Class #5299

Short and Sweet Mat

30 min - Class


You will find joy through movement with this short and sweet Mat workout by Kristi Cooper. She invites you to take inventory of how you're feeling so you can create the support you need in your body throughout the class. She uses creative variations and transitions to make you feel strong, proud, and open during each exercise.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

Jun 14, 2023
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Hi everybody, I'm Kristi Cooper. Ready to do some mat work with you. Thanks for joining me. Let's start seated. Turn sideways so you can just turn your head to look, rather than looking straight ahead, 'cause we'll be on our backs soon.

I am starting with a diamond position, which essentially means the soles of the feet are together, the knees are just dropped out to the side comfortably. You can make the diamond as bigger or as smaller as you need to at the moment, and then hang on to your shins, support yourself. Take a minute to just rock back and forth on your sitz bones, and then find either straight up and down on top of 'em as best you can, or maybe even subtly right behind. And then be as tall, as proud, as open as you can be. And let's just take a couple of breaths here.

Inhale. (inhaling deeply) And exhale. (exhaling deeply) And notice how when you exhale, your shoulders can just melt down a little bit, or can they? Give it a try, or let it be, is a better way of saying it. Inhale. (inhales deeply) And exhale, softening where you can, knowing that the more free of tension we are as we head into our workout, the more efficient we're gonna move. And this won't be a real long one, so let's think about that. Inhale. (inhaling deeply) Let go where you can, but just stay tall in the column of the spine.

And, finally, we will get moving, inhale. On this exhale, you'll roll the hip bones back, your hands will slide naturally wherever they need to go, but I am gonna hold on a little bit. I'm just rolling back, not even quite to my waistline. Hold there, inhale. Hold that waistline back, exhale, come forward, and then sit up tall.

I like this sense of, like, closing the ring, so to speak, of really supporting myself, because that's probably gonna end up being a theme throughout this class. Exhale, roll back. (exhaling deeply) I'm gently pressing down. Inhale, exhale, come forward, and sit up tall. (breathing deeply) Inhale, exhaling back, just sort of taking our inventory, deciding where we wanna be, where we wanna go, might even be better. Exhale, come forward, and sit up tall. How about just two more for now. (breathing deeply) Exhale. (exhaling deeply) Hold there, you can even hold underneath.

That might be a nice sense of opposition for you. Exhale, come forward. You just get used to where your body is today, who you are today and where you wanna be in 30 minutes. Exhale down. (exhaling deeply) Inhale and exhale up. (breathing deeply) A little bit of a warmup that way. Now, just plant the feet flat, apart, sitz bones distance.

Roll down for just a few pelvic curls from here. We inhale. Start that exhale, roll your hips up off the mat. Kind of, dragging your hips toward your heels. It's more of an image cue than a reality, but maybe it'll tap into the back of your legs.

Inhale at the top. From your throat, start rolling down, trying to find a little bit of ease and a simple movement that's not to be overthought, inhale. Start the exhale, roll it up. (exhaling deeply) Standing on your feet, inhale and exhale down. (exhaling deeply) Just think, like, it's always about awareness, isn't it? At least to start. What are your feet doing?

What are your knees doing? What's working, what's not working? And then just try to find a little bit of ease in movement, so that we end up feeling a little more joyful when it's over. Inhale and exhale. (breathing deeply) Throat, upper back, middle back. Oh, don't forget to re-tuck if you need to, if you're one of those people with a tight back, you might have to think that way.

So you really touch every bone you can on the way down. Inhale, exhale, roll up. (breathing deeply) Hold it there, inhale. Good time to check your collarbones. I can see my shoulders in front of me a little bit, so that's not cool. I'm gonna push 'em back down just to touch the mat, and exhale, roll down.

When you're there, once your tailbone touches, just flip the arms straight up above your chest, palm's facing each other. Reach the fingers to the ceiling, so, yes, let those shoulders come up and around so you can see 'em, and just drop 'em back down. Do it again, inhale, reach up, (breathing deeply) and drop 'em back down. Kind of, trying to let go of tension, but also just remembering where they can be, which is down, stay there. Open wide, like you're trying to touch the side of the room, making a giant T.

Let's not touch the floor yet, just reach long, and then exhale as if you're gently engaging the pecs, or just bringing the hands almost together. Inhale, open. (breathing deeply) And exhale, you kind, of feel the stretch, you don't really have to work, right, so you're just gonna bring them to right above your shoulders again. Inhale, open. (breathing deeply) Exhale, bring them up. And on this one, inhale, open, stay a half inch, inch off the floor, can you be any longer in your wingspan? If you over tighten, you're gonna suck those arms into your sockets.

Let 'em go. Feel that almost neural stretch, yeah? Then, allow your arms to be on the ground. Now if that's too big of a stretch, you could also lower to a low V. Bring your knees up to tabletop, or even closer if you want.

We're going towards the window for knees, side to side. Inhale, you do lift that opposite hip, but not the opposite shoulder. Exhale, bring it back to center. Other way, inhale up and over. Exhale back to center.

It's like one leg, really. Nothing working too hard, nothing working that doesn't need to, you're holding your shoulder girdle and upper half of your ribcage down as best you can just to warm up your spine. Inhale. (breathing deeply) Starting that exhale so you can almost feel like your legs are swaying back to center. Other side. (breathing deeply) Two to go. (breathing deeply) Last one. (breathing deeply) Oh, I wanna keep going, it feels good, but we're not going to. Hold on behind your thighs, again, back to that idea of supporting yourself.

I'm keeping my knees together, but it's optional. Press your thighs, the back of your thighs into your hands as you curl your head, neck and shoulders up, making, kind of, like a C or a boat-like position, and keep the shape, right, so I'm not gonna straighten and bend my elbows. I'm just gonna start a little rocking action. Inhale, exhale. (exhaling deeply) Keep the exact shape as you can, (breathing sharply) so there's no clunking, there's no flat back. (Kristi breathing deeply) So that means you have to, kind of, well, that means you have to hold the shape, I guess I keep saying that.

Back forward. (breathing deeply) Notice how you can make it bigger. And in two more, we'll end up and stay up. So here's one. (breathing deeply) Next one stays up. (breathing deeply) Hold it up. Feet can go back down. Let's go to that diamond position again.

Taking our hands behind the head. Just again, a little bit more warm up but upright. Inhale, rotate towards the window, or me. From here, take that backhand up, exhale, put it down on the knee that you're looking at right in front of you, and grow a little taller, maybe even twist a little bit more. From there, you're not gonna snap out of it, you're gonna just hold the position, replace the hand on the inhale, you're getting taller, even still, exhale, back to center.

Whew, tedious, but boy, doesn't it open stuff. Other direction, you inhale to rotate. Go ahead and let go of that hand, take it down to the leg. You can either slightly pull or press. Exhale, rotate (breathing deeply) a little further or upwards.

Inhale, return the hand behind your head. Exhale back to center. Let's do it again, inhale. (breathing deeply) Exhale, arm goes down, body goes up. (breathing deeply) Hold the position, you're not leaning back, right? Inhale, right is the answer. Inhale, put your hand back behind your head, and exhale, center.

As far as the elbows go, they don't have to be way behind you, if you can see 'em, that's fine. Inhale, rotate. Hand goes down, body goes up. (breathing deeply) That is that support I was talking about. Enjoy it, but when you let go, you gotta support yourself with what you got. Back to center.

Inhale, rotate. (breathing deeply) Hand goes down to that leg, exhale. (breathing deeply) Holding that position, just return the arm, that's the inhale. And exhale center, again. (breathing deeply) Hand down, body up. Same cue, same drill, but what do you feel differently? You gotta take your own inventory. Return the hand and back to center.

From here, let's just do a couple, like, pulsing. So it's just gonna be inhale right here in the center. Do two or one twist to the left, and go a little further on the second. So it's, (breathing sharply) center. Other side, it's exhale, exhale, same idea.

You go as far as you can get taller. We might do it again later, but maybe not, so let's get it out now. One more each way. Pulse, pulse, and... Pulse, pulse.

Fabulous, back to center. Now, just reach the arms up, round forward, take a little stretch there. And then bringing the knees back together, we're gonna go back into what, I didn't mention, was called, rolling like a ball. We're gonna do that and then take something from there. So, with your feet down, knees together, roll slightly back on your pelvis, drag those feet into the point where you can hover them.

From that point, meaning you didn't change anything, you're in a ball shape and that's how it's gonna stay. I lowered my hands to my ankles, the front side, and I'm gonna gently push into my hands with my shins, and my hands are gonna push into my shins as well. From there, we roll back, inhale. (breathing deeply) Exhale, roll up, and pause if you can. If not, just roll and do it again. Inhale, everybody back, everybody up, hold.

Start thinking about looking in one spot. I tend to look, I don't know, a little, I guess, mid-thigh. Inhale back, exhale up. Glue those legs together if you can. If it's easy and you're not just all over the place or flattening your back, you can go even tighter.

It's up to you. But keep the resistance the same throughout that roll. Two more. (breathing deeply) One more. (breathing deeply) Awesome, stay there. Our feet are still hovering. We slide our hands up to the knees, pushing the knees into the hands as we lower the spine to the shoulder blades, but with control, hopefully, for the double leg stretch, we stretch the legs out, the arms back, inhale.

Exhale, come back and you can push in again to hold on. Support yourself, (chuckling) if you don't, right, do it. Here we go, inhale, out. Exhale, in. (breathing deeply) Notice when you exhale and grab onto those knees, you can really sink the belly. Let's do five more, one, exhale. (breathing sharply) Inhale, open, exhale, close, two. (breathing deeply) Three. (breathing sharply) Four, kind of sharp.

There's five, hold onto the right knee, extend the left leg. Okay, hang on, start to rock. If you take my classes, you know I do this sometimes, and it's really a position check. I don't wanna flip my legs around. I want 'em, kind of, staying in line, hold.

Switch to the other side, so now I'm holding my left leg. Don't really care where your hands are right now. Start a rock, but keep the alignment, meaning, the legs aren't changing while it's not moving beyond the other. Switch back to the first one and we go, one, switching to one and two. (breathing deeply) Two, so it's inhale, inhale, and don't be afraid to use your arms, kind of, pull apart in a way. And in, in, out, out. (breathing deeply) Both knees in, rest your head down.

Yes, here we go. Push your knees into your hands to bring your head, neck and shoulders up again. I guess I should call this the starting position. Elbows out to the side, really use your arms. I mean, it's not to say bring your legs closer, but why not.

Pull with your arms and push with the knees. Extend the right leg up. Other leg goes out on a diagonal. Actually, it's gonna go to the ground today. Try to push that leg into the ground.

Top leg goes pulse, pulse, switch. Bottom leg into the ground, pulse, pulse, let's go a bit quicker now, one, one, one, one, two, two, two, two, keep going, three, three, I'll go to six. Four, four. (breathing deeply) Five, five, up, rest of the body still. Right, last one. (breathing deeply) Both legs up. Bend your knees, rest your head.

You can look side to side. Hands back on your knees, if they're not there already, curl back up. Use the knees to help you, right? You're about to let go, so know that. Put both hands behind your head.

Extend one leg and rotate to the other bent knee. Let's go, you know the drill. Inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale. (breathing deeply) Keeping that alternating action. Staying up on it, staying up on it. Keep it going, keep it going.

Reach that leg long, pull the other one way in. How about one more set, starting now. Both knees in. Everything goes down. Hug your knees.

One more time, hands on knees. Curl yourself up to that, sort of, seems like the starting position. Hands now behind your knees, we'll do that rocking. Let's do three and we'll come up on three. One, two, and we're up on three.

Right on, so far so good. I know it, I can feel it. I can feel you. Soles of the feet together, just like we started, that diamond position, we're doing a version of short spine, that I find, kind of, helpful based on adding a piece to it. We've laced the fingers behind our head again.

Inhale, on our exhale, we round forward, round forward. Not just to collapse, but as if we're going up and over something. Then, inhale, and come right back up. Great, I'm gonna change the arms. Take 'em in front, straight in front.

So, you know it's about the spine now, but the arms are gonna be here, 'cause it helps us a little bit in a different way. Inhale, exhale, stretch to round forward, rounding forward. I keep my palms facing each other. It's up to you if you wanna turn 'em down. And then inhale, and exhale to come up.

I'm gonna do one more like that, and then we'll make it really fun. Inhale to prepare. Start exhaling, round forward. And I guess why it's going, kind of, slow, 'cause you don't wanna roll the pelvis so much forward, it's everything above the pelvis. You don't feel a shift on your sitz bones.

Inhale and then exhale up. All right then, now, we begin the same. Inhale, start exhaling to go down, and that just helps me to remember to hold my abs in a bit. Then, you can even drop the arms a bit, inhale to lengthen your back on the diagonal. So I'm just letting my arms naturally slide up my knees, and using it, supporting myself to give myself the long spine, right?

And then for now, we'll go back down. (breathing deeply) And roll up. Arms starting in the out-stretched position, inhale. Exhale, I'll add on this one, I can tell you're with me already. We go down, (breathing deeply) start to lengthen your back on the diagonal, but let your arms drop so you can actually have your hands on your shin to find that long line. From here now, we'll stay in this long line.

Inhale, float the arms up above your head, nice and long. You're really lengthening through the spine from the tailbone to the crown of the head. Then exhale, leaving your arms straight. Round and just roll back up. All right, so here's the whole thing.

Arms are out in front. Exhale, round four, rounding, rounding, rounding, holding the pelvis back but reaching as far forward, don't drop the arms this time. Inhale, elongate the spine so your arms are going with you with the spine up by the ears. Exhale, re-round. And roll back up.

That's the full extent of it, but now it'll get fun when you get used to it. Inhale, hopefully, (chuckling) exhale. Fun might not be the right word. Exhale, round forward, reaching, reaching, reaching, you can go low with the reach, but reach. From there, from the tailbone, start hitting along hitting your spine, your arms are just attached to you, so they're going right up alongside the ears.

Oh, I know you're already starting to feel your upper back, or if not, maybe think about that. Exhale, re-round, and roll back up to the upright seated position. Inhale, exhale forward. (breathing deeply) Inhale, I gently press my feet into the ground, if that helps you, you might try it, elongating on that diagonal, arms right up by your ears, so much so that if you were to look to one side, you'd be looking under your arm, ideally. Re-round, and roll back up. Let's do three more.

There's our inhale. Exhale, rounding forward. (exhaling deeply) Start stacking the spine from the base of the tailbone, all the way up. Can you lean into it more without, I don't know, thrusting your rib. Oh, my goodness. And exhale, re-round, to come back up.

That's no secret, this is my favorite exercise mostly 'cause it's challenging, but it also changed my posture once upon a time. Round forward. Here we go, let's make this even more fun, can you believe it, into the long line, right? And now, it's gently pull the upper arms back, in one. We'll do 10.

Two, it's subtle. Three, well not really, is it, the movement's subtle. Five, lean into it. Six, like someone's got you by the arms. Seven, up there on the diagonal.

Eight, nine, and, oh my, 10, round forward to roll up. Woo-hoo. (breathing deeply) Note to self, "Do that one a little more often." All right, we're going into open leg rocker. So I just bend my knees. I'm gonna tilt back a little bit, but not just by leaning back, I'm gonna tuck the pelvis a little, so I'm just behind the tailbone. Let's bring the legs close enough so they're on the tippy-toes, so you can just almost balance on your tailbone, or just behind it.

Extend both legs. Okay, now here's the deal, if your legs are tight, you can hold underneath. That's no big deal, really. It just changes the momentum a little bit. All right, we are rolling back to come up to the same position.

Here it comes. Inhale, lift the tailbone up, exhale to come back to the same position. Ooh, goodie. Inhale, roll back. Exhale up and hold. (breathing deeply) So it's the appearance of a flat back, but, of course, you have to round a little bit to get there.

Let's do three more, inhale. (breathing deeply) And exhale. (breathing deeply) Try not to drive tension into your knees. Inhale and exhale. (breathing deeply) One more time. (breathing deeply) Hold it, you're there. Can you raise the legs a little with your hands? Then, just a tip here, sometimes I think of pulling my legs into the hip socket a little bit, like pushing 'em into the hip socket might be a better way, so that I can let go and they stay there. Just let go.

And then you can lower yourself down, sitting upright. Get back in the center of your mat for a little saw. The legs on this one will be straight. Go a little wider, well, than maybe your mat. We're upright and with just the palms facing forward, let's go rotate to the front.

Then, round forward, do what's natural to the backhand, and round forward, just outside sawing off that little toe, but really getting a reach with that back arm. Okay, if you just lean into it, it sort of takes away from the real benefit of that rotation. All right, enough talking. Sit up, back to center, other side. Inhale, rotate, exhale, dive forward, but remember, you're also reaching in opposition.

Then sit up and center, almost mechanical. It's, like, turn, dive, sit up and center. But you don't have to really make it mechanical. Just, so you know what the movements are. See if you can sense how you could actually ring the lungs out. (breathing deeply) Center and twist, reach, up, and center.

A couple more, twist, reach, up and center. Last time, twist, reach, up and center, feet together. Let's try for straight legs. You can bend them a little if you need to. I've turned my fingers to face my heels.

You can turn 'em sideways if you need. All we're doing is lifting up into a back support. Lift up, hold. And then just hinge down, sit up. You can float the arms up to release them.

But we're going right back for about five. Lift up. Come on down. Arms up, again. Lift. (breathing deeply) Notice how the back of your legs, if you don't use 'em, it's just gonna be way heavy on the arms and wrists, really.

So do your best to think about, "Oh, I want my heels digging in." Lift, come down. One more. Lift. (breathing deeply) And down. (breathing deeply) Cool, turn to the side, facing front, facing me. Bottom leg is bent. Here on your elbow, for a little sidekick.

Create this diamond, or diamond, triangle shape, between your body and the floor so you're not hanging out, right? We're lifted, we're tall, we're proud. Top leg is reached long. We lift up and for now, then we flex and kick forward as, kick, kick. Sweep it back.

Rest of your body still as best you can. Two, kick. (breathing deeply) Let's do three more starting, here we go. One, and way back, enjoy it, I love this one. Gosh, it's just fun to get, it doesn't get... Hold it to the back.

Hold it to the back, way back. Now, then check yourself out. Have you thrust the ribs forward? No, you're still looking proud. But now we're gonna push a little further, and actually intend to turn the spine.

Maybe even reach the top arm. Press the leg back even further, just for a stretch. Come back, switch sides. Short and sweet. Does the job a lot of the time.

All right, so check yourself, like, you're not slouching, you're lifted, it's easy. You could almost take this elbow off that you're leaning on. Kick forward, one, one, back, two. And back. (breathing deeply) I am doing a little pulse that doesn't appear to look like it today, but I am going kick, kick, and back. I'm trying to go as far forward on that first kick as possible, two more.

Next one stays to the back, stays to the back. Remind yourself that you're just chilling, you're not falling. And now you're consciously rotating, press the leg further back, reach the top arm, on that diagonal, finding a spiral line of some sort, and face down. Just roll right onto your abdominals. And, sorry, and your elbows.

And we're gonna do a little single leg kick, but I'm gonna invite you... Traditionally you do it with the elbows right under your shoulders. I'm inviting you to take 'em a little more forward, and even, kind of, turning 'em out a little bit. So you get to be a little bit lower, and really focus on, sort of, the muscles, or at least the back of the body. All right, so here's the deal.

I'm not, again, slouching, I am supporting myself with the front of my body a little bit. I'm then going to, before anything with the legs, I'm going to imagine, I'm even gonna slightly drag my forearm on the mat. Not to actually move the arm, but to make me feel like I'm going more forward, looking out, I don't know, a foot or two in front of you, instead of straight down. From there, you hover both knees. By hover, that's all I mean, barely.

Kick, kick, kick, kick. It goes like this. One leg, kick, kick, switch, kick, kick. I usually do a breath pattern of inhale, inhale, inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale, exhale, exhale. You don't have to sniff, just make it that long, to drag it out.

(Kristi breathing deeply) Focusing on pretty much everything. It's hard to tell you what to focus on. Just feel solid and you're not rocking side to side. You're doing your best to keep those knees covered. Let's do two more, one more, and stretch out the legs.

Come on down, we're gonna do double leg kick. So, what that means to us, we're gonna take those hands behind our back, grab a couple fingers or lace them fully, I'm gonna go for laced. Turn your cheek to one side. Elbows down, as best you can, right? Best you can, support from the abdominals.

Your heads are down, mine's just hovering, for the sake of the mic, when I turn. Hover both knees again, we kick three times. One, two, three, now straighten your legs, straighten your arms. Looking forward, not very high, but forward. And switch, other side.

Bend the elbows, let 'em drop. Kick one, two, three, stretch. I keep my feet hovering a little bit when they're straight. You can put 'em down too. Three, and up. (breathing deeply) Stretch long.

One, two, three. (breathing deeply) Last one, two, three, stay there. This time, do put the tops of your feet down. You can lower your chest a little. Draw your abs in a little more. Hands are still laced.

You lift your arms on five. Lower, four, three, two, and one. Separate the hands, let them come in front of you. Bend them, put 'em by your shoulders. Lift up, to round back. (breathing deeply) Right, almost there.

Let's come up to all four, shoulders right over hands. Extend your right leg back, it is straight. You're pushing through the ball of the foot, other foot back. So now you're in a plank, yeah? Take an inhale, you're long, you're long, you're long.

If all you did was stay right here, that's cool. But we are gonna get ourselves out of it by drawing the abs and come into a pyramid like shape, or upstretch, and then just roll yourself right back to the plank. When you get into plank, check to see if your feet are still flexed, or make them flexed. Come back up. And again, nice and long, stay here.

Lift the right foot up, and lift, touchdown, lift, same side, touchdown. Lift, touchdown, lift, touchdown, lift. Switch side, up, down, two, down, three, down. We're doing five, four, down, five, everything down. Bend to your knees.

Once again, going into that rest position, take a deep breath. (breathing deeply) Know that you are winding down from this few minutes, few, hopefully quality, moments with yourself and your practice. Roll yourself up. Let's come back to the seated, diamond position. (Kristi breathing deeply) And just check in. Where are you, where were you?

Is it different? Do you feel good? Do you need more? There's more classes, but if not, let's just call this enough. Inhale. (inhaling deeply) And exhale. (exhaling deeply) You can just, sort of, relax your arms, turn 'em up, set 'em down, anything.

I'm just doing two more. Let's all do it together. Deep breath. (breathing deeply) Exhaling, know that you supported yourself in various ways, physically, and hopefully otherwise, emotionally, mentally. Inhale, last one altogether. (breathing deeply) I am gonna call that enough. I hope you enjoy your day or night.

Thanks, see you next time. (palms slap)


Thank you, Kristi! I needed this! Loved all the rotation, got a little adjustment in my upper back where I get bound up. The challenge at the end was just enough to get my heartrate up so I can go walk up some hills now.  
Lina S
3 people like this.
A nice feel good class when we're short on time.
2 people like this.
Many thanks Kristi! This is a great way to incorporate some simpler moves with some more challenging work, and in a nice short session. The perfect class for when you're 'not motivated to do Pilates  but know you need to do Pilates '!
Anne M
2 people like this.
Loved this one, Kristi. Feels amazing! Thank you so much.
Gisela G
2 people like this.
Love it!!!
3 people like this.
I loved the seated spine  twist with legs in diamond. And I love short and sweet! Thank you, Kristi!
Thank you all for joining me!  Hope to have you all back in class again soon! Connie MGisela GAnne MBelinda KLina SErin Elizabeth    
1 person likes this.
Thanks for the fun and quick mat class . . .  loved it!
1 person likes this.
Thanks Kristi! That was a lot of fun and love all the ab work!
1 person likes this.
Enjoyed this quick efficient class! I feel better. Thank you!
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