach around and hold onto the top of the foot and then rest your forehead on your other hand and breathe here for a few moments. So remember, you can hold the same stretch over and over, and you may not feel more, but if you're curious about the position and try little movements and find your breath, you may find that different pieces show up. So I like to think about pressing down through the center of my hip crease and then lifting my leg away from the floor and then I'll roll my leg in and out.

So I don't necessarily do all those things at once, but feel free to check in with what your body needs and sit there for a moment. Make sure you're breathing. Change sides. You may need to shake the hip out the pelvis, reach around and hold on to the top of the other foot. Rest your forehead on your hand.

And then just explore this again, see what you feel. So sometimes it's important just to sit for a moment and see where the restriction is. And decide if you can ground somewhere or soften somewhere to get through that restriction. So for me, when I ground through the center of my hip crease, then I can lift my leg up, and it's not, it doesn't feel vulnerable at all. And then I can roll my leg a little bit in and out.

And that brings me into the tissue that's tight for me. So be curious and really find what it is that you need, always that's important. Hmm, beautiful. So let's go ahead and push to the hands and knees and sit back in a child's pose. And we'll finish with a little bit of a hip stretch here.

So with your forehead grounded on the mat in front of you, I'm gonna take my knees a little bit wider and my hands just comfortable. So you can keep your arms really straight, get a shoulder stretch. So you can just let your arms be passive, and that's fine. Go ahead and laugh to the right hip a little bit. Now, if this doesn't suit your knees or your hips, just lie on your back and do a figure four.

And then roll to the other side and just kind of roll off and notice if you feel a little bit of a stretch through your hip there, your back perhaps. And then you can roll to the other side. So I'm like doing a little rolling around on my body and it feels really wonderful. I'm a huge fan of rolling around. So just one more time moving from side to side here, and then we're gonna hold.

So I'm using my arms to help me a little bit. I'm gonna go to the right side, which was the first side. And I'm gonna sit there for a moment and I'm arranging my body so it feels as though I can just relax my body over my knee, over my leg. And I might take my right arm, same arm as leg, and I'm gonna reach on the diagonal until I feel some stretch here in my side body. And it feels really wonderful.

Goes all the way down into my low back. Be patient and curious. Again, if this doesn't soothe your joints, simply lay on your back and hug your knees into your chest or cross one leg over the other and just hug the one leg and give yourself that bit of a release. This is pleasurable for me. Go ahead and softly, very gently get yourself out of that.

And then let's flip to the other side. So you're gonna find your equal position. You're gonna slip off to the left hip and then you're gonna rest your arms, your body down. However it makes sense, adjust your body so that you can be here and then take your left arm kind of on the diagonal for a nice little stretch there. It's interesting how different these two feel to me, the two sides are very different.

On this side I actually can't do the arm thing. So I'm just gonna focus on the leg thing today, and that's okay. Couple more breaths, please. And then bring yourself around to a comfortable seat whatever suits you, maybe you're in a diamond shape. Maybe your legs are straight out in front of you.

Maybe you're cross-legged, let's just sit together for a moment and feel the body, breathing in and breathing out. Feel your body light, breathing in, and breathing out. If your eyes are closed, go ahead and awaken them. And just take a moment, surveying how you feel in this moment. And I ask you to remember to be curious and patient with your body, and hopefully you'll open up the possibility to new things.

I intend to do more band work next week, more band and mat mixer plays. So I sure hope you'll join me. Have a wonderful week.

Zesty Mat Play with Sarah: with Sarah Bertucelli

Comments

1 person likes this.
Lovely class, Sarah, I love the exploratory elements!
1 person likes this.
Ditto! - I really enjoy rolling/swaying /tipping movements, whole body movements just feel so right- we definitely need to "play" more as adults! Many thanks Sarah
1 person likes this.
Another class I so appreciated.  Your encouraging us to keep listening to what works for our own body is so important.

1 person likes this.
loved this class! I'm a roller too!
1 person likes this.
Thanks Sarah for a great class - loving the band work and the rolling. Just what I need after a day's work. 
1 person likes this.
" Life is messy"...That is why we are here- ha-ha! Beautiful work!
1 person likes this.
Where did the time go!  This class will fly by with so many interesting places for your attention.  And while balance is always a challenge, you feel a little less on your own trying it with the band to keep you company in those lunges.
Thank you Susanne J !  I love to explore and am happy to hear that you enjoyed that element.:) 
Anne L you are speaking my language!  thank you so much for taking the time to write and for "playing" with me. hugs!
Thank you Karen R!  So important to listen and "hear" what our bodies need. :) 
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