Class #5361

Deliberate & Dedicated Mat

45 min - Class


You will improve your mobility with this detailed Mat workout by Karen Sanzo. She teaches movements that will bring you from standing, down the Mat, and back to standing. She incorporates the concepts from the previous classes so you can feel the progress in your practice.
What You'll Need: Mat

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This class today is the fourth class in our four-part series. This class starts with the letter D. A, B, C, D, right? Fourth class, and D is gonna stand for deliberate and dedicated practice. And in this deliberate and dedicated practice, we'll do things that'll help improve our mobility, help improve our mood which is always a good thing, and of course our strength.

This is the final segment and this class will be the longest class. So I encourage you to follow along. If you need to go back and review some of the exercises, I encourage you to do that because it's never ever a bad idea to revisit the fundamentals. We'll add some new exercises as well. And then we'll review and layer in some of the past exercises so that you can build into your current successes.

Of course, I'm starting with the breath and I'm gonna start with a little bit of reach and rotate. So you notice that when I'm just standing here, I'm just shifting my weight side to side. And as I start to reach, so my right arm is gonna reach out and around, and then the other side is reaching out and around. So we're gonna reach out and around like I'm pushing something away. This is one direction.

Then I'm gonna go in the other direction where I'm gonna scoop it and reach, scoop it and reach, and scoop it and reach. Anything is possible. I'm not a dancer, so my coordinated movements are sometimes a little bit challenging. But the most important thing here is I wanna reach, and reach, and rotate, and then come back. And reach, and reach, and rotate.

So our spine is meant to rotate with our rib cage as well, but our legs are the driver of that rotation. So let's put it all together. Inhale, exhale center. Inhale, exhale center. Inhale, exhale center.

And last time, inhale, exhale center. Moving on to a little warmup of the lower extremity. I'm gonna take my left leg and just lift it up and down. Other leg, I'm gonna pull it. If you get a little wobbly, be a little wobbly.

It's okay. So you wanna feel this pull up in the hip. Pull up in the hip. As I pull up on my left hip, I press down with my right. As I pull up with my right hip, I press down with my left and I get a little wobbly.

It's okay. Moving on from there after our heel lift, we're gonna do a couple of knee bends. So we're gonna bend and straighten, bend, straighten. Nothing too fancy here. Remembering when you bend and straighten, I'm gonna turn sideways for a second, you want your shins to bend forward.

So if you only have a little bit, that's fine. What you don't wanna do is start to move your body forward. You just wanna work the knee bend and press. Five more, four more, three more, two more, last one. Go down, stay down, hold.

Arms come out in front. Palms face away. Reach and reach. I am not crossing my midline, but I'm reaching my arms forward to pull my front ribs back. So I'm not in a hurry to tuck my bottom here, I'm in a hurry to feel my legs and connect in through my ribs, which is done by reaching the arms forward.

And then I stand up. Your legs are working and that's okay. Now we go to heel raises. Of course, it's okay. Raise up and down.

Raise up and down. Push the floor down with the balls of your feet as you raise. Let's get 10 more. Nine, and eight, and seven, and six. Whoa, and five, four, three, two, and one.

Now we combine the lift, down, bend, stand. Lift, down, bend, stand. Three more, down, bend, stand. Two more, down, bend, stand. Last one, down, bend and stand.

From here, you'll separate your legs a little bit. Hands will come behind your head. Your elbows are in your peripheral vision because the elbow reach is a little bit forward. Okay, you're not coming way in but your elbows are reaching forward here. And now we're just gonna rotate, keeping our eyes gazed on the horizon.

As I rotate my body to the left, I'm pressing on my right heel. I'm gonna add an inhale to rotate, filling up my lungs. Exhale center. One more time. And then center.

If we have rotation, then we also have side bending. And then as I side bend to the right, my left elbow is reaching high. At no time, am I cranking in my neck, I'm using my right shoulder blade to reach up and then return. One more side, bend to the right, reaching left elbow, and then return. And one more side, bending left, reaching right elbow and return.

Arms come down by your side. Next one I call climb a rope. So now we reach and rotate high. I look up, I pull the rope down. I reach up, I pull the rope down.

Reach, rotate my hand, pull it down. I reach, I rotate my hand, pull it down. One more time. Reach, pull it down. Last time, on the right, and bring it all the way down.

Relax your arms down by your side. Nod your head. Inhale and exhale. Slowly roll down. As you roll down, be very mindful here that your eyes glance at your knees, touch your legs, and be sure they are turned on.

This movement of your spine forward and then returning is supported by the action of your legs. Inhale here. Exhale here. Inhale, as you fill your back body, exhale, pause. When I am flexed forward, I am closing the front of my body so that when I breathe in, I'm working to open the back of my body.

And then I'm gonna go down a little further. Nice, strong legs. And I'm gonna reach and reach. So I'm really building this action of reaching through the shoulder blades to mobilize my rib cage and then stacking up the spine, bringing yourself all the way up. Last exercise in standing.

I call chest expansion arms. Chest expansion is an exercise that we do on the reformer where we pull the straps back and turn the head side to side. I'm gonna clean that up a little bit here on the mat. So I'm gonna take one inhale. As I pull my arms back, look left.

Exhale center, release. Inhale, ground through the feet. Turn my head to the right, exhale center. But it's called chest expansion because you want that breath to be full and in your lungs. So the next time you inhale, we're going to turn our head to the left and right on one inhale.

Looks like this. Now we'll switch the way we started. One more time each side. Big inhale, head to the right. Left, center, release.

And last time, press the feet down. Pull back, look to the left, look to the right, look center, and release. So chest expansion, expand the chest. We can use those arms and lots of different exercises. Come on down to our hands and knees now.

And in our hands and knees position here, we want to do a controlled Cat-Cow. So what that means is I'm gonna have my toes curled really well underneath me. And first, I'm gonna recognize that my body is level. Then I'm going to start my Cat-Cow from my backside, from my bottom curling. And then my ribs lifting, and then my head nodding.

And I'm going to try to think of my throat pulling back as I slowly round. Take three breaths here to maximize the breath into the back body in this flexion connection position. Inhale again, exhale. Legs are active, arms are active. Inhale again.

Exhale again. Now let's go out the way we came in, which is the tailbone goes first, extension, then the mid back, then the chest kind of shines forward. I like to say like I have a necklace on and I want that necklace to shine across into the front of the room. Now I'm in extension. Now I'm gonna take this and go in the opposite direction where I nod my chin.

I flex my deep neck, and then I flex my upperist back and then my midist back if there's such a thing, and then my lowest back. So I really take that time to work what I like to call segmentally through the spine. Then I take two legs, I rotate my head to look, and then I turn my torso to look at my feet, and I breathe into the opposite side. Never underestimate the power of that breath, right? To feed those ribs opening, come back to center.

Legs will turn the other way. My arms are still very active. I rotate my head so that when I turn and look, I resist collapsing, but instead I'm side bending. And then come back. Let's do that one more because it's an important motion and it feels good.

Inhale, exhale center. And then one more time the other side. Inhale, and then exhale center. Now let's sit back just for a second. Reach your arms long like you're trying to stretch out your mat, inhaling, and then exhaling.

Bring yourself back in. Notice I'm in a rounded shape. And then as I press my shins down, I lift my thighs by way of my buttocks. And then I lift my chest up. Sitting back, loading the legs.

So not just sticking my butt out, but loading my legs. As I sit back, I flex down, I reach out, pressing forward to heavy my pelvis back. I reach and side bend one way, back to center. I reach to side bend the other way back to center. Returning my hands, come back.

My buttocks gets tight. My thighs get tight. I'm coming up in this flexed position. And then I lengthen out the torso. Back to the hands and knees.

Moving on to opposite arm and leg raise. We'll start first with the leg down and the arm down in front. These two pieces reach up, down, up, down. Let's do five. This is three, four, and five.

Now let's do one more and hold it there for five, four, three, two, and one. And rest, switch sides. The eye gaze during this exercise is between your thumbs. The eye gaze during this exercise is important because the minute you change the gaze of your eyes, your spine will change, five times. One down, active arms and legs in both sides.

One is a mover, the other one is a holder or a stabilizer. We have two more. And then we really have last one where we lift and hold. And now we count to five, four, three, two, and one. And then release yourself all the way down.

Now if that exercise is really hard for you to stay stable, we're going to add something a little bit different. I'm gonna round my bottom much like we did in the beginning. This is a regression for protecting the spine, but it's really kind of fun. I'm gonna take my right leg behind me and move my torso down. So you'll notice now that my torso is in kind of a flexed position.

Because my torso is in a flex position and my head is down, that when I lift my opposite extremities, the work has to come from the relationship of the extremities to that backside of the upper back for the arm and the butt for the leg. And then I'm just gonna hold this. So I really can't lift any higher because I've blocked off the use of my spine by flexing it. And then come back. I think it's kind of cool.

So now I'm gonna take my other leg out and my opposite arm out. Stay here for a second. Inhale and exhale. And then I'm gonna lift. There's going to be a tendency to wanna lift your head to look in front of you, but really try not to try to keep your eye gaze about level with your forearm.

Three more, two more. This is an exercise I go back to all the time. The arm lifts from the upper back shoulder blade muscles and I'm reaching it and the leg is lifting from the buttocks muscles and the leg muscles. And then come all the way back and then sit all the way back. And then we journey, pelvis forward, thighs tight, lifting all the way up.

I love that. Next exercise is gonna be a pushup. I know you couldn't wait for it. Millions of people are asking give me a pushup. You know, there's no such thing as a girl or a boy pushup.

That irritates me. Anyway, what it is, there's a leverage, right? So I'm gonna take my knees out. I'm gonna take my hands so far out to the side so that when I bend my elbows, it's my whole chest that lowers and then my whole chest that raises. That's my elbow, no worries.

Inhale, I'm gonna bend and then raise. If I bend my knees, makes no difference to the exercise. I'm gonna bend and hold. So right now it's my arms and my chest muscles and the front of my belly muscles, and then come all the way back. Now if I wanna turn this into an on fire tricep exercise where we keep the elbows very close to the ribs, we certainly can, but I'm not going to be able to go down as far, why?

I'm not sure. Maybe because my arms aren't strong enough. Maybe because I don't want to sag forward in the top of my arm. But by golly, they are working. So never be afraid to take a wide, because this allows you to use your chest as well as your arms.

And then when they come narrow, you bend and then come up. And of course all those can be done with your torso lifted or on your knees. So keep practicing your push ups. The go from the ground up, okay? So depending on the range of motion you have, just go for it.

You can do it against the window. You can do it against your dining room chair, anything like that by changing the angle. But if you monitor the range of motion of your spine and the position of your arms, you'll see I even get out of breath here. Okay, so we want to feel that action. Okay, so from here, what we build now is a plank.

So now as we build into the plank, we're going to come into the plank and we're going to do three planks for approximately 30 seconds. So I am going to count to 30 in my head, and you're going to join me. And then when I get that there's only 10 seconds left, I'll count it with you. I encourage you, I encourage you with all my heart that if you have to come down out of the plank, you come down. But come right back up, okay?

So that you can kind of feel the challenge there. All right, so here we go. One, oh, and you know what? The modification, if your wrist bother you, you can certainly come onto your forearms. I'll do the first one on my forearms, okay?

With you, here we go. Inhaling and then exhaling, and we're gonna hold. So I don't have any good jokes right now, but I might gather some in the next couple of planks. So the thing you want to be most aware of is not how low you are, 'cause you actually wanna push your elbows and feel your upper ribs lift so that you minimize any sagging. And it's hard and it's tiring.

10, nine, eight, seven, six, keep your eye gaze between your arms, four, three, I forgot five, two, one. Lower your knees down, sit your bottom back, rest for about 15 seconds. When I rest back from a plank, I like to reach and rotate. I have found the most beneficial relationship in my body from the ability to allow the breath to help me learn how to reach and rotate my spine. Are you ready for number two plank?

Maybe yes, maybe no, but I'm gonna do it. Please join me if you'd like. I'm going to do this one up on my hands. I'm gonna change the leg that I started with behind me. My eye gaze is between my thumbs.

My hands are pushing down. I'm trying to breathe in for at least three counts and out for three counts. And here we go. 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one. Sit back, reach.

Sometimes things are hard and challenging. But if it hurts, we don't do it. If anything hurts in your back, you don't do it. I'm coming back up out of it the same way I did before. I'm gonna reach.

So these here is just a little interlude before we do our final plank. Now you may be resistant to hold that plank for 30 seconds, but nobody's gonna know if you do it except for you, okay? So I encourage you to keep at it. I'll do the final one on my forearms again. So I did one on my forearms, one on my full arms.

I'm going back down to the forearms. It's for about 30 seconds. And when I do a forearm plank, my forearms are parallel by the way. It keeps my shoulders kind of in place. On this plank, I'm gonna have my bottom a little higher just to show you here.

And then as you come down, you have to majorly press your arms, otherwise you'll sag in your back. And sometimes the sagging is what causes the discomfort because there's not any support. And here we go. 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one. You did it.

Sit back, drag the arms, feel the flexion, and then feel the buttocks kick in. Tighten up the legs, feel the lengthening of the spine, add some rotations. All right, moving now all the way down to the tummy. Starting on the belly. We start our extension portion of the program.

So the hands will press down and you're going to use your hands to pick the chest up. Inhaling, exhaling. So the nose will lift, the chest will peel, and then you'll lower down. You can always lift higher by using your arms because they're feeding your trunk. You go up to the level you feel comfortable.

The next part is active lifting. Arms down by the side. You reach 'em long. We'll do five of these. Inhale, exhale.

Inhale, reach. The buttocks responds when you lift up. There's no need to overgrip it because it's your stabilizer down here. One more time, rest. Now the next exercise, we're gonna move our levers of our arms out to this goalpost shape.

And now when you lift up your arms, you lift up your chest. Now you start to talk to the shoulder blades and you try to keep your forearms parallel to the ground. We'll do two more. And then last one, you're gonna lift up and stay up and then you're going to reach forward and back. If this is too challenging, then you just go out to the side and in you just change the leverage.

One more time, and then lower down. Very classic exercise in the Pilates repertoire is called swimming. And that's when your arms are directly over your head. So you first have to see are you comfortable with your arms fully over your head? If you're comfortable with your arms fully over your head, then you ask your upper back to lift up.

You ask your butt to lift your legs up and then you swim. Rest, go down. If your arms cannot go over your head, then you just change your arms to here. You lift up, the butt lifts the legs, and then you swim like this. Lower down.

So you make the call. We'll do one more. I'll do it with my arms over my head. You do it however you want. But remember the legs are long, the buttocks and the thighs pick the legs up from the back body.

The chest and the shoulder blades and the upper back lift the arms from the upper body. Inhale, exhale. In, out. In, out. One more time, and rest.

And then put your hands on the mat, pick yourself up, rounding your spine and reaching, and reaching. One more time, reach. And then one more time, reach. Okay, another challenging exercise here. Once we come up on the knees, remember we're using the bottom.

I'm gonna take this leg, my left leg out in front. This little series here is going to fire up the kind of the back of your leg is a little dynamic stretching. So I'm gonna put my hands on either side of my foot. I'm going to curl the toes under of my back leg. And I'm going to use this front leg as a pumper so that when I push down, my butt lifts up, I look down at my knee.

You want to be very mindful when you do this exercise that this shin right here tries to stay over your ankle. Okay, we're gonna do five in a row. So I'm gonna inhale on the way up. Exhale down, one, two, three, four, five. Now because we have several hamstrings, the next one is gonna be with my foot a little bit turned out.

So now I'm gonna talk to the lateral side of my hamstring so that when I lift up and I pull up, it's pulling up on the lateral side. Notice my head is staying down the whole time. One more. And now we're gonna take the foot, come back to level and we're gonna turn it in just a smidge and kind of turn the calf out, and that'll be on the inner side of the hamstring. Inhale, push up.

Try to keep your shin over that ankle as you lift your bottom. You might need to play with your hand position a little bit. Two, three, four, and five. And then come back, sit back round, build up, tighten your tush, unwind your spine. Here you are to vertical, switching legs.

Right leg comes up. Rolling, rolling, rounding my spine forward. Get myself set up. I have a parallel leg. So I'm gonna push on that leg and lift up and down.

So my front leg is like the pumper up and down. Dynamic movement. I'd look at Pilates as one big dynamic movement. One more time. Taking the leg, turning it out just a little bit for the lateral side.

We'll get five in here, inhale. Two, here's three, push the floor, and five, come all the way down. So you're not just straightening your knee, you're pushing the floor down. So important, push. Last one.

Sit back, reach, rotate, and rotate, and then build up your bottom. Bring yourself all the way up. Right, we're gonna turn this way on the mat. Changing from the back of our legs to the inside of our legs. Looks like this.

So I'm gonna take this leg, put it out to the side. If I want this leg, if this leg has a choice to either be in front of or in back of, I'm gonna choose in front just a little bit Because sometimes we get all wobbly here because it's as much about this side of your torso, pressing and lengthening, okay? So the exercise now goes back, forward, back. So I'm not just sticking my butt out but I'm allowing my body to hinge under the control of my leg. So I'm not moving my spine at all.

I'm not arching and rounding my spine. I'm using my legs both pressing down. Okay, so that starts you on that journey. Now I'm gonna press on this leg, take this leg out. We all have one leg that's more active or more well behaved than the other one.

So we wanna feel the pushing down because that lets us lift up. It's a ground force when we push down. Arms out in front, sit, return. It's real important here again that the neck tries not to extend, but the whole spine shape is maintaining the same as I move through my hip joint. Let's do that one more time.

This is a keeper exercise. Should go back to that exercise. Helps lengthen the inside of the thigh. Helps talk to the hip hinge part of your body, okay? Moving along now to lying on our back.

So this is our first time on our back and we've already done a really nice session talking through our legs and our trunk. So now as we start lying on our back, we'll start with a reach and maybe that rope is gonna pull from up there, elbow comes down. Push, twist, come down. I'm gonna push on the same side leg to invite the pelvis. Maybe I reach further over and come back, and then I reach further over and come back.

Maybe I reach both, both. Remember the arms pushing up helps the ribs draw back. The bridge of my nose or where my glasses are, that's the center part of my occiput. That's what's drawing back, okay? So from here now we start a little bridge sequence.

Nothing fancy, just a little bridge. I want you today to use less of your arms and less of your elbows, okay? So here's what using my elbows looks like. Here's what using my arms looks like. Now arms are gonna be up and I want you to use less of your arms and more of a push up, hold.

And then slowly decelerate down. The power is in the feet pressing down to lift up and then the control is in the descent. My hands are above me like they're balancing a little cup of tea on them. So push and then decelerate. Push, decelerate.

I'm not pushing into my neck, pushing into my feet. Arms are off. And this motion here of this bridge is actually what starts to build us. If I crawl my feet in, we're not going to go here, but I want you to appreciate that your ability to lift up and keep your nose back. This will eventually right turn into a back bend.

So we don't have to do that full back bend. But as the arms come up, the butt powers you up. You have to get up into your chest, right? Without harming your neck. And then you just stay here and you feel the quiver in all parts of the back of your body.

And then we'll lower yourself all the way down. So we have to drive the legs, they help us lot. So now coming back into core center, legs up, arms up. Oftentimes this is a opener exercise for core stability, but we're just making it a closer exercise. So we bring ourselves all the way back down to center.

Opposite arm and leg reach here. The distance you go is dependent on the stability of your spine. So anything you wanna do here, one single leg, right? Double leg with the head down, all works the center of the torso. So now we'll do a very classic exercise here, right?

Single leg circle. Well, I'm gonna do it with the hands up. Now you don't have to do it with the hands up, I'm just making a point. So they can be down, they can be on your tummy. But I'm just making a point that I want this circle to be kind of small.

And as I circle my leg, say around the face of a clock, it's feeding my core all in a circle as well. Reverse it. Two, we do five, three, four. And then one more time, five. I'm gonna bring it in.

I'm gonna give it a hug. Now with my leg pulled in and my foot flexed. Now I'm gonna reach my elbows and my arms. I'm gonna curl up to my ribs, hover my legs, switch my legs 10 times. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, and rest.

Second leg. Really hitting the home stretch here. You're doing really well staying with me. Inhale, exhale round. Actually, I really don't know if you're staying with me, but I trust that you are.

These exercises really good. Remember boosting your mood, boosting your mobility and your strength. Reach up, one and two, arms can be down, three, arms can be up, four and five. Bend that leg all the way in, pull it, lift your head, curl your trunk, switch your legs 10 times. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, rest.

One bridge here, arms way long. You're gonna drip yourself down. And once you get yourself down, you're gonna lift both legs and bring yourself up to sitting. Our last sequence here, rolling like a ball to open leg rocker to saw, which is rotation. Bring the knees in.

Chest rounds back without collapsing. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Five times, here's three, here's four, and here's five. Rolling like a ball gets a longer ball because it becomes open leg rocker.

So you have to have a little bit of hamstring flexibility here to do this. If you can't do open leg rocker, then you go back to doing rolling like a ball. The key to this exercise is these legs have to be pushing away because that's what lets the blades come forward. This is a rounded exercise. It is not a sit up tall exercise.

Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. One more. Oh, let's do two more. Let's do last one.

Balance, legs lower, arms out, saw. Twist and reach, reach, reach. Paying special attention to what's happening in that back arm. Come up in the twist, come forward. Twist, and then reach, reach, reach.

Come up in the twist right here. This is really good, center. Inhale, twist, twist, twist. Come up in the twist. Center, twist, reach, and reach, and reach.

Come up in the twist. Center one more time, inhale. Exhale, reach. These two pieces reach away. Come up in the twist, and then center.

Last one, best one right here. Reach, and then twist, and flex, and flex, and flex. And come on up. And then we turn around. We come up to standing.

One foot down. If you need to help yourself come up, that's great. Thank you for joining me today.


1 person likes this.
Just what I needed today, strong and yet not tiring.
Just what I needed today, strong and yet not tiring.
Thank you Karen! Some new transitions for me. Those moves will spice up my mat class!
It is definitely good to revisit the fundamentals! Thank you!
1 person likes this.
No one should ever underestimate your fundamental classes- creative and wonderfully communicated.!!! Thank you KarenπŸ™
Jen U
that was great!Β  thank you!
Sharon O
Thank you! Love your sessions and cueing Look fwd to including these moves/cues in my teaching! πŸ™πŸ»πŸ’Ÿ
Sharon O
Thank you! Love your sessions and cueing Look fwd to including these moves/cues in my teaching! πŸ™πŸ»πŸ’Ÿ
Sharon O
Thank you! Love your sessions and cueing Look fwd to including these moves/cues in my teaching! πŸ™πŸ»πŸ’Ÿ
Great start the week class.Β  You answer so many 'whys' for me -thank you Karen
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