Words by Samantha Ickes
Do you ever wake up thinking of everything you want to get done that day? The sun is out, and you feel refreshed and ready for the day. That’s how my Monday morning was. As the first day I’ve had off in awhile, I had a to-do list for the day:
1. Pick up groceries at Wal-Mart
2. Study for my modern history exam
3. Start my project for my business class
4. Work on internship applications
5. Sort through laundry/other housework
6. Complete a yoga workout
It’s 7 p.m., and I’ve accomplished half of that list, but completing my yoga workout was not one of them. Making time for at least 20 minutes of exercise a day is an important goal of mine–even if it’s some easy, stretching yoga poses before bed or going for a walk on the trail downtown with my mom.
Some days I need to push myself a little more than child’s pose and forward fold. The poses I’ve included in this short workout are inspired by Yoga With Adriene’s workout video that focuses on arms and abs.
Note: Before beginning this workout it is best to stretch to avoid injury or pulling a muscle.
1. Plank: Begin on your hands and knees with your arms straight and your wrists aligned with your shoulders. Curl your toes under and step back so your legs are straight. Remember to keep your feet about hip width apart. Hold your gaze just slightly past your fingertips as you hold this pose for at least 30 seconds, breathing deeply.
2. Side plank: Once you finish holding a traditional plank for 30 seconds transition into a side plank. Stack your left foot on top of your right foot and open to the left side, raising your left arm above your body. Just as you did the first plank, hold this pose for 30 seconds before recreating the side plank on the right side.
3. Chaturanga: This pose is also known as a low plank. From the original plank, lower your body so that it is about four inches above the mat. Roll your toes forward so your arms create a 90-degree angle. Draw your elbows in toward your sides, and keep the top of your shoulders away from your ears. You can either hold this pose for another 30 seconds or do chaturanga pushups by lowering yourself to the mat and back up at least three times.
4. Upward-facing dog: From chaturanga, lower yourself all the way to the mat. As you come in contact with the mat lift the upper half of your body, straightening your arms. Your legs should remain against the mat about hip width apart with the top of your feet pressed against the mat. After holding this for another 30 seconds, you may want to transition to child’s pose to rest.
5. Crunches: Transition onto your back and do a few simple stretches. When you’re finished, raise your knees and align your shins so they are parallel with the ceiling. Stretch your arms over your head and lace your fingers together. Place your hands behind your head to cradle your neck in your fingertips. As you do your crunches be careful to create space between your shoulders and your arms. Keep your arm in line with your head rather than drawing your elbow in toward each other like you might in a traditional crunch. Keeping space between your arms, shoulders and head aligns your body in a way that is better for joint health. Try to do at least 30 of these. If you need to rest between sets of 15 stretch your legs out and stretch your arms above your head for a pose called corpse pose.
6. Bicycle crunches: This move is similar to the crunches you just did before except as you draw your upper body in toward your thighs, your going to twist, touching your elbow with the opposite knee as your stretch the other leg out straight. Do this continuously for at least 25 sets.
Feel free to repeat any of these moves if you feel you need a more intense work out. Once you’re done with your workout, lay flat against the mat in corpse pose for at least five breaths to cool down.