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Yoga – not just for Yogi’s!
I gotta admit, the first time I was ever invited to a yoga class I was a little bit skeptical. As one who would MUCH rather lift something heavy, I went along with it for the sake of health and fitness and wanting to try something new. I must admit – I was completely and pleasantly surprised! Afterwards I felt looser, more relaxed, and it was a surprisingly good workout (hello shoulder stabilizers during downward-facing dog, high plank, and upward-facing dog sequence!). Since that time long ago I’ve actually come to include many yoga poses in my exercise prescription for my physical therapy patients. It’s a phenomenal way to stretch, strengthen, and relax all at the same time! I feel that everyone could benefit from doing a few classic yoga poses everyday; so today I wanted to share with you my top 10 yoga poses you should be doing (or at least try them out!). Here we go!
Recently I had the amazing opportunity to fly out to New York and attend a launch party for Kohl’s stores carrying the Gaiam yoga brand as part of their #MakeYourMove campaign. Following a day of touring and sight-seeing we were ready to rock and roll. Vanessa Hudgens and Tracy Anderson showed up as we were led by Two Fit Moms for 60 minutes of an awesome yoga class. I’m certainly not the most-flexible person in the world, but I’m proud to say that of the three other dudes that were there I totally held my own! Here are some more of my favorite pics from the event:
The Empire State Building costs $32 to go to the top and the ground floor is a Walgreen’s.
Rockefeller ice rink isn’t that cool when they’re breaking it down in the spring.
The janitors in Central Park will open a restroom after it’s closed if you ask nicely and have an exceptionally pleading look in your eyes.
Original Famous Ray’s Pizza is totally all that it’s hyped up to be (I walked 10 miles that day according to my FitBit … I figured I had earned it!)
Even though it was a pretty chilly spring morning, we had a good-sized group show up to feel the flow.
Success! Seen here rocking my Kohl’s garb after an awesome session!
Get the look right here:
So what are the poses you should be doing daily? Here we go with pictures and descriptions below!
1. Child’s pose: one of my go-to’s for low back pain. Sit comfortably on your heels with your arms stretched out in front of you. Tuck you chin into your chest until a comfortable stretch is felt throughout your entire spine.
2. Pigeon pose: My personal favorite IT band and piriformis (that muscle that gets tight and painful in the back of your hip) stretch. Get down on all fours and cross one leg in front of the other. Lean down and back a little until a comfortable stretch is felt in your backside.
4. Upward facing dog: Great exercise to increase spine mobility, especially stretching further into extension (a position that we typically don’t get into that much). Lay on your stomach. Push up onto your hands as high as you can with your hips still in contact with the ground until a good stretch is felt throughout your spine.
5. Cat / Cow: Another common exercise in my PT clinic for increasing overall spine mobility. Get down on all fours starting with your spine in a neutral position. Tuck your chin into your chest and arch your back up toward the ceiling (this is the “angry cat” part of this pose). Next keep your elbows extended while dropping your chest/stomach down towards the floor and looking up straight ahead (this is the “camel” part of the pose”.
6. Bridge: I typically go to a bridge exercise in sets and reps for back and butt strengthening. However- the longer you hold it the more fatiguing it becomes. Lay on your back with your knees bent. Use your butt and back to push your hips towards the ceiling and hold. Your glutes should be contracted to hold your hips up off the ground.
7. Seated twist: A personal favorite of mine that I’m sure to do on the first tee block before teeing off. Sit on the ground with your legs out straight. Bend your left leg and put your left foot on the outside of your right knee. Rotate your trunk and put your right elbow to the outside of your left knee and push gently until you get a good stretch throughout your spine.
8. Wide legged standing forward bend: Great way to work on your hamstring flexibility. Stand with your feet a little wider than your hips. Keep your legs straight and bend forward at your hips, reaching towards the ground until a stretch is felt in the back of your legs.
9. Plank pose: Probably my favorite core strengthening exercise. Few exercises work all the muscles of your abdominal wall and core the way that a plank does. Lay down on your stomach with your elbows tucked under you. Now push up so just your toes and forearms are in contact with the floor. Keep your back straight and your stomach tight.
10. Thread the needle: Another common stretch seen in my clinic. A great pose to loosen up the hips and back. Lay on your back with both knees bent. Cross your right ankle over your left knee. Grasp with both hands around your left hamstring and pull your left knee up towards your left shoulder until a comfortable stretch is felt in your right hip.
So now I want to hear how you #MakeYourMove. If you haven’t ever done it before, I want you to pick 5 of these yoga poses, try them out, and tell me how it goes in a comment below
Make it happen,
By Jared Beckstrand
Jared’s gear from the at-home yoga session:
FitBit Charge HR Activity and Heart Rate Monitor: http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1989010/fitbit-charge-hr-wireless-activity-heart-rate-wristband-black.jsp
Nike Dri Fit Tee (white black swoosh): http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1167424/nike-dri-fit-tee-men.jsp
Nike Club Swoosh Utility Fleece Athletic Pants – Men: http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1347841/nike-club-swoosh-utility-fleece-athletic-pants-men.jsp
Gaiam Premium 3mm Thick Yoga Mat: http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1880998/gaiam-premium-3-mm-thick-yoga-mat.jsp
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.