Playground Mat

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On his way home, Michael’s been inspired by the adolescents he sees in a gymnastics class and has translated their gusto to this session. You’ll giggle your way around the mat during Rolling Like a Ball, rock like a boat for Double Leg Pull and travel back in time to a gymnastic playground where Pilates will make you a kid again. In typical fashion, Michael will wring you out with his cues and leave you feeling the results for days. Grab a towel for this workout, Michael uses one during a few exercises. Filmed at Pilates Challenge on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

What Others Are Saying

55 Comments

  1. BisonDan 3 months ago

    Aloha Michael! Now I know who put the “Man” in Manhattan. I really appreciate the cues that distinguish what the ladies can do as this contrasts to the men. I accept that some of my modifications are due to my unique body, but now I know that sometimes its just that I’m a man. Bueno.

  2. Edita 7 months ago

    I love this! Thanks for explaining things so well! I love the ball rolling in every direction and wow the semi circle and the tendon stretch on the mat are amazing! Thank you!

  3. MeJo Wiggin

    Michael, you are such a gifted teacher! Your mat work is unlike anything else. Truly inspiring and challenging. You stress some details in exercises that are being lost today. Thank you for staying true to the work and inspiring me. I miss our sessions with Romana. xoxo

  4. Hillary Hendrick
    Hillary Hendrick 3 years ago

    Thank you that was awesome. I love your anatomy cues. This is the first time I have heard “1st and 2nd rib” in a cue and it really helped me to open up.

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 2 years ago

      Great to hear sorry for late response. I took an extended break due to head injury

      MJ

  5. joesmat 4 years ago

    Followed Michael Johnson and Alisa through this session again to-day. This is a great mat class.
    When will we see Michael Johnson back on the mat Alisa!

    • Alisa Wyatt

      He’s coming very soon! Look for a brand new mat class in about 1 month :).

      • joesmat 4 years ago

        I very much looking forward to seeing Michael Johnson again with a “brand new mat class” .
        He is a wonderful mat technician.
        Thank you Alisa for responding to my note.

  6. Karena 6 years ago

    Thank-you, Michael for a great workout this morning! I aspire to being able to do everything with much better form!

  7. aubergine22 7 years ago

    Michael, I was wondering if you were the one who taught a wonderful “Get Ready for Ski Season” workout earlier in the year. I want to be ahead of the game this season and cannot find it.

    • Alisa Wyatt

      Hi aburgine22, You’re not mistaken, we did have a class that Michael did for pre-ski season (he’s the MAN when it comes to skiing!). Michael asked to take that class down because he wanted to re-film it. This class happens to be a great substitute for it though–I remember my legs were sore after doing it with him. Add some wall squats and you’re going to be skiing like a pro :).

  8. b_didier2 7 years ago

    Michael, you are truly a gifted teacher. Thank you for being so thorough and teaching your students to work deeply with every exercise. I hope you will make more videos. I truly appreciate your teaching technique. Your clearity is awesome.
    Thanks!
    Brittany

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 7 years ago

      Thanks for you comments!!

      Mj

  9. tanyapaty 7 years ago

    Hi Michael,

    I love your classes and learning from you. Can you please talk with me a bit about your body position in Swan 1 Neck Roll. I have always had feet together and hands under the shoulders. I’m not feeling the hamstring, inner thigh, glute connection when I have my feet apart. What is my intention when feet are apart?
    Thanks!
    Tanya

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 7 years ago

      Tanya, I hope I answer your question. The Swan Dive The goal is to have the legs together. The challenge is to keep the legs together, so that you have a long line down the midline of the core. One has to be flexible in the spine to achieve this two way stretch, ( energy thru the top of the head and thru the feet)
      When I looked back at the video, both Alisa and I opened the legs while rocking on the front body, hence the challenge we all face while doing the movement part of each mat exercise. I intended to keep my legs together and I think I did ok. I hope this helps

      Mj

  10. Reb 8 years ago

    Wow! Classical yet original at the same time. I loved the rolling like a ball and also the toothpaste description. Hope you don’t mind if I steal some of your moves!

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 8 years ago

      I am so glad you like my mat class. Use the images if they are helpful.

      Mj

  11. LKVB 8 years ago

    Super class! My favorite parts: all the push-up transitions -perfect for a T-Rex like me. Loved the swan, single and double leg kicks, and swimming is finally meaningful!! Thank you for sharing your wealth. 🙂

  12. conchitas 8 years ago

    Michael,
    Thank you for your energy and spirit. It is truly inspiring.
    -Shelley

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 8 years ago

      That’s the best compliment a teaching could get. Thanks so much!!

      Mj

  13. joesmat 8 years ago

    Here we are experiencing a man who is absolutely unique in his teaching and practice of Joseph Pilates Mat work. It is very special indeed.

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 8 years ago

      Thanks again, joesmat for your continued support. I am happy that my thought process stimulated a d inspired you!

      Mj

  14. atmock 8 years ago

    What a refreshing and fun take on the Advanced mat sequence! You gave a plethora of wonderful tips and descriptions. As an instructor, it’s inspiring to take class from someone that is saying the same things you are thinking but in a new way! This was such an enjoyable workout, thank you for sharing, Michael!

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 8 years ago

      Thank you! For sharing your thoughtful comments!!!

      Mj

  15. pilatesangel 8 years ago

    You remind me of how much fun it is to be athletic in nature. The emphasis you place on strength in each exercises can make some things easier and of course some things more difficult. I love your emphasis on strength needed for jackknife rather than the lift to the ceiling. I have a weak cervical spine and it always gives me headaches and deep compression to perform inversions. So many favorites though….loved your single leg/double leg kick (ouch) and the variations in ab series! So glad you share your versions of Joe’s work!

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 8 years ago

      I want to thank you for taking the time to comment and write out your thoughts. Check out my other mat workouts I think they are filled with more explanations. I am also happy you found the jackknife helpful. I like it this way as well. It puts no pressure in the cervical spine as you mentioned. Take care and thanks again.

      MJ

  16. MARYLYON
    MARYLYON 8 years ago

    ABSOLUTELY GREAT!!

  17. lainey48 8 years ago

    You are a great instructor- great mat class, great workout! It is going to be in my favorites so I can repeat this class many times!

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 8 years ago

      Yeah!!!! Please share this with others. I wish that one day all of us can meet and workout one day!!
      MJ

  18. joesmat 8 years ago

    NECK PULL – Was there a particular reason why you kept your legs mat width whilst doing this exercise?
    Thank you very much.

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 8 years ago

      Sometimes When i do the neck pull on the equipment. I am used to that distance on the wall unit mat or Cadillac bars pushing my feet into the metal bars. So my body is used to that distance and dimension. And it is like spine stretch forward with the hands behind the head. It also feels good!!!

      Mj

      MJ

      • joesmat 8 years ago

        Point taken, and thank you for your detailed explanation. Much appreciated.

  19. Joelleschildkraut 8 years ago

    Waow thank you for a great Mat workout ! I enjoyed every single minute ! 🙂

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 8 years ago

      Thanks so much. I really appreciate it!!!!

  20. Tbara 8 years ago

    Interesting and fun! Great class

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 8 years ago

      Thanks for watching

      • Michael Johnson Author
        Michael Johnson 8 years ago

        (Oops i pressed the wrong button.)
        and working out with me and pilatesology

  21. Martin 8 years ago

    Such a fun class! Also, I’ll never look at a tube of toothpaste the same way.

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 8 years ago

      That’s too funny!!! That you singled out that example.

  22. joesmat 8 years ago

    This is very clever material. As a mat only person myself, you have revealed to me many previously unknown details that help get connected into some of the exercises. Will write again when I have followed you and Alisa through this workout to-morrow. I am personally most grateful to you for sharing this work. Not to forget a big thanks to Alisa!

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 8 years ago

      Joesmat, thanks for your continued support to me and pilatesology. Look forward to comments after your workout.

      Mj

      • joesmat 8 years ago

        I really like how you deepen into the exercises, its not about pace, its about depth and good execution. It is immediately apparent that you have put many years into studying what Mr Pilates was looking to achieve with the body in his mat exercises. Your mat lessons are for me anyway quite unique in their depth.
        I think its all really special.

        • Michael Johnson Author
          Michael Johnson 8 years ago

          I am so greatful you had a positive experience with the material presented

          Mj

    • Alisa Wyatt

      You are most welcome! I’m getting to live all of my Pilates dreams, working out with my mentors and teachers, what could be better?!

      • Michael Johnson Author
        Michael Johnson 8 years ago

        I want to thank you as well for being such a great workout partner that day. Lol MJ

  23. Graceleuven 8 years ago

    Thank you !!!! Great session

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 8 years ago

      Thanks, always fun to workout with Alisa. So glad you liked it. MJ

  24. Ynowak 8 years ago

    Awesome class! Great detailed explanations.

    • Michael Johnson Author
      Michael Johnson 8 years ago

      Thanks! I appreciate you taking time to comment.

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