Tutorial #3108

Nourishing Mat Warm Up

15 min - Tutorial


Prepare your body to receive the benefits of Pilates with this nourishing Mat warm up with Jenna Zaffino. She shares a small series that promotes circulation throughout the entire body. She also works on expanding the energetic field so you can be more aware of the space you are taking up.

Jenna starts with a brief explanation about these movements and why they are important. The movement portion starts at about 1:40.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Jul 26, 2017
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There is an interesting phenomemon occurrence that has been happening to me since I've been born and that is that with each day that goes by I actually get older. And in the process of getting older my body actually changes and this has been a really exciting ride to be on until I've entered in to the middle of my life. So what I've found as it pertains to pilates is that there are days when the reformer seems to be calling me. It's calling my brain perhaps but my body is just not picking up the phone. And what I've discovered is that through some creative and therapeutic and nourishing practices that I can prepare my body to much better receive the benefits of pilates when I can get into the workout.

So today what I'm going to show you is just a small series that promotes circulation. It helps me and us expand our energetic feel so that we can be more aware of the space that we're taking up in general. And then it also lets us release some of the patterning, some of the holding patterns that we might be walking into the studio or the session with. Sometimes those patterns are just light. They're something that happened yesterday or the day before and they're not really ingrained to the point where we would need body work but they just are there and we wanna just shake 'em off.

So we're going to explore a series of movements that begins with rocking. So we'll take it down onto the back and we'll begin with the feet flat, knees bent, and arms can be palm up or down depending on how comfortable it is for your shoulder girdle. And you wanna be in a position where you can put a good amount of weight into your footprints. And essentially, you're just gonna begin to kind of push, pull with your feet. And allow your body to what I call sift.

And initially this can feel a little bit silly. Like you're just not doing anything. But what we're going to do to get our brain on line is to begin to draw some awareness to the parts of the body that are cooperating, that are showing up and that our participating in the rock. And also the parts that are not. So for example I can feel my right hand and arm really moving and my left one not so much.

And so I'm just gonna look as I go through this rocking series. What is happening, what's moving, what's not, what can I let go of? The neck was one for me. And I'm trying to keep a good rhythm. If the rhythm feels distracting to you, then you can slow it down or speed it up.

But it's something that should kind of challenge your brain to be maybe a moment behind the movement. So that we're actually doing the opposite of contrology in this moment and just simply letting go. And so we're going to do this for a few more moments, just breathing in and out through the nose and the mouth, comfortably. Not forcing or trying to impart any direction over the movement but rather a allowing it to happen. And looking for places of holding.

Looking for places of where the movement is not happening. I'm gonna continue doing this and one place for pilates enthusiasts and pilates teachers to really look at is both the belly as well as the diaphragm. So is there a way for you to release and relax those areas? Can you let your eyes fall back into the back of the sockets? It's hard to let the neck completely go while talking but can you let your head respond to the movement of your tail and vice versa.

And sometimes it's really nice to start to think about the energy that's translating up and down your spine. Ultimately this should not create any pain. It should be just kind of like a sensation like maybe if you were jumping on a trampoline. Or laying on a trampoline while someone else jumped. So we'll take this a few more moments.

And when I say the number three, we'll come to a stop. One Two And Three. Now typically when I come to a stop, I have an energetic release. It almost feels like a buzz through the body. So notice where the body is buzzing, and if you stay still for long enough, sometimes it becomes difficult to feel the, where your body ends and the mat below it begins.

And so that is a really unique moment to feel connected to your space. Feel how far outside of the outline of our body your energy can reach. Like what is your perception of the space above your head and below your tail and to the right and left of our body. And are you able to drop that weight any amount more to become even heavier against the mat? To be able to have a more definite impression to become part of the mat even.

And then we'll just take a deep breath in. And then just exhale release. And then we're gonna try a second version with the legs long. So I like to do the legs short first because it's a little nicer on our hip flexors. And it's a littler nicer on the low back.

And you can certainly go back to the short leg version if that works for you. It's also a little different to manage. So essentially it's like we're just pumping the break or the gas depending on if you're going fast or slow. Again we're just gonna be flexing and pointing our feet. But not in a technical way.

The idea is that through this movement of rocking the heels we can begin to translate some circulation up through the legs, the hips, the spine, the diaphragm. So just continue to breathe evenly. And notice again where the movement might be restricted. And sometimes it's the question of just asking it to participate or release or show up. Whatever it is for you.

Try not to be harsh in any of the joints. We're trying just to let ourselves be moved. Again working in to a good rhythm. It's almost one that you can't follow because it's just consistent. It's not one you're directing.

It's one that's being directed consistent movement of your feet and it's almost like at some point you don't even have to use that much effort on your feet. And in this moment I just feel like as if my body were carpet. I was kinda shaking it out over the side of the deck, getting all the stuff out. Remembering that there's a connection through the entirety of the body and not just in certain pieces. We can get so hung up on our trouble spots or zones that we want to improve upon.

First I think it's really beneficial to be able to say okay this is my entire body and let's get it all talking together. So we'll just do a couple more minutes of this. It's actually quite nice to just release the expectation sometimes, take a little vacation. And then once again we're gonna take a moment when I say three to stop and notice. One Two Three.

And you wanna allow the body to release in whatever way it wants to go. Try not to get in its way. Just notice the change in your tissues, the connection to the mat. Take a breath in. Feel how easy it may be to breathe.

And if you've still got some restrictions, you can maybe do it a little bit more, a little longer. And then to finish out, we're just going to shake things up in a little bit of the bigger way. So we're gonna bend the knees. And we're just gonna fold the knee in and place it down. This is like it's on the verge of ugly pilates.

And that's okay. It's just like, we're just doing it. We're just moving. You don't have to take the picture for Instagram. You can just let it happen in the privacy of your own home.

Feel your joints move. I'll do one more on the left. We're gonna bring the right knee in and up and in and down, and left and again. Not looking for that perfect hip fold. Not even that perfect pointed foot and believe me as a former professional dancer it is hard to let that go.

But I believe in the results that this little series can bring. So I'm gonna go with it. So now we're gonna go up and we're gonna go out along the mat and stay on one leg. So pick up and slide it out. And up and slide it out.

And again moving, keeping the leg in contact with the body simply by just allowing it to move in that joint. Avoiding any pain, just moving it through space. Feeling how much space you can take up in both directions. One more and then we'll bring it up to rest. And we'll go to the other side.

Lift and extend. I find that if I have some tension in my hamstrings or my hips, then I just stay right at the edge of that tension. I try not to push into that tension. Perhaps when I go to my pilates practice next I'll find a little bit more support through the spring tensions. Now it's just about moving my joints through space.

I'm gonna do about four more. Two And one. And here. And then we're gonna bring the right arm in and up, and in and down. It's just easy.

And just notice how the weight of your shoulder blade can drop into the mat as the arm reaches up. And how you can let that hand flop. Let's go to the left. What does it mean to throw out that energy without any expectation, without like a definite position to meet. Just to let your body be heavy and mobile.

Good, let's do both arms at the same time. Interestingly. After we've got the spine inline, is we're gonna start to move the extremities. You might begin to feel a little bit of a core connection. It's not going to be super burned but something that tells you that you've turned yourself on from the center.

Let's go one more. And now we're gonna add the legs. So a little slower. We'll go in and up and in and down. In and up and in and down.

So essentially this turns into a bigger heel rock and as we get more coordinated through it, we're gonna allow the body to move in tandem. So if the neck wants to go in a certain direction. The body's telling it go go that way, we're just gonna explore that. I'm not thinking about neutral or imprinted. I'm just letting my pelvis move, letting it receive the information it's being given from the inside out and the outside in.

Getting warm in the process. Four Three Two And last one. We'll come down to rest. Once again allowing the body to rest. Initially and immediately what I feel is just a an essential drop into external rotation that wasn't there before of my arms and my legs.

And then we're gonna just go back one more time into the heel rocking after we've done that to see if there's just a little more mobility. And in that place where I could feel one hand moving more than the other has really balanced out now. And now I'm pretty certain to come to a slower place a resting place. I'm certain that I can move into my pilates practice with a lot more awareness and a lot more circulation so just simply by rolling up and I have to tell you that's usually the best roll up of my day after I do that. Simply by just engaging into a different way of moving, a different way of experiencing movement and a different way of addressing the needs of my body through movement.

Now I can go into my pilates practice, and I think bring it to another level of enjoyment.

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1 person likes this.
This would be a great series the day after a deep tissue massage.
1 person likes this.
You are the best. I wish you were on every day.
1 person likes this.
This is wonderful! It appears that you may have been looking into some of the fascia research and incorporating it into your pilates anytime teaching. Thank you!
Nikki D
1 person likes this.
That was fantastic. Without realising I felt stuck somehow, this little routine has left me feeling amazing. Thank you so much, my class will thank you too I'm sure!
Wow! I have that aging thing happening to me, too! So timely as I find I need more warmup than many of the intermediate workouts include. I can do this every day, even in bed. P.A. you rock once more. You too, Jenna:)
2 people like this.
You always lift me up with everything you do! I so needed this...new puppy (need I say more). Ha!
Jenna Zaffino
Thank you so much, everyone! Knowing that this class was not "Pilates proper" I had some trepidation about how it would be received. Thank you for showing me love and acceptance as I expand the boundaries of my work! xo
Love this warm up!!
1 person likes this.
I hope this class/tutorial will be followed by Jenna leading us in a mat class. The only one on the site so far requires an exercise ball which sadly I don't have while traveling which is probablythe time I can most this release!
1 person likes this.
I'm so thrilled I found this little warm-up/release. It kept me from just jumping unconsciously into my chair session. It even resulted in me choosing a different class because I could feel that my low back was sore and I hadn't even seen that before this class. Thanks!!
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