March MATness 2017: Let the Games Begin!

March MATness 2017: Let the Games Begin!

It's hard to believe we are on the cusp of March MATness 2017!

How did it all start?

March MATness 2017: Let the Games Begin!

Now in its 5th year, March MATness is a global celebration of the original Mat exercises and brilliant body conditioning system that is our beloved Contrology.

Read more here.

OMG I love the Mat exercises!

March MATness 2017: Let the Games Begin!

Yes.

It's true.

I'm endlessly fascinated with all of Joe's Mat exercises. He stretches us to the very edges of our capabilities with infinite variations on a theme.

My personal Mat workout consists of the 34 exercises from Joe Pilates and the 3 extra ‘Series of 5‘ exercises reportedly added by Romana Kryzanowska: Single Straight Leg Stretch (Scissors), Double Straight Leg Stretch (Lower Lift), and Criss Cross. Another staple is Thigh Stretch, an exercise Jay Grimes learned from Joe Pilates in the 1960s.

Which brings my total to a whopping 38 exercises!

Sometimes I like to add the High Bridge after the Shoulder Bridge. Because I can.

And if you can you should.

Every little bit of this workout can be completed in under 30 minutes.

Let's get the party started with the Hundred on Wednesday March 1, 2017.

The Order of the Universe

March MATness 2017: Let the Games Begin!

I'm a huge fan of Joe Pilates' original order of the Mat exercises.

What a precious gift from Joe Pilates.

We've got an entire month (and beyond) to focus on his brilliant sequencing.

Thanks Joe.

If you're new to the order of the Pilates Mat exercises get your list of the exercises here.

Stay tuned in March for the debut of My Mat Poster…coming soon!

3 Cheers for our Faves

March MATness 2017: Let the Games Begin!

This year I'm thrilled to have a few more favorites on the Mat than in previous years. Maybe you do too.

Since last year's MATness I have come to thoroughly enjoy Swimming.

Way more than I ever thought possible…

Other stretchy favorites include Control Balance and Bicycle.

Don't get me started on the rolling exercises…  #goodtimesroll

Wanna take a closer look?

March MATness 2017: Let the Games Begin!

On the Mat, perfecting your exercises can take time.

Use these posts to dive in deep this week and sail on through the weekend:

Maybe you're ready to link your exercises together into one glorious chain of movement?

Tighten up those transitions between exercises all month long:

Or you can watch the playlist on YouTube.

MATness All Month Long

I hope you'll join me here for Mat-centric posts as we move and sweat our way through the MATness.

Got an exercise you'd like to see featured in a post or tutorial?

Leave a comment below and I'll get on the Mat!

And here's where you can find me in 2017.

On the 20th Day of March MATness Joe Pilates gave to me…

On the 20th Day of March MATness Joe Pilates gave to me...The Side Kick!

#MM2015

#sidekick

#dontbeahater

#sshhhhhJPiswatching

#Pilateshaiku

a new vantage point

builds on the length from jackknife

one side at a time

Use MM hashtags on Facebook, twitter and Instagram to find amazing Pilates Mat inspiration from around the world.

Just joining us? 

MATness you may have missed:

 

Side Bending in Pilates: When will I learn?

Side Bending in Pilates: When will I learn?

Alycea Ungaro recently weighed in with her move of the month: Pilates Side Bends.

Really? I thought we were friends.

I get it.

Friends make friends do Pilates exercises they don't like.

Awesome friends insist they do it twice!

Not just me, I bet

Everyone can benefit from more of these when-do-we-move-like-this-in-life side-bending exercises. We want lots of strength and lift in both sides of our waist – and Joe Pilates has given us specific exercises just for this purpose.

So get used to that Short Box, 'cause it's not going anywhere.

Find a good friend to give you a delicious stretch in the Mermaid.

And dust off your Mat.

Do what you have to do. 

Get Ready to feel fabulous!

The Shape is Key

Side Bending in Pilates: When will I learn?

Any imbalance will show up like gangbusters in these side bend exercises. Revel in the side that is possible. And become obsessed with the gimpy-er side – it needs some tough love. Remember it doesn't have to be pretty to feel good afterwards.

Pilates is not a spectator sport…generally.

1. The Shape of All Things Pilates: Side Bend

A Killer Short Box Can't Hurt

Side Bending in Pilates: When will I learn?

Short Box Series is one of the unsung heroes of the Reformer repertoire. Loathed by countless Pilates teachers and practitioners, the Short Box continues unrelentingly to shower us with benefits. If only we appreciated all that these exercises contribute to our wellbeing. Especially the really gruesome ones… well, they're all heinous depending on who you are. Why pick just one?

The Short Box, likely the first place you'll bend to the side, deprives you of springs and occasionally, of your dignity.

Best make use of all you've got at your disposal: your stomach (scoop, lift, center, powerhouse, etc…) and the straps on your feet.

P.S. Short Spine Massage is coming…

2. The Use of the Straps in the Short Box

Mermaid: The Darling of the Pilates Exercises

Side Bending in Pilates: When will I learn?

Pilates with a friend, what could be better?

Indulge in the Mermaid and stretch like a cat all around the Pilates system. There's an apparatus for everyone. My current favorite (as you can see) is the Mermaid on the Reformer but the Wunda Chair is a close second.

Smiley McSmilerson!

3. Pilates Side-Bending: The Mermaid Obsession?

Side Bend on the Mat.

It has been a long time in coming, but I am here to scream it loud and clear:

This is a lower body exercise!

We must stop taxing our poor little arms and shoulders and stand into the lower body to hoist ourselves off the ground.

Lengthen!

Lift!

And then lift again to sit down with control.

Now let's breathe.

  • Take a deep breath in and lengthen up into the position.
  • Exhale and stretch that top side to the sky.
  • Push into your feet and see how high you can lift the hips. Be the animal that you are.
  • Now sit straight down with control and get some stretch of the lower side on the way down.

Yes, lift on the way down too.

There is no collapsing in Pilates. #collapsology?

Thank you Alycea Ungaro for this month's focus on Side-Bending.

4. Get Strong with Pilates Side Bends

#benditlikeJoe

Contrology was conceived to limber and stretch muscles and ligaments so that your body will be as supple as that of a cat…

Joe Pilates

C'mon, be a cat. You cannot do it right or wrong. You're either a cat or you're NOT. No two cats are the same, so you're not learning a movement, YOU'RE A CAT.

Kathy Grant

#nowyouareananimal #meow

Happy Birthday Joe Pilates! (Bonus VIDEO BLOG)

Happy Birthday Joe Pilates! (Bonus VIDEO BLOG)

Born on December 9, 1883, Hubertus Joseph Pilates would celebrate his 130th birthday today. I bet he'd still be in his signature tiny shorts doing his Contrology exercises out in the fresh air if he were alive today.

Why not celebrate Joe Pilates' birthday with an homage to the Matwork?

And some Schnapps.

Or a cigar?

Okay, Matwork first.

If you've got 15 minutes, then you've got plenty of time to do a satisfying and celebratory Pilates Mat Workout.

This workout is really our ‘go to' group of exercises unless (a) we're super pressed for time, or (b) it's 5 am.

Of course if you're like me – often up and awake for solidarity and with no particular place to be until later – why not bust out 5 or 10 more minutes?

So take care of yourselves – leave out any exercises you don't know – and join us for 15 minutes.

Get ready to feel Awesome…

I think you've earned your Schnapps.

Leave a comment below and share your progress. What did you learn today?