You don't need to love yoga to bust through this flow. Designed to flatten and tone your tummy, it will require strength, attention to breath and plenty of balance. Registered yoga instructor, Jean Sherfick, will lead you through this flow, beginning with a welcoming warm up and ending in a well deserved savasana. Ohm. Get to work!
From standing position, bend over, placing your hands on the floor. Walk your hands out until both your hands and your feet are completely touching the mat. You should resemble a downward “v.” Take your legs out to shoulder-width apart and spread your fingers apart. Press through your palms and keep your hips pushed back. Keep your neck relaxed and hold this position.
Get into your downward dog by first coming into your high plank. Push the hips back, pressing into your heels until you reach your downward dog. Lift one leg high. Look to your belly button. Pull the leg into the body by bending the knee and bracing the core. Do not let the leg touch the floor on the way to the outside elbow. You'll have the same-side elbow and knee meet first. Keep your hips down and your shoulder blades nicely rounded for stabilization. Slightly rotate the hips as the knee crosses underneath the body and taps the other elbow. Really squeeze the obliques and find balance in the arms through the triceps. Extend the leg out and return it to the 3-legged downward dog position to begin a second rep.
Lie face down on floor resting on your forearms. Push up off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows. Keep your back flat, contracting your abdominal muscles while you hold your body in a straight line from head to heels. Don’t let your butt sag or stick up in the air.
Come into your downward dog, pressing the heels into the floor. Then walk yourself down to your elbows and claps the hands together. Make sure the head drops between the arms. It's OK if the heels come off the floor since you're lower. Stabilize through the shoulders as you lean the chest forward, allowing it to come between the elbows. Keep the hips slightly piked, the the arch of a dolphin's back. As you come forward, you'll test your balance and challenge the core. Shift back to your starting position to complete your first rep.
Come to your hands and knees, spreading the knees a few inches apart. Drop your hips backward toward your heels; drop your head between your arms as your hands stay on the ground. Reach them out in front of you. Rest you forehead on the floor if you can and breathe, allowing yourself to melt into the pose more with each exhale.
Come into a low plank by setting your elbows under the shoulders and pressing your hands into the mat, straight out in front of you. Round the shoulder blades and engage your lats. Keep your feet together and squeeze the inner thighs up through the core. Make sure you're in a nice straight line. Exhale and lift one foot from the floor, keeping it flexed. You want your hips to stay square to your mat, so try to isolate that movement from the rest of your body. Push back through that supporting leg's heel. Lower the foot to the ground then repeat on the other side.
This pose is excellent for a deep oblique and lat stretch as well as strengthener. Come to your knees and extend one leg out to the side, keeping your entire foot on the ground. Rest the same side arm on the extended leg, then lift the other arm up and over, stretching to to the opposite side. Look up toward your raised arm. Reverse the movement by dropping the raised arm to your side and lifting the other arm up and over your head as you gaze down. Keep the hips pushed forward so you don't sink backward out of your posture.
Come into a side plank position with your wrist under your shoulder and your feet either stacked or staggered. Make sure your hips are not rolling backward, forward or hinging. Push yourself up by squeezing your lower oblique. Rest the other hand on your hip. Flex the feet as you lift the top one as high as you can, aiming to get it to hip level. If this is too difficult, drop the bottom knee and tuck the leg straight behind you in a 90-degree bend. As you lift and lower, be aware of you lower hip position — don't let it drop!
Sit down, bend your knees, then raise your legs until the knees are over the hips. Raise your upper body until you create a “V” from the chest to the thighs. Extend the arms forward for balance. Pull the belly button in so you are not arching your back. Try to get your calves parallel with the floor. Inhale and extend the legs out as you drop the upper body, opening the "V" to become almost parallel with the floor. Think about being long. Flex or point the feet. Watch to video to see the move performed.
Lie on your back with your arms at your side, palms down. Raise your legs over the hips and pointing the feet. Create the "Barbie foot" by flexing only the toes. Bring one leg about 12 inches closer to you and hold this position. Lower the legs, keeping them firmly locked in your starting position. You're only changing the angle of your hips by opening it as you lower. Raise the legs up again and repeat a few more reps before switching legs.
Lie face down with your legs slightly wider apart than your hips. Place your palms on the mat under your chest, fingers pointing forward. Press your elbows in close to your ribcage and squeeze your shoulder blades towards one another. You should feel your chest start to open. Inhale and use your back muscles (not just your arms) to lift your head and chest off the floor. Come to the tops of your toes and take deep breaths. Keep your neck elongated and in line with your spine. To help, find a spot a few steps in front you to look at. Hold for 10 seconds. Exhale as you return to the starting position. Hold for one deep breath and then repeat. Do this as many times as you can for 60 seconds.
Awesome work on your abs today! If your abs aren’t burning yet, jump right back into two additional rounds of these exercises. Namaste!
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