Class #4785

Energizing Mat

20 min - Class


In this quick Mat workout with Kristi Cooper, you will create some heat! You begin with challenging standing and balancing exercises that will fire up your leg muscles. Once your standing work is complete, you will move onto your Mat for some Spinal Flexion and Rotation, Side-Lying work, then you finish off with some Back Extension. Enjoy!
What You'll Need: Mat, Towel

About This Video

Feb 03, 2022
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Hi everybody. Welcome to class. My name's Kristi and we're gonna get moving. I brought myself a hand towel, so run and get one real quick, it doesn't need to be big, hopefully it's clean and we're just gonna use it to remind us where certain body parts are and to have a little fun. So let's begin, feet parallel. Just hold your towel, stand tall.

Find your alignment where it just feels right. Your head is on top of your shoulders, your shoulders are over your ribs, your ribs are over your pelvis, your knees are not locked out backwards, they're over your ankles. Here we go, just inhale, rise up with the arms and bring some energy with you. Exhale, bring it back down. Inhale, rise up.

Keep going like that, exhale down, but bring something with you. Decide what you're gonna get out of this 15 minutes. Bring it up (inhales) and down. Notice the towel stays taught, you're not just kinda going arms up, arm down, so you're actually getting some lateral move to your body. Again up (inhales) and down.

We'll stay up on this one, so just breathe however you'd like, shrug the shoulders way up, hug your ears, give yourself a nice warm blanket of hug and let it come down. I'm gonna separate my feet, pretty wide. Not so I'd start to tip over, but wide enough that I can stand easily and tall. So now the inhale, we're gonna tip up and over to one side. Let's go to your left side.

Exhale and pull yourself back up. So again, you don't have to work the arms hard, but you can let them help. Lift up and over the other side, staying to the side directly, meaning no rotating forwards or back, exhale to come back up. Let's go a few more slower, inhale over. And I say that inhale 'cause it allows for expansion.

You start the exhale and your body knows what to do to get you back up. Let's go, one more slow (inhale). Don't worry if they don't get real fast, but faster (exhales). So now we go inhale over, start exhaling to come up. Inhale and over, I like keep going.

I like to think of this as truly an over, it's not necessarily a down, 'cause that'll do all sorts of things to your lower body, let's stay high. Ooh, somebody quote me on that. Over and up, heating yourself up. Inhale and exhale, and inhale and exhale. We can do four more and guess what?

If you do, you'll get some nice oblique work. Just two to go, keeping the rest of your body relatively still. Ooh, my arms just starting to feel it, so I'm gonna bring it down, shake it out a little bit. And now bend your knees, so you really kind of solid on the ground, feet are holding you up and then the rest of you of course. We'll go back up.

It's gonna get more exciting now. So if you get dizzy, find a friend. Inhale we go over to one side, you're bent in the knees, all right, both knees. You're gonna round over, you could touch your knees if you want to. You're rounded as you go to the other side.

Both feet are equally weighted, come out there and then come back up. Does it make sense? I'll keep going the same way so you get used to it. Inhale to your left, rotate, rounded back here. Kinda just feel what you need to let go of, reopen it and up.

It's amazing just looking that way, downward like that, it gets a little wobblier. This'll be the last time in this direction, make it sexy. And up. Okay you get three chances the other way. Check your wobble, check what you do with your butt, doesn't do much. Inhale over, round your body, come through the middle, open it up to that place you were before and up we come.

Two to go, over, work it down or just go down and hold yourself, find your support. Last one. Over, down and around. You still with me? Reach your legs to straight your shoulders up, big, deep breath and exhale, shake it out. Okay, we'll stay upright for a little while longer.

Just folding your mat over, so that your foot can fit on it. Oh, I wish mine were that small, but it can be bigger too. All right. First thing I'm gonna do, just facing you, you're facing me, maybe right foot on. I'm sorry, left foot on, facing each other and we're gonna do this hip hinge thing. Just real quickly, without the towel.

The hip hinge is just that, you're hinging at the hip. Your knees will have to bend as well, ankles too, but you aren't rounding over. It takes away a lot of the point of this and we won't be here long as it is. So hip hinging, you are stepping on the left, you're stepping on both legs, the right leg is the one that's gonna be moving. The left leg is gonna be moving, I've got it, the one with the towel.

Hinge forward and press the towel out. And drag it back in. The working leg is indeed working, it doesn't change once you're here. Here's three and in. Four. Little harder on carpet, you could do it with socks.

In, six and in, level hips and in. Nine, and one more time. Whoo hoo, switch feet. I'm tempted to say which one it is, but I think you all have it figured out. Towel's going that way.

All right. Hinge forward, get down as low as you can, you might as well. Your rear end should be sticking out backwards, you could lift your toes even. Here we go, 10, one and pull it in and two, pull it in, here's three. Four, five, try not to go up and down, six, you got this, seven. Can do four of anything.

Nine and 10, oh good. Now let's go into a lunge. So I am putting one foot on the towel, the other is not. The towel will be the sliding leg. This one the hinge will kinda happen at the knee.

You don't need to tilt forward. All right, so if anything, you just start to slide the leg back and bring it back to an upright position. Number two. Do whatever you want with your arms and if you're near a wall, use it. But balance is one of those things, if you had it all the time, you'd have to do it up on a rope or something. Keep going (exhales).

I'm gonna tell you there's five more. And you're gonna believe me. (Kristi giggles) One more after this one, here it comes. Okay. Yeah, gotta heat up the body even if the workout is short. Can go for a run or something else afterwards.

I changed feet, solid, upright, off we go. Ooh, that was interesting. I didn't go straight back, I went way over there somehow. My body thinks I want that. Three and up, four, being mindful of the center of your body, it really does help, like a little help.

Minimizing our wobble, appreciating that it does, otherwise we'd be on the floor. One more here coming up. Hmm, hmm hmm. Okay. Just when you thought it was over, reach forward, grab the towel, just making it lengthwise again, where you can hold it. We're gonna go back to that hip hinge a little bit.

And so, if we didn't use the towel at all, again, you'd see everything's bending at the hip, yes, I tilt forward, but the back itself stays stable. It's the same position of the spine when I come back up. Pulling on the towel again, outwardly, but not so hard that you'll rip it and we go. Hinge, just reach out a little bit, say across your chest and down or up. Reach. It's like placement.

Reach. Placement. And don't forget to come all the way up, right? It's really easy for some to just drop into their knees and have to wait to start again, try to keep your energy through the body the whole time. Let's just do five more quicker. One, up, two.

Imagine you're pushing a solid with your arms. Three, both direction, four. Uh oh, stay here on five. Maybe even lower. Raise the arms up to the height over your ears or behind and pull one of 10, two, it's like your shoulder blades and upper arms, pulling back.

I think five, four, three, focus. Mm, I know that was 10, but there we go. And then bring it down, stand yourself up, wipe your face and let's come on down to the mat. See, sometimes it's helpful and sometimes you're like, no, why would she do that? For this first one, just putting the towel on the tops of my feet, balls of my feet into the towel, just to help kind of prove a really nice point.

When you pull on the towel and you bend your elbows, it helps you to sit up tall, doesn't it? So do it. Then you can even push into the towel, draw the front hip bones backwards, so it's like you're drawing your abdominals away from your thighs to get that curve of the spine and then pull straight back up. Seems like nothing, but it initiates so much of our movement, that if you skip it, it's really, really tough on the rest of the body for some of our exercises. Tilt it back and up.

And I do have the sense of pressing my heels into the floor, to help that. Now just set the towel down, you can hold on, 'cause you'll feel it that way. It's like your heels are pressing down, you're pulling the front hip bones back. All right, pulling the front hip bones back. Let's take it a little further.

Pulling the front hip bones back. And meanwhile, it's like I'm still downwardly pressing on the heels. Okay? Some of you, may find this a really helpful tool, you take your towel and you place it right at, say where the, it's sacrum to me, but maybe a little higher than that, I just sort of rolled it up to it and then press into it when you get there. Really press into it. It works for everybody, it's not cheating, it's just a different focus, I'm pressing into it.

All right? Then leave it there, come forward, curl forward, you don't come up flat. You hold onto your legs either in front or underneath to get right back where you started from when you were holding the towel and exhale. What starts first? You know. It starts in front of the pelvis, so I'll just leave it at that. Oh, there's my towel, that means I gotta push there.

And my heels down and my heels down, everybody stop, reach one arm up, but don't let your body move. Inhale, exhale, push it down. Other arm, inhale, lift it up, nothing else move, push it down. Both arms up, oh, what is she thinking? Look forward, look forward, look forward, how far back can you go without moving?

Exhale, both arms down, inhale, hold and exhale, roll back up. Hold the knees either on top or underneath and straighten your spine. Again, roll back. Find your towel. So a lot of people can do this without the towel, but sometimes it's really nice to have that feedback. Choose an arm up, up, up, up, exhale, put it down.

Eyes are somewhere around your knees or right out in front of you would be good too, but that's about it. You can either wait or both arms up. Imagine you're gonna go forward with the rest of your body, exhale down, hold on or not, inhale, exhale, bring yourself up. Find your knees at the top (inhales). Breathe. One more time.

Exhale down, try it with no holding on, if you can. Inhale one arm. Deepen the belly by exhaling, that's how it starts. The arm is just suddenly heavy, isn't it? And down. And one more with both arms.

Oh my goodness. Exhale, inhale, hold and exhale up. Shoo! Letting the legs turn out, small V. Little more twisting side and back to do and be done. All right. So I'm sitting in a diamond position 'cause that's a lot of hip flection for some of us.

And because sometimes I do things because they feel good. So that's the science behind me today. Holding wide again on the towel, just as we started, reaching out. And again, you want the energy there, not so it's so tight and pulls the shoulders up, but rather you could dissipate some of that into your upper back or rear delt. That's all it's gonna do.

From here, you're gonna inhale and then exhale three times, sorry, your inhale rotate toward the window or the front, exhale three times, shh, going a little further, two, three, inhale center. Start it on the exhale. Exhale, rotate from the ribcage, exhale again, exhale again, inhale center (inhales). And start the exhale, that can be one. Go kind of far on the first one, we're not tippy tapping our way over there.

There's three, inhale, go as far as you can on the first exhale (exhales), can you go further (exhales)? Can you go taller? Three. Back to center, last one. Rotate, rotate more and up, three and center and (Kristi exhales three times) And center, reach the arms up, up, up. And you can just set the towel in front of you.

Come down onto your elbow. Onto your elbow, lower leg is bent. You're gonna have to lift your other leg up enough not to kick your towel across the room, So I'm always thinking. All right. So here you are, starting position, you got a bit of triangle of space between your ribs and the floor and the elbow. The other leg it's as if it's been pulled, it wants to be done, so far away that it lifts up and just for fun, lift 10, nine, eight.

And what's your head doing? It cares. What's it doing? Just went in line. And then from here, we're gonna kick the leg forward as far as you can, with a flexed foot, point and take it back. We won't be here long, but it's gonna be a lot quicker.

Kick, kick, sweep back, hold. Kick, kick, sweep back and hold. Try to make the rest of your body still, okay? It's sharp. We're stable, where we can be mobile elsewhere. Then next time you do this with someone, you'll probably do the opposite 'cause movement is good all the way around, I'm doing two more (exhales).

Ah, stay there. A little higher, but back like back there, back there, feel your butt. You can even look, or can you? Is it way down on the floor? Try to lift it up.

This top arm, reach it forward on the diagonal, keep pushing that back leg, get the rotational stretch through your body. Come on, milk it. Let yourself have something that feels good. And then release it. Let's just flip to the other side.

Sidekick. I have this position 'cause I wanna feel stable in something. And I know I'll get good work. So the lower leg being at 90 is a slight different off the traditional. You know about the triangle of space, you're gonna lift your leg. You don't wanna have to tighten it a lot, let it just be the weight against your hip.

Pull it away, here we go, oh sorry 10, nine, eight, seven. It's odd that it already hurts from helping on the other side. And with that, we're gonna flex forward, you do wanna go as far as you can, there are two kicks, but it's not really one then one, it's you get there and pulse it and then back, back, here we go. So in your own mind, you are not rolling back and leaning forward, you're gonna hold yourself together. You can do it (breathing deeply).

I think there must be three more. Two more, we held this last one to the back and we really held it to the back. And if there's anything in your low back it's your sort of clue to retuck the pelvis or take the pubic bone more towards your sternum, your chest and then try to push back further. Here's the lovely rotational stretch, just to reach the arm, but if you use that supporting arm, you can almost add to the rotation. Okay. Time to do a little back extension.

So for variety, change of scenery, we're going back to the other end and we're going into one that's called the Double Leg Kick. So you probably don't need to wrap a hand towel, it might just really get in your way, but do hold it in closer. And then you can make it go soft at certain points if you want, but I'm trying to make this easier on your shoulders. So what we do, is lie face down, take that towel, all the way down to your straight arms. Okay? So my hands are basically just outside my butt, with extra little bits hanging out from the towel.

Your forehead is on the floor. Belly is drawn up, legs together and I'll do one slow, it goes like this. You kick, kick, kick, then straighten, straighten, straighten. Okay, that's the heart of the exercise. But the really great stretchy part for the shoulders, is you bring that towel all the way up your shoulder blades and drop your elbows, look to one side.

So that's where we would start. If you have flexible shoulders, what you do is just put one hand over the other or lace the fingers. Okay? So, face is to one side. We do the kicking first. It goes one, two, three.

Everything stretches out to straighten, you look down into the floor or maybe slightly in front, rebend the elbows, pull that towel way back up there, drop the elbows, kick, two, three, reach. If you want reach them up high, once they're out there, straight. Come on back and kick, kick, kick. Stretching, reach, reach, include your neck. And kick, kick, kick, stretch.

You can put the feet down this time if you haven't been and now stay there, arms lift, lift, lift, lift. You can look forward a little, lift, lift. And finally for the day, lift, slowly down, allow the towel to come off to one side, shake yourself out a little bit. Press with your hands, to come into a round or Child's Position (breathing deeply). Take a few breaths there.

Got a little bit of legs in, a fair amount of back in, obliques, abs. So now, what are we gonna go do? What do you want to do, with yourself today? Let's just curl the toes under, sit back towards them as best you can, walk your hands back, fold yourself in half. Hang your head, knees can be bent and it's no problem.

Shake your head no. Nod your head yes. Recommit to the middle of your body it's been a support all this time and you can put your hands on your shins if you need that for a little additional support, roll yourself up, realigning your spine, feeling taller, at least having some more space in between, all the betweens and you're tall. And you're happy, at least that you were here, wishful thinking, I hope so though anyway, take a deep breath for yourself (inhales) and go out there and do your day or go to bed, but thank you for being here today.

Pilates with Kristi Cooper: Mat Workouts


Ron Fletcher Towel is better. And this entire  sequence work with socks. 
Joan Breibart I love Fletcher towel work.  His towel definitely offers more options and feels better in the hands if you have one. Thanks for the tip regarding the ability to use socks. 
i have  Fletcher red and white towels.  I did your  sequence with socks and  my feets stayed warm .
Christy so good to see you ! wonderful class to start or end the day !!! 
2 people like this.
Great workout to start the day, love the variations with the towel, thanks Kristi! 🙌
2 people like this.
Great use of the towel for teaching online…..and very different from using a theraband. Nice wake up class!
Julie Lloyd
1 person likes this.
This is an absolutely brilliant class Kristi. I loved the towel, and your combination of moves was perfect. My hips and shoulders feel great!
1 person likes this.
I feel happy in the end; thank you for his short and delicious class Kristi
1 person likes this.
such a nice class, thank you :)
1 person likes this.
So nice to see you again Krisit! I'm always on the reformer so this was a nice change to end my workout!
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