Class #4763

Mat with Towel

40 min - Class
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Learn how you can use a towel to challenge and assist you with this creative Mat workout by Blossom Leilani Crawford. She shows how you can use this common household item for support in movements like Chest Lift while also using it to increase the intensity of other movements like Side Kicks. She also adds fun variations to challenge your abdominals like Kathy Grant Laterals, Figure 8 Teasers, and much more!
What You'll Need: Mat, Towel

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Hi, I'm Blossom Leilani Crawford. Thank you for joining me on Pilates Anytime, here with my friend, Caroline Frisella. Exactly. She's like, hello. We are going to do a mat class today with a good old fashioned towel.

This is my very fancy towel from Japan. I don't know why I'm using this one, but you know, a tea towel works, just any sort of towel, it can be a little shorter than this and let's just get started, shall we? So, when you are ready, have... This is going to sound funny, but you're just going to do... We're going to open up this towel here.

I actually think the light's better this way. So, have a seat that way. So, we're going to open up the towel facing that way, correct and I'm going to make, yeah... No, sit in front of the towel. So, this towel's very long.

So, you just want to make sure that that towel's hitting you at that sort of mid-back department. So, lie down on your back. You actually could sit on that towel I think. This is long enough. Yeah.

Good. Oh, that's perfect. Now, grab onto the corners of the towel, the sort of back corners, yeah. So, right now, Caroline has just a little bit of space, a couple of inches of towel right above her head. So, maybe scoot down a touch.

It might give you just a little bit. Perfect. That looks great. Okay and knees bent is fine. Yeah, feet flat on the floor.

So, grab onto the corners of the towel and she is gently pulling the towel open and she likes to break in her wrists a little bit, but she's going to think a little more knuckles up so that she's got one long line, she's checking it out. Inhale, do nothing. As you exhale, lift your head up, look toward those knees. Yeah. Just hold here.

Now, if you can, can you just let your head fall back into the... Yeah. And just feel the belly deepen, you feel that connection. And on the next exhale, you're going to just slowly, almost tuck the chin, press the head back in the towel and rest your head down. Let's do that a couple more times.

So, I really love this head lift, especially if you are the kind of person who almost over does the chin to the chest, because when you relax that head, and then come up a little bit higher from the ribcage, you really feel your belly. So, let's do it one more time. Big head lift. Even higher, even higher, yeah. Let your head fall back into the towel and then from there, come up higher.

There's the abdominal connection. And then on the next exhale, you rest your head down. Let's leave that alone for a hot second, bring your hands down by your sides and adjust your feet so that they're a little closer to you. Right. So, without shifting in the pelvis, just think of relaxing the lower leg and bring one knee deeply into your chest.

That's it, really bring it in, really bring it in, really bring it in and take it down. Do that a few more times. So, this is what Cathy Grant would call a knee fold. Do the same leg a few times. It's a simple knee fold.

So, you're hopefully seeing how Caroline's pelvis isn't rotating. She's really using her abdominals while she brings that leg up and down and then she's gonna now do the other legs. So, you know, in pilates, when you, with this warm up, it starts very simply and then it's going to get harder, I promise. So, if you're sort of going, well, this is easy, I'll make it harder, I promise. And when you're ready, one knee into your chest, Caroline, stay here.

As this leg comes down, bring the other leg up. So now we're going to start making it a little bit harder. Flex the feet for me and just tap those heels, yeah. Now, Caroline is able to get her heel all the way down, awesome. If you're not, don't you worry about it.

Exactly. And with both knees into your chest, keep the knees into your chest, let's put it all together. She's going to grab onto her towel and when you're ready, give me a big inhale and as you exhale, lift your head up. Yes, stay right here. Keeping the head...

Now, really hold onto that towel. That's right. Can you lower both legs down and up a few times? Exactly. Head falls, deep curl of the belly, just do that a few more times.

Yeah. Two more. Exhale, yes. Take your time, find that deep belly connection. Yeah, you've got one more to go.

Really bring the knees into your chest. Let go of that towel. Pull really tight. Let go of that towel. She's like, thank goodness.

And pull in tight and rest your head down for a moment and breathe. Exciting. All right. So, from here, let's get off the towel for a second. So, come off the towel.

Now, you're going to take the towel and kind of roll it up into a log for lack of a... I mean, there's lots of nice ways to do it, but you're just... Exactly. So, from here, you're going to sneak that underneath your head, if that makes sense, and kind of underneath the hairline and you want to hold on close-ish, not too far away, because remember, yeah, maybe even closer. Exactly. And then lie back down on your back one more time.

So, sometimes people prefer doing a head lift with the towel like so, so you could also lift your head up this way, yes, and when you can, bend those knees and can you do those knee folds yet one more time? Let the knees open slightly, Caroline. Exactly. And you don't have to put the feet down, but that's the goal. Excellent.

So, hopefully now you're making a mental note of what head lift you like better and you'll do that one the next time. All right. So, when you can, put your feet down, remove the towel out from underneath your head. You're going to extend the arms over head, extend those legs forward along the mat and let your head rest down for a moment and stretch and maybe even hold on closer, so that when you hold on, you don't want to be too wide, exactly. With a gentle pull out of the towel, try not to break in the wrist, you're going to bring those arms back and go for a nice stretch. Here we go.

Bring your arms up to the ceiling and hold, gently pulling on the towel. Lift your head up. Give me a big exhale and hold right there. See that next wrinkle of your shirt? You come up, count to 10.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Next spot. Come up a little bit. One, two, three, four. Now, from here, really lift up and fully count to 10.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Go all the way forward. Drop that head, huge stretch. Roll backwards, press those legs together. Lie all the way down.

Let's do that one more time. Reaching back, go for that nice big stretch, and again, arms up to the ceiling, hold. Lift your head up. Give me a big exhale. Come up to the next wrinkle.

One, two, three, four, five. You've got it. Two more spots. She's really counting. Use that breath to exhale.

Use those numbers and go all the way forward. Exhale, exhale, exhale. Stay here, Caroline. Let your hands rest on the outside of your legs. Stay holding onto the towel and just draw a circle with the nose.

Just easy circle. And circle in the other direction. And when you're ready, lower about halfway down and hold. Let's play around a little bit. So, from here, let's go rowing into the chest, reach the arms up, sit up, go forward, drop your head.

Do that two more times. Bend those elbows like you're shaving off the front of those legs. Go up and over. Drop the head. Two more like that.

Bend those elbows wide up and over. And how low you go is sort of up to you. You decide when your body goes, that's it, that's hers. Up, drop your head. Let's reverse it.

Come up to sitting up tall, reach up to the ceiling, right there. Reach up to the ceiling, hold on, Caroline, that's it. Now, she's going to lean back a little bit, bend those elbows. Oh, that's a little harder, exactly. Two more times.

Sit up tall, lean back, bend those elbows. Shove, shove that towel forward. Last time, reach up. I know, all the etiquette's gone. That's it, go forward, drop your head.

Huge stretch for one last time. Scoot forward a little bit, Caroline, before you lie down and then when you're ready, lie down and let's just use this towel to get a great hamstring stretch. One leg up to the ceiling. I prefer you use your tighter, you stretch your tighter leg first and we're really going to get your... See how she's got the towel at the ball of her foot?

That's what you really want. So, when you're ready, you're going to bend and straighten that leg a few times. If your hamstring is really tight, you could bend this knee, right? You could just keep it like here, but if you're fine like Caroline is, you can straighten that leg. Now, stay here.

I really want you to fully straighten this leg, yes. Do you feel that? Now, keeping that leg straight, do a micro-bend, micro-bend. That's all it is. And straighten the leg again.

Now, let's play around and use the towel to manipulate our leg. You're going to pull down on the big toe side of the foot, so the sole of the foot faces in, the knee will spiral out, you feel all that? And let's just take the leg gently across the body. Don't pull with all your might. And come back to center.

From here, let's pull and pull down on the baby toe side of the foot, so now her sole of her foot is going out, her knee is going slightly in and now she goes across the body, right? So, it's like she's internally rotated, yeah. This one's spicy for her. There's going to be one that's more spicy for you than the other, and now, let's do a combo of both. Bend the knee a little bit and hold.

So, stay here. So, Caroline, you're going to think of externally spiraling the thigh a little bit, yes. Push the big toe up against it. So, she's got big toe pushing up, but thigh spiraling open. That's the look I'm looking for. Now, straighten the leg with that in mind.

Yes. So, that's when you can use that pulling on the sides of the towel, so really straighten the leg. Yes, and now go across the body, sticking your tush out and keeping that butt down on the mat. You feel that? Two more breaths, just staying there.

So, butt down, thigh spirals out, big toe pushes up. Excellent. From here, let go of the towel and just hold onto the leg with your hands if you can, right? And lift your head up and give yourself a big stretch. Yeah.

And just stay here, breathe. Okay. Tips of the shoulder blades are flirting with the floor, good. Really pressing straight in this leg. Stay here.

Stick your tushy out. You're getting a huge hamstring stretch. Breathe. Then hover this leg a little bit off the ground, yes. Stay here, keep the shoulder blades where they are.

Can you get the rest of the C shapes fine by pulling on this leg and almost curling your sacrum up off the ground. So, pull this leg towards you so much that the sacrum... That's it, but keep that leg straight, keep that leg straight, yeah. So, I want you to curl your butt up. Yes, that's what I'm looking for.

Are your shoulder blades still where they were? Yes, one more breath. Stick your butt out and get that leg back. So, stick your tush out and lower the pelvis back down. So you can really feel the difference between those two scissor the legs to change sides.

Let's do that to the other side. The towel magically appears again, and you really want to get it across that big toe ball of the foot, right? That whole ball of the foot. Easy bend and stretch. I think I've said this 100 times, but I'm just going to say it again, because maybe today's the magic moment where you'll hear it and I feel like that happened to me a lot where I was like, oh, I hear that correction.

So, as you're doing this, you're really going to think of, yes, pulling on the leg, but maybe also pressing the thigh away from you. I'm going to add a little something for my friend here, yeah. Okay. So, stay here, pull down on the big toe side of the foot, so the sole of the foot will face in. It's going to be a huge stretch on the outer edge of her ankle.

Yes. Now, in this one, don't pull so hard. You don't want to pull with all your might. There's some delicate bones in there. Do you feel that?

Yes. Yeah. And come back to center. Now, she's going to pull on the baby toe side of the foot. So, this one's kind of funky because now her sole is trying to face out that way, her knee spirals in, it feels so wrong, but then she's going to go across the body and it's going to make her eyes maybe spiral in opposing directions.

She's like oh. I know, but it's kind of good to go here for a moment. And now come back to center, and let's do a combo of both. Bend the knee slightly and hold. Okay.

Spiral out of the thigh. Keep the knee bent just a little bit. Big toe pushes up. That's right. Against the thigh spiraling open.

Straighten that leg when you're ready, yes. So, the thigh's spiraling out. I'm Canadian. And the big toe goes up and you go across the body. This is why you shouldn't tease people's accents because one day you're teaching a class and some weird word comes out, right?

Doesn't that feel good? So, I'm hoping you're feeling that spiral come back to center and either stay holding onto the towel to pull your leg towards you or you can hold onto the calf, it's up to you, Caroline. I think you're able to do it there. Yeah, staying here, breathe. In this first position, she's going to try to stick her booty out...

Yeah. Feel that and really straighten that leg. Yes, that's exactly it. Now, hover the other leg a little bit off the ground, the one on the floor. Good.

Keep your shoulder blades where they are. Now, you're going to pull and curl. So, I want her to pull on this super straight leg to really work that low body curl, that's exactly it. Give me both legs up to the ceiling. Hold onto with both hands, press those thighs forward, come up into your teaser position, please.

Yes. Hold it there for a moment. Hold it there for a moment. And when you're ready, start to lower down. Yes.

And pump those arms. Inhale. Just magically going to be in your hundreds. Just magic. Breathing away.

I know my friend here. So, she doesn't like to point her feet, so I'm going to ask her to point those feet. Not that she doesn't like to, it's just like why? Unless I ask for it. Little spiral out of those legs maybe.

Yes. And really press those heels together. Just keep pumping and breathing away. Remember, inhale for five, exhale for five. Right?

And then when you feel like you're done and you're ready, you're going to slowly lie down and hug the knees into your chest when you go to lie down. Yeah. Put those feet on the floor. I'm going to give you that towel back. So, grab onto that towel log, reach those arms over the head, stretch those legs forward, good old fashioned roll ups, pulling out on the towel.

Inhale up. Big exhale forward and roll back, lie all the way down. Yes. Just right away and inhale up, good, exhale. Roll back and lie down.

A few more times. Don't worry about pulsing, just use one big exhale. Reach, yes. And lie down. Last two.

Up, big exhale. Roll back. One more time. She's going to end going forward and stay, drop that head, huge stretch. She's going to sit up nice and tall and hold.

She's going to lower the torso half way down. I'm mimicking her as if it's hard for me. Now, stay here. Keep those legs out. You're going to draw circles with the arms three times.

Yes, try not to move the torso yet. Reverse the circles. Now, on this next reverse, you can move the torso, but not the legs. Yeah, it's harder. You think you want to move the torso, you actually don't.

Yes, drop your head, reach forward, take one more stretch. Lie down. Sneak that towel behind your neck when you're ready. So, let's actually give... No, I'm wrong.

Give me that towel back up into the air. So, this is the hard way to do it. If this is too much, you can just put the towel down, but bring one knee into your chest, Caroline, I am not going to get kicked, so don't be afraid. Stretch that right leg up to the ceiling and when you can, this leg goes across, down, around, up, hold. Four more times.

Two, yeah. It's really soft center, three. You can feel how much you want to twist around because you don't have those arms that you thought weren't doing anything before, right? Reverse those circles to the side, yeah, across and up. And a two.

Great. And a three. Two more. Four, one more. Excellent.

Scissor those legs to change sides. Here we go, right or left leg. One. Really give me the ascent up, yeah. And up, that's two.

And three. There you go. Last one reverse now. Up, yeah. Two.

You can really feel how much one side wants to wiggle more but you're not used to it, that's it. And when you're done, you're going to put that towel down definitely. Yes, yeah, behind you is fine. And then when you're ready, you're going to sit all the way up and let's go for some rolling like a ball. Scoot forward just a touch. Hold onto those shins, pick those feet up, excellent.

Just easy roll, Caroline. Should feel good. Yes. A few more times, rolling. Yep.

One more. Roll back and come up, last one, roll back. Thank you. Balance up top and you hold, you put your feet down and when you're ready, you're going to scoot your hips back just a little bit and I'm going to actually go for that sling towel thing again. I'm actually going to fold it just a little bit because that's more what the size.

Now, when you go to do this sling towel head lift, you just want to make sure you have a couple of inches of towel above you. I think it's perfect. Now, if you liked the sling head lift, which is what I like, which is why I did this for Caroline, go there, if not, go back to the log head lift and when you're ready, my friend, bring your knees into your chest. On the next exhale head lift using the towel. Yeah, you feel that?

Scoot down. Actually, I'm wrong. Scoot down a little bit. I feel like you're just a little too... I made that towel. That looks better.

So, with the knees into your chest, now do single leg stretch, one leg forward, the other... Yes, go side to side. Now, while you do this, let your head be heavy, oh, but keep the ribs in. Maybe lift the chin slightly for you. That's the one.

When you are done, you're going to end with both knees into your chest and rest your head down and breathe, yeah. On the next exhale, lift your head up again. Legs go forward, inhale. Exhale, bend the knees into the chest. That's all it needs to be, right?

So, I actually, even on the knees coming in, I almost press my head gently back into the towel, right? Because it's that deep low curl. Yes, just one more, kind of. Yes, hug those knees, let go of the towel, literally let go of the towel. Literally grab onto your shins, pull tight.

Rest your head down and breathe. Look side to side and let's move on, without the towel first and then we'll grab it again in a second. When you're ready, Caroline, one leg up to the ceiling, the other leg goes forward. So, scissors when you're ready, friend. Grabbing onto the leg.

Yeah, you get to grab on, good old fashioned scissors, yes. So, remember our little thing we were playing around with with our tail bone? Is your tail bone up or down? Both are good, but make smart choices. It's like my new mom voice that I use when I teach.

Yeah, right? Like what are you choosing? That's exactly it. Now, maybe flex the feet for a few sets. Pull, pull, change.

Pull, pull, change. Pull, pull, last side I believe and then when you're ready, rest it on down. Bend the knees into the chest, rest. Grand finale, double leg stretch and crisscross. Holding onto your towel, either sling version...

Which one do you want to do, this one? Yeah. Both legs up to the ceiling, holding onto that towel, here we go, both legs go down. Inhale, lower the legs. As you exhale, right at the sternum, bring those legs up, inner thighs.

Four more like that. And exhale. So, as the legs come up, you sort of exhale at the stern to really let... Yeah. You've got one or two more.

Big exhale. Just one more and then from here, right away into crisscross if you've got the energy or rest your head for a second and then do crisscross. Exactly. Two and two. A few faster, if you can.

Side to side, yes. Keep going. Yes, one more set or two sets, depending on how you're feeling, but when you're done, rest your head down, put your feet down, hands down by your sides. Pelvic lift. Good. Walk your feet a little closer too, my friend.

Yes and a little bit closer. Yes and open your knees up a little bit wider. Yeah, stay here. Inhale, put your hands on the tops of your thighs. As you exhale, press your hips up a little bit higher.

It's nice to stretch that back in the opposite direction after all of that. Both arms reach back, inhale. And keep reaching back as you lengthen those knees to me coming down. Keep reaching those knees down. That's it, forward.

From there, extend those legs forward along the floor. Pressing those legs together, come up to sitting up tall. Open up the legs a bit past the shoulders. The hands stay shoulder height. Drop your head and go spine stretch forward.

When you think you're at the bottom, stay here for a moment, anchor your sits bones and go further forward. Yeah, one more breath. That's a good stretch. What are you, warm? Slowly sit up nice and tall.

Let's just do that two more times. Drop your head and go forward, yes. Big exhale, gorgeous. And use your tummy, press into the heels to lift your waist to come up and just one more to go. Huge, huge, huge exhale, right?

Sit up nice and tall when you're ready and the towel magically appears. So, log position, as if it's a thing, I know. And sneak it behind your neck and actually, Caroline, let's have you sit facing forward if you don't mind and let's see. Yeah, and scoot back a bunch. Yeah.

Yeah, there we go, both hands behind your neck if you don't mind and open up those legs a bit past the shoulders. (indistinct). Sorry, yes, hold onto the towel, open up the legs a bit past the shoulders. Yep, okay. So, sit up nice and tall, elbows are up, yes.

And maybe hold on even closer because most people's towels are not going to be that long, yeah, and go a little bit wider with the elbows and lean that head back, lift up out of the low back. From here, you're going to tilt to one side, hold it there. Yes, and then move that rib cage. Move it, keep going. So, take the rib cage away from me.

Keep going. Yes, keep going, keep going, keep going. Slowly come up to sitting up tall. To the other side. Tilt and stretch it, stretch it, stretch it and slowly come up.

So, this is Cathy Grant's laterals number one. And she stretches and stretches and stretches and come back up, last side. Tilt, tilt first and then stretch, move those ribs, move those ribs. Thank you, Caroline, and come back up. We add on right elbow to the outside of the right knee.

Yes, lean, lean, lean. Fold the left elbow in, huge exhale, stay there. Open up the left elbow, lean your head back into the hands or towel I should say, sit up tall, look straight ahead and when you look straight ahead, to have a moment here, I want you to think of elbows forward. Yeah, that's an external spiral of the arms. That's a much nicer place for your shoulder blades.

Left elbow to the outside of the left knee. Reach it. Fold the right elbow in. Exhale. Open up that right elbow and sit up nice and tall.

Let's keep going. Right goes outside, left, inside. Open left and sit up tall. Left goes outside, right, inside. Open and sit up tall.

One more set. Outside, inside, open and sit up tall. Last one. Outside, inside, open, sit up tall and hold it. Awesome.

Feel okay? Face the short end of your mat, I don't care which one it is and stay holding onto the log, just take it out from behind your neck and reach the arms forward. Press the legs together and we're going to do what I like to jokingly call the upper body corkscrew. You're going to turn to your right, roll down to the right and come up to the right. Yeah.

She just asked all the way down? That's a very good question. The answer is, if you can. Yeah, to the other side. And then when you go down, reach those arms over your head and then use a little bit of momentum, now stay to that left side.

Yeah, come back up. Yes, see how we use a little momentum? And to the right. Yes, reach those arms over and use those arms to come up, up. It's like a roll up to the side.

Last one, sort of. Yes. And come all the way up. So, here we go for the full circle. To the right as we twist.

Lower down. Bring those arms over head, come up facing the other side. Yes. Nicely done. To the other side.

Roll on back. Yes. One more set, here we go. I'll make the grunting noises, she's doing great. She's actually not grunting at all, I don't know why I'm making the grunting noises.

That's what I think when I do it, like you know, in like gymnastics when they're like and up, here it is, up, drop your head, reach past those toes, take a stretch. Leave the towel by your side and you're going to lie down on your back. Exactly. Let's just go for a little bit of twisting. Bring those knees into your chest.

So that was upper body corkscrew. Let's do lower body corkscrew. From here, you're going to stretch those legs up to the ceiling and right away, to the right, down around and up. To the left. Down around, one more set.

So in case you didn't feel your obliques before, now they're definitely on fire. And just one more set. Inhale, exhale and up. Last one, inhale, exhale and up. Hug those knees into your chest and pull.

From here, sit all the way up. We're going to keep playing around with our towel. Grab your towel and log your neck. It's getting better, the vocabulary's getting better. So, you're going to sit up nice and tall.

So, from here, Caroline, walk your hands closer to your neck on that towel. You're going to gently press your head back into the towel and see how she's keeping her elbows slightly forward? From there, go forward, exhaling toward the toes and in this position, she is gently pressing her head up against the towel, tucking the chin. Yes, but still going forward. Pulse forward, one, two.

Roll backwards, stay in a rounded spine as you keep going back, right to about here, come forward again. Yes. Each time you go, you can make it a little bit bigger, but make sure you're finding that length of the head pressing back, especially right here. Press, press, press, press. Maybe you get down to the shoulder blades, maybe not, yeah.

What do you say? One more? Going down, down, down and right back up again. Big exhale. Pulse, pulse.

Sit up nice and tall, stay here. Now, open up the legs just a little bit, stay here. Twist to the right, Caroline. You're going to reach your right heel forward, left elbow to the inside of the right knee or ankle. Yeah.

Twisting, twisting, twisting and sit up nice and tall. Just do that to the other side. Twist. Now, when you twist left, reach your left heel forward. That's her harder one.

Luckily she can make that face facing the other way. Twist to the right, sorry. Now, stay here twisting, that's it. Now go forward. Now, stay here in that twist, Caroline.

Roll backwards staying in the twist. Roll backwards staying in the twist, yes, yes, yes. Go to center. Go over to the other side. Come up.

Yes, right elbow to the inside of the left knee. Roll back. She's loving life. Yeah. Come on up.

Yes, left elbow. Now, she is gently resisting the towel by pressing the head back and coming on up, a little pulse, pulse and rolling back. Over to the other side. Yes. Now from here, she's going to sit up nice and tall and hold.

Lean back in the head as she goes all the way down, taking her time, taking her time, taking her time. Bring the arms over your head, take a moment to stretch. Just let those arms rest on the floor. That was (indistinct). She's like exactly.

So, when you can, leave the towel on the floor, sit all the way up, let's keep twisting around, let's do some spine twists, shall we? So, she's going to open her arms out to the sides. Remember that idea, when you twist right, you reach your right heel forward, to the right, go. Reach, reach and back to center. To the left and reach, reach and center.

Two more sets. This towel got hot. Hot towel. Oh yeah. We're going to call it hot.

One more set. Yes. And really twist to the other side. Drop your head, reach to your toes and take a moment to stretch and breathe. All right.

So now, let's play around and do some side legs with the towel for a little bit. So, scoot forward just a little bit before you lie down. So, lie on your side and you're going to hold this over your head. I know, it's going to be fun. Yep and bring your arms over your head, rest your head, that's it, flex those feet.

And that's kind of work already, isn't it? So, in this position, you're going to try to get the elbows... I'm not going to try to make my joke, I'm going to get her to bring the outside of your elbow forwards. She knows my joke because she's already laughing. This gives me such pleasure.

So, you're going to bring the tip of your elbow forward. Look up what it's called, that's all I'm going to say. From here, keeping that gentle pull, and keeping those elbows slightly forward, lift your top leg up and down five times. Yes. Push down on that bottom leg, Caroline as you do two.

Yeah. Good. So, it's hard to balance here. Again, just like we did in those leg circles, you're sort of like, hey, wait a second, I didn't think I used my hands for this. So that's it and take it down.

From here, just little circle right by that... That's right. Just little circle. Make sure you work that back half of the circle, my friend. Exactly.

Two more. Back half. And maybe internally spiral that leg a little bit as you do it. Yes, that's great. About five in this direction.

So, there should be a good burning sensation happening in the hip, yes. Good, one more. Thank you very much. And now, let's try this. You're going to keep those feet flexed.

Now, Caroline, you're going to try to bring your left arm forward and twist your chest toward the floor. Bring your left leg back as you do this. Yes, yep. So your twist... Exactly, that's about it and come back to center.

And bring the leg back to center too. Top arm goes forward as the leg goes back. Yes. And come back to center. Now, let's go top arm back, leg goes forward.

That's it, that's it, that's it. And come on back. Keep that leg slightly more lifted than you think and it's not about four, it's more about torso. It's about torso. That's it.

And come back to center. Whole thing to the other side. Yeah, you can just flip. Excellent flipping. And again, find that long, long line and I find that just the reach feels good.

Yeah. Come down a little bit more, my friend, if you don't mind. Yeah, that's even better, great. And then reach those arms and just stay here breathing. Yeah. So, you don't want to be too wide because then you're going to sort of lose it and again, you're going to externally spiral the top arm or think of that elbow point coming forward or the armpit facing forward.

She's doing a great job at flexing her bottom foot and we lift the top leg up and exhale, take it down. Two more times. Up and take it down. One more time. Up and take it down.

Last one sort of, yes. Did we do five? I have to do one more, right? Okay, that's it, thank you. She was like, that's not five, lady.

Little circles of that top leg. Yes. See what you get? (laughing) Yep. It's always that back half of the circle and then reverse your circles when you're ready.

Yep. Dig on in there. And when you get to that hard spot, just give your body a little extra second to... There's no rush, right? There's no train to catch.

Okay. And when you can, feel that one long line, you're going to bring that top arm forward and the top leg back. So, it's like I'm wringing out the wash cloth of your torso. Yes, and change. Yep.

And one more, yeah. I'm clenching my fist trying to do it for you. I can't, you're just going to think happy thoughts. Now, this one's tricky. Like, look toward that top hand, the head's a big part of it, exactly, right?

It can get a little stiff, which is why we're not doing too many and come back. How you doing? Excellent. Okay, staying here, she's going to flex her feet and she's going to lift her torso and legs up... Actually, can I just stop you for a second?

Scoot forward. Yep, scoot almost to the very front edge of that white mat even. Even more. You'll thank me later. Even more, like to where you almost don't see it, yeah.

Okay. So, we're going to end on our side and make sure you're seated toward the very front edge of your mat. From here, Caroline and you are going to lift the torso and legs up together and hold. That's it. It's small, it's small and take it down. It's small, yeah.

That's it, that's it, that's all your torso needs to do. That's all your torso needs to do. Laughing is breathing. One more. Now, stay here.

She's going to roll onto her back and face the other side. Yes, reach over the head. Yes, inner thighs, inner thighs, yes. Lower the legs down. Torso and legs lift up a few times.

It's small, that's it. Two more, yeah. You know why? Because we did her second side first because I'm a mean lady. Yes.

Actually, I didn't mean to, I just kind of forgot when I had to sneak it in. Reach it back up and hold it and when you can, roll onto your back and roll to the other side. Oh yes, yes, yes, and roll right away to the back, to the other side. So now we're rolling side to side, yes. Excellently done.

Two more. Inner thighs, inner thighs. Get that booty. It's amazing how you can have such a small butt, yet it looks heavy. Yes, yes, yes.

Lie on your back and rest for a moment. Rest. Excellent. One more breath. And from here, come all the way up, bringing that towel with you, drop your head, reach past your toes, stretch.

In fact, can you even hook your feet with that towel? And now, instead of going forward, bring your ribs back. Yes, and kind of pull back again. So you're kind of going back in the rib cage. Now, stay in that and breathe into those ribs.

Doesn't that feel good? One more breath. Good, just drop that towel, sit up nice and tall, reach both arms forward. Give me a big inhale. As you exhale, pull into the chest as you lower your torso half way down.

Beautiful. Thumbs go down and out to the sides, stay here. Lift the legs and come up into your full teaser position and hold it there for a few breathes. Yes. Lower the torso down and come back up.

Let's do that a couple of times. Yeah. Two more if you've got it. Inhale, exhale down and inhale, exhale up. One more time.

And come all the way up, yes. From here, lower the legs, open the hands behind you. Drop your head, intertwine your fingers, bend those elbows. Intertwine the fingers, Caroline. Yeah, so you've laced them...

Yeah, you're so cute. May I lace them? There we go. Put the back of your hand onto your back and let those elbows droop forward. I'm trying to be very kind right now because I've got a, as my daughter used to say, it's a big one.

I got a big one coming up. One more breath. So, you can choose to do any part of this. You can just choose to watch Caroline do it, which is what I'm going to do. When you can, grab your towel, sit up nice and tall and so, I'm trying to sneak in a figure eight teaser.

Okay, she's like, sure, sure we are because we're not tired or anything. Yeah, it's been a while. But we can do it. You've done all the parts, right? So, when you're ready, lower yourself down into your position to lift your legs up and just find the teaser, that's good, and when you can, legs to one side, arms to the other and you're going to go down with the torso, down with the legs, come all the way up on the other side.

There's that figure eight. You're ready, yeah. And then legs go to one side, torso to the other. Yeah, and then go down and around. Make sure you're going both directions.

Now, take the arms that way, feet to me, go. Yes and go all the way down, that's it. Come back up, meet at the top. Really good, one more time. No, I'm serious, go back yeah.

Go down, yes. Down and around. Oh, she loves it. Come on up. Hold, reach up for the last moment.

Lie all the way down. Yes, the crowd goes wild. Flip onto your tummy, leave that frigging towel on the floor. So, hands underneath your forehead, bend one leg, hold onto the inset behind you and enjoy the very well deserved quad stretch. Yes, okay.

So, Caroline's doing a couple of great things. So, notice how her shoulder is slightly forward? Which is good. And her elbow point, look it up, is facing out. When you can, you're going to gently press the heel away from your bum.

The jokes are the same, Caroline, the jokes are the same. Little variation here and there. Okay, staying there, oh yeah. So, keep pushing the heel away and hopefully you're getting a nice stretch across the front of the hip, which you probably need and want after what you just did. And take it down, change sides.

So, I'm breaking down the rocking. You know, the rocking is one of those exercises that I feel like people don't do because it's so difficult on the spine, but what we have lost along the way is that great stretch across the front of the hips which is so necessary after some of the work we've done in pilates. So, if you would like to do both, you may do both. Just pause this video and do both, right? Do it now.

But we're happy just to lift the thigh up and stretch that out. For you, my friend, reach this right leg long, yeah. One or two more breaths. And then from there, you're going to push back, sit on your heels when you're ready. Straighten that leg, exactly.

Exactly. So, we're going to do this funny little thing. So, we're going to do this thing that Cathy would sort of have us do and it really feels great across the front of the thighs, so you hold onto your heels and maybe just watch it for just a second. I should demonstrate it. I'll go this way.

You hold onto your heels and you try to stay holding onto your heels as long as you can, come into like a thigh stretch position. From here, I come up. I'm really stretching my front. Both hands leave my feet at the same time. Holy moly, yeah?

Okay. So, have a seat on your heels, drop your head, take a moment to breathe. So, from here, I think of being squeezed through a tube of toothpaste as I bring my hips forward, you can pick another sort of taste. Yep, bring your hips forward, keep those fingertips on these heels, yeah. Hello stretch, look up toward the ceiling.

Now, from here, gather yourself together as you come up to kneeling, both hands leave those feet at the same time. Right? Shall we do that again? Yeah, let's do it one more time. Yeah.

From here, she's going to round her spine. Now, sending those hips forward. So, this is the tube of toothpaste moment, yeah. Yeah, keep going. Bring those hips forward.

There's another stretch, exactly. And from here, collect yourself. I missed it, did it happen very quickly? It wasn't as beautiful as-- Yeah. She's like, do you want to do it again?

Yeah, do you want to do it again? She's going to try it one more time. Third time's a charm. You know, I've done it many times. This is her first time doing it. Yes, yes.

Open those knees up a little bit would help you. Yes, there you go. Look up. Now, it's really a lot of abs, so gather yourself and have both arms... Yes, that was awesome.

From here, reach both arms up and in this reaching position, you're going to grab onto one wrist and just side bend over. It makes you look at those towels a different way. Come back up, grab onto the other hand and side bend over. It's funny, when the pandemic hit, and people were freaking out and buying props, it's like, I don't need props. I got props, do another set.

I've got lots of props. Yes, yes, yes. And come up. You've got one more side to go. So, you're just pulling and grabbing onto that opposite side.

From there, inhale, reach up and just think energy out of the top of the head as you release the arms and would you like your towel to you know? Wipe my sweat off-- Maybe wipe the brow a little bit? Thank you so much for joining me and yeah, next time you're maybe traveling and you need a prop, you've got that good old towel and remember, elbows forward. Thank you. (laughing)

Pilates at Home - Playlist 14: Get Creative with Props

Comments

2 people like this.
Excellent class and fun too! Great cueing. 
1 person likes this.
Brilliant class, thank you. I absolutely loved the creative use of the towel throughout, and the beautiful flow of the moves. And Blossom, your teaching style is so fresh and uplifting. I really enjoyed this.
1 person likes this.
Really enjoying the home props series! 
Another fun and inventive class, thank you Blossom, I love your teaching x
Loved this class. Fun and stretchy!
Awesome class, loved it!
A delightful hard working class made even more enjoyable by taking it with your student Caroline. 
I took this class several times while traveling. Now I'm home again surrounded by my props and I STILL sought out this class. Thank you.
Loved the upper body corkscrew- fun and creative class- thank you!
This is a super fun class!  Try it!  I used a combination of a yoga blanket and a woven strap.  My favorites were the reverse action head press back into the towel/strap while in forward fold; and the fingers to toes spiral with strap/towel taut between hands overhead.
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