Class #4820

Morning Glory

25 min - Class


You will wake up your body with this quick Mat workout by Karen Sanzo. She encourages you to tune into what you're feeling so that you can make the most of moving your entire body with ease. Her clear cues will guide you as you gently prepare your body for the start of your day.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Jan 28, 2022
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Hi, I'm so glad that we're here at "Pilates Unlimited" today, and I'm glad to welcome you to the class today we're calling Morning Glory. I have been asked to do a class like this for several years. It's basically a class you can do when you wake up in the morning. I invite you to lie on your mat. I invite you to turn your monkey brain off and just turn your feelings on.

So here we are lying on the mat, knowing that whatever you do in the next 30 minutes is enough. With your legs reaching a little bit longer on the mat, you begin to roll your thighs inward taking turns side by side. The straighter your knees are, the more the rotation will come from the hip joint. After you do that several times, we're not really going to count repetitions here. We're gonna focus on our breath and our movement and our feelings.

As you bring your legs closer in and you separate them about as wide as the mat and you continue to roll your legs in, you will now start to invite the pelvis to rotate and the spine to rotate. Inhaling when you can, exhaling when you can. The butt is not gripping. The abdominals are certainly not overly contracting. We're just going for some morning movement, getting some warmup temperature increase into the body.

Bring your legs one more time in, leaving your feet on the ground. and now both knees go to one side, inviting the spine to twist but let the upper shoulders stay down. The belly keeps the toning. It's not a gripping of the abdominals. It's just a support of your spine as the two thighs go side to side.

Resist thinking that this is not enough. The purpose of this recording and the purpose of this session is that you come back to it time and time again, and maybe not even watch the video but just listen. Switching now to your arms. The arms are active. They're up towards the ceiling. You take inhale up over your head and exhale down.

Inhale up. Exhale down. Your arms moving your ribs. Maybe your spine extends, maybe it doesn't. Just going for a feeling through your arms up and down.

The arms come to the ceiling, the palms to touch. You move your arms side to side. Your feet are gently pressing down. Just to add a little base to the stability of your lower body. Now, as the arms go left, your head goes right.

As your arms go right, your head goes left. Not looking for any type of perfection of movement. Looking for a feeling that is governed by the breath and the gentle movement of your arms. They come back to center, they lower down. Now your arms come out to what I like to call this goalpost shape.

And now we separate the arms just like you're that cat at that nail salon. You know the one that waves to you when you come in, right? And one arm goes down and one arm goes up. Now turn your head to the up arm and then switch it. Turn your head to the other up arm, and then turn, and then turn.

And now, turn your head to the down arm. Your feet are gently pressing. Nothing is gripping. Nothing is grabbing. Everything comes back to center. Arms come down by your side.

Preparing now for just a low bridge. Just look it. It's just a tiny bridge. It's almost not even lifting up as high as the knees. Feeling my feet pressing downward into the mat, I'm giving a little morning wake up call to the back of my bottom. Maybe some of you articulate your spine up like this and down.

Maybe others just lift neutral up and down. Both are very valid movements. Again, doing this enough that you start to feel a little bit of wake up call into your glutes. Again, we're not counting repetitions. We're not looking for a big burn, but we all are looking for wake up.

Inhaling and exhaling. And now I am starting to feel the lateral side of my bottom, because you don't have to squeeze your butt to activate it. You have to press your feet down into the ground. If you keep doing this, your butt should be getting a little bit of information. I'm gonna do five more, and four, and three, and two, and one and rest.

Take your left leg long, bring your right knee fully into the chest, and this pulling in of your thigh will start to give you a little curl of your bottom. Now what's really important about this wake up is that some people when they pull their thigh into their chest, look it, their chin starts to go up like this. You don't want that. So maybe you're a person that needs to take a little cushion under their head to keep that comfortable. And we switch.

Again, be surprised that this gentle movement through your body feels kind of good. You do not have to start your mornings gung ho going 90 miles an hour, sleeping in your clothes in order to go out for a run the first time you wake up. Two knees bend in. Maybe we did that in our 20s and 30s, 40s and 50s, but not now. We need a little wake up. We need a little morning glory.

We're bridging again, getting wake up through the thighs. Five more, and four, and three, and two, and one. Continuing with the hips, one more here on our back. We're gonna take the thigh, put this knee at a right angle, grab the outside of your foot, face it to the ceiling. Sometimes if your tummy is in the way, you actually need to take your other arm and maybe pull any of your belly skin kind of out of the way so that as you pull your thigh down, you actually have a sensation in your hip.

Maybe even some lengthening in your low back. A couple more times. And then that leg comes down. Other leg comes up. I get in about a 90 degree angle roughly at my knee. I reach my hand behind my foot.

If you can't reach that far, maybe you have a belt or a strap, or maybe you just hold your ankle. We're going for a feeling. We're not going for perfection. We're going for waking up the body. Let me show you again. My hand on my foot, other hand pulling any piece of your tummy out of the way, letting that thigh come open to the side.

This is what stomach massage is on the reformer, right? As the thighs come to the sides of the stomach. Continuing now, rolling to your side. So in this sideline position, we're gonna take the top leg, bend it behind, grab the shin. Now we're gonna do a little thigh back and thigh forward.

So this is just a little movement here through the thigh, and then we're gonna make it be active, right? So I'm not gonna hang on with my hand and I'm gonna pull my thigh into my chest and then push my thigh back. So now the wake up is becoming a little bit of work. And let's get five more of these. We have to do enough of these to get the feeling, right?

Three, and two, and then one. Now take this leg out long, and now you're in a very familiar feeling of a long length and torso turning on the side in the back of your bottom and we'll just do circles. Five in each direction. Again, we're doing a gentle kind wake up of the body. We're not in a hurry.

We're not going anywhere super fast today. We're looking for a feeling. And then we'll let the legs rest down. Now, the other thing on our side, I'm gonna come a little bit to the edge of the mat. I'm gonna start to open my chest.

I need to kind of finagle myself so that my chest starts to turn towards the ceiling. Some people do this with their arm going back and that's certainly fine, but I like to make sure that it's my ribs that are rotating. It's not just my arm that reaches back. So let's rotate the ribs and then come forward. Rotate the ribs and then come forward.

I have to have some gentle tone in my abdomen so that I don't arch my back when I rotate. My front knee is heavy. It's yearning to be in line with my bottom knee. But if it's not, it's okay. Permission to not be perfectly in alignment.

Open and then return. And if you need something under your head, then of course you take it. Then the hand goes all the way up. I open up my armpit. I circle it around. Let's do one more.

Open it up and circle it around. And then we come to the back side and we roll over. Starting first with the familiar feeling of a nice long thigh, we're gonna bend the shin. Excuse me, bend the knee, grab the shin. If you can't grab the shin, you can grab your pants or put a belt there or something.

So we're just going for a little bit of movement. The bottom foot incidentally is pressing down just to keep myself stable and sideline, and we'll do two more of these. And then reach that leg long. Okay, staying firm in the leg, reaching long, and then we start some circles. Getting some feeling in the side and the back of the hips.

Five in each direction, ish or so. Right? Be surprised. Be pleasantly surprised that just moving your body makes it feel good and awake. I'm gonna come to the front edge of my mat, bend my knees in. So why do I bend my knees in?

Because I want my back to kind of feel a little bit of flexion so it doesn't just fall back into extension. I start to open the chest. Again, not looking for a certain amount of rotation, but just some rotation. And on this side, you can see that if I just let my arm fall back, I might stress out my shoulder. So I actually just want my ribs to rotate back.

I yearn for my right knee to stay heavy. Yearning that's all. And then opening the chest and forward. And opening the chest, spiraling your body. And then return.

So we've been on our back, we've been on our sides, and now we come to our tummy. So lying flat down on your belly, reach your legs long. Put your hands a little bit over your head, knowing that you're going to use your arms to help extend your chest. Take an inhale (inhales) and exhale. (exhales) Now what about that butt? What happens to that butt here?

Well, we don't want to over squeeze it because as I lift up, the butt kind of kicks in to help stabilize that pelvis. I feel a little heaviness in the front of my pubic bone that makes sure that the tone in my belly is helping to support the spinal extension. This is actually a little facilitated swan. We are doing it enough times so that we start to feel what it feels like to arch the back. Then we continue with a little active movement, because I feel like this postural upper back connection is so important.

We're going to inhale, lift, reaching the arms long, exhale, down. Inhale, lift the chest. Now from here, I'm gonna reach my left arm back to my left heel and turn a little bit and then come down. And then turn a little bit and then come down. And then the hands come under the forehead and then we rest.

Active lifting up now sets my head gently presses down on my hands. We will repeat this pattern in another class, explaining the importance of this head and neck position. So we've taken our Morning Glory wake up into a Morning Glory work in. This isn't a workout. It's a work in. It wouldn't be surprising if you added another session to your day following this.

And then rest. Pushing yourself up to your hands and knees. So in this hands and knees position, you want your knees first to be almost as wide as your mat. I like to take my hand on my tummy and make sure that my pubic bone is actually reaching back. I'm going to come to my forearms because it gives me a little more pressure of my arms forward to feel information in the front of my groin.

This is not a rounded spine. It's hip flexion, but it's with my spine not rounding. We'll do this about three more times. As your hands push forward, your hips pull back. As your elbows pull back, your hips move forward.

As I pushed to the left heel, my right groin has sensation. As I pushed to my right heel, my left groin has sensation. Do that one more time each side. Again, one of the best things we do for our back overall is really to mind our hips, right, and take care of hips being all connected. So now coming up to full quadruped, I'm going to my feet and my toes.

So now I'm going to sit back. My hands are pushing down and forward to give me information. Big toe extension, toe extension. My arms are pushing forward. Almost like if I could move something, my upper back is nice and strong.

And then I'm gonna crawl back in. Inhale here, push your hands. They don't have to move. I'm just letting mine move because it feels really good under my armpits to lengthen my arms out from my chest. And then I'm gonna start my lower trunk lifts. Notice the toes are still curled under.

If you can't do that, it's okay. You can let the toes come down. Now I'm gonna curl my bottom and I'm gonna come up and flexion. So now my head is nodded. The front of my neck is short.

The front of my belly is short. So I've changed my spine position from a lengthened neutral, head aligned with the spine to a flexed position. Now you can continue with this motion here through your toes or you can join me as I push myself back to try to sit down on my heels. If you have a mat, you can push your mat forward as you sit down. If your knees can't tolerate this, then you don't do it.

You continue to do the previous motion. I'm yearning to sit my heels down. Even if it feels like I'm gonna fall over backwards for a second, that's fine. Deep flexion. And then isn't deep flexion, what crab and seal are.

So I'm really... Now I'm just gonna go side to side. Good. And now from here, I'm gonna press my hands. I'm gonna just going to start to lift my bottom and then bring it down. Lift my bottom.

So my legs now are getting a little tone or a little wake up. Let's get two more of these. And then last one. And then come down. Bring yourself to standing.

You'll notice that your breath has started just a little bit to feel warmed up. So what you started as being a wake up call has become a little bit of work. So now in standing, gonna separate our legs, arms come out to the side. We start, I call it as my Jack LaLanne series, but really it's just standing saw, but first just the rotation part. So we just inhale (inhales) and center.

As I rotate, I spiral my head, then my chest. Then if my pelvis wants to move, it's certainly fine. But it's only because that side leg is pressing down as a base. Come back to center. Inhale to the left, exhale center.

Inhale to the right, exhale center. Full saw. Rotate, flex down. This top arm reaches up. You don't even need to be looking anything at the screen.

You just need to be feeling flexion rotation. Come up using your butt in the rotation, return to center. Inhale. (inhales) Exhale flex over. Back palm reaching up to pull that shoulder blade and twist your thorax, and then come up in the rotation and then center. I love rotation. So good for your thorax.

Now, knees and feet relatively together. The hands come behind the head. The exercise is actually called spine twist here, but we're gonna do it in standing. First along, inhale left, exhale center. (exhales) Inhale right, exhale center. Now with the sniffing breath for two.

(Karen sniffing) (Karen exhales) (Karen sniffing) (Karen exhales) The opposite leg pressing inhale for three. (Karen sniffing) (Karen exhales) (Karen sniffing) (exhales) For four. (Karen sniffing) (Karen exhales) (Karen sniffing) (exhales) My favorite number five, here we go. (Karen sniffing) (exhales) Last one. (Karen sniffing) (Karen exhales) Arms come down.

Taking one of your legs in towards your chest, looking straight ahead. If you have to balance, that's fine. So now what we're looking for is hip flexion in standing. Stable left. I'm standing on my left leg. Not sure what you're seeing in the camera.

And then we stabilize other leg. If you need to hang on to something for a second, that's fine, but the goal is not to not be wobbly. The goal is to be okay with the wobbly, right? What does stability mean anyway? It means you balance your forces and then we start to speed it up a little bit.

And if you focus on the down leg, you will notice that it actually gets better. One more time each side. Always helps to give a little smile. And then rest. Nod the head. (inhales) Round down. (exhales) Feet are firmly planted.

Take an inhale while you're down here. Fill these back lungs. Feel your belly almost compressed against your thighs. You can even bend your knees a smidge. Take an inhale.

As you come up, the heels press down. The buttocks is engaged because the heels pressed down. It is the back of your bottom that lifts you up to standing and then you pause. Great. I hope you have a great morning and a great day.

Key Connections: Find your 'A-Ha' Moment

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Jan 28, 2022
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Morning Glory
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1 person likes this.
Good morning from Slovakia! Nice to see you , Caren. I am looking forward for new classes with you.
1 person likes this.
1 person likes this.
Always a pleasure to practice with you !  Hello from Montreal, Canada.  
Thanks so much Karen - always love your creative ideas and cues.
Unhee D
1 person likes this.
thank you so much!  simple and effective movement we all need 
Ali G
1 person likes this.
This was a wonderful class! Thank you so much!
Cathy S
1 person likes this.
Great way to start my day! Thank you. Your comment while standing on one leg that wobbling is ok was encouraging to me.
5 people like this.
I had a class picked out for this morning from my queue.  Then I see "Morning Glory" with Karen Sanzo on the PA banner and I was like, "Yes, please!"  Karen is one of my favorite anatomists on PA.  She describes the reasons your body responds to different positions and forces while using easy listening language like "a little bit of tone" that keeps you moving.  She gives parts of the body permission to come along in a movement once a stable initiation is set.  Just love her classes!
Lovely, thanks Karen! What a wonderful wake up call, brilliant cues and pointers soothing the body into suggestive and feel good movement, coaxing the movement with breath and permitting the body to move in a nourishing symphonic way! Brilliant, look forward to more of your classes online!
9 people like this.
Oh my goodness Karen what a gift this class was for me this morning! Yesterday was my first day of chemotherapy. Life has been a whirlwind for the past few months. Thank goodness the breast tumor that I found (by complete accident)  was very small and only stage one. I’m doing four rounds of chemotherapy just as a precaution because my “possible”  reoccurrence  score came back higher than they like to see. It’s still pretty devastating as to me one round of chemo it’s too much. Thank goodness it’s only for rounds  and a milder version … I think I can handle this!

 This class was just what I needed. Thank you so much! I have always loved learning from you!

 And P.S. do those self breast exams. Like I said this lump was found by complete accident.
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