Class #5296

Mat Reformed

25 min - Class


Bring some of the traditional Reformer exercises to the Mat with this quick workout by Misty Lynne Cauthen. She uses 2 Towels to assist you and challenge you during different movements. Even though it's a quick class, she finds a way to work your entire body, from head to toe.
What You'll Need: Mat, Towel (2)

About This Video

Jun 05, 2023
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Hi, I'm Misty Lynne Cauthen and welcome to Mat Reformed. This is a beginner to intermediate level Pilates class where we bring some of the classic reformer exercises to the mat. You will need two hand towels for this class. To get started, we'll lower down to our knees and grab one of those hand towels. Or you can grab two if that's more comfortable but it'll be a little bit more challenging.

Take your towel and arrange it mat width and you'll come to either all fours or fists depending upon what your wrists like. Now we're in this quadruped position. Make sure that you've collected your ribcage. You own it, so you should know where it is and you'll rotate your armpits forward, feel your back getting wider and separate your arms if you feel tight in the chest. From here, we're going to do kneeling arms so we're going to press our arms forward without changing the spine, and then we'll pull them back.

And I really want you to find that back of the armpit as you're working, pressing forward and pulling back. We'll just do three more here. The challenge on the in is keeping the ribs and not sticking your tailbone up to the ceiling. So keep the ribs stable, one more. Out and pull in.

Now we're gonna add a little bit of extra goodness. We're gonna go out here, I'll flatten my hands and I'm just going to take some tricep pushups, keeping my back nice and neutral, up and down for three. Slowly bending, slowly extending for two. One more flex and stretch, and sit back, letting the arms reach forward. From here, we'll do rotational arm slides.

So you're going to reach one arm away as you pull the other arm in, look over the shoulder, think of stretching through the armpit on the bottom and then square it off. And then the other side stretches as it rotates and reach. So as I'm stretching my arm away I'm not thinking about the action happening at my arm. I'm actually thinking about it happening in my middle back so I'm getting longer and creating more space for myself, one more each way. Reach, reach, reach, twist.

Look over your shoulder and stretch. Here's the last one, reach and twist without leaning, and stretch. Hold it here, take a big breath, and now exhale slowly curl your tailbone towards your nose. Let your head drape, let your shoulders relax. And we're rolling all the way up.

That's a warmup, isn't it? It's a good way to get started by loosening up the shoulders before we go any deeper. You'll bring your feet to the towel and you'll have your other towel nearby. We're going to slowly roll down, bring your tush toward the front edge of the mat and slowly take it slowly, no rushing. Give your body time to acclimate.

And we'll grab the second towel. I like to give it a fold, a second fold and then I bring it back behind my head so that when I lift my hands, the towel is just coming over the tops of my ears. So from here, you can start with your arms this way and pull the towel wide slightly. You'll feel how that affects your shoulder blades. They should feel like they're widening a little bit.

Or if you want a little bit more of a challenge you can bring your arms forward and curl up to your shoulder points. We're starting with footwork. So both legs are going to reach long keeping both legs parallel and exhale, drag to pull in. And we'll do four more of these. And ideally, both legs will be extending at the same time.

When I straighten my legs, I don't wanna feel like I'm pushing through my knees, au contraire, I'm feeling like I'm straightening through the backs of my legs. Two more, out and in. Last one, inhale and exhale, pull it in and hold. Footwork two, we're going to bring the heels together. Knees are pointing to 10 and two on the clock.

Same idea. Press out and pull in. Try to keep your upper body curl deep. So we're not relaxing because that's boring. Instead, we're staying nice and turned on from the upper body all the way down through the legs.

One more, press out, stay here. Pull the toes back, press through the heels. Push and point, flex and point. Belly is deep, curl up higher. And point, two more.

Flex, stretch. Ooh, have fun here. Keep the inner thighs drawing in together and drag the legs in. Lower the hand weight down. Now we're gonna keep the arms here just to again reinforce that idea of wide chest, wide back.

And we'll take one leg up. Single leg footwork is here. I'm pressing the leg away and I'm dragging it in. And I'm asking myself, am I able to keep my pelvis neutral, that means no hiking, no twisting, no shenanigans, as I'm working the single leg here? When I'm pulling the leg in, I'm thinking of it being as heavy as it can be to drag from the back of the leg through the front of the leg.

And let's switch legs here. Keep traction on your towel. Press away and drag it in. Four more press and drag. And again, think about making a groove in the floor with your leg.

That groove is tracking straight out from your sitz bone. It's not going out to the side, not at all. And drag it in and place your foot down. Just give yourself a break today. Open your arms out to a T and we'll let the knees sway to one side and then the other.

Let your head go to the opposite direction releasing your upper back, no tension. You can bring your arms up a little higher if you'd like but no matter what you're doing let yourself have this moment's peace. We'll return center. Arms will come down into the sides and you'll lift your legs up. Hug your inner thighs together if this is comfortable and we'll start with the elbows slightly wide of the body, palms facing away.

This is coordination. So you'll nod your head up as you extend your legs long. Press and reach. Open, squeeze. And then I'm resisting as I come back in.

Let's do two more quick, open, squeeze, draw in, see if you can come up a little higher. Last one, press reach, open, squeeze, pull in, bend, lower the head weight down, and release here. Take a big breath in. Small, gentle, but powerful hip rolls are next. So as I'm rolling my hips up, I'm using my core.

As I'm coming down, I'm reaching long through my arms. So exhale up and inhale back down. So notice I'm not throttling myself through space. I'm thinking of rolling back and forth and keeping it out of my neck, chest, and jaw. Deep low core activation right there.

We're going to take the legs down, bring both arms up, interlace them, rotate your armpits forward, take a big breath in. We're rolling up to sit up. So curl. And as you get to your shoulder points start to lengthen your legs away, away, away, flex the ankles. Stretch forward just a small hinge.

And now we can slide back. You have options here. If you need a little bit of a lift because it's uncomfortable to sit with your legs straight ahead, feel free to take your towel and roll it to give yourself some height. So you can place it right underneath your sitz bones. And we don't need this towel right now so we'll just place it off to the side.

Next is rowing. So starting with your knuckles at your breast bone take a big breath in. Exhale, curl your tailbone under to start to roll back. And inhale, roll up. One more like that and then we're gonna add on.

Exhale, scoop. (exhales sharply) And inhale up. Now this time adding on, we'll exhale, scoop. Press the arms wide, palms go back. Feel like you're being drawn in opposition to bring your arms back behind you. Clasp and reach.

Lift up and off of your hips. Now, with grace and dignity, butterfly the arms up and around. Reach past your toes. Your belly is going to the back wall. Then we roll up slowly.

Bring the hands in. Knuckles touch, scoop and roll. Arms press wide, keep your spine long, reach through your legs, curl up and over. Grab, stretch open the chest. Lift, butterfly up and around.

Reach. Roll up, up, up slowly. Arms will come up here. Think of them looking like the number 11, not like a sad triangle. Rotate your armpits forward hinging back, gaze goes forward and up.

It's as if my back is on a pole I'm trying to keep my spine aligned on that pole. Let's do one more. Hinge back flat. Now come back up. Adding on for rowing two, more hinge back.

Now keep the gaze forward. Reach up. Now you go forward up and over with a flat back as far as you can. Now, pull the blinds down, reach the arms back, stretch, grab your hands together, lift Same idea, butterfly up and around with the hollow belly. Roll up to the number 11, hinge back flat.

Reach up and then you go forward as far as you can go then pull the blinds down, stoop your belly, reach back, stretch. Hollow, hollow. Butterfly up and around and roll up to sit tall. Next is serve a tray. If you can sit criss cross applesauce style, feel free.

If not, you can keep your legs straight ahead. Sitting up nice and tall, if you're using your towel for support, make sure that you're using that towel for good and not for bad. Lift the ribs off of the pelvis, bring your arms into your sides and think of rotating the back of your armpit forward here. For serve a tray, you're going to reach forward serving your tray ahead of you, then you're gonna open your arms to drop your tray, rude, and then bring your arms forward again. Keeping your shoulder blades wide, draw your tray back in.

Let's do it again. Reach and open with resistance. Resist, resist, resist, resist, resist and drag the arms back in. One more like this. Reach and open and reach forward, and draw in.

Now change the cross of your legs. It's important that we change the cross of our legs that we're more balanced but the second side never feels quite as good so make sure that you're getting that switch in. From here, we'll go to shaving. Hands in a diamond, hands come behind the head, and then you'll hinge forward. Just in front of your sitz bones, hands come to the back of the head and you'll stretch up as straight as your arms can go without letting your hands separate, and pull back.

Neck stays long on the spine. And pull, three more like this. Reach and in. And two, pull it in. Here's your last one.

And pull it in and sit tall. Bring your arms down and we're gonna lay back down on our backs for the backstroke. Your free towel goes away. Both of your towels are off to the side and you're on your back. You may use the towel if you have difficulties or discomfort in your neck or you can just leave the head down which is the way I'll demonstrate the first one.

So for our first action, we'll bring our hands together stack palm on palm, and then step one leg and then the other leg up into tabletop or chair position. So for the first one, we're not going to curl up. We'll inhale or reach up. Hold. Arms and legs are straight and strong.

Now we're going to circle the arms, circle the legs, zip them together, and then resist and pull in. If that was challenging enough for you, do that again. But if you want more spice you can curl up head to the hands and we do the same thing. Everything goes up. Hold. We circle around, we scoop and hold, curl up a little bit extra and pull it in.

Two more like this, up. Circle, scoop, curl up a little bit extra and back. And last one. Up, circle around scoop, hold a little extra, a little bit extra. And pull it in, hold.

Teaser is next. So again, keep your head down if your neck is fatigued but if it's not, let's go for it. The legs are going to go long. Your arms are gonna go down by your sides. Take a big breath first and exhale for nothing.

Now inhale. Exhale as soon as you can see your toes that's when you start to bring the arms in and up. We curl up into our teaser position and we keep the arms circling around for one, circling around for two, circle around for three and up, hold and scoop and roll back. Grace and dignity, people. No collapsing and splattering on the floor.

Big breath in, second and last one. Nod the chin to the chest. Scoop, curl, reach. Look past your toes as you come up. Arms will stay up, legs will lower and lift, three, and blow to lift, two, and blow to lift, one.

And slowly roll away and down. No chalk out line position for you. We have to keep going. So we'll roll up to sit up leaving your legs down on the mat, nod your chin to your chest, curl all the way up. And short box is next.

I like to cross one ankle over the other because it gives me a more weighted sensation in my legs. If this is uncomfortable for you you can take your legs hip width or squeeze a towel between your inner knees or inner thighs. So, for round back we'll start with our hands here in genie position, rotate the armpits forward sitting tall in the sitz bones. Now is if someone's coming to tickle your belly but you don't really want them to you'll roll away from them and then you'll roll back up. Tall, tall, tall on the sitz bones.

Two more exhale, scoop. (exhales sharply) And inhale grow up. You'll note my gaze stays forward the whole time, I'm not allowing my head to do anything weird. Up and hold. Switch the cross of your legs here. Zipping up tall.

This is flat back. So again, I've got that rod down my spine and it doesn't bend so neither do I. And up. And you only go as far back as you can go without letting your legs get light. Can you do one more?

I know you can. Hinge, hinge, gaze stays forward and come up, up tall as you can. We'll uncross, let's take the towel and squeeze it between our heels. We'll take a flex here. Tilt twist is next, fingertips to the breast bone.

Flexing the ankles, we'll inhale to rotate and hinge toward the back corner of the mat. You'll exhale to come up and square. Other way. Twist and reach. Up and center.

Now you'll notice that my feet are hopefully staying even. That's the plan anyway and that's allowing me to work my rotators and not grip through the other areas that aren't supposed to be coming to play. One more each way. Hinge, up and center. Last one, twist and hinge, up and center and release.

We're in the home stretch, but we're not done yet. We're going into long stretch next. Listen my friends, this is challenging business but the great thing about it is is that you can build up into it over time. So while I'm gonna show it with straight legs please know that you can also do this with bent knees. For the long stretch, I'll be on my fists but you can be on flat hands if you would like.

You can also, if you have wrist difficulties, take your towel, roll it this way and place the heels of your hands on your wrist which I actually think I'm gonna do right here. Crow your toes under and you'll stretch your legs back into a plank position. Yay! Feet are turned out in Pilates stance. And now gracefully, you'll press back just a little bit and then you'll pull up. Folks, this is not easy business especially when you think of not jumping forward but instead pulling forward using your upper back and arms.

But that's okay when you're really connected. If that didn't work for you you can just do it with bent knees here until you develop the strength, come back down. Next are the knee stretches. We're going to start with a round spine. So round your back and sit back towards your heels.

You're going to float your knees up and then you're just gonna press them halfway back and pull them in. Four, three, two, one, and lower back down. Now we're going to go to a flatter back and we'll do the same thing. Remember, try not to distend your ribs. They're yours so know where they are.

Keep your back as flat. Pick the knees up. Same thing. Five, four, three, two, and one. Let's lower down, unfurl the toes. Sit back, take a stretch, palms facing up.

Hold this position and then reach the right arm toward the far end of the mat and bring it back down. Reach the left arm toward the far end of the mat and come back down. Circle both arms around and slowly roll up taking your time. One more. We're gonna do this and it's gonna feel great.

Well, it's gonna be a little bit of work but I like to end standing because that sets you up for the end of your workout and the end of your day, or maybe the start of your day. We'll stand with our feet in Pilates stance. It's a very little turnout here. Toes pointing at 11 and one drawing up through our lower abdominals, our inner thighs and our under butts. From here we take a big breath in and exhale, look at your navel, and then start to roll up and over.

Belly is deep, and as you're curling up and over try not to fall back. If you need to bend your knees here, feel free. Once you get down to the floor, walk out into plank stretching your body long, and let's just hold it. And in this plank, do a flight check. Zip your inner thighs together, lengthen through the backs of your legs, engaging through your abdominals, rotating your armpits forward and clucking like a chicken.

Just kidding. Don't do that. Hold. And now, send your tailbone to the sky. Let your seat get wide. If your heels don't touch, that's okay.

It's something to work on for later. And then when you're ready, walk your hands back in. Spread your 10 toes wide. Hold it here. Let the head stretch forward.

Take a big breath in and now exhale from your deep low belly you're rolling up. Try to keep the weight over the midfoot. Let your head be the last thing to arrive at the top. Roll your shoulders back twice three times and let your chest stretch up. Rolling your shoulders open, turning your hands to the wall behind you.

Don't fall down. Let your head come up. Let your arms return to the center. And thank you so much for joining me today.


1 person likes this.
Loved it!
Lauren Ashley
Misty, I loved this class, the concept, the towels- so creative! Your cues are so clear and your voice is so calming. I started my day with this class and feel like I am off to a great start because of you! Thank you!
Misty!what a FABULOUS class, thank you so much. What a joy to see you here on PA and to be able to benefit from your great cueing.
I need more Misty Lynne Cauthen!! Loved this video! Love your low-key nature and fun sense of humor! 😊
This was great! The cues were so clear and easy to follow.
Thank you.
Beautiful class! Thank you. More classes, please!
Anita P thanks so much for watching! Glad you enjoyed it. 😄
Lauren Ashley I appreciate the kind words! There's nothing like starting the day with Pilates... thanks for allowing me to be a part of it. 
Mel S Thanks for trying my classes - AND for appreciating my cueing! I always try to keep it simple and light. 😄 And if you liked these, check out my other series as well - it's called Fortify the Mat, and the videos are all a little longer than these (but still so much fun!).
Liz B Why thank you, Liz! I tend to think I'm low key as well, but my family says something completely different (#haters) I think they just don't want to work out! I'm glad you enjoyed the class. 
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