Let’s face it. Most of us aren’t working on balance and flexibility. At least not like we should be. Our focus is on the workout. Whether it’s running, CrossFit, HIIT, or spin class, you put your attention on the fat burning part of the program.
Maybe you do a few stretches when you’re done if you have time. Or, like many of the participants that come to the fitness classes I teach, you start putting your equipment back in the closet when the cool down song comes on and head out the door without doing so much as a basic quad stretch. You don’t have time for three or four minutes of stretching or yoga poses.
When you skip the stretch you’re short changing yourself on a critical component of the workout. Not only does stretching improve flexibility, which is beneficial to overall athletic performance and reduces the risk of injury, it also increases blood flow to the muscles decreasing muscle soreness. Although the reviews are mixed, some studies suggest that stretching can actually increase muscle strength after a weight bearing workout.
There’s nothing that compares to the way a warrior or triangle pose feels after a high intensity interval training workout. It’s the icing on the cake. It’s your reward.
I know you’re busy, but I’m betting you have five minutes to spend practicing and perfecting these 5 yoga poses:
1. Warrior – My favorite of all of the poses. It makes me feel strong and complete. Keep the front leg in bent knee position, and back leg straight. Arms are held wide and long. Hold the pose on each side for 30 seconds.
2. Triangle - You can move from the Warrior to the Triangle in one smooth move. Simply straighten the front leg and reach forward to make the triangle. Practice doing the Warrior followed by the Triangle on the right side, then repeat on the left. Hold each pose for 30 seconds. Did you know the triangle is Bob Harper’s favorite yoga pose?
3. Downward Facing Dog – This pose isn’t as easy as it looks. The goal is to get your forehead toward your knees. It’s a great move that increases both flexibility and strength. Remember, practice makes perfect.
4. Tree – Ahhh. The Tree Pose. If you think that you are well balanced this pose will put you to the test. When I first starting practicing the tree pose I put two fingers on a wall to help with stabilization. It’s a challenging pose, but will help you increase balance which improves your athletic ability in any sport.
5. Plank – The plank is a great example of a body weight exercise that increases upper body strength while working on core muscles. The plank has replaced the ab crunch as the best exercise for getting six pack abs.
I know the headline says five yoga poses you should do everyday, but I couldn’t resist adding one more. Who doesn’t want to see Jennifer Aniston do a side plank pose? The side plank is similar to the basic plank move shown above, only harder. It takes balance and strength to hold the pose on one arm for 30 seconds. Here’s Jennifer Aniston doing the side plank.
Do These Five Poses Once A Day. Every Day.
Try incorporating each of these poses into your day, right after your workout or whenever you can fit them in. You’ll find that you will have improved strength, balance flexibility and focus. And . . . . . you’ll look and feel fabulous!
What’s your favorite yoga pose?
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All of the images came from Pinterest. Click on the picture to view the source.