The Flying Locust

The Flying Locust is a weighted variation of a classic yoga pose that allows you to pretend you're in flight. The exercise strengthens and tones the front and back of your body. It also strengthens your shoulders, arms, chest, legs, and buttocks. You support your body weight with your abdominal muscles in the process, which is why it works as a big-time belly buster.

^pfJIVf The Flying Locust is a difficult exercise. To do it right, you need to pay atten-^ tion each moment during the exercise. If any part of your back feels uncomfortable, you can do this exercise with light hand weights or with no weights at all until you get strong enough.

Figure 12-2:

Imagine the buzzing of insects as you fly through this exercise.

You need both ankle and hand weights for this exercise. When you're ready, follow these steps:

1. Lie flat on your belly with your forehead touching the floor, your arms spread in a T position, and your hands holding the hand weights palms-down (see Figure 12-2a).

This is the starting position.

2. Inhaling to a count of four, lift your arms, your legs, and your chin straight up off the ground (see Figure 12-2b).

Without jerking your body or throwing your head back, try to lift up at the same rate and to the same height. As you do this, notice your shoulders moving away from your ears and your shoulder blades moving toward each other. Pull your belly in and up and your tailbone down as you lift. Keep your legs directly behind you.

You should feel your abdominal muscles tighten in this position. The weight of your body is falling on these muscles, and they must stay engaged to support your body.

It helps to imagine that someone is pressing on the back of your head and that you have to hold your head up. Lifting your head properly helps get your shoulders and arms up.

Figure 12-2:

Imagine the buzzing of insects as you fly through this exercise.

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3. Exhaling to a count of four, slowly lower your arms, legs, and chin to the starting position (see Figure 12-2a).

Don't drop your limbs; lower them in time to your breathing.

If you try the Flying Locust and have trouble lifting the weights from the T position, try keeping your hands alongside your hips without the weights.

Repeat this exercise six to eight times, pause to rest, and then do six to eight more repetitions.

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