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Do You Know Yoga Practices Can Train Up Your Core Too? Here’s How.

Do You Know Yoga Practices Can Train Up Your Core Too? Here’s How.

Dolphin-Plank

    1. Dolphin Plank

    Even yogis love elbow planks, but we call them something else. An elbow plank by any other name will still work your abs.

    • From Downward Facing Dog, inhale and shift your weight forward coming into plank position (top of a push-up). Exhale as you lower onto your forearms so that your shoulders are stacked directly above your elbows and your body is parallel with the floor.
    • Dolphin Plank is an intense pose, so if you can’t hold for five breaths, lower one or both knees to the floor.

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    Intense-East

      2. Intense East

      Do you know by just simply facing your belly up to the sky can help work on your abs too? Pulling your low abs up and in while arching your spine makes this pose feel easier.

      • From a seated position with your legs extended straight out in front of you, place your hands behind your hips about six to eight inches, with your fingers pointing toward your toes. As you inhale, press into your hands and feet firmly, lifting your hips into the air. Lift them as high as you can so your spine is in a long line. Slowly release your head back, looking behind you, and open through your throat.
      • Stay here in Intense East pose for five deep breaths, then lower your hips to the floor.
      Camel

        3. Camel

        • Stand on your shins with your knees hips-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 to engage the abs, thighs, and tush, enjoying this pose for five breaths.

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        Warrior-3

          4. Warrior 3

          Balancing on one leg really challenges your core! If you’re not using your abs to stabilize in this pose, you’ll likely tip over. Here’s how to find your inner warrior.

          • Stand with your feet together. Inhale as you extend your arms out wide in T position or straight overhead for a more advanced variation.
          • Exhale as you bend forward at your hips, lifting your right leg straight behind you coming into Warrior 3. Draw your navel toward your spine, and hold for five breaths. Then come to stand, lower your right leg, and repeat with the left leg lifted for another five.

          Balancing-Star

            5. Balancing Star

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            This pose is similar to a side plank but in a more balanced way that trains up both your core and arms. Your obliques will certainly feel the challenge while you balance in this starry pose.

            • Begin in Downward Facing Dog, and step both feet together. Move your right hand to the left about six inches so it’s at the upper center of your mat. Step your right foot forward two inches, and plant the sole of your right foot firmly on the mat, so your toes are pointing away from you. Inhale as you roll open to your right side, and lift your left hand off the mat. Raise your left leg up into the air.
            • Gaze at your lifted hand, and hold Balancing Star for five breaths. Keeping your core engaged will help you stay balanced. Repeat this pose on the other side.

            Boat

              6. Boat

              Boat pose is the go-to move for abs in yoga. It really challenges all four layers of your abdominals, similar to the Balance Point in Pilates. Get ready for some smooth sailing.

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              • Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Bend your knees, and lift your legs off the floor, bringing your knees in toward your chest with your shins parallel to the floor. Sit up as tall as you can, and take a breath in as you slowly begin to straighten your legs. Your legs don’t need to be straight since the action of keeping your spine long and drawing your belly in is what works your abs here.
              • Hold Boat pose for five breaths.

              Crow

                7. Crow

                Do you know that a crow requires core strength more than arm?It’s really about your core! Thinking of this as an ab exercise can help you hone in on the balance needed to maintain this pose.

                • Begin in a squat, placing your hands shoulder-width distance apart on the mat. Spread your fingers as wide as you can, creating a strong, stable base. Straighten your legs slightly, placing your knees as high up onto your triceps (back of your arms) as possible. Slowly shift weight into your palms and lift your feet off the ground.
                • Stay here for five breaths gazing at the floor in front of you.

                yoga a2
                  Reference: popsugar.com

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                  Last Updated on January 5, 2021

                  15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

                  15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

                  Starting a journey with fitness goals is never easy, and you must remember this is not a crash diet; it is a lifestyle. Don’t panic and think you have to do it all at once, as this will most likely overwhelm you. You may also find yourself giving up because crash diets are not sustainable.

                  The best approach is to make simple changes to your daily habits, and over time, you will notice all your bad habits have turned into good ones.

                  Accordingly to a study by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.[1] And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.

                  Here are 15 fitness goals to help you on your journey:

                  1. Drink More Water

                  W.H. Auden said it best when he said,

                  “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”

                  With any diet, the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drinking water will support your body with digestion, transporting nutrients to your bones and muscles, and even improving cognitive function.

                  Ideally, you want to drink about half your body weight in ounces per day, i.e. if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day.

                  2. Add Some Lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Water

                  It is recommended we sleep for about 8 hours a day, but this means we spend about 8 hours per day dehydrated. Therefore, hydrating your body first thing in the morning is absolutely necessary.

                  The best way to achieve hydration is by starting your day with a glass or even two of water. For that extra boost, add lemon juice and ½ teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. The lemon and apple cider vinegar will help your body with detoxifying, cleansing, and digestion.

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                  3. Stop Drinking Your Calories

                  Yes, keeping hydrated is important, but try to avoid high-calorie drinks, such as soft drinks, specialty coffee, and juices as they are full of fast-acting sugar.

                  Really push yourself to stop drinking such drinks, and before you know it, you will notice the benefits.

                  4. Start Stretching More Often

                  The benefits are vast and the repercussions of failing to stretch can be dramatic.

                  Do yourself a favor and always stretch before and after a workout. This will promote a healthy cool down, improve flexibility, and reduce next day aches. Failure to stretch can lead to injures and muscle damage.

                  Here’re some simple stretching exercises to get you started: 15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

                  5. Add in Some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

                  You may have heard about HIIT training because it is the big thing right now, and believe me when I say that it works and should absolutely be included in your fitness goals.

                  The benefits include lower body fat, increased stamina, leaner muscles, and fantastic hormonal benefits.

                  HIIT is where you perform an intense exercise for a very short time frame (about 30 seconds), followed by a slower exercise for about 90 seconds.

                  Performing a HIIT routine for 1-3 times a week will lead to great results.

                  6. Focus on Your Breathing When You Work Out

                  For the most part, breathing is second nature, but when exercising, you may find yourself holding your breath, and this can have negative consequences.

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                  It is important to consciously take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, as this will fill your lungs with oxygen and give you the necessary energy to continue your workout.

                  7. Build More Lean Muscle

                  We all want to have lean muscles. Not only does it look good, but it also has great health benefits, including:

                  • Improved posture
                  • Reduced body fat
                  • Improved metabolism
                  • Strong bones
                  • Protects and improves joint health
                  • Improved stamina

                  You can build lean muscle by lifting weights or through other specific exercises. Learn more about building muscle in this guide: How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

                  8. Decrease Body Fat

                  This may seem like an obvious one, but it is one of the most important steps to a healthier you. Reducing your body fat has a lot of benefits such as:

                  • Improved joints and tendons
                  • Lowered risk of diabetes
                  • Reduced risk of heart disease
                  • Reduced inflammation
                  • Better performance and endurance
                  • Improved appearance and confidence
                  • Better hormonal profiles in your body

                  Remember, it is not a race to see how quickly you can decrease your body fat. Healthy weight loss is around 1-2 pounds a week for your fitness goals.[2]

                  Crash dieting or pushing yourself too much in the gym can lead to you achieving an unrealistic target, and you may find yourself gaining all the weight you have lost.

                  Think of it as a lifestyle, and take it slow and steady.

                  9. Eat More Greens

                  What you eat is the most important factor in a healthier living plan. It is important to ensure you are getting as many nutrients and vitamins from the food you are eating as possible.

                  Focus on dark, leafy greens, as they will provide you with a wide array of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants—all of which you body needs!

                  Don’t forget to avoid processed and manufactured food. They are usually high in fat and have minimal vitamins.

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                  10. Start Eliminating Sugar

                  Another top goal you can start immediately is reducing the amount of sugar you consume. It also won’t cost you anything, and will save you money and improve your health in the long run.

                  There’s no surprise we eat too much sugar, and this should be one of your top fitness goals moving forward. Cutting out liquid calories is a great way to start. If you’re looking for something sweet, turn to fruits or even dark chocolate.

                  Be careful to eliminate sugar from your diet slowly. Cutting it out all at once can cause symptoms of sugar withdrawal, which can drive you back to sugary snacks[3].

                  Common symptoms of sugar withdrawal

                    11. Allow Yourself to Rest and Recover

                    The workout is where you go to break down muscle tissue, and it builds back through proper nutrition, rest, and recovery[4]. It might be tempting to go to the gym for two hours every day as hard as you can to achieve your goals, but that’s not the most effective approach.

                    If you don’t allow for proper rest and recovery, it can set you back a few steps. Your body is more prone to injury and even illness as you can weaken your immune system from all the progressive intensity the body is facing.

                    12. Get More Sleep

                    When you are deprived of sleep, you make it next to impossible to achieve your health and fitness goals. Lack of sleep can increase stress hormones in your body, and over time these can lead to inflammation and chronic diseases.[5]

                    Make sleep a priority to let your body heal and rejuvenate. A good approach is 7 to 8 hours. Also, allow yourself some wind-down time and a pre-bed routine to help get more consistent sleep every night.

                    13. Focus on the Habit, Not the Result

                    It’s easy to get caught up in trying to achieve a certain look or shed time off of your mile, but the more important focus is on the habit that will bring you closer to those fitness goals.

                    Don’t look at the scale, the tape measurer, or the body fat percentage. Focus on the habits that will lead to those achievements.

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                    Don’t compare yourself to where others are; you’re right where you need to be.

                    14. Take Your Fitness Outside

                    This may be hard depending on the weather you experience, but the more you can be outside exposed to fresh air and sunlight, the better.

                    Being stuck in the gym doing cardio while staring at a wall won’t do much for your mental stimulation.

                    Try to challenge your body more by getting outside. Hiking is great and also just running and walking. Give yourself more access to nature and a constantly changing environment. It also beats breathing in that recycled gym air.

                    15. Do at Least One Pull Up

                    This is a great last goal to focus on because it’s a great test of strength and to see how you are progressing with your fitness.

                    If you haven’t been able to do one, you know what a challenge it can be. Having the goal of doing at least one pull up will not only show you how far you’ve progressed, but it is a great way to become dedicated and motivated.

                    The Bottom Line

                    These fitness goals will become more attainable through the year if you’re consistent with your fitness. Set yourself a concrete timeline for when you want to accomplish some or all of these in order to create realistic goals in the short term. In fact, start making one of these goals happen this month!

                    More on Setting Fitness Goals

                    Featured photo credit: Ivan Torres via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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