When your core is strong, daily activities become easier and you’ll get more from your exercise routines as well. Remember to incorporate this straightforward yet challenging move for a more balanced practice. CLICK & SEE
Begin on your hands and knees. Turn to the side and position your right hand directly below your right shoulder and your right knee below your right hip. Straighten your left leg with your left foot flat on the floor, toes and knee facing forward. Reach up with your left arm so it is above your shoulders. Engage your abdominals and move your tailbone in toward your body to avoid over-arching your lower back. Look up to the ceiling and pause.
Keeping your hips and shoulders stacked, push through your left heel and lift it to hip level. Concentrate on maintaining your balance with minimal movement in your torso. Hold this position for three to six breaths. Then lower your leg, come to all fours and repeat on the other side.
Side bends — such as the classic yoga “triangle” pose shown here — will help you stretch the muscles between the ribs called the intercostals. This move will open your chest and improve breathing capacity. You’ll feel a stretch in your hips and the backs of your legs.
STEP-1. Stand with your legs 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Hold your arms out to the sides at shoulder height. Turn your right leg out 90 degrees and turn your left leg in 15 degrees. (Your right heel should be in line with your left arch.) Inhale. On an exhale, move your hips toward the left and bend sideways toward your right leg, placing your right hand anywhere on the right shin that feels comfortable. Raise your left hand above your left shoulder. STEP-2. Lean back slightly and look up just beyond your left thumb. Keep your eyes focused there as you continue to reach your left arm overhead. Move your shoulders down away from your ears and lengthen your neck. Press the right side of your buttocks forward and pull your abdominals in toward your spine. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds while you breathe evenly.
Twisting is a part of everyday movement, but if your body is not used to doing it correctly, you could easily get injured by twisting the wrong way. Here are two seated twists that will help stretch and strengthen the muscles of your back, abdomen, hips and legs. Once you feel comfortable with twists done safely on the floor, you can progress to standing twists. Always approach twists with caution, especially if you have a sensitive back.
Step 1. Sit on the floor with both legs stretched out in front of you. Bend your right knee, foot flat on the floor next to your left inner knee. Hug your right knee with your left arm and pull your body upright so you’re sitting tall. Move your right hand behind you, placing it flat on the floor to help you maintain a vertical spine. Now rotate your upper body to the right as far as you can. Stay in this position for 10 to 20 seconds while breathing evenly. Return to the starting position and switch sides or continue to the next pose.
Step 2. Stay in the twist as you grasp the outer edge of your right foot and slowly straighten your right knee and left elbow. Keep your spine upright as you stretch your right hand out and back . Stay in this position for 10 to 20 seconds. Bend your right knee, release your foot and turn to the front. Switch legs and repeat on the other side.
If you’re familiar with the classic yoga pose called “downward facing dog,” try this variation for more of a challenge. It develops flexibility in your legs while strengthening your core and upper-body muscles.
Step 1. Begin on your hands and knees, then curl your toes under and lift your hips to straighten your knees, pushing your heels toward the floor. Shift your weight to your left leg and raise your right leg off the floor. Keep your right foot flexed, with your toes and knee pointed down.
……… Step 2. Focus on keeping your shoulders and hips facing the floor as you shift your upper-body weight to your right hand. Slowly raise your left arm off the floor while you use your core muscles to stabilize your shoulders and pelvis. Find your balance and hold for three complete breaths. Slowly lower your arm and leg, then switch sides and repeat the exercise on the other side.
This exercise takes a classic yoga pose to a new level. If you’re already familiar with downward facing dog and flexible enough to do it correctly, then challenge your body with this variation click to see Step 1. Beginning on your hands and knees, place the heels of your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Curl your toes under, lift your hips and press your heels toward the floor as far as you can. Straighten your knees and bring your head and chest toward your thighs. If possible, have your ears between your arms. Take three to four breaths in this position.
Step 2. Slowly shift your weight over your left arm, keeping equal weight over both feet. Once you find your balance, reach your right hand toward your left leg. Grasp your left ankle, twisting your upper spine slightly to bring your right shoulder closer to your left thigh. Focus on stretching your toes forward and your heels back. Take three to four slow breaths in this position. Place your right hand on the floor and repeat on the other side.