Good morning, everyone. Welcome to my studio in Whitefish, Montana. I'm Delia Buckmaster. Today is the last of the eight-part series of Level Up this summer, and I have been very fortunate and so gracious to be a part of Pilates Anytime live library this summer. And today's class is gonna be a calming mat flow.
There will be some repetitive exercises that you've might've seen in the last seven classes and maybe something new, but really we're gonna be focusing on some flexibility, mobilization, some stabilization. Some of this will be challenging. And of course, if you need a little extra, most of you know how to challenge yourselves. But hopefully by the end of the series, this class, you will feel like all of it kind of came together and your body will feel great. So I am gonna start right here where you see me standing, just to mobilize the body, it's on my feet, which is where I normally like to start.
So just reach those arms up to the sky, take a huge deep inhale breath, and then bring those arms down. And as you're moving the arms up towards the ceiling, I want you to think about your shoulders rising and positioning your head where your neck feels comfortable. So in a side view here, if my arms are coming up behind me, I wanna take my chest and my neck and head with me so that there's consistency there. Then I'm gonna bring my arms down by my side. I'm actually gonna turn around so you can see my posterior view as I grab my right wrist.
So I'm just gonna pull my right wrist down, and then look at the opposite shoulder, and look down and mobilize my neck. And this stretch feels amazing. And then I'll do the other side. I'll grab my left wrist and I'll turn to my right side, looking down at my right shoulder. And I'll interlace the fingers here and squeeze those shoulder blades together, and then move the neck around to see if there's any stiffness in the cervical spine at all.
And then another reach up to the sky and little fold over. And when you fold over, soften the knees. This is a selfish workout for me today. This is something that I really need and I don't do often. My knees are soft, my hamstrings feel the stretch.
With a tight hamstring, you don't wanna lengthen the legs all the way. That'll put pressure in the lumbar spine. And make sure to allow the neck to rest as well. So let the back of the neck release. From here, I'll roll up one vertebra at a time.
And then I'll place my hands on my hips, and I'm gonna step forward my right foot and feel the stretch in my left calf, and then return. And I'm gonna do the same leg. So it's just a very, very easy front lunge. And if you'd like, you could place your thumbs back at your multifidus muscle, which basically just low on the back by the hip. And you can feel those muscles fire if you're using your inner core correctly.
Then I'm gonna do the other side. And you can actually see there's a difference when you lunge forward that one fires better than the other. So just as a review of the last eight classes, your multifidus muscle is part of your inner core. So multifidus diaphragm, pelvic floor, transverse abdominis muscle all work together for a nice stable spine. I'm gonna alternate now, just right leg and then left leg.
And if you wanted to, you could be a little bit more dynamic. Just be nice and easy here and feel more of the stretch and the core firing than you do your heart rate coming up. And then I'll turn towards you guys on the next one. And I'll open my legs a little bit, wider toes, still pointing forward. And then I'll fold forward again, hands towards the floor, toes pointing in parallel, and then I'll slightly bend the right knee a little extra, so that my left-hand inner thigh stretches a bit.
But always be really careful, because if you do too much in the beginning, you'll overstretch. I have done that. I have pulled my inner thigh muscle, overdoing it in the beginning. So be really careful here. And then bring your feet all the way together.
And then soften the knees even more as you roll yourself all the way back up. And then just a few more reaches to the sky. Inhale breath, exhale breath, and one more. And I'm gonna have a seat on the mat, and I get to have a seat 'cause I have a high mat, but if you can come onto the floor, I'm gonna go ahead and lie on my back. So supine here with my head up against the mat, I'm the my legs, feet flat, and take my knees to one side.
And when I take my knees to one side, I'm gonna reach that arm over my head. So my knees go to my right, my arm goes overhead, and my head turns left. My left arm is long by my side. So I'm just gonna switch it and go into some spiraling action of the body. So inhale, exhale.
And again, which side the knees go to is the side that the arm reaches overhead. And then your head moves in the opposite direction. And sync a breath maybe where you normally would exhale, maybe inhale. That might give you a little bit more mobilization in your spine, a little bit more moving in the rib cage. And I'm gonna take my legs now to my right side and turn, folding my bottom arm under because I'm on a high mat.
So you can also extend your right arm long. My knees are stacked on top of each other. I'm gonna take my left arm, my free arm, and I'm gonna reach it away from me as I separate the shoulder blade from the center of the spine. Then I'll reach up to the ceiling, follow my hand with my eyes, and then I'm gonna rotate back. So I'm looking over my left shoulder.
My knees are still to the opposite side. I'll take a deep inhale breath here and reach maybe just a teeny bit further. And then my arm will come to the sky, and then I'll reach towards you all, towards that camera. So inhale, the arm comes up, exhale as I rotate and I spiral in here. Inhale breath, go a little bit further, and then bring the arm up to the sky, and then reach that arm forward.
Now a little pinwheel here. So I'm gonna take my arm overhead, behind me, follow my hand with my eyes, and then circle my arm towards my hip. So just a lot of movement into the upper back. And reach. My legs still stay stacked on top of each other.
One more time. And I'm only gonna do this in one direction. I'm going clockwise here with my arm. And then return. So from here, just to keep a little flow, I'm gonna turn to all fours.
So into a quadruped position. I'm going to have my knees under my hips and my hands under my shoulders. And I'll do a little cat-cow. So the first few cat-cow, go ahead and just move your spine however it feels comfortable. And then I'm just going to reel it in for you.
I want you to think about your flexibility in your reflection part, lean about the lower abdominals. And when you extend the spine, make sure it's about the upper part of your back. So I'll shine my chest forward on the inhale breath, and then I'll look at my thighs and tuck my hips back on my exhale breath. So that way I'm taking my spine in opposition of where it actually will naturally be. So there's always a little bit of extension in that lumbar spine if you think about a skeleton.
So take it into its opposite direction with that posterior tilt. Now hold that nice flat back, and then take your left heel and bring it towards your bottom. Take that foot to the left as you look over your left shoulder and feel how the spine moves laterally, keep that knee down, and go to the other side and follow your foot with your eyes. A little wag of the tail. This is one of those exercises that I do with clients that they are surprised that it feels so good and they love it.
Sometimes people wanna move quickly into their Pilates exercises and start to work that core, but it's really important that you think about mobilization and stabilization or those exercises can't be done correctly. Let's go to the other side. The right heel comes to the bottom. You're gonna look at the right foot and you're gonna look over on the other side. In the meantime, pay attention to your shoulders.
Make sure that you're still feeling pretty stable, even though you're doing these feel-good exercises. One more to each side, and then back to the middle. Now let's work on a little stabilization here. Hands underneath the shoulders, knees still underneath the hips. You're gonna lift your left hand off the mat and pause here.
So I just plant my left elbow and I imagine a tabletop spine. And the pressure is gonna then fall onto the right shoulder, but what I wanna make sure is that I fire some of those core muscles to be able to stabilize here with the long back. Then I'll bring that hand down, and then I'll take the other hand off. So for me, taking the right hand off is way easier than taking my left hand off the mat. And now that I know what that feeling is, I'm gonna move a little bit quicker, but I'm gonna maintain that stability in the shoulder blade.
I'm gonna flow a breath. And flowing a breath just means that you're being consistent and you're inhaling through the nose, exhaling through the mouth. And it doesn't always have to be as the book says. So if you wanna exhale where the book says inhale, just know that it may change the objective of the exercise, but it's not wrong. And continue. One more.
And then from here, one last thing on all fours for now. I'm gonna reach my right leg back behind me about the height of my hip, and I'm gonna feel the stretch at the front of my hip. And I didn't shift my body forward. So I didn't load the wrist much. As a matter of fact, I could take each hand off pretty easily without falling over.
Then I'm gonna bring the right knee under, and then I'll take the left leg back and open up the left hip. Then I'm going to legs. So inhale, reach that right leg back, exhale, bring it in, inhale, reach it back, exhale, bring it in. So one of the ways you can make Pilates a little bit more, say, restorative or calming, as the title says, is changing your mindset of what you're supposed to be feeling. So instead of me feeling the intensity of, say, my glute working, which is always where my head actually wants to go, I think about how it's opening up my hip flexor that's really tight.
So when I'm not in here, I like to bike, I like to hike, and those are all hip flexor shortening activities. So I think about opening. And my glutes gonna work anyway 'cause it's gonna have to work for you to actually extend that hip. I'll do one more on each side. And then I'll sit back in child's pose, but instead of having my arms forward, I'm gonna have my arms behind me.
And as the yogis would say, rest my third eye on the mat and allow my shoulders to round forward. Take a few breaths here. Inhale and exhale. And I know that sitting back in child's pose isn't available to everybody, but just breathe. One more, and then release that tension.
So on to the prone exercise. So onto my belly. I'm gonna go ahead and take my hands by my shoulders here, reaching the legs behind me, and I'm gonna relax everything. So I'm gonna put myself in extension. This is an exercise that I have done in just about every class in the series.
So hands are by the shoulders, eyes lift, crown of the head to the ceiling, and I'm gonna find extension, but I'm not gonna find a cobra or up dog. I'm just gonna come into an extension where the lower part of my back feels this position. And I'm gonna lower slowly onto the mat. My eyes lift on the inhale, and I push up on the exhale. And I keep looking up as long as possible until I lower my nose to the mat.
And I like to do a two-breath pattern with this one because I feel like it slows me down. And that's another thing. Putting in more inhales and exhales in there, as long as you're not hyperventilating, is going to slow down your movement 'cause you got to get all those breaths in. Make sure that you're not causing tension into the shoulders to stretch the front of the body. There are very few people who don't like this one that I've worked with.
Most people have really loved this and it's so simple. And again, even though it looks like a swan, it was given to me by a physical therapist when I was struggling with my sacrum. Just two more. Inhale to lift it up, exhale. And you'll feel those triceps working, which is awesome.
One more time. Inhale breath, and then exhale. And then I'm gonna release back down. I'm gonna flip over to my back and place my arms by my side. So I'm supine here, anatomically speaking, I'm gonna take my right leg up to a tabletop position and point my right toe.
From here, I'm just gonna take my fingers, my thumb onto my ribs and my four fingers onto my hips, just to measure that distance. And then I'm gonna do little toe taps here with my right toe. My right knee stays stable. In other words, it's the same 90-degree angle. My movement is coming from the hip joint.
And what's nice about this is you could the stabilization here of your lumbopelvic region that's staying nice and steady. And what you don't wanna do is when you feeling weak in certain places of your body is to go too guarded. You wanna do about 80% of your workout to where feels good and you can do it, and then push yourself about the 20%, but don't go to any kind of injury. We're gonna try the other side. Left leg up, and I'm just gonna toe tap down.
Lower, lift, lower, lift. I'm not counting 'cause mainly what I like to do is just move until I really feel something working. And since we're not loading weight, a few repetitions on one side more than the other is not going to a difference here. And then I'm gonna take my legs up to tabletop. And this is gonna be just a little bit more challenging.
So I'm just gonna dip one toe down at a time, and then I'm gonna take my arms by my side to relax my shoulders as I move through my legs. And I'm not gonna go any quicker. You are welcome to go quicker at home if you'd like to change kind of the essence of this workout, but I'm gonna stay here and really focus on my inner core. Take it down, down, down. One more on each side, and then I'm gonna bring my legs up to tabletop, squeezing those thighs together, taking my arms a little bit wider for a little support, and I'm gonna go into a supine spine twist.
The legs are gonna come to the right. My left shoulder will stay down. My left ribs will spiral with my legs and my legs are glued together. So if you look over in your peripheral vision, you'll see that the knees are glued. Then I'll bring it back to the middle.
Then I'll take it over to the other side. And back to the center. Back of my head is pressing into the mat. And what that does is it keeps my neck in neutral, is what it's doing. It actually releases some of the tuck neck tension that I have at the top of my neck.
And also, as a teacher and teaching all day, I'm looking down, but I also favor sports where I look down. The bike. And also, when you hike, you have to look down or you'll trip. So I'd like to focus on my neck whenever I get an opportunity. One more.
Now I'm gonna take it all the way over to the right side and pause here for a moment. Let the legs drop, the feet drop, feel that stretch. Maybe even look over the opposite shoulder. And then I'll take my legs back to the top. So I work my abs do that and I take it over to the other side, and I spiral just like we did in the very beginning, give myself a little stretch there.
My feet are now flat on the mat. I'm gonna prepare for some hip rolls. My arms are long by my side. Before you get started on the hip rolls, can you draw the shoulders up to your ears, and then release them? So you feel a little gliding of the shoulder blades on your back.
This is a little elevation and depression of the shoulder, a little bitter with the sweet. And while you're doing that, pay attention. Do your shoulders lift and round forward or do they glide easily? A healthy shoulder blade should feel lubricated on your back. Now I'm gonna set my shoulders, push my palms down, and think about the base of my shoulders for something inverted, which is just the beginning of anything inverted would be bridging.
I'll tilt my pelvis back, just using my inhale breath. And on my exhale breath, I'm gonna roll my spine up one vertebra at a time until I find my bridge. Make sure that your eyes are towards the ceiling. So the head and neck stay in neutral. And then you wanna make sure that you're not so high that you're trying to squeeze your glutes and you're not thinking, again, about something that feels better than just the tightening of the glutes.
I want you to think about the opening of the hips. And if this does not feel comfortable to you, you need to roll yourself down, reset your feet, preferably in parallel, and then roll yourself all the way back up, pressing the palms into the floor. From here, we are gonna do some hip rolls. You are gonna go one vertebra at a time. And as you roll yourself down, you should feel your knees staying steady towards your feet.
Tilt your pelvis back, roll yourself all the way up, find that stretch, and opening the front of the body. And I'm gonna use this as also an excuse to push the palms into the floor of the mat and feel the widen in the collarbone. And I try to really pay attention to what's going on with my spine as I roll up and down. Now we're gonna roll down one side. So I want you to roll back up to the top.
Do not rotate. Just shift the weight towards the right side of the spine and see if you can roll down on that side, touch the right hip down, touch the left hip down, and then roll up on your left side, and come back to center. Then we'll go left. Now, if the knees are moving, that's totally fine. They're adjusting.
As long as you're understanding the movement of the pelvis and the spine, it doesn't matter what your knees are doing. And this just gives you a little awareness. Some spines one side of the spine is more stiff than the other. We're not, as a human population, even. And then back to the top.
Unless you're a little kid, a little baby. We kind of screw ourselves up as we get older. Where I'm gonna do one more. I'm gonna go to my left side and roll up, and then I'm gonna roll down the right side of my spine. And I might've just reversed that on you, but you guys understand what we're trying to accomplish there.
Then I'm gonna extend both legs out, squeeze the inner thighs together to just form a little tension in the inner thighs. Then I'm gonna reach my arms over my head. I'm gonna open up my ribs. And from here, I'll start to flex my ankle, so I bring the energy towards the front of my body, and literally I'm arching my lower back and I open up through the rib cage. Now I'm gonna bring my fingertips together and bring them slightly up off the mat.
So I want you to put thumb to thumb, forefinger to forefinger, middle finger to middle finger, et cetera, push into it, and really breathe really big as though you're trying to get as much air into your lungs as you can or you want somebody to go in there and massage inside your rib cage. And take a few breaths here and focus on the inhale breath, really expanding the ribs. And then maybe bend the knees just a teeny bit and push the heels into the mat a little bit, freeing a little bit of awareness into that sacrum. You should feel tension in the lower part of your body and an opening in the upper part of your body. And then go ahead and relax everything back down.
Let's take the fingertips, interlace them behind your head and pull your elbows up so that you see them in your peripheral vision. From here, lift the head and shoulders up and look at your toes. This is going to engage your abdominals 'cause your in flexion here. But what I want you to do is I want you to press the weight of your head into your hands, so that you feel that stretch, and then it will help you lift your upper body up. And I want you to hold it here.
Taking a deep inhale breath and exhale breath. Now you should be shaking. But what I want you to think about is the upper back finding as much mobility and flexion as possible, and the neck and shoulders be consistent with that. And because your legs are extended, you can point or flex your feet. Whatever feels comfortable to you.
But because your legs are extended, it makes it a little bit harder to press that lower back into the mat, which makes it a little bit harder to lift and flex the spine. So if this is uncomfortable for you, please bend your knees and see if you can get up a little bit higher. I'm gonna stay here for one more breath. Inhale, and then exhale. And I'll lower myself all the way down.
Take your right knee into your chest, hold onto that shin, and flex that ankle, getting that knee as close to your chest as possible to stretch your hip. When you do that, pay attention to what's happening with your left leg. So if your left leg, the knee starts to bend or the hip starts to tilt, then maybe you're overdoing it on that right side. I want you to remember that 80/20 rule with your body. 80% what you can do with, 20% just to challenge yourself.
That's also my rule as a teacher. So from here, I'm gonna lift my head and shoulders up, keeping that knee to chest, and then using my hands as my extra little hip flexor here. And I'm just gonna breathe into this. And while I'm breathing into this, I'm gonna feel that stretch in my hip, I'm gonna feel the anchoring of my left leg, I'm gonna feel my abdominals working, I'm gonna feel the flection of my upper part of my back. And nod that shin, so that way you work the front muscles of your neck, the neck flexors there.
Breathe in through the nose, out of the mouth. Then I'm gonna extend the leg to the ceiling, lower your head and shoulders down, grab the back of your hamstring, and point and flex your ankle, gaining mobility there at the ankle. My hamstring has been so tight on my right side I actually feel it all the way to my heel. So it's resonated all the way up. So I like to do this exercise to try to get that to move around.
And then I'm gonna lift my head up here and start to walk up my legs, see if I can grab a little bit higher, point my toe, feel the stretch, and then walk down my leg like a monkey climbing the tree. Let's do that again. Nod the chin. Give it a little stretch here. Pull yourself up. Again, when you're pulling your leg, try not to hike that hip up too much, lower yourself back down, because basically what you're doing if you're hiking you're hip up is you are working into your lower back too much. And then walk yourself down.
Now bend that knee, place that right heel onto your thigh of your other leg, and then put your left hand onto the right knee, at the outside of the right knee, and then give yourself a little stretch. Pull here. And then the leg is gonna fall to the right, and I'm just gonna let my foot fall as I open up that hip and make almost like a figure-four with my legs. Now extend that right leg and do it all on the other side. So my right ankle is flexed.
I'm gonna bring my left knee in. I'm gonna feel that stretch. My left ankle is flexed to pull that energy towards me. My head and shoulders come up, and I'm gonna give myself a little stretch here and pull. This is very similar to a single leg stretch, except you're actually doing the stretch part of the exercise.
Hold it. And then I'm gonna roll back, and then extend the leg, grab onto the hamstring, and then point and flex that foot. A little bit better on this side for me, Then I'm gonna walk up my leg, climb a tree here, a monkey on the branch, holds, and walk myself down. And I'll do it again. Nod the chin, work the front of the neck, lift myself up, stretch it out, and lower down.
I do not remember what I did on the other side, how many repetitions, but I'm gonna do it one more time. Lift it up and stretch and hold. Now point both your feet. Good. And then lower yourself down here. Take that left heel, bring it up against the thigh, put my hand on the outside of that left knee to stretch that IT band out a bit in my glute.
And then I'm gonna take it and open it up to the other side. Open up that hip. Extend your legs nice and long, point your toes. We are gonna do a little hundred here today. So reach the arms up overhead, and then let's leave the legs down on the mat and just focus on the upper part of the body and pump those arms.
Inhale, two, three, four, five. Exhale, two, three, four, five. Now that we've mobilized a little bit in the hips, upper back, you should be able to lift a little bit higher. Make sure to nod that chin. Inhale and exhale breath.
Inhale, two, three, four, five. Is anybody counting? Three, four, five. Inhale two, four, five. Exhale, two, three, four, 60.
We'll go with that. And exhale, two, three, four, 70. Inhale. Exhale, two, three, four, 80. Inhale. Continue to nod that chin. Keep looking at your toes.
This is your final one. I want you to grab your legs, please, and then pull yourself up to a seated position, reaching for your toes. We are gonna also do a roll up. So we're gonna do it nice and slow, rolling through your spine and reaching your arms overhead. The arms come up, the head nods, you flex, and you use your hands, if you need to, to pull yourself up gently.
I'm hoping that with the last few exercises that you're mobilizing a little bit more in the back. It's cause a roll up has a lot to do with that lower back flexibility as you're going up and down. And again. Roll it up. And lower back to the mat. This is gonna be your last one.
Arms come up, head and shoulders rise. You follow your fingertips forward. And then when you can here at the top, just go ahead and flex over the legs. And when you flex your ankles, you'll notice a big difference in flexibility. It's a little harder with that hamstring lengthening out there.
Now keep your toes pointing towards you as you sit up nice and tall, and let's go into a little spine twist 'cause it always feels good. Make sure to bend your knees if your hamstrings are tight because that hamstring is gonna pull that sitz bone and go in put your posterior tilt. So I'm gonna bend my knees just because it feels good today. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna take my hands behind my head for the spine twist, so that way I can press my head into my hands and find length of the back of my neck. With just the upper body, please turn your upper body to the right.
And stay there and make sure that your feet haven't moved, and come back to the center. And then over to the other side. Make it a nice inhale breath. Now, the inhale breath is important in this one because by inhaling, you're actually able to rotate just a little bit further back to center. Inhale to the left, exhale.
And again. And back to the middle. One more. And back to center, and then fold yourself forward, and then release. Take your feet to a flat position on the mat, knees bent, grab your hamstrings, and just roll back the length of the arms. Once you're back here in your half roll back, go ahead and hold on to hose legs.
Let the shoulders round forward. Sometimes I like to tell my clients to unpilates their body sometimes because just a little bit too much thought hinders mobility. So just think about stretching the shoulder blades and the neck is consistent. From here, just release that right arm and continue to hold with the left as you reach back and rotate, and then touch the hand down towards the mat to open up that shoulder. Bring that arm forward, and then grab that leg.
The left arm comes up, you rotate, you drop that arm, and you bring it back. Now, what you're doing by holding on to the leg is you're giving your body a little bit of support. And what you're doing by breathing inhale as you rotate is you're giving your body an opportunity to move a little bit more in rotation. And by touching the hand down, you're mobilizing the shoulder. So instead of just keeping it out at shoulder height, can you move your arm while still in rotation?
Because that's a test to see if you're locking anything out. And we're gonna do one more on each side. So the half roll back with rotation, adding a little bit of that mobilization of the shoulder, touching to the mat. One more time. I'm continuously working my abs, touching the mat, bringing the arms forward, and then stretching the legs forward, reaching for the feet.
Go ahead and open up the legs about the width of your shoulders this time, going into a spine stretch. Now the knees, again, can bend if you have tight hamstrings. Arms out in front, palms face each other. As though you're on a wall, nod your chin, round forward. And I want you to think about reaching the hands forward towards the feet as you reach the lower back behind you, as though your knees or the edge of a building.
And I use that analogy a lot. Sit up nice and tall. Inhale, nod the chin, stoop the abdominals in, and stretch. And then back up. This is called a spine stretch, not a hamstring stretch.
So I want you to really think about the upper and middle back. And then please allow the shoulders to rise as well. So nod the chin and flex forward. Allow the shoulders to rise, so that you can gain that mobility. We're gonna add a little extension.
Nod the chin, flex forward. Let's pull the thumbs to the ceiling as we open up our chest and look up towards the sky to find extension. Flex over your legs with your upper middle back, and then find your sitz bones to sit up nice and tall. Also finding your postural muscles. Nod your chin as you flex, navel to the spine, fingertips reach to the feet.
Thumbs reach to the ceiling, you lift, and you open the front body. You exhale, you open the back body, and then you sit up nice and tall, shoulders lie center on your back. One more time as you exhale to flex, reaching those hands forward. Inhale, the arms lift. Exhale, you flex forward, and then inhale, you sit up.
Now take your hands to the side, palms face down. Maintain that same seated position. With this one, I'm on a high mat, so I'm gonna touch the side of my high mat. You guys touch the mat or the floor. I'm gonna take my right hand to the side, push up against the floor or the side of your high mat, and really reach your left arm out to the side.
So I'm laterally flexing, keeping my left arm long, coming back up. So I'm using the resistance of my hand to really emphasize side breathing here. So exhale as you come up, inhale as you side stretch, exhale as you come up, inhale as you side stretch. Again, using that palm to the floor, but try not to lift that shoulder to the ear. So you're promoting really good mobility in your back and also consistency in your neck and your shoulders.
You're gonna go one more time. Inhale and up, and exhale. Inhale and exhale. Toe aligned on my right side. Now I'm gonna fold my bottom arm under, taking my knees to a stacked position.
We were here in the beginning for a little mobility work, and now we're gonna work on our hips. So with spinal mobility, now we'll work on our hip mobility. So my knees are where I could see them out in front of me and I'm lined up with my mat. So use your mat is like a little measuring stick here. And then I'm gonna take my left leg, reach it away from me, and I'm gonna imagine that somebody has taken my leg or my ankle and pulled it away.
So I'm actually feeling my femur pull away from my hip socket. With a flexed ankle, I'm gonna bring that leg forward as far as I can to feel the hamstring stretching. And then I'm gonna focus on the abdominals to see if I can get it a little bit further. Then I'll point my toe, follow that hip line back, and open up my hip. Again, I'm at a little disadvantage here, an advantage by holding onto the side of the mat.
It's been kind of nice up on the high mat. Exhale, and then inhale. And you'll do that again. Exhale, pull. Again, just as a reminder, you can move quicker with these exercises, you can change the position of your stability leg, the position of your upper body if you wanna turn this from a calming mat workout to an intense mat workout. It's completely up to you.
But hopefully all of these little movements will give you aha moments in your head while you're doing these exercises. As we take it slower, inhale back, and then exhale. I'm gonna do that one more time. I'm gonna bring it forward. And then this time I'm gonna it forward, then I'm gonna circle up, back, and around, and I'm going to make that I can move, or the foot moves in a lateral rotation.
So it allows me a little bit more mobility. This doesn't mean I'm not working harder; it's just gonna work different muscles. And sometimes it's really nice to be able to have that freedom of the hip to move around that greater trochanter bone of your hip. Let's rotate. Let's go the other direction. Sorry, let's reverse, not rotate, but come back up and back.
I do feel my glute working. So I'm focusing on my left hip moving back to open up and stretch, but that's gonna work my glute. And I'm visually thinking about that hip being a pivot. So it's moving around that socket. One more time, and then return.
Stack those knees on top of each other, and then put yourself up into a side bend position or mermaid, bringing your hands to your shin, opposite arm up, and then give yourself a little stretch. And then let's bring that forearm down to the mat, stack the left foot on top of the right foot, and let's just do a nice easy side plank or side bend. Lift the hips off the mat, reach the arm up, lift the hips towards the ceiling, look towards your right elbow to form a little arch with your back, and then come back down and release that tension. I'm just gonna follow my hand with my eyes, so that I have some movement in my neck as well. And I actually really like to do my side bends this way 'cause I could focus on the stretchy part as well.
It's not just holding myself up with my shoulder. Just two more. Lift it up. One more time. Lift it all the way up, and then back to that little side mermaid stretch. And then this time I'm gonna drop my back hip so that I can look towards my folded legs and reach my arm away from me at a diagonal.
So I'm reaching for the corner of that mat, pressing my hips down, feeling a huge stretch from my QL all the way up to my armpit. And then I'm gonna release. And I'm just gonna fold to the other side. So the left hip comes down for me, my left arm folds under my neck and head, and then my knees stack on top of each other. So from here, my right leg extends long, again, pulling that femur out of the hip a little, flexing that ankle, bringing that leg forward, stretching that hamstring, and then coming back and stretching that hip flexor.
Make the adjustments you need. So if you feel like your bottom leg isn't in the right place, put it in the right place. Relax your neck. Sometimes people will lift up their head and I always reminds me of the "Titanic" when Rose was getting her portrait painted. (laughs) So I say, don't give me the "Titanic" pose, just relax your head, and then bring it back and do it again. Exhale breath, inhale breath.
One more time. Let's bring that like forward. Flex that ankle, then point the toe, and you're gonna give me those big leg circles. Take it forward, and then open it up. As long as you're not putting pressure onto your lower back, allow the hip to move. Give yourself a little freedom when you're doing anything that's gonna calm the body.
Don't get me so restrictive in movement, but stay safe, always stay safe and always know why you're doing something. Know the why. If the why is it just feels good, then go with it. One more time. Inhale, exhale. Now let's reverse this. I'm gonna take it back.
Feel the glute. Remember, I'm allowing my leg to turn laterally, so that I can move through that greater trochanter a little bit with more with ease. And then bring it back. Inhale breath, exhale. That feels so good. Hand forward. Two more.
One more. Feel that mobility. Let's stack those legs on top of each other. And then sit up for a little side mermaid stretch, bringing that arm up, feeling the opening of the left rib cage. Now let's bring that forearm down, my right leg stacks over my left at the ankle, and I lift myself up to a little side bend.
Look down at my elbow here, so I get a little arch, and then I'll return with control. Inhale as I lift up, open, exhale to return. And continue. Reach and flex. We'll do this two more times. Oh, that feels great.
One more. You're gonna lift it up. Inhale breath, and then exhale to return. I'll sit up, place my hands on my shins again. This time I'm gonna go into that side bend or mermaid, and I'm gonna drop my back hip and really reach that arm in opposition towards that front corner and I'm gonna breathe. Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth.
Continue. Inhale breath and exhale. One more as I stretch and open the ribs, feel that amazing stretch at my hip, and then I'll come all the way back up. And now that we've gained a little bit more mobility and rotation, I'm gonna have you lie supine on the mat, interlace the fingers behind your head. And then from here, take your right leg up to a tabletop position. Let's keep the right elbow down, lift the left elbow up, and rotate towards that right side, giving me an inhale breath to do so.
And then lower yourself back to the mat. We're gonna keep that side. You're gonna rotate, inhale breath, feel that stretch. So we've mobilized the spine quite a bit in spiral motions, gained a little bit of that mobility in the rib cage. So if you are tight in the neck or shoulders, a lot of times, or you have any shoulder injury, lower back, a lot of times it has to do with the middle back not doing its job.
And that was my problem. I didn't have enough mobilization, which was actually offensive as a Pilates instructor. Two things I've been told: the front of my neck muscles aren't strong and that I'm not moving my middle back enough. And I was in shock. And I think it's what you do for other people sometimes you just don't do for yourself.
Go ahead and bring the left leg up, and then rotate. But I also do think that a lot of that had to do with me having too much restriction in movement, too much stabilizing and control with the body and not allowing just some natural things to happen with the skeletal system and muscular system of our body. And also the nervous system, which I'm not really good at. It's not my forte, right? Elbow up, inhale breath, exhale to lower.
Two more times. Lift it up, inhale, and exhale breath. And one more. Lift it up and rotate, and then take it back and release down, placing the foot down. And then we're gonna lift it back up and do your bridging.
So I want you to lift up when you're bridging, and now we're gonna think more about stabilization, which will work your glutes a little bit. So press the back of your head into the mat again. Arms are down by your side. And then this time, what I'd like for you to do is I want you to think about just hinging at the hips, dropping the bottom of towards the mat, so it almost feels as though you're gonna pick up pencils right at your gluteal fold. Arms are long by your side.
And just another story here since I always have plenty of stories, but the glute can be a very lazy muscle. And it's very lazy because we sit on it a lot. We don't walk in the right gait to make those muscles work. We have really tight hip flexors, so the glutes can't work in extension. So I want you to really think about those glutes and work them, even if you're doing something restorative or something calming, just like we're trying to do today.
Think about just firing those glutes. It just makes your gait and sitting on your feet way better. Now I want you to lift the hips up and pause, continue to press the back of the head into the mat, just drop your right hip down towards the mat and lift it up, and then your left. And now what you're doing is you're thinking about the spiraling motion from the ribs to the hips. And the knees will follow with you, the feet will follow, but now your upper body is nice and quiet as you continue to mobilize.
But you need to make sure that the movement is also happening from the ribs and not just the lumbar spine. That's really important. And then lower, lift, lower, lift. We're gonna do one more on each side. And then roll yourself down one vertebra at a time.
And let's extend the legs long and flip onto the belly again. So once you're onto your belly, take your arms to the side in that W position, and then let's press the hips down into the mat, press the tops of the feet into the mat, and then take your arms to a hover. Looking down at your mat, really squeeze those shoulder blades together. And I want you to think about breathing really big in here. And sometimes creating tension makes the release of that tension feel that much better.
So just breathe. Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth. You should not be looking at me on the screen. You should be looking at your mat. You should feel the length of your spine.
You're basically in a tall spine here. Even though this might feel like you're extended, you're actually long. If I picked you up and put you on your feet, you'd just be standing straight. So inhale through the nose, exhale. Make sure those hands stay in your peripheral vision as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Now, staying here, if you can maintain this position here, curl your toes under and allow your knees to rest onto the mat. Maybe even squeeze the knees together only if you can keep those hips down, and then see if you can breathe here. Inhale. Now you don't have that anchoring system at the lower half of your body, and you really gotta work on the upper half of your body to find that extension. It makes a big difference.
Inhale and exhale. Part of recovering is realizing what needs to relax or calm or recover. So it's nice to find those bits and parts of the body that need that work. One more time. And then from here, relax the feet, push the hands down, and find that extension again, lifting your eyes up and pausing here.
Deep inhale, exhale breath. Inhale and exhale. From here, I'm gonna have you curl your toes under, and you're gonna lift up to your plank position and hold that plank for a moment. Hands underneath your shoulders, knees underneath your hips. If this doesn't resonate with you today, let's just go ahead and drop the knees, but continue to hold this position with your shoulders.
And what I'm gonna do is just shift my feet forward and back to really try to think about where the center of my spine is. The center of the core, the belly button, the pulling into the transverse abdominal muscles, the multifidus muscles working in synchronicity with my transverse. My pelvic floor pulled up, my mobility of my ankles, my strength of my shoulders, my ability to keep my head in line with my spine. I'm gonna keep this position here, and then lift up into a pike, dropping the heels down. Hold this here.
Breath in through the nose, out through the mouth. And I want you to think about an upside down teaser, which I've actually said in one of my other classes. So I want you to lift onto the balls of your seat, pull your abdominals in, and push into the palm of your hand to try to create a teaser to where you're actually using your abdominals here and you're lining your arms up just forward of your eyes. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, and then release that tension, heels back to the mat. Do that again.
Lift the heel up, pull the abdominals in, push into the palm of the hand. Again, feel how your abs work here to release any tension in your hip flexors. They have to work together. And then lower yourself down. Now take that right leg up towards the ceiling to open up that hip.
Hold that arabesque position, and then shift that right foot between the hands, dropping the back knee down, and pausing here for that stretch. Shoulders are back. Extend that right leg so that you can move and mobilize a hamstring, and then bend that knee. So you're moving in from extension of that right leg and flexion of that knee. And then curl the toe under, and then see if you can hover right above the leg.
So see if you can release your arms and feel the weight of your body onto your right leg. This is not your traditional Pilates exercises, but what it's doing is it's bringing awareness to muscles that you need to use to stand on your feet so that your back has less pressure. So your quads are working here, your glute is working, your abdominals are pulled in. And we created that feeling, that pulling up feeling with the teaser, upside down teaser. Oh, almost fell over on a high mat. Dangerous.
And then bring the hands down to the mat. And then you'll step back to your plank and lift up to your pike or upside down teaser, find it with your high heel, and then release it, taking the left leg up to the sky, shift that foot forward, bring the right knee to the mat, and then go into that hamstring stretch and bend and extend. And you'll also, which I did not point out on the other side, you will feel that hip flexor stretching. And then let's curl that back toe under, and again, find that hover. So you wanna find that weight on your foot, and then see the difference here.
If it was easier for you to balance on the other side or this side, then when you're on your feet, it's no different. Something's gonna be working harder than the other, one side. And I want you to hold it here. Look at your feet. Don't crunch those toes up. Keep them spread wide.
The whole unit from the knee down is working. From the need of the hip has a different job. It's releasing that tension in your lower back, pulling those abdominals in. Now hands to the floor and step your right foot forward. And then hold it here in this folded over position, roll yourself all the way up, and we're gonna hold a little squat or what would be considered in yoga a bit of a chair pose.
So I'm gonna maintain that side view for you. Bend my knees, arms are out in front, and then I want you to push evenly into your feet. Just evenly, toes pointing forward, shoulders out in front. Do not bring those arms over the shoulders where you feel tension. Think of your body as a muscular system.
Think of the joints of the wrist, the elbows and knees. I went back. I was gonna work my way down. I went already to knees, but the shoulders, the spine, the hips, the knees, and the feet. Way, way easier to understand than the muscular system.
And then pushing evenly through your feet, stand all the way up, and then go to bring the hands behind your back. If you feel dizzy, please march in place 'cause the blood distributes and makes you dizzy. And then open up the shoulders here and move your neck around, just like we did in the beginning. And then take those arms forward and back, and give me circles now, mobilizing the shoulders. And as your arms come back, allow the freedom of extension and reach.
Don't over hold your abs and it's really hard to extend. If you're tightening that transverse, it's not gonna allow for that extension. So just gently have awareness there, reverse those circles, mobilizing the shoulders, remembering that without the shoulders and the ribs and the upper part of your body and the neck, they need to move together, if one of them doesn't move with the other, you're gonna cause some issues in your lumbar spine. And then one more here. We're gonna reach up to the sky and complete the final completion of the eight class series.
You're gonna bend your knees, cross your arms out in front, and then lift yourself up a few times, just so you can mobilize all of the joints of your body, taking that energy, taking out the bad energy, tossing it up, getting rid of it, and pulling that good energy back into your body for four, three, two, and one, I'm gonna step off of the mat, so I can come to eye level. And that is the last class of the Level Up series. Eight parts. I hope you enjoyed it. The first class had a lot to do with some of the foundations of Pilates, and then we've added some variation all the way through.
And today was more of just kind of bringing everything back to center, mind-body connection, gaining mobility if you didn't already have it, and also stability and awareness of your core. Thank you so much. I hope to see you again really soon.