Class #671

Fundamental Mat

25 min - Class


A fundamental workout that takes less than 30 minutes to do and will show you that you can get good deep connections using just fundamental exercises. Enjoy the clarity of Karen's cues as you discover (or perhaps rediscover) the beauty, depth, and challenge that exists in the fundamental exercises. This is one you'll want to repeat.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


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This is a fundamental workout. This workout should take less than 30 minutes and it's to show you that you can use all fundamentals to get good key connections throughout your body. So starting in standing, let's just take both of your arms all the way up in the air. Stay here for a second. Take an inhale. As you exhale, relax your shoulders down and pull your tummy in. I'm going to turn and just look at you all just for a second.

I want you to imagine that somebody is actually pulling your fingertips to the ceiling and pulling your feet through the floor. Looking straight ahead. Take an inhale. As you exhale, gently pull your belly button away from your shirt. We've did this in a little fundamental workshop as the belly button poles away from the shirt. Imagine that your entire rib packaging, if you will, is actually pulling backwards, so I don't want any spinal extension at all. I want your arms to be nice and long. I want you to pretend like you have horizontal stripes on and that the front of your horizontal stripes are getting as long and stretched out as the back part.

Very good. Now stay that tall and lower your arms down. Good. Go ahead and turn and face me. Take an inhale as you exhale, hands. Come right on the hips. Pull your belly button up and in a little balancing activity. Take your left leg and lifted up in the air. Hold right there.

Count to five, four, three, two, one, and put that leg down a little harder than we think to start like this, Huh? Let's take the right leg up. Hole five pelvic floor lifts up. Three, two, one. Lower down. One more time. Each leg. Lift that left leg up. It'll actually get easier. Motor planning. Three, two, one, lower down. Look at something that's not moving in front of you. Lift it up. It's just a standing knee fold. Four, three, two, one. Relax the leg down. Very good. Take an inhale. As you exhale, arms come down by your side. Lift your heels up onto the balls of your feet.

Lift up to three, lower down to three, and lift up to three. Attract the thighs. Two, three, two more times. Lift two, three, lower down to three. Now this time, imagine that there's chewing gum underneath your heels and you're going to raise up your heels. You're trying to pick and stress that chewing gum. Go up a little bit taller. Globe, a little bit taller. Check in with your red package. Check in with your horizontal strides and then slowly lower yourself all the way down. Very good. Turn and face to the center, and then go ahead and lie yourself down on the Mat. With your knees bent and your feet flat. Take an inhale.

As you exhale, sink the belly in. I'm going to join you here. Take your arms up in the air, reach your arms to the ceiling. Let your shoulder separate. Take an inhale. As you exhale, feel the shoulder bones drop down into the mat. As you gently pull the belly in. One more time. Let the shoulder blades protract or come away from each other and then exhale.

Pull your arm bones back down to the mat. Keep your tummy lifted in. Keep your pelvic floor engaged without moving your spine. Take your arms over your head. Inhale, arms over the head. Exhale, return the arms to vertical. Pretend like you have some weights in your hand. Inhale, arms go back. Exhale, arms return.

One more time. Arms go back on an inhale. Your eyes are looking straight ahead at the ceiling. Exhale, return your arms to vertical. Pause right there. Now let's take your right leg into a tabletop position. Remember, this is a fundamental workout. We're not going to do anything really fancy, although some of the variations might seem a little challenging. Take your right leg away from you. Inhale, exhale. Pull that knee back in three times. Inhale, the leg goes out.

Exhale, come in last time, right leg goes out last time, right leg comes in. Lower the right leg down. Left knee comes up to tabletop. Pause three times. Inhale, leg goes out. Exhale, come in, clean up those arms. Make them nice and strong and pull the leg in. Last time out. Last time in, lower the leg, lower the arms and pause. Inhale again. Exhale, two arms come up in the air. Again, notice that just having the arms in the air actually challenges your trunk a little bit more. Let's take that right leg into a table. Top position again, and now the leg will reach away as the arms reach away. Inhale, leg reaches way. Arms go over the head. Exhale, pull everything back to vertical. Inhale, arms reach away.

Leg reaches away. Come back in last time. Inhale away. Exhale, come in, pause. Lower right leg down, lift left leg up. Activate the pelvic floor, engaging the core from way down under, and then here we go. Three times. Arms back, leg away. Exhale, come back in. Two more. Inhale, straight elbows, strong arms. Everything comes in last time. Leg away, arms back. Everything comes in. Lower leg, lower arms down by the side.

Take your right leg out long. Flex your toes to your nose as if you're pushing your right leg into a wall. Flatten out your abdomen. Engage the pelvic floor. Karate. Chop the mat so that your shoulders stay open. Sometimes when the hands are down and we press too hard on the hands, the shoulders tend to round, so it's okay every once in while to just let your palms face each other.

Let's do three straight leg raises. Inhale, prepare, exhale, right leg lifts up and then lowers down and then inhale up. Exhale down. Last time up, last time, down in pause. Now stay right there. Keep that right leg right where it is. Try to lift your right leg up, but you can't try to lift it up, but you can feel how that engages deeply into the belly area, deeply into your core. Lift up the pelvic floor. Try to pick that left leg up, but you can't and that all of a sudden you can lift it up. Pause with it up in the air. Now take that right leg out to the side just an inch without disturbing your pelvis. Pull the leg back into vertical.

Let the leg come out to the side and then pull the leg back in. One more time, out to the side. One more time, back in, lower the leg down and pause. Bend that knee in. Stretch the left leg out long. Pull the toes way back. Stretch that leg long. Now be mindful here. Sometimes when people reach their leg long, they tend to arch their back, so you just want to pull it in your belly. Let your ribs heavy down. That rib packaging, staying down, and then left leg lifts up and down three times up and then down.

Inhale, the leg lifts up. Exhale it down. Pelvis stays stable. Last time up. Last time down. Pause. Try to pick your left leg up, but you can't. It stuck to the ground. Try to pick it up. Feel the engagement in the center of your trunk. Try not to disturb your shoulders and then all of a sudden lift that leg up in the air, out to the side. Three times leg comes out, returned to vertical. If you need a little bit more of a challenge.

How about just lifting your arms up off the ground and inch? One more time. Let goes out. Leg returns. Lower the leg down and pause right there. Separate your feet just a tad so that they're in line with your hip bones. Remember, your hip bones are really close to your pubic bone.

Take an inhale as you exhale, deepen the abdomen and pull up on your hip points so that they come closer to your ribs in order to lengthen your low back. So you're right now in a posture, your tilt, but I accused you from the front of your body and then roll that back down. Take an inhale. As you exhale, curl your tailbone underneath. You try to lengthen your low back and curl your buttocks up. Now I just cued the back of your body, whichever Q you need for yourself to get deeper. You do that two more times.

You're not moving your shoulders and you're not moving your head. Okay? Return yourself back to neutral. Take an inhale. As you exhale, the left leg comes into tabletop. Let's put your right hand right on your belly button right over your belly button. Take an inhale here. As you exhale, pull your belly away from your hands. Stabilize your spine, lift the pelvic floor from underneath. Take your left hand, put it behind your left thigh for that strategy to help you stabilize and then go ahead and lift that right leg up in the air. Now take the right leg, flex your foot and push it away from you.

Take your right leg, lower it down just a tad and raise it back up. You get to lower it. The distance that you choose that keeps your spine in control. Some people will go lower than others. One more time down. One more time up. Bend that knee in. Lower it down. Lower the left leg down. Inhale, prepare. Exhale. Right knee comes up to tabletop.

Left hand on the right belly to make sure it doesn't bulge. Hand behind the right thigh. Press the right thigh away to stabilize. Scoop in the belly. Lift the pelvic floor. Do a key goal, and then lift the left leg in. Pause. Take an inhale. Exhale. Abdomen sinks down. Pelvic floor comes in. Now take that left hand and put it behind your left thigh.

Give yourself a little Pele's. V, squeeze your heels together. Your thighs are now pressing into your hands. Your heels are squeezing together. Take your hands away, but leave them there in case you need them. Take an inhale, take an exhale, support your thighs one more time. Now take your hands away. See if you can breathe in for five counts. Inhale and exhale.

Inhale and exhale. Hands behind the thighs. Lower the right leg down. Lower the left leg down, arms down by your side. Getting ready for an articulatory bridge. Press your feet. Shorten the front of your body and length in the back of your body. As you slowly and carefully journey your spine up into a bridge.

Pause partway. Regroup your scoop. Press the feet down towards the floor and lift your pelvis a little higher. Pause right here. Be Mindful here that you're not arching your back to lift higher, but you're engaging your thighs and your buttocks. The front of your thighs are stretching at your hip area right here in the front. Your buttocks and your thighs are engaged in the back.

Take an inhale and as you exhale, lie your spine down slowly. The old queue of liar spine down like a strand of pearls. I really like, but we don't want to smash the pearls. Take an inhale. Exhale, curl that tailbone up. Lift up [inaudible] pause right here. Take your hands up in the air, tidy up your arms, tidy up your legs so that you feel all connected.

Take an inhale and as you lie your spine down, stay engaged in your thighs and in your buttocks until you're all the way down so you're not smashing those pearls. You're just really lying them down one at a time and then lower your arms down and pause right there. Let's take the hands behind the head, preparing for just a little head lift, supporting your head with your hands. Take your eyeballs as if you're going to look down towards your knees. You're not really gonna see your knees, but your eyes are just looking downward. And then just lift the head and then put the head back down. Take another inhale.

As you exhale, sink the abdomen, engage the key goal, and just do neck flection. You so want to lift your whole trunk, but I just want you to lift your head. I want you to notice the job of your abdomen is to support your core while that neck lifts. So right now you are using your neck muscles and then slowly lower yourself down. Now we'll go into the trunk curl, lift the head, look at your knees, take an inhale. As you exhale, curl up your trunk without moving your pelvis. The pelvis stays flat, the belly pulls in. Hold yourself right here.

Gently press your head back and recurl your trunk so you get much more work in your trunk and less work in the neck and then lie yourself down. We'll do that three more times. Inhale, exhale, head and trunk curl. Hold yourself up here on an inhale. Exhale, lower yourself back down. Inhale, prepare. Exhale, curl. Try to curl up any bit further. Hold yourself there. Inhale, exhale, lower yourself down. Last time.

Inhale, prepare. Exhale, lift the head, curl the trunk. Stay up here a little bit longer. Gently press your head backwards. As you curl your trunk forwards, it gets you really, really connected in the front of your body and then lower all the way back down and then pause right there. Let's separate the feet about as wide as the math. Drop your right knee in towards your left ankle and let the weight of that right knee kind of invite your pelvis into a little lift and a little twist.

But your right shoulder stays down. Now untwist your body leading with your right rib cage comes back, then your right pelvis, then your right knee faces the ceiling and then the left knee comes in towards the right ankle and because that knee reaches in the pelvis is invited up to start to give just a little twist to the spine to stretch out the front of the hips and then unroll that spine all the way back down. One more time. Inhale right knee in towards the left ankle. Exhale on roll yourself all the way back and last time left knee in towards the right ankle and exhale all the way back down. Let's close up the knees. Close up the feet, hands behind the head, getting ready for a little trunk rotation.

Lift the head and curl the trunk. Looking at your knees. Rotate your trunk to the left. Reach your right elbow towards the ceiling as you rotate, as a matter of fact, look where your right elbow is pointing. That ensures that you're not twisting your head off and then bring yourself back and lower yourself down. I personally hate when I twist my head off. Okay, lift the head, curl your trunk, hold, and then twist to the right, left elbow to the ceiling.

Look up towards where that elbow is pointing. Don't move your knees twisting at the trunk. Bring yourself back to center. Lower yourself down. Very, very good. Arms down by the side. Now you agree that that's trunk flection against the gravity working the obliques in the event you couldn't lift your head for whatever reason, we're going to work that from the bottom. Now let's take the right leg in.

Make a strategy if you need to match it with the left leg. Squeeze those feet together. Now take your hands down by your side. Sway your legs to the left with them bent, resisting back with your right shoulders. Feel how two knees reaching to the left. Works your obliques in a certain way and then push your left leg into the right one and bring it all the way back. Sway both your legs to the right isn't swaying your legs to the right, the same thing as trunk rotation to the left and then bring it all the way back.

That's going to be a test question. One more time. Legs sway to the left. Hold. Resist back with the push with your left leg to return. One more time. Legs to the right. Pause. Push with the right leg back to the center and then lower the legs down and there we have a top to bottom rotation and a bottom to top rotation. It's turned over to pen with your hands under your shoulders as if you had a stick behind your back.

Your head is touching it. Your shoulder blade area roughly and a sacral area. Take an inhale here. As you exhale, pull the abdomen in. Trying really hard not to change the shape of your spine. Inhale again, exhale, pull the abdomen in. Start to round your lowest back by pulling your belly in and dropping your tailbone as if it's pointing between your knees.

Feel the temptation to round your upper back, but you're not going to keep curling that tailbone underneath you until you absolutely can't stand it anymore. And then take your tailbone back out and come to level. Inhale again. Exhale, belly pulls in, shins press down, tailbone the rounds, low back stretches. Those horizontal stripes on your back body are getting longer. The horizontal stripes on your front body are getting shorter.

Keep curling your tailbone now and journey that flection up to your upper back a little bit. And then at the very end, the head nods, it looks towards your knees right here. Take a moment and deepen the abdomen. Attempt to curl more from your lowest spine as opposed to rounding your upper spine more. And we'll go back the way we came. Take your tailbone out behind you a little bit. Start to lengthen your lumbar curve.

Start to lengthen out your thoracic spine. And then your head returns to the starting position from up the arms. Imagine that your left arm is pulling towards your right knee. Imagine that your right arm is pulling towards your left knee. If you how that kind of closes the core in the front of your body.

Now let's lift the eyes a little bit. Look towards the front edge of your mat. Now take that new necklace or your collarbones and pull them forward into extension and then start to let your back arch and let your tailbone flip up just a little bit. Full extension. Take an inhale here. Exhale, head nods. It looks right between your hands. The back of the neck gets long, the thoracic spine rounds a little bit, and then the low back rounds and the tailbone curls right back under inflection. And then bring yourself right back out to level and pause. Left leg out behind you. Toes curled underneath you. They stay on the mat. Tighten up your left thigh, tighten up your arms.

Try to lift your left leg up off the floor, but you can't feel that. Engage in the back of the thigh. Feel that engage in your buttocks area and then all of a sudden you can lift it up, straighten out the knee. You don't lead to lift the leg very high and then five times lower and raise down. Lift one down, lift two and three. Close up that left arm. Use those left, that left side of your arm to keep you from twisting.

One more time. Bend the knee in. Bring yourself down, right leg comes out. Now, right here, keep that right leg on the floor. Try to pick it up, but you can and then all of a sudden you can. Now here's where you have to be very mindful of that right arm. Take that right arm and pull it towards the left knee. That helps you return your ribs back to the mat. Can you feel that? Keep that connection in the arm now, right leg up and down, five times down, up or up, down, whatever, but just don't lift it really high so that you are at your back.

Close your core in the front by using your right arm to your left knee. Three more, two more last time. Lower down. Sit yourself back on your heels and rest. Just a second. Bring yourself back to Quadra pet. Moving to the arms. Take an inhale. As you exhale, take your left arm actually out to the side like a t and have a look at it.

Close your fingers from up your arm, from up your tricep, and then look back at the mat. Now take that arm as if there's a little polishing cloth on it and just move it towards your ear and then towards your pelvis so it staying parallel to the floor, but you're just giving it a small little range of motion. Are you pulling your right arm towards your left knee and your left knee towards your right arm and you are now right and then left arm comes down. Pause right there. Take it. Inhale as you exhale right arm out. Have a look at it. Press your shins down. Start to Polish.

Look your head back down towards the Mat and then move your arm up and down. Close up your core with your left arm. Pull it towards your right knee and then bring that arm down by your side and then sit yourself down and pause right there. Bring yourself out to quadro pet. Last time, opposite arm, opposite leg, left arm out in front, palm faces in right leg out behind you. Does it matter how high it lifts, but feel how you have to pull your left knee towards your right hand and your right hand towards your left knee as if somebody's playing tug of war with the crown of your head and the sole of your foot. Let's go ahead and flex that. Reach your heel along. Open up the back of that knee crease.

Get long through all your horizontal stripes and then bring everything down. Inhale here. Exhale, left leg out, right arm out in front of you, palm facing in. Let's go ahead and flex that left foot. Close up your core by reaching your left arm to your right knee and your right arm to your left knee. Close up your core by reaching your left arm to your right knee and your right knee or left arm, and then pull everything back in. And then sit yourself back down, crawl your hands towards your knees, round your spine, and bring yourself up to vertical.

Now let's take the arms out in front. If your knees give you trouble, you can just sit out of this. We'll be done with this exercise in a second. Take an inhale. As you exhale, the head gently nods and you're just gonna do a little spine stretch as if you're peeling away from a stick. Okay? Sometimes it helps if you put one hand actually on the crown of your head and push out through the crown of the head as you round down. And then big inhale, exhale, belly pulls back.

Unwind your spine against that imaginary stick. Don't be in a hurry. And then segmental lies your spine all the way back up, two arms out long, and he'll be exhale. Head nods. Shoulders are soft. Pull the belly and go ahead and press on your shins a little bit and then round that trunk. Take a big inhale while you're here, and then exhale, curl yourself back. Don't just lift up your spine, but unroll it back and then place it against that imaginary wall. The shoulder blades pull back.

The head is the last to lift and then lower your arms down and pause. Right, right there.


5 people like this.
Magnificent !!!!
Perfect Pace & Cueing Gems ~ Truly looking forward to more of your classes Karen :D
oh, and I hate it when I twist my head off too ;)
2 people like this.
I really felt all the moves. I will do this often to ensure I am always engaging properly.
5 people like this.
simplicity meets so so so sooooooooooooooooooo smart!!!
Epiphanies all over the place!
Gotta love the fundamentals! Lovely class!!
Seriously... this is brilliant. No, Karen, YOU are brilliant! Thank you for the gift of your talent and your willingness to share it.
2 people like this.
wonderful! such clear cues
1 person likes this.
Thank you, Karen, again and again! It was a great class then and it is still SOO helpful!
8 people like this.
Karen is my new favorite instructor; I'm so inspired and her teaching has invigorated MY teaching! Also, I just want to say I almost cried to see a beautiful, talented mover and instructor whose body looks more like mine! All body sizes can be beautiful when they are graceful, strong and healthy.
1 person likes this.
Wonderful class. Simple yet extremely effective. Incredible cues ... Thank you.
2 people like this.
Really great cues provided! A very solid and balanced class not only for beginners, but for everyone needing to get back in touch with correct movement!!
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