Wednesday, 07. May 2008
It was only a matter of time before someone tried to cross-pollinate hand weights with yoga poses. After all, people love the stretched artistry of yoga, but they want to be toned, too. The result is not yoga in the deep spiritual tradition, but it is a great way to exercise: slow, gentle, and challenging.
A nationally ranked triathlete, Anthony Carillo
was drawn to yoga's calming and centering benefits to complement his grueling ironman regimen.
[see also this interview: In His Own Words]
|He found a natural synergy between yoga and weights. "I was standing in Warrior II and could feel my legs burning as I got deeper into the lunge," he says. "I wondered how I could get a workout for my arms and shoulders at the same time." The answer: small hand weights. "Combining the two can completely integrate your mind, body, and breath," he says. "Yoga helps you reduce stress, increase flexibility, and improve range of motion, while strength training fires up your metabolism, increases lean muscle mass, and builds strong bones." Carillo created the following routine from his book, "Iron Yoga."|
Use Light Weights
A pair of 2- to 5-pound dumbbells is fine.
Practice Yogic Breathing
Breathe through your nose, inhaling slowly for four to five counts, allowing your belly and chest to expand. Exhale for five counts. "The goal is to coordinate your breath with each movement. The deeper you breathe, the more you are able to engage and stabilize your core" says Bonnie Herbert, Iron Yoga instructor and model for this story.
On the last repetition of each move, hold the position for a complete inhalation and exhalation while squeezing and contracting the muscles you're using. This "static contraction" helps tone and firm your muscles faster.
Listen to Your Joints
Although it's normal to feel the burn of muscles working hard, you should never feel pain or discomfort in your joints. If you do, stop.
Ask Your Doctor
Always talk with your health-care practitioner before beginning this or any new exercise regimen.
Learn some Iron Yoga poses:
Mountain Pose with Dumbbells Over Heart
Time: 30 to 60 seconds
|How to Do It: Stand with your heels slightly apart, big toes lightly touching (at the front of your yoga mat, if you're using one). Engage your leg muscles and pull your navel up and in toward your spine, keeping your torso long and your chest out. Lift the dumbbells to your chest, pressing both dumbbell heads together over your heart. Close your eyes and take four deep breaths.|
As you exhale, press the dumbbells together with more force, adding to the continuous tension; this will help you develop a mind-muscle connection in your upper body -- shoulders, arms, chest, and back. Open your eyes after the last breath.
|Half Moon with Weights|
Time: Two minutes
How to Do It: Stand in Mountain Pose. Inhale and raise both arms over head, bringing weights together. Exhale as you lean your torso to the left. Press heels firmly into the mat, keeping your legs and arms straight. Hold this stretch for four breaths, leaning deeper and feeling your left oblique muscle contract. Return to center; repeat on the other side.
|Eagle Pose with Fly and Triceps Extension|
Time: Four minutes
How to Do It: 1. Stand on your left leg with both knees bent slightly; cross your right leg over your left. In a modified Eagle pose, your right foot doesn't have to wrap all the way around but can be held above the floor or rest gently on it. Lift the dumbbells in front of your forehead with arms and elbows squeezing together. Keep your shoulders and hips square and avoid leaning forward or backward or rotating the torso. Engage right shoulder and back muscles.
|2. Inhale and pull the right dumbbell out to the side; exhale and return to center position, squeezing arms and dumbbells together. Repeat with left arm.|
|3. Open both arms on the inhalation and hold. Exhale and inhale to get deeper into the mind-muscle connection with your breath. Exhale and return to the center.|
|4. Switch legs and stand on right leg; wrap left leg. Hold both weights behind your head, pointing elbows up and pressing biceps toward your ears.|
|5. Raise your left arm straight overhead on an inhalation; exhale and lower. Repeat with your right arm.|
|6. Inhale and raise both arms at the same time. Hold the position. Exhale and then inhale to enhance the contraction. Exhale and lower arms.|
|Side Angle Lunge with Concentration Curl|
Time: Two minutes
How to Do It: 1. Jump or step legs about 3 to 4 feet apart. Pivot right foot out and bend right knee until thigh is parallel with the mat. Lower torso so the upper portion of your right arm rests on the inside of right knee. Reach left arm over head and gaze toward that hand. Hold one dumbbell in right hand (add another in the same hand for more of a challenge).
2. Engage your right biceps. Inhale and curl right arm to your shoulder. Exhale and lower right arm.
3. Inhale and repeat curl. Exhale, and then inhale while holding the curl. Exhale and lower your left arm.
4. Switch sides and repeat movement.
5. Return to "Mountain Pose with Dumbbell Over Heart" (see above). Hold pose for four breaths.
Source: Power Poses by body+soul.
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