Yoga is a great way to help strengthen and tone your body. What sets yoga apart from other forms of exercise is the use of breath, awareness of the body and intention. Before you begin, set a clear intention for your practice. Use this intention to draw strength from during the challenging moments you may face. As you practice, use your breath to help you with the movements. Vinyasa, is a form of yoga that links breath to movement. Linking breath and movement not only helps your body move more smoothly through the postures, but it also has a very calming effect on your mind. This allows you to move with focus and ease. With these simple, yet challenging postures, focus your attention inside of your body to feel which muscles are working. Your attention to your breath, body and intention will help you become physically and mentally stronger.
Read on for the first 4 postures…
Start on your hands and knees. Bring your forearms to the floor and interlace your fingers. Tuck your toes under and straighten your legs. Lower your hips in line with your shoulders, stack your shoulders above your elbows, and tuck your tailbone under. Hold here for ten breaths. Every exhale, squeeze your belly button towards your back.
Bring your knees to the floor, but continue to tuck your tailbone under and engage your core.
Strengthens shoulders, core, and legs
Exhale: Tap your right hip to the floor
Inhale: Come back to forearm plank
Exhale: Tap your left hip to the floor
SIDE PLANK | Vasisthasana
From forearm plank, bring you right fingertips to the inside of your left elbow and roll to the outer edge of your right foot, flex your foot to keep your ankle firm. Lift you left arm up to the sky. Squeeze your legs and your core to help you balance. Lift your hips up in line with your shoulders. Hold here for ten breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Bring one foot in front of the other to help with balance
Repeat on the other side.
Strengthens shoulders, obliques, and legs
Oblique Dips: Bring your top hand behind your head, point your elbow up to the sky.
Inhale: lower your hip to lightly tap the floor.
Exhale: squeeze your bottom oblique to lift your hips up as high as you can
Repeat 5-10 times on both sides
Start from forearm plank with fingers interlaced and knees lifted. As you inhale, lift your hips up into dolphin pose. This pose is similar to downward facing dog with the forearms on the floor. Work on bringing your chest closer to your thighs to open your shoulders and chest. Keep your core engaged and relax your shoulders away from your ears.
Bring your knees to the floor.
Strengthens shoulders, core and legs
Increases flexibility in chest, shoulders, and hamstrings
Dolphin Push Ups
Exhale: hinge forward into forearm plank.
Inhale: lift your hips back to dolphin pose
Repeat 15 times
BOAT POST | Navasana
Start seated with your knees into your chest. Use your hands to support the back of your thighs. Straighten you spine and engage your core. Slightly lean your upper body back as you lift your ankles up in line with your knees. If your back rounds, bring your feet back to the floor and work on lifting up with your chest. If you back is straight, keep your feet lifted and extend your arms out in line with your shins
Sink the boat
Inhale: lower down half way. Press your lower back down into the mat as you hover your shoulders and heels above the floor.
Exhale: lift back up to boat
Place your hands on the floor behind you for support.
Strengthens lower abdominals and hip flexors
The up level:
Straighten your legs
CHECK BACK NEXT WEEK FOR PART TWO!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
From a very young age Jennifer has been passionate about movement. She came from a very athletic background. She was a gymnast, swimmer, and spring board diver growing up. From these sports she gained body awareness, physical and mental strength and flexibility which made the transition onto the yoga mat seamless and natural. Jennifer has been practicing yoga since 2007. Jennifer connected not only with the physical aspect of the yoga practice, but also with the mental, energetic, and spiritual aspects as well. Jennifer has studied a wide variety of styles of yoga. She completed her 200 hour teacher training with CorePower Yoga in 2011, where she developed challenging and dynamic vinyasa flow classes. The following year she completed her 500 hour teacher training with the Soul of Yoga in Encinitas, CA. She studied with master teachers; Brian Dorfman, Leslie Kaminoff, Tim Miller, and Nischala Joy Devi. The new found knowledge from the 500 hour training inspired Jennifer to work one-on-one with individuals, especially with specific needs, incorporating a more gentle and therapeutic approach to help people heal themselves. She has combined elements of each style to create truly unique and mindful classes. Her classes are accessible and inspire growth to all levels.
To schedule a session with Jennifer or view her class schedule visit: www.jloweyoga.com