Short on time but feeling a bit stiff? These five yoga poses will loosen those limbs, increase your flexibility and strength, and even help your posture.
Personal trainer Ben Lucas has done it all, from NRL to endurance running and yoga. And today, the owner of Sydney’s premier luxe fitness and yoga studio, Flow Athletic, is the go-to man for strength training, flexibility, recovery and performance.
“I used to play NRL, so running and strength training were my key focuses when it came to exercise,” explains Ben. “I never really paid much attention to my flexibility until I started getting into endurance running several years later. It was while training for a particularly arduous ultra-endurance event that I found I was really struggling with tight muscles and was suffering from more injuries than ever before. I finally decided to give yoga a go and realized that not only did it help with my recovery, but it increased my flexibility and boosted my time and performance. Needless to say, I am still doing yoga every week.” Here, Ben suggests these five body loving exercises to get you started …
Kickstart those muscles with some barking good puppy power. “Possibly the most famous yoga pose, downward dog is involved in pretty much every sequence that I have done in yoga, so it’s a good one to get familiar with,” suggests Ben. “I really like this pose because it activates the muscles in your entire body.
How to: “Push your hands into the ground and feel the energy coming up your arms into your back. Your core is engaged, your quads are firing and it’s a great stretch for your hamstrings, calves and heels. It is also great for full body circulation.”
Build a bridge and make peace with those pains in the ass and upper body. “This exercise is particularly great for people who are desk bound for most of the day, as it strengthens your chest, neck, glutes and spine, which are the areas that generally suffer due to bad posture while sitting,” explains Ben. “It’s also a great warm up for more intense back bends.
How to: “Lie on the floor with your knees bent and arms by your side. Press your feet into the floor as you left your hips up.”
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Come on let’s twist again, like we did last summer… remember, before you were chained to your desk? “This another great exercise for the desk bound,” says Ben. The seated twist gives you an amazing stretch that particularly works the shoulders, hips, core and neck. Twisting movements are also very good for digestion and circulation.
How to: “Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Cross your right foot over the outside of your left thigh and bend the knee. Put your left arm on the knee for support, then twist toward the right as far as you can. Keep your glutes on the ground and try to twist with just your core.”
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If your out and about exercise wings have been clipped, try this homing pigeon pose. “The pigeon pose is a great opener for the shoulders and the chest, but for me, I find that is an extraordinary glute stretch,” explains Ben. “Again, this is excellent for anyone who spends a lot of time sitting.”
How to: “Start in a plank position with your palms under your shoulders. Bring your right leg into your chest, and then place it on the ground with your knee and ankle in a straight line in front of you. Lower the left leg to the ground, and lean over the right to get a deep glute stretch.”
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Warrior One Pose
Show your body who is the boss with a fierce move that shows your endurance, balance and strength. “The warrior one pose is great pose for working your entire body in one move,” says Ben.
How to: “Start in a low lunge, suck in your stomach tight and raise your arms straight above your head. This is a very energizing pose that will work your core and legs while testing your balance.”
ABOUT: Ben Lucas is the owner of Sydney’s premier luxe fitness and yoga studio Flow Athletic. Flow Athletic will be hosting their first luxury escape between May 28- June 2 at Melia Bali in Nusa Dua. Daily fitness classes will be taken by Ben, and yoga classes by Australia’s top yoga instructor, Kate Kendall.