Merry Christmas. I feel grateful to have this Christmas class that I've been, I don't know, it's been years that I've been teaching these and I just received a Christmas gift this year. I was told that next year, we're going to be having our friends back in our classes with us. So this is the last maybe Christmas that you'll have to watch me on my own. You're welcome.
So what I was thinking is that because it's the holidays and the holidays are full of stress and wrapping, and I don't know, I imagine lots of things that a little foam roller might be nice. So I have that. I'm gonna do my best to keep my hat on 'cause that's fun. And then I also have some weights. Weights aren't necessary, so if you don't have them, don't worry about it.
They just make it easier. So I like easy. So that's what's going on up here on this mat. Ready? Let's go.
So what we're gonna do is we're gonna sit on the roller, and it will be a Christmas miracle if I don't fall off this roller in front of y'all. Okay. So in this moment, I have got the weights in my hands. Funnily enough, my arms are long enough to just let the weights kinda rest on the mat. But if that doesn't work for you, you can just hold your arms off the mat, so just sit tall, feel the roller resting right in between your two sitting bones and then take your arms out in front of you.
Right away, we're gonna round the spine. And as the spine rounds, we're gonna reach those weights forward. So now, as we roll back, which is difficult, you can either keep your arms here or you can let your arms come down towards the mat. I'm gonna choose that option for now until I know how I'm gonna do this, how I'm gonna perform here. This is not a performance, but how my body is gonna perform, I guess, is what I'm suggesting.
Head comes all the way down. Arms come up and then back. As your arms are reaching back, let your rib cage soften on the roller underneath you, bend your elbows, take a stretch to the chest, take your arms out straight, lift your head, reach your arms forward, push down with your feet. That's helpful. Know that perfection is an illusion and also doesn't exist.
So if you're a little unstable on the roller, you should know that that's normal. Sit all the way up. Take your arms back, five and forward, working through the upper back, four. Every time the arms go back, think a little taller through the body, three and forward and two and forward and one. Take your arms forward.
Round your spine. So in this moment, that's where we could decide if we're gonna hold the arms there or if we're gonna let them start to come down towards the mat. So what I like to do is if I feel like I'm gonna lose my balance, I just rest my hands down. I use the connection to the mat and my hands to get through what feels like the difficult piece for me, and then I go down. So that's just an idea to scooch a little.
Forgive me. Arms come up, arms go back, elbows bend. So when the elbows bend and the shoulders get a stretch, that's when their ribs are kinda wanna pop up so just notice that and do what you can to mitigate that. Head comes up. Roll through your spine.
This time, take your arms up, take your arms out to the side, circle, five. As your arm circle, keep your spine still. Three, two, one, reach forward, go back. It helps here to really forwardly energize the arms, really forwardly reach the arms set oppositional. This is where the weights come in handy.
It makes it somehow easier for me anyway. Head goes down, arms go up and back. The elbows bend, stretch across the front of the chest opening the heart, opening the chest. Reach around the front, reach forward, roll up, lift up. Take the arms out to the side.
Circle the other way. Five, four. Push like you're pushing through something heavy if you want more work. One, reach forward and go down. If there's weight on your feet, that's helpful.
There's reaching with the arms, that's helpful. The body comes down all the way, the arms go back. The elbows bent, the arms reach out. They reach around the front and we lift. And we take the arms.
This time, bend your elbows and reach up, lift your spine as your arms reach up and bend your arms and lift your spine as your arms lift up and pull and reach soft and pull and reach. And just two more like that, feeling that upper back, feeling the upper back, hold here, take the arms out. Take the arms forward and throw your arms tight. Merry Christmas, rolled down. We're gonna stay down this time, my friends, go all the way down, all the way down, all the way down.
When the head comes down, take the arms, bend arms, take them around, put them down on the mat. We're gonna take the right arm up and the left leg up, and we're gonna put everything back down and we're gonna switch, left arm, right leg. So I'll stop queuing the left and right and talk about other stuff, but just alternate, opposite arm, opposite leg, noticing as the arm and the leg comes down and you're preparing to transition to the other side, how much stillness, how much stability can you create? One leg goes down, one leg floats, the arm reaches in opposition and down and one leg goes up and the arm reaches and down. We'll do a couple more.
Think of lifting the leg from the center of the body. A lot of attention to that center body, balancing over that unstable surface, reaching up and down and reaching up. This is gonna be the last one to each side. And if I haven't made us exactly even, please, as a favor for Christmas, forgive me. I'll be better.
Always trying to be better. So we're gonna take the arms off the mat, take them just over the chest. I'm gonna take the right arm towards the right ear and the left arm down. We're gonna circle the arms oppositionally to one another, making like a helicopter shape, and then back over the chest, same side again, right arm up left arm down. Full circle, reaching out in all directions and back.
And again, this is the last one in this direction and center. Let's do the other way, go left arm up, right arm down, reach them away from one another in space and then circle. Feel the shoulder blades, the imprinting of the shoulder blades into the roller, not so much that you're squeezing into it, but you should feel that inside edge of the shoulder blade, moving around, touching the roller, sometimes not, noticing last one. Full circle and back. Take the arms overhead one last time.
Enjoy, bend your arms last time. Take that last stretch. I'm gonna pause here for us, you're welcome and then come all the way down and around. Once your arms are down, you can release your weights for a minute and then slide off the roller onto your back. Take just a minute on the mat just to feel the difference of textural sensation with the spine on the mat rather than on the roller, kinda feels nice to me.
(clears throat) Meanwhile, grab the roller, put it underneath your feet. Just checking to make sure I'm not gonna roll off the end. Okay. So we're heading into some bridging. Arms are down.
I've collected my weights again with my hands up to you. You don't have to. Take your feet and feel that they're wrapping around the roller like a bird, like a prehensile shape. Push down with your arms, lift up with your pelvis, feel the back of the length, and know when not to. Take your arms up, take your arms out to the side.
Keep your arms out to the side and lower your pelvis down, down, stretching out through the arms, deepening that rounded shape through the pelvis. And then as the pelvis comes down, the arms can come around and down again, inhale and exhale to lift, pressing down with the feet. Wrapping the feet is a nice way to get a stretch through the feet. Take the arms back, feel those hips up nice and high. Take the arms out to the side, take them, keep reaching them out to the side as you take your spine down.
If you want more sensation, more work, more connection to the back of your legs, start pulling the roller towards you. A good way to find your hamstrings if you're curious, arms down, let's do it again. Lift up, lifting the hips up equally, standing on the feet equally, arms reach up and back, arms reach out to the side. They stay lifted. They're just hovering off the floor as we take the spine down, down, down, deep, deep, deep, deep, deepening through that lower back area.
The arms come around. We're gonna do that one last time, lift up, wrapping the feet, drawing the roller back towards the backside of the body. Maybe the pelvis will lift a little higher as the arms come away from the mat, maybe not and now we go down, down, reaching those arms, reaching those arms, reaching those arms, reaching those arms, reaching those arms and return. So I'm just gonna put the weights down on the mat for now. I'm gonna take the legs out so that the roller goes.
I've got to move back a little on this mat, make sure I don't fall off. I'm gonna take the hands behind the head. So what I was saying about the legs is that the ankles are gonna be resting on that roller. Breath in please. As you exhale, lift your head and chest, and as you lift your head and chest, squeeze your knees together and roll the roller to underneath your feet, little hip flection, little spinal flection, and then take it back, all the way down and inhale and exhale, curling up, bending the knees, pressing down into the roller with the feet, widening the elbows, pressing the head into the hands and reach out.
So you know I'm sure that there's opportunity, this roller is sliding around on the mat, so opportunity for imperfection, that's real. Here we go, bent. That's not what I was gonna say though, but there is opportunity for imperfection, but there's also opportunity as the legs reach out and the roller is sent away for work in both directions. We're gonna do that two more times, lifting up, bending the knees, trying to bring that roller in, nice and level, and push down with your legs to hold the roller still, is what I'm telling myself. Maybe you can benefit from that advice as well.
Last one, we're holding at the top. Here we go, lift up, keeping the feet as they are for now. Well, that's not true. We're gonna rotate to the left and we're gonna lift the left leg. We're gonna rotate to center and put that down.
So the one foot pushes down, the other leg lifts as we turn. Now, as you're going down with one foot and preparing to lift the other foot, that's another place just like we did when we were on the roller on our backs, where we can notice, is there shifting, is there stability and center and change and lift as you come through center and change and stay lifted in the center and change, can't have Christmas without some abdominal work and change and center, gonna do one more to each side, here it is. Boom. And center and boom, and center. We're gonna take the body down and we're going to stretch the legs back out, remove your hands from your head.
If you're wearing a hat, make sure it's not gonna fall off. Take your arms forward, lift your head up, roll up, reach all the way forward towards that roller and wrap your hands around it and bend your elbows and pull yourself into that stretch. And then we're just gonna bend the knees and we're gonna stretch the legs. But as the leg stretch forward, we can lean in with the spine and pull back through the center of the body, so like a pike sensation if that means anything to you. It will to some of us, it might not to some of us and that's okay.
As long as you're feeling the sensation of pulling back through your center as your legs are going forward, whatever words are used, you're doing it. Bend, one more and stretch. Now, we're gonna roll up with the body. We're gonna step off the roller. Don't let it roll away.
Position your feet onto the roller. And that's a little slippery, I'm not used to it. Okay, here we go. So we're holding the roller with the feet, creates a little bit of a challenge for me, which I actually enjoy. Choice, arms with weights or without, you decide.
We're going to turn and center and turn. This is a short class so get a little bang for your buck if you want lift, and lift and twist and center, and lift and twist and center. Sit up as you rotate and center and sit up as you rotate and center. To the first side, please, my friends and circle five, four, three, two, one. Come to the middle.
Go the other way. Circle five, four, three. I'm smiling 'cause I'm working hard. Hope you're having fun. Last one, come to center, go to the first side, take your arms over your head and open, keeping the feet against that roller over your head and open.
Just one more like this, over your head and open and center and the other way. Arms go over your head and center, lifting into the air. I lost my ability to find vocabulary words, into the air. Last one, up. Oh, can you lift it even more?
And open. Return your body to center. If you have weights in your hands, set them down for the moment, reorganize the roller so it comes underneath your ankles again, please. Take your hands behind you, lift your spine, push down into the roller with your feet and lift your pelvis. Your roller might roll a little bit in the direction of your knees, that's fine and then keep the spine nice and long as you take the hips down, touch lightly and hinge.
And touch down, a little combination of stretching and challenge. Hopefully, something for everyone. And down, just two more, please, lifting up and down, opening the hips, lifting up and down. So now as you arrive down on the mat, we're gonna take the feet off the roller again. We're gonna reorganize them so they're going back against the roller, a nice way to just feel if your feet are level, especially if you're on a slidey mat like this, taking the weights as an option, take the arms forwards.
Roll down through your spine. Your arms, weights or no, will come down towards your shins. Your arms, weights or no, will slide up your shins. As you come up into spinal extension, take the arms forward, lean into that position. Take your arms over your head, take your arms out to the side.
Circle, five, four, working through the back, three, two, one. Sit up and bring your arms forward, roll down again. Round, hands come to the shins or the ankles or wherever. Lift your spine. You can you use your arms if you're not holding weights, you can actually pull with your hands a little bit more, take your arms forward, lean into that shape, lift them up overhead, take them out to the side.
Here's the big question, do you remember the direction that you circled before? Do it the other way. Five, leaning forward, four, leaning forward, three, two, one, sit all the way up. Take the arms forward, one more with an extra special Christmas surprise, round down, hands come down, find your spinal extension, keep that roller straight and still. Take your arms forwards.
Take them out to the side. Take them over your head and back out and over your head, leaning into that stretch and back outs, reaching out as your arms come down and three. The roller straight, mine's not. Confessions. Two, I'm trying now and that's what's important, doing the best that we can in any moment, out to the side, sitting up and take the arms down.
We're done with the weights. Merry Christmas. I'm just gonna put mine down here on the ground. Very graceful looking posture right now. We're gonna take the roller and bring it around the back.
So what I do here is I make sure the roller is straight and then I'll get on it making sure there's room for me on the mat in both directions, making sure the hat stays. Okay. And then we're gonna bring the knees in and then we're gonna stretch the legs up. So what I want us to do here, so I want us to take one leg down and one leg back and find the center, a little movement through the hips, a little stretch, a little scissor and center. Oh, look for stability as my advice to myself, which I'm saying out loud to everyone else and change and center and change.
Hold the roller still underneath you if that feels good to you and change, noticing if the pelvis is rocking back and forth as the legs are moving around and change and center and change and center. This is the last time, both directions and center and change and center. Remember that helicopter action we did with the arms? We're gonna do it again with the legs this time. So we're gonna take the legs into turnout or heels together, toes apart.
We're gonna make this scissor shape. I'm going right leg up, left leg down, full rotational circle all the way around. We're going slow so we can explore. Find your range, come to center. Again, right leg in, left leg down.
Full range of motion, explore that stretch through the hips. I don't know if you could just hear my hip crack, and if you couldn't, now you know. Reach way out wide, find that open, open, open shape, and then all the way around to the other direction. Find center, two more like that, reach, full rotation and center. Last one, the leg scissor, explore your range.
Maybe it's getting bigger, maybe it's feeling more flowy, more easy to do. We're changing now. The left leg goes in, the right leg goes down. Both legs move away from one another. They do oppositional circles until they find the opposite scissor and then they come center and then we go again and then we go again.
Full rotation, stabilizing in the hips as we open the hips and center, so combination of stability and mobility, full circle. For those of you who are tight like me, this feels good. I don't know. I imagine it might feel good. Feels good to me.
I hope it feels good to you. This is our last one. Big open stretch, moving the hips, come back to center. Bend your knees. We're gonna take the right foot onto the left knee.
So I'm letting my left knee be all the way bent, just completely relaxed. And then we're gonna lean towards the tissue on the outside of that left hip, go anywhere you want. So this is your opportunity, or I'm going to extend an invitation for you to use this as an opportunity to explore into what feels necessary or valuable to your body. I'm just gonna offer some suggestions. We take it the other way, and we find center.
And then we go over to the first side again, pressing the knee into the ankle, maybe letting the both legs drift away a little bit. I don't know. You'll know, you'll feel what you need and then change and center. We're gonna change the cross of the legs. Just gonna lean over onto the opposite side.
So I'm going left foot on right knee, leaning off towards that right hip, coming across the sacrum, the base of the spine, and then going the other way and then center. We're just gonna do that one more time, leaning and center and leaning, enjoy, hopefully, and center. Now we're gonna take that left leg, that top one, hold it with your hands, stretch your right leg out. Let it hang. It could either just reach out in space or reach all the way down to the ground, whatever feels better or more appropriate to you, enjoying a stretch to the front of the hip.
I like to take my bent knee out to the side a little bit. That enables me to go more deeply into that stretch. So if that feels good to you, please join me. And then we're gonna start to bring that bent knee back to the center. Very slowly and carefully, slide that right knee in, hug it in toward your chest.
Take that left leg down and forward, noticing that maybe the sides feel different, maybe there's opportunity to celebrate the differences between the sides. I don't know about you, but my two sides looks one lives in California and one lives in New York 'cause they're like completely different. So I'm taking my right knee out to the side so that's what we talked about on the other side. Join me if you wish, then come back to center and bring both knees in. Let your knees be bent and let them come up like pretty close in towards your body so the roller moves off your sacrum kind of up the back more.
And then very slowly, well, you can do whatever you want, but I'm gonna go real slow on the down here. I'm gonna let the roll or start rolling down my back. So it's working in the direction of my sacrum in this moment and I'm just letting my skin stretch, enjoying the sensation of feeling that tissue differential as the muscles in the back of the body relate to the roller and stretch in relation to the roller, making it to about the top of the sacrum, feel the spreading, the stretching of that area. Go slow, it's worth it. And if you're done, you can just push it all the way out and wait for us, reaching, go slow, slow.
So if you think about it, you can really feel, or I can really feel it anyway, and I'm inviting you to look for it that there's actual change in the dynamic of the musculature as it leaves the roller. And then eventually, you'll get far enough away with the roller that your back will just come into the mat. Your pelvis will slide down. Your feet can come to the mat. I'm gonna let my knees open like a diamond shape and rest on the roller and you can join me there or choose a different adventure.
And they're just pausing here. I'm gonna just do three big breaths, and then we're going to get back to Christmas. So inhaling, taking the opportunity to be still, focus on breath, focus on self-care. Two more. I know that was a really long breath, so if you breathe more in and that's probably normal.
So breathing in and breathing out and with every exhale, softening and letting go and whatever else you need in this moment, I don't have any beautiful way to get us up off this mat, so this is how we're gonna end our class today. And yeah, if it's nap time, the video will stop and you'll have a nap, and if not, then Merry Christmas and go back to Christmas and see you soon.