My motivation recently is the series of five mat exercises! I have been incorporating them into any work that I do. It's always good to do a little extra core work everyday to keep up with your practice while your not in the studio.
Series of five include:
Single Leg Stretch Double Leg Stretch Single Straight Leg Stretch Double Straight Leg Stretch Criss Cross
Another good exercise to counter with after all that flexion is doing an extension exercise like swan.
Single leg stretch is first in the series. You are going to lift your head up, shoulders down, neck is long. Pull the right knee into the nose while sinking your belly button down to the spine into the mat. Then reach the opposite leg staight out. Then switch legs. Try this exercise 10 times each side.
This is your next exercise after the single leg stretch. You start with your knees to the nose like a tiny ball. Remeber to keep your core pulling in and up as you reach out through the legs and arms. If you are new to this exercise you have the option of keeping your arms down and by the hips (as shown in the picture below). If you are stronger then you have the option of reaching yoru arms up by your ears. But remember not to let your back come off the mat AT ALL during this exercise. So as you reach out through the legs and your chest and back are lifting up off the mat, then your legs are too low, and try lifting up a little higher until you get stronger. Try doing 10 of these.
Single straight leg stretch is next in this series. Keep the legs as straight as you can. Lift the hands up to the ankle, or as high as you can and pull the leg into your chest. As you do this reach the other leg away from you and pull the belly in and up. Keep the head and chest lifted while you switch legs. Try 10 on each leg of these.
Double straight leg stretch is the next exercise in the series. You can either have your heands behind the back of your head or under your hips and head down. Having the hands under your hips will allow you to pull into your powerhouse (core) more. Lift your legs straight up to the ceiling and glue them together. Squeeze your seat to lower your legs and sink your belly down to lift your legs back up. It's an inhale and you lower a few inches and then exhale as you lift. Try 10 of these as well.
The last one of these series fo 5 is Criss Cross. Lifting your head and shoulders off the mat with your hands behind your head. Then bring your right knee to opposite elbow while reaching out through the opposite leg. Try keeping both shoulders off the mat as you twist through the center to the other side. Try 5 each side.
As a bonus exercise finish with swan, as a counter to all the extension you just did. You can start with your hands under your shoulders with your elbows squeezing into your sides, shoulders down your back. Squeeze the legs together, pull your stomach in, and start to open the chest as you lift the head up and then lower back down. You can stay with that or go to the more advanced where you lift your head and chest up as you press through your arms and release the arms foward and start your dive forward and then sqeeze the seat and legs to rock back. Make sure to really engage EVERYTHING if you are going for the full expression of the exercise. Try 5 of these.
Good luck with these exercises and let me know how you did! Try it when you get home from work or after the kids are asleep. Try it 3 times a week and you will see a big difference in your Pilates at the studio!