The title of this article is from Sebring YMCA Yoga practioner, Dan Powell, stressing his philosophy of combining “weight lifting, resistance training and Yoga to restructure the body.”
Dan has been lifting weights at the YMCA for many years then decided to follow his curiosity into Yoga.
Dan stresses from his learning that “there are a few ways to restructure the body, at any age, which is through consistency, hard work and presence of mind.” He affirms that the two best ways to enhance conditioning of the body is through a “Yoga practice, which lengthens, shapes and strengthens the muscles and resistance training, or weight lifting. He emphasizes that if you have to choose only one practice, “Yoga would be the way to go!”
The Yoga pose Dan demonstrates, in this week’s article, is “Modified Plank Pose” with a hamstring curl. This Yoga posture requires keeping the core engaged as you lengthen the back and keep it flat with palms launched downward into the floor and fingers spread apart to balance the body. Notice that Dan’s tightened, back supports his body weight as he lengthens the entire core, bends the leg at the knee and presses the heel upwards. Dan’s neck is extended forward, remaining long, A good practice is to repeat the pose at least five times, returning slowly back to plank and resting the entire body on the floor. “Yoga Plank” requires a disciplined mind to maintain this posture for several minutes.
As a follow-up to this posture, you can extend the body into a long, forward lunge. The “Lunge” is a way to come out of “Plank,” lunging the core flat and forward, holding it for 5 breaths, before resting the entire body, face down on the floor. Transitions in between poses are not rushed or choppy. The goal when transitioning from one posture to another is to emulate a smooth and controlled flow of energy. When transitioning from “Plank Pose,” inhale and use the core muscles to shift the body forward aligning the shoulders above the wrist with engaged legs.
Another posture for core strength is leg lifts while lying on the back. Lift one leg at a time, hold it up with a flat foot, before raising the other leg. Then, lower both legs together (not touching) a few inches from the floor. Hold the pose for a count of 10 before raising them up to the sky, slowly, with flat feet and lowering them a few inches from the floor again. Repeat 10 times.
As a final posture, turn over onto the front of the body. Lie full length on the stomach and stretch arms back against the thighs on either the side. Exhale and left the head, chest and legs off the floor, simultaneously, as high as possible. Hold the pose as you breathe and expand the chest. Lower the body slowly and turn the head to one side. Repeat again and turn the head to the other side when you return to the ground. Rest and replenish.
A Yoga practice, most importantly, requires focused energy and concentration. These qualities are applicable to many other life achievements. Join with Dan at the Sebring YMCA Yoga class, MWF 10:30-11:30 a.m. to engage with other Yoga practioners. Another perk to a Yoga practice is it is a fun challenge!