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A 20-Minute Yoga Sequence For a Tighter Backside

A 20-Minute Yoga Sequence For a Tighter Backside

Downward-Dog

    1. Downward Dog

    • Begin on your hands and knees. Your wrists should be underneath your shoulders, and your knees should be underneath your hips.
    • Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips, coming into an 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. Hold for five breaths.

    Three-Legged-Down-Dog

      2. Three-Legged Downward Dog

      • From Downward Facing Dog, step both feet together so your big toes are touching.
      • Shift your weight onto your hands and your left foot equally, and raise your right leg into the air. Try to keep your shoulders parallel with the ground, and gaze at your left thigh or up toward your belly to help you stay balanced.
      • Stay here for five breaths, then lower your right leg down. Perform Three-Legged Downward Dog on the other side.

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      Warrior-1

        3. Warrior 1

        • From Three-Legged Dog, come back down to Downward Facing Dog.
        • Step your right foot forward between your hands. Turn your left heel in, press into your feet, and lift your torso up.
        • Lift your arms up, and press your palms together. Draw your shoulder blades down toward your hips, and gaze up at your hands.
        • Stay here for five breaths. Then come back to Downward Dog, and move through Warrior 1 with your left foot forward.

        Warrior-3

          4. Warrior 3

          • From Warrior 1 with your left knee forward, lower your torso and lift your right leg, bringing your body parallel with the ground.
          • Extend your hands out in front of you, pressing your palms together firmly. If it bothers your shoulders to press your hands together, separate your arms so they’re shoulder-width apart. If extending your arms creates pain or pressure in your lower back, rest your hands on your hips.
          • Engage your abs, holding this position for five deep breaths. Then lower your left leg, returning to Warrior 1. Release your hands to the mat, and come into Downward Dog.
          • Then move through Warrior 3 with the other leg, move through Warrior 1, and come back to Downward Dog.

          Fierce

            5. Fierce

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            • After Downward Facing Dog, jump or step toward the top of your mat. Slowly roll up, and stand with your feet together in Mountain Pose. Bend your knees and lower your hips as you raise your arms overhead.
            • Focus on sitting back onto your heels. Tuck your tailbone in, and engage your abs, keeping your spine straight. Relax the shoulders as you gaze up toward the ceiling. Stay like this for five breaths, and then stand up into Mountain Pose.

            8bf33b4746417958_Mountain-Pose.xxxlarge_2x

              6. Mountain Pose

              • Before you begin moving, create your intention. Bring your awareness inward to your breath and focus your energy on a person, an aspiration, a dream, a hope, a purpose, or something you wish to change in the world or in your life.
              • Try to let go of any thoughts about your day: what you forgot to do, who you need to call, or a disagreement you may have had, then connect with your body in the present moment. After all this is what yoga is all about.

              Goddess

                7. Goddness

                • From Mountain Pose, step open to the right, opening your legs about three feet apart. Turn your heels in.
                • Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Your knees should be directly over your ankles, so adjust your feet if you need to. Lift your arms up, bending your elbows so they are at 90-degree angles, and open your palms away from you.
                • Hold here for five deep breaths.

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                Wide-Squat

                  8. Wide Squat

                  • Step in your feet so they’re slightly wider than your hips. Bend your knees, and lower your hips toward the ground.
                  • Bring your palms together at your heart center, and firmly press your elbows against the inside of your knees. This will help to open your hips even farther. Shift weight onto your heels, and lengthen the crown of your head toward the ceiling.
                  • Hold the pose for five deep breaths.

                  Locust

                    9. Locust Pose

                    • From Wide Squat, place your hands at the top of your mat and step back into plank. Slowly lower to the ground, and lie flat on your belly with your legs together. Place your arms by your sides so your palms are facing up.
                    • As you inhale, lift your legs, head, and upper body off the floor. Your hands remain on the floor for support. As you breathe, extend the crown of your head away from your toes, lengthening as much as you can through your spine.
                    • Stay for five breaths, and then release back to the mat.

                    Intense-East

                      10. Intense East

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                      • From Locust Pose, roll over to lie flat on your back. Sit your bottom on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Place your palms behind your hips about six to eight inches away, with your fingers pointing toward your toes.
                      • As you inhale, press into your hands and feet firmly, lifting your hips into the air. Raise them as high as you can so your spine is in a long line. Slowly release your head back, looking behind you and opening through your throat.
                      • Stay here for five deep breaths, then lower your hips to the floor.

                      Bridge

                        11. Bridge

                        • From Intense East, lie flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your body with your palms facing down. Bend your knees, placing your heels as close as you can to your bum.
                        • With your palms and feet pressing firmly into the ground, lift your hips up. Keep your palms on the mat, or clasp your hands together below your pelvis, extending through your arms. Or you can also bend your elbows and rest your hands on your lower back. If your feet are close enough, you can also hold your ankles.
                        • Stay here for five deep breaths, lifting your hips up as high as you can.

                        Savasana

                          12. Savasana

                          • After you’ve completed Bridge Pose, lie on your back and close your eyes. In order to relax and open your body fully, extend your arms a few inches away from the body, with the palms facing up. Put about 15 to 20 inches between your heels, allowing your feet to fall open with the toes pointing out. Actively shrug your shoulder blades down toward your hips. Lengthen through the spine as much as possible, relaxing your lower back toward the floor.
                          • After you’ve found a comfortable position, stay here for as long as you want, around 10 minutes or more, if your schedule allows for it. If you’re short on time, remain in Savasana at least until your heart rate slows down and your breath returns to its natural soothing rhythm.
                           
                          yoga a6
                            Reference: popsugar.com

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                            Published on March 8, 2019

                            How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

                            How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

                            When we fall into a workout routine, our moves become automatic, and the body quickly adapts. This is called muscle memory.[1] While teaching your body how to properly execute squats, push-ups, or crunches is a benefit, overly relying on these moves to consistently grow gains won’t yield the kind of results you want. That’s because the muscles work in the same way every time.

                            Simply put, they’re not being “surprised,” so they get lazy.

                            Supplementing your routine with flow yoga is one way of surprising your muscles, especially if you are new to the yoga practice and have never tried the postures. It’s like taking a new road home when you drive, deviating from your usual route. Science has found that by doing so, you’re creating new neuropathways in your brain.[2] The same is done in your muscles when you try a new routine.

                            How is this done? Let’s dive right into it.

                            How Flow Yoga Boost Your Gains in Your Workout Routine

                            Think about your current workouts:

                            If you lift weights, you rely on external tools to engage your various muscle groups. Over time, your shoulders, legs, or biceps will come to expect the weighted plates or dumbbells, in the repetitive sequences that you remember.

                            In flow yoga, we use the body as the weight. Add gravity and hundreds of different postures and combinations, and you have a workout that uses the same muscle groups, but in many different ways.

                            A pose such as plank is a full-body workout, with every muscle engaged to keep the body in one long line. While it’s a stationary pose, it requires muscle control and activation, with no room for passivity.

                              A Flow sequence, on the other hand, requires your muscle to switch from one pose to another swiftly, providing you with a more balanced and wholesome use of your major muscle groups.

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                              Not only do these poses and routines re-energize the body in a refreshing way, they also allow you to learn something new, which is powerful for the mind.

                              Bottom line? Complementing your exercise regimen with flow yoga is like hitting the shuffle button on your workouts, using your muscles in ways that “surprise” them, which in turn boost their growth and performance.

                              Energizing Flow Yoga with Added Cardio

                              Flow yoga is also known as “Vinyasa.”[3] In Sanskrit – the sacred language of the practice and its Indian roots – Vinyasa is roughly translated to “one breath, one movement.”

                              This guideline, first and foremost, enhances your breathing, and teaches you how to go from our typical shallow, chest-only breathing, to a more deeper, belly-chest breath that uses the entire lung system.

                              Not only is this beneficial for a myriad of healthcare reasons (combat allergies, eliminate toxins, reduce stress, ease anxiety), it also greatly impacts our muscles,[4] and therefore our workout.

                              Flooding your muscles with rich oxygen will only keep them healthy, while the cardio benefit will get you warmed up to take on the more challenging postures in a flow yoga class. This prevents injuries and cramping.

                              The best example of energizing cardio in flow yoga is the Sun Salutation sequence. Each pose is completed on an inhale or an exhale, until the sequence is finished. One full sequence may be repeated several times, encouraging you to take fuller and deeper breaths. The cycles warm up and loosen the body and prepare the muscles for stationary poses that are held longer.

                              Here’s how to do a Sun Salutation Flow:

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                              Due to the Sun Salutations, the muscles are not thrown into a challenging workout, but rather primed and prepared with energizing breath.

                              Why is this important, you ask? Because happy muscles are warmed-up muscles.

                              The Best Thing About Flow Yoga

                              The best thing about practicing flow yoga? You’re building strength and flexibility.

                              Strength and flexibility are like the Mecca of a wholesome workout routine. Before we get into why this is important, let’s break these two down individually to see how they stand up on their own:

                              Meet Strong Stan

                              Strong Stan is at the gym, doing bicep curls with massive dumbbells. His muscles have peaked in size, and he proudly displays them.

                              While he loves to lift weights, Strong Stan often skips stretching or warm-ups. He just doesn’t see how that could help him continue his muscle gains, so he jumps right into a heavy workout.

                              While it’s not evident to a passerby, Stan’s muscles are hurting. Without sufficient flexibility or deliberate stretching, Stan’s muscles are shortening and getting tighter. This eventually leads to joint injuries,[5] because un-stretched muscles have limited range of motion.

                              Big muscles are a sure indicator of strength, but here’s the kicker – choosing not to prioritize flexibility will keep them inherently at risk.

                              Meet Flexible Fiona

                              Flexible Fiona is in a flow yoga class, easing herself into a backbend.[6] She effortlessly gets into the pose, and “hangs” out there for a few breaths while the teacher cues the class.

                              Even though the teacher instructs the students to engage their glutes and be mindful that this is an active pose, Flexible Fiona opts otherwise, and relaxes into the posture by sacrificing the strength she ought to be building.

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                              To many in the class, Fiona’s execution of the backbend would be a success – maybe even something to envy. However, what Fiona doesn’t realize is that her excessive flexibility is actually a detriment to her joints.[7]

                              Flexibility has been defined as the “absolute range of motion” by Tony Gummerson, Martial Arts instructor. For people who are naturally flexible, that line of absolute range is often blurry and, in practice, overlooked.

                              It’s very easy for Fiona to go above and beyond her range of motion, since her flexibility parameters are much wider than what Strong Stan may experience in a similar pose.

                              Because she doesn’t feel the stretch in the same degree of motion as other students in class, Fiona has to push the envelope of her flexibility. This puts too much pressure on the joints that are already overworked, and it overstretches the muscles that are now prone to tearing.

                              Your goal is to create muscle and joint balance and wholeness.

                              What Strong Stan and Flexible Fiona have in common is that they’re both missing vital pieces of muscle awareness.

                              In Stan’s case, heavy and tight muscles crave flexibility. Without it, not only would Stan hit a plateau in his gains because of a sure injury, but he would miss out on having the lean and toned muscles that we all want to have.

                              In Fiona’s case, her overstretched muscles are not getting a workout at all. Rather, her excessive flexibility is resting on her joints, which leads to definite injury.

                              So what can you do? It’s quite simple.

                              You have to give your muscles the opposite of what they’re used to.

                              If you’re a Stan and hate stretching, focusing on your flexibility is key. You will lengthen your tight muscles, and you’ll create new muscle memory by practicing routines that are new to you and your muscle groups.

                              If you’re a Fiona and hate strengthening, focusing on this priority is vital. Your muscles are used to being passive as you stretch, so shaking up the usual and putting them to work will not only keep you injury-free, but that much closer to the muscle gains you’ve been looking for.

                              Fortunately, flow yoga is the whole package, and can be the one-stop-shop for both Stan and Fiona.

                                Final Thoughts

                                If you’re serious about using flow yoga to supplement your workout routine to boost gains, sign up for a class at your local gym or yoga studio. There are a number of styles of yoga to try, but as we’ve discussed in this article, the Vinyasa style is your best bet to complement a moderate exercise regimen.

                                Many studios offer beginner-style Vinyasa classes, where the instructor will explain the basics, and break down the sequences in a pace that is suitable for entry-level students. From here, the student can build upon their practice, and opt for more challenging, fast-paced classes, such as Power Flow or Ashtanga.

                                Working out is a lesson in teaching your muscles. The gains that we grow are the result of that experience, and it all comes down to conditioning our body in a way that is healthy, efficient, and balanced.

                                With a practice like flow yoga, we can offer supplemental training to our current regimen that will work our muscles in ways that are new, refreshing, and “surprising.” This method will keep our muscles toned and lean, as long as we prioritize the balance between strength and flexibility to ensure that we’re meeting both of these needs. Our muscle gains and body health depend on it.

                                More Resources About Yoga and Fitness

                                Featured photo credit: Edit Sztazics via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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