Class #5295

Blissful Balance

25 min - Class


You will challenge your balance with this detailed Mat workout by Misty Lynne Cauthen. She focuses on where balance comes from and how important it is so you are inspired to keep working on it. She uses a Chair and a dowel for support so you can practice safely. If you do not have a dowel or Pilates pole, feel free to use a broom or something similar for balance.
What You'll Need: Mat, Table Chair
Optional: Pilates Pole

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Hi, I'm Misty Lynne Cauthen, and this is Blissful Balance. This class focuses on where balance comes from, how important it is, and it shows you that you can practice balance anywhere at any time. We're using a chair for support. I encourage you to do this with shoes on and off because balance is a different experience with and without footwear. So we're focusing on balance in this workout.

And one of the most important things that we wanna consider with balance is how we use our feet. It's not just about what happens up here. If the lower half isn't connected, then we're not connected either. So couple of things. If you're going to use a chair, what I would encourage you to do, if you have slick floors, incorporate the chair with the mat.

Make sure at least two of the legs, at least two are placed on the mat. This is going to keep your chair from slipping in case you lose your balance. The other option is, especially for the taller people, you wanna grab a stick, a pole, a broomstick is actually pretty good length, and you can use it here as well. Or you can use both props to help assist you if balance is a challenge. So we'll start here.

I'm just going to put one hand on my hip and I'm using my broomstick, or in this case, my gondola pole for a little bit of an assist. So we'll bring the feet to parallel. And I'd like for you to spread your toes. Think of being like a gecko or a salamander, and get your toes as wide as you can. And for some of us that may not be that wide, but get the toes as wide as you can.

And then just lightly, lightly curl them, pressing the pads of the toes into the floor and then letting them spread wide and lift. We'll do four more of these. And the beauty of this seemingly easy movement is that it's activating the whole underside of the foot. So we're turning the feet on, we're doming the arch, and we're keeping really good feedback from the feet up into the pelvis. You may even feel this in your lower abdominals.

We'll do one more because it feels super good and spread the toes here. Next, we're gonna lift all 10 toes. Here's your challenge. It might not be easy for me either today, but I'm going to try to lower my toes down from the outside to the inside. So I'm strumming through my toes, toe, toe, toe, toe, toe.

And when my big toe comes down, I make sure my weight is balanced across the whole ball of my foot and I spread my toes. Again, lifting all of the toes, starting from the outer toes, rolling them down bone by bone, find the center and spread. Now, one of the things you may find yourself doing is rolling your ankles out to lift your outside toes. Hmm, that's called cheating in my country. And as GI Joe says, cheaters never win.

So instead, think of keeping the weight balanced over the inner and outer ball of the foot. And then really reach through each digit to get them down. One more, lift them, spread them, roll through them. It feels good eventually. Now that we've rolled through the toes, I like to just roll the ankles.

So I'm rolling my weight to the inner and outer blades of my feet. I'm taking a little bit of a rock through my body as I'm warming this up because it feels good. But eventually, I'm going to make that rock smaller and smaller, and really try to keep the work happening below my knees. Again, prepping for balance, we wanna give our bodies time to figure out where they are in space. And again, as I'm rolling across, I'm making sure the weight is rolling across the ball of the foot too and not way back into my heels, 'cause look at what's happened to my posture.

So that's activating our ankles, part one. Part two, we'll lift the heel here keeping the ball of the foot on, just circling the ankle. And in this one, there's not necessarily any form or function. You just wanna make sure you're not straining the joint as you roll. Other side, here, my knee comes along, but notice my hip is not joining me for the party.

And I'll release into the mat. Other side, circling. And just be aware, you might notice tightness on one side. You might already be noticing that it's harder to balance on one foot than the other. So you may wanna change the hand that your stick is in or where your chair is. Place it down, spread the toes wide.

And now we'll hula hoop. So your hands are on your hips and hula hoop. As you're hula hooping around, think of how this feels from your hips all the way down to your feet. And then reverse. You may notice you wanna let your feet come along.

You can start off that way. But again, as you do more repetitions, let's go around again to the first side. As you do more repetitions, try to keep your feet planted without rolling to the inner or outer blades of the feet. Reverse again. Three more.

And last one. Good. Shake it out because it's time. Again, remember you have the chair here. You may have the chair here, and if you have it, let's use it for a moment. So from this position, I've got one hand a little bit more forward, my shoulders are down.

And here's the thought. I'm not leaning forward to lift my heels. Instead, I'm lifting my heels and sliding up a wall. So there's an imaginary wall behind me, and as I lift up, I'm not leaning forward and then I'm lowering back down. Same thing.

Now, a slight variation forward is normal. And depending upon what's going on in your feet and your hips or lower back, you might have to rock forward a little bit more. Again, that's okay. But realize our goal is to be able to use the front body and the back body evenly. And we can't be even if we're diving forward to lift our heels.

Spread the toes again, find your foundation. Now let's check back in with that same movement. Instead of lifting up high like we just did, I want you to imagine that you're wearing a pair of kitten heels or you've got a little block that you're trying to slide under your heels. The block is only this high. As you lift your heels, you're stopping at maybe about an inch at the max.

And then lower your heels down very delicately. And as soon as the flesh touches the mat, lift up again just to that same place. Focus on keeping your weight even on both feet. Lift. Are all of your toes staying on the floor?

Don't wave at me with your big toe. Keep that thing connected. Yes. And you may notice that your buns are getting a little toasty. That's okay.

Let's lift up and hold here. So now that block is under our heels, we're balanced on the block. As we bend our knees, we're trying to keep the heels at the same height. The tendency is to wanna pop up into that high heel position. But when we do that, we lose connectivity sometimes in our limbs, especially through the inner thighs.

So we wanna keep the connection from the seat to the floor and from the floor back up to the seat. And you have one more ahead of you. And lift the heels up. A little higher here, big stretch. And lower the heels down.

So again, let's shake this out because that's a lot of work, but we're still not done. I'm gonna change sides here. And I'm going to start with my outside foot, so the foot that's away from my pole. I bring that foot forward about a step. And to begin, we're just gonna rock forward and rock back.

And just pay attention to what's happening to you balance wise. You might shift side to side as I can feel myself doing, and that's appropriate. But do you feel yourself losing your carriage at the top? Think of bringing your pelvis with you as you come forward, bringing your pelvis with you as you go back. Think of keeping all the toes connected to the floor.

And think of keeping the energy through the middle foot. So your arches of your feet are being dynamic here. Let's switch feet. Now I'm on the inside leg. I'm standing tall, I'm shifting forward, and I'm shifting back.

And as you shift forward and back, same thing. Notice, are your hips staying square? Are they twisting and rolling? Are your shoulders creeping up because you're challenged with your balance? All of those things are normal for you wherever you are today, that's okay.

But see if you can clarify your movement by bringing your pelvis with you. Bring it back to the first side. Now this time, we're going to do the calf raises that we just did. Remember with your legs apart and split forward this way, it's going to feel a little bit more challenging to go up the wall rather than forward. So envision that wall behind you.

As you lift your heels, balance the weight over both feet. No biasing forward here, and then lower back down. Now that we've found it, we're just gonna go back to that box. Lift as high as the little boxes that are sliding under your heels here. Keep your feet turned on, lower back down.

Three more like this. Lifting up, up, up. Dynamic feet, lower. And two. And last one.

Lift up and hold on this one. Do a little knee bend and stretch. Four more. Remember, your heels are resting on those blocks and your weight is balanced across the balls of both feet. And all of the toes are on the floor.

Two and lift. Let's do one more. Keeping the weight centered between both feet, lift both heels up, stretch, stretch, stretch, and slowly lower it back down. It's a lot of work. So let's give the toes a break. Curl them under just for a moment.

And then we switch sides. So here we are. We're going to lift the heels up, sliding the spine up the wall. Hold, hold, hold. Weight is balanced over both feet, and we're lowering the heels.

And four more. Check in with this side that you're holding onto either the chair or the bar. Have you lost your shoulder or neck? This tension here affects what's happening down here as well. It's all connected.

So be very aware of how you're managing your stress in this position. Lower the heels to the box and we bend the knees. Think of the legs tractioning, tracking parallel as you bend and extend keeping the heels at the same height. Three more. And two.

Check in with all of the toes, all 10 of them. One more, stretch all the way up and float it down. So now we're going to go to a single leg balance. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be scary here. In fact, it could be a little bit of fun.

And this is where we talk about how you can practice your balancing everywhere. 'Cause you have two legs and there's always something to grab onto. So I want you to think about programming this into your life. Let's take the bar or your broomstick and make sure you place it in a place that is away from your feet, that you can't possibly step on it. And then from here, just for comfort, we're gonna start with the heels together and slightly turned open, just slightly.

Think of standing up tall with your ribs balanced over your pelvis. And to begin, we're going to bring one heel to the inside of the other ankle. So am I truly in a single leg balance? Not quite, but what I'm doing is allowing my body to acclimate to what's to come. So my heel is pressing into my ankle and my ankle is pressing into the heel.

I feel that connection all the way up to the top of my legs and into my pelvis. I'm slowly lifting and I'm lowering. And I really wanna rock forward on this lift. But I'm not gonna let myself. I'll do three more here.

And because I'm feeling rather fancy, I'm gonna bring my hand to my hip. I'm gonna lift and stay and hold. I'm going to bend both knees. The block is under my heels and I'm thinking of keeping my heels weighted on that block. Keep my weight spread across the balls of my feet and keep my shoulders away from my ears.

This is work. I'm smiling because crying is sad, but it's a lot of work and I'm coming down. Now you can get super fancy if you want to, but only do it if you're really feeling solid. We're going to pick up one foot and you can place it either just inside of the ankle or a little higher up the leg. Feel your hips sitting level, as level as your hips can be.

And then you can just stand here with your hands on your hips, just like this, and have a conversation with yourself or others. But if you really wanna go for the lift, I want you to think of this. There's electricity coming through the floor, up behind the knee, up to the under butt. And that's what's lifting you up, just to that block height. Four more. Lift, it might burn.

It adds character. And my hand is on my abdominals here to remind myself not to stick my tush out. 'Cause nobody wants to see all of that. Instead, when I keep my hips under me, I'm much less likely to fall. Bring that down, shake it out.

And then we have to go to the other side. Again, my legs are only slightly turned out. That's just to give myself some space. Everyone's gonna vary a little bit in that position, but what we wanna feel is that connection from the floor all the way up into the seat and into the core. One hand down.

And start off just by finding the balance in this position. Now, you may notice a difference in your hips or your pelvis. One hip might wanna be a little higher or lower, maybe a little bit rotated. See if you can find the balance front to back and side to side. Holding on is a good idea.

And from here, spread the toes on your standing foot and lift, sliding up the wall and back down, and again. So both of my legs are working. I'm bringing them in toward each other, almost like I'm squeezing a spring between them so that everything is staying active. And I do one more here. And I hold and I keep my heel on the box as I bend and I stretch.

My weight is evenly distributed, and on this leg I have to work extra hard to keep my first and second toe down. Two more. Get the knee all the way straight without locking it. One more. And lower the heel.

And now the second action here is going to be to bring the leg up. Finding your hips. Are they level? Think of your cheeks resting on the edge of a chair right here. So they're going to be as level as you can make them. And your abdominals will help you keep your pelvis balanced.

So we're lifting and lowering, once again keeping the toes spread, sliding up the wall. Four more like this. And three and two. Woo. Is anyone sweating? I personally am sweating.

Now, I'm gonna lift the heel and hold, and I'm gonna slowly, slowly, slowly bend and stretch. Really working. Again, are my hips staying level? Is my heel staying level? It's very hard for me on this side, but I will persevere.

I will survive. One more. Woo, and good. And I bring it down and I shake it out because I've earned it. For our next trick, we're going to sit on our chair, bring it to the center. In this position, I'd like for all four chair legs to be on the mat.

Your feet will be off of the mat and you'll be sitting forward on the chair for balance. We're going to go to a wider leg position here. And even here, we're thinking about the balls of the feet and the heels having good contact with the floor. So your hands are gonna come in this way. And this is to work on balance while we're standing or getting from seated to standing.

As we stand, I would like for you to think about the floor pushing away from you and you trying to chase it with your legs as you're reaching up through the crown of the head. Before we go, though, take a hinge forward, as far as you can go comfortably, and know that that's not where I want you to go in this exercise. So instead, think of coming forward just a pinch, five to six degrees, and then to stand up, I'm pushing down to lift up. And as I'm coming up, I'm thinking of my legs coming toward each other, like I'm squeezing an accordion. Now to come back down, that's the tricky part.

For this first one, we'll bring our hands back. And as you go to sit, you can reach for your seat and then bring yourself back. That was scary. I didn't know where it was. So we're gonna try it again and think about the same idea. As I'm coming forward, it's not out, it's up.

So here we go. I'm pressing down into the floor. I'm lifting up. I'm hugging my inner thighs and my under butt together. I'm bringing my hands back. I'm sitting. I'm sitting. I'm finding my chair and I'm sliding back.

Two more. This time we're gonna try not to reach back for the chair. So please, if your mat is not underneath your chair here, slide your chair back to the wall for safety. Place the heels of the chair, legs against the wall. Here we go. Hands to prayer position.

Give yourself a little bit of pressure here. Just gives your energy some place to go. Take a small lean, lift, squeeze, squeeze. Take a look at your feet. They should feel very energized.

The arches of your feet should be doming here. To come back down, keep pressing, send your seat back. Find your sit bones reaching toward the chair and you lower with grace and dignity. One more. So as we go up, slide and lift.

Hug those inner thighs together. Let the knees come long without locking. And sitting back down, sending the seat away to sit. Walk your feet in. Give yourself some applause because you made it.

Thank you so much for joining me today.


Meira H
LOvely workout, thak you Misty Lynne!
Oh wow, loved this work. And your fun cueing. Thanks Misty Lynne :))
Davina V
Always a pleasure to learn and grow from you

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