Class #879

Mat Exercise Breakdown 5

10 min - Class


Monica continues to breakdown the Mat work exercises. In this video you'll hear the details for executing the Neck Roll, Single Leg Kick and Double Leg Kick. Who knew there was so much one could know about movement? Thanks Monica!
What You'll Need: Mat

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All right. So we're going to be moving on to the neck roll. So you want to be one fall fellow swoop from point a to point B. So you're going to hold your belly in and you're going to bring your arms down, legs together, and flip onto your stomach and make one long piece of steel from your head to your hill. That's great. So we're going to break down, what does this, uh, what does this feel like? So you always want to start with the first thing, which is your navel. You want to have your powerhouse engaged. So you want your navel pulling up off the mat a little bit. It might not be able to lift where it's doesn't have contact with the mat, but it wants to feel like, oh, I am supporting my lower back.

You might even feel a little bit of a stretch in the lower back muscles. And it's not like a big ball that I'm balancing on, on my, you know, on their map. So you want to feel like your stomach is engaged, which is super hard to do in a back extension, which is what you're going to do in natural. Okay? So it's very important that we keep neck roll as small as we need it. Looking towards a grand picture of a beautiful back backbend, but we want to make sure that it is actually a back bending backwards and not the middle of your body pushing out forward while doing a backbend. So your stomach is not going to push into the mat.

So let's actually start with your arms now long down by your side. That was a beautiful transition and unfortunately your head's just going to be like this, which was really, really great. So we're gonna start just relaxing those arms and I want your navel to pull up into my hand and then release. And you're going to pull your stomach in good and release. Can you do that without squeezing your bottom?

Just your belly in Nice and relaxed. Good and your belly in and relax. Great. Now what is the bottom due or the the lower half of our body. So your belly is in support, your lower back, but you want to have somewhat contact through these hip flexors into the mat. So basically you're going to squeeze your pelvis always together to stabilize and then you're going to kind of push it down into the mat, which is okay if something in the front is going to be lifting up. Okay?

So we're going to squeeze our pelvis. What's not okay because in a moment we're gonna start bending our legs to us is if this whole part of your body lifts and doesn't have contact, okay? So when we lift our leg, it's going to be even more important to push down through that hip flexor area. Okay? Because this is always overworked nowadays because this is always underworked. So we're going to really be focusing on that. Um, when in these exercises, the next three, so I like to think of a mermaid tail.

We're going to be squeezing our pelvis together and our legs are going to come down to this beautiful fish tail into this beautiful mermaid tail. Okay. They are squeezing and lengthening always in an opposite direction of our spine. Cause our spine is going to be pulling. You're going to support your belly into your back. And just lying here, can you make your spine longer, create space in between each bone so much that it's like your head has energy pushing out the crown of your head going that way. So you've got your mermaid tail lengthening, kind of your lower back this way, and your stomach is trying to pull in and up and lengthen out the crown of your head.

So those two super important opposing forces. Okay, now I want you to start off nec role is to relax the neck, stretch the neck and to open the chest. But most of the time we move our shoulders a lot. So let's see what that means. Imagine there's a pencil here and I want you to squeeze that pencil by opening the collarbones and feeling your shoulder blades come together. Beautiful. Now with your navel in, let's see how high you can lift your head and your chest. Good. And so you're not using any hands right now yet.

Look how high you've come up off the mat. It's a good five, six inches. And Go ahead and length and down. And what I love is you didn't crunch into here, you didn't lift with the poor little neck muscles. Exactly. You kept it nice and long. So let's now add our hands. We're going to bend our elbows and place the hands under your shoulders. Great.

So if you had like a super bendy, flexible, never bothering back, then you would keep your hands right here. But if it does get a little as is a little stiff, you can widen your grip. So it's a little about three inches away and even bring the hands a little bit forward. So let's start there today. But that's great. So as you get more flexible, then you can start bringing them back under. Exactly. All right. So again, Mermaid tail squeezing and laying thinning away.

So your lower back feels really stretched and you're going to pull your belly in. And now I want you to try to avoid pressing the hands in in the very beginning because you had such a beautiful job. Squeezing those shoulder blades together and start coming up with your head and your chest. Good. And then when you feel like you can't come up anymore without using your hands, go ahead and use them and your bellies in and up. God. So your belly should be really working right now, which is takes a while to get that. And now let's be aware of the shoulders.

Let's look over your right shoulder. Beautiful. Let's keep it your chin anymore over the shoulder. Can you [inaudible] without moving that one? Great. Now scrape your chin to your chest and look as far over this shoulder as you can and look forward. Good. Let's do a quick stomach check. Is it in? Good. And now look over this shoulder as far as you can without moving the other and then stretch your chin down around and look forward.

And what I love is, again, you didn't crunch this, so we'd never roll the back of the head back here. Now when we come down, I want you to keep a lengthening your energy out the crown of your head and even think of pulling the mat behind you. That's energy as your sternum. Chest bone stretches four. That's great. Okay. What? Well, another thing that I love that you did is you really articulated, you brought up one bone at a time. You didn't come up like a straight plank. Exactly. All right, so we're going to pull in most important length in those legs away. We try to keep the legs together, but sometimes we're just not flexible enough so they end up slightly separating as you come up, which is fine, but a goal is to have them squeeze, squeeze together like a mermaid tail. Okay, so right now let's add those hands like big suction cups onto the map. And even right now, pretend you're pulling it behind you and the crown of the head is reaching in front of it. Good stomach in and use your good energy.

And then use the arms when you need to. Good lift and let's start looking over the left shoulder this time. Watch that shoulder from moving and then chest down around and look forward and do a quick stomach check. Awesome. Right down to your chest, left. Look forward and hold it there.

And now you're going to keep lengthening your spine as you come down. Great job. Go ahead and round your back and sit on your heels to give yourself a break. Just because that was a very detailed neck roll. If we just did the normal tempo, we would go neck roll right into single leg kick, which we're about to do.

So let's go back onto your belly. Good. And when you do, you're gonna push your knuckles together. Great. Good. All right, so there's a lot going on in the upper body, but this time we're not gonna move the upper body. We're moving the lower body. We just move the upper body and the exercise before. Start off with pushing the knuckles together. Then push your forearms into the mat so that you can feel even the little under our muscles that we need to tone when we're wearing like a strapless dress. So we feel those muscles and your stomach is trying to lift your sternum up.

Okay. We could, if this was a like a, a screen, I could see a whole movie here. So you don't wanna let that go. Right. And a lot of times we're trying so hard to scoop that we do round this upper part and we don't want to do that. We want to support, but keep a nice open collar bone and always feeling like you're kind of pulling that map behind you and lengthening in front. Yeah. Good. All right. So now here's the most important part on this exercise. We're going to squeeze and we're gonna make sure this is contact making contact in the mat and live both legs up just a hair, just so that, oh, there they are.

They're engaged, they're working in with your belly, pulling in and up. I want you to lengthen your legs more out of those hips. Good. And now, yes, you're going to kick your bottom twice. One, two. But I don't want you to use that. So, so imagery, I want you to picture that you're touching your head. Okay? So you're kicking all the way to your head. One, two, and then write two all the way to your head.

Pull up that thigh in that knee as much as you can to get to your head. Good. Now they passed each other. Beautiful. They pass. You try to keep your thighs as close together as you can, the knees, but what you're doing, that's great. A little more lift in your lower belly though, huh? Is that you're not waving your bottom back and forth. It's pressing instincts, squared, stable, pressing down into the mat and last left and that's enough rest down.

Very good. [inaudible] we breathe on that one. Just honestly to stay alive. It's not necessarily a breathing exercise and so we don't really correlate a breath. I mean you could do inhaling, exhaling and that's usually a tempo that we'll do if it's something like that fast. But we're going to do that one more time because I want to things a little quicker to tempo and then equal emphasis. You did so great about bringing the toe to your head, but this leg it's not dead or along the ride for the ride. It will. You did keep it up, but I want it lengthening out behind you more. So elbows under a little bit more. Push into the mat, scooping in and up. Good. Now lift both legs up. Great.

So you're gonna bring your right leg in for two one two and left to right to reach out. Right to left you one more set. That's it in and up. [inaudible] and that's enough. Good. Very nice. Okay. Just because you brought up breathing and tempo, right? So now we're going to place go transition into double like kick hands, go between your shoulder blades. So you might need to start here and let's start with the right facial cheek on the mat. Good. So you might start here and, but I want your hands ideally to be here, so as high as you can get them.

Okay. And then you're going to lay your elbows down. I also want you to be able to hold three fingers, so or, or four. Exactly. So zone and right there. Beautiful. Good. When we do do our lifts, our upper back extension, we're going to try not to dislocate our shoulders and by yanking on our arms. That's a caution. Okay.

So you're coming up as high between your shoulder blades as you can and your elbows are going as flat as you can. You want to make sure it's a huge upper back stretch without hurting yourself. I love how you have your head because it's very hard to actually have both eyeballs facing out. Sometimes we don't have enough [inaudible] so you do, you want your right ear on the mat, the left one up to the ceiling and both eyeballs looking over. So that takes a lot of flexibility in the neck. Okay. But it's all right if you're still working towards that. All right, so this is a nice rhythm. It's like a waltz. It's like, and what don't do it quite yet, but it's going to be a kick to three lift, two, three, kick, two, three, lift two, three k. So same thing.

We don't let any light pass through here. Our stomach is always supporting and we lift the legs up only as high as we don't take it in the lower back. If we can clear our knees and our thighs. Awesome. But if we start taking it here, no. Good. Okay. So squeezing from here, we're going to kick the bottom three times. One, two. Hey. And Lyft, Lyft, Lyft, and switched cheeks to three. The lower bodies down the upper ones, up and switching. Kick two, three, and Lyft, Lyft, Lyft, and last one, kick two, three and lift. Lift left and melts into the mat. Super important. Round your back and sit onto your heels.

Good. Lift up even more in the hipbones there, and now crawl away from me with your hands. God, that's it. Nice. Great. Great job. All right. Now we'll transition into knock Paul.


1 person likes this.
Thanks you two! that was a great session, picked up some valuable imagery tips to help 'feel' the exercises. Jill, Lake District U.K.
I like the idea of the rhythm being like a waltz for double leg kick. Thanks for the details.
Lovely and intentional explanation!
Thanks so much for this series, have watched first 5 so far and very well explained. Helpful reminders everywhere! Looking forward to finishing rest of the series :)

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