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Hi, I’m Misty Lynne Cauthen, and welcome to “Mat Mayhem”. This intermediate level Pilates class is designed to get the blood pumping and to challenge you in all positions. Remember to modify as needed, because there are no heroes in Pilates. Our props are an eight inch ball filled at about 80% or so and a hand towel to be used under the head if needed. All right guys, let’s get started.
You are gonna need your ball. We’re gonna start here on our knees just like this, but I’d like for you to grab your ball and you’re going to put it, I would say right at the edge of the mat. Shouldn’t be too far ahead of you. Now from here, hands are gonna go on the ball and I would say bring them a little bit closer to you. Might be uncomfortable temporarily, we won’t be here long.
So as we begin, we’re gonna start with breath work, just keeping it simple. Two breaths in through the nose, and exhale, just let it feel good. And last one here. Big breath in. And exhale, now we’re getting to work.
So you’ll inhale through the nose. And then exhale, nod the chin to your chest and start to roll the ball away. Let your elbows bend at the bottom, let your spine round, let your shoulders stretch. Big breath, and then rolling up. I’m not super worried about where my shoulders are going, I just want them to go somewhere and listen, we have plenty of time to work on that form later.
This is really just to allow my upper back to stretch. Think of it as an undulation, if you will. Curling up and over, and the curl starts from the crown of the head, not from the ribcage, blow and as you curl up, let it start from the navel. So slow this down on the last one so that you can really enjoy the depth of the stretch as we go through. We’re coming down and we’re holding here.
And think of rotating your elbows inward toward the ball just a little bit and breathe. Three breaths into your shoulder blades. So feel like as you are breathing, the blades are separating. And last breath. And then as you exhale, start to curl your pubic bone towards your nose.
Feel like you’re a baby shrimp, getting that nice round shape through the spine. The head is the last thing to come up. Now we’ll bring the ball to the side. Same idea again. It’s not about how far you go, it’s about how much fun you have getting there.
So you’re going to side bend, let the ears spill first and then you’re going out into a side bend, keeping your weight balanced over both sit bones and then rolling back up. Two more, as you’re curling, think of the rotation of the armpit forward. The chest is broad, no tension in the neck here. Rolling back up. Head is the first thing to go and then let the spine follow.
Hold it here, three breaths. Big breath in. And exhale. When you inhale, feel like you’re opening this rib. When you exhale, feel like the up rib is closing around you.
One more. Inhale into your high rib here. Exhale through the mouth, start to slide the rib down. Let the head be the last thing to arrive. You have two sides, hopefully, so let’s try the other here.
Same idea, relaxing through the shoulders, neck and chest. Side bending, pressing the ball away as you reach. Keeping the hip weighted down. Rolling back up. And it’s okay if they’re not even.
If one side stretches a little bit extra, on that tighter side, you may wanna hold an extra beat as you’re going through the stretch. One more. Side bending up and over, holding it here. Just breathe through it. Same idea, I’m breathing into my top lung and I’m exhaling, two more like this.
And blow, last one. And to come up, I’m sliding my ribcage down. I’m stretching through the side of my neck. My head is the last thing to arrive at the top. All right, so let’s bring the ball back behind us.
If you can’t reach the ball, my ball’s right on my toes, if you can’t reach it here, you can always just bring it up your back this way and let your elbows roll forward. But if not, put the ball down on the toes. And inhale, let your breastbone lift. Let your gaze go up. And then release back down.
Two more. As you stretch, let your upper arm rotate outward. Let your breastbone go skyward and come back down. We’ll go up and hold on this one. Last one.
Inhale, widen the chest. Big breathing into the chest. And then return back to center. Time to get started. So your ball is going to come between your shoulder blades and as you set up here, maybe a little bit below shoulder blades, depending upon how much back flexibility you have.
If you have any neck issues, you’ll want the ball to be up higher. I’m gonna take it down here, because I love the way this feels in my body and I hope you do too. So the hands are behind your head. And think of, again, rotating your armpits forward and give yourself a little bit of traction on your neck to help facilitate this curl. And then just relax.
This is prep work here. Reaching and lifting and feel as if your body is getting lighter on the ball so you’re not just collapsing into it. You’re tractioning the back of your neck, you’re rotating those armpits forward and you’re lifting into a small levitation. Just a small one though. And now we’ll go up and hold.
Four, three, two, one and release it back down, but don’t relax, instead now we’ll stretch back into thoracic extension here. To come up, let your arms nod your chin towards your chest and come back up, but don’t stop there. Keep coming up into that levitation and then rolling back. Now, I’m always making sure to keep my head weight heavy in my hand. So my neck isn’t really working here.
My arms are doing the work and that’s what protects my neck. And back. We’ll do one more. Exhale, nod, curl, lift, float. Hold it here in this floating position.
We’re gonna march, starting with your back leg, you’ll bring the leg up and place it down. So you’re still levitating and that means your belly is working and you are feeling great joy as your abs work here. And if you’re not feeling great joy, well sometimes we have to tell ourselves lies to get through it. It’s good for you. And one.
And now we’ll stretch it back. And on this stretch back, let your elbows just widen here. While we’re here, just take a small roll side to side. We’re releasing our flanks, our side bodies here before we go any farther. It feels good, so take a little bit of extra time if you need to.
One more. Other way, rotate. And square it up. And now we will go into obliques. Big breath in here, rotating the armpits forward, so your elbows come in a little bit more.
You’ll exhale and as you curl up, you’ll rotate and pick up one leg and then you’ll inhale just halfway back. Now on this one, if you turn too far, you’ll fall off the ball. If your leg crosses your midline, you’ll come off the ball. If you lean to one side, you’ll come off the ball. So the theme here is think of rotating around your spine rather than leaning to one side.
And inhale. And last one, exhale, curl. Inhale, stretch the leg back down. Chest comes down for one final stretch here. But don’t get too excited because it’s already over.
Well come up. You’ll bring your ball underneath your ankles. Now, you can take the ball underneath your arches as well. It makes it a little bit more challenging. It just depends on what feels better in your body.
But in this position, I’m not locking my knees back, instead, I’m staying engaged lightly through my under butt. It balances out my pelvis and it doesn’t allow me to strain my knees, which is really, really important here. So arms are up. Rotate your armpits forward and you can either use fists if you wanna make sure you’re connected here or you can use open hands, whatever works best. But take a big breath in.
Nod the chin and now we’ll exhale, curl up and think of reaching not to your toes, but beyond them. And roll back down. Two more like this. Nod and curl and reach. How long can you get your legs?
Go, go gadget you. And roll back down. Now it’s time for the Hundred. Nod the chin to your chest, curl up, reach and palms down or in, your call. We’re pumping.
Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. So not only do I have to negotiate this exercise like I usually do, but now I have to keep the back line of my body super turned on so that I don’t bounce my brains out. Instead, I’m reaching long through my arms. I’m reaching long through my legs. I’m continuing the energy up my spine and I’m having a great time doing it.
Five more sets. Exhale. Four. Exhale through the mouth. And three.
Two. Last one. Exhale. Hold, curl up a little bit more. Curl up a little bit more and roll back.
Arms will come up. Circle around. We’ll reverse them. We’ll reach up. And now we’re gonna roll up.
Curling all the way up. Don’t reach to the toes, again, the idea is that we’re reaching through the toes, beyond them to the far wall while our bellies pull back in the opposite direction. Now from here, hollow your belly, stretching away as you descend. Arms come back and around. I just like to add the choreography to give myself a little bit of a break.
It’s a true Pilates secret here, and you just heard it. So I’m stretching long over my legs. Can I keep my upper arm rotated so that I’m not shrugging? That’s my goal here. Rolling down, no tension in my neck, chest or shoulders.
One more. Circle around. Up, we’ll go back around. Up, and this time as we curl up, round your spine, stretch over your legs and roll up and take the ball between your ankles. So now we’ve got the ball between our ankles and we may need to make a little bit of an adjustment as we go back.
So you can always lift your heels a little bit higher, again without locking your knees and we’ll roll down. To be kind, and I am a kind and generous soul, you’re gonna bring your knees up and extend them here. The rollover is next. Be aware of your neck, most important thing. So you can start just going forward and up.
If the inversion is not good for your body, always take the time to decide if the inversion is right for you that day before inverting. I’m staying connected through my legs and now I’ll inhale and I’ll exhale, rolling up and over. No cowabungas here. We are taking our time as we roll up and we roll over, thinking about lengthening the spine as you come down. So as you’re doing this, think about getting taller, getting longer.
At the end of the exercise, we should all be at least six foot three. Now if you’re already six foot three, hmm, you’ll have to try harder. We’re gonna do one more here. Exhaling up and over. Stretching through the legs to come back down.
And now we’ll add some difficulty. So you’ll bend the knees here. This is short spine without a reformer. How fun? Legs are gonna extend long.
Legs are going to go up and over. Hold. My arms are reaching long, my legs are reaching long. I’m bending my knees toward my shoulders. And now I’m rolling down through my spine.
I’m not bringing my neck to the party. When my tail hits, I stretch the legs away. I bring my legs up and over. I bend my knees. I hollow my belly, keeping the energy through my arms.
And I think we have one more in us, so let’s stretch it away. Let’s bring the legs up. Scoop to roll over. Feel the length in opposition. Bending the knees.
Rolling all the way down to the mat. We’re going to bring our feet on top of the ball here for bridging, ’cause everyone knows I love a good bridge. Arms are gonna stay long. Let your feet cup over the ball. So no floaty toes business.
The feet are gonna be energized and I’m thinking of wrapping my feet and pressing down as a bird would on a perch. So I’m rolling up, working to keep my hips level and then I’m sitting down in neutral, working to keep my inner thighs engaged. And it is not easy as you may have discovered. So what am I thinking about? I’m thinking about working my legs evenly.
So my favorite leg wants to do all of the work and my least favorite leg wants to go to lunch. Sitting down. You have one more to do. Scoop and roll your hips up, articulating. Find your neutral, and then sit down.
Whew, that is terrorism on the hamstrings, so let’s give ourselves some hamstring love here. Take your back leg into the chest as your close leg stretches away. Bring the leg up. Hold it here. Just a few ankle circles, because we’re gonna want the extra time for our hamstrings here.
And then we reverse. Hold. From here, leg circles. I’m pressing into this leg without un-leveling my hips. Arms are down and let’s go to palms up, circle.
Inhale, exhale, up. Now, my circle’s not as big as it would be without the ball, because here’s the thing, I wanna really try to keep this ball leg stable and my circles are kind of looking like trapezoids or parallelograms, reverse, because this is hard for me. You know what, it gives me something else to work on on another day, but I’m just making a note. Practice your shapes, Misty Lynne. One more.
Good, now you’re not done yet. Flex the ankle, grab hold again. We’re climbing a tree. Remember, the back leg is energized. It’s keeping this ball stable in theory.
Big breath in, nod the chin of the chest. Exhale, climb up the leg. Hold it here. Give yourself some applause, ’cause you made it up. And scoop, roll back down.
Woo, we have one more to do. Climbing, reaching, lengthening through your standing leg and your gesture leg here. Woohoo, and scoop, roll down. You have two sides once again, so center your ball, take the time to bend your knees. Find that place where the ball is resting in line with your sit bone and you’re balanced here.
Grab hold behind the leg and take it up. Hold for balance. Make sure your hips are level and this is my less than balanced side, so it’s a little crazy. But again, Pilates secrets, you’re hearing all of them today. My leg is up.
My arms are down. Let’s grab it again. Let’s work our ankles. Five in each direction. And reverse.
And here we go. Time for leg circles. Arms reaching away, palms up. Allow your collarbones to be broad here and controlled circles with your gesture leg while your standing leg is heavy into the ball, without locking the knee. Hold it up, reverse.
And five. Are you breathing? I had to remind myself to breathe. So you might need to as well. One more.
Leg comes up, hold, give it a little bit of a stretch. Nod the chin to your chest. We’re climbing a tree. Going up, breathing. Come up, sit tall.
And again, applause for making it up. Scoop and roll back. And guess what, if you don’t make it up, get to that place where you get stuck and hold it there. Again, climbing your tree. Hold it up.
And walking it back down. Bring the ball to the center and to come up this time, flex your ankles and we’ll roll up to sit up. Stretch long over your legs. Oppositional energy, I’m reaching long and forward as I’m reaching hollow and back. And now we’ll transition onto our sides.
So here’s the thing about sideline that I like for everyone to think about. When we’re on our sides, we really wanna make sure the body is in a long position. So I’m making sure that my hips are pressed forward and I’m thinking of my heels being in line with my sit bones. My bottom arm here is not for napping, it’s actually going to be active. So I’m gonna turn my palm up and that allows me to rotate up into my armpit here and my top hand ideally is rotated forward to the screen.
My top leg, I’m reaching it long and away, because I want this to feel as if I’m standing. So my feet are even and you can even flex if you’d like. I’m gonna point, I feel happier here. So from here, I’m going to lift both legs. Lift and hold.
And lower. So on these leg lifts, I’m not hiking my top hip, no, because I wanna maintain the same energy on the bottom side of the body with my legs up as I have with my legs down. Let’s do two more. Lift and lower. Let’s do one more.
Lift. Lower and hold here. Now, maintaining the reaching away of the top hip from my waist, I’m going to just slightly bend the knee, only slightly so I keep the ball. And what I’m looking out for here, is the hip hike. This is no bueno.
Instead, as you are bending the knee, you’re trying to keep the hips stacked. You’re trying to keep the knee pulling in parallel. And I’m connecting through the inner thigh all the way through the outer thigh into the illustrious under butt. Two more. You have one more of these, pull it in, woo.
And stretch it. Hold. Now to transition to the other side, we’re gonna take a trip onto your bellies. You can either stack your arms here or bring them out to the sides, but no matter which position you choose, I’d like for you to keep your chest buoyant here. Legs are floating and this is prone hip extension.
So we’ll lift both legs and you just wanna come to the place where the ball is barely hovering off of the floor. And then you lower. Now, as I’m lifting, I’m reaching my legs to the far wall. I’m reaching my crown up and forward and I’m feeling nothing in my back. If you’re having difficulty with that, please put your forehead down and really focus on lifting from the under butt.
Lift. And lower. And now from here, bend the knees. Now I’m gonna bring my arms in, stacking them in genie position and rotating my armpits forward. I’ll lift one leg and put it down.
So I call this marching in the air, because the goal is to find a nice rhythm and not complicate things by letting the pelvis wag. You have to think about your inner thigh, your outer thigh and your under butt working together in peace and harmony. Lots of luck. Last one. And release.
Time to go on to the second side. So remember again, ideally we’d like the body to be in a long line. The legs are stacked. The top arm is pointed forward, shoulder away from the neck and your collarbones are wide. Your top arm is rotated, palms up and reach the top foot past the bottom foot.
Hold. Now, both legs lift. We’re lifting up and floating down. And again. Three more just like this.
So again, both legs are working, it’s not just the work of the bottom leg to do this, both legs are coming to the party. Leg goes down. Top leg, start to draw it in, keeping the leg parallel and push it away. It’s not a big range of motion, but it is powerful when you’re thinking about keeping the energy of the inner thighs matching the energy of the outer rear on both legs. Two more.
Just one more for good measure. Excellent. Now, we’re gonna roll onto our bellies here and then transition into a plank position. If that’s not for you, you can always push back to a child’s pose and then elevate, but we’ll do our best from here. Curling your toes under, belly is deep.
We’re coming up and we’re holding here. Rotate your armpits forward and now the back leg is going to come up and around and place it back down. You have to work on keeping the pressure on your ball fairly even or else your ball’s going to escape. One more each leg. Last one.
And lower the knees. Let the ball come on top of your heels and then you’ll just take a stretch here. Not quite a child’s pose. I want you pressing back into the ball as you’re reaching your arms away. And think of stretching through the upper back here, pulling the blades back as the arms press forward.
Release, two more just like that. Stretching. And release. One more. And again, this is about the shoulders, just as much as it is about the low back.
And walk it in to come up. All right guys, that’s it. We’ve delayed it long enough. It’s time for the teaser. So you can’t get out of this one unless you really have to.
Of course, if you need to modify this teaser, you can and I will demonstrate the modification first, but then we’re gonna go a little bit deeper. So to modify the teaser, we’ll have the arms up, squeezing the ball, rotating the armpits forward and the legs will be in chair position. Big breath and then look at your thighs. Keep your gaze going up your thighs through your toes as you lift up. Think of the ball wanting to sit on your toes.
Hold, scoop and roll back. So that is the modification. But if you are feeling wild and randy, you can take the legs long, either hip width or narrow, depending upon what your body needs right now. And let’s do it. We’re only gonna do two, but they’re gonna be fancy.
So take a big breath in. Nod your chin to your chest and once you can see your toes, that’s when I’d like for the legs to start lifting. Up, up, up, up. And now from here, bend the elbow, squeezing the ball. Keep your shoulder blades wide and breathe.
One more like this. Bend, stretch and roll down. Keeping your toes in your line of sight. Once the shoulder blades hit, the heels release and we’ll go again. Last one.
Big breath in, nod the chin to your chest. Oh look, there’s my toes, let me get them. I’m curling up, I’m rolling through my spine. I’m holding it here. Now, let’s chop some wood.
We’re gonna rotate. And reach. Three. Two. One.
Hold. Float the legs down gently. Sit up nice and tall and curl up and over. Rest unlocked. So we’re gonna take the ball to the tops of the feet.
Give a little bit of pressure here. Lift your chest a little bit. And now if you thought teaser was fun and merriment, here’s tendon stretch. So my heels are on top of the ball, maybe a little bit farther forward and the ball is coming to the backs of my ankles, maybe a little bit higher toward my calves. Now from here, take your hands a little bit wider than you would normally if they were behind you.
Big breath. Start from your pelvis. Articulate up into a reverse plank. Try to keep your shoulders over your wrist. Now, bring your hips back through your heels, gaze stays on your naval.
And then sweep right back up, hold. Notice I’m looking straight ahead on the lift. As I come under, I’m looking at my pubic bone. Sweep. Up.
And now we’re gonna juggle, ha, just kidding. Come back down. Release the ball. Stretch long. Reach for your big toes and stretch forward.
Whether your back is round, whether it’s narrow, I don’t mind. What I’m looking for is a nice long hamstring and then you can lift your breastbone. Breathing. Two more breaths. One more.
And release. Now, we’re gonna close it out with a few mildly challenging exercises, not really, they’re actually stretch-centered, but what I really, really want you to think about is your middle back on this next one. It’s kneeling cat, but we’re gonna use the ball. It’s gonna be a stability challenge. It’s gonna work our hand strength, it’s gonna work our shoulder rotation, and it’s gonna be fun.
So I’m squeezing into the ball. My elbows and armpits are rotated forward. Back is as flat as it can be right now. Now I take a big breath in and I exhale. Start at my crown of my head and my pubic bone and I’m curling up and I’m holding this position.
And then I’m lengthening long, long, just back to neutral. And again nodding, scooping, curling, lifting, breathing, having a fine time, and then extending long, lengthening. Feeling really proud of myself for getting through this workout. I’m enjoying it and I hope you are too. Stretch.
And hold. Now, sitting back, reaching through the fingertips. Ooh, see that shake? That means my shoulders have had a good workout today. Now from here, I’m gonna pull my elbows toward the floor.
And stretch, and as I’m pulling my elbows to the floor, I’m really thinking about how wide can I keep my back. And I get a nice stretch between my blades in my weakest spot, which is something that we all need, or at least I do. Woo, let’s do one more And stretch and hold. Now, keep your elbows straight, press up to the fingertips, and then reach away, keeping your back as flat as you can. Just two more like this.
Up. And back down. And one more. Wide chest, wide seat, tall spine. And back down.
Scoop, baby shrimp your way back to seated on your heels. You’re not done ’til the crown of the head is up. Guys, thank you so much for joining me today.