Class #4415

Introducing The Frame

50 min - Class


In the first class of Fortify The Mat with Misty Lynne you’ll learn how to use a hand towel to amplify the Mat work. She’ll show you how even a beginner sequence with variations of Roll Up, Open Leg Rocker, and Teaser can prove challenging to a seasoned practitioner and get you sweating. By the end of class you’ll see how a simple prop can work your body head to toe and push your Pilates practice to a new level.
What You'll Need: Mat, Towel

About This Video

Feb 23, 2021
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Welcome, everyone, to Fortify the Mat with Misty Lynne I am Misty Lynne, and (chuckles) I can't wait to do this workout today. It's our first workout together, and so we're focusing on just keeping it simple, but building upon themes that we will be using throughout the other workouts that I'll be doing with you over the next seven lessons starting with today. So focusing on breath, width, and depth. Everything we do is gonna be deeply internal, so I want you to focus on diving in deep. Here we go.

So we're gonna start off on our backs. I'd like for you to bring your feet to about hip width, keep them as parallel as you can comfortably, and lay down on your back here. I have a preference, the hands will be in fists. Gentle fists don't crack any walnuts or anything. And then bring your arms down by your sides, if that's comfortable, or you can go a little bit wider.

Heels should be in line with the sitz bones, and we're just going to start with some basic articulating bridging. So I'm here in my neutral, I'll take a breath, and then I'm going to start to slowly peel up and off of the mat, rising up to my happy place. And this is our first bridge of the day, so don't kill yourself here. And then you're gonna roll back down thinking not of going down, but thinking of stretching away from the shoulder blades. And, again, rolling up, using your breath to get there, big breath in at the top here, and then let's exhale to roll back down, taking your time to give each and every vertebra its claim to fame.

Let it have the spotlight as we're going up and down here. Now, while you're here, I want you to just check in. Are you overworking your glutes, or are you just letting them come to the party? Like I said, we're warming up, so we're starting in a way that's kind and gentle to the body, and we'll be revisiting these bridges, so don't overdo yet here. We're rolling up one more time here.

And then after we take a breath, we're starting to roll back down, finding the mat. Now the hands are gonna come behind the head, and if it's more comfortable, you may use your towel for support this way. It's your choice. But from here, warming up the upper body, I'd like for you to bring your elbows in. Think of rotating your armpits to face both knees in front of you, and you'll take a breath.

And now exhale, allow the head to be dead weight, let the arms work to bring the head up. No crazy pelvic business, pelvis stays away. And then rolling back down. Let's take another moment, connect with the breath. Big breath in, widening your rib cage, and then exhale.

Nod the chin to the chest as you curl up. Look at your pelvis. Is it still in neutral? Take a big breath, and roll back down. We'll do three more of these.

Inhaling, and when you curl up this time, I want you to pay attention to what you feel in your lower pelvis. Deepen your pelvic bowl. Find the connection from pubic bone to hip bone. Don't just rely on those upper abdominals to do the work. And two more.

We're curling up, we're stretching off of the floor, not just hiking up toward the ceiling. And exhaling back down. And we're going to hang out on this next one. So big breath in, exhale curling up, and now we're bringing our leg slides to the party. But don't forget, none of this armpit business.

I want you to keep your armpits looking at your knees. We'll start by sliding one leg away. Just slide it along the mat. But keep energy from the inner thigh through your big toe. And then when you exhale, I want you to bring the leg back in, but think about getting the ball of the foot to the mat first and then dragging the foot in like you've got gum on the sole of your foot.

And it's okay if you mess up your mat a little bit. Other side, inhale as you lengthen and stretch away, reaching long from the inner thigh through the first and second toe, and exhale dragging in. Did you see me sink there? I was getting a little bit lazy. So adjust your upper body accordingly.

One leg sliding it away. Keep the ball of the foot on the floor for as long as you can. Stretch through the ball, find the big toe connection, and exhale. Can you maintain that big toe connection all the way up into your inner thigh as you're dragging the leg back in? And other side, sliding it away.

My big toe is reaching, my ball of my foot is stuck. Now it lifts, but I'm still thinking about what that connection feels like as I'm reaching my leg away. And I'm drawing my leg back in slowly, I'll curl up just another inch in my upper body, tractioning my head off of the top of my neck, and then I'm slowly going to roll back down. My arms are gonna return to my sides, and I'm reaching wide and away with my shoulder blades, clavicles are broad. Now I'm lifting into a neutral bridge.

As I'm lifting up, remember, we just talked about the big toe. Oh, yeah, it's still here. Keep that big toe connection into the floor. And as you roll down, maintain that big toe connection into the floor. We'll do four more bridges here.

Neutral bridge, lifting up and keeping the weight balanced over both feet. I'm holding, and then I'm sitting back down. Now I want you to check in not with just the big toe. Find the inner ankle and inner foot, inner heel connection to the floor. So as you're lifting up, big toe is heavy, inner ankle bone is stretching down into the mat as you lift.

That'll keep you from supinating and keep you connected to your inner thighs. Sitting back down onto the floor. And here we go again, just sat down, now we're getting back up. We're pretty fickle today. We're lifting, we're lifting, we're lifting.

Hold this. Check in with your shoulders, check in with your armpit engagement. Keep reaching the arms long, and crease at the hips to sit back down into the mat. Arms come back, here we go again. Hands come behind the head, big breath in here, rotating the armpits forward, exhale, blow, curling up to your shoulder points.

And now we're hanging out for a moment. We're going to do a double leg slide here. Once again, there's gum on the balls of my feet and I'm trying to slide it out and away with me to get it off of my feet. I'm stretching long, I'm stretching long, and I'm still connected at my inner thighs. And now I'm dragging my feet back in, deepening my core engagement and letting my balls of my feet connect, and then continue to slide all the way in.

Two more like this. Sliding the legs, feeling the engagement in my underbutt, it's a technical term you know, stretching long, stretching long, stretching long. Now, as stretched as you are here, can you still wiggle your toes, or have you gripped them to death? Now here we go, exhale, hollowing the belly without changing the spine, and dragging the feet back in. Here's your last.

Stretch the legs away, sliding the gum off of the ball of the foot. Stretch, stretch, stretch, stretch, stretch. Hold it here. How long can you stretch? How long can you stretch without locking your knees out?

And then exhale, we're dragging the knees back in. Hold it here, take a big breath in, curl up a little higher at your upper body here, and then exhale. As the head lowers down, we're going into our rocking bridge. So you're gonna roll the hips up, and then exhale. As the hips roll down, you'll curl the head up, once again giving each and every vertebra it's due here.

So there's no skipping over any part of the spine, in theory. And then as I exhale to roll back down, my head's coming up. I'm tractioning my head off of my neck. I'm not squishing the front of my throat here. Let's do one more.

Bridging as I descend, finding my big toe connection, keeping that connection through my inner thighs, and then I'm rolling back down here. Oh, and look, I'm ready for my next trick. Now the arms can stay here, or they can extend. It's your choice. I'm going to keep mine back here for now.

I'm going to slide my legs long. This is a hundred prep exercise. So my legs go long here. And then I'm going to continue to (indistinct) them into a low hover. Feel this here and try not to get fluffy.

And then lower the legs and drag the heels back in. Keep your upper body folded over, sliding your legs along the mat, finding the connection in the backs of the legs, finding it and stretch all the way through the toes, finding it and stretch so far away that you lift. And then lowering the legs, dragging them back in as you exhale. Can we do one more? And this time as you stretch away, I would like for you to think of being dragged across the room by your big toes.

Let the legs float, let the arms reach, hold it, hold it, hold it, lower the legs down, drag the heels in. Stay right here. Take a big breath in, (inhales) and now exhale lowering all the way back down. Now, wasn't that fun? I myself had a fabulous time.

From here, I'm just gonna adjust myself on my mat. And you may need to as well. Those leg slides are great, but sometimes they make your mat a little bit messy. We're returning here, the arms are down by your sides, and we're gonna go back into that hundred prep here, trying to coordinate the upper half and the lower half. So you'll take a big breath in, (inhales) and as you exhale, you'll slide the legs away, float up and hold in your prep position.

Bring the inner aspects of the heels together. Hug, hug, hug, and hollow. And then you'll lower your legs down and drag your heels back in. And do it one more time. Sliding the legs away, nodding the chin to the chest, lift up, hold your position, reaching long, feel the width, feel the depth, feel the length.

Pull the knees in here, grab hold behind the thighs, and let's rock up to sit up. Wooh! I must say no matter how many times I do that, it always lights me up, in a good way. So from here, I'm prepping for the rollbacks. Feet are gonna be, once again, parallel hip width, my hands are gonna come just outside of my legs here, and I'm allowing my knees to press into my hands and my hands to press into my knees, and then I'm going to rotate my armpits forward. And that keeps me from shrugging up and obscuring my ears.

Sitting up nice and tall to begin, I take a big breath in. And then as I exhale, I'm thinking my tailbone is curling under me, my gaze is staying on the horizon, and my hands and legs are active. I'm only rolling back to just about an inch behind my tailbone. And then as I roll back up, I'm thinking of the action starting at my lower core. And I know you've all done this before, but this time I want you to think about it as being more of a sinking away rather than a slumping down.

And I'm scooping and I'm reaching, and my big toes are still active. And then I'm exhaling to come back up. Nice and tall in my spine. We're gonna add on after the next one. So exhale scooping back, hollow belly, hold it here.

Big breath in. (inhales) Exhale, blow. Now find this connection in your underbutt to bring you back up. Sit nice and tall. Adding on, exhale scooping. Remember, we're scooping from the pelvis, not dropping from the chest.

My gaze is on my horizon and I'm hanging out. Now, I'll bring my arms to genie position, maintaining my hollow belly here, big breath in, and now I'm going to exhale from the hip joint, not the knee joint, I'm bringing my leg up to my arms, and then I'm lowering it back down. And then, again, my other leg is going to lift, (exhales) and I inhale to lower. Please don't forget to breathe. Pilates is no fun if you have expired.

So just kinda keep that in mind as you're moving along. Exhaling to lift, inhaling to lower. We're going to do one more on each leg. And lower. Don't forget about your low core connection here.

And lower, inhale, (inhales) exhale deep in the belly, roll up to sit up. Sitting up nice and tall, adding on. Big breath in, exhale, rolling back starting at the lower abdominals once again. We get there and hold. Your there may be up, it may be down, but it has to be the right there for you.

So keep that in mind. Breastbone is heavy. I'm gonna bring my heels in a little bit closer for this one. Then I'm gonna lift both legs. (exhales) And I'm going to inhale. Place them on the mat, not drop them from the sky.

Lifting, and lowering. Do you have the big shake? The big shake is what I'm going for. As I'm lowering, I'm working to not allow my lumbar spine to flatten out. Lifting up, woo hoo! And then lowering back down, I hold right here, inhale. (inhales) Let's finish this roll back.

We're gonna take it all the way down. Lowering vertebrae by vertebra, keeping the feet grounded, give each vertebra its opportunity to have a moment to shine. One at a time we roll down, arms come back down to the sides. And we're gonna take one leg straight, pull the other leg in toward the chest, and hold for a quick stretch. And in this stretch, check in with your pelvis.

Have you hiked, or have you kept it nice and balanced east to west? So I'm holding it in, I'm extended through my leg just as I was in my leg slide here. And we're going to do a bent-knee windshield wiper, or actually four of them. So the arms are down. I'm going to return the leg to knee over the hip.

I'm gonna bring the leg across the body. This hip can lift a little, but don't go crazy. And then I'm going to lift it out to the side. And I'm thinking about my standing leg being connected hamstring toward the floor. Crossing and opening.

And I'll do one more in each direction. And open. And this is preparing me for my straight leg windshield wiper. My leg is up, wiggle your toes. No reason to kill those toes.

They like you, you should like them back. Stretch. Now my leg comes across the body. On this one, I'm keeping my back hip down. And I'm opening only as far as I can go without doing weird things with my standing hip.

Two more, stretch, and open. And last one. Stretch, and open. I bring it back up, return it into my chest, and I take the leg long to the mat. Next side, pulling it in.

And, again, check in with this leg. Make sure you've got the length from the inner thigh down through the first and second toe and away to the wall across from you. The leg that's pulled in is parallel in the joint. We're trying not to take it across or open yet. And then we come in for our windshield wipers.

Leg comes across, and open. And three, and two. Try not to hold your breath. Breathe big, deeply and wide into your rib cage. And then we take the leg up, wiggle the toes, give them a moment's peace.

And then same idea, leg crosses, and opens. And three, and two. And how about one more? Cross, open, back in for the stretch. And take the leg long to the mat.

We'll transition with a roll up. Arms are coming up to the ceiling, bring the inner aspects of the heels together, rotate the armpits forward, take a big breath in, (inhales) nod the chin on the chest and exhale. Hollow out through your low core. And as you're curling up, stretch through the midline of the body. They keep the legs from going yonder.

Nice big stretch up and over with a round spine, reaching your navel back as your arms reach forward, and we'll roll up to sit tall, rolling like a ball. We're going to do a prep first. I call this prep rock and roll. My hands come behind my legs. I'm gonna find that deep scoop of my lower core, I'm rotating my armpits forward, and then I'm bringing my legs up.

You have an option, you can either keep your legs here parallel, or you can press your heels together. Whichever works for you, enjoy it. From here, we're taking a big breath in, and as you take that breath, you're gonna rock back, and then you'll rock forward as you exhale. So it's as if you are on the top of a cliff, at the very edge, and for some reason, you decide that's where you wanna do your rolling prep. Means you have to bring a lot of control to the party, a lot of focus internally, and you have to really think about hugging that midline.

One more in each direction. And now from here, we'll just keep this same shape. We're gonna roll back, roll up, and stay, maintaining the distance between your chest and your thighs as you're rolling back and up. No violence required, just breath. Take your time.

Enjoy the bubbles because even the bubbles are giving us important information. Last one. Come up and hold. First balance of the day. We're gonna bring one arm up, we're gonna bring the other arm up, hold this position, slowly as you straighten your spine, let the legs come down to the mat.

Legs are gonna go long and open mat width for spine stretch. And I'd like for you to grab your towel here, if you have one. If you don't, it's okay. Your arms are straight ahead to begin, wrap all 10 fingers and thumbs. Use this towel for good, not for evil.

Now, widen your shoulder blades across your back and rotate your armpits forward. From here, we take a big breath in, (inhales) and exhale, hollowing as you curl up and over, peeling away from an imaginary wall as you stretch and reach long past your toes without hinging at the hips. Now to come back up, I want you to stack. One bone on the next, on the next, on the next while keeping your wrists long, and then, again, chin to the chest, curling up and over, reaching long, stretching forward. And then, again, hollowing and rolling up.

Now I think that you may be considering letting your pinkies lift as if we're having tea and crumpets. We are not delicate here and it is not time for tea. So keep your pinkies wrapped around, rolling up, keep your arms really working. Can we do one more? Sitting tall on your sitz bones, standing in through your feet here, nod the chin to the chest, curling up and over.

And even though we're nodding, we're not crushing the chin toward the breastbone. So let the neck be long and free. Keep reaching long through your heels, keep reaching away with your navel, hollow the belly, scooping, rolling up, up, up. Open leg rocker prep is next. You have options here.

I like to use the towel for the prep because it helps us find that shoulder blade connection, keeping the shoulders away from the neck, keeping the clavicles broad. From here, we're just going to pick the feet up. Shoulders are down, belly is deep. Now, rather than being schlumpy, use your arms to help facilitate that lift of the breastbone. Now from here, we'll start with the right leg.

We'll extend it up, and then we'll bring it down. And then the other leg, up, and down. Now I want you to think of this, as the leg is lifting, don't think of depressing the towel, instead, think of lifting the leg up and away from the towel as you stretch. Check in with your shoulders here. One more each leg.

And other leg. Let's lift up. Maintain your connection to your underbutt. And now both legs, here we go. Lifting up, up, up, and hold.

Woo hoo, there's the bubbles. Wiggle the toes, come back down. Two more. Extending, lifting up, up, up. Hold, use that towel for good, not for evil.

Deepen your low belly scoop. Bend. Two more, I know you can do it. Let's go up, reaching, lifting. Breast bones are up, and we're coming back down.

Here's our last one, let's lift up, up, up, hold it, hold it, hold it. And let's bend, and come back down. Now you thought you were getting rid of the towel, now's not the time. For saw prep, we're gonna take the legs wider. And we're gonna bring the towel up.

Your towel position is going to be directly related to the amount of shoulder flexibility you have. I would like for everyone to pull the towel wide, feel your back getting wider and your shoulders, really rotating the armpits forward. Now, we'll inhale to rotate, and exhale to hinge. The reason why I use this prep is because I'm really focusing on standing on both legs and not getting into that hip hikey business that we tend to do in saw when we're not quite prepared to do it. So this week, it's the prep.

I'm twisting from my navel up, I'm hinging away from my back hip without bringing it to the party. And, again, I'm growing tall, rotating from my navel, and then I'm hinging out and away. And I have one more of those in me. I'm up, my arms are not getting tired, never. I would never ever admit that my arms are getting tired.

And then I'm going to come up, and center, and release that down. We can ditch the towels for now, but they'll be back. And we're gonna lay on our bellies. For our swan prep, I'd like to start here. The forearms are gonna be on the mat.

You can put your foreheads down. I'm going to hover here. And if a hover is more comfortable for you, then that's fine too. The arms are in this position which I call goalpost, or skydiver, just depends on the day. And I'm thinking of rotating my armpits forward.

And that helps to facilitate a little bit of extra extension here on my T spine. And then from here, I'm going to lengthen out of my hamstring to lift my leg up. And then I'm lowering it down. And then the other leg does the same thing. Again, I'm not thinking about lifting up as much as I'm thinking about lifting out and away.

And I'm maintaining the rotation of my armpits forward. And I'm thinking about my breastbone stretching out and away as well. So it's opposition the whole way. Think of reaching from your inner thigh down through your big toe. Good.

And then we're gonna lower it back down just for a moment. Once, again, I'm not going to lower down, but you can. And then we're going to come back up. Find the armpits, hold this position, lengthen the legs without overgripping your butt cheeks. Leave your cheeks alone.

Now from here, we're going to lift both arms and then we're lowering back down. The lift is coming from broadening your back, not by hiking from your shoulders. We're gonna do two more like this. Lifting up, resisting as you come down, and let's do one more. Resist as you lift up, hold it, hold it, open your arms out to a T, hold it, bring the arms down by your sides, and lower your head down to the mat.

And wiggle your hips side to side, let your cheeks be free, free the cheeks. And now we're going to get into a little bit of sideline. So for your sideline, and I'm pretty particular about this, I'd like for you to think of standing on your feet. So if there was a wall at the edge of my mat, my feet are gonna be flat against that wall. Then when I lay down on my side, the palm of my bottom arm is faced up.

And even here, I'm thinking of the rotation of my armpit forward. And my top hand is going to be pointing forward this way, not toward my head. Now my bottom leg is my anchor, I'm standing on my feet, and then I'm going to go up and down. Lifting the leg up, and pulling it down. I'm not going high because I'm really working on where this work is coming from.

So my bottom leg, as I said earlier, is my anchor. And so I need it to be weighted into the mat. My top leg is reaching and lifting, but it's not only the outside of the leg, one more here, I'm reaching through my inner thigh line all the way through my inner ankle and heel. Now from here, I'm gonna turn the leg out without losing my pelvis. I'm still standing on my feet.

Leg lifts to hip height, and then we'll go front back. So I'm exhaling as I go forward, and I'm inhaling as I go back. And then, again, forward, and back. Be mindful of the hollow between your waist and the mat. It's a lot easier to maintain that hollow if you think about your top arm being rotated palm to face up.

And back. And then we're gonna do one more. Kicking forward and forward, sweeping it back. Woo hoo, little extra there. And bring it back to the center.

Find you're standing on your feet. Again, feel your inner ankle bones, your inner knee bones, your inner, inner thighs stretching toward one another. We're just gonna do four double leg lifts here. So I'm painting the wall with the soles of my feet. And I'm coming back down.

And as I'm lifting, I'm not dipping at my waist, oh, no, I would never do anything so tragic. Instead, I'm letting my lower half lift while keeping my upper body quiet. And I'm keeping both of my armpits rotated forward. And back down. So, here, we're gonna transition back to the belly.

This time, I'd like for your arms to be in a diamond position. Armpits rotated forward, feel the width of your back. And we'll just do beats to transition. Armpits are rotated forward, legs are floating up and away, not just up. And then I'm clapping.

I'm giving myself a little bit of applause because I'm having fun. This is a fantastic time. I hope you're having a good time too. As you're beating, don't think about the heels, think of the adductors. Clap, clap, clapping along.

And then I'm going to lower down and flip to the other side. So let's check in, shall we? Standing on our feet, bottom leg is heavy, that's my anchor, I'm pulling my inner sitz bones together in the back. That's gonna keep me from plunging to my face, or anywhere else. My top armpit is rotated forward, and my fingertips are pointing straight ahead.

And then my arm that I'm laying on, also armpit rotated forward, palm facing up. Top leg is going to stay parallel. I'm keeping my connections, and I'm lifting, and lowering. And as I'm lifting, I'm thinking, "Lifting from my outer thigh, reaching through my inner thigh to make this successful and keep it balanced in my waist." Two more. And here's your last one.

Up, and back down holding it here. Rotating your top thigh outward, lifting the leg to hip height. Here we go, front back. Exhaling as we sweep forward, inhaling as we reach back. And as you're going forward, try to maintain that we're creasing at the hip here, we're not collapsing it forward.

Two more. And sweep, hamstring, hamstring. And one more, thigh kick, and sweep it back and hold. Bring the legs back to stacked, flexing both feet, connecting at any connections we may have sacrificed for that exercise. And now double leg lifts.

We're just doing five. And four. How free can you keep your neck? Three, and two, and one. Good.

Bring the legs down. And we're gonna flip onto our backs for a teaser variation, or two. Grab your towel again, if you like. I love my towel. And this variation's gonna be very similar to what we did with the open leg rocker.

So in this position, let your lower limb dangle a little bit, turn your palms to face you, and wrap your hands around the towel. Use the towel to reinforce your grip strength here in this position. Shoulders are down, chest is broad, and we're going to take a big breath in here. As you come up, you'll nod the chin to your chest, and think of pressing your hamstrings into your towel to bring your legs up. Here, try to find your inner heels pressing together.

Hold this position. And then to roll away, think of stretching over your towel as you scoop back, articulating through the spine. Hah! Two more like this and then we're gonna add on. Take a big breath in, (inhales) and scoop and curl, hollow belly. Draw your inner sitz bones together, standing into your legs as you come up, hold.

And scooping to roll back down, stretching the legs away, keeping the shoulders broad. One more like this. Curling up, standing into your towel, hold, hold the position, hold the position, scoop, rolling back down. Now we can ditch the towel. Hands come behind the thighs.

We're gonna do the same thing. So narrower grip base of support here makes it a little bit more challenging for the balance. Take a big breath, and then nod, scoop, curl, and extend up. Keep coming up. Can you lift your breastbone more without arching your low back?

And scoop and lower back down. Let's do one more here. Nod, scoop, curl, press up. Go for it. Can we take an arm away?

Can we take another arm away? Hold this position, breathe in your back, feel your rib cage opening, widening, stretch, stretch, stretch. And then the knees in, and roll back down here. Extend your legs long, arch your back, push through the heels, and take a hip hike in each way. You've earned a little bit of a break here, so let's take it.

Let the rib seat come down. We're going to do a roll up to sit up. I'd like for your arms to start in low by your sides, nod, scoop, and curl, and really reach those armpits toward your heels. Peeling vertebra by vertebra off the mat, standing into your feet, we're curling up, up, and stacking vertebra on vertebra to sit tall here. Now we're going to just do some seated side bends.

Legs are extended, ankles are flexed. The arm that's going to come up to the ceiling is going to be rotated so that your elbow pit is pointing backward, or towards your head at least, and you're making a fist. Remember, you wanna see your pinky finger in your peripheral vision just to make sure you're not doing any wonky shoulder stuff. Side bending up and over yourself means that you're making more of a rainbow or a macaroni shape rather than a hinge. Second side.

Up and over, check in with your sitz bones. Are they both evenly weighted into the mat, or have you let the one that you're stretching away from get a little bit airy? Heavy cheeks, stretch up and over. Go for it, go for it. And up, resist the urge to rotate.

Up and over. Now when you're coming back up, think of dropping down as you're growing and lifting up. So really focus on the idea of opposition to find the depth of the contraction on both sides. And up. And we have one more to do here.

Up an over, side bend, breathe into that top rib. Come up. I like to take a flat back stretch forward here. Grab your pinkies or whatever you can reach. Lift your breastbone, rotate your armpits forward, and breathe into this.

Just two more breasts here. And inhale, and exhale. And I'd like to just do one more breath. Inhale here, fold over your legs, and start to roll all the way up to sit up. We're going to go into some quadruped work here.

So we're coming to all fours. For this one, I'm going to use my towel under the heel of my hands. You don't have to do that, it's just a little something I need. If you don't have a towel, but you need something for your wrists, come to the heels of the hands. We don't wanna be on forearms for this one.

So here I am finding the width of my hands, starting with my knees hip width, and we're gonna curl the toes under here. Think about what I said earlier about the inner ankle bone pressing away toward that opposite wall, rotating the armpits forward here, and finding your flat back. Now from here, we're just going to lift the knees into a hover. As you lift, think about drawing everything in narrow and up so you don't let the back go. And then we're going to lower back down.

Maintain the rotation, keep the neck long on spine, and lift up. Really draw everything in, without crushing it, of course. It's an engagement, not an attack. Two more, please. Keep the wrap, lifting up, (exhales) and inhaling back down.

Can we do one more? Lifting up, rotating those armpits forward, keeping your inner thighs engaged, and paying attention to what's happening down in the pinkies. Lower back down, sit back on the heels, stretch the arms forward. And now I'd like you to (audio cuts off) here. (audio cuts off) self.

Nice to yourself, it's now over. We're coming back to all fours here. Rotating the armpits forward, back is long. Find the connections in your feet, but this time the toes will be flat. This time, think of that leg slide that we did before.

We're legs sliding the leg away, but we're stretching so far that the leg lifts, up to hip height, somewhere thereabout, and then we're bringing it back down to the floor, and then dragging it in with resistance. Second side. Slide the leg away, keep sliding it and lifting it up, up, up. Good, and bring the leg back down, dragging it in. Again.

First side, leg goes away, leg lifts up, leg lifts up, leg lifts up, and then we bring it back down. And second side, leg goes away. Keep the connection. Sitz bone through the heel. Stretch that leg up, don't go too far, bring it back down.

And come off of the wrists, stretch long here. Let the chest lift up. (audio cuts off) yourself a little bit of a pull from the posterior shoulder. It's just a stretch for the back of the shoulder, neck long here. Coming back around.

One more thing I'd like to do here before we get up, it's a seal prep. Bring your hands through, wrap them around your ankles, and then find your seal position. Now, wrap the fingers and press the ankles into the hands and the thighs, inner thighs, into the elbows. Scoop your belly away, and then stack it up and clap two, three, scoop it away, (exhales) and inhale up and clap, two, three. As you're scooping, are you caving in, or are you keeping the length in your spine and the width of your shoulders?

Two more. Exhale to scoop, and inhale to grow, and clap. You've got one more to do. Exhale to scoop, hollow, hollow more, hollow more, and up, up, up. Taller, taller, taller, and let's stand.

I like to end, sometimes, with some towel work for the feet because if we're getting up and we're walking around, we wanna make sure the feet are prepared for what's next. So I've got both of my feet on my towel, and the towel only comes back to about the heel pocket or so where the heel and the arch come together. I'm just gonna put my hands on my hips because I don't know where else to put them at the moment. And I'm going to spread my toes. Think of a duck, a big, wide webbed foot here.

And I'm really making sure to connect all four corners of my feet. And from here, I'm pulling the towel in without allowing myself to roll into my outer foot and ankle. So I'm not allowing myself to supinate as I do this action. Why? Because this makes sure I'm working the whole foot, including that medial foot from my big toe all the way through the heel pocket and into my heel.

So just do three more of these. And two, and one. And come off of your towel, make sure your feet are awake and alert, and get your towel out of here. We're done with the towel for today. Next, calf raises.

Think about the width of the foot again. You can start with your feet hip width, but if you feel like you need a little bit wider of a base of support, you can go wide. I like to bring one hand here and the other hand to the back of my pelvis so I can be aware of what's going on. Now, here we go. The idea is we're gonna find these connections.

Actually, let's bring your inner heels together. It's gonna be more work. First position, just barely separated in the forefoot. Inner heels, inner ankle bones are pressing. And then I'm going to work on lifting up, not forward, keeping the heels pressing together the whole time.

And then as I'm lowering down, I'm trying to go down, not back. As soon as my heels lift, I go up again. Think of the adduction, inner heels, inner knees, inner thighs. Nothing comes apart because then you'd be bored 'cause it would be way too easy. And we'll just do two more like this.

Feel your deep low pelvic muscles naturally engaging as you lift here. That's what happens when you don't rock forward. Lift up and hold. We're gonna take a slow plie here, keeping the heels connected, keeping the big toes down. Don't wave your toes at me.

That's rude. Keep your toes on the floor, (laughs) and lower the heels. And we're gonna do one more. Again, going up, not forward, lifting, everything is rooted, we're lengthening up, and we're taking a slow plie. Take your time, take your time.

Creasing at the hips. Woo hoo! And then we're zipping everything back together. Toes down, all 10 toes are down. And then we're slowly floating back down. Let the arms hang here, give your armpits a little bit of a rotation forward, nod the chin forward, standing roll down.

We're coming up and over our own waists. Keeping the balls of those feet wide, keeping the toes heavy, find the floor. Look at your ankles, look at your inner knees. Have they drifted apart? Well, they're yours, so you might as well fix them.

Scooping and rolling up, belly is deep. Use your breath, don't use your shoulders. Standing up tall. Can we do it again? Nodding, curling, up and over.

Find the deep core. Don't let it go. Don't let it go. What's your underbutt doing? Is it coming to the party or is it flapping in the breeze?

And then when you're rolling up, once again, same idea. Try not to let anything get away from you. On this one, once we get to the top, keep your connections, lift your heels. Up without rocking forward. Wooh, burning.

And lowering back down. I've got one more in me. So I'm nodding my chin to my chest, I'm curling up and over, dangling, letting my spine have a moment to just be. Really breathing into my middle back here. Stay here for a moment.

Feel the width. Take your weight a little bit more forward over your hands. As you inhale, think of inhaling into your armpits, think of inhaling into the lower lobes of the back ribs. (exhales) I'd like two more of those. (exhales) And last one.

(exhales) Reclaim your lost connections. Start to roll up. Rolling up slowly, stacking bone on bone, reorganizing as you set up over the four corners of your feet, letting the shoulders come down. (exhales) And jazz hands 'cause you are done. Everyone, thank you so much for joining me today with Fortifying the Mat with Misty Lynne.

I can't thank you enough. What a great first workout we had today, and there's seven more in our future. Don't forget to tune in tomorrow, Pilates Anytime, same time for the Taylor sisters. I believe they're up next. So thank you, everyone, and I hope to see you soon.


2 people like this.
I don't normally take level 1-2 classes, but I hadn't taken a Misty Lynne Class before and I wanted experience her teaching style.  Good, slow paced, well cued class with attention to detail. She has an amusing way of saying things,  which was another treat. I wore 5 lb leg weights and added reps here and there, which worked for me.  I had fun and feel much better. Thanks Misty Lynne:) 
3 people like this.
Wonderful class with some interesting new cues to promote external rotation of the shoulders as well as a deeper abdominal contraction.
Alice A. E
4 people like this.
I loved all the subtle differences in cuing from what I am used to. I feel like this really changes things up for me. I look forward to more of your workouts!
Lina S
5 people like this.
I've really enjoyed your class and the creative use of the towel. Sometimes it's great to experience a known exercise with a new outlook. I'm looking forward to your next workouts. Thank you!
2 people like this.
Great class! Loved the use of the towel for preps.  Looking forward to more classes
Laura Maria
Really enjoyed the class and the towel helped get out of my hip flexors...thank you!
Thank you, Misty! I liked the towel Teasers 😇
4 people like this.
Ten years of pilates practice and there is STILL so much to focus on in a 1/2 level class when it is taught with so much intention.  I can tell already that I will be guided and inspired by your  upcoming classes Misty. Just took this one for the  2nd time.
Chiara D
2 people like this.
Loved the first class. Controlled, strength required, slow pace but good workout. 
Thank you Misty. Great class with very specific and spot on cueing! After years of teaching I love to learn new ways to direct the body! I’ll look forward to more classes with you. (And I loved your humor!)
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