Class #5524

Connect and Restore

40 min - Class


Join Leah Stewart in this Mat class as she guides you through a series of feel-good exercises with the aid of a foam roller. All of the exercises are gentle, allowing students from all levels to enjoy. Designed to open up and lengthen the body, this series will leave you feeling invigorated and energized.
What You'll Need: Mat, Foam Roller

About This Video

Jan 24, 2024
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Hi there. This is Leah Stewart, and I'm very excited to bring you this mat class today with the foam roller. This nat class is inspired by the grief connection tutorial that I did. However, you can enjoy this class without watching that tutorial. This movement with the foam roller is meant, again, just to sort of open our bodies up, sort of have easy, simple, feel good movement. That just helps us to feel invigorated and energized.

So I'm excited for you to join me today, and let's go ahead and get started. So We're gonna play with some really basic ways of using your foam roller. And, again, rather than me trying to reinvent the wheel with foam roller. I just more want you to enjoy the movement that I'm gonna give you. So I want you to set your foam roller on your mat. And we're gonna go ahead and start with it right underneath the shoulder blades. And We're gonna put the hands behind the head, and we're just gonna lay it back very gently. Now, I want you to roll the roller wherever feels good for you, and I want you to very much support your head into your hands.

Now in this position, letting your head relax. If you feel like there's too much for you, I don't even mind if you bring the foam roller all the way underneath your head into your hands so that you're not even feeling any tension in your neck. In fact, that's where I'm gonna spend the 1st part of this class. And I want you to sit with your feet flat. Your pelvis heavy on your mat, and you're just feeling relaxed in this position.

So you can see that I'm sort of swaying my knees back and forth a little bit and sort of just getting my body attuned and ready for this movement. So we're gonna take a big breath in and out. And breathing in and down. You continue to breathe and I'll speak. As you breathe, every time you exhale, I just want you to feel like you're head and your hands and your shoulders just relax a little bit more into the foam roller.

2 more breath in. End out. And I just want you to start to draw your focus in. Just start to realize that for the next 35 minutes or so, you're just gonna enjoy some beautiful movement. So next time on the inhale, I want you to roll the roller and bring your head forward and just look just beyond your knee.

So I'm doing a little bit of a spinal flexion here, a little bit of a chest lift. And then inhale, I'm gonna roll it back and just relax. You can see I'm letting my body just settle heavy into the mat. Exhale, letting my hips slide across my mat. I'm just coming forward.

And then inhale. Letting it feel heavy. And exhale gliding. I'm not really actively trying to use my abdominals. I'm just more focusing on the rolling and the gliding.

And 2 more, exhale And if you feel like your body's getting a little longer as you do this, that's because it probably is, and that's okay. And last one, Now here I want you to hold this position. Walk your feet in so you're in a little bit of a better position with your feet underneath your knees. And as you're looking forward here, I want you to draw the pelvis underneath you like a pelvic curl, and I want you to roll halfway up into your bridge. Your legs are parallel.

You have this beautiful drawing of the posterior tilt to the pelvis, and your shoulders are just relaxed into the foam roller. Really allow it to support you here. Breathing in, and then exhale, roll down, and then expand your chest over. So this time we're going a little bit further than we were. Breathing in, exhale as you draw the head forward, you're gonna glide the pelvis underneath you.

You're doing a little chest lift meets a bridge here. A half bridge. Inhale holds, then exhale rolling down and expanding and just enjoying that. Inhale again. Exhale. Eyes are forward, pelvis underneath.

You keep your elbows as wide as you can breathe in, and then exhale. Rolling. And as you go back, feel like you're going up and over the foam roller. 2 more drawing the pelvis underneath. Rolling up nice and relaxing your jaw, soft gaze through your eyes, and rolling back and opening one more time, breathe in, and exhale. So this time, I want you to hold this here.

Elbows are wide. You're gonna draw the pelvis into an anterior tilt. So Get the hips as close as you can. I don't even mind if you let your abdomen relax here. That's totally fine.

Then exhale draw under and go back into that post steer your tilt. Draw your feet down so they're really anchored into the mat. Inhale. Relax the glutes. Allow the pelvis to open, then exhale scoop and draw up.

One more time nice and slow, so that'll make 3 inhale. And then exhale draw under. So now we're gonna add the upper back. We're gonna inhale and exhale. So then rather thinking of a spinal articulation is the movement that we did before, This is more of an anterior posterior tilt of the pelvis, exhale. Inhale. Try to keep your elbows as wide as you can. And think about your spine moving and your pelvis moving, not pulling on the neck or drawing the elbows too far forward.

Exhale. One more time. Inhale. And exhale. So from here, roll down, going through the spinal articulation, bring the roller back so that you can rest your head comfortably on it.

In this position, I want you to bring your arms out. And I want you to bring them up. So again, just to where you feel comfortable on the roller, it could be right on the back of your skull. So you're supported in your cervical spine there. So from this position, you're gonna open and slide your right foot or your front leg out and open your arms out to a tee, and then draw back in.

Let's do that four times gliding the foot out and drawing back in. So I want you to bring that leg in a little bit further so heel comes closer to your bottom so that you're getting a deep reflection in your hip and your knee here. Glide it out with an inhale. And exhale draw it back in and glide it out inhale and exhale. Other leg inhale.

Exel drawdown. Inhale. So again, just enjoying the sensation of moving, inhale, enjoying your connection with the foam roller, which will explore all sorts of different ways in this class, inhale, and exhale. So now left arm or opposite arm from leg. So I'm gonna do my right leg and my left arm. I'm gonna reach the roll or my arm up overhead over the roller take my other hand down, so I'm doing this nice opposite arm here from my leg, but my right arm comes down too, and then bring it up.

And I just want you to alternate back and forth. Nice and simple. And we're just moving at a nice steady pace. Just warming up the body, connecting. So, obviously, as you're bringing your arm up over the head, you'll feel that little bit of that resistance from the roller But if you can't, just feel like if you can expand it expand or, excuse me, reach the arm overhead just a little bit more and come up.

And reach that arm back. And at 1 more set, reaching it back. And up. One more reach and up. And now this time, want you to just gently walk both legs out and bring both arms overhead. So our head and our head is fully relaxed on the rollers.

We're not having to worry about that, and I just want you to hold this position here. It's just very simple holding it. And breathing. So the purpose of this as you're breathing here is you can really feel that open expansion of the front of the ribs as you breathe. But I have your head supported.

So you don't have to put any strain on your neck, but you can just focus on that breath inhale. Exhale. Last one inhale. Excel. Slowly bring your legs in. Slowly start to roll up and we're gonna switch the roller here into the next series.

So we're gonna do our classic lying on the roller. And we're gonna play with some different positions of the body here. So go ahead and lie on it. As comfortably as you can and put your hands gently down by the side. So again, what I like about this is it's gonna open up your tests a lot more. We're gonna play with different arm positions as we work on a bridging series.

So you're really opening the front of the hips. You're challenging the hip extensors, the glutes, and the hamstrings. And we'll go into a couple balance sequences as well. So I want you to ease into a pelvic curl here. Breathing in, and exhale.

So finding that beautiful bridge position parallel, thighs, aiming the pelvis into a posterior direction there. So holding this, take your breath in and roll down. Now the disadvantage of doing a pelvic curl with the foam roller is you don't get that deep posterior tilt in that deflection of the spine as you're rolling down, but that's okay. We'll find it in another space. I want you to think more about the enjoyment of how much more you can open the shoulders when you're on the foam roller.

And then, of course, you get that hip extension breath in. And roll down. So lots of bridges in this class and exhale up and down. So now that we familiarize ourselves with the pelvic curl, We're gonna go ahead and add to it. So palms are gonna face up. And as you roll up, you're gonna reach your arms out to the side. Now keep your hands down on the floor and really feel that stretch through your chest, breathe in, and then roll down.

Inhale, exhale. Feeling that height, feeling that lift, and rolling down. Breathing in. Now every time you pass through this position here, can you imprint your lower spine deep into that foam roller as you roll up? Breathing in and rolling down. Can you imprint that spine in so you really feel that opening of that lower back.

Last one. Now hold this position swing your arms up over your head. This might be a big challenge for you and your shoulders. If you feel tight, palms facing up toward the ceiling, pulling the pelvis underneath you into posterior tilt. Hold this position. Now I want you to lift your arms just a couple inches off your mat.

Filling that balance on the foam roller, and I want you to keep your hips up, and I want you to just sweep your arms all the way around, and can you touch the foam roller on either side. If you could reach down to the bottom of it, it's okay for you to curve your fingertips around it. That's fine. If not, just keep your hands straight. And I want you to hold there, then swing the arms up overhead, pressing into your feet, feeling your hip extensions, And then exhale, tighten everything in the front body, feeling that control, and bring your arms all the way together, as much as you can. Swing the arms up.

I love these bridge positions for us. For me, it's a very it's a position of power, if I can say that. It just feels strong. It feels opening, and it feels challenging. You have to focus.

There's these little micro adjustments that are happening in your body on the foam roller, and that's exactly what we want. Now hold it here. Take your breath in. As you exhale, roll down reach the arms out to the side, expanding the chest, feeling the lower back imprint into the foam roller, and then bringing your arms overhead. Now depending on where you are, you might need to slide down a little bit.

And I want you to hold on to the edge, the front tip of the foam roller here. So you have your hands kind of wrapped and cupped around it. And you have that position here. Now I want you to widen your stance with your feet here. So your legs are about the width of your mat. Your feet certainly are.

You're gonna take your breath in. Now this time, you're gonna do just a straight shift across. So don't fall. And if I fall, it's okay. We'll be able to get back on it together. So I want you to shift your hips across and keeping your hips parallel to the floor. And then coming back.

And shifting across toward the other side, I'm going to the left. And go the back. So come toward me and shift. And back. So again, what you'll feel here is a very simple movement, but you'll feel your body trying to stabilize in different areas in your hips, in your obliques, in your other abdominals, and try not to grip with your hands on the roller. So just remember again, We're just drawing in and focusing, taking our time, reconnecting with the body, and just enjoying the sensations of moving.

One more time each way, toward me with an inhale and exhale. And away from me. Inhale. And exhale. So now you're gonna hold that position with your body straight in the middle.

Keep your legs wide, and you're gonna bring your hands down to the mat. Now you may feel like you wanna bring your palms down for a little bit more stability, and that's fine. Or you can keep your palms up. I'll let you decide. I want you to take your left leg so the leg fits away from me, hopefully, or your left leg. And I want you to reach it out.

Now here, We're gonna glide to the front. So the opposite direction of the extended leg We're gonna keep that hip nice and open. You're gonna feel that expansion. You're gonna feel that stretch. Now you might be able to go a little bit further without falling off the foam roller and then engage the center body and bring it back.

Feels really good. A nice opening of the hip. So reaching reach that body to the toward me, reaching that leg behind you, feeling that opening of the hip, and then drawing it back. And you'll feel that beautiful play in the body, the stability that you need with your other leg. The stretch in the open kinda go a little further and then draw it back one more time. And inhale such small movements, but so good and so important exhale.

So now we're gonna do the other side. So bring that leg up, foot flat, the width of your mat, extend your other leg out and feel that opening of the hip and reaching out to the side. If you can, you can close your eyes. Just to really focus on the sensations that you're feeling in the body. If you need to adjust and come up on your foam roller, you can a little bit.

But try to stay where you are until we finish this sequence. And exhale draw it back. And inhale. And it should feel good between your shoulder blades too on the foam roller reaching nice and long. And exhale. And one more time, inhale.

And exhale up. So bending the knee. I'm actually gonna slide up a little bit on my roller here. Okay. Hands out. Now bring that other leg out behind you. So we're switching sides again. So this time, I want you to turn the palm down we're gonna need it for a little bit of support.

So we're gonna reach out to the side. We're gonna circle the arm around, and we're gonna look at that hand. So I want you to bring that hand all the way around. So you're just sort of splaying yourself over the roller here. You draw back and circle the arm. It's gonna circle, continue circle over to the left or over toward away from me.

Circle it around and bring it here. And circling, why not try to get that hand back as far as you can here. So you're really opening the shoulder. You can turn your head to look at your hand, and then reach over to the side. And all the way around, breathing in and circle.

One more time should before breathing in. And circle. Coming back to the middle, Bringing both palms up and just lay here for a minute. Slide the other leg out so you're open. You feel like a starfish here. And just enjoy that moment right there.

Breathing in and breathing out. Bending the back leg or the left leg of the opposite leg. And from here, turn the palm down, and we're gonna reach out. Arm is gonna circle looking at the hand and then opening and around. Four times, It's just nice and slow.

Go as far as you can here. Really feel almost like you're gonna fall off your roller. You're gonna push it right to the edge. And then come back. Again, just taking your time fully open with the front of the body.

Just utilizing the angles and the advantage the foam roller to get a little further than you could with your extension than if you were just lying on your mat. And around. Let's add one more for good measure. Apologize if my repetitions aren't perfectly matched. On each side and around. So again, finish with the Palmset.

Take both legs out. And now this time, bring your arms up above your head and feel that stretch. Feel that opening in that length, feel how your your tailbone is really anchored down into the foam roller, feel like you're stretching out the latissimus dorsi The spine is lengthening out, and it feels so magnificent and so wonderful. Now drawing the connection into the abdominals, bring the legs in, bring the palms down. So I want you to bring one leg and then the other leg up on top of your roller.

So now we're gonna change the focus here. Instead of being open, we're gonna focus on stability on that fine tuning of your body. So the elbows can be down into the mat, keeping your legs parallel to the ground here. I want you to take your right leg, reach it out Now from there, so we have this beautiful position here. You're gonna reach both legs out.

I want you to try to get front leg or the right leg for me as low as you can, bring them up to match them and bend. Other side, my back leg goes down. And then from here, it's almost like I'm gonna tip both toes into the water and then bring it up, bring them together, and then. It is so incredibly simple. Yet not.

Reach the legs out. Feel that need to stabilize in the torso. That focus that you need to do this movement, not only with precision, with the element of grace, bringing it up And down. And just feeling how you can focus here on these little timing movements that don't seem like much, but they are. And reach and up.

Holding here, I want you to flex and point five times. Just feeling that control in the center of your body, feeling how every time you flex your feet, It lengthens the back of your legs. You're anchored down in the pelvis. You're feeling those little micro adjustments. As you balance on the roller.

And again, inhale. One more. Breathe again. Now from here, I want you to turn the legs out, and I want you to bend the right knee or the front leg, the foot can be behind this. So I want you to bring it down so we're in a little bit of the passe if you're in ballet terminology. So from here, you're gonna bring it up.

Other leg, bend, and bring it up. So we're almost done with this stabilizing series, but not quite. So you're just alternating. So if somebody was watching you from afar, they would not even know the amount of work that you're doing. To look like you're staying perfectly still on your foam roller.

Now to add a little bit more complexity to it, You're gonna bend the knee, take the other leg out just a little bit, and then bring it up. Making sure you're breathing. Bend the knee. Take the leg out. You can go as far as you want. Bend the knee. Take the leg out, filling that beautiful connection here.

Breathing in. If you almost fall, just recollect yourself and continue to go inhale. And, Exela, Last one, inhale. And exhale up. Holding here legs parallel. Bend your knees, feeling that connection, bring one foot down at a time, And let's finish by extending the legs out, bringing the arms up overhead, resting the hands back behind you if you can, and breathe in.

And breathe out. One more time, breathe in. And breathe out. Slowly draw your legs up and your elbows in. I want you to gently roll on to one side so you can get off the foam roller ever so gently.

Now we're gonna transition into a prone position, so lying on our belly. I want you to bring your foam roller in front of you. So that is perpendicular to your mat, and go ahead and lie forward here. Now you're gonna place your forearms right on the roller here. I want your fingertips as straight as you possibly can.

So forehead on the ground, you can adjust What feels best for you? Now your legs are very straight. Our hips should be nice and open and expanded so you can really straighten those legs out for me. So first thing we're gonna do is we're gonna lift the head up. Lift the chest up.

You're gonna press down into the roller and come up as high as you can comfortably, and then reach out and feeling that length. Three more times, lifting head, neck, chest, extending those legs, anchoring the pubic bone into your mat, pressing down, feeling that marriage of your connection underneath your arms and your latissimus door side, that lifting up of your chest, and then feeling like you get longer as you go down. Almost as if somebody was pulling your legs away from you, and you were reaching your spine. In front of you and lifting head, neck chest. You're seeing that sequence of as I lift my head, then my neck, and then my upper spine. And then the lower, and reaching out, lengthening one more time, and up.

In this position, I want you to bend your elbows to the side, roll all the way to your fingertips, and then reach out and go down. We're gonna go a little faster. You're gonna lift up. Breathing in. Exhale. Inhale. Extend and exhale down.

Again, inhale lifting up. Exhale bending the elbows. Inhale reaching the elbows straight. And down. One more time like that, breathing in.

Excel elbows. Inhale reach and down. Now holding this position, We're gonna do a sequence where we keep our head on the mat, but we're gonna lift the legs up, and we're also gonna move the arms. So we're gonna work into the sequence. So exhale keeping the head down, keeping your head down.

You only have one head. Your head down and your arms straight, you're gonna lift the right leg up. Now challenge yourself and see how high you can get that leg without bending it and using your gluteal and your hamstring muscles to lift it. Not putting all the work in your lower back, and then take it down. Other leg reaching out and up. Feeling that extension, your hips should be nice and open.

It feel like you can get your leg high off your mat, but you're not Bending your knee. You're not using your lower spine excessively. You're really feeling that extension coming from your glutes and your hamstrings, but primarily your glutes here and there. One more time each leg. Lifting it up, feeling how your, hip bone, your ASIs gets heavier into the mat as your leg rises, and bring it up.

So now you're gonna do that, but you're gonna keep your head down, and you're gonna bend your elbows in as your leg lifts, you can almost touch the foam roller to the top of your head. And then as you bring the leg down, You lift up and bend bowing forward, bringing the foam roller to the tip of the head, and then lift. Up. And bend the elbows, take the leg straight up. Elbows straight out to the side.

And, left. Let's do one more time and bend the elbows, lower the head down, and lift. Holding it here, filling that work, rolling the roller forward, as you lengthen lengthen rest the forehead down. Now we're going to bring the legs in. And we're gonna refine that position, but we're gonna be on our knees now.

These are gonna be nice and open wide. So I want you to fill this position first because this is what we're gonna be coming back to in between the exercises. So head down on the mat, hips heavy, over your heels. So I want you to lift up a little bit easier with the back extension here on the knees. Now you're gonna thread that back arms. You're gonna be toward me.

Through, you're gonna turn the palm down on the roller. So you have this palm facing down here, and you're gonna feel that stretch here. You're gonna come back up. You're gonna bring that arm through and extend it out behind you. Now my palm is facing down because it feels a little bit more comfortable when I'm in the bottom position. So this arm is stretched to the side, and as you go through, you thread it and you reach. And again, lifting up.

Inhale. And exhale threading it and bringing it down. And inhale again? And exhale. Bringing it down.

Now we're gonna hold it here. We're gonna work on the transition. So out to the side, bring the arm forward. Bring the other arm out. And again, exhale bringing it through and inhale up. Bring the arm out to the side.

And exhale? Looking underneath that arm. Really allowing your hips to hinge your your, bottom to stay as low as it can to the heels. And, up squaring your shoulders here. Again, reach.

So just finding that really nice balance between a challenging movement because it requires a little bit of precision, but there's also just sort of, harmony and a rhythm to it, and the repetition of it makes it feel really lovely as well. And reaching. Last one, and you'll hold it. Bring the arm forward. Now roll the roller back just a little bit.

And you're gonna grab it in the hands here. You're gonna come up. You're gonna give me an upper back arc. You're gonna bend the elbows so that the foam roller just taps the front of your head. You're gonna extend up. You're gonna roll down You're gonna slide your hands in.

So as I'm walking you through this, you're gonna reach out as far as you can. Bring your hips over your knees. You can take your forehead onto the foam roller. Bring it back. As you move your hands, we'll roll to the outside of the roller. You pick it up.

You do a upper back arc. You bend your elbows. You bring it up. You lower it down with control. Palms come in, and you glide out.

Reaching, reaching, reaching, reaching, forehead can go on to the roller. You hinge back. So you keep your spine straight. Then you can start to roll up bring it up, bend, reach, and down. Hand slide in and forehead on to the roller. One more time hinging Your hands will just seamlessly go back.

Grab the roller. Bend up. Gently place it down and reach. Filling that extension, rest in your forehead. Come back.

Start to roll up. Okay. So we're gonna move into our last sequence for this class, which is gonna be a very simple, but fun standing sequence. So I want you to stand up and place your foam roller next to you. And I want you to focus on just the the fun and the freedom of this movement. So hands are gonna be on the outside of the roller.

You're gonna bring it up over your head. You're gonna bend your knees. And bend to the side with an inhale and exhale at. Says you can tell, My strategy is always to start with these simple movements and add on to it in these sequences. So bend and exhale up.

Inhale and exhale up. So now adding on to it, I want you to bend even more till you bring that roller all the way to your knee. So kind of this funky position. You can see that I'm not straight I'm allowing my body to shift in opposite direction. We're gonna extend out to the side We're gonna sweep it around with a flat back.

We're gonna reach over and bend to the other side. So you can see my hips are shifting, and I'm feeling that really beautiful stretch through my right side of the body. I extend it out. Straight straight in the elbows. I hinge at the hips, keeping the back flat, side bend, and draw it in, and reach flat back I prefer if your knees are straight here, but if you need to bend them while you do that circular movement, you can.

And you should feel the challenge of stretching your side body as you do this. Straight all those. Reaching out side bent and in. So come up. Oh, woah. That was intense and hold that position there.

So now you can stay facing me, but I'm gonna come to the side. Breathing in. You're gonna bend your knees. You're gonna curve the body forward. You're gonna bring the foam roller to your knees so that you're holding it here, then inhale, you're gonna come up. Again, bending.

All the way in, exhale. Inhale. Reaching up. Excel 2 more just like that, then we'll add on to it, and bringing it up. Last one. Exhale.

And bringing it up, let's carry on. So we go exhale down. Now keep those the hips low and reach out on the diagonal. Bring the roller up above the head and then curve. Reaching out on the diagonal, feeling those feet anchored arms come up and exhale curve.

2 more. Reach. Excel curve. And one more. Reach and coat all the way down.

Lift your hips up. Straighten the back of your legs. Drop the head, feel the hamstring stretch. Breath in, exhale, start to roll up, roll up, Nice and slow. Take your roller.

Place it vertical in front of you. Place your hands on top. Walk your hips back. And straighten your back, reaching those hips out behind you. And just to finish here, nice and fun, you're gonna step forward, curve the back here.

Feel that length. And as you reach back, extend. You can even tip the roller a little bit. If it feels good to let your hips go back, let it do that. Get that beautiful stretch. Opposite leg reaches forward. You curve the back.

Reaching, feeling that nice flexion of the spine that expansion, and then step back, it requires rec control to do that. Reaching forward. This will be our last exercise of this class, and reach Again, opposite leg forward, holding the balance, and reach come back to the middle, walk in a little bit if you need to, Let the head go down, bend the knees, curve the spine, bring your roller in, as you roll up right in front of your feet, press down onto the roller, lift your back up. Eyes can be open or close. Come back to the center.

Take your breath in. And now relaxing those shoulders softening your hands on top of your roller, last one inhale, and exhale. I hope that you feel open and released, stretched and expanded. Thank you so much for taking this class with me today.


Lina S
Amazing class, nicely cued.
Fantastic class.  Thank you so much. Love your energy.
I feel amazing, thank you Leah
Leah so glad to see you back…..thank you for a lovely class 
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! What a treat. Felt soooo yummy. Can’t wait to share some of these new movement patters with my clients. ❤️🙏
Thank you for new ways to move and exercise with the foam roller 👍🇩🇰
That was just SO good! Stiffness in parts I did not realise I had stiffness. I will do this class more often. Thank you! Also, did another one of your classes yesterday, lots of sitting on ankles and I hardly could, because it was so painful. Today, I could sit on my feet/ankles way better than yesterday. So, thank you also for that!
amazing class ! i feel refreshed after this exercise
Awesome class, and the movements nicely complimented my rehab routine that I'm currently working through. It's wonderful seeing you back!
Claudia K
Lovely. Becoming a real Leah fan!
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