Monthly Archives: December 2011

Yoga Pose of the Week

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This week’s pose: Side Plank Pose

What you’re toning: obliques and quadtratus lumborum

How-to: Begin in plank pose. Move your right hand slightly forward of your shoulder. Then spin to the outside edge of your right foot, so that your left foot stacks on top. Lift hips, not letting them sink toward the floor.

Lift your left arm in air, making a long line with the right arm. Press right hand firmly into floor to engage triceps and upper back. Squeeze ribs inward and squeeze upper (left) ribs down while lengthening right ribs to engage the quadtratus lumborum (an important deep hip muscle that, when weak, has been linked to lower back pain.) Energize the arms and legs equally, tailbone down.

Yoga Pose of the Week

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This week’s pose: Plank Pose Variation

What you’re toning: transverse abdominis

How-to: Start on all fours and make sure wrists are in line under shoulders. Hold your body away from the floor in plank pose, keeping your heels, butt, spine, shoulders, neck, and head in one line. Lift your left leg off the floor, then carefully raise your right hand, reaching it straight out in front of you. Switch sides, lifting the right leg and left arm.

Yoga Pose of the Week

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This week’s pose: Mermaid Pose

What you’re toning: obliques

How-to: Lie on your left side, arms stretched and extended overhead together, so that your body is one straight line. Rest your head on your left arm. Lift your legs in the air, and then raise your arms and torso as high you can. Engage your legs from the toes up and pull your stomach in. When you activate your quads to lift the thighs, it makes your legs lighter. Hold for five breaths. Then repeat on the other side.

Yoga Pose of the Week

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This week’s pose: Leg Climb

What you’re toning: rectus abdominis

How-to: Lying flat on your back with legs straight, bend your left leg to your chest and raise it straight into the air. Hold the back of your thigh with your left hand. Activate your left leg,pushing forward with your thigh and pushing back with your hand. Press your grounded right leg into the floor, toes flexed.

Now tighten the belly, lift the upper body, and try to climb up the leg, one hand over the other, without throwing the leg forward. It’s as if you’re climbing an imaginary ladder or rope. Climb until you’re sitting tall on the sit bones. Climb down and repeat with the other leg.