By Faye Martins
With summer on the way, many of us may be realizing that we are not quite in the shape we would like to be for bathing suit weather. A regular practice of Yoga postures can be very helpful for maintaining a healthy weight and a strong, toned body. Depending on the Yoga asanas that you choose to practice, the effects may be strengthening one’s core or the postures may increase your level of flexibility and relaxation. Frequently, Yoga asanas will simultaneously promote strength, flexibility, energy and relaxation.
The practice of power or flowing Yoga sequences is a very effective way to raise your heart rate, increase circulation, burn calories and strengthen your whole body. Flowing Yoga sequences will usually include a foundation of Sun Salutations, Warrior Poses and standing postures. These poses are quite challenging and invigorating. In order to further sculpt your abdominal area, you may wish to include a series of movements based on Navasana or Boat Pose.
Navasana or Boat Pose is usually practiced towards the end of a Yoga session. When you are ready to practice Boat Pose, come to a sitting position on your Yoga mat with your legs straight out in front of you. With an inhale, raise your legs approximately 75 degrees off the floor so that your body forms a “V” shape. Extend your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing towards your body and your hands at knee height. Hold this pose for three to five full breaths. If you have the strength, maintain the pose as you move into a variation of Navasana. If you need a moment to rest, lower your legs, and then move into the pose when you are ready.
With your legs raised to 75 degrees, place your palms together in prayer position and shift your weight to your right sit bone as you bring your extended arms to the outside of your left knee. Pulse here for five counts with your breath by gently reaching your arms further towards the left, front corner of your mat while simultaneously pulsing your knees to your upper right side of you mat. After five counts, shift your weight to your left sit bone, raise your arms overhead, and then position your arms on the outside of your right knee. Pulse on the right side for five counts. Repeat on each side two more times.
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