Class #49

Mat Progression Series 1/10

40 min - Class


This is the first class out of 10 designed to lay an instrumental foundation for all your Pilates mat work. The following fundamentals will be covered: the muscles involved in the Powerhouse and how to engage them, Pilates Stance, Correct posture, the Pilates Frame or Box, Correct Shoulder Placement, Breathing, how to lift Chin to Chest properly and how to lengthen the limbs from a strong Powerhouse. Introduction of Six Basic Pilates Mat Work Exercises: the Hundred, the Roll Back, Single Leg Circles, Single Leg Stretch, Double Leg Stretch and Spine Stretch Forward.
What You'll Need: Mat

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So we're going to start laying the groundwork of all these really important principles. Um, so we'll start off standing and go ahead and just stand with your feet apart. No form at all. We're just kind of learning about how does our body work differently. So when we stand, we want to stand within our frame. We have a straight line from one shoulder across to another shoulder d, then from one hip across to the other hip. I can't see that line anymore, but I hope you guys can [inaudible] it's completed from the shoulders are right over your hips too.

So there is this perfect frame box in every exercise. Okay. So we'll be talking about that a lot. And that's really supportive for your spine because we do all our exercises from our powerhouse. It's kind of like a weightlifting belt that is right around about five inches around your waist, so your stomach and your lower back muscles are actually going to work together. It's really hard to engage your powerhouse when we stand poorly when we don't have good posture. Um, so if we stand with our legs too wide out of our hip bones, then it's really hard to engage your glutes or your bottom and it's really hard to engage your stomach. So right now just hanging out, or especially as we like to socialize and talk with on one hip, it's really, really hard to support our bodies correctly. So when we're standing like this, try your hardest to pull your stomach and just feel what does that feel like to pull your stomach in and try to squeeze your bottom and see how, how much can you engage those muscles, you know, from a scale of one to 10 type of thing.

But now we come to something similar to a ballet term, which is [inaudible] stance and that's heels together. So if you look down, you want your heels together and your toes apart about two to three inches apart. Maybe a small piece of pizza, not like a belly first where the toes are really out to the side, but just a small piece of pizza between your toes. Now, a lot of times we do plotty stance just by turning the feet out into this position, but it actually comes all the way up from the core, from your powerhouse. So from that weightlifting image of those muscles, I want you to also think about these two bones that are, um, that's where I'm going to refer to your hip bones, not your silhouette hips, but just these two front hip bones and like their headlights pointing forward. I want you to imagine that your legs are a barbershop pole. Imagine those red and white stripes that go like this, circling around that barbershop pole. And those are your thigh muscles. So from this point, those STI muscles are going to rotate out, turning your knees a little bit away from each other, turning, not collapsing and your ankles or pull up your ankles a little bit.

Pull up your arch. And that's what makes your feet naturally turn into a Pilati stance. So when you're on the mat and I'm trying to tell you these things because we are going to do some more fundamental stuff on the mat. And before you get too bored down there, you want to be able to envision it here when you're on the mat. And I asked to go into a plotty stance, try to start it from pulling your stomach in from what we call wrapping those thighs, squeezing your bottoms.

That's what makes a Palati stance rather than just, oh my feet look like that. Okay. Feel free to ask questions anytime you think. Okay, so now with that Pilati stance, let's see, on a scale of one to 10 how easy is it to pull on that stomach? Is it easier to pull on that stomach or about the same? It should be a little bit easier cause now you're supporting your body correctly and same thing with the bottom of your seat or your glutes. You should be able to engage those muscles a lot better now.

So this is optimally the best posture to have is when you're holding yourself. But we do get tired of, that's when we start to slouch and sit on one hip. But especially if you have lower back pain or anything like that, you want to be able to stand in this Pilati stance your way to little bit forward on the balls of your feet. You could like just barely slip a card underneath your heels and that stomach, thighs, all of that working together. All right. Okay. Let's go ahead and just lie down on your map.

And when you lie down, have your knees bent so that you're, you have less pressure on your lower back as well. If your neck feels a little bit sore, I put a towel close to you guys so you can um, put it on underneath your head. All right? So if yeah, if it feels like your next, a little sore, just go ahead and put it on. Perfect. So again, we're looking at our frame. Uh, we drew a straight line from one shoulder across the other shoulder, one hip across the other hip that makes our nights Palladio's box. Okay. And your stomach should be able to sink down into the mat. It's a nice easy way to sync the, um, to support your back.

You should be able to feel your lower back, nice and flat on the Mat. I like to imagine that from one hip bone to the other is a laser beam. I can't imagine that again now, but if there's like a laser beam going across from one hip to the other, and if your stomach makes a small little hill above that laser beam, it's going to turn that alarm on. So you want your stomach sinking below the line of your hips. Everyone looks really good, so you've got your stomach sinking down into the mat.

And let's just enjoy some shoulder rules right now. So I want you to actually tense your shoulders up really, really high up to your ears. Good. And then let them sink down into the mat and then pull them towards your hips and then close your chest by rolling your shoulders forward towards the ceiling. And let's do that two more times. Up to your ears, down to the mat. Great. Jennifer down to your hips and close the chest as you roll them up to your ears, down to the mat, back down to your hips.

Let's go the other way and we're gonna reverse it. So we're going up to the ears. Closing your chest up here, down towards your hips. Open that chest two more times. So I'm just trying to get you really familiar because we don't spend much time on how our muscles are, where they are, where our body parts are. Okay, so now let's go ahead and bring your shoulders up high at to your ears. So you realize this is obviously a lot of tension, lot of tension on your neck.

Let's do the opposite and just pull them way down towards your hip bones. So now when you do that, it should have created a nice stretch in your neck as well. Okay, so shoulders and neck are really long. All right. With that in mind, I want you to think about what moved your shoulder blades towards your shoulders, away from your ears. There are some muscles in your upper back called your Leticia's Dorsey or your lats, and you actually want to feel those kind of pulling your shoulder blades towards your tailbone. Those one in the, in a little while. When we are working, progressing in each class, you'll be able to focus on that today.

You probably won't even remember it for any other exercise later on, but just laying down that groundwork for you. Those are the muscles that pull down. Let's do a little bit of breathing. Breathing is a really important part of Palase. However, it's one of the last things that we're going to focus on. So in the beginning, I just am gonna want you to read the stay alive, which you'll do fine doing, but I'm a late. But let me again lay that groundwork. So let's make two ELLs with our hands like this. [inaudible] yeah. And we're gonna put our fingers right underneath our bra strap or right underneath the chest, and point your thumb back and lie down those fingers so that you can feel your rips. It's not hard, right?

And I want you to take a big breath and feel all those ribs float up or open and an exhale and how your ribs go down. Nice job in with the air. Good. You might feel that your upper back or bra strap comes up off the mat and exhale adhere. It's really sinking down into the mat. We're gonna do that a few more times. Big Breath when you lift your upper back off the mat.

Now exhale, you are messing with your alignment of your upper back. We want your upper back to be straight during all our exercises. So again, take a big breath and exhale and feel how the alignment of your upper back is super flushed with the mat. It's straight. Does everybody feel that it is also incredibly engaging. Your upper abdominals, your upper stomach to do that.

So later on we're going to want to connect the shoulder blades with those ribs. Okay, so you can rest your arms down by your side. That's going to come into play in an exercise called the hundred but so we've got, we understand the shoulders, the ribs, the, the way the shoulders are held down in the back. We've got our powerhouse. Let's go ahead and bring your right knee into your chest and give it a hug. Good.

And I want you to straighten the leg up to the ceiling and place your hands behind your thigh or your calf to give yourself a good stretch. You never want to put it behind your knee because that is the weakest joint in the body and it will really hurt it. So just behind your calf or thigh. Now most people stretch that leg with it being completely straight. Ladies, try to keep your shoulders on the mat while you're doing that too. Good. Keeping your box square.

Now let's let the leg come away from us a little bit. So it's just straight up to the ceiling above your hip. Good. And think about that. Plotty stand side was talking about those barbershop poles and I want you to turn out those thigh muscles. I want you to have that knee turn out a little bit and now that foot is turned out a little bit. That's beautiful.

So now your toes are pointing more towards your right shoulder, then towards your chest bone. Now keeping the leg like that, put your hands behind your thigh and give yourself a good stretch or behind your calf. It should feel a little differently. It should feel a little bit more challenging of a stretch when you turn out the thigh. Does that make sense to everybody? Great. Go ahead and let it go a little bit. Now turn it again. Look, why don't we turn it completely where it's the toes are pointing towards your left shoulder. Very good. Now give it a stretch. I also want you to feel that when you do that, it sends that line that was in your hips. It's now not straight across anymore because you've lifted that hip joint up.

So rotate that leg out and feel how it goes all the way down to that hip joint and now those hip joints are straight across making it easier to use your stomach. Very nice job. Let's now have the leg again, straight up to the ceiling. Rest your arms by your side. Great. Sink your belly button down to the mat. I want that side of turn out even just a little more. There we go. And same with here. Just a tiny turned out more. There we go. And keeping both cheeks on the mat and keeping both hipbone square.

I want you to feel the upper thigh muscles really lengthen and work to try to touch the ceiling with your toes. Again. Make sure that you're not lifting your bottom or your hips are in getting even. You're just feeling those leg muscles actually work to touch the ceiling. Now. Feel how the stomach is sinking into the mat and slowly lower the leg reaching away from your back. That staying absolutely anchored.

Let's hold it right there. Perfect. Where the or Amery has it and the legs are even turning out. There you go. Pulling the powerhouse in the opposite direction. Wonderful. You're lengthening that leg muscle away from the stomach that's anchored into the floor. A little less tension in those toes. Great. Keeping your belly anchored into the floor, lower the leg a few more inches so that it's kind of like mid calf holding it there.

It should be a little harder as the leg gets lower to keep your back flat. As you get stronger, you'll be able to hold it barely off the floor with your abdominals. Go down as low. Now as you can feel, you can. Don't strain your back and then lengthen the leg as you pull it back up to the ceiling as well. Hug the knee into your chest. Nice work everybody, and place that foot right now down next to your left foot.

Hug your left knee into your chest. And we're gonna do the same thing with that left knee. So we're hugging it, giving it a hip stretch. If you have bad knees, you can hold underneath the fines that have on the knee and then extend the leg up to the ceiling and put your hands behind your thigh or your cath and give it a stretch. So again, we're just kind of feeling what are the differences on stretching here. It's easier to stretch it when it's just parallel. Let's let it come back a little bit so it's straight up to the ceiling and realign that hip. Turn it out now, like that barbershop pole, getting into a plotted stance. Basically no energy in those toes though, and stretch that leg towards you again and see how it changes.

You're doing great. Just keep that knee turned out as you stretch it. Nice. It should be a little bit harder, and then finally let that light come back a little bit more and turn it so that the toes point to your right shoulder and feel how that messes the alignment of your hip as you pool. Really, really important when we do a basic exercise called single leg circles. If you do it like that, you don't get any nice benefits to shaping your thighs, so you want to turn out that leg, feel what it feels like to work like that. Now have it directly up to the ceiling. Press your arms into the mat. Great. Turn out that thigh for me.

Keep your naval sinking into the mat and stretch to touch the ceiling. Feel those thigh muscles really working to touch the ceiling with your stomach anchored. Start lowering the leg, reaching away from your powerhouse and hold the leg once it is at the other thigh level, so the knees and thighs or even stay right there and see if you can increase the work in your belly just a little bit more sinking it in while you reach that thigh away and then lower it down a little bit more like mid calf. Good and finally lowered as low as you feel and this is really important that you keep it in your range, that you're able to keep your back flat. You should feel some good seat work here too if you're holding that leg correctly and then bring that like all the way up to the ceiling and hug the knee into your chest. Wonderful and put that foot down. Okay? We're going to do the same thing with your arms.

You have a straight line from one shoulder across the other shoulder. Okay? I want you to keep that line square and on the mat. Don't let those shoulders float up and just bring your right arm directly up to the ceiling. Good. So your shoulders straight across that shoulder is sinking into the mat. Now I want you to use those upper arm muscles to really lengthen and work to touch the ceiling. Beautiful.

Take a big breath and as you exhale, see if you can remember what it felt like to sink your ribs and your upper back into the mat while you're reaching in the opposite direction. Take a big breath and as you exhale this time, go ahead and lengthen that arm towards the floor towards your hips. So reaching down, still working that up arm. And then go ahead and inhale up towards the ceiling with that arm and this time exhale back towards your head without losing those ribs again. Try to keep that upper back down. That's difficult.

And then inhale up to the ceiling and just hold it there while you exhale and see if again, you can regain that upper back nice and scooped into the mat. Great job. And then bring that right arm down by your side. Good. Let's do that with your left arm, left arm up to the ceiling. The shoulders are straight across, the shoulder joint is down into the mat and you're reaching long through that upper arm. Try to even feel a little more weight in that shoulder joint. Yes. As it goes down to the mat, reaching long, long, long your muscles, you should really feel them working. Take a big breath and exhale.

Press your upper back down into the mat and reach that arm long towards your hips, going down by your side, palm facing down. And then inhale up towards the ceiling. As you exhale back, try to press your upper back down again, really securing that arm joint, that upper stomach, and then inhale up to the ceiling and exhale down by your side. Great job. One last thing I wanted to go over, but how are we doing? Anybody have any questions? Cause they're all such great students doing good. Okay. All right.

So one really important thing is we have a lot of times a real tender neck or why you're doing your, um, a lot of abdominal work and you want to lift up your head. What happens is it gets really tired. So I want to really review how do you hold up your head through all those abdominal exercises. So it's from that upper stomach, from that upper back. So I want you to take a big breath and exhale, press and down that upper back, very good. And this one, the one should have picture of sea salt. Okay. So as your ribs and upper back go down, it's going to allow you to let your head float up.

So I want you to take a big breath and as you exhale, press your ribs down and that upper back and bring your head and shoulders up so that you can look at your navel. That's sinking down into the mat. Of course. Right? Good. So this is how I want you to hold your head, not by shrugging up your shoulders, but they're going to curl up and you should feel that upper stomach really, really working. Maybe a small line underneath your chin. You don't want to really be tucking your chin significantly to your chest and go ahead and lower it down. Okay? So that's how we hold up. When I say Chin to chest, that's what we're going to be doing. All right, so we've got our box, we've got our powerhouse, we know how to lengthen our muscles, we've got all that work. And let's go ahead and start our plotting mat work.

I want you to make sure your navel is sinking into your mat and hug the right knee into your chest. Great. And then using your belly, using that powerhouse, bring the left knee in as well and hug it. So it's almost like you're in a fetal position. There's no reason why you can't scoop in your belly and your back is completely flat. Use your powerhouse to hold your thighs deep to your chest like they are and extend your arms long by your side, about five inches up off the mat. Good. Now, Joseph [inaudible] was German and he was very, very strong.

So when he would pump his arms, he would pump them with meaning. He wouldn't just be fluttering around or anything. So I want you to keep that in mind during this exercise that there's strength in your pumps and cats. I want you to just pump them up and down. Inhaling, taking a big breath and exhale. Nice. Inhaling as you exhale, pull the ribs in and press that upper back down. Take a big breath. This time as you exhale, we're going to lift your head up because those ribs went down.

Keep looking at your belly. Inhale and exhale. Strong pumps pooling in that parish. Just focusing on your stomach disappearing. Big Breath this time as you exhale, extend the legs right up to the ceiling. Keep doing everything you're doing though. Good. Anybody who's next? Getting tired, lower the head down.

Otherwise keep it up for a little bit longer. Big Breath and exhale, sink in your belly down. Now let's see if you can add that plotty stance from your hips. Turn out those thighs, wrap and squeeze two more times. Big Breath. Exhale, keep scooping in that belly and last big breath and exhale and hug in those knees to your chest, lowering your head. Great job everybody. So that is called the hundred you inhale for five counts.

Exhale for five counts. That makes 10 we do it 10 times and it becomes the hundred so in the beginning we lowered one leg at a time down to the mat. Just for an idea of where we're going with this exercise, I want you to take a big breath right now and as you exhale, bring your ribs in and pull your head up. Great length in your arms like they were for the a hundred good. Take a big breath and exhale.

Sink your belly down into the mat and extend the leg straight up. And they want to feel like they're one. You're rapping and squeezing together. The toes have a little Palati stance lit, so we want to rotate those knees away. Good, squeezing the back of your inner thighs together. Take another big breath. And as you exhale this time, drop the belly deep. And now lower the legs as low as you can.

Keep scooping in your belly and it doesn't look like a loaf of bread rising in the oven. It needs to scoop, scoop, scoop in. Notice as the legs get lower, it's very hard to keep that scoop. One day we will want to have those legs at what we call eye level, just a few inches off the floor. That's how strong we're going to get. Okay? Hug those knees into your chest. Always important to know your goal and where you're going with that exercise. Okay, everybody sit up and have your knees together, feet together and everything. Bet.

We're going to do an exercise that eventually you will be the roll up and you'll start lying down and roll up to it. But today we're going to do the roll back. Okay? So we have our box, right shoulders, right over our hips and I want a hand underneath each knee. And even though your legs are not going to be working and you know you might want to bring your feet just a few inches forward. Perfect. Even though your legs are not working as in, they're not moving in this exercise, they're still going to be working. I still want them trying to pull around and squeeze together cause they're going to be stabilizing you so that you can use your abdominals to do the rest of the exercise. So you, our shoulders stay over our hips.

But now I want you to create the letter c with your back. So we're going to really round our back. Beautiful. Try not to take too much tension in those shoulders. Okay. And keeping the shoulders again directly over your hip bones. Everyone's really good at rounding their upper back.

How good are we at routing are low or back though? You want to almost feel like your pelvis is in a tilted position and if you're looking at that laser beam from one hip to the other, that stomach is certainly pulling behind that laser beam. Okay. Everyone knows where their waistband is, the back of their waistband. I want you to keep your hands where they are. Take a big breath and as you exhale, go ahead and lengthen your arms, get in waistband onto the mat, see if you can keep your hands where they are and just roll, not your shoulders back, but your waistband.

And we're going to keep our feet on the mat should I said that and hold it there. Take a big breath and exhale, pulling forward. Good. All right, so basically we're gonna roll down onto the mat, one vertebra at a time. So we're going to start with our shoulders up over our hips and take a big breath and exhale, round that back and let's make sure our waistband touches the mat. Stay there, take a big breath and exhale, pulling in your belly as you come forward right here. Inhale and exhale. Roll down your waistband. For some of you, this is as far as you should go. If you feel you want more challenge, go down a little lower to the back of your shoulder blades or your bra strap. Take a breath and exhale. Roll up your bra strap before your waistband.

That's the hard thing and let's do that again and squeeze your bottom to help roll down your waist, man. So you're really articulating one vertebra at a time. Rolling away. Stop when you hit the bottom of your shoulder blades. If you can go that low and then exhale, peel up one bone at a time. Squeeze those legs together, round that back. Nice. And do that two more times and exhale, rolling away. Really love what I'm seeing. You guys are working really good and then curling forward. Nice.

Scooping in. Great. One more time and squeeze your bottom. Send your tailbone towards your heels as you roll back. Good and willing back only as far as you can. Make sure you're keeping a c curve a letter C. Good job. All right, any questions on the roll back so far? Okay, you guys are all great. All right, let's go ahead and lie down completely.

Keep your knees bent and your feet flat on the Mat. Good. Maybe feet just a tiny bit closer. Perfect. And squeeze your legs together. Nice. Good job. All right, everyone should be pretty comfortable with their next shoulder. Should be relaxed. I want you to take a big breath and as you exhale, press the upper back and ribs into the mat and press the back of your arms as well into the mat and Kay cause that's going to be an important part of this exercise to stabilize you is to hold those arms pressing palms down into the mat. But for now we're going to do that stretch we did earlier. I want you to hug your knee into your chest, your right knee.

The stomach's always sinking down into the mat. Extend the right leg up to the ceiling. Good. Remember it is turned out good. All right, place your hands behind the thigh. Give it a little stretch. All right, now look at that leg right now. It's very important. Look how high it has come. It's come up pretty high cause in a second.

I want you to do that only with your stomach muscles instead of your hands pulling the leg up towards your shoulder. I need you to get it that high with your stomach muscles. Good. Keep your right hip down on the mat and I want you to try to pull the leg over towards your left shoulder. Now. Good. That's it. You can use your hands if you want to pull it, and again, it's not over. It's up, over and up. While that right hip stays down and that leg is still turned out, this is the meat of the exercise right here is when you're crossing the body in our legs. Circles that it is going up and over. Okay, bring the leg right up over the hip now and you can either place your hands on top of those hip bumps or flat into the mat, whichever one you want, but let's sync the naval into your spine and use that stomach to bring the leg up towards your right shoulder. Cross it over to your left shoulder.

Let it go down a little bit to make a circle and pull it right back up to the right shoulder. Everyone's up with their right shoulder. Good. Stay right there and then cross to your left shoulder down a little bit and pull it back up. Pulled everyone looks pretty good. There's two things I need you to concentrate on and then we're going to actually move them fast cause I don't want your quad or your upper leg to tense. Two things is the backcast to stay flat and the hips quiet and that your turned out in that leg. Make sure you're not letting that knee roll it. Okay, five circles. Here we go. Pulling it up to your shoulder, cross around, up, cross around, up. Keep the back flat. Two more. Cross around, up. Feel the stomach working and Holt. We'd go the other way.

Now down a little bit. Cross around, up, down, pull up. I've see those legs come up higher. I want you to use that stomach to pull the like up to that left shoulder. Two more crusts around, up last time keeping it turned out and hug the knee into your chest. Good. Bring that right foot down.

Hug the left knee into your chest, straighten that left leg up to the ceiling again. Turned out right. Put your hands behind your thigh. Keep those hips square and pull that leg towards you. Really avoid holding behind the knee. And then with the hips square and down. Go ahead and see how far you can pull it up towards your right shoulder this time keeping it turned out.

And now either put your hands on your hipbones or press them deep into the mat by your side and make sure that leg is just straight up over the hip and it's turned out. There we go. Good. And we're going to use our stomach to pull that leg up to your left shoulder. I'm gonna have it right here. There we go. That's it. And then cross it over and around and up. We're going to do one more slow and then we'll do five quick ones.

Pull it up to your left shoulder with the stomach. Cross around and up. Okay. Turn out those size. Keep those hips quiet, stomach sinking. And the two tempo. Here we go. Cross around, lift, cross around, lift stomachs, pressing into the mat. Two more around long thing toes last time.

Cross around and hold reverse. Let it go down. Cross the body rack down. Cross the boxing up. I'd like to see that stomach pull that leg up higher too. More cross around up last time, Dan, cross around and hold. Hug your knee into your chest. Good job. All right, place that left foot down on the mat and we're going to introduce two abdominal exercises or exercises that primarily focus on your stomach. Later on, you're going to be doing five and no matter how advanced you are, those five are always killer and they're a great way to really slim down the waist and from your stomach up, but they're always going to be challenging.

So we're going to learn two today. We'll get a little bit more detailed with them later. But the important thing right now is that you learned that when you bring your leg into your chest, it's always from your stomach. So I want you to really feel how your back is flat right now and I want you to engage that stomach. I want you to pull the stomach in and let's see if you can keep the stomach in the entire time we do these next two exercises.

So sink in your belly into the mat. Let's bring your right knee into your chest, give it a hug. And then keeping your back flat and your belly sinking. Put the foot right back down on the mat and stomach sinking. Bring the left leg in, hug it into your chest and put it down. We're going to do that one more time. So it's a really simple thing. Can we keep our belly in while we bring a knee into our chest?

So bringing that right knee into your chest and you're going to hold it any way you want today. Later on I'll get more detailed and then put that foot down, keeping your back flat and bring that left knee into your chest. Good. And put it down. Now we all feel accomplished. We can keep our stomach in and our back flat while we bring a leg in. And I want you to pull your stomach in. Bring your right knee into your chest. Good.

Just hold onto that leg and I want you to take a big breath holding onto it with both arms, both hands. And I want you to take a big breath. And as you exhale, press your upper back down and lift your head up so that you can see how tiny your waist is and how much you're sinking your belly into your back. Good. Make sure that thighs come in as deep into your chest as you can. Now extend the left leg almost to the ceiling, a little higher up then 45 degrees and make sure it's turned out good and that it's reaching away from that belly that's sinking. Ladies in the back. And when we bring that leg down, just a little bit. Perfect. There we go. So that leg is really reaching away from that stomach. All right, look it at your belly. We're gonna bring that light down a little bit too.

Let's switch legs. Good. So as that right light goes out, it's turning out, it's rapping, it's squeezing, it's lengthening those muscles and switch. Use your stomach to pull that right knee all the way to your ear. If you could use that stomach and switch, bringing in that knee all the way. Keep your box square and switch.

We're not going to be going side to side as we bring legs and look at your belly. Use it to switch. Good. Are you squeezing your cheeks and switch? Try not to take tension in your head and shoulders one last time. Bringing that left leg in and grabbed both legs in to stretch and rest your heads down. Great. So we are stretching in that one, one leg at a time. So the exercise is called single leg stretch. Very easy name for that extras.

Now we're going to do the double version of it a little harder. Okay. A little harder. We're going to bring those knees into your chest and I want the feet to actually be in a Palladia stance. If you've ever been on a [inaudible] machine called the reformer, it says if your feet are on a foot bar right now, that Galati stance, here we go. That's it. Nice, good. And hands are trying to get onto your ankles. If you can. Good.

Slide them down your shins and put them right on your ankles, your hands. There you go. Good. And pull those legs right into you. So again, I see how much you can pull your legs into your right now. Um, I'm going to want to see you do pull them in that far when we're doing the exercise. Okay, so this is position one. There's only two positions in this exercise. I'm actually lying. We've got to get our head up. So we're going to take a big breath and I want you to exhale.

Press your upper back down to lift your head. Good. All right. It's almost like we can get our head between our knees and relax us fee. So this is position one position to keep those legs together and straight. And I want you to straighten your arms and legs to the ceiling so your legs are going to stay together, but your arms going to go right up above the shoulders. You're going to bring them up a little bit more, Jennifer. There we go. Good.

Higher up in the back. Bring your arms up. Higher, higher, higher, higher. There we go. And now go back to position one, which is hands on ankles. Let's do that one more time. Inhale as you stretch up to the ceiling and exhale as you pull together and rest your heads down for a second. Take a little break. Okay. So I'm going to demonstrate with Jennifer here that as you get stronger, the arms and legs get closer to the floor.

In the beginning I want you to keep them more up to the ceiling, but you don't take the arms and not the legs or the legs and not the arms. They work. If you're getting stronger, they both keep reaching, reaching, reaching. Okay. So she's gonna start off with her head up to her chest and our hands relax. Feet. Good. And so to start off, her hands are going to go to one. My hand here, your legs to here. So inhale, reach a little higher up. Close this angle a little bit. Good.

And her stomach sinking into the mat and then she pulls together. But as she gets stronger, she can open up even bigger. So go ahead and inhale and reach her hands have gone a little lower now in her legs, a little lower and exhale and rest your head down. Good. But you never again want to lower your arms too low if your legs aren't there yet. Okay? They work together. So there's only two positions in this exercise.

The one where you're hugging in or you're stretching out. And what I like you to do when you stretch out is really look at your belly and say, am I sinking? Am I holding my all my arms and lights from my stomach? Or did it look like me? Or are you puffing out your belly right now? And you're holding it in your, in your quads and in your arms. So you gotta talk to yourself. It make your body work. So hands on your ankles, we're going to do five repetitions.

Press that upper back down to lift your head up. Good knees are close to your ears and go ahead and inhale and take your arms and legs more to the ceiling. Look at that belly. Is it in? Is it scooped? Are you squeezing your bottom? And exhale, pull it together. And how reach legs are turned out and plotting stance and exhale good. And we're going to keep your shoulders up to inhale. Reach. They right there.

Yes. And exhale right there. Yep. Two more. Inhale, reach. How's that Belize it sinking. Sinking. Turn out those legs so it can help an exhale. One more time reaching it. A pony stance. You can wrap in, squeeze and that stomach's disappearing and exhale, pull it in. Rest your heads down. Nice job everybody. Last exercise for today.

We're going to sit up. Like I said, there's five exercises part of that and a lot of time we get you start using our back because our stomach gets tired and so genius of Joe's supplies. He now does spine stretch forward to stretch out our back. So we're going to scoot back so our legs are straight on the mat and good and then open it your leg so that the heels are just off the edge cause they want to be a little bit wider than your shoulders. Good. If you can sit up tall with your legs straight on the mat, fabulous. You want to feel like you have your vertebra stacking one on top of the other.

If you feel like your back of your thighs, your hamstrings are, won't let you do that. Go ahead and bend your knees a little bit so that you can sit up tall. You want the crown of the head reaching for the ceiling. Your stomach is pressing deep into your spine and you're going to bring your arms up at shoulder height. All of you have a wall behind you. I want you to picture that you're sitting against that wall and every vertebra is pressing on that wall and I want you to just bring your head forward off that wall.

You're going to bring your head to your chest and then curl your shoulders and the next Vertebra and the next vertebra and keep exhaling. See if you can touch the crown of your head to the floor. Great, and we're going to inhale and roll up one vertebra at a time. Back against that imaginary wall. Keep inhaling and rolling up, bringing that shoulders, those shoulders back in the head up. Good. Let's add feet. Bring the feet back so the feet are flexed. Good.

That's it. And let's add your bottom a little bit. Squeeze up off your bottom and exhale as you bring your head to your chest and rolling forward one vertebrae at a time. Nice. Good. Take a look at your stomach. Is it sinking into your back or are you keeping it supporting your back in? Inhale, roll up one vertebra at a time.

Really Nice. We're going to get two more times. Inhale as you lift up XL, as you go down, go down as far as you can. Rolling one vertebrae at a time forward. Nice. Keeping those toes flags and inhaling up, rolling up up tall spine. And one more time in with the era and exhale down those ribs are. And try not to let your shoulders tense up too much and exhale, reaching forward with those arms.

Try to touch the crown of your head down to the mat and inhale, rolling it up and relax your arms. And now you guys are all finished. You should. Great abdominal work and co-work. Good job. Good job. You guys have any questions or anything? You're good. Alright, good. Alright.


3 people like this.
Loved it! Great teacher....
1 person likes this.
This was so helpful in showing the difference between exercise with the proper position versus without!
So glad I took the time to work through each session. Very helpful in building a strong foundation. Thanks!!
1 person likes this.
Monica's Mat series is a must for anyone new to pilates as well as anyone who wants a form refresher. She gives thorough instruction that allows students to understand the subtle nuances of classical pilates. She is warm and funny too and really cares about her students. I hope she returns from maternity leave soon!
I wanted to skip right to a beginner class, but glad I didn't. Monica gave so much more detail than I have had in a group class at my gym. Can't wait to go to the next one!
That's great to hear Lucinda! We'll make sure Monica knows you said so...
excellent refresher to get me back to doing it properly!
I have a hard time making my legs really straight. What should I do? Just make them as straight as I can until I get stronger?
That was awesome! Can't wait to do the rest! Thank you Monica!!
1 person likes this.
Wow...great class! This is way better than trekking to a gym...can't wait for tomorrow's class!
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