The January Five Exercises – Pilates And Yoga For Core Strength And Balance

Each month I give my clients five moves to work on that include strength, flexibility and standing balance. I suggest you spend five minutes each day working on these. Here are the January Five:

1) Hundreds:

  • Start lying on your back.
  • Engage abdominals and lift legs to tabletop position.
  • Round head and shoulders off the mat, arms extended by your side.
  • Inhale and exhale as you pulse arms up and down.
  • Relax your neck! Rest your head on the ground if your neck starts to overwork.

Anne Hundreds January 2013


2) Leg Circles:

  • Bring your left leg up to tabletop or bent knee position (Maddie here is showing the more advanced straight leg version).
  • Inhale and exhale as you make a small circle with your leg, keeping hips still.
  • Ten times each direction then switch legs.
  • Relax your hip.

Maddie Leg Circles 1. Jan 2013

Maddie Leg Circles 2. Jan 2013

Maddie Leg Circles 3. Jan 2013

3) Down Dog:

  • From hands and knees, lift your hips towards the ceiling to come into and upside down ā€œVā€.
  • Bend your elbows and knees slightly, think of lifting your tail feathers up.
  • Eventually your arms and legs will be straight and hands and feet flat on the ground.

Anne Down Dog January 2013


4) Triangle:

  • Stand with your right foot about three feet in front of your left, arms extended and legs straight.
  • Keeping both sides of your waist long, reach right arm out and rest your hand on your right leg.
  • Extend left arm to the ceiling and steer your belly button towards the opposite wall.
  • Hold for one minute then switch sides.

Anne triangle January 2013


5) Seated Twist:

  • Sit up tall, bend your right knee and draw your right heel in towards you (Kate is demonstrating the more advanced version with her left leg tucked under her and arms wrapped behind her back).
  • Hug your right leg and twist towards your right knee, eventually looking over your right shoulder.
  • Hold one minute, and then switch sides.

Kate Seated Twist Jan 2013

Kate Seated Twist January 2013

Strengthen And Stretch Your Spine With This Seated Twist

Are you one of the 80% of Americans who have been affected by back pain? My clients often complain of either low back pain, or upper back pain between their shoulder blades (and sometimes both!) Looking for a drug free way to reduce your back pain? Incorporate yoga poses like this one into your daily routine.

Here Mandy demonstrates one of the October Five – Yoga Seated Twist (also known as Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose). Try this at home and remember to work at your own comfort level and breathe!

Sit up tall and extend your legs out in front of you. Bring your right foot flat on the ground and close to you, knee towards the ceiling (or cross right foot over left leg). Try tucking your left foot underneath you, if this causes knee pain keep your left leg straight.

Hug your right knee with your left arm, or try pressing your arm into the outside of your leg, and twist to the right. Press your right hand into the ground behind you and lift and lengthen your spine. Stay here for five breaths and then switch sides.


Disabled Vet Turns “Can’t” into “Can” through Yoga

You have probably seen this video going around the internet of Arthur Boorman the disabled vet who transformed himself from couch potato to athlete! There is lots to love about this video – Arthur’s determination, his rapid strength and balance improvements, his weight loss and the amazing before and after photos where he looks like a different person. I love the 1:50 mark where he is doing modified yoga poses in his living room using a chair to steady himself and he falls completely over, legs in the air like a cockroach. Guess what happens next (2 min mark) he gets back up! Over and over again.

Oddly enough his yoga instructor is none other than wrestlemania star Diamond Dallas Page.

I won’t spoil the ending if you have not yet seen this video but I had tears in my eyes watching it. Makes loosing that last 10 lbs or getting up at 6 am tomorrow to hit the gym seem not so difficult. Do you have an amazing transformation story or are you just starting to make some changes in your diet or activity? Tell me about it.