Using yoga to tone for the beach
- Mums Tips
- Fitness & Health
- Published on Thursday, 26 June 2014 12:10
- Last Updated on 16 June 2014
- 0 Comments
We all know that feeling of wanting to have the best bikini body on the beach but not wanting to move from the comfort of our home to exercise. Well, did you know that not only can yoga help calm the mind, yoga postures also have the added benefits of giving you a gorgeously toned body and core. The beauty of yoga is that you don’t even have to leave the house to practice and you don’t need any fancy equipment. Unlike running there’s no need to brave the wind and rain outside and you can practise your breathing techniques (pranayama) and postures (Asana) in a way that will help you emotionally unwind while simultaneously strengthening and toning your body. Here are some tips to use yoga to tone for the beach.
There are five key positions that you can learn and use by yourself at home to really work and tone those abdominal muscles ready for the pool.
– Bidalasana – Bidalasana also known as cat curls helps relieve lower back pain and lengthen your spine. To start with get down on your hands and knees with hands placed directly under shoulders and knees under the hips. Inhale and lift your heart, stretch the back through your tail and concave your spine. Exhale and roll your spine, lowering the head, pressing through the hands and return to straight back. Inhale as you curl the spine up and exhale back to flat back.
– Paripurna Navasana – This is one of the most effective positions to build core strength and endurance. Sit on the mat with both legs in front of you. Place your hands behind your hips and keep your back long as you lean back slightly and lift your legs off the floor, holding your belly in and up the entire time. Reach both arms out to the sides of your thighs. Lower your legs about 45 degrees, until your body resembles a wide ‘V’. Hold this position for 10 long, deep breaths and feel the results!
– Ustrasana – Or in English, ‘camel pose.’ This active pose works your abs, back and thighs. Kneel on the floor with your knees hip-width apart, toes tucked under. Extend your arms out straight in front of your chest, palms facing down. Lift your chest and press your pelvis forward as you hinge backwards, arching slightly through your lower back (this pose isn’t advised for anyone with lower back pain already!) Pause and focus on opening up your chest while also keeping your ribcage down and your belly button drawn into your spine. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat up to 10 times.
– Vrksasana – Also known as the tree pose, this position will have your abdominals working overtime as you will be balancing on one leg. Shift your weight onto your left leg. Draw your right knee into your chest, grab your ankle, and press the bottom of your right foot onto your left thigh. If you’re finding balancing very easy then press your palms together in front of your chest. Brace your abdominals in tight to your spine, making sure you can still breathe easily. Hold this pose for 10 long, deep breaths and repeat with the other leg.
– Malasana – These are effectively yoga squats and are great for building strength and stamina. When practising the squats focus on relaxing and letting your breath drop deeply into your belly. Stand facing the back of a chair with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed outward. Squat toward the floor as though you were going to sit down in a chair. Contract the abdominal muscles, lift your chest, and draw the shoulders back and down. Most of your weight should be directed toward your heels. This can be practised against a wall for support.
If you haven’t practised yoga before then there are plenty of classes available where you can learn the positions before you attempt them at home.
YogaBellies was set up in Glasgow in 2009 by founder, Cheryl MacDonald. She has taught women from all over the world her YogaBellies teaching techniques and she now has 108 franchisees based across the UK and in Cyprus, Sweden, Greece and South Korea. In September 2013 Cheryl and her husband, Mike, appeared on BBC’s Dragons’ Den where they won investment from Duncan Bannatyne but have since decided to go it alone.
YogaBellies offer a YogaBelles Yang Core Play class which is designed purely for core strengthening and engaging the bandhas or internal yogic lochs (locks.) YogaBelles Yang Core Play sessions comprise the same 19 postures in each session, each asana focused on strengthening your physical and mental core. Yang yoga is the more traditional hatha asana practice that develops muscular strength, stamina, and flexibility.
The movement and repetition of YogaBelles Yang will develop muscular strength and flexibility. This practice is perfect for people looking for a more active practice to energise the mind and body ready for the beach.