Pilates Mat Exercise #21: The Teaser

Pilates Mat Exercise #21: The Teaser

I just broke off a new chunk of flexibility in my back.

For those who only speak Pilates haiku:

I just broke into

a chunk of flexible space

in my middle back


So how's that gonna manifest in all of my Pilates exercises? Yum! I can't wait to find out.

Perhaps more chip than chunk…

If you LOVE LOVE LOVE the Hundred, I'm going to make a wild guess that you also have fond feelings for perhaps the most iconic of the Pilates exercises, the Teaser.

The Teaser can be quite a milestone for many of our clients' Pilates practice. As they progress and become more proficient in their exercises, the Teaser can serve as a benchmark revealing their progress – or where their body is on any given day – and they can use it as a check-in exercise.

They may even grow to like it.

What are the building blocks of a successful Teaser?

1. The Shape of Things…

I remember back in the day when I failed to see what all the fuss was about.

I loved the Teaser!

In hindsight, I loved it because I could just sit up there and balance and think about how cool I was (and not really have to do much of anything).

There was no scoop or powerhouse up there – maybe on the way up and down…but once I got up there and balanced? Easy street, my friends.

I was sorely missing out on the round shape necessary for the Teaser exercise.

Yes, round.

All the limbs must reach out long as the stomach pulls back strongly in the opposite direction. The round shape is quite a challenging for me and what a wonderful stretch I feel now.

I feel the fruits of my labors when I roll back down ever more smoothly after all that scoop, scoop, scoopity scoop!

Shape? Check.

2. Opposition

The Teaser is the epitome of the 2-way stretch, the opposing forces that must be in a fierce competition to achieve the Teaser at all.

I'm sad now for my ex-Teaser, circa 2000-2010. There was no 2-way stretch…maybe there was 1 way? #sketchyatbest.

Often the perception is that once you arrive at the elusive point of balance in the Teaser your work is done.

Oh no.

You've just got more stuff to do to stay there and not fall over. You got up there, but you also need to get back down to the mat. It's not a good time to bail.

Which brings me to another mantra:

Pilates Mat Exercise #21: The Teaser

A beautiful Teaser does not happen by accident.

What appears to be effortless is in fact a boatload of sweaty work going on for days. Be sure to smile and enjoy it!

3. The Order of the Universe

Where else do we find this shape?

Leading up to the Teaser in our Mat workout we can take stock of the Roll Up, Rolling Like a Ball, Spine Stretch, Open Leg Rocker, etc… you see how this goes.

So you'll use the Order of the Universe to prepare you for Teaser nirvana. #thanksorderoftheexercises

It's Summer Camp at California Pilates Center in Oceanside!

Join me for Mat classes (and many happy Teasers) on Saturdays, June 27, July 25 and August 22.

OMG look, some students are even smiling! Register here.

Pilates Mat exercise #21: The Teaser

Share (vent) your thoughts on the Teaser in a comment!

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  1. Pat stevenson says

    It wasn’t until I achieved the flexibility in my lumbar spine that I was able to do the Teaser. I always thought that core weakness was responsible for my inability to perform it well. Until I started to use another modality, I had a very sorry Teaser. I’m very grateful now that I can do that! Who knew?

    • Good for you Pat! Yes often in the Pilates exercises strength and flexibility go hand in hand – as the stomach/powerhouse strengthens, the low back opens up and poof! Teaser! Well, not exactly… 🙂

      Keep up your good work and thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  2. Dearest Andrea, thank you for yet another wonderful post. Do not be sad for your ex-Teaser, circa 2000-2010. While it might not have been the shining teaser of 2015, it was part of precious work in progress. Every one of those not so perfect teasers lead you to this moment. And your journey is proof perfect of Joe Pilates’ quote “Time and progress are synonymous terms – nothing can stop either.”. xo

    • Kerry!

      Thank you so much for kind words on my former Teaser. You are so right. Every moment on the Pilates journey leads to where were are today in the exercises. And I know, it’s not about results like Teasers! but about the progress on the journey. Wise words, my friend. And thank you for the awesome JP quote. I do love that one. I just read one recently that I so want to use in something… maybe just in conversation:

      “The truth ultimately will burst through the clouds of ignorance and – once in the clear atmosphere – will shine forever in the blue sky of knowledge.”

      I just love “the blue sky of knowledge.”
      Have a great rocking’ Pilates week my lady! xo

  3. oh yes, that is a lovely quote!
    I always love JP’s passionate words!

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