Yoga for Menstrual Cramps!
A couple of you have asked me what kind of yoga poses you should do during shark week to ease the cramps and discomfort. Given that I normally have a really difficult time during shark week as well, I thought that this yoga guide will be very useful for myself and you ladies out there!
1. Seated Side Stretch
Start off by sitting nice and easy on your mat, and slowly tilt your body from side to side, feeling a nice and gentle stretch on your side. As you inhale, lengthen your spine, and as you exhale, melt your torso towards the side.
2 & 3. Cat & Cow Pose
After you feel more warmed up, slowly come into all fours, and start warming up your spine with cat and cow pose. As you inhale, come into cat pose (pic 2), and as you exhale, slowly open up your chest and melt your chest towards the ground (pic 3). Remember to keep your elbows soft, and make sure that you are not hyperextending your arms.
4. Reclining Eagle Twist
Normally we have really stiff and sore back during shark week, so this is a great pose to relieve the tension and loosen up your lower back a little. Come into eagle legs, and place your legs to the side. Make sure that your shoulder blades are still touching the ground, and you should feel a nice stretch along your back.
5. Wind Relieving Pose
This is a great pose to massage your intestines, relieve tension in your hip joints and your back and enhances blood circulation in these areas. Gently hug your knees and press your knees towards your torso. You should feel a slight pinching sensation in your hips. Shift your gaze down, as if looking the prints of your t-shirt. Gently rock from side to side if that feels good for you.
6. Thread the Needle Pose
This is also another pose that helps to stretch your hips and lower back as well. Remember to keep your top foot flexed to protect your knee, and push your top knee away from your torso to feel a nice stretch in your hips and glutes as well.
7. Pigeon Pose
For this hip opener, you can choose to come into a standing pigeon, resting pigeon, or even a mermaid pose if that feels good for you. If your hips are really tight, you can use a pillow or a yoga block to prop yourself. Remember, this is a restorative sequence to help ease the pain and tension, so don’t push yourself too hard!
8. Fish Pose
You can either opt to come into bound angle with your legs (as shown in the pic), or straighten out your legs. Open up your chest and you should feel a nice stretch at your upper back. Keep breathing, and you can stay here for as long as you want.
9. Seated Forward Fold
Gently stretch your hamstrings with seated forward fold to loosen up your legs as well. Remember not to push yourself too much in this pose, and just let your torso melt gently onto your legs. Do not round your back too much. Place your gaze on your shins or toes, and aim your forehead towards your shins so that you won’t round your back too much. Inhale to lengthen the spine, exhale to deepen your stretch. Keep breathing.
10. Wide Legged Child’s Pose
You can either come into a regular child’s pose or a wide legged child’s pose here. Melt your chest towards the ground and place your forehead and nose on the mat. Keep breathing and you may stay here for as long as you want. <:
Take good care of yourself during shark week, drink lots of water, don’t push yourself too hard if you don’t feel well. Listen to your body and honour your body’s needs! Namaste <3
Elevated Pushups: Basic, Single Leg, Spiderman
Time to level up? :)
When I first started doing full pushups, it was awesome, but after awhile I wasn’t progressing/getting better at them. I still had a hard time doing more than 20-25 in a row, and I stayed there for a long time.
Once you mastered a move for the first time, you have a few options to get better at it: do more (high volume, like our pushup challenges), do harder modifications, add resistance/weight or plyometrics and be consistent about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Elevating my pushups was much harder ( I could do dozens and dozens from the floor, but less than 10 elevated), but within a few workouts, I was already feeling stronger. My burpees got better, my plank time improved, and yes, pushups from the floor felt like recovery.
START SLOW: If you’re used to doing a certain number of reps from the floor, know that your reps will be slightly less. That’s okay! Add in short intervals until you get stronger. If you’re still struggling with pushups from the feet, this may be too advanced.
1. Make sure your hands are lined up with your shoulders and take your hands wide. Your eye line should fall in front of your hands (when you look down). You should be able to see a few feet in front of you without straining your neck.
2. Keep your hips lifted (don’t sag) and engage your core and legs (quads). Keep hips facing the floor at all times (especially for single leg or spiderman modifications).
3. Place chair on a secure surface like a mat or against a wall. The first few times, take a peeksie to make sure your feet are in the middle of the chair seat.
4. Push the floor away from you instead of lifting from it.
Beginners: Flip these around to make them easier! Place your hands on the seat of the chair and feet on the ground. The higher the surface, the easier it is. (Easiest: against a wall on an incline).
Give these a try this week in a few of your workouts!
More options here: Working Your Way to Perfect Pushups…
If you want to get a really great upper body workout you don’t need to go to the gym or spend a lot of money buying weights. The fact is weight is weight and it doesn’t have to be covered in neoprene to be useful for getting in shape. Almost all of us have a backpack laying around so put it to use by packing it with some books or anything of weight around you and start shaping and strengthening your upper body. Doing any of my other 31 day challenges? The challenge fits perfectly with any of the other plans. You can check them out here -
Total Body HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Workout for Healthy Weight Loss!
Try it today!
December: the end of 2013
December has four calendars: a basic version for the average reader, one for beginners with frequent rest days, one for students that asks you to do more working out on the weekends and over the holiday break, and one for dancers (or anyone else working on flexibility) that includes stretch days.
The directions are simple: find the current date on the calendar, see what workout(s) it asks for, and pick one from each section listed for that date. For example, if today it says “Arms” and “General,” I’d find an arm workout and a general workout to do today.
Feel free to substitute an HIIT workout for any cardio workout listed. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a lot of time for cardio.
If you’d like to write about your experiences during the month or see how others are doing, please use the tag “BoP December”. By all using this tag, we can see what others are doing during the month and send others encouragement along the way. Let’s all support each other on our journeys! (If you’re not on Tumblr but still use these calendars, feel free to update us on the Back On Pointe Facebook Page or the Back On Pointe Fitocracy Group! Or, post on Instagram or Twitter!)
During the month, remember that you should take as many rest days as you need, modify any workouts that you cannot do, stay hydrated, get more low-intensity cardio, and eat well.
p.s. Any of the calendars can be modified. If you are training for a half-marathon, feel free to count that as your cardio on cardio days. If you’re sore in the arms from helping a friend move, substitute a butt workout instead. It’s all about you!Click “Read More” for the workouts!(At the bottom there are also a handful of links to good stretching videos for the Dance Student Calendar if you want to mix up your routine!)
Gentle Yoga for Hip Flexibility (12 minutes)
This all-levels routine is just the thing to unwind your hip flexors, hamstrings, and glutes. This Friday’s arm balance “Perching Pigeon” requires open hips and a can-do attitude. The attitude? Well just like they say: Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right. You got it, but for now how about a little hip opening and emotional/physical tension releasing?
Morning Yoga For Energy