Class #4271

Me and My Mat

55 min - Class


Put all the work you've been doing with props into this full Mat class from Power of Props with Karen. This time you will not be using a prop as you find the work, keep the connection, and repeat. Class starts out slow and intentional as Karen prepares you for more advanced exercises such as Side Bend and Twist that you will do later on in the workout.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Nov 19, 2020
(Log In to track)


Read Full Transcript

It is surprising the time and the energy we might expend on worrying what other people think of us, our appearance, our intellect, our faults. Let's break this habit. Time is much better spent to consider our strengths, our abilities and our character. Today's class is actually a no-prop class. So we'll start in standing on the mat, just shrug your shoulders around a little bit, always starting a little bit slow, just getting some joints of the knees joints of the ankles and the shoulders.

And now circles up, circle up and around, and up and around, and then separate your legs and just go with a little bit of old school flow, like a Jane Fonda or the Kathy Smith and then just start to get the little punchy, just a little rotation of the thorax. Nothing fancy, just getting some connections, getting some warm up in the body. And in this episode today, this mat class with no props, sometimes I'll count, sometimes I won't. Sometimes you'll do as many as you want. I may stop, I may do more, you may stop.

Everything comes together. Inhale big, exhale round the head. Flex the spine. Go ahead and bend the knees on this first one so that you feel like you're in a rolling, like a ball shape. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, the legs are loaded.

Exhale, the belly comes in. Inhale, expand your ribs. Exhale, come in one more time. Inhale, reach, exhale, flex and round further. Straighten the knees, unwind your spine.

Tighten your tush, scoop in your belly underneath your ribs and stand tall. Extension. Reach the arms down as you lift the chest up. And then look center, inhale one more time, inhale into extension (breathes deeply) and then exhale release. Come down to your mat on your hands and knees. In this hands and knees position, let's separate the legs today as wide as the mat.

Your head is in line with the spine. The first warm up here are your hips back and hips forward. So you'll notice that my thighs are pretty wide apart because this exercise is not the cat and cow, this exercise is my pelvis going back and my pelvis coming forward. I'm gonna do this two times. And then gonna bring my knees a little close together to a more traditional quadruped, my toes will curl under.

I'll nod my head around my torso, flex the spine, let my booty go out, let my chest come forward. My arms are pulling towards my knees as I lift my heart. I push the mat away, flex the chin around the spine and get ready here to lift the knees for five, for four, for three, scoop the belly, two and one and round down. Take the booty out, arch the chest, pull the shoulders back, lift the heart up, press the toes and get ready for a lift up here. It should be like knee stretch arch or on the mat, of course, lifting the chest, arching the back, bringing it down, toes come down around the spine.

Now pay attention to the pressing of those shins there. (breathes deeply) I think the warmup, the fundamental warmup is really the key. This is actually what I look forward to now before I do any type of workout, getting these little muscles going and getting my breath going. Coming to level, I'm gonna take my leg back, I'm gonna gently lift it up, and then I'm gonna take it out to the side and have a look at it. And then I'm gonna take it over to the other side and have a look at it.

So I'm doing a lateral flection of my spine, being very mindful that I don't lift that leg too high because I don't wanna generate spinal extension. I'm gonna do one more and then I'm gonna do last one because that's what I do, I have one more and then I have last one. Now the other leg comes out, I press the hands, I connect in through my ribs, I lift the leg, but not too high, I engage my thigh, I go to the side, look at it, come to the other side, I look at it, just like I don't wanna lift it too high, I also don't wanna let it sag. Keeping the information, side bending spine, one more. Oh, and then last one.

And then bring the legs down. Now, touch the toes together and separate your knees as wide as your mat. Sit your bottom down. Reach your arms forward. We've all been here before. Inhale, (inhales heavily) exhale, reach the arms.

Now start to lift the chest and look towards your fingertips. Don't be in a hurry to arch your low back, but try to be in a hurry to lift that chest. And then one arm lifts and lowers, other arm lifts and lowers. You can reach, rotate, raise, we did this last week. Reach, rotate, raise, getting the spine to stay, lower trapezius one more time right, and then one more time left and then last time right, last time left.

Give yourself a push back one more time. And then come back to quadruped. Last little warmup here in quadruped; opposite arm and leg reach several times in a row. Now, you can just be listening to this 'cause I'm not doing anything new that you haven't done before, but I'm being very mindful that I'm not lifting my arms and my legs as high as I can but I'm trying to get them as long as I can. Now let's hold this one for five, for four, pressing the shin down three, making all your connections, two and one and everything comes down.

Just one time on the other side, reach, load everything, lengthen, hold for five and four and three and two and one and then rest. Okay, so I lost my microphone, I gotta hook that back up. Come to lying on your back. Real-world problem microphone. Okay, on the back now we've done our quadruped.

So here we are in this quadruped position now but we're on our back. Belly's pulled in, arms are pressing to the ceiling. Hold right here for about 10 seconds. Eight, seven, six, wrist flexed, feet flexed, five, four, three, two, one. Everything comes down.

Arms come down, bridge up. Hold for five, four, three, two, one, articulate down, inhale, exhale, articulate up, hold for five, four, three, two, one, neutral down, neutral up five times. You'll notice that the chin doesn't change, three more, two. Oh, I'm gonna do a couple extra because now I actually really feel the connection to my upper chest. I'm gonna get three more, two more and then last one and now I'm gonna lower down.

Now, in this position here, take your hands, find the length of your abdomen. So we're not gonna curl the tailbone. What you're going to do here is lift just your head and look towards your hands. And then when you put your head down you're gonna pull your throat back then the back of your skull and then look at the ceiling. This is deep neck flection, and it's not curling the trunk, we're not doing a hundred beats right now.

The responsibility of your core is to stay active, that will support you in your deep neck flection. (breathes deeply) Keep holding, do not look up to the ceiling with your head, look towards your thighs. And then when you put your head and your throat back down, everything else stays. A lot of times, the neck gets tired but the neck needs to strengthen. Nod the chin, give a smile because that involves your hiatal muscles.

If you need to support your head to lift it up, go ahead and do that and then let it go. We're not doing a hundred beats, we're doing neck flection, you can even reach your arms long. Resist curling up, it's just the neck. For five more, four, smile three, two, one, and lower down. We wanna minimize lifting the head with that big frown on our face.

And it doesn't mean I want you to smile more although that's a good thing, if you occupy your muscles in the opposite direction then they won't pull in that other way. We're doing two more of these and we're gonna count to 10 inside our body. It's the back of the neck lengthening, the front of the net contracting. We have one more. (breathes deeply) This should have been in the little bit to your exercises, it really should have been.

Some people are afraid of their neck, sometimes that's one of the best exercises for the neck. Now, just like we lifted the neck to lengthen the back and engage the front of the neck so we're gonna lift the belly to curl the pubic bone. Now, we already did the bridge to educate our buttocks, now we're going back to the belly to curl the pelvis. Nothing ever takes the place of these strong good understanding of these fundamentals. I'm not pushing my legs at all, I'm curling and tipping the pelvis without that feeling of a harsh tuck.

And we're gonna minimize any work in the shoulders so we don't do something like this. You may need to take a towel and put it under your head, which is certainly fine, there's enough time to do everything. Good. Now we're gonna release. We're gonna come back to our quadruped bed position on our back. Two arms up, one-leg lifts, other leg matches, arms over the shoulders, knees over the hips.

Curl the pelvis, uncurl. I'm not moving my thighs, my thighs are moving because my pelvis is curling. This is so challenging. One more time. And then the last time. And then legs come down, arms come down, getting ready for our hundred beats.

The knees are gonna be bent and on the ground, trunk is gonna curl from the top by way of neck flection and then trunk flection. As we do this exercise, I am not counting. What I want you to be aware of is that you don't tuck your bottom. I want you to notice how bad you wanna lift your legs. And what I want you to do is reach your arms longer from that rib curl.

I'm gonna do one more set, exhaling, and then come down. Notice that sometimes we go to just lifting the legs thinking that that's gonna be the hardest one. I'm gonna do that again. Curling. Now, once you get to about how high you think your curl was, then the knees come in then the legs go up, wrap the thighs, curl your trunk. Sometimes if you just lower your legs, it just counterbalances you and the exercise actually becomes easier.

So I'm gonna travel my legs up and travel my legs down. I'm gonna do this one more time and then bend in and then roll down. Feet come down one articulating bridge up and articulating bridge down without rounding the shoulders. Okay, so when you drop your ribs try not to round the shoulders. Then I'm gonna do one neutral bridge up and then one neutral bridge down.

Knees come into the chest, roll yourself up to sitting. I'm gonna start this next exercise here, the roll-up, I'm gonna start with the rollback. I'm gonna start with the tip of the bottom and the knees are gonna slightly flex. So I'm gonna tip the pelvis and not grip it. I'm gonna go back till I wanna fall and then I'm gonna come up.

I'm gonna tip and not grip at all. I'm gonna roll my back down. And if I wanna grab my shorts here I can go a little bit further. And then I curl myself up. You continue this, resist the urge to hoist up in your hips.

Work the tip of the pelvis, abdominals are shortened in the front going to lengthening eccentric contraction, bringing yourself back up. It should be challenging. Here we go again. Bend the knees, ask that tipping, that curling, curling. If you need to hang on to something, hang on, but use your trunk, that rib curl to come all the way up.

Last time, you're gonna go down to the level that you get that tip and hold. Arms left, tip, arms right, tip. Arms left, tip, arms right, tip and down. Woo! That should be hard. I didn't mean to yell on the microphone.

Feet pressed, one articulating bridge up, one articulating bridge down, one neutral bridge up, one neutral bridge down. Lift up your head, I'm gonna use my thigh a little bit, curl your neck flexors. Use your leg to help you curl your trunk up. And we're gonna do this again. Arms active. Let the knees bend.

When you let the hips flex and puddle, then your abdominals can do the curling hold, arms left, curl back, arms right, curl back, arms left, curl back, arms right, down you go. Nothing, nothing beats that little eccentric load. Arms down by your side, left leg long, right leg in, stirring the leg. We're gonna prepare now for single-leg circle. We're going to do two versions, one is the small controlled version.

I'm gonna switch my legs just, I like the way this feels in the front of my opposite hip. All righty. So now, take the leg in, reach it up to the distance that your hamstring allows but you wanna keep this thigh as vertical as possible. Inhale, crossover. Now, keep your left leg stable, I'm not gonna count because I wanna talk to your body.

Don't grip your bottom, that doesn't help in this exercise. (breathes deeply) I'm gonna reverse it. This is a nice smallish to medium circle connecting through my trunk, my head is on straight, not pressing back, stop it at the top, bend the knee in and hug it. Now keep hugging that knee. Deep neck flexors lift the head, trunk muscles curl the trunk.

Hover your left leg up off the ground. Reach your arms long. Keep this thigh pulled in from your hip and your belly. Switch your legs lots of times. (breathes deeply) One more set. Lower it down.

Left leg lifts, left leg reaches. I run out the front of that down leg, that is the key. If you tuck that bottom too much, it'll bulge that up. Inhale big. (breathes deeply) Last one in this direction. Reverse it. Mine was a little egg-shaped, that's okay.

Guess what, you should feel this in the front of your hip. You should. And then bend that knee and give it a hug. Deep neck flexors, curl the head, even smile if you want, it's okay, nobody's watching. Lift up the right leg, hold the left knee in, switch your legs lots of times. 10, nine, pull, pull, pull, pull with your hips and not your arms, four, three, two, one, rest.

Tip, articulating bridge. Stay here in this articulating bridge. Notice if you will, in this bridge that your ribs are a little heavier down and your bottom is a little curled up. And then when you come down, you iron out your spine, bring it to level. Lift up in a neutral bridge, says I connect my core, maybe even a little kegel here, I push up in this neutral bridge, and then I actually start to feel my upper back muscles kick in.

This will come alive when we do double-leg kick on our belly. So you're gonna still reach your arms, but now your bridge is lifting a little higher from the action of both your legs and your butt and your upper chest muscles. And then bring yourself all the way down. Left leg long, right knee in, give it a hug. We're continuing with our exercise single-leg circle but you're gonna give this leg some activity here contracting quadriceps, flexing hamstring, pulling toes reaching lengthening calf.

Woo, and then come down. Now, leg is gonna go up, it's gonna reach over the body and then you're gonna really push on your right arm as the pelvis swings over down around, comes way out to the sides, stable pelvis up, way over, way down, way out and up. So the reaching of the leg invites the pelvis to twist. One more time. And then reverse.

Out, really reach over and up. Out, legs are tight, really reach over and up, one more time, really reach over and up and then that knee and give it a hug. Let it come down. Left leg in, a little hug, stretching back. Right leg long, a couple more times, quadriceps and then flex the heel, dorsiflex that ankle, stretch through your whole calf muscle.

Try not to get your jaw onto it or your neck, arms down gentle pull into the foot, inhale. Reach it over. Allow the leg to invite the pelvis. And then it comes down around, way out and up. Reaching so the chest is yearning to stay straight, the leg is inviting the pelvis, we maximize stabilization. Come up. One more time, reach that pelvis around.

Circle the leg, stabilize opposite side. Come on up, bend the knee in, two knees in. Tipping the pelvis, small articulation, not collapsion, I know it's one of my favorite words. But I don't want you to collapse into the bridge like that. I want your shoulders to stay, but I want you to maximize this idea of flection if your body can tolerate that flection and then articulate down.

Then we do a neutral bridge up, pressing the feet, engaging, spine not moving, I mean, spine not flexing, the spine is lifting, of course. From your feet, upper chest, head stays and then roll yourself all the way down and pause. I'm gonna grab one leg, lift up, curling myself up and I'm gonna work the down face. So I've been focusing for myself, actually, on this tipping downward, I'm not gonna roll like a ball, but I'm gonna balance like this big ball. I'm gonna grab my thighs.

So not really gonna roll per se, I'm going to rock. So instead of open like rocker I'm gonna do bent knee, grab the thighs, some type of rocker, some type of rolling like a ball to make that key flection connection. Two more. Last one. Rolling the trunk, putting the feet down, resting there. Next set of exercises will be our abdominal series.

We've got two sets, one curled up and one flat. Here we go. Two knees in. However you grab your hands is fine, I'm not gonna over cue you but what I want you to be mindful of is that when you curl up its neck and then its trunk, your eyes are glancing at that foot away from you and you're pulling from the back of your arms. Here we go.

10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, stay curled, two, one. Double-leg stretch five times, reach, circle, hug and pull, circle, hug, pull. Can you do a tiny tilt of your abdominals as you pull in and pull the abdominals and the thighs, last one. And then lower down. I need one neutral bridge because I have been flexing in that single-leg stretch and double-leg stretch.

And now two knees in, two legs up, two arms long, smile, lift the head, curl the trunk. I'm gonna reach and I'm gonna take a second here to really grab this side. Now this opposite leg, isn't just gonna flail, it's gonna stay the same distance and I'm curling and pulse pulse, pull, pull, top of the thigh, bottom of the belly, pulse pulse, curl curl. Three, (breathes deeply) two, one and rest. Down, feet down.

Hands come behind the head. Getting ready for double-legs. Lower, lift the head, smile, neck flection, trunk flection, hip flection, knee extension and lower. Scoop the belly, pull. Just three of these, inhale.

Exhale, scoop and pull, take your forehead to your knees. Last one, and curl, crisscross till you can't stand it. (breathing heavily) I know there's another set coming. so you guys keep on going, I know you're still doing it. Woo! Lift the bridge, neutral bridge, open up the chest.

So for our little interlude here, before we go onto the abdominal series again with a trunk down, front of the hips open, front of the chest open, arms pressing down. In, up, in, down. In, up, in, down. Press left as you lift right. Press right as you live left. And then one more time in, up, in and down. Last one up, in and down and rest.

Now, this next series of abdominals, that abdominal series, we're gonna do it with the head and chest down, it's gonna feel different if you've never done it like this. If you love the curl, you're gonna wanna curl so bad. And if it pulls in your hips, it's supposed to a little bit, okay? So you're gonna tip the pelvis, not to tuck the buttocks, but to engage the abdominals. Two knees in, I'm pulling the thighs from the tip of the pelvis, 10 times.

Two, four, rest. Now, arms and legs up, circle the whole belly. The whole belly round shoulders. Three, (breathes deeply) four. Last time (breathes deeply). Lower down.

One neutral bridge. Engage the buttocks. Long torso, long chest, drop down. Two knees. Tip the pelvis to engage deeply. Two legs up. It's a scissors. They're small, small.

Ooh, this is hard. If your knees bend for your hamstrings, that's fine. But what it's not is momentum and pull (breathes deeply). One more. You can do more if you want. Bend the knees and rest.

I know you're thinking, "How are we going to do the crisscross with our head down?" But you wait, we still have double-leg lower, a tiny tip in a curl from the action of your abdominals. Two knees in, two knees up. I'm gonna keep my hands here. It gives me good feedback, lower flex feet right I can't go any lower, otherwise I'll lose the engagement of my tummy. With my elbows not pressing down, I'm forced to use the strength of my legs and the strength of my trunk, one more time and lift.

Bend the knees, relax down. Arms down by your side. Here's how we're gonna do the crisscross. We're going to do the crisscross from the bottom to the top. So hands are not behind the head, hands are out to the side, like a T.

Scoop the belly, tip the pelvis, not to flatten the back, to engage the abdominals. Two knees in, two legs, sway to the right as I keep my left shoulder down. So think of the exercise, hip circle or hip twist, so we're going over, we're pushing the bottom leg into the top to come up. I love this. Over, without arching the back we're yearning backwards as the knees reach over and then come back.

And then over to the right, resisting back with left and then return. And then over to the left, resisting back with the right. And then return and then rest. Arms down. One articulating bridge up, one articulating bridge down. One neutral bridge up and neutral bridge down.

Okay, a little interlude exercise here, I call it, before we progress to spine stretch and saw. You're gonna bring one knee into your chest. Now we've done this exercise before in several sessions, but as you pull this knee in, your tailbone is gonna curl, your low back is in flection. Now, when I start to lift a one-legged bridge on my other leg, the most important part here is this initiation. So you're gonna see, I don't have a huge lift because I don't wanna drive it with my back extension right now.

So I'm actually giving my back extensors a little break as I just engage the initiation part. So if you wanna lift higher, you certainly can but don't get into the back extensors. I'll show you what I mean in a second when we do our next interlude exercise. So this is the initiation Now, arms are gonna come up. Arms are coming back, like we're gonna do a back bend.

Okay, we're not gonna do a back then today, but we have to understand that the arms have to be able to fold in our wrists have to do extension. And then my elbows reach long as my chest lifts up. So that's where we do this back bend. We want the chest, okay, the upper thoracic spine to lift up. This is just a supine fundamental for upper back extension, we'll do it against the gravity when we do saw.

One more time. Now, hold it right here, narrow your elbows like you're holding something between your elbows. Now, look behind you, press your arms. This is major arm work, major upper back work, don't dump into your low back, just hold this and then nod your chin, lower your arms down. Lift your head, deep neck, roll yourself up.

Spine stretch forward and side; I'm gonna face this way because I'm gonna feel strongly about the saw exercise. And I want you to keep your pelvis down. So arms in front, now the head spine stretch forward, you don't even have to really see anything anyway. I'm lucky to have this wall in front of me, I'm actually gonna push the wall that actually pulls my belly back and then stack up, round. Inhale stack. (breathes deeply) Exhale round.

Strong arms, strong legs, rounding spine, and then come back up. Last one, inhale, and exhale. Arms to the side like a T, left arm up, side bend over, so you're gonna shorten right, lengthen left through that left shoulder blade, reaching and then pull up. Grow up, same side three times. This arm isn't really helping. Inhale reach.

If you need to sit up on a blanket or something, give your have your hips a break, that's fine, you can bend then you can cross them one more time. Oops! One more time. Lengthen, side bend. Lengthen, side bend, reach. One more time, I think that's my favorite thing to say, one more time.

Now for saw, we're gonna start with the hands behind the head. You're gonna twist your trunk to one side and then twist it to the other side. I'm gonna show you one time like this and I'll turn around, you're gonna twist and then this back hand reaches long as you flex forward, equal weight on both your buttocks. Come up through the center, brisk twist and reach. Continue that.

You're legs don't have to be so so wide. Arms out, inhale twist, exhale reach one, back arm reaches two and three. Make it be today about your back arm twist, reach one. Who cares if you don't solve the little toe, let's get the thorax twisted and then come up in the twist, briskly return. One more time, each side, inhale twist, exhale reach.

Inhale come up, center pause. Last one to the other side, inhale twist, exhale reach, and reach and reach, back arm up, pause. If your arms get tired, it's okay, they're supposed to get a little bit tired. Let's just regroup this one more time, arms out to the side and they're actually in your peripheral vision so bring them a little more forward than usual. And then without flexing, just do twist.

(breathes deeply) Focus on your back arm. (breathes deeply) Focus on the back arm. (breathes deeply) Focus on the front arm. (breathes deeply) Looks the same but the focus is different. Rest the arms.

Hands come behind the head. One more spine flection forward, lengthen your chest out to a flat back and sit up. Inhale big. Spine flat and go forward. Lengthen out the chest flat. Lift up one more time.

Spine flection forward, lengthen out the chest. Use your upper shoulder blades upper backs, squeezing and bring yourself back up. All right, come to lie on your side. Check my pack there. Okay, so here we go lying on the side.

So in our sidekick series... Oh, that's okay. Okay, so slide both your legs forward. So in the side kick series, we're not gonna do tons because we're gonna build it in the side plank and twist. It's a two hour class today.

Okay, just kidding. Okay, forward for two, point the toe, go back. Try to keep your leg in line with your hip. Kick and back. Pull the belly, use the butt to go back and reach, reach and back and back.

Two more. And last time and back. Now, take your right leg, put it in the instep of your other foot, gentle point to the toe. Go right into posse. Bend the knee, kick it up and pull it down. (breathes deeply) Try not to shorten the front of your body.

If the side waist shortens when you do this posse, that's certainly fine but keep the work in the back of the hip, let's do one more like this, and down, reverse. Kick, bend and press. Kick bend and press. Bottom leg is working pressing down. And then one more time, kick, bend and press. Pause. Flex that bottom leg.

Reach it long. You can take this top hand and reach that pelvis. So the leg is starting directly out from your hip, it's gonna go one, two, three, and down. Two, three. Two, three and down, two, three. And up two, three and down, two, three.

Two more times, up two, three and down two, three and pause. Bend that knee. Push your thigh back and pulse and pulse. Right butt cheek. Right butt cheek. Five and four and three and two and one, rest the leg down.

Bend your knees. Sit yourself up kinda in a side plank on your forearm. Take your top leg and bring it in front of the bottom. Do not use this hand to help you get up. Okay, so reach this hand to the ceiling.

Ready? Lift up, hold, lower down, three times. Reach this arm to the ceiling, lift and lower. Last time, lift up, stay up, hold for five, hold for four, three, two, one, drop down. Hand comes long and strong. In this position here, you'll notice that your arm, when you lift up will go over the shoulder.

Top leg comes in front, lift up the chest you're holding right here. Now, in this exercise, this arm, isn't helping you come up. It's gonna sweep over your head. Nothing fancy at first, just sweep it up, lift your butt, hold. You notice my two arms directly out from each other and then I'm gonna lower it down.

Side bend and then come out of the side bend, lift, and then lower. One more time, lift, and one more time lower, pause. Now we do the lift and the twist. Here we go. We lift, we twist, we dive under, we lift the belly, we twist, we come down into this tight but we don't touch the bottom.

Three times, here's two. And then last one, reach that arm, dive under, hold, and then bring yourself all the way back in and pause. Grab that shin, lift up the chest, reach your opposite arm up and take it on up. Reach. (breathes deeply) And then come on it. Switching sides.

Okay, legs are forward for balance, kickstand on the left, top leg lifts and it's in line with your pelvis. Flex, flex. Point, point. If you'd like to go faster than I am, of course, I'm just your guide. But back let's do three more here, and two more, point the foot go back. Last one.

Now reach that leg long, put the heel in the instep of that other foot, bend the knee in, kick the leg up, pull it down. Don't look down at your feet because that will be trunk flection in the front of your body. We wanna keep the torso long and lifted, even though we're lying on our side. One more time, bend and kick, pull it down. Pause. We reverse.

Bend and press and bend and press, lift and bend and press. Two more. And last one. Take that top leg, slide it a little bit backwards. Flex the foot, reach long in the pelvis. And you're gonna lift and lower, lift and lower.

Scoop in the belly as you lift the leg, and lower. These sidekick series allow us to feel those hip muscles, how they really need to be working. So right here, we're differentiating our side leg lifters from our trunk stabilizers, and this helps us in gait, keep our pelvis over our hips. That'd be a good test question, let's do three more, and two more, and then last one. And then bend that knee.

Notice how you might wanna be resting that leg down but lift it so that it's level out right directly in front of your hip joint. Pulse it back. Pulse it back. So we're pulsing back with our bridging muscles, not our spinal extensors, but just our butt muscles. Push, and four more, and three, and two, and one and lower down. Bend the knees.

Bring yourself up to the side plank-ish position here. Press down into your knees, this arm goes to the ceiling and then we're gonna lift and lower. Push down with your bottom knee, especially, lift and then lower. So when you do this side plank here, it's the bottom side of the body that's working and then we go down. Prop up. Top light comes in front.

This feels tight at first, we don't wanna collapse, we wanna lift up the chest, press into your feet and the first thing is just reach this arm and just come up so that your two arms are right over each other. Hold and then lower down. Press, two arms straight, separating out the chest and then come down last one from the right shoulder blade, straightens your right elbow, that bottom arm, lift and hold. Push the floor away with that bottom arm and then come down. Now we do the twist where we go up and dive this arm under, okay, three to four to five times, and up and under and then come out of the twist, but don't touch your bottom and then up and under and then come out of the twist.

I've got one more and then come back and down. Two shin stack, if you've got a couple more then you go ahead, you can join me in this little mermaid pose when you're done here, sidearm comes up, bend that elbow on the shin, head in line with the spine, up and over we link them. And then we link them some more. Ooh, I like to add a little twist. And then come all the way back down. All right, come back to these hands and knees, we'll do a full plank to side plank each side.

Okay, you join me here. So two legs come back out, hold your plank, not for super long, but just long enough so that you get yourself fully connected. I'm gonna take my right arm, put it in the middle, I'm simply gonna turn my legs and then open my arms and hold this side plank. And then I come back to regular plank. I'm gonna hold, move my left arm, go to the other side, hold.

Come back to regular plank, come down to my knees. Sit back. We'll do it one more time. This time during the side plank, we'll add the side bend, the very traditional exercise side bend. All right, so come up into plank. Holding yourself in the plank, right arm comes to the middle.

Hold this left arm up. Take this left arm, paint the ceiling, turn your head, look at your down arm. Come on up, drop the shin down on the bottom leg. Push yourself up, come into plank. Come to the other side, reach your arm up.

Hold, reach the arm up over your head, make a rainbow of your upper ribs, look down at that left arm. Hand comes down. Dip the shin. Look over your top shoulder, push it up to level. Whoa, bring yourself back. Sit yourself down.

Sit down on your heels. Inhale forward. Exhale back. (breathes deeply) One more time. Now you're gonna bring yourself up to high kneeling. In this high kneeling position here, I wanna go through a little arm series before we lie back down on our belly and do double-leg kick.

So take your hands, actually, I'm gonna face this way again. Grab two fingers behind your back, much like you do in double-leg kick. You'll notice in this position, my shoulders are rounded forward, they're supposed to be. As I slide my hands down my bottom, my palm (indistinct) towards each other, my shoulder blade squeeze, they depress as I lift my chest. I come back forward, I bend my elbow.

I'm gonna do it sideways now. So my alignment is hips over knees, head over shoulders. Shoulders are internally rotated, I (indistinct) my palms, turn them towards each other, I depress the shoulder blades, I lift the chest as the arms pull down. And when I come up, that will be double-leg kick. If you can't grasp your hands, that's fine, but try to get the activity of the shoulders going from internal to external rotation.

But first, single-leg kick. So come out of the chest, I mean, excuse me, come out of the shoulders and into the chest, reach your legs are very long. I'm gonna kick one of my legs to about 90 degrees, it looks like this. Kick, kick, exhale, reach long, tighten thighs. (breathes deeply) Lower down.

Now, I'm gonna use my hands here to get my body to get more extension. Maybe I straightened my elbows, maybe I don't, moved too close to the wall. If you can straighten your elbows without rounding your shoulders forward, then of course you do that but you don't round the shoulders forward in this exercise. Inhale, come up Exhale, go down Now without the arms pressing, reach your arms long, lift the chest, lower down. Lift the chest, reach the arms, lower down.

One more time. Rest. Turn your head to the side. I gotta be careful for my little microphone here. So grab your hands behind your back, getting ready for that exercise, AA kit, the shoulders are rounded forward, inhale big. Exhale one, two, three.

Inhale, reach the arms, turn them from internal to external, turn your legs on, lift your chest up. Turn the other side, kick, kick, kick, inhale. Exhale. (murmurs) Kick, kick, kick. Reach arms to pressure shoulders, lift chest, enter, kick, kick kick. One more time, lift, and then down.

And then push yourself up, sit yourself back around your torso. And bring yourself up to high kneeling Hands, come behind the head, last exercise sequence. Step left, stand up. Step left, go down. Step right, stand up.

Step right back, go down. One more time. Step left, stand up. Step left, lower down. One more time on the right, stand up.

On the right, drop down. Alrighty, woo! Thanks. That was fun, I'll see you next time.

Key Connections: The Power of Props

This Video
Deliberate, Connection, Flow,

Nov 19, 2020
Thumbnail image
Me and My Mat
Karen Sanzo
55 min
Pilates Unlimited
Watch Next
Planks, Connection, Awareness, Core Strength

Dec 10, 2020
Thumbnail image
All The Planks
Karen Sanzo
55 min
Pilates Unlimited
Balance, Equilibrium, Unilateral, Encourage

Dec 16, 2020
Thumbnail image
Unilateral Load
Karen Sanzo
55 min
Pilates Unlimited


Amy S
1 person likes this.
I particularly enjoyed this class!   Karen gave clear, concise, and helpful tips, built up to the harder exercises, and utilized smaller grades of movement  which I feel  are so important.  Her beginning comments were excellent,  and so very true.  Karen, I found you a wonderful role model!
Thank you 
Absolutely love your classes Karen!
Haven’t watched the class yet but love the words spoken !! 
Really Nice Class Karen Big Thank You!
Karen is so good at getting the student to connect with those very beginning flexions in the neck and the pelvic tuck way down at the pubis.  I like that she encourages that neck flexion and lower rectus abdominis contraction as initiation movements and not mistakes or weakness.  
Lina S
Great sequencing and cues! I haven't taken the other classes of the series, but I will. Thank you! I love when we start a class with a quote. It's so inspiring. 
Excellent class Karen clear cueing and wonderful energy - thank you !
Kyzo B
Karen I love when you remind us what NOT to do, I laughed and corrected myself every time.. 

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Pilates Anytime Logo

Move With Us

Experience Pilates. Experience life.

Let's Begin