Utthita Parsvakonasana is a great asana to create new energy in your body. It helps expand the ribs down both sides of your body to allow deep full breaths.
Think about when you wake up in the morning, and stretch your arms above your head with a giant yawn. That's opening up your sides to allow air into your lungs in a similar way.
You need to pay attention to stabalising your legs and hips when completing Utthita parsvakonasana, so that you are well balanced to achieve the fullest stretch possible right through your body to the tips of your fingers.
One of the greatest benefits of yoga, is learning to focus your mind, and this pose is great for that. Ensure that you are focusing on the many different parts of the pose, from your feet, through your legs and hips, your arms and head, all at the same time. This trains your mind to focus on many things simultaneously.
Watch the following video, as Kerri McCubben shows us how to do Utthita parsvakonasana;
When you are completing this asana properly, with your breathing, mind and body in alignment, you will feel how yoga unites the spirit, mind and body as one.
Utthita parsvakonasana works the whole body, so it's a good idea to complete the asana earlier in your routine, so that you can maintain good form without any fatigue having set in.
If you'd love to get into more technical info about the extended side angle pose, then check out this Wikipedia page.
Looking for more yoga poses for your practice? We've got 50 beginner yoga poses for you to try.
Keep practicing, and stay healthy!
Parighasana, or gate pose is a great beginners level side bend, providing a great stretch through the side muscles and opening up the breathing, to be truly three dimensional.
This asana is part of the yoga practice which was made popular by K. Pattabhi Jois during the 20th Century, called Ashtanga vinyasa yoga. often promoted now as classical Indian yoga.
Within this practice for each asana there are three important focuses of attention. Breathing system (pranayama), posture (asana), and looking place (dristhi), which importantly cover three levels of purification; the body, nervous system and the mind.
We should be mindful and focus on these as we complete our yoga practice, to obtain the most benefits.
Parigha literally means, the bar that shuts the gate, and your body resembles that bar when doing this pose.
Coordinating your breathing while doing Parighasana will help to cleanse your system and relax your mind, calming nerves and helping with digestion.
Watch below as Kerri McCubben provides instruction on how to do Parighasana;
Be careful when practicing Parighasana to keep your chest perpendicular with the floor and your torso straight. Don't allow your body to twist and bend forward rather than to the side.
For those who have had previous bad knee injuries or chronic knee problems, it's better to avoid this pose altogether. You can do a similar side stretch while sitting on a chair instead, to achieve many of the same benefits.
If you've mastered Parighasana, and are looking for more asana's to practice, then we've got 50 beginner yoga poses here for you to try.
Enjoy! And remember, time spent working on yourself is always time well spent.
Upavistha Konasana looks hard doesn't it? Yoga poses come in all degrees of difficulty, and while I'm calling this a beginners pose, because it's a preparatory pose for other asana's, it is a challenging and intense stretch that will help center your mind as you release tension and embrace the pose.
Wherever you are on your fitness journey, starting to incorporate yoga will bring benefits. As someone who loves to run and lift, learning some of the foundational yoga poses really helps with my flexibility and lengthening muscles.
Upavistha Konasana, or seated forward bend helps stretch the entire back, your hamstrings and inner thigh muscles
Upavista means seated, and kona means angle in the Sanskrit language. It's a really useful pose to use as preparation for most of the seated forward bends and twists.
Watch as Kerri McCubben of Home of Yoga New Farm demonstrates seated forward fold, below.
Let your thoughts become calm, and really relax into this pose, as while it's a challenge, you will also feel really relaxed once you've mastered it. Centering your mind while performing Asana's helps you to get the most from your practice.
Once you've mastered Upavistha Konasana, you will be keen to keep adding new asana's to your practice, and we've given you 50 beginner yoga poses, with benefits, just for that purpose.
Dandasana looks really simple, but it's important to make sure that you're doing it the right way, because it is the foundation of all seated poses.
The name comes from sankrit, and it's meaning is; Danda "stick" Asana "posture". Read more here.
It's so easy for your every day posture to fall into a habitual forward slump. Most of us suffer from poor posture, and staff pose helps correct that for us.
When the spine is straight and shoulder back, our breathing naturally becomes deeper and more regular. The nervous system will become relaxed and the mind and body are in greater alignment and harmony.
Regular practice of Dandasana will give you improved posture, and if you've had any discomfort sitting or standing for long periods it will help improve that as well. So it's a great regular asana for anyone slaving in the office!
If you've got really tight hamstrings you might find Dandasana difficult to do at first. Try it sitting with your back up against a wall, or sit on a few blankets or books to elevate you a little more.
Seated staff pose is a great asana to include as part of your regular yoga practice. If you are looking to strengthen your core, you can even try doing it while you are sitting watching TV or reading.
For more easy foundation yoga poses check out 50 beginner yoga poses with benefits.
Leg workouts for women embraces the new intelligent research about strength training for women, because it simply works!
I think you'll agree with me, you yearn for killer legs;
I know the feeling. It's part of the daily struggle!
But just keep reading, and I'll show you some of the best leg workouts that will, with some consistent effort, build the legs you've been dying for.
Why not for men too?
Well, there’s lots of guys who would get great benefits from these workouts, so don’t be put off because I said, “for women”. We love you to have strong legs too, and in fact some of these workouts are extremely hard for men.
No doubt about it!
It’s just that I don’t think enough women really focus on doing great leg workouts. We all desire great legs, but go into any gym, and you’ll find guys hitting the heavy weights for their legs, but not so many girls. Perhaps too many think that their legs will “get big”.
Let’s dich that fallacy now. Working your legs hard will produce lean muscle that makes your legs appear toned, helps reduce any cellulite problems, and gives you killer calves for those occasions when you break out the high heals.
Leg workouts are full of blood sweat and tears.
Hopefully not too much blood, but if you’re deadlifting heavy then shins have been known to bleed. But there’s so many benefits to be gained.
One of the best things that you can do to keep making progress with any physical training, is to add some variety, that way your body doesn’t;
1. Get too used to the same workout, which can then fail to stimulate improvement
2. Break down from over training with the same routine
"If you think lifting weights is dangerous, try being weak. Being weak is dangerous."
So, with that in mind, I’ve gone looking for some of the best leg workouts for women to be found online. This collection includes workouts from top trainers who know how to get results. I’ve selected my favourites based on the moves included, and providing plenty of different variety to keep you interested and challenged.
Some of these leg workouts are extremely hard routines to complete, and are only for advanced lifters, but others are easier for beginners or intermediate. Start where you feel comfortable, and try the more advanced routines as you advance.
So, lets get started;
Click the title of each workout, which will open the trainers full post with detailed instructions about the leg workout.
Women’s health brings us this collection of seven moves, when you’re tired of lunges and squats.
The pistol squat might be a bit challenging for beginners, but persist and you’ll be cranking them out in no time.
The dumbbell split jump, or flying lunges as I like to call them, are one of my favourite exercises. It’s great for building explosive power, speed and athleticism.
The team at bodybuilding dot com are really good at showing you how to smash out some great workouts.
Here they're making some really good points on giving some focus to your hamstrings and glutes to balance the strength with your quads.
It's great to see them expressing the same thoughts about lifting heavy, and the risk of bulky legs. "your muscles won't change unless they have a reason to."
I'd probably do more reps and less sets in these leg workouts, so you get through the workout in less time. And I'm not a big fan of the common 10 rep set.
As a four time fitness model world champion, Andreia Brazier is really worth listening to.
She has some really interesting workouts, and mixes up exercises to keep things interesting, which I love.
There's some good exercises in this workout, which you can do with body weight alone as well. so if you don't have access to a gym or weights, these are some great options.
The Lauren Gleisberg beauty and booty challenge legs and glutes weights workout focuses on engaging the glutes before completing compound movements for maximum booty building effect.
Depending how much weight you use for the dead lifts and sumo squats, this workout can be really challenging.
Lauren clearly loves fitness, and has some great content on her blog, so it's worth a visit.
These exercises from Spotebi are easy to complete at home, so it's a really handy workout if you don't have time to get to the gym or are travelling.
Just slip into your favourite active wear, and give those legs a workout, wherever you are.
This is a great post, which covers some of the reasons that I mentioned above, why women should train legs hard.
They also talk about progressive overload, which is a really important training principle if you want to make decent gains in strength and conditioning. I've written more on that topic in this article.
They've got three workouts, all giving you the chance to smash your leg day out, with some heavy weights. I'd just increase the reps a lot more than they have, for the leg press. I really believe in higher reps for leg press. Try it, and see the results you get.
These leg exercises focus on shapely legs and a perfectly round booty. Targeting your quads hamstrings and glutes.
These are all great exercises in Jared's program. I would just adjust the 10 reps to suite what you are really looking to achieve. Usually I would be doing higher reps than this.
Eric Broser has come up with a great workout, on the one machine, which really kills your quads.
Leg Press. Eric describes this workout as the "thigh thumper".
You can really shift a lot of weight doing leg press. Keeping your back flat on the seat, pulling down hard and make sure that you are breathing out hard when pushing, and you'll keep your back secure and really work your quads and glutes.
8-10 Reps is what is suggested here. Again, I would go much higher than this, aiming for 30-50 on working sets.
You might find it hard to walk out of the gym, but if you can get through this workout, with these higher reps, and heavy weight, then you will really feel the gains.
This is a great post, which really explains squats, and primes you for completing high reps, which I love.
If you want to get great results from the time you spend in the gym, then you need to be prepared to put yourself through some pain. This workout will surely do that for you, and get you the results that follow.
David Whitley has done a great job detailing this workout, and even given some tips of what you should be eating if you are doing this type of hard training. I love it.
And for once, I don't even need to say, that I would add more reps to each set:)
This leg workout focuses entirely on squats for a thirteen week period.
It's a really challenging program, that should only be attempted by experienced lifters. So if you've been training for a year or more, and feeling like you've hit a plateau, then this program could be perfect to lift your intensity and achieve those gains you're chasing.
The post has been written targeting guys, so some of the body weights and weights lifted won't be relevant to women. They do note how to calculate your starting weight for the program though, so you can follow that as a guide, and if you're going to do this program, then you should have the experience to know your strength and lifting capacity.
If you don't know, or want to re-confirm what your starting weight should be, you can use this handy one rep max calculator.
This is the type of workout which will grow lean muscle whilst also losing body fat, so remember to fuel your body with good nutrition while you're training on this program.
This routine is written up by Mehdi, who has a great web site, if you like lifting heavy, and want increased strength that can be maintained. I love his site, and find lots of practical advice there, so do yourself a favour and check our Mehdi's story and have a look around his site here.
If you'd like a refresher on squat technique, or even the answer to questions about squats that have been on your mind, and no one has been able to answer, I recommend taking an hour and reading Mehdi's definitive guide to squats.
As leg exercises go, squats are king, and the Russian squat routine is famous for helping increase your strength.
This is a six week squat program following nine sessions of progressive lifting.
You can use the simple calculator included in the post by Marc, to produce a program to follow. The just have discipline and don't miss any sessions.
There are debates about which produces better gains, the Russian squat routine or the Smolov routine.
For me, there is no doubt that the smolov routine is harder, and also produces greater gains in strength. But you can't do that type of program all the time, and the Russian squat routine will also keep you advancing.
In fact, if you haven't done this type of program before, I would suggest trying this before the Smolov routine.
Plyometric exercises are a great way to build more athletic speed and power. And we all know that an athletic body looks great too.
You can mix these exercises in with your main leg training routine, to add variety of stimulus and a break from the intensity if you are doing one of the heavy squat programs.
For example, you can train squats early in the week, then with a day in between to recover, do a plyometric leg workout.
Or simply include some plyometric exercises in a more general whole body routine, like the circuit that I'm doing in the video above.
I love doing the box jumps. It's one of my favourite leg exercises.
Women's quads are normally stronger and more developed than the hamstring. So we need to make sure we're putting some focus on developing strong hamstrings as well.
Apart from the athletic benefits, having well developed hamstrings will really give you nice athletic looking shapely legs. So what's not to like.
These routines from Bodybuilding.com focus on the stiff legged dead life, which is a great exercise to develop the hamstring.
Try any of the suggested routines. They are all challenging, and therefore worthwhile.
Dead lifts are an amazingly effective compound exercise, that will engage every muscle fiber in your body.
They are primarily a back and legs exercise, and really could not be overlooked in any decent strength training routine focused on legs.
The Ed Coan routine is for intermediate to advanced lifters.
You will be dead lifting once a week, for a duration of ten weeks completing this program. So you will still be able to mix in other training sessions that you would normally complete.
Dead lifts are really hard work, but every time I complete a training cycle including dead lifts, I can really notice the increase in strength again.
For a good critique of the Ed Coan routine, this is a really good write up which while focused on power lifting, explains this routine really well, and will give you a better understanding of what this routine is about. go here to read.
While I've just thrown the Ed Coan routine at you, I thought it important here to include something on dead lifting, for less experienced lifters.
This post from Nerdfitness explains the basics of dead lifting well, and will get you started.
And the following great video by the Buff Dudes nails it for explaining good technique.
The only tips I would add to that are, that you should wear a weight lifting belt always while deadlifting. It's not being weak. It supports your lower back, and gives your abs something to push against, so you can exert more power, and lift heavier.
While not as critical as a weight belt, I'd also suggest using lifting straps. They really help you to grip the bar, so that it's not your grip which is the weakest link making you fail on high rep sets or with really heavy weight. You are focusing on working your major muscles, not building a stronger hand.
The following video by Darin Starr provides a really good explanation on how to use lifting straps.
If you are just beginning I would suggest incorporating dead lifts on one day a week, as part of your broader overall program.
Start out conservatively, make sure you get the technique correct, before you start pulling too much weight, or progressing to the harder dead lift programs.
We all know that great calves look super sexy, but do we even spend much time working on them in the gym?
Well, Bodybuilding.com have done a great job with this post on the best calf building workout.
If you don't want to spend so much time focusing on building great calves, I find that simply doing as many standing calf raises as I can without rest in one set, after my normal leg day workout, will really hit my calves.
I've already given you some killer workouts doing back squats, but writing about leg workouts wouldn't be complete without including front squats.
Front squats really work your quads, and we all know that having impressive quads will give you a great athletic look.
This post from Robertson Training Systems provides a really good explanation of front squatting. They pretty much address every question that you could think of, so it's a great resource. Read it twice, before you try front squats.
They provide some examples of simply front squat routines to get started with as well.
You can integrate front squats into your overall program. For example, complete back squats on the first training day, then front squats on the third training day.
Or, use front squats as a variant, when you've finished a heavy cycle of back squats.
Again, I like to keep reps high, with decent weight, starting with a warm up set at 50% of 1RM, and then ranging between 70% to 90% of my 1 RM for working sets.
Calisthenics can be really challenging for the legs, building resilient muscles. They can also build beautiful athletic legs.
Think boxers, who do lots of calisthenic exercises like skipping, jumps, sprints and generally as they're moving around in the ring. They need really resilient strong legs. If their legs are gone, then it's usually goodnight, lights out.
Tod Kuslikis of Shot of Adrenaline wrote this great post, which explains 55 different body weight exercises for legs.
It's a great resource if you're interested in building great legs, without weights. He's included progress charts, workouts, how to train instructions and recovery tips.
So, if you're short on time, or just don't like going to a gym, you'll find plenty of great leg exercises here to develop athletic pins.
I personally like doing pistol squats and Bulgarian spit-squats.
Tod has even written another great post on how to develop muscular legs with body weight training, including an example routine. You can read it here.
If you thought that the best leg workouts for women would only include weight room training, then I hope you're happily proven wrong.
Body weight workouts are really convenient, as you can crank them out pretty much anywhere, and just try some of these moves, and if you didn't before, you'll realise how effective they are as well.
Jeff Cowan of Body Weight Training Arena brings us this post with more calisthenic workouts to make your legs burn.
There's great explanations of the different leg exercises and example routines that you can follow, or put something together that suites your time and goals.
If heaving heavy iron or holding pistol squats isn't your thing, then it doesn't mean you can't still work those legs.
Pilates exercises can be great, even mixed in with a regular strength training program which is more focused on weights.
The following routine from Fitness Blender includes some great moves for the legs and glutes.
Whichever leg workouts for women you choose to follow, your legs will be sore. It's important to also spend some time and proper planning on post workout recovery.
Without proper recovery, your body won't be restored enough to achieve maximum effort and results from the following workouts.
It's good practice anyway, but particularly with some of the harder workouts like Smolov or the Russian squat routine, it is a must. Or you just won't get through the program.
This post from Onnit Acadamy includes 10 great tips for post workout recovery.
The best tip here for me is, sleep!
Sleep is so important. It's when the body does most of it's recovery, and yet is often overlooked in our busy lives
Make sure you get a good eight hours sleep, and feel the difference it makes.
As with all proper training;
progressive overload will ensure that you achieve meaningful results. You can apply this principle to these workouts, by progressing from easier workouts to the more challenging ones, or working on increasing the intensity of a particular leg workout.
I hope that you enjoy trying some of these workouts, or at least enjoy the results that will come from doing them consistently.
And for some great recipes to fuel your body the right way, try some of these 31 healthy clean eating recipes.
Let me know in the comments below, about any other good leg workouts that you like?
Here's to, HAPPY LEG DAY!
How to do push ups sounds like such a simple question, doesn't it?
Have you ever tried to do 100 push ups? Now that's getting a bit harder.
I think push ups competitions are great fun. But even if you don’t find doing lots of push ups fun, if you have some will power and persistence, and keep doing them, you will feel the benefits within a few weeks.
It is pretty easy to improve your strength and fitness with push ups.
Even if you can only do 5 to start with, just add one more every day, and within 20 days you will now be doing 25 in a row. Keep going and eventually you will be able to do 100, and that’s a real feat!
It’s easy to fit doing push ups into even the busiest life. Just do them every night before bed. Burn off those last calories and feel good before you sleep.
It’s better to do them at the end of the day than at the start. Some people like to do push ups as soon as they rise, but this isn’t a great idea. Your body hasn’t had a chance to warm up, and so your joints and spine could be stiff and won’t like the extra load being placed on them before they’ve had a chance to get moving more gently.
I’ve always thought push ups were great!
When I was a kid I remember the soldiers training near home and how fit they looked. Within their exercise routines were push ups, or “lizards” as part of their routine. I remember how much admiration I had at the time for their bodies. I even tried as a kid to do push ups without success, then later on in my life my husband took me to the gym to start to get fit, and one of the exercises that I kept in mind to do was push ups.
I started to do them on my knees until they became easier, then I start to do some variations and even incorporated elements working different muscles of the body.
During the last year, I do push ups every day, usually choosing four types of them for a month with twenty reps of each type, and trust me they work your core, arms and chest very well.
If you are starting do push ups, just keep doing them until they become a habit as a part of your routine. To be honest you don’t need to go to the gym to train, you can do them anywhere and anytime. The only thing you need is your disciple, and remember consistency and discipline make the difference to achieve whatever you want in life.
Push ups are not only great to work the upper body; also they are good for abs and stability. They work your chest, arms and core.
To start to make a change in this part of your body, you must incorporate push ups as part of your workout or routine. To do these exercises it’s not necessary to have any equipment, you only need your body weight and add some variations to target different muscles, and you will be able to achieve a great workout.
Push ups are great to work the muscles in your chest, (pectorals) just with your body weight. As well push ups engage the muscles of your arms such as biceps and triceps, so including this exercise in your workouts will tone and strengthen your arms over the time.
Let’s get into the different types of push ups:
These are the easier starting point for people who are just incorporating this exercise in their routine. Place your knees together kneeling on the floor, as they will take all your weight when you are pushing with your arms and lifting your upper body. When you find this version of push ups easier after you have done them for a while, probably only a couple of weeks for most people, jump to the next level.
This type of push ups is quite easy as well, because you don’t need a lot of strength in your upper body. Also they are perfect to go to the next level of effort. To do this exercise you will place your hands on a bench at the width of your shoulders or wider if you wish, then your feet on the ground and keep your body straight.
Lie on the floor facing down, open your arms till your arm is bent to 90 deg at the elbow at the level of your chest, and place your feet together while keeping your body straight. These push ups will work most in your chest and arms.
Spread your fingers so that your index fingers and thumbs almost touch, creating a diamond shape between your hands; they should be positioned below the centre of your chest. This will be your start position, while staying up on your toes and keeping your body straight. Diamond push ups will work principally your triceps.
The starting point of this exercise is placing your hands close to each other leaving around eight centimeters between each hand, this means they will be under your chest. Place your feet together and keep your body straight. Narrow push ups are great for triceps although they will also work chest, arms and core.
Find a bench or surface to place your feet, put your hands on the floor for doing push ups. The fact, that your feet are off the ground make the core unstable, thus we have to work harder to keep the core stable. The major focus of this exercise will be on the pectorals.
Place your hands as wide as you can with your feet on the floor, your elbows are opened outward, resulting in a greater workload for your shoulders and for the muscles of your chest, because your arms as levers are wider creating a greater stretch through the pectoral muscles. This type of flexion is less challenging for some people, than variations with hands together because of the width of your hands.
The starting point of these push ups are the same as the standard push ups with a higher degree of difficulty which includes the rotation of the trunk with an arm up at the same time forming a T with your body when you’re rotated side to side. Your core will work more here to keep the stability of your body; also the muscles working here are the pectorals and the arms.
As the standard push ups is the starting point one arm is close to your body the other hand is place in front of you, these are working mainly the triceps and chest muscles.
This push up is known as a plyometric exercise for developing power and strength in your chest. To do it you have to push your body from the ground high enough to clap your hands, before they reach the floor again in the start position.
Place one hand on a small medicine ball and the other one on the ground. These push ups will force you to keep the stability of the core tight, and the arms while you are working your muscles of the chest, core and arms, creating strength mainly in your chest and core.
Push ups are a great work out for getting nice shape and strength in your arms, chest and core stability. You don’t need any equipment to start with, just the motivation and determination to have a healthy body with a good shape. Don’t wait any longer to get fit, the time is now and your body will be grateful with your efforts in few months’ time.
To be stronger and healthy you don’t have to visit the gym, get up and go running or walking. Complete your cardio with push ups, and you have done a full work out.
Remember to have a healthy diet as well. For some easy recipes check out my recent blog, where you will find 31 clean eating recipes, that are all easy to make and super tasty.
So, once you get really good at how to do push ups, you can contact these people and have them confirm your new world record. I'm not quite there yet myself!
If you're not up to a world record yet either, I'm still happy for you to share your success and progress with me in the comments below.
Do you sometimes feel as if the fire within has just gone out? It's only human to feel like you've taken a beating, and the dreams you've held dear might just not be worth it after all. Reading a few of these motivational quotes will give you renewed mental strength, and the energy that flows from it, to continue the pursuit of your dreams.
LIVE AN AWESOME LIFE
Don't underestimate the great power that is to be found within a few wisely chosen words.
Your determination, not to give up, will ensure your success.
Health is the vital principle of bliss, and exercise, of health.
I look at fitness as a necessity in the same way as how you drink water,
Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.
If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride -
Never Never Never Give Up.
A truly strong person does not need the approval of others
Be more; Do more; Live more.
Focused, hard work is the real key to success.
The path to success is to take massive, determined action.
A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts
Set your goals high, and don't stop till you get there.
You become a champion by fighting one more round.
Being defeated is often a temporary condition.
They can conquer who believe they can.
Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask.
I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.
Only I can change my life.
Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated.
All the adversity I've had in my life,....
Having the right mental approach is one of the biggest keys to getting what you want out of life.
You need to build belief in yourself, and in the good things that life has available to you, and that belief will carry you through any of the tough times that you encounter on your way to achieving your biggest, wildest goals.
If you have any other motivational quotes which you love, then please feel free to share them by leaving a comment below.
I hope that you find these quotes as inspirational as I do, that you never ever lose faith in just how great your life can be, and that all your dreams do come true!
If you are looking for the honest truth about lower ab workouts for women, keep reading. If you just want a quick and easy fix for a flabby belly, resulting from a soft and undisciplined lifestyle which you are not prepared to change, you'll hate this, so don't bother.
Great! You're still reading.
Having flat abs has been touted as the universal symbol of health, sex appeal, and fitness. Although many of us dream of having a nice, toned midriff, it may take a bit more effort and sweat than many are prepared to put in, to make it a reality.
The fitness and health industry is booming in this modern age as more people are aware of the importance of a healthy diet and active life. But unfortunately that means there are also lots of people who will try to sell you on the latest gimmick or fad, which is supposed to achieve that ever elusive dream body with minimal effort, and super fast.
The reality is, all this approach will do if you fall for it, is lose you some cash and some wasted time following the latest fad.
So, I wanted to make sure that from this post, as well as some workout tips, you also gain a better understanding about ab training, and it's role in achieving those flat toned abs we all desire.
It won't work in isolation!
The term 'lower abs' is not very accurate because the muscles underneath the skin on our abdominal section covers the whole area from the upper rib cage up to the pelvis.
There are 4 main muscles on your abdomen:
Rectus abdominis: this is the layer of muscle known as the 6 pack muscles. These muscles function to support your back while bending or picking things up
External obliques: these are the muscles on the side of your abs that help in rotating and bending sideways
Serratus anterior: located on the side of the chest, this muscle is important for posture and shoulder health, and is used to thrust the shoulder forward when pushing something.
Transverse abdominis: this is the deepest layer of muscle that acts to stabilize the spine and prevent back pain
From this piece of information, it is clear that you don't actually need to do a separate workout for upper and lower abs, since any exercise you do will effect the whole muscle of the abdomen.
The reason why people are obsessed with lower ab workouts is because fat tends to accumulate at the lower part of the abdomen. Women often have trouble spots like this because naturally the hormone estrogen causes the body to hold on to fat in certain body parts.
Unfortunately, there is honestly no way to spot train abs separately to achieve the dream six pack
In order to get abs, you need to reduce your overall body fat percentage by training your whole body.
Once you have reduced your body fat enough, any musculature that you have developed, which for women will take some hard work, will become more visible.
This does not mean that you should just skip doing lower ab workouts entirely. Lower ab workouts are great because they will tone your belly and improve your balance. A strong core may lower your risk of suffering a back injury, in general life, or particularly while training with large compound moves like squats and dead lifts. (which are great for stimulating muscle growth and calorie burning)
There is certainly no need for any fancy workout machines to perform ab exercises. The most important thing you need is the time and persistence to do it. In addition to that, you need to devote a complete focus while doing your workouts to achieve maximum benefit.
According to studies, there is a connection between your mind and muscle activation especially in resistance training. Instead of mindlessly going through your workout, try to focus more on every muscle movement you're doing, as this will speed up your results for muscle gain.
It is also beneficial to do exercises in high intensity intervals. This type of training method has been proven to show results in a short amount of time, and can easily be incorporated into lower ab workouts for women.
There are many varieties of lower ab workouts for women out there. With that being said, here are some of my favourite exercises that you can incorporate in a high intensity circuit, and do today to get started on the abs of your dreams:-
Complete the following eight exercises in a circuit, then rest for 30 seconds and start again.
If you haven't done much ab training before, you could start by doing each exercise for 30 seconds, and complete two circuits. If you're already pretty fit, or as you progress, try doing four circuits, which will then still only take you 12 minutes, but will give your abs a great workout.
I usually do this type of workout at the end of my weights training, or after I've done a running or bike session, to finish off.
Lie down on your back with knees bent and feet on the ground. While exhaling, lift up your trunk, reaching sideways with one of your arms for the parallel heel. Inhale as you return to starting position. In alternate motions, keep touching your hand on your heels. This workout will tone up your external oblique muscles. Take heed to keep your legs in place and your feet firm on the ground.
Single knee raise crunch;
Lie down on your back with knees bent and hands placed behind your head. Raise your shoulder off the ground and bend knees to about 90 degrees. Slowly bring your right knee and left elbow together, lightly touching it. This exercise is almost like a bicycle crunch but the difference is that you're not stretching the legs out. This workout activates your rectus abdominis muscles.
Lie down on your back with knees bent, with legs wide apart. Raise your shoulders blades off the ground with arms straight and parallel to your trunk, try to reach through between the legs. Keep your ab muscles contracted at all times.
Wide toe touches;
While lying down on your back, put your legs up straight against your trunk making a 90 degree angle. Spread your arms wide on your side, parallel to your body. While exhaling, slightly raise your shoulder blades from the ground while stretching your left arm to reach the left heel. As you return to your starting position, inhale. Repeat this move with the right side. Do several repetitions alternately. Remember to always keep the abs braced during this move.
Lie down flat on your back. With your arms extended above your head and legs spread out, try to form an X on the ground with your body. While exhaling, lift one arm and the opposing leg simultaneously, touching your fingers onto your toe. Inhale and slowly lower back arms and legs to starting position. Repeat on the opposite arm and legs back to starting position. Be careful not swing the arms and legs mindlessly, but to focus on a slow, controlled motion. Be sure to contract abdominal muscles throughout this exercise.
This exercise targets your external obliques. With your back on the floor, lie down with arms extended on both sides. Raise your legs up straight against your trunk making a 90 degree angle. In a slow controlled motion, lower your legs to the left side of your body until your legs are close to the floor a few inches from your left hand. Slowly bring back to starting position. Repeat on the other side. Do several repetitions alternately.
this exercise is a simple but very effective one. Your body stays in one position but this static form of exercise will develop your core strength. It not only trains your abs but also your shoulders, arms, and glute muscles.
Position your hands straight under your shoulders on the ground as if you're about to do a push-up. Plant your toes on the floor and try to make sure your body is straight and stabilized. Your head should be aligned with your back. Hold the position for 30 seconds. You'll find out that as you gain more strength, you can hold a plank position for a longer period of time.
The world record for planking is 8 hours and 1 minute. (as I publish this)
To make this exercise harder, you can place a weight plate on your back to add some extra load.
this exercise is another basic static exercise that helps to build your core strength. Lie on your side and place your forearm on the floor under your shoulder in perpendicular to your body. With your legs straight, your upper leg is placed directly on top of the lower leg.
Your body is raised from the floor by straightening your waist. Hold the position and repeat on the opposite side. This may be hard for beginners, so if you have trouble doing it, modify this move by angling the body up against a wall.
Beginners can also do another modified version of it called a bent knee side plank. In this version, the leg that is closest to the floor is bent while planking, making it easier to balance.
To make the exercise harder, try extending your arm, instead of resting on your elbow. When you are doing the side plank this way, really focus on making sure that your body stays in a straight line from shoulders to feet. If you start sagging at the hips, your abs probably aren't strong enough for this more advanced version yet.
While doing all these exercises won't magically get you the perfect six pack abs you want, combined with proper training and diet, to achieve a low body fat %, it will help in sculpting and toning your body for more muscle definition.
Flat abs are the result of a healthy diet and proper training.
If you'd like some ideas for meals to include in a healthy diet, my list of 31 easy clean eating recipes might inspire you.
And for some tips on proper training check out these posts;
It all boils down to your choices. what are you willing to sacrifice to get the abs of your dreams? Depending where you are currently in your fitness journey, it may be difficult to do a complete 180 degree change, but little steps each day and persistence will take you a long way.
And, always make sure that you are enjoying your training. Mix it up and have fun, and it will be so much easier for you to stick to a consistent plan over time.
I'm always looking for more ideas about training, so please share any tips that you think might be useful, about lower ab workouts for women, or different ab exercises to include in a training circuit, in the comments below.
My best banana muffins recipe is so easy, you have to try it!
In my home we have bananas all the time as part of our diet and for all the benefits they have, so cooking up a batch of banana muffins just seems natural.
Let’s begin by looking at the banana’s benefits; To mention few of them, the potassium we can get eating a banana every day, another attribute is the soluble fiber to support the digestive system, and other great benefits are the vitamins B6 and C we obtain from this great fruit, without mentioning the amount of energy for our body eating bananas.
Bananas are available during all seasons, because they don’t have specific time of the year to grow, therefore we can rely on them to cook any recipe.
Before I share my Banana Muffins recipe with you, I would like to tell a little bit more about why I like them. I enjoy having a cup of coffee every afternoon when I am reading as a hobby, although coffee by itself it is not as good as with something to eat. So I cook a healthy snack to have my cuppa with, without any worry to gain weight and at the same time satisfy my sugar craving.
Let’s share with you an easy Banana Muffins recipe. This recipe is healthy and easy to cook, even Banana Muffins are a great option for kids take to school.
This Banana Muffins recipe is to prepare six muffins.
Now we have all the ingredients ready to prepare Banana Muffins!
Turn the oven on to preheat at 170 centigrade, while we are mixing all the ingredients.
Get a plate and smash both bananas with a folk until they are completely creamy.
In the main mixing bowl, blend with a whisk the gluten free flour, protein powder, baking powder, salt and crash walnuts until all of them are entirely mixed.
The bowl where you smash bananas add the coconut oil, then the honey and keep stirring. And last add the egg and mix all the ingredients to combine them completely.
Now, we put the combination of the smashed bananas with the other ingredients into the dry mixture, and mix both mixtures with the whisk until we have blended them completely. I use a spatula to not waste any mixture.
We have the mixture done to fill the liners up, distribute the liners in a muffin tin, then with a help of two spoons place the mixture inside of the six liners.
The oven has been heating from the start of preparation of our banana muffins mixture, therefore we are ready to place the muffin tin into the oven for around 15 mins.
When the 15 mins are over, we insert a knife in one of the banana muffins to be sure they have cooked well. It should come out dry.
That’s it. How easy was that!
Eat a Banana Muffin with your favourite hot drink. Put your feet up, get a book as your company and enjoy them!
I had fun making these muffins; Watch me throw the recipe together below, and let me know in the comments if you enjoy them too, or even if they make you laugh too:)
If you're looking for some healthy options for main meals as well, give these 31 easy clean eating recipes a try.
I was looking for some easy beginner yoga poses for myself, and I really couldn't find a good collection to choose from without bouncing around between different sites. So I thought I'd take it on myself, and share with you.
I hope it's helpful:)
Yoga itself is an ancient practice originating in India which involves the mind, the body, and the spirit coming together.
As a whole, there are many benefits to practicing yoga, but each pose has its own set of benefits.
it's important to know which poses have which benefits so you are using the ones that will most benefit you in the moment.
If you are stressed, you may want something to stretch and calm the muscles of your back and shoulders or just something that focuses more on breathing.
If you are trying to focus on flexibility or weight loss, there are poses for those as well.
These are 50 beginner poses, as well as their benefits, so you can create and follow a sequence that best matches your goals.
If you are having difficulty quieting your thoughts due to stress or anxiety, this is the perfect pose for you.
While focusing on your breath, be sure not to tighten your throat. Stay relaxed at all times. You will notice as you become a conqueror of Conquer Breath that you can slow your breath for longer periods of time and that you will become more and more relaxed during your time in this pose.
You'll have to be careful with this pose if you have a knee injury but there are three main benefits to doing it if you are able to.
Because you will be placing your hands flat on the floor while sitting upright, either modify the pose for any wrist or hand discomfort or look to another pose that has similar benefits.
This pose is all about upper body. You will see improved posture with regular practice of this pose as it strengthens the back muscles to help you stand tall again.
Also, any weakened shoulder and chest muscles from poor posture over the years will be stretched so standing or sitting upright is no long uncomfortable for you.
For a more detailed description, including an easy to follow video with instructions on how to perform staff pose, click here.
If you have a neck injury, be sure to keep your head in line with the torso but this pose should be no problem for you and you can reap all the great benefits from it.
First, this pose gently stretches the back, neck, and torso. This is a great one for building up some toned core muscles over time. Also, as you do the stretch, you are actually massaging your spine as well as the organs in your belly so they can get a healthy workout as well.
If you have a headache or a back injury, this pose is not recommended. However, there are a lot of other beginner yoga poses on this list that will help with both of those so don't be discouraged.
When you first do this pose, it is quite obvious that it stretches the chest and lungs, also the shoulders, as well as the abdomen.
However, it has many other benefits as well;
Women with high blood pressure or other heart problems should seek a doctor's counsel before practicing this pose.
For students, if you have shoulder problems keep your raised arms parallel to each other, and if you have neck problems keep your head in a neutral position.
This pose is used quite often to treat Sciatica. It has many benefits all over the body. You will feel a stretch in the chest, shoulders, neck, belly, and groins. It will also strengthen your arms and shoulders, plus the back muscles.
The lower legs, including thighs, calves, and ankles will all get a good stretch as well, and be strengthened over time.
If you have a knee injury, kneeling may be hard so you can try kneeling on a folded towel or blanket to modify the pose.
This pose stretches the hamstrings, as well as along the sides of the spine and torso. It also opens the shoulders for better posture, stimulating better breathing, as well as stimulating other abdominal organs.
For a more detailed description and instructions on how to complete this asana, including a video demonstration click here.
If you have a headache, insomnia, or high or low blood pressure, this may not be the pose for you.
There are other poses that can help calm the mind to help with headaches and insomnia, and still others that can help with blood pressure.
This pose can help with many other things, however. It is known to help with menstrual discomfort as well as infertility problems, Sciatica and low backache, constipation, and osteoporosis.
You will be stretching as well as strengthening the legs, knees and ankles in this pose, as well as stretching the groins, waist, spine, lungs and chest, and shoulders.
This pose stimulates organs as well as increases stamina.
Follow along watching this easy how to video with Kerri McCubben demonstrating this beginner yoga pose - click here
If you have problems with your lower back, avoid the full bend and only bend as far forward as it is comfortable for you.
This pose is used to treat headache, mild depression, as well as fatigue.
With this pose, you with stretch and strengthen the inner and back parts of your legs as well as your spine plus you will tone your abdominal organs.
The Wide-Legged Forward Bend relieves mild back ache and calms the brain.
If you have an injury to your lower back, you should sit on a stack of folded towels or on a blanket and keep your upper body upright as much as possible.
This pose is used for three main purposes. It helps extremely well with arthritis and Sciatica, but it also helps to detox the kidneys, which most people are surprised to hear.
This pose stretches the back and insides of the legs, as well as the groins. It stimulates abdominal muscles while strengthening the spine.
The Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend is great for mindfulness.
To learn more about Upavistha Konasana, including a how to video taking you through the pose click here
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Use supports under your thighs to keep your stretch from becoming too intense for you if you have a knee or groin injury.
Quite often, the Reclining Bound Angle Pose is used to help with the symptoms of menopause or menstruation.
This pose helps to stimulate circulation, while also stimulating the organs of the lower abdominal region like the ovaries, bladder, and kidneys.
You will feel more relaxed in your inner thighs, knees, and groin after this stretch and it also helps with stress and mild depression.
This pose is not recommended if you have heart problems. If you have headaches, you can do the pose lying on your back.
There are many benefits to the Hero Pose. It stretches the ankles, knees and thighs while strengthening the arches.
If you are pregnant, this pose will help reduce swelling in the legs and feet. It is commonly used to aide symptoms of high blood pressure and asthma.
And it can help with those suffering from the effects of menopause.
Because of the very posture-perfect pose, it may help improve digestion and relieve gas when practiced regularly and at the right times.
Be careful with this pose if you suffer from any of the following: low blood pressure, headache, or insomnia.
In Chair Pose, you will strengthen your ankles, calves, thighs, and spine while also stretching your chest and shoulders.
You will stimulate your heart and diaphragm as well as many abdominal organs. Many people are surprised to learn that this pose also helps to reduce flat feet.
This pose should not be practiced if you have a headache, low blood pressure, or insomnia.
Just like the Chair Pose, this pose reduces flat feet.
The pose also improves posture as it strengthens the ankles, knees, and thighs. You will see firmer buttocks and abs when practiced regularly.
It is commonly used to relieve the pain associated with Sciatica.
This pose is not recommended if you are suffering from insomnia, low or high blood pressure, or if you have a headache, diarrhea, or if you are menstruating.
This pose is especially good for the lower back. It helps in the second trimester of pregnancy to strengthen those lower back muscles, it helps to relieve lower back and Sciatica pain, as well as neck pain.
This pose stretches the hips, shoulders, and spine.
Because of the gentle twist, it massages the abdominal organs which can improve digestion. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome gets a little help with this pose because of hand placement, but be sure not to place your hands anywhere they feel uncomfortable.
This pose is very helpful for reducing stress.
This pose is a great beginner's pose because it has some great benefits and is easy to do.
It helps ease your brain into mindfulness, reducing your stress and anxiety.
It also has physical benefits like creating more flexibility and dexterity in your wrists and fingers.
If you have a back injury, you can raise the knees and place your feet on the floor, making sure they are hip width apart.
If you are pregnant, raise the head and chest on a bolster so that you are not lying flat.
This pose helps in many areas of physical, mental, and spiritual health. It can calm the mind and relieve stress. It can relax your body.
Because of both of those working in tandem, it can reduce insomnia, fatigue, and headache.
It can also help to lower blood pressure.
If you have a back injury, you can do this pose with knees bent, or you can perform Ardha Uttanasana, which is a Half Standing Forward Bend.
There are many benefits to this pose and even when practiced by itself, it can give you some of these benefits.
However, when combined with other beginner yoga poses in a sequence, you can have an even greater experience and even more benefits.
Some of these benefits include mindfulness, improved digestion, and relief for insomnia and headache.
It can also help with high blood pressure, asthma, osteoporosis, sinusitis, and infertility.
Over time, it will reduce fatigue, anxiety, and the symptoms of menopause.
Physical results include strengthening of the knees and thighs, stretching of the hips, calves, and hamstrings, and stimulation of the kidneys and liver.
This pose is not suitable for those with: asthma, diarrhea, or back injury.
This is another pose with a lot of benefits, especially when practiced regularly.
It can be used to treat high blood pressure, insomnia, infertility, as well as sinusitis, although ancient texts say it also increases appetite, cures diseases, and reduces obesity.
It calms the brain which can help to relieve stress, sometimes leading to less depression if symptoms are mild.
It stimulates the liver and kidneys as well as ovaries and uterus. It can help with the symptoms of menopause as well as the discomfort of menstruation.
Lastly, it can be soothing for headaches and anxiety.
During pregnancy, this pose should be avoided. It should also be avoided if you have diarrhea or knee pain/injury.
There are a few benefits of this pose, but those benefits have long-lasting effects and they fit in well with other poses in a sequence to add to the benefits of yoga as a whole.
You will gently stretch your ankles, thighs, and hips.
Also, you may see some relief of neck and back pain when this is done while the torso and head are supported so relaxation can be achieved during breathing, letting tension out of those muscles.
Mindfulness helps to calm the brain, relieving stress and fatigue.
Because you are laying on your stomach for this pose, it should not be practiced during pregnancy.
Also, because of the backward stretch of the back, it shouldn't be done if you have a back injury unless you have been told it is okay by a doctor or physical therapist.
It's not recommended for anyone with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or a headache.
Even though there are some limitations to this pose, there are many benefits if you are able to do it.
It strengthens the spine and firms the buttocks.
While stretching your lungs and chest, plus your shoulders, you will open your lungs and heart, therefore this pose is sometimes used to help open airways for those with asthma.
Cobra Pose stimulates the organs of the abdomen and relieves fatigue and stress with the way it brings oxygen into the body and stimulates the organs.
Planks have gotten some trendy exposure lately as a great fitness regimen, and it is.
However it is a yoga pose and using the mindfulness and breathing techniques as well can make it even more effective not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually.
Because you will be spending time on your hands, it is not recommended for people with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Plank Pose, when done regularly will show you a more tone abdomen and it will help you strengthen your spine, wrists, and arms.
With the knees brought to your chest the way they are in this pose, it should not be practiced during pregnancy or if you have a knee injury.
If you have a neck injury, place something soft under the head and neck for support.
This pose gently stretches and relaxes the inner groins and the spine.
It helps reduce fatigue as well as stress and anxiety. This is an excellent pose in which to practice deep mindfulness.
This is a pose that should not be practiced if you have heart problems, but it is oftentimes used to help those who have Sciatica.
This pose helps to improve balance, both mentally and physically, and works the buttocks, thighs, hamstrings, and more.
You will also stretch and lengthen your hip flexors which is great for those who sit down most of the day at work or school.
Just like with the Low Lunge, you should not do this one if you have heart problems.
But again, this lunge is used in therapy with Sciatica as it has been shown to improve symptoms.
With this pose, you will also work on your hip flexors.
Both of these lunges can be done easily in a hall (or in your office, if it's big enough) a few times throughout the day to make sure you keep limber and so that you don't end up having hip and back problems later on from a job where you sit much of the time.
This pose is safe for pretty much anyone; however, if you have a neck injury, do not lift your head to look forward or to the sides (keep the head in line with the torso and in a neutral position).
This pose stimulates the belly, meaning it can aide in digestion and get other abdominal organs and muscles working.
It stretches the front of the torso and strengthens the back which can lead to improved posture.
The root bond – one of three bonds in yogic practice – allows the spine to support the sitting position in a much better way so that when you are in any sitting pose, you can be centered and balanced.
Shown here in downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) focus on contracting the muscles at the bottom of the pelvic floor, behind the cervix.
If you have a lower back injury, or injuries to your knees, this pose can be difficult and should not be done if it causes you any discomfort, especially pain.
Besides toning the belly muscles, you will also be stretching the back of the torso, the groins, and the ankles with the Garland Pose.
Because you are kneeling in this pose, it's not recommended for anyone with a knee injury.
However, if you'd like to try it, you can try kneeling on a prop, folded towel, or thickly folded blanket.
If it causes discomfort, please discontinue.
This pose stretches the shoulders and the spine which can lead to improved posture over time.
If kneeling to do this pose, be careful if you have a knee injury.
This pose can also easily be adapted to be practiced in a chair. There are several unique benefits to Simhasana.
According to ancient Indian texts, this pose helps to destroy diseases in the body and helps with the three bandhas, which are Uddiyana, Jalandhara, and Mula.
This pose helps to keep the platysma (a rectangar-shaped muscle that is flat and thin and sits at the front of the throat) firm as we age.
This helps to prevent wrinkles around the mouth, cheeks, and neck. You will also see a release of tension in the face and chest.
With high blood pressure or back pain/injury, instead practice Ardha Parsvottanasana, which is half of this pose.
This pose is often used to treat flat feet and the discomfort associated with it.
The Intense Side Stretch is very good for mindfulness as it calms the brain.
It strengthens the legs while it also stimulates and massages the abdominal organs which can lead to improved digestion.
When done regularly, this pose will improve posture, give you a sense of balance and coordination, and also stretch many areas of the body, including the: hamstrings, hips, wrists, shoulders, and spine.
If you have a headache or a serious back injury, this pose is not recommended.
If you have a neck injury, it is possible to practice this pose (as long as it is comfortable to do so), but the head should remain neutral by looking at the floor instead of straight ahead.
You may find it easier to support your forehead on a prop or a folded towel or blanket.
The Locust Pose has been used to treat lower-back pain and fatigue for quite some time.
It is also used to treat digestion problems such as indigestion, constipation, and flatulence.
When practiced regularly, you can see improved posture because you will be stretching the muscles of the thighs, belly, chest and shoulders, while also strengthening muscles in the legs, arms, buttocks, and spine.
Because of the stretch in the belly, the abdominal organs will be stimulated. This pose also helps to reduce stress.
This pose should not be practiced if you are menstruating.
You can simply replace it with a more appropriate pose that will help with that during that time.
Also, if you have an ankle or knee problem, this pose will be very difficult and may cause more problems so ask a doctor or experienced yoga instructor before practicing this.
The Heron Pose is therapeutically used to treat flatulence and flat feet. It both stimulates the heart and abdominal organs, but it also stretches the hamstrings.
You must be very careful practicing this pose if you have any of the following: low or high blood pressure, insomnia, a migraine, or a serious neck or lower back injury.
Other than basic benefits, which are listed below as well, this pose has many therapeutic uses.
It can help with menstrual pain and mild backache (which may also be a symptom of menstrual pain) or constipation.
It can help with respiratory ailments because it opens up the chest.
It can help with fatigue and anxiety.
The Fish Pose does a lot of stretching in the body, including the deeper hip flexors and the muscles that are between the ribs (which is what helps to open up the chest), the belly as well as the neck, and it strengthens the upper back and back of the neck.
All of this stretching and strengthening can lead to improved posture when practiced regularly.
Some ancient texts say that the Matsyasana is the "destroyer of all diseases."
This is an inversion pose and because of that, it should be avoided if you have serious eye problems, such as glaucoma.
As we were doing these poses outdoors, there aren't any handy walls around to rest the legs against, so the pose here is more like a shoulder stand, Salamba Sarvangasana. You would normally rest your legs against a wall, with your back flatter on the ground. You could try to find a tree if you're practicing yoga out in nature too, as long as you have flat ground at it's base too.
There are many therapeutic uses with the Viparita Karani.
It can help with menopausal symptoms as well as menstrual cramps and PMS.
It helps with both regular headaches and migraines.
Mentally, it can help with anxiety and mild depression.
It can help relieve digestive problems as well as issues with low and high blood pressure.
Insomnia, respiratory problems, and varicose veins are just a few of the other benefits.
If you stand on your feet for much of the day, this pose will help to relieve cramped feet and legs, rejuvenating them as well as your back.
It also gently stretches the back of the neck, the front of the torso, and back of the legs.
If you have serious shoulder or neck problems consult a doctor or an experienced yoga instructor before practicing this pose.
This pose stretches the chest, the triceps and armpits, the shoulders, the thighs and hips, as well as the ankles.
Overall, this is a great pose for getting a nice stretch.
If you can't reach your fingers behind your back, you can use a strap to do that until your shoulders are limber enough to reach. It could take time so don't push yourself.
When you have high blood pressure or are suffering from a bout of diarrhea, this pose should not be practiced.
If you have a neck problem, do not turn your head. Instead, look straight and keep the head neutral.
Other than increased stamina, you will see a stretch in the groins, lungs and chest, as well as shoulders.
This pose strengthens the ankles and legs, as well as stretches them.
Throughout the second trimester of pregnancy, this pose can relieve backaches, but it is also therapeutic for flat feet, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, osteoporosis, Sciatica, and infertility.
The Tree Pose should not be done if you have a headache or insomnia.
You also shouldn't do it if you have low blood pressure but you can do it if you have high blood pressure, just don't raise your arms over your head.
This pose strengthens the legs and the spine while also stretching the inner thighs and groins, shoulders and chest.
Because this pose is done on one foot, you will see an improved sense of balance over time. It is therapeutic for flat feet and Sciatica.
If you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or have diarrhea, do not practice this pose.
If you are pregnant, you can practice Downward Facing Dog up until you are considered late term, or it becomes uncomfortable for you, whichever comes first.
If you have a headache or have high blood pressure, you should support your head on something placed between the arms.
This pose helps to energize the body and calms the brain so it can help to relieve stress and depression.
It stretches the hands, arches and calves, hamstrings and shoulders, plus it strengthens the legs and arms which is great for toning those muscles.
The Downward Facing Dog helps to relieve symptoms of menopause, and when the head is supported as described above, it can relieve menstrual cramps.
It helps to prevent osteoporosis, or the worsening of it if it has already started, and it aides in digestion.
This pose is therapeutic for sinusitis, flat feet, high blood pressure, Sciatica, fatigue, insomnia, back pain, and headache.
If you have a spine or back injury of some sort, only practice this pose with the help of an experienced yoga instructor.
This pose stimulates digestion, the liver, and the kidneys.
It also helps to get things moving with the spine so it doesn't stiffen.
When performing this pose you will stretch the neck, hips, and shoulders. Therapeutic uses for Half Lord of the Fishes Pose include relieving menstrual cramps, Sciatica, backaches, fatigue, infertility, and asthma.
If you have a neck injury, make sure you have an experienced yoga instructor present.
This pose stretches the spine, neck, and chest while also stimulating the thyroid, lungs and abdominal organs which can lead to improved digestion.
Bridge Pose can aide in mindfulness which helps especially with mild depression and stress.
If you have tired legs, are going through menopause, menstrual discomfort, insomnia, headache or backache, anxiety or fatigue, sinusitis or asmtha, osteoporosis, or even high blood pressure this pose can help.
Be careful with the Four Limbed Staff Pose if you have a wrist or shoulder injury.
This yoga pose strengthens your wrists and arms, as well as your abdomen.
This is a great pose to practice in preparation for other poses where you will be balancing on your arms.
If you have a back injury only bend forward as much as is comfortable.
If you have a neck injury, be certain to keep your neck in a neutral position and don't look forward.
The benefits of this Forward Bend include stretching the backs of the legs as well as teaching patience and mindfulness.
Because you will be folding one leg under your body, this should be done with the presence of a yoga instructor or with permission of a doctor If you have a hip or knee injury.
The Pigeon Pose opens the hips and stretches the fronts of the thighs.
This can be great for people who mostly sit during the day.
This pose opens the hips which is another great pose for those who sit much of the day.
However, this pose is mostly meant as one used for meditation and mindfulness.
This is another pose in which you will be standing on one foot so if you have any reason to believe your balance may be compromised, such as if you have low or high blood pressure, a lack of regular sleep, or a headache, then you should not practice this pose.
However, the Warrior III gives benefits of strength to the legs, core, and arms, as well balance over time, plus it helps you to focus.
Because this pose releases the muscles surrounding the spine, if you have a back injury, you may want to consult your doctor before practicing this pose.
However, this pose is great for relieving tension along the spine, helping with backaches and tension.
Upward Facing Dog shouldn't be done by anyone with a back injury as you are inverting the spine.
However, there are other yoga poses that can help you increase flexibility in your back so that you can get to the point of being able to practice this pose if your back allows it.
This is a chest opening pose so it can help with respiratory problems.
It also stimulates the abdominal organs and relaxes the spine.
This is an inversion, so once again, if you have serious eye problems this shouldn't be done.
Also, your weight will be on your neck and shoulders, so if you have injuries or pain in those areas get clearance from your doctor.
However, this inversion is great for circulation which can be great for people who aren't as active as they should be or suffer from poor circulation.
It also opens up the back and the neck to help stretch those related muscles.
Because you will be stretching your hips and lower back with this pose, only let your knees relax as far into the pose as is comfortable for your hips, and only lean forward as much as is comfortable for your back.
This pose is great for mindfulness and meditation sitting. As mentioned, it opens the hips which is great for people who sit much of the time.
Apart from the many physical benefits, yoga can be really relaxing and a great stress reliever.
Apart from the many physical benefits, yoga can be really relaxing and a great stress reliever.
There are lots of great yoga studios around, but perhaps you could try getting out in nature, doing some meditation and some of these easy yoga poses to relax.
Many thanks to our yogi Kerri McCubben for her help in taking me through these poses. That's her in all the images:)
Having studied in the spiritual home of yoga, India, and being a qualified raw yoga instructor Kerri is a great teacher.
You can follow Kerri on her web site for some great inspiration at Home Of Yoga New Farm
I hope you have fun and enjoy pursuing yoga.
Please feel free to share any other easy yoga poses which you enjoy, and think others might too, in the comments below.