Yoga/Pilates Moves for Beginners

The following workout involves exercises based on yoga and Pilates and focusing on flexibility and core strength. Take your time doing each exercise, breathing slowly and deeply throughout the workout. Modify the exercises according to your fitness level and flexibility and please visit your doctor before you begin any type of exercise program.

Supine Breathing

Lie face up on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place one hand on your lower belly and inhale, concentrating on expanding through the ribcage and feeling your fingers separate. Exhale and press the bellybutton towards the spine and ‘closing’ the ribs. Keep the breath flowing and relax the tension in your shoulders and face. Repeat for 4-6 breaths.

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ycatstretch1.jpg (11630 bytes) ycatstretch2.jpg (10695 bytes)
(A) (B)
Cat Stretch
Kneel on all fours with knees under hips and hands under shoulders. Spread the fingers out on the floor with palms flat and contract the abs to bring the head, neck and back in alignment. (A) Inhale and tip the sitz bones towards the ceiling while drawing the shoulders back and down away from your ears; look up. (B) Exhale and tuck the chin while pulling your belly towards your spine. Round the back and feel a stretch down your spine. Repeat for 4 to 6 breaths, moving smoothly between each move.
Thread the Needle
From the Cat Stretch, (A) sit back on your heels with arms stretched out on the floor, palms down and forehead touching the floor. (B) Reach one arm under the torso at chest height, palm up. Inhale and on the exhale gently rotate from the upper back to bring the arm even further underneath you. Hold for 3-5 breaths and repeat on the other side.
ythreadneedle.jpg (21936 bytes) ythreadneedle2.jpg (8674 bytes)
(A) (B)
yplank.jpg (10235 bytes) Plank
From the previous exercise, stretch out facedown on mat with elbows resting on floor next to chest. Push your body off the floor in a pushup position with body resting on hands. Contract the abs and keep the body in a straight line from head to toes. Hold for a 4 to 8 breaths
Side Planks
From plank position, (A) roll the body over so you’re supported by your right hand and drop the right knee to the floor. Make sure the right arm is in line with the shoulder. Extend the left arm in the air and look up at your hand. Hold this for 3-5 breaths and repeat on the other side. (B) For more intensity, don’t drop the knee to the floor–instead, balance on the outside of the foot (see picture)
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(A) (B) – advanced
yforwardbend.jpg (17681 bytes) yspineprep.jpg (15687 bytes) yforwardbend.jpg (17681 bytes) yplank.jpg (10235 bytes)

yupdog.jpg (12507 bytes) ydowndog.jpg (14760 bytes) yforwardbend.jpg (17681 bytes) yspineprep.jpg (15687 bytes) yforwardbend.jpg (17681 bytes)

Sun Salutations
Begin in mountain pose-standing with big toes touching, heels slightly apart, chest lifted and legs strong and active (not pictured). (A) Exhale and tip from the hips and lower into a Forward Bend, with hands on the floor or feet–bend the knees if you need to. (B) Inhale and look up as you come up on your fingertips until your back is flat. (C) Exhale into Forward Bend. (D) Inhale, look up and step back into plank pose. (E) Exhale and bend the arms and lower the body to the floor. Uncurl your toes and lift the chest away from the floor, hugging the elbows against your sides. Keep the shoulder blades down and open the chest, straightening the arms as much as feels comfortable. Exhale and lower down. (F) Inhale and curl the toes under and lift the body off the mat, taking the tailbone towards the ceiling in an inverted V-shape. Press into the floor with your hands, fingers spread, while also pressing your heels towards the floor and the hips back. Hold this for a few breaths then inhale and step back into forward bend, inhale as you look up and come up on your fingertips until your back is flat. Lower back into Forward Bend and then inhale, sweep arms overhead until palms touch. Exhale and bring the hands back to the sides in Mountain Pose.
Repeat the series 4 to 8 times.

The Workout
Do this workout 3-4 non-consecutive days a week



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