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Welcome to California. I can’t tell you how good it feels to be off my living room floor and out in this halfway sunny day, making a class for you with the bees. There’s many bees around, so it’s me and the bees and you. Here we go. They love this plant.
Hopefully that’ll keep them distracted. Take your hands behind your legs and sit up tall. Close your eyes, and then just do a little rock, lean forward, like get real close to your legs, so you’re forward of center, and then go back, and just rock forward, and rock back. And just one more time like that. I’m not really focused on where my legs are in this moment or really where I am in space.
I’m just doing a little shifting around, so that as I look for upright, I know where it’s not. Continue to keep your eyes closed if you wish. I’m doing that. We’re gonna take an inhale, and an exhale, and an inhale, lifting the spine. Try to get a little lighter feeling in your body.
Quality of sensation is a real thing, a real manageable thing. So can you create the quality of lightening and getting heavier simultaneously, heavier in the down, lighter on the up, and then open your eyes, make sure that the knees are facing just parallel to the hips and inhale. As we exhale, we’re gonna around the spine. So I’m using my arms pretty actively actually, and I’m using them to pull with my abdominals away from, and then inhaling to lift up, and then lifting the chest on the exhale, opening up through the heart, and coming into upright. So just rocking and trying to make a movement that first focuses on that lower body, and then focuses on coming up into alignment lightly, and then extending the spine, focusing on that upper-mid back and center.
We’ll repeat that twice more around. And come upright. And my intention for this class is to work deep, extend, and I invite you to create your own intention, and around. Mat work can be really grounding for me, and straighten. Lets me let go of distractions of which there are many, and extend, and come up and reach forwards, and keep reaching forward actively as you go back into that same round shape.
All I’ve changed is the orientation of my arms. Now go back towards the mat, rounding down, find the lower back on the mat. Inhale, open out to the side with your arms, expand your breath in that direction. Exhale and close the arms and roll up. And sit up.
And round. And as you round, reach with your arms forwards, and then go back, rotating the pelvis under, coming to the low back, open out to the side, expand, contract and move. And lift light, and round, and back. So sometimes I like to think about those ideas, those words that we use for movement like expand and contract, and how they relate to maybe life, and lift. And sit up, two more, right, round.
So we can expand in our life or contract, or both. Open, we can open, we can close. We can lift. We can elongate. And one more.
Round, and back, and down, expand, contract. Lift. This time, take your arms up over your head, let your knees fall open to the sides, and take a spine stretch forward, all the way. You, me and the bees. And then lift back up to sitting, and bring the knees back in.
And I’m gonna move myself a little bit this way, and I’m gonna bring my knees a little bit closer in. I’m preparing us for a bridge. What I’m gonna see if I can do, and you can follow along with me, or you can just lay down, is I’m gonna see if I can get down from here. I don’t know the answer, if I’m honest, but we’re gonna find out right now. Oh. Oh, you see the earthquake?
There’s an earthquake. It’s happening and I’m down. I did it. Good job, Meredith. Inhale, standing into the feet. Push down into the earth with your feet, so you feel the connection to the backs of your legs.
And as you do that, start to flatten your spine into the ground, then articulate your spine up, lifting the pelvis up through space. Keep the head lightly resting on the floor as you inhale. And then as you exhale, we soften the throat, moving the body back down. We lifted off the earth, we put it back down into the earth, rolling down, and return. All the way down into a neutral alignment with your spine, and inhale, feel that expansion idea in the ribs, and exhale, the contraction of the abdominals, a sliding together of the ribs, the pressing down with the arms, the movement in the spine, the stepping into both feet evenly.
So many things to think about. If you feel your mind wander, start thinking about what’s going on in your body, and now roll down. What are the eyes doing? Are they soft? Mine are closed, ’cause the sun’s in my eyes. But I don’t mind, it feels good.
And all the way, and inhale. And flatten the spine and articulate the spine up, up, up, up, taking the arms and reaching them out towards the feet, and inhale, and going down, finding, exploring each vertebral segment of your spine. That process of exploring movement, and roll up, is what makes it interesting forever, right? If we just make the shapes and don’t really think about the shapes or how or why or where we’re getting there, it’s not as exciting, in my opinion. And now we go down.
And as we go down, maybe we can get longer. Can you imagine your spine growing an extra three inches as your pelvis comes back down to the floor? We’re doing two more, no, one more. Two more really. I lied, and then I thought it through, and then I changed my mind, and what we’re gonna do actually, and this is real, is this one, just as it is, and down, and then we are gonna roll up again, but we’re gonna stay up.
I don’t oftentimes exercise with my eyes closed, but it’s actually quite an interesting experience. I kind of feel like it helps me think into my body in just a slightly different way. If you feel like you might wanna try that, you certainly could. We’re gonna lift the left leg up. We’re gonna roll the spine down, single leg pelvic curl, come all the way down, and now roll all the way up, one leg in the air, one leg on the earth, and roll down.
And roll up, and roll down. Is your weight shifting from arm to arm? Mine is, and I’m just reminded myself, maybe stand on both arms, particularly the one that my weight wants to shift off of. We’re doing two more. Down. And up.
And down. And up. And we place that foot down. Let’s come down in the middle, in between, rounding down all the way. Get really around in that lower back, and then drop down, land, ground, inhale, lift back up.
And we’ll go to the second side, so lifting the right leg. I quite often feel like I live in two bodies, one on the left and one on the right. Go down that side. Woo, it’s sunny now. And lift up. Wasn’t a minute ago.
I think I prefer the cloud cover personally, and go down, but that’s all right. I’ll take full sun. And down. And maybe the gods are smiling on me, because I’m out here moving my body under the sun, and down, three. Are you swaying side to side?
Are you coming right up through the center and up? Nice high hips. Two, down. What about the arms? I’m just reminding you the things that I’m reminding myself. And down, last one.
And up, put that foot down. Stand on both feet. Take your arms over your head. Reach up. Reach way out to the side with your arms. Hold your arms just off the floor.
Lift your pelvis maybe out a little bit more, and go down, reaching out through the arms, all the way as you move your spine down. Place the feet down. Step the feet together. Bring the legs up. You can do that one at a time or both at the same time.
So have a quick check where I am in space. I have to open my eyes for a second, inhale, across, and exhale, center. And inhale, lifting off one hip onto the other, listening to the crashing waves, and center. And inhale. Can you move your body like it’s floating through water?
And center. Just a floating sensation as you pass through center and over to the other side. And center, let’s do two more, inhaling over, finding the edge of your range, and center, and inhale, rocking over, keeping the opposite arm connected to the earth and center. And last time, inhaling over, and exhaling, center, and inhaling over, and exhaling to center. In the center, bring the feet back down, bring your hands behind your head.
As you exhale, curl your head and chest up, coming up into chest lift position, squeezing the knees together. We’re holding here. Yeah, I know. Push down with your feet, and pull your heels to your seat, and then elongate down, so do that all the time. The legs are pressing down. The heels are pulling back.
The head and chest come up. We lift up, we maximize our shape, our contraction, our depth. And then we go down again, working the down just as much as we work on the up and lift up again, lifting, head heavy, elbows wide, beautiful breeze, and inhale. And exhale. And if you’re not outside like I am, you could just imagine that breeze.
And lift, imagine the ocean crashing in the background. And inhale, and exhale. We’re going down, so we’re doing two more, my friends. What are the legs doing? Are they lazy now? Are they still pressing down?
Are they still squeezing together? Are they still pulling back? Are you working in all directions? Is this a full body experience? All questions that you could pose to yourself, if you’re curious.
Now, take your hands behind your thighs, bend your arms and lift just a little bit more deeply into that shape. Take your hands back behind your head. Take yourself to the right. And to the center and to the left. Keeping the knees connected in the center, and to the right, up and across, and to the center, and to the left, and to the center, and to the right, and to the center, and to the left, and to the center, go down.
Lift back up. Take your arms to your thighs, bend your arms and recommit to the best shape connection, contraction that you have available to you. Take your hands back, rotate to the right. Take the knees left, come center, rotate to the left, take the knees right. Is it burning yet?
Yes, for me too. If it’s not hard, you’re not trying hard enough, and center, that’s my motto, over. I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about me. If it’s not hard, you’re not trying hard enough.
And center, and over. And center, hold yourself in the center. Take your arms forwards. Stretch your legs out on the mat. Oh, yeah, we’re gonna roll up from there.
We’re gonna flex our feet. We’re gonna reach all the way forwards over our legs and we’re gonna bend the knees a tiny bit. And I want you to think of pulling back through the center of your body as you straighten. So the sensation for me is like a pike, and bend, and stretch, and bend, and stretch, and then we’re gonna roll up, and we’re gonna bring the bottoms of the feet together. So we’re gonna sit up with a diamond shape.
We’re gonna take the hands behind the head, pressing the head into the hands, lifting nice and tall in the body. We’re gonna go into rotation one way. Hello, bees. And center, and the other way. Hello, friends.
And center, and lift and rotate, and center. So one movement just becomes the next movement, that’s continuous. It’s continuous. It’s not one thing. We’re just trying to…
I don’t know, what’s the right thing to say? Trying to wring out the spine? That’s what I’m thinking about. And center and rotate, working through center to the other side, working through center to the other side. Let’s do one more on each direction.
So one more this way, one more center, one more the other way, one more center. Now go to the first side, round over that side, bringing that elbow just outside that leg, or wherever it feels like it should go for your body. Sit back up in rotation and center. Go to the other way, go down, round, opening the knees, lift back up, and center, and rotate, and go down, and up, and center, and rotate, and go down, and up, and back, and last one, round, extend, center and over, and round, and extend and center. From here, round your spine.
Reach out over your legs, and lift back up, rolling the spine up, and round your spine, drawing the abdominals, and don’t push down on your head. Pull forward with your head. And lift up, rounding, and sitting up. One more like that. Rounding and reaching.
And sitting up. Now this time we’re gonna go down and around back. We’re gonna come up into a flat back, so we’re extending up, and round down, moving like a wave, moving one continuous shape after the next, lifting the head, lifting the spine and rounding, like a dance. And extending. Just you and your body dancing.
One more, round, and extend. Now reverse it. Go extend, round, sit up. Hope it feels good. Round, lift up, flowing in the breeze.
One more time. Extend, round, and sit up, one more change. Go around again. Press your head into your hands, extend your spine and pause. Stretch your arms over your head.
Stay extended as you make a circle with your arms, reaching all the way around and down, like the corona of the sun, all the way back overhead, elbows bend, spine goes down, and sits back up. We’re gonna repeat that twice more. Go down, press out long, stretch your arms, circle them wide, all the way down, all the way back up, bend and round, and lift up. Last time, go down, extend out, take the arms, take the arms around, bring the arms back, round the back down, and to come up at the end, we’re extending, we’re lifting in, back extension. And then when you get to upright, I want you to keep going further, further, further, further, lifting the chest, and then come back, bring your knees in, hold your knees, hold your feet.
So I put my hands on my shins and I said, “Hold your feet.” So that’s clearly not what I mean. Come into a position for rolling like a ball. Draw in deep. So find your shape before you find your balance, and then we go back, and balance, and go back, and balance, and go back, and balance, and go back and balance. One more, go back, balance, stay there.
Let go, go down. Oh, I’m gonna hold on. (Meredith sighs) Hands behind your head. Chest goes down, and comes up, and goes down, and comes up, and goes down, and comes up, and goes down. Try not to pull your head forward.
I just caught myself doing that, so I’ll remind us all, and last one, down, and forward, hold it forward. Hold on. Lift a little bit more deeply. Are you ready for some fun? “Yes,” you say to me in my imagination. We take the legs down.
Back in, bend the knees, roll the knees to the nose, roll the knees away. Lift the feet, lower the spine. Lift the chest, take the legs away. Bring the legs up. Bend the knees.
Roll your thighs in, roll yourself down. Lift your feet. Take your body down. Three more. Lift up, take the legs, bring them back, bend them, and reverse curl.
Tighten, tighten, tighten, tighten, tight, tight ball, and down, and lift the feet. And are you tired? I admit I might be feeling a tiny bit fatigued in this moment, but I promised us two more, so two more we do. We come up, we bend, we curl, we curl down. We lift the feet.
We take the body down. Only one more to go. Ready, go, lift up, head heavy, drop the feet, bring them back. Bend your knees, curl, curl down, lift your feet, hold your thighs. Try to squeeze your legs together. And at the same time, try to pull them apart with your arms.
Nice, little upper back stretch. Now rotate to one leg, hip hinge with the other, and change. So we’re lifting up and across, reaching up and across, and what you can do with that bottom arm, is you can remind the ribs on the underneath side to slide in towards the spine, and turn, and turn, and turn, and turn, and rotate. Let’s do three more to each side. Here’s a one, and one, and two, and two, and three, and three.
Bring the legs up. Put your head down. Stretch your arms long, stretch your legs long. Lift your legs up and roll over. Open the feet, roll down.
Rounding, articulating, standing in the arms, pointing the feet, legs come down and together, and up and go over. Control, stability, down, more life words, and down, release, ease, focus, down together, and up, and over. Fluidity And down. And together, last one. Oh, what about stabilizing your shoulders a little bit better, Miss Meredith.
I just caught my right shoulder doing something very naughty. Open, so keep checking in with your body. It’s just a reminder, and down, all of its pieces, and roll down. And down together, and bend, and put your feet down and step to the outside of your mat, and drop both knees in one direction. And then drop both knees in the other direction.
And then go to the left with the knees. I’m just saying left, so I can cue to lift the left foot, and put it up on the right knee, and pull that knee forward away from you. Take the foot off the knee, put it back down, come center, go the other way, take the foot, put it down, pull forward and down. Take the foot off the knee. Come to the center, bring your legs together.
Turn onto your side, and stretch your arm underneath you, your legs out to the side. We’ll rest on the hand, the hand that you’re not laying on. Whoa, I’m very crooked. Wow. Okay, here we go, ready? And we lift the legs, and down, and we lift the legs, deepening through the center of the body and down.
And we lift the legs, making sure the body is in a nice straight line. Sometimes I have to check myself, and I feel like it’s difficult to know where we are in space without assistance. And reach out. And let’s do two more. I think that means six. So out and up, down in a way, out in a way, down in a way, bend your knees, take your top knee and open, and close, and open.
I’m gonna remove my hand from the mat and replace it onto my pelvis, because there I can feel where my pelvis is still, which is what I’m endeavoring to do. We’re doing four more up and down, and three and down, and two and down, and one and down, simple and difficult, circle. So as you’re circling, right, so these are very simple movements. And the simplest of movements, as I’ve said probably a million times is that they can be the most difficult. I was about to say difficultest, but that doesn’t exist as a word.
So what I want you to think about is can you push into the full range, right? Can you push like you’re pushing through something sticky. We’re doing four more, three more, two more, and one more. And now for our next trick, we’re reversing, go back up, around, and down, and back, up, around, and two, and back. Up, around, and down, and back, up, around, and down.
Working, getting that full rotation of the hip. We’ll take four more circles. Three more circles. Two more. Is your pelvis moving? “No,” you say.
Last one. And sit up. Cross that leg over the other leg. Sit down into the hip, lift up through your spine, lift up even more through your spine light, lean in. Now we’re gonna take the leg, the one that we’re holding onto, we’re gonna bring it around to the side like this.
We’re gonna take this arm up, and we’re gonna bend in this direction. And then we’re gonna reach the arm forward, and bring it all the way around, put it down and lift your hips, and then reach around with your upper arm, three. Pressing forward into that hip flexor, stretch two, and one. Now, as your arm reaches back over your head, you’re gonna look to the floor, you’re gonna start sitting down. As soon as you can, start reaching around, that means the pelvis comes down, the arm circles back around, the other one leaves the floor and comes up overhead as well.
Okay, what you’re gonna do is just bring her legs around to the opposite side of the mat, taking them all the way down, checking that the body’s in a nice straight line, and then reaching the leg out and up, and down, and drawing into the center of the body, and down, and out and up, squeezing the legs together, letting the head rest down on the arm. And I think we only did six. So let’s do one more. Lift up, bend your knees, and put your feet down. And again, you can have your hand down on the floor.
You can bring it up to your pelvis. I’m having a moment where I feel like I’m crazy and I’m missing something. But if I am, I’m sorry, lift the knee, and down, and lift the knee, and down, and lift the knee. And down, and lift the knee, Push against the end of the range. This is halfway, five more.
And four, and three, and two, and one. And down, now make a circle, around and back, in, around and back. So full range. Remember, you’re creating the quality of that sensation, right? So you can make it easy or you can challenge yourself to make it difficult.
And that is completely up to you. This feels difficult to me. We’ll do four more, around, back and down. Three, around, back, and down. Last two.
And one more. And we are now going to reverse, out, around, and center. Push back, hip extension, and rotation, and supporting that work. Bring your attention to your abdominal area, and notice how you can… If you’re really thinking about it, how you have to stabilize the spine, there’s some good ab work to be found there if we only pause to remember.
Last four. And three. And two. And one. And that is that.
Sit up, take your leg around to the front of you, crossing it over the bottom leg, hugging it into the chest, sitting up into both hips, breathing, releasing, lengthening, grounding. We’re gonna finish today in a diamond shape with our legs. If that’s not comfortable to you, you can sit however you wish. Take your arms out to the sides, lean to the right, bend the right arm and reach the left arm overhead, and then press up off, and feel yourself float up, and then go to the left, bending the left arm, and reaching that right arm up overhead, and then use the bottom room, and push and float in your spine. One more like that. Bend and reach.
And float. And bend and reach. Can you feel it? Can you feel the floating? I can, and float. Now we’re gonna go over. Hello, bee.
And side bend, and then forward rotation, back to the side bend, and up, and over, and forward rotation, and back to the side, and up, and over, and forward rotation, and back, and float. And last time. Forward rotation, back, and float, now bend your arms. Rotate the elbows to face me, hands go behind the elbows, reach up and back with your arms, taking your spine into extension. Open your arms out to the side, way out wide, and now reach forward.
Reach for me, reach for each other. And then sit up. Bend the arms, rotate. Take the arms up and back. Take the arms open wide.
Take the spine forward. One movement, sit up, bend, becomes the next thing until we feel like we’re just moving fluidly through space, arms up and back, and then around, and then forward. We’ll do one more bend and sit up. Sitting up, rotate, take the arms up and back. Take the arms arounds.
Take the arms forward around your spine. And as you come up, bring your hands together, close your eyes. Bring your awareness into your body in a curious way. And can you create lift, support, release, all simultaneously, let’s inhale together. And exhale, and let go.
So letting go to me feels like getting heavier on the mat. Inhale. Letting go to me feels like not worrying about things I can’t control. Letting go to me feels like finding gratitude. And with that, I will share with you that I am very grateful to be here with you.
And I hope you’re doing well wherever you are.