Friday, November 26, 2010

Do the Plank

Core strength and stability are critical for success in any type of training, whether it be running, training for races, cycling, weight lifting, or just overall fitness. Weaknesses in the spine and pelvis affect your form with every stroke or step, which over time often leads to injury. Yoga poses strengthen core musculature, encourage a greater range of motion through the spine and pelvis, plus help you balance from your center. Read on at the end of the schedule for this coming week's classes for core strengthening planks.


Tranquility Yoga Schedule for the week of November 27 - December 4, 2010!

Today, Friday, November 26th, we have a power yoga class planned for 9:00 a.m. We will call it "Burn the Bird!" as we burn off the calorie consumption from yesterday's celebration.

Saturday, November 27

9:00 a.m. Vinyasa Flow yoga with core strengthening (Level 1 and 2)

Monday, November 29

4:30 p.m. Yoga with Pilates working on lower body strength (Level 1 and 2)

6:30 p.m. Family Yoga with balancing for concentration (Level 1)

Tuesday, November 30

4:30 p.m. Yoga for Weight Loss/Toning with standing postures (Level 1)

6:30 p.m. Vinyasa Flow Yoga with emphasis on chakra opening (Level 1 and 2)

Wednesday, December 1

5:30 p.m. Power Yoga with Astanga Flow (Level 2)

Thursday, December 2

4:30 p.m. Yoga for Weight Loss/Toning with arm strengthening (Level 1)

Friday, December 3

5:30 p.m. Power Yoga with "Wild Thing" pose (Level 2)

Saturday, December 4

9:00 a.m. Yoga Plus Pilates using weights and a stability ball to strengthen and tone (Level 1 and 2)

Level 1 is more of a beginner class; however it's still a great way for more advanced students to get back to the basics. Classes for Level 2 can always be modified to move at a less intense pace and format. No matter your ability level, age, strength or flexibility, yoga is for everyone.


Do the Plank!

When you include these postures in a complete practice, you work each muscle in the core from just about every possible angle, says Valerie Kit Love, a licensed occupational therapist, a certified Kripalu Yoga teacher, and the owner of a yoga and Pilates studio in Oklahoma City. But yoga's comprehensive regimen of abdominal work adds up to much more than a firm, flat belly. Because your abdominal muscles support the proper curves of the spine, a strong core can both improve posture and reduce back pain.

In addition, Love says, "since the abdominal wall wraps around and holds the abdominal organs, adding support to this area will improve digestion and elimination." And as you condition your pelvic floor muscles (located at the base of your core), you may notice a boost in your sexual desire and enjoyment.

Finally, as you build core strength, you may find it easier to tap into your third chakra, the power center just above your navel. Often this connection not only leads to greater muscular strength but also brings more energy into your creative life, work, and relationships.

Plank - start from hands and knees. Check that your hands are directly beneath your shoulders, with your fingers spread wide. Reach your legs back and turn your toes under to assume a push-up position. Remember in a yoga plank the arms are closer together, and the elbows come in towards the rib cage instead of out at a perpendicular angle.

Find your mountain pose (Tadasana) alignment where the spine maintains the natural curves, the shoulder blades remain in a slightly engaged position as you firm your shoulder blades against your back, then spread them away from the spine. Your tailbone is tucked slightly like a cat tilt, hips are not sagging or in an inverted "V," legs are active and long with the knees pointing straight forward towards the floor, and a slight inward rotation of your thighs.

When your hips are too high, you will add a stretch down the legs and strain the upper back while creating more pressure on the wrists.

Use your abdominal muscles to help you feel stable as you draw your navel inward to the spine. Engage your pelvic locks to engage your transverse abdominus and hold the plank position or lower to the floor. I always remind the yogis in class to let your nose come to the floor before your belly touches. (:

Variations on Plank:

Dophin Plank - lowering down to your elbows (directly under your shoulders) and bringing your hands together interlacing your fingers.
Side Plank - pressing one hand (let's say your right) into the floor directly under your shoulder while rotating to the left and raising the left arm. You will come to the outside of the right foot either by stacking the feet (more intense) or staggering the feet. You can modify this pose by coming to the right knee; you can intensify the pose by lifting the top leg.
Incline Plank - sitting on the floor with your legs extended and your hands behind you on the floor (about 6 inches more or less) with fingers pointing towards your hips. Use an inhalation to reach your toes down to the floor as you push the soles of your feet to the mat, open up your chest, and lift your front body upwards and toward the ceiling. Head stays in line with the spine. This works your entire front and back side. To modify come into tabletop position with feet on the floor and knees bent in a 90 degree angle.
Much like the top position in a push-up, the traditional Plank Pose strongly works the abdominals as they stabilize your torso. But you can take Plank to an even greater level of difficulty by elevating your feet on a stability ball. If you're up for yet more of a challenge, try moving into Bakasana Prep (Crane) on the ball; lift your hips and draw your knees in toward your forehead, so you come into a deep C-curve. This takes a great deal of strength in all the abdominals but especially engages the rectus. Yoga Journal - Alisa Bauman

If you have any questions or are interested in the early morning classes, please call me at 918-855-6459. I would love to have you in our wonderful practice - the only yoga studio in Owasso! I am indeed blessed and thankful to work with such terrific people.


Jeanne Kay

Certified Pilates Teacher

Registered Yoga Instructor - 200 hour with Yoga Alliance

Certified Personal Fitness Trainer with Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX

Our Tranquility Yoga Studio is conveniently located off 116th Street North in Owasso. The low price for classes is $45.00 for a punch card of 8 classes (expiration date one year) or a $10.00 drop-in fee. There have been some questions about early morning classes. I am available on Wednesday and Friday mornings at 5:00a.m. for Power Pilates type of class where we lift weights, do some cardio yoga, and toning for abs. If I can get three people to commit to this time frame, we will begin our Sunrise Pilates classes in December. We have restroom and shower facilities available if you need to go on to work from here at 6:35. Please let me know if you are interested. Thanks!

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and your discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be." Patangali (author of Yoga Sutras)

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