Sayezz Pilates Self-Practice Guide to Mat Fitness Level 1&2
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Sayezz Pilates Self-Practice Guide to Mat Fitness Level 1&2

Challenge your core strength, flexibility, balance and flow even more deeply with this Level 1 & 2 Pilates course.
5.0 (4 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
59 students enrolled
Last updated 9/2014
Price: $25
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 4 mins on-demand audio
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Challenge your core in new and fun ways
  • Take the Sayezz challenge of integrating fitness into your every day
  • Empower you to take care of your self
  • Challenge your notion of fitness
  • Practice LOTS of Pilates
  • Live pain-free by practicing "small, but deadly" movements in a safe, mindful way
View Curriculum
  • Your presence both of mind and body
  • A Pilates or yoga mat
  • A small pillow or towel to support your head and neck, if necessary
  • A strap or loose pant legs if you feel your hamstrings are tight
  • A clear space large enough to reach horizontally and vertically without interruption
  • A pen or pencil handy

Hi! I'm Stephanie Yezek Jolivet, the owner of Sayezz Pilates & Beyond, a contemporary approach to Pilates, with over 20 years of movement experience not only teaching and practicing Pilates but dancing professionally, playing Division I lacrosse, training in competitive gymnastics and simply put, being an all-around movement addict (my most recent addiction is Tai Chi!)! I want you to live pain-free and integrate fitness in simple ways into your every day, so in this course, I invite you to build on the strength, awareness and balance developed in my Sweet Sixteen Fundamentals course. You begin by taking a look at what mind/body work and its principles mean to you, which will inform and perhaps surprise you. Then you move on to review your overall wellness and take note of it by filling out a Wellness Log for 7 consecutive days. Then you review the principles of Sayezz Pilates and basic anatomy, adding some new terminology and ideas to the latter. And of course, I will guide you through all the Level 1 AND Level 2 exercises, Tidbit choreography and give you an Action Plan to help integrate both into your every day so that you have something tangible to take away with and continue to practice after you finish the course. I want you to be successful in your health and fitness goals, so I give you all this in the hopes that you will be more ready to integrate awareness, fitness and healthy practices into your daily life. Plus, there's my "Big 10" principles of Sayezz Pilates in the back of my mind during each of the 14 lectures: 1) harmony of mind, body and spirit; 2) increased focus; 3) stability as the gateway to mobility; 4) owning our unique and beautiful imbalances; 5) deeper breath control; 6) strength within anatomical alignment; 7) strength through opposition; 8) every movement counts no matter how large or small; 9) movement in all planes; 10) flow through choreography. The long, lean muscles are icing on the cake! All materials are © 2014 Sayezz Pilates & Beyond.

Who is the target audience?
  • YOU
  • A student with fundamental knowledge and practice of Pilates
  • Fitness professionals looking to expand his or her repertoire
  • Anyone looking for quick, simple yet challenging ways to get a workout in throughout the day
Compare to Other Pilates Courses
Curriculum For This Course
54 Lectures
On Your Way to the WHOLE You!
3 Lectures 16:33

This is what YOU will be getting in this Self-Practice Guide to Mat Level 1 & 2 course. And a little bit about me too. Enjoy and Sayezz to YOU!

Preview 05:07

In this first audio presentation, you will get an overview of not only the course materials, but the Stages of Change model as it relates to mind/body work, to help you gain insight into your own views on working out, exercise and some of the principles of mind/body work. Use the interactive Power Point presentation to guide you through a questionnaire and provide useful additional resources.

Preview 02:12

What is wellness? What are my needs and how do I fulfill them? What are the principles of Pilates and how do they relate to my own self-care? This first lecture helps you understand the first question by reviewing the components of overall wellness and how they are defined; define the second question by asking you to fill out a Self-Care Log for a week; and gain insight into the third by revealing Joseph Pilates's own words. In this course, we will be concentrating on physical wellness, but it is important also to think of the whole self, which is a large component of mind/body work itself. So download your Wellness and Self-Care Manual and begin taking strides toward improving the WHOLE you!

Guide to Wellness (Lecture 1)
Sayezz Pilates Self-Practice Anatomy Basics
2 Lectures 19:43

Lecture 2 & 3 work together to review the way we think about our anatomy, specifically the pelvis and spine in a contemporary approach to Pilates and to add a few new anatomical concepts to the pot. Use your downloadable Anatomy Manual along with the lecture to review how to approach neutral pelvis, neutral spine, the plumb line and the basic antigravity muscles.

Preview 08:19

Lecture 3 builds on the anatomical language and concepts of Lecture 2 by unpacking the abdominal layers and their function, showing how our joints move in their movement planes and introducing the types of exercise and the concept of using "spring tension" in our own body. Use your downloadable Anatomy Manual to reinforce your learning, and, when you get moving through the succeeding exercises, keep that image of your spine as a spring with you: pulled tight at both ends and long and strong in the middle!

Anatomy New (Lecture 3)
Level 1 Pelvis Stability & Deep Abs - No Pooching Allowed!
4 Lectures 08:07

It's important to know what you are getting yourself into, so this Introduction to the Exercises is just that: an overview of all the Level 1 Pelvis Stability & Deep Abs exercises you will be practicing. Adding to the fundamental work upon which all of the work is based, these following exercises will give you a better understanding how to access your deep abdominals (find the flat tummy!), how to stabilize the pelvis and then mobilize your legs (feel that strong core!) and release tension in your low back by creating space in your spine (live pain-free!). Don't forget to use your downloadable Mat Exercises Manual to take notes during the lecture and each exercise so you can be prepared to start moving! Though the exercises are divided into separate lectures, they are best practiced together as a series.

Introduction to the Exercises (Lecture 4)

Joseph Pilates said, "Breathing is our first act of life, and it is our last". So even as you advance in your Pilates practice, you must focus on Breathing first in order to center, find your deep abdominals and set a rhythm and pace for all your movements.

Breathing - Pelvis Stability & Deep Abs

Double Knee Fold Variation, a more challenging version of Double Knee Fold, combines coordinated movement of the upper and lower body to develop core stability and endurance in neutral, arm and leg musculature strength and flow through breath.

Double Knee Fold Variation - Pelvis Stability & Deep Abs

Can you float your pelvis while lifting one leg at a time to a table-top position? Bridge with Marching will quickly answer that question! A more challenging version of Bridging, this exercise asks your abdominals and your back extensors to work together to hold your spine and pelvis in neutral while marching one leg up and down at a time. Your hamstrings and glutes will thank you too.

Preview 01:33
Level 1 Ribcage Stability - Let's Knit!
4 Lectures 07:41

Don't forget to use your downloadable Mat Exercises Manual during this video lecture to take notes on how to stabilize your ribcage using the strength of your upper abdominals, breath and lats and back. These exercises also begin to challenge your coordination and balance, and are quite fun, if I do say so myself! Enjoy deeper breathing, stronger upper abs and more mobility in your middle back, easing tension through your shoulders and neck. Though the exercises are divided into separate lectures, they are best practiced together as a series.

Introduction to the Exercises (Lecture 5)

Remember Knee Drops? Tick Tock is a more challenging version of that exercise, and asks your deep abdominals and deep back muscles to work extra hard to keep your pelvis in neutral while your straight legs tick-tock from side-to-side. Other benefits? Think of your golf swing: a supple, twisty spine!

Tick Tock - Ribcage Stability

A Sayezz Original, See Saw is a fun way to open the hips and hamstrings and give a massage to the spine at the same time! It also teaches you how to use your own body to find support and stability - i.e. hold on and go for the ride! Yee-Haw!

See Saw - Ribcage Stability

Give yourself a hand! Seal is like Rock'n'Roll, but instead we wrap ourselves up like a pretzel and "clap" our feet together not only to congratulate ourselves on a job well done, but also to bring blood back the feet. The exercise acts as a massage for the spine, a hip opener and a challenge to those deep abdominals.

Seal - Ribcage Stability
Level 1 Leg Extension & Spinal Mobility - Move Like a Dancer!
6 Lectures 11:50

Don't forget to use your downloadable Mat Exercises Manual in this video lecture to take notes on how to reach through your legs and move your spine, giving both the suppleness of a dancer! This lecture builds on the fundamental exercises by challenging your spine to stay long (better posture!), your legs to grow out of your hips (sleek lines!), and your whole body to work from your center (core movement and musculature!). Challenge yourself to be more balanced and mobile in these exercises. Though the exercises are divided into separate lectures, they are best practiced together as a series.

Introduction to the Exercises (Lecture 6)

Balance, here we come! Single Leg Seated Balance asks many things of our shoulders, spine and pelvis: Can you keep your shoulders from shrugging up to your ears while holding on to your knee/calf/ankle? Can you avoid hunching your upper back in order to balance? Can you find your sitting bones without falling forward or back? A simple-looking-but-difficult-to-do exercise to challenge your balance, core stability and increase length through the limbs and spine.

Single Leg Seated Balance - Leg Extension

If you thought Single Leg Seated Balance was tough, you are in for a treat with Double Leg Seated Balance! This exercise builds on the balance, length and strength through your abdominals, limbs, back and pelvis to see if you can sit gently behind your sitting bones with both legs floating in the air, scoop your abbies, keep your shoulders away from your ears, breathe and NOT fall over!

Preview 01:02

Roll Up Prep is one of the first exercises introduced that asks your spine and your pelvis to move in and out of neutral. Starting with your legs long on the mat and using absolutely NO MOMENTUM, this exercise challenges your upper abdominals to flex your spine into a curve and asks your tummy NOT to pooch! Can you handle it?

Roll Up Prep - Spinal Mobility

A feel-good exercise for the back and hamstrings, Spine Stretch will give you the sensation of growing taller as you peel your spine off an imaginary wall and re-stack it, vertebra-by-vertebra back to a seated, neutral position with even more space than before.

Spine Stretch - Spinal Mobility

Imagine an elastic band attached to your chin, flowing all the way down your front body to connect to one of your big toes. Rocking Prep Single Leg takes that band and stretches the whole length of it, which in turn stretches our shoulder, chest, abdominals, hips and quads. It also gives us back, hamstring and glute strength, which allows us to stand taller. Full body bliss.

Rocking Prep Single Leg - Spinal Mobility
Level 1 Moving Planes & Finishings - All Together Now!
7 Lectures 18:02

Finding neutral pelvis and spine is all well and good when gravity is working with us. The real challenge to our strength, stability and balance comes when we change our relationship to the ground and gravity. Use your downloadable Mat Exercises Manual in this video lecture to take notes on how to keep calm, cool and collected when we move on our side, belly and hands and knees. We need to remember that we are 3-dimensional beings in order to stand tall, move efficiently and gain strength and balance, inside-out! Though the exercises are divided into separate lectures, they are best practiced together as a series.

Introduction to the Exercises (Lecture 7)

Side Lying Variations builds on Side Lying Leg Lift and challenges both your core and your balance by adding leg openings, leg closing and shuffle steps to the mix.

Side Lying Variations - Moving Planes

Coordination, back extension, neutral pelvis - oh my! Swimming Preps gives you two ways of increasing overall back strength and shoulder opening while challenging your brain and body to move together in ways it may not be used to.

Swimming Preps - Moving Planes

We're moving up in the world with Cross Lateral Balance. Up to your hands and knees, that is. In this exercise, performed in quadruped position - wrist under shoulders and knees under hips - your balance and core strength and stability are challenged as you change your relationship to gravity. No longer is the ground supporting our whole spine, but rather the ground is helping us find our roots and elevate it away.

Cross Lateral Balance - Moving Planes

One of the least complex, in terms of choreography, and yet most challenging bits of choreography in all of Sayezz Pilates, Plank challenges our WHOLE body to maintain neutral as gravity bears down on us. No saggy bellies, no heavy heads in this exercise, folks! Remember that your spine is a spring and reach through the crown of your head and your heels to keep that tummy strong and tight!

Plank - Moving Planes

In this Level 1 series, there is not a whole lot of rotation. But there is quite a bit of greasing up of the hip joint going on, so it is important for both of those reasons to lay on your back and breathe into your Hip/Piriformis Stretch. Not only does the exercise stretch the hip, it also stretches the bum, the lower back and, if we maintain neutral spine, even the neck gets a bit of length.

Hip/Piriformis Stretch - Finishings

Also known as “shell stretch” and “rest position”, Child’s Pose, taken directly from yoga practices, is a great way to end any Pilates workout. In addition to allowing for concentration on the breath and refocusing your energy and because of all the folding it asks of your body, Child's pose also stretches the ankles, feet, quads, hips and shoulders. Enjoy the sensations!

Child's Pose - Finishings
Your Sayezz AnyWhereAnyTime Level 1 Tidbit
3 Lectures 16:25

Hurrah! You made it to the Sayezz Pilates AnyWhereAnyTime Tidbit Level 1! This is your piece of a bit more complex Sayezz choreography to do anywhere anytime, as many times as you would like. It uses the vocabulary of exercises you already know and creates a short sequence. As you may not be used to learning choreography, I have broken this lecture down into 3 parts. First, I lay it out visually and verbally; then I cue you through the choreography; and finally, I provide music that will guide you through the choreography. Feel free to take your time and learn over a course of several days or watch and do the Tidbit variations as a series. Good for your body. Great for your brain. Sayezz to YOU!

Sayezz Tidbit Introduction (Lecture 8)

As this is the first time you will be putting all the pieces of the Sayezz Level 1 together, you will be cued verbally through the sequence by me. Feel free to watch and listen first, and then practice the choreography as many time as you need! Don't forget to incorporate your breath!

Preview 06:59

Now it's time for me to cue you through the Sayezz Level 1 Tidbit with only a breath rhythm. But don't worry - you already know the choreography! This time around, you will simply practice the same sequence, at the same pace, focusing your efforts on a calm, rhythmic breath.

Sayezz Level 1 Tidbit with Breath
Moving Forward
1 Lecture 00:50

In order that you keep up the good work you have already been doing, I have provided you with some closing thoughts and a few questions to be answered, posted and made visible so you can continue to Sayezz to YOU! Listen and print the PDF file provided to get the most out of the excellent work you just finished and stay fit for a lifetime!

Action Plan (Lecture 9)
Level 2 Pelvis Stability, Ribcage Stability & Leg Extension
7 Lectures 15:52

Because you are getting more adept at learning and doing the Sayezz Pilates mat exercises, you will be thrown more exercises together in a sequence in Level 2. In this first Section, you will learn the Pelvis Stability, Ribcage Stability and Leg Extension exercises all together and practice them as a unit. The following exercises will continue to challenge your core work with even more full body coordination (find the flat tummy!) and strength through stabilization and mobilization farther away from your center line (feel that strong core!). And then, when practiced together, the sequence will work even harder to release tension in your low back by strengthening your abdominal endurance (live pain-free!). Don't forget to use your downloadable Mat Exercises Manual to take notes during the lecture and each exercise so you can be prepared to start moving! Though the exercises are divided into separate lectures, they are best practiced together as a series.

Introduction to the Exercises (Lecture 10)

Joseph Pilates said, "Breathing is our first act of life, and it is our last". So even as you advance in your Pilates practice, you must focus on Breathing first in order to center, find your deep abdominals and set a rhythm and pace for all your movements.

Breathing - Pelvis Stability & Deep Abs

The quintessential Pilates exercise, Hundreds coordinates breath with movement, core strength and endurance and forces you to find a happy place so you can complete the exercise with grace and ease. The rhythmic breath and arm pumps remind us just how difficult and yet important it is to coordinate our breath with movement to achieve efficiency and flow.

Hundreds - Pelvis Stability & Deep Abs

Double Leg Stretch challenges your tummy to stay sucked-in - no pooching allowed, which becomes increasingly difficult as our limbs move away from our center. Make sure you maintain your neutral, so if you feel your back begin to arch, you have lowered your legs too far!

Double Leg stretch - Pelvis Stability & Deep Abs

Double Leg Circles is a real challenge for those low abdominals and obliques and even more for our neck - try to keep your neck loose by gently pressing the back of your head into the ground and feel free to find some stability through your arms.

Double Leg Circles - Ribcage Stability

Single Leg Stretch deceptively works the abdominals. Reach through your legs like you want to pull your leg out of the socket to get the most abdominal length and strength and work to keep your hip/knee/ankle alignment.

Single Leg Stretch - Leg Extension

One of my favorites, Scissors is of course about the extension in the legs in order to make those abbies burn baby burn! Allow some freedom in the hip joint by accenting the split with a pulsing breath.

Preview 01:52
Level 2 Spinal Mobility
6 Lectures 12:47

You may have noticed that the more advanced the exercise, the more things you need to think and maintain. The idea of “Pat your head and rub your belly” comes to mind. But don’t worry! You have the building blocks to rotate, find your sitting bones, balance, extend, articulate through your spine, scoop your belly and switch legs mid-exercise because your mind and your body are training together in symbiotic bliss! Not only do you build core strength, flexibility, balance and long, lean muscles in these Level 2 Spinal Mobility exercises, you build brain cells and neuromuscular pathways as well! I bet you didn’t know that Pilates could make you smarter. Well, guess what? It most certainly can and will strengthen that mind/body connection the more you move your spine and let that fluid flow through these Level 2 exercises. Though the exercises are divided into separate lectures, they are best practiced together as a series.

Introduction to the Exercises (Lecture 11)

A Sayezz Original, Alternating See Saw builds on See Saw by asking you to toss your legs in mid-roll, switching the split of your leg, making it an extra fun challenge to your balance and coordination.

Alternating See Saw - Spinal Mobility

Another essential classical Pilates exercise, Roll Up builds dynamic stretch through the spine by asking you to articulate one vertebra at a time, moving with a single, easy flow. The slower the better for this one, my friends.

Roll up - Spinal Mobility

Seated Twist is the first exercise to ask us to lengthen out of our sitting bones in order to find more length in those obliques from a seated position to twist the spine and create space to move around the ribcage. Remember to reach through the crown of your head and ground those sitting bones to elongate your center line.

Seated Twist - Spinal Mobility

Another one of my favorites, Teaser may just be the ultimate Pilates exercise! Articulation of the spine, abdominal strength, length through the limbs and balance, Teaser has it all! Do you have what it takes to defy gravity, nay - tease it?

Teaser 1 - Spinal Mobility

Rocking Prep Double Leg builds on Rocking Prep Single Leg by wrapping both hands around both ankles. Use a band or grab your pants if those ankles seem out of reach, and scoop your belly to find the most extension through your middle back. It will help you stand taller.

Rocking Prep Double Leg - Spinal Mobility
3 More Sections
About the Instructor
Stephanie Yezek Jolivet
4.9 Average rating
15 Reviews
101 Students
3 Courses
Pilates, Fitness and Dance Professional


Stephanie Yezek Jolivet was first introduced to classical Pilates as a sophomore at Bucknell University under the heading “Dance Fitness”. A fresh face to modern dance and a Division I lacrosse player, Stephanie was not entirely convinced of the merits of the mind/body exercise form, but a seed of interest had been planted. After graduating in 2003, she pursued her study of classical Pilates at Excel Studio in Washington, DC, but discovered its true benefit to her mind and body only after a summer at Avon-by-the-sea, NJ, studying with Carol Myers, who trained at the Pilates Center of Boulder. The following winter 2005, Stephanie returned to Myers’s studio to train with BASI master teacher, Kristy Cooper. After successfully completing her mat certification and sharing the goodness of mat Pilates at home and abroad – she pursued an MA in English Literature and Language at Oxford University from 2005-2006 – she decided to further her Pilates education in 2008 with Fit to the Core, a Physical Mind-based studio in Potomac, MD where she completed 450 hours of comprehensive study, and with BASI master trainer, Karla Adams, where she completed her second 450 hour comprehensive training in Washington, DC. Stephanie’s teaching credits include Elements, Pengu Pilates, National Cathedral School, Trinity University (Washington, DC Metropolitan area), The Healing Path, Aura, Merritt Athletic Club (Baltimore, MD), University Club, Bourton Mills and LA Fitness (Oxford, England), and a week-long workshop in Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. Stephanie has developed her own system of Pilates self-practice and her own online Pilates resource to deepen her and her clients’ practice.</span> </p>


After graduating from Bucknell University in 2003 with a BA in English and a minor in dance, Stephanie Yezek Jolivet returned to the Washington Metropolitan area and trained and performed with The Playground, Jane Franklin Dance Company, AirDance Bernasconi, Gesel Mason Performance Projects, Deviated Theatre and BosmaDance. She has toured to New York, Canada, India and Bangladesh with Dakshina, a contemporary Indian company and has performed in the works of David Dorfman, Anna Sokolow, Darla Stanley, Florencia Lopez-Boo, Ofra Idel Lipshitz, Meisha Bosma, Gesel Mason, Samantha Speis, Er-Dong Hu, Danna Frangione and Kelly Knox among other local and international dance artists. In 2006, Stephanie helped to co-found Freefall, Oxford University’s contemporary dance ensemble while earning her MA in English Literature and Language. Her choreography has been commissioned and presented by Oxford University, Cambridge University, Bucknell University, Howard Community College, Oxford Playhouse, Dance Place, BosmaDance and Dragonfly Dance Experiment. In 2008, she and Francesca Jandasek established a collaboration, baredances, and their work has been presented by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Baltimore Theater Project, Dance Place, Burton Taylor Studio as part of Oxfringe (Oxford’s fringe festival), and most recently was accepted to the 31st Annual Choreographer’s Showcase at University of Maryland College Park. Stephanie was a finalist in the 2009 Dance/MetroDC awards for “Emerging Choreographer”. She was selected as the sole dancer finalist in the 2010 Howard County Rising Star competition and as one of ten dance artists to the 2010 Dance Omi International Dance Collective. And most recently, the Maryland State Arts Council granted her with a 2013 MSAC award for solo performance. Outside the studio, Stephanie shares the power of Pilates and GYROTONIC® with her clients who continually amaze her. She just accepted a fellowship from University of California at Riverside for an MFA in Experimental Choreography where she is excited to explore further the dichotomous nature of femininity in her choreography. Rock on.