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Lose the Love Handles! Yoga Routine
This sequence won't burn away the fat, but once you do some cardio to trim down your tummy, these moves will leave you with awesome abs and a flat belly. 1. Down Dog Come onto the hands and knees with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips, coming into the classic upside-down-V shape called Downward Facing Dog. Spread your fingers wide, and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Breathe deeply for five breaths. 2. Warrior 1 From Down Dog, inhale to step your right foot forward between your hands. Turn your left heel in, press into your feet, and lift your torso up. Raise your arms up, and press your palms together. Draw your shoulder blades down toward your hips, and gaze up toward your hands in Warrior 1. Stay here for five breaths. 3. Warrior 2 From Warrior 1, inhale to open your hips, arms, and chest to the left. Gaze past your right fingertips, keeping your front thigh parallel with the floor. Stay like this in Warrior 2 for five complete breaths. 4. Extended Side Angle From Warrior 2, exhale as you plant your right hand on the floor beside your right foot, and raise your left arm over your ear. Hold Extended Side Angle for five breaths. 5. Sage From Extended Side Angle, release your left palm to the mat in Down Dog position. Grab onto your right big toe with the first two fingers and thumb of your right hand. Inhale to come up onto the ball of the back foot, and roll open to the left, raising your right leg into the air and planting your left heel on the mat. Straighten the leg if you can or keep the knee bent, gazing at your right hand while holding Sage for five deep breaths. 6. Sage Tree From Sage, release your right toes, bend your right knee, and use your right hand to pull your right heel as high up on your inner thigh as possible, so it's in Tree position. Once you're stable, reach your right arm up above you, and if you can, gaze up at your palm. Stay here in Sage Tree for five deep breaths, trying to keep your core strong and the pose steady. 7. Balancing Star From Sage Tree, straighten the right leg into the air. Gaze at your lifted hand, and hold Balancing Star for five breaths. Keeping your core engaged will help you stay balanced. 8. One-Legged Four-Limbed Staff From Balancing Star, keep the right leg lifted, and as you exhale, release your right hand to the mat and bend your elbows behind you, slowly lowering into Four-Limbed Staff. Keep your abs engaged and your body in one straight line with the right leg lifted. If this is too difficult, rest the right knee on the floor. Hold here for five complete breaths. 9. Upward Facing Dog From One-Legged Four-Limbed Staff, release the right foot to the floor and inhale as you scoop the chest forward, coming into Upward Facing Dog. Continue to press equally into the tops of the feet and palms, breathing for five breaths. 10. Clasped Locust From Up Dog, release your belly to the floor. Bring the arms behind your lower back, and clasp your fingers together, pressing the heels of the palms together in a double fist. As you inhale, pull the hands away from you to lift the chest as high as you can, simultaneously raising the feet. Lengthen through the spine by drawing the head away from the toes, holding Clasped Locust for five breaths. 11. Press back into Child's Pose to release the lower back.
5 Unbelievable Stretches for Tight Hips
Every time you sit down, you're actively shortening the muscles in your hips, which ultimately makes them feel stiff. Luckily, some simple-but-incredibly-satisfying stretches can relieve the tension and promote flexibility. Here they are: 1. Figure Four: Lie on your back with your arms along your sides, your knees bent, and the soles of your feet on the floor near your butt. Place your right ankle over your left leg, just below the knee. With both hands, grasp your left thigh. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground, and bend your elbows to gently pull your left knee in toward your chest. (You should feel it in your right hip.) Repeat on the opposite side. 2. Standing Bow: Balance on your left foot and bend your right knee as you bring your right foot toward your butt. With your right hand, grab the inside of the right foot. Keeping your hips square to the ground, hinge forward slightly as you reach up and forward with your left hand, and lift the right foot up behind you until you feel the stretch in your right hip. Repeat on the opposite side. 3. Upward-Facing Dog: Lie facedown on a mat with the tops of your feet on the ground and your toes pointed behind you. With bent elbows, place both palms on the ground near your hips. Relax your shoulders as you extend your elbows, and open your chest toward the front of your mat. Take your gaze upward and press into the palms to lift your hips up off the ground. To increase the stretch, increase the arch in your back and press the hips forward. 4. Floor Bow: Lie facedown on a mat and bend both knees to bring your heels toward your butt. With your left hand, reach behind you to grab the outside of your left foot. With your right hand, reach behind you and grab the outside of your right foot. Arch your back as you simultaneously use your hands to lift your knees and chest up off the floor. 5. Supta Virasana With High Hips: Sit on your knees with the tops of your feet pressed against the floor, your toes pointing behind you, and your butt on your heels. Gently lean back and place your elbows on the floor about knees-width apart. Place your left palm on your left heel and your right palm on your right heel. Keeping your neck in line with your spine and your shoulders away from your ears, press your hips up toward the ceiling.
7 Yoga Poses For Super Flexibility
Don't push yourself too hard with these moves. The point is to gently stretch your muscles so that you become more flexible, not to push them too far so you're too sore to move the next day! 1. Relaxed Down Dog - Come onto your hands and feet in Downward Facing Dog. - Bend your knees, lift your heels off the mat, and allow your spine to arch, pressing your navel toward your thighs. - Stay like this for five breaths. 2. Arching Three Legged Dog - From Relaxed Down Dog, step both feet together so your big toes are touching. Keeping the left heel on the mat, raise your right leg in the air coming into Three-Legged Dog, and then bend the knee. Actively squeeze your right heel in toward your hip, lifting the knee high. - Lift your head up and turn to look over your left shoulder, arching the spine. Think about drawing your head and foot toward each other - Hold here for five breaths 3. Wild Thing - From Arching Three-Legged Dog, keep your left foot where it is. Bring your right knee into your chest, raise your left hand up, and simultaneously rotate your torso 180 degrees so your belly is pointing up toward the ceiling as you plant your right foot on the ground about a foot and a half to the right of your left foot. - Deeply arch the spine, and reach your left fingertips toward the floor. - Actively press into your feet and right hand to lift the hips as high as you can, breathing here for five breaths, gazing at your extended hand. 4. Arching Pigeon - Lift your right foot and arm into the air, and rotate your torso 180 degrees, pivoting on your left foot. Plant your right hand in Down Dog position, and bring your right knee between your hands, coming into Pigeon. - Plant your palms beside your hips, and gently arch back, releasing your head between your shoulder blades. - Enjoy this pose for five breaths. 5. Revolved Pigeon - From Arching Pigeon, release your left elbow to the mat in front of your right knee, palm facing down. - Raise your right arm into the air and hold your right hip or for a deeper twist, hold onto your right toes. Actively draw your right shoulder back as you gaze over the top shoulder. - Breathe here for five breaths. 6. Camel - From Revolved Pigeon, untwist the torso, plant your palms on the mat in front of you, and step your left knee forward, coming to stand on the shins. Make sure the knees are hip-width distance apart. - Lean back and place your hands on your heels, arching back, and allowing the head to fall between the shoulder blades. - Continue to press the hips forward, enjoying this pose for five breaths. 7. King Pigeon - Rise up from Camel, place your hands on the mat in front of you, and come to lie on the belly. Walk your hands in toward your hips, coming into Cobra. - Actively press into the palms, bend both knees, arch back, and try to touch your toes to your head. - Stay here for five deep breaths.
5 Stress-Reducing Yoga Poses
It's the middle of the week and if your life is anything like mine, you need some serious "me" time. I am tired and tense and just need some genuine TLC. The best form of that is through 15-30 minutes of yoga (maybe some ice cream too, right?) Here are five of my favorite stress reducing poses to get you through the rest of your week. Knees to Chest Lie on back, bring knees into chest, hug them, and rock from side to side. Breathe deeply into lower back and with each exhalation, allow entire back to relax. Hold this pose for at least 40 seconds. Easy Spin Twist From knees to chest pose, keep right knee pulled into chest and let left leg go straight onto the floor. Take a deep breath and on your exhale, bring knee across the body. Keep shoulder blades on the floor & look out over right shoulder. Hold this for about 40 seconds & then switch sides. Legs to Wall Sometimes called the nurse’s pose, the legs to wall pose alleviates lower back pain. Lie down with butt at the wall (or at least as close as possible). Extend legs up the wall. Flex toes toward the torso and work on getting knees straight by extending the hamstrings. Hold this pose for at least one minute. Reclining Pigeon The great thing about this pose is that it releases hips and lower back, both of which are areas that we hold a lot of stress. Remain on back and bring right leg on top of left thigh. Reach arms around right leg and grab your shin. (If you can’t reach your shin then grab the back of your thigh. Pull knee to your chest.) Ideally hold this pose for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes on one side, switch sides, and hold left side as long as the right. A quick note: Don’t surprised if one side feels tighter than the other. Downward Facing Dog Come to all fours. Bring hands about should distances apart and feet hip distant apart.Press into hands into the ground and lift butt toward the ceiling. Ideally, you should look like an inverted “V” shape. Try to get heels toward the ground and hips toward the ceiling. To loosen up further, take turns alternating bending your knees and bring movement to the pose.
You're A Few Simple Steps Away from the Splits!
In order to really do the splits, you need serious flexibility in your hamstrings and hips. These four moves will target those areas, loosen you up, and get you on your way to finally doing the splits! Tip-over Tuck Begin standing with your feet hips distance apart. Bring your arms behind you and interlace your fingers right below your sacrum (back of your pelvis). If you can, press the heels of your palms together in a double fist. Actively pull your hands away from your shoulders to increase the stretch in your chest.From here, lean your chest forward and lift your hands up overhead as you fold your torso toward your thighs. Keep both legs straight. Make sure you're lengthening through your spine by reaching the top of your head toward the floor. Stay like this for five breaths, and when you're ready to come out, actively press into your feet, engage your thighs, and slowly lift your torso back up to a standing position. Head-to-Toe Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you. Bend your right knee and pull the sole of your foot against your left inner thigh. Reach your right hand to the outside edge of your left foot so you can stack your torso directly on top of your left leg. Bring your left hand to the arch of your left foot. If you can't reach your hands to your foot, then reach out as far as you can, resting your chest on your left thigh. Remember, the point here is to stretch your hamstrings, hips, and lower back, not to touch your foot. Stay here for five breaths, relaxing your shoulders away from your ears. Then do the other side. Seated Straddle Sit down with your feet about three to four feet apart (not as wide as you can go). Reach back with your right hand and move the flesh of your right bum cheek away from you, and then do the same with your left. This will help your pelvis ground more firmly so you can stretch your hamstrings more effectively. Sit tall, reaching your head away from your hips, and draw your belly and ribs in. Keep that length as you begin to fold forward at your waist, sliding your hands down your legs or on the floor in front of your head. Go down as far as you need to feel a stretch in your hamstrings, but you don't want to feel pain. Hold for five breaths. Kneeling Hip Flexor Fold up a towel and place it about eight inches away from a wall.Kneel down and place your left knee on the towel and your toes against the wall. Now place your right foot on the ground in front of you, and lower your hips until you feel a stretch in the front of your left hip. Make sure your right knee is directly above your ankle. Place your hands on your front knee to help keep your torso straight. Stay like this for five breaths. Then slowly release and do this stretch on the other side.
Face Workout: Preventing Sagging Skin
Gravity is a part of life, there is no avoiding it, and the same goes for growing older. Our skin grows old and tired as we age, but there is no reason for it to look saggy and defeated! Here are three simple daily exercises to keep your skin looking tight and fresh - no matter what gravity tries to do to you! Step 1 Sit or stand in a comfortable position and then gently tilt your head backward. With the chin tilted back, try to lift your lower lip over your top lip. Once you have it as far as you can stretch, hold the position for about five seconds. Then relax the lips but keep the chin tilted up. Practice the exercise with the lips four more times. You can do this exercise two to three times a day. Step 2 Practice sticking out your tongue (maybe try this when you're alone). Now, tilt your head backward and look at the ceiling. Stick that tongue out, pointing upward toward the ceiling as well. You will feel the stretch and pull not only at the back of the tongue, but all along the front of the neck and underneath the jaw or chin line. Hold the position for about five seconds and then relax. Repeat this exercise three or four more times as comfortable. You can repeat this exercise several times a day if you wish. Step 3 Lie down on your back on your bed or a sofa, with your head hanging down over the end, face turned upward facing the ceiling. Arms should be at your sides, your body relaxed and comfortable. Slowly and evenly, lift your head upward until it is even with the rest of your body. You should feel this exercise all around the front of the throat and you may even feel a pull at the back of your head near your neck. Hold the head in this position for a count of 10 if you can, five seconds if you feel any discomfort. Relax. Repeat the exercise several more times. You can extend the hold time to 10 or 15 seconds as you grow stronger.