MORE FOR YOUR CORE – THE FULL PLANK

The plank is a balance and core conditioning exercise. In yoga, the plank is often done as part of the sun salutation sequence, or as part of a vinyasa in a yoga flow sequence. You can also perform the plank as a stand-alone exercise. There are two major types of planks, the full plank, where you balance on both arms, and the side plank, where you balance on one arm.

LET’S TRY THE FULL PLANK:

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Start off on a yoga mat in the pushup position. Starting with the pushup position is the easiest way to get into the plank.

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Lower both your forearms to the ground so that both your elbows and fists are flat to the ground. Your palms should be balled up, and directly underneath your shoulders.

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Curl your toes under and engage your abs by tilting your pelvis and pulling your belly button toward your spine.

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Straighten your body but keep your neck and spine neutral.  Imagine that you’re a plank of wood, and that you’re straight as an arrow.

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Flex your abdominals and squeeze your glutes. These are the two major muscle groups you’ll be working out in this exercise.

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Hold this position, also known as the plank, until after the burning begins. Keep your eyes on the floor in front of you. Avoid raising your behind. Your body should make a straight line from your heels to the back of your head.

TRY TO HOLD THE POSE A LITTLE LONGER EACH DAY! AND THEN, HAVE A FRIEND ADD A LITTLE WEIGHT!

the plank

YOU WILL NEED A LITTLE LEVITY AS YOU FEEL YOUR MUSCLES BURN!

I’VE ALSO SEEN THIS DONE ON A STANDUP PADDLE BOARD AS PART OF THE CORE WORKOUT.

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YOGA WORKOUT: LIKE GOING TO CHURCH

MY YOGA WORKOUTS WERE STARTING TO MAKE ME FEEL LIKE I WAS IN CHURCH!  SOMEWHAT MEDITATIVE BUT STANDING, KNEELING, SITTING, GETTING ON MY BELLY.  Maybe that is all part of the workout but it just didn’t seem to flow for me.  This prompted me to create my own workout that flows from Mountain Pose all the way down to the Child’s Pose.  The whole routine takes about 45-60 minutes depending upon how many reps you choose to do (I usually do 7-10) or how long you stay in your static stretches (I usually stay static for 7-10 breaths).

Start with the Sun Salutation:

Reverse to Mountain pose.  You can do more than once as a nice warm-up.

Next:

Tree Pose 7-10 breaths then straight into next exercise each 7-10 reps. Repeat on other leg.

Triangle Pose

Triangle Pose

Repeat on other side.  Do more than once if desired.

For Rising Lunge, rise from one bent knee and raise arms. Lower back down and lower arms.  Repeat on other leg.

Chair with twist

Chair with twist

Alternate stretching to each side 7-10 times.

Crow Pose

Crow Pose

Can do more than once!

Half Push-Up

Half Push-Up

On hands and knees with hands slightly in front of your shoulders, bend and lower your elbows to almost touch the floor.  Then rise back up. 7-10 reps.

Begin in full push-up position, palms aligned with shoulders.  Place left knee on floor near shoulder and left heal by right hip.  Lower down to forearms.  7-10 reps.  Repeat on other leg.

Tuck and Extend

Tuck and Extend

Bring knee to chest and extend for 7-10 reps.  Repeat on other leg.

Seated Twist

Seated Twist

Repeat stretch on other side. Can do more than once!

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose

Do several times.

Leg Pull Front

Leg Pull Front

7-10 reps and repeat on other leg.

Child's Pose

Child’s Pose

If you are not familiar with any of these poses and need explanation it is easy to “google” it (or send me a note!) – I probably don’t know or do all the poses perfectly, but at least I’m trying and it works for me.  I’ve seen some of the exercises done with light weights (1-3#) in hand as your strength improves but the beauty of this type of workout is that you need no special equipment.  You just use your body and its own resistance!  Plus, I don’t really count.  I just do what feels right and push a little bit to build strength.

WORK OUT AND ENJOY! No more sit, stand, kneel, stand!

BLAST 500+ CALORIES DOING YOGA

I LOVE THIS WORKOUT AND DO IT FOR ABOUT AN HOUR EACH DAY – POSES ARE “DOABLE” This calorie-zapping yoga routine will melt away pounds while sculpting every major muscle in your body. Remember cutting out or burning 500 calories a day leads to 1 pound of weight loss each week!!  It is also nice that this workout can really be done anywhere so if you’re traveling for work or vacationing and stuck inside, throw a towel on the carpet and work it!

Adapted from Alyssa Shaffer; Photographs by Dorit Thies

Lose Weight with Yoga

How much can yoga really do for you? A lot. This is a  total-body routine that is a mind and body booster. The workout is built around the classic sun salutation series, with challenging core and upper- and lower-body variations added for a fat-blasting twist. Do the entire sequence four to five times through (keep at it for an hour) and you’ll burn off the calorie equivalent of a banana split while sculpting your arms, chest, abs, butt, and legs and improving your flexibility.

YOGA 500-1

How it works: Start and finish each circuit with a sun salutation, a four-move series done forward and in reverse that is the foundation of the workout. Every time you do this main series, you’ll add a challenging variation to keep your heart rate elevated while toning your whole body. Each sun salutation, plus all of our variations, should take about 15 minutes.

Sun Salutation (Main Series)

1.

YOGA 500MOUNTAIN

Mountain Pose Stand tall with feet together, shoulders relaxed, weight evenly distributed through your soles, arms at sides. Take a deep breath and raise your hands overhead, palms facing each other with arms straight. Reach up toward the sky with your fingertips.

2.

YOGA 500 standingforward

Standing Forward Bend From mountain pose, exhale, sweeping your arms sideways as you swan dive forward, bending at hips, until fingertips or palms reach the ground on either side of your feet; keep fingers in line with toes. (If your hamstrings or back are tight, bend your knees.) Think about drawing the crown of your head down and the backs of your legs toward the sky.

3.

YOGA 500 forwardflatback

Forward Bend, Flat Back From standing forward bend, keep feet together and place fingertips on ground near outer edges of your feet, in line with your toes. Inhale as you lift your torso halfway up, keeping your back flat. Look forward, reaching your tailbone away from the top of your head. If you feel tight in your hamstrings or lower back or can’t reach the ground, bend your knees and place your hands on your shins.

4.

YOGA 500- DOWNWARD DOG

Downward Dog From forward bend with flat back, bend knees, place palms flat on ground shoulder-width apart, and jump both feet back, landing softly in downward dog. Spread your fingers and make sure your feet are hip-width apart and parallel. Reach your tailbone up and away from hands and your heels toward the ground.

5. Reverse this series back to the start Bring your legs toward your hands and straighten legs, returning to forward bend with flat back. Drop your head and return to standing forward bend, then to mountain pose, sweeping arms out to the sides and overhead to complete the main series.

Build Your Workout Each time you complete the sunsalutation, add on a new challenge series until you’ve incorporated all the moves. Each full sequence will take about 15 minutes; do 4 to 5 times.

Add On: Half Push-Up Series

Part 1.

YOGA 500 tabletoptohalf

Tabletop to Half Push-Up From downward dog, get on all fours, aligning your knees on the ground under hips and your hands directly below shoulders (not shown). Keeping abs pulled in and head aligned with your spine, bend elbows about 45 degrees in a half push-up, arms close to sides. Straighten arms; repeat push-up 4 to 6 times.

Part 2.

YOGA 500 extendedchilds

Extended Child’s Pose From half push-up, straighten arms and bring your tailbone back toward heels, resting the backs of your thighs on your calves. Hold for a few breaths, feeling the stretch through your back and shoulders. Return from child’s pose to tabletop, then back to downward dog; do the remainder of the main series in reverse.

Add On: Lunge Jump

Do the half push-up series, returning to downward dog. Step left leg forward between hands, bending left knee 90 degrees while keeping right leg straight. Hold for a few breaths, then switch legs, jumping left leg back and right leg forward. Repeat 4 to 6 times. Return to downward dog and reverse the main series back to the start.

Add On: Warrior Series

YOGA 500 warrior

Warrior 1 with High Lunge Do the main series, adding on both half push-up and lunge jump, ending in downward dog. From here, step left foot forward between hands, bending left knee 90 degrees with toes facing forward; keep right leg straight and lift upper body. Raise arms overhead next to ears; hold for 3 to 5 breaths.

Straighten left leg while lowering arms; keep palms in and right heel lifted. Repeat 4 to 6 times. Return to warrior 1, then to downward dog; repeat on opposite side, ending in downward dog. Reverse the main series back to start.

Add On: Chair with Twist

Chair Pose

YOGA 500 chairpose

Do the main series plus each of the previous add-ons one time through, ending in mountain pose with arms raised. From here, bend your knees, pushing your butt back.

Bring palms together in front of chest and bend forward, pressing right upper arm against outside of left thigh as you twist your upper body to the left. Hold for 1 to 2 breaths, then come back to center and twist to the right. Continue alternating sides, 4 to 6 times in each direction, then return to a standing position.

YEAH!! YOU DID IT!!

MY YOGA POSES: WET DOG, OLD CROW AND THE PLUNGE!!

I DEFINITELY RECOMMEND BEGINNER POSES BEFORE MOVING ONWARD AND UPWARD – I’M PRETTY FIT AND SOME OF THESE INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCED POSES I’M FINDING TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE!  I’M CALLING MY YOGA POSES WET DOG, THE OLD CROW AND THE PLUNGE!!  BUT THESE CAN BE MASTERED – WORK AT IT GRADUALLY!

Downward Dog: Beginner

YOU CAN DO YOGA 1

  • Start on all fours with hands directly under shoulders, knees under hips.
  • Walk hands a few inches forward and spread fingers wide, pressing palms into mat.
  • Curl toes under and slowly press hips toward ceiling, bringing your body into an inverted V, pressing shoulders away from ears. Feet should be hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  • Hold for 3 full breaths.

Downward Dog: Intermediate

YOU CAN DO YOGA 2

  • Start in beginner position.
  • Straighten your legs and press your heels toward the floor while raising your hips upward.
  • Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, then lift one leg toward the ceiling and hold for 3 full breaths; keep hips level.
  • Lower; switch legs and repeat.

Downward Dog: Advanced

YOU CAN DO YOGA 3

  • Start in beginner position. Straighten your legs and press your heels toward the floor while raising your hips upward.
  • Walk your feet together and lift one leg toward the ceiling.
  • Press your palms and other heel into the mat. Once stable, slowly lift your opposite hand and hold for 3 full breaths.
  • Lower; switch sides and repeat.

The Crow: Beginner

YOU CAN DO YOGA 4

Get into downward dog position (palms pressed into mat, feet hip-width apart) and walk feet forward until knees touch your arms.

Bend your elbows, lift heels off floor, and rest knees against the outside of your upper arms. Keep toes on floor, abs engaged and legs pressed against arms. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.

The Crow: Intermediate

YOU CAN DO YOGA 5

  • From beginner position, squeeze your inner thighs to lift heels off floor.
  • With fingers spread wide, slowly move body forward until your weight is balanced over your hands.
  • Draw abs inward (as if pulling belly button to spine) to lift your hips up higher, keeping your face forward. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.

The Crow: Advanced

YOU CAN DO YOGA 6

  • Start in the beginner position and slowly move into the intermediate pose.
  • As your upper body tilts forward, begin lifting your right leg toward the ceiling.
  • Squeeze your glutes, spread out your toes, and hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
  • Lower; switch legs and repeat.

The Lunge: Beginner

YOU CAN DO YOGA 1

  • Start in downward dog position. Step your right leg forward to the inside of your right hand.
  • Drop your left knee to the floor and lift your chest up. Keeping your right knee in line with your ankle and your back straight, place hands on your knee. Hold for 10 breaths.

The Lunge: Intermediate

YOU CAN DO YOGA 7

  • From beginner pose, press into the ball of your back foot and lift into a standing lunge.
  • Straighten back leg, place heel down on floor, and turn foot out a few inches. Lift arms toward ceiling (Warrior I). Spread your fingers, turn palms in, and open up chest. Hold for 10 breaths.
  • Switch legs; repeat.

The Lunge: Advanced

YOU CAN DO YOGA 8

  • From lunge position, hinge your upper body forward from the hips and slowly lift your back leg while straightening your front leg.
  • Stop when your back is flat and your entire body is parallel to the floor (Warrior III). Balance here for 10 breaths.
  • Lower; switch legs and repeat.

ARE YOU FEELING THE LOVE?

YOGA YOUR WRINKLES AWAY!

yoga for your face

Do yoga for your face.
As strange as it sounds, face yoga is a new anti-aging trend. Across the country, yoga instructors are teaching special face yoga classes or incorporating it into their regular routines. Experts say that a lot of tension can be carried in the face. They suggest that performing these simple facial exercises may improve the look of your face and help you appear younger. So, get stretching!

YOGA 101 – POSES FOR BEGINNERS

New to yoga? Try these basic yoga poses to get stronger and more flexible.

Once again a yoga mat rolls up nicely and fits behind your office door.  My mat also came with a handy shoulder strap if I were traveling on business.

Mountain Pose

MOUNTAIN POSE

  • Stand tall with feet together, shoulders relaxed, weight evenly distributed through your soles, arms at sides.
  • Take a deep breath and raise your hands overhead, palms facing each other with arms straight. Reach up toward the sky with your fingertips.

Downward Dog

DOWNWARD DOG

  • Start on all fours with hands directly under shoulders, knees under hips.
  • Walk hands a few inches forward and spread fingers wide, pressing palms into mat.
  • Curl toes under and slowly press hips toward ceiling, bringing your body into an inverted V, pressing shoulders away from ears. Feet should be hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  • Hold for 3 full breaths.

Warrior

WARRIOR

  • Stand with legs 3 to 4 feet apart, turning right foot out 90 degrees and left foot in slightly.
  • Bring your hands to your hips and relax your shoulders, then extend arms out to the sides, palms down.
  • Bend right knee 90 degrees, keeping knee over ankle; gaze out over right hand. Stay for 1 minute.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

Tree Pose

TREE POSE

  • Stand with arms at sides.
  • Shift weight onto left leg and place sole of right foot inside left thigh, keeping hips facing forward.
  • Once balanced, bring hands in front of you in prayer position, palms together.
  • On an inhalation, extend arms over shoulders, palms separated and facing each another. Stay for 30 seconds.
  • Lower and repeat on opposite side.
  • Make it easier: Bring your right foot to the inside of your left ankle, keeping your toes on the floor for balance. As you get stronger and develop better balance, move your foot to the inside of your left calf.

Bridge Pose

BRIDGE POSE

Stretches chest and thighs; extends spine

  • Lie on floor with knees bent and directly over heels.
  • Place arms at sides, palms down. Exhale, then press feet into floor as you lift hips.
  • Clasp hands under lower back and press arms down, lifting hips until thighs are parallel to floor, bringing chest toward chin. Hold for 1 minute.
  • Make it easier: Place a stack of pillows underneath your tailbone.

Triangle Pose

TRIANGLE POSE

  • Extend arms out to sides, then bend over your right leg.
  • Stand with feet about 3 feet apart, toes on your right foot turned out to 90 degrees, left foot to 45 degrees.
  • Allow your right hand to touch the floor or rest on your right leg below or above the knee, and extend the fingertips of your left hand toward the ceiling.
  • Turn your gaze toward the ceiling, and hold for 5 breaths.
  • Stand and repeat on opposite side.

Seated Twist

SEATED TWIST

This stretches shoulders, hips, and back; increases circulation; tones abdomen; strengthens obliques

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended.
  • Cross right foot over outside of left thigh; bend left knee. Keep right knee pointed toward ceiling.
  • Place left elbow to the outside of right knee and right hand on the floor behind you.
  • Twist right as far as you can, moving from your abdomen; keep both sides of your butt on the floor. Stay for 1 minute.
  • Switch sides and repeat.
  • Make it easier: Keep bottom leg straight and place both hands on raised knee. If your lower back rounds forward, sit on a folded blanket.

Cobra

COBRA

  • Lie face down on the floor with thumbs directly under shoulders, legs extended with the tops of your feet on the floor.
  • Tighten your pelvic floor, and tuck hips downward as you squeeze your glutes.
  • Press shoulders down and away from ears.
  • Push through your thumbs and index fingers as you raise your chest toward the wall in front of you.
  • Relax and repeat.

Pigeon Pose

PIGEON POSE

Targets the piriformis (a deep gluteal muscle)

  • Begin in a full push-up position, palms aligned under shoulders.
  • Place left knee on the floor near shoulder with left heel by right hip.
  • Lower down to forearms and bring right leg down with the top of the foot on the floor (not shown).
  • Keep chest lifted to the wall in front of you, gazing down.
  • If you’re more flexible, bring chest down to floor and extend arms in front of you.
  • Pull navel in toward spine and tighten your pelvic-floor muscles; contract right side of glutes.
  • Curl right toes under while pressing ball of foot into the floor, pushing through your heel.
  • Bend knee to floor and release; do 5 reps total, then switch sides and repeat.

Crow Pose

CROW POSE

  • Get into downward dog position (palms pressed into mat, feet hip-width apart) and walk feet forward until knees touch your arms.
  • Bend your elbows, lift heels off floor, and rest knees against the outside of your upper arms. Keep toes on floor, abs engaged and legs pressed against arms. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.

Child’s Pose

CHILDS POSE

  • Sit up comfortably on your heels.
  • Roll your torso forward, bringing your forehead to rest on the bed in front of you.
  • Lower your chest as close to your knees as you comfortably can, extending your arms in front of you.
  • Hold the pose and breathe.