‘Yogafy’ your gym workout!

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There’s a sign up in my gym at the moment that says – “There are 1440 minutes in a day, you only need 30 to have a great workout” – I love this! It’s so important to look after our bodies and to stay active throughout our lives. There are plenty of ways to reach that recommended dose of fitness, from weight lifting to simply walking more – yoga is my favourite way to workout and I strive to practice as often as I can. Not only does it relax and calm my mind, it totally energizes my body, leaving me feeling super strong and healthy both during and after practice. I’m often asked about the yoga that I practice at home and outside of the classroom – so I decided to bring yoga to the gym today to share some of my fave moves and flows that can be done wherever you choose to workout! These are just a few fun moves that you could add to your workout, with all the stretching and toning benefits of yoga! Remember to listen to your instincts, and with each pose to only go as far as your body tells you you can. There is a fine line between challenging yourself and pushing yourself too hard – balance – yoga is about progression not perfection.

Each of the positions have a counter pose that will help to stretch you out and ensure that you are protecting your muscles from over straining, it’s really important that you add these counter-poses into your routine! If you’re at the gym don’t be embarrassed to ask for help whenever you need it, whether that’s with choosing weights/equipment, or simply just asking someone to help you in or out of a move, and remember – you don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great! So drop and give me zen!

6 ways to yogafy your workout:

1) Turn your Chair pose into squat rep’s:

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Benefits of Chair pose:

  • Tones the leg muscles
  • Strengthens hip flexors, ankles, calves and back
  • Stretches the chest and shoulders

Add in some weights or a kettle bell to your reps – this will get you warm! The counter pose for this is to bend forward with straight legs, letting your hands fall toward the ground or interlocking your fingers and holding your arms directly above your head as you fold.

2) Get a feel for the Wheel pose:

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Either coming into Bridge, with your hands interlocked underneath you, or full Wheel pose – play around with reps of upside-down push up’s or leg raises.

Benefits of Wheel pose:

  • Increases flexibility in the spine and lengthens vertebrae
  • Strengthens and tones your arms, wrists, abdomen, legs, shoulders and chest
  • Opens the chest and lungs

Remember your counter pose – a seated forward bend, no prize for touching toes, will counteract this stretch and should leave you feeling great!

3) Plank, plank, plank!

There are plenty of variations for the Plank, I like to add weights to mine and alternate bringing the weights to armpit level usually for 20 reps per side, per set.

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Be sure to stretch out into Upward Dog for your counter posture, and why not try the total core-busting yoga equivalent of a press up Chaturanga on your way there!

Benefits of Plank position:

  • Great way to tone your abs!
  • Improves posture and back alignment
  • Builds flexibility in posterior muscle groups

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You could also try some balancing variations – maybe add in the side plank and some leg raises to your flow – have fun with it!

4) Boat pose for a bikini body:

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The day I reach a straight-legged Boat pose will be a fabulous day! It’s all about practice, and i’m sure i’ll get there, but in the meantime I like to incorporate these weighted and non-weighted reps into my gym floor routine.

Benefits of Boat pose:

  • Stimulates internal organs, improving digestion
  • Tones the abs and legs
  • Strengthens the hip flexors and spine

The counter pose for Boat is either a forward fold, holding onto opposite elbows and letting the head hang loose, or simply a Child’s pose (one of my faves!).

5) Be a Warrior not a worrier:

Both warrior 1 and 2 are great lunge positions that will do wonders for your legs and improve your posture. By adding weights you are also toning your arms, and feel free to take a twist in this pose to detoxify your nervous system!

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Benefits of Warrior pose:

  • Strengthens the arms, legs and lower back
  • Improves stamina and balance
  • Releases built-up stress in the shoulders
  • Great stretch for those with desk/sitting down jobs!

Make sure that you are in proper alignment in Warrior, there are plenty of youtube/online tutorials for this (click here) and your best counter posture for this lunge is to take a twist or to come into everyone’s favourite Downward Dog.

6) Take a (Head)stand!

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Don’t be afraid to really take your time getting into a Headstand – the slow and steady balancing movements will really work your core strength! Play around with reps of leg raises, and if you’re brave enough – try a forearm stand, the wall can help you get into this pose but do make sure the area around you is clear in case of crash landings! I love this blog post about doing headstand’s every day – check it out!

Benefits of Headstand:

  • Stimulates brain function
  • Tones the upper body
  • Strengthens the core
  • Great for circulation
  • It’s super fun!

Take a shoulder stand to truly counteract this pose, or come into Child’s pose for some time to let the blood flow return to normal. Headstands get better with practice and really take some time to get the hang of – so don’t give up and don’t be annoyed with yourself if you find a pose difficult to begin with. Yoga is all about using your body and your mind to achieve strength in balance, so be sure to take this frame of mind into your workout!

Here are some of the counter posture stretches that I have mentioned above, and a few other stretchy ideas that will improve your post-workout feeling! There’s no reason why our workout can’t be fun and beneficial, exercise should make us feel happy and healthy!

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Have a lovely rest of the week, please do let me know if you try and love these moves in your next gym session! And be sure to nourish yourself too with nutritious food, lots of water and plenty of rest – Namaste!IMG_2425.JPG