Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Bare Your Toned Arms with Yoga Teddy Bear

Sleeveless summer is here!   Why not proudly bare your bare arms with Yoga Teddy Bear?  This month, our furry friend offers four poses sure to tone your arms.  Whether you can do them all or whether you simply try, it’s always worth the effort!  Remember, the more you practice, the easier it becomes.  Spend 15 minutes with these four poses today!

1. Side Plank / Most Excellent Pose (Vashistasana)
There’s a reason this pose translates from Sanskrit as “The Most Excellent Pose.”  It not only tones your arms, it improves your balance, strengthens your wrists, and best of all, it opens your heart.  Warm up in Plank Pose by starting on all fours.  Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders.  Stretch your legs out behind you tucking your toes.  Flex your tummy and make your whole back straight and long like a plank of wood.  Keep on breathing!  When you’re ready, shift your weight to one hand.  Bring your feet together and drop back so your other foot lands on top.  Reach your hand toward the sky and breathe deeply.  Most excellent!  Be sure to try this pose on both sides.

2. Four Limbed Staff Pose (Chattaranga Dandasana)
Fondly referred to by many yogis by its Sanskrit name “Chattaranga!”, this pose is essentially a push down.  Instead of doing regular push ups, try this more controlled version of a tricep toner.    From Plank Pose, shift forward slightly.  Bend your elbows keeping them squeezed in close to your body rather than splayed out to the sides.  Lower until your upper arms are parallel to the ground.  Breathe deeply here for 3-5 breaths. If you have the strength, push yourself back up into plank.  Or lower to the ground.  And rest before doing the pose at least three times.

(Image from the new hardcover, full color Yoga Teddy Bear A-B-C Book)

3. Leaping (or Jumping!) Crocodile (Makarasana) 
This is an extremely rigorous exercise described in detail by B. K. S. Iyengar in Light on Yoga.  It will generate heat, get your heart pounding, and strengthen your entire body.  From Plank Pose, breathe in and lower into Chattaranga Dandasana.  When you breathe out, press back up as powerfully as you can.  Ideally your hands and feet come off the ground.  Move forward slightly with each jump.   Try to do this five times forward, then five times back to start.  Don’t worry about doing it perfectly, just do your best and have fun!  

(Image: July Coloring contest winner No Ordinary Chick.  Enter today and WIN!)

4. Peacock (Mayurasana) (Colored by No Ordinary Chick)
Most kids can do this pose until between 6-10 years old.  While it looks impossible, it really is a matter of balance.  And like all yoga poses, a little regular practice creates surprising improvement in a short amount of time.  For Peacock Pose, the key is courage!  Just face your fears and try it. Start on all fours with your finger tips pointing to your knees.  Step one foot back and then the other.  Lean forward bending your arms until your hips rest on your elbows.  Keep looking forward and try to lift one leg, maybe both until you are balancing on your arms.  Balance like a capital letter “T.”  Breathe deeply.  (Tip: If you feel like you might fall on your face, use a pillow!)

Enjoy practicing these four arm-toning yoga poses, then bare your arms with gusto!  Peace, Love and Nama-stay joyful, Yoga Teddy Bear