The Twister

No, the Twister doesn't mean you need to plan a party and call your friends. This Twister is a squeeze-and-soak exercise, which means that it massages and squeezes your inner organs. The Twister strengthens and tones your waistline, legs, back, and abs. And in order to make you the best twister at your next party, this exercise works your spine to give it more flexibility.

You need both hand weights and ankle weights for this exercise. Follow these steps to get going:

1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and tucked together high into your chest and your arms straight out from your shoulders in a T position; hold the hand weights with your palms facing upward (see Figure 9-7a).

This is the starting position. The higher into your chest you can tuck your knees, the better. Flex and press through all four corners of your feet.

Holding the hand weights in the T position works as a counterbalance, and the position keeps your collarbones and shoulder blades wide so you have a greater range of motion from side to side.

2. Exhaling to a count of four, slowly move your joined knees to the right until your right knee touches the floor (see Figure 9-7b).

Make sure your knees are stacked one on top of the other. Don't drop your legs; control their downward motion by concentrating on your four-count breathing.

As you move your legs to one side, keep your opposite shoulder on the ground.

3. Inhaling to a count of four, slowly lift your joined knees back to the starting position (see Figure 9-7a).

Sculpt your belly in and up as you lift. By contracting your abdominal muscles and keeping them engaged, you give support to your legs.

If you experience discomfort in your lower back, do this exercise without the ankle weights.

Do this exercise six to eight times on each side of your body, pause to rest, and then do another six to eight repetitions on each side of your body.

Figure 9-7:

To get the most out of the Twister, move and breathe slowly and consciously.

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A farming plow has only one or two specific uses . . . you plow the ground and plant your seeds. The yoga-with-weights Plow, however, serves many functions for your body. It loosens your lower back, extends your legs, releases your hamstrings, and exercises your abdominal muscles. You'll feel your spine and lower back stretching in this exercise. The Plow also reverses the blood flow in your legs, which is good for circulation and reducing bloating and water retention in your ankles.

Strap on your ankle weights and grab both hand weights for this exercise and follow these steps:

1. Lie on your back with your legs raised straight, your feet and knees above your hips, and your hands at your sides holding the hand weights, palms turned downward (see Figure 9-8a).

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This is the starting position.

Make sure your feet are yoga feet — they should be flexed and engaged, and you should be pressing into all four corners of each foot. At all times during this exercise, make sure your abdominal muscles, which help support your legs, are engaged.

2. Exhaling to a count of four and keeping your legs straight, slowly lift your buttocks off the floor, and extend your legs so that your feet are above your head, not your hips (see Figure 9-8b).

The hand weights act as anchors so you can stretch your back. Feel a gentle squeeze and lift in your buttocks.

If you can't extend your legs above your head, move them as far as you comfortably can. If you can't straighten your legs, do this exercise with your knees bent.

3. Inhaling to a count of four, return to the starting position (see Figure 9-8a).

Don't bounce as you do this exercise; move your legs slowly and consciously as you focus on your breathing.

Do this exercise six to eight times, pause to rest, and then do another six to eight repetitions.

Figure 9-8:

Feel your lower back stretching and your buttocks squeezing when you pull the Plow.

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Feel your lower back stretching and your buttocks squeezing when you pull the Plow.

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