Class #764

Upper Body Mat

15 min - Class


Rachel Taylor Segel is back with some fun standing work that focuses on the arms, upper body, and breath. Rachel even teaches "Clara's Castanets." This class is great for anyone who uses their hands a lot (say at the computer or changing springs as a Pilates Teacher).

Watch Rachel's Mat Workout to see Part 2 of this class.
What You'll Need: Mat, Hand Weights, Pilates Pole

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Welcome everyone. Um, to the plot is anytime. My name is Rachel Taylor Siegel. I'm from the [inaudible] center, one of the owners of the ply center in Boulder, Colorado. And we're going to do a two part class tonight. We're going to do some standing work and then 30 minute mat. Okay, so we're gonna start with the standing foot exercises. So you're going to start in parallel hip with position with your arms down by your sides, pressing gently against your thighs and your gonna.

When you bend your knees first forward over your toes, you can look down for a minute and see that your knees go directly forward over your toes so that you have good alignment. And then straighten, do that two more times. So you bend in your knees, cover your toes, there is a part as your feet are, and exhale, straighten. Inhale, bend, stay bent. Lift your heels up and put them back down and straight. Next hailing just to start getting into how I transfer my weight and exhale. Good. Now we're going to make it a little harder by going all the way up. Inhale, bend, lift your heels. And Straight and your legs, lower your heels. Nicely done. Exhaling, bend and lift and stretch and low or nice. Everyone.

One more time bend and the knees go straight over and you feel all your toes pushing down and you lower your heels. Now we're gonna read it that. So when we reverse that, you lift your heels up. First Inhale, you bend your knees in the air over your toes. You lower your heels down right where you want them. And exhale good. As you inhale, push it down into the floor and keep pushing down as you need. Bend forward. And then put your heels right where you want them.

And exhale straight and good. We'll do one more as you put your heels right where you want them at the end, make sure that you don't lock your knees backwards. Nicely done. Good. Okay. So we'll, you should be standing now. If you lifted all your 10 toes up, you should feel a very strong stance over that trampoline arch of your foot. Okay?

And that is what we're going to use for the rest of the standing work as well. So you're gonna bring your heels together and then reach down. Take up your handmaids. So with the heels together, even though, uh, your toes are apart, they're reaching for one another and when they do, she fell a little inner thigh. So your heels are together, pressing that gives you a little inner thigh in the back and some hamstrings. Your big toes are reaching towards each other.

That gives you a little bit of front or in front of the inner thigh and some tummy. Okay? You're gonna bring your arms up. Little hands higher than elbows. Elbows are still a little higher than shoulders. And as you inhale, you're going to bend your elbows and bring your fist to your shoulders. And as you exhale, add and we'll do five more and try to keep your wrist straight because that will give you more work in your shoulders and your upper abs. Nicely done. Inhale. Exhale. We'll do one more.

You can make a gentle fist or you can have your fingers extended from this position. Take your arms out to the side. So out to the side. Thank you. Out to the side. Your hands are higher than your elbows and your elbows are ever so higher than your shoulders, Tummy. And you're still on that like feeling of the 10 toes up, but they are not. And then you bend and you bring your hands towards your shoulders. Inhale and exhale, and we'll do five more. And as you bring them in, don't bend your wrists, just bend your elbows. And as you bend your elbows, you'll feel your biceps and the shoulder, the top of your shoulder.

Exhale fully. Inhale, exhale, everything good. We have one more good. And from that position, turn your palms over and bring your arms down by your sides. From here, take your right hand, bending that elbow and slide it right up like you're shaving the side of your ear, elbow to ear, reaching for the ceiling. So you have one arm reaching for the feeling. The other arm reaches for the floor, very narrow against your body and you're going to change arms. So you change. Exhaling, elbows pass by each other and inhale, stretch one hand away from the other. Exhale change, Tami. In inhale length and you exhale knits, you keep your elbows in a path line that goes right like the train tracks right by outside the studio. That goes right through. Good and up.

Exhale, inhale, stretch, exhale, bend. We'll do one more like so and stay up right arm. So to what? The right arm up, you're going to side bend. Let the left weight drop, pull you down a little and the right weight, stretch you on the right and then use your timing to bring you center and pass your elbows by one another in front of you and go the other way. Inhale and stirrer atch to the right. Exhale and then the arms right in front of you and inhale and stretch and let the handmaids pull you gently apart and your tummy pulls you back together.

Exhale and inhale, reach away. Meanwhile, your big toes are looking for each other. Your heel bones are squeezing towards each other. Exhale, come through one more set, inhale up and then exhale all the air. Feel yourself knit and tall. Last arm. Inhale up and side bend. Let the other way go down your thigh. Let it come up your thigh and bring them both down by your sides.

Nicely done. Good. Now you're going to take your holidays, VC and bring them into a parallel hip with position. In that position, you're going to bend your knees over your toes and flex at your hip so that your spine is belly in parallel to the floor. Elbows bent, hands up by your hips. As you inhale, straighten your arms out and up. As you exhale, bend them back to your hips. Inhale, stretch. Exhale all your air, so pull your tummy in against your spine, especially when you exhale Nice. And even when you inhale so that you feel very supported from below, not just arching your back. Really Nice.

Everyone last time up and the hand weights face your hips, right? So now we're going to do the elbow to the ear one that we did, right arm. Even looking at the floor is going to go elbow to ear and the other arm is going to stretch up behind you. As you exhale, you're going to pass them right in front of your face and then change arms. Inhaling and exhale change. And inhale, stretch, and exhale change. Nice. Everyone. Feel the change, not just in your arms and your elbows, but feel the change to your spine. So as one hand, weight goes one way in the other, the other, you're actually pulling on ma the muscles of your abdomen. You're stretching your vertebrae apart. And the last time good. And then bring both hands back to your hips.

Take your arms straight and down below your eyes. Pull your tummy in. Look that your knees are over your toes. And as you inhale, bring both arms up, shoulder high through maybe a little higher, and exhale, control them back down for more. Inhale up and exhale down. Good everyone. Keep 'em in your periphery. Feel how your blades change. Gently reach your sitz bones back a little bit. Your knees forward.

One more time. Only bring them down and then drop your head and round your spine towards the floor. Let your arms go lower if you wish, and pull your tummy and enroll your spine up, straightening your legs to your original erect posture. Good. So that's the second little paragraph of that group. We'll finish it now with the third paragraph. So the heels are together. Once again in Pius v You bring your hand weights together so that they touch each other [inaudible] and you inhale and you bring the weights up as high as you can, trying to keep them touching each other, which is hard on the shoulder.

Hard to do and exhale down and inhale right up the front of the body. Be Gorgeous and exhale down. Right. Meanwhile your big toes are reaching for each other. Your heels are reaching for each other so you feel that strong leg line and exhale as the arms rise. So does the uh, shoulder girdle which lets you breathe and as the arms come down you exhale. Very nice. Now take your hands and bring them your head.

Still touching if at all possible. And inhale, stretch and exhale. Keep your elbows out there in your periphery, but try and bring your hands not from the as tall as possible to the base of your neck. Exhale, we'll do one more. Inhale. Exhale. I'm sorry. We're going to do one more up and then open the arms to the side. Palms down, bring your hands to your sides. Very good. We can do, we can add rises and lowers with that. But today we didn't. So put your hand weights down if you would and pick up the bar.

So just to pull out, he's made a lot of little equipment and one of the things he made was called the beanbag. We don't have beanbags and you'll be happy that we don't because it adds poundage to the exercise but we can still do the hand and wrist manipulation, which is really good for not only prepping us for mat class but really good for us in general. Okay, so you're going to take your arms out in front of you and one arm, one hand is going to flare and reach all the way of Brown as far under the bar as possible and then kind of throttle back and as you throttle back the other hand flares and it reaches all the way over and throttles back. And as it throttles back the firsthand flares and you reach all the way under and throttle back and flare all the way under and throttle back and flare all the way under, throttle, back and flare all the way. Good. And you're going to breathe as you will so that some of your brain is paying attention to how your hands work and some of your brain is paying attention to pulling your tummy in, feeling your feet and your posture and breathing fully. Nice.

Bring your arms down and bring the bar down for a moment and rest in minutes. Shrug your shoulders. Now we'll do the reverse. All right, so you bring your arm of your bar back up and first we flared at the top. So now we're going to flare at the bottom and up and take the bar and grab it up here and then we're going to roll the bar forward and flir the other hand at the bottom. Bring it up, take the bar up here, flare your fingers to the floor and up. Take the bar up here, flare the fingers to the floor and up. Exhale. Take the bar up here. Inhale, Sullair and up. Take hold. Exhale, flare and up. And don't worry about it.

Just moving your fingers as much as you can apart from one another. And uh, and inside of your palm is valuable knife. Beautifully done. Good. Make it even. Bring the bar down and rest. Good. Put your bar down on the mat again if you would.

And we'll do Claire's captain. That is another hand and wrist exercises. It's really good for those of us who sit and do the lot of computer work or who are Polonius teachers and use our hands a whole lot to change springs and massage people or probably truck drivers. So when Romo, when I'm Claire Taught it, she taught it at in four different positions. One was down low for across from the chest above the head and behind the hips. We won't do them all. We'll do three of them.

So we'll do them in front down-low and in front of us so you can see. And then just to be cranky, we'll do it behind so that we stretch the chest and the shoulders. Okay. So the important thing about this exercise is that you open your hands as much as you close them. So the exercise starts where you try and bring your little finger to the center of your palm, which is hard enough. And you know your other fingers will accompany it at first.

And as they get better at being independent, they won't. And then you open your little finger and stretch. So you're contracting the back. Fourth finger out. Third Finger out. Second finger out. Thumb out. Reverse it. Thumb out. Second out, third out, fourth out. Fifth out. Reverse at fifth out. Fourth out.

Third. Second breeze. Thumb, thumb, second, third, fourth, fifth. Last one, fifth, fourth, third, second thumb. Once again, thumb second, third four. Here's the cast the net part fast. [inaudible] three times. Shake your arms out. Okay. Bring him up in front of you and little finger. One out. Fourth out. Third out. Second out. Thumb out, thumb. Second death or out fourth outfits out. Good again, breathe. Don't let your tongue get tense inside your mouth or your jaw. Thumb. Second, third, fourth, and fifth. Then again, fifth and fourth and third, second thumb. And let's say that's enough. Cast Nets.

[inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] good. Shake them out. Now take them behind you little finger. Here we go. And little finger. Fourth and third and second end thumb and thumb, and second and third and fourth and fifth again. Fifth second hand thumb, reverse six. Second down, third and fourth. Then we're more set for third and second down.

Samantha, second, Dan, third, fourth, fifth. Kathryn, I wish I could do that, but maybe we should be about a tongues too. Good. Good. Thank you. So what you should feel then is very lively and warm and humming from the tips of your fingers all the way up shoulders and into your upper abs, like you've worked all that upper shoulder girdle. I'm specific for Lee. The last two exercises also in the other first two exercises. And we also worked our feet and our legs.

So we were have like a little homework thing there if we should. So choose and then, and we can stop and congratulate ourselves on that first part. So thank you very much. Good job everybody.


2 people like this.
Good class - for carpal tunnel syndrome. My hands feel better already!
1 person likes this.
Hi Rachel, great class! I´ve learned the castanets this way: touching the 5th finger with the thumb, then the 4th with the thumb, and so on. Is it all right too?
Tracy M
1 person likes this.
What a nice standing series. I enjoyed the arm series in particular but of course those little cues about reaching not only your heels but your toes towards each other makes it a whole body workout.
1 person likes this.
I teach a lot of standing work with older adults; this will be a great addition!!
Awesome Rachel!
I liked the castanet exercises. I am on a computer all day and have tendonitis in my right wrist and left elbow. I definitely felt my whole arm working with these exercises and the best part is that I can do this at my desk without people thinking I'm weird! LOL! Thanks.
This was very enlightening. I would like continue this series if possible and learn know Part 2, she referred that this was part 1, thanks!
1 person likes this.
Can't believe I am just watching and doing this, but I am so glad I did. So much fun….castenants!!! Mil gracias a Rachel!!
Really great !
1-10 of 14

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Pilates Anytime Logo

Move With Us

Experience Pilates. Experience life.

Let's Begin