Old Town Crier

Build Strength and Stability While Increasing Flexibili

By Nicole Flanagan

Incorporating yoga positions into your workout can greatly improve your core strength, stability and flexibility. For those of you who have never taken a yoga class, I recommend giving it a try. A yoga class will challenge you in a way that is incomparable to a strength-training workout. Yoga increases flexibility through various positions that act on the joints. It gently stretches the muscles, tendons and ligaments that we usually don’t focus on in a workout. For someone with limited flexibility, yoga will help to improve the range of motion that the joints can handle. Performing yoga moves will also increase blood circulation and help the body move vital fluids throughout.  By gently stretching muscles and joints as well as massaging the body’s organs, yoga ensures that blood is reaching all parts of your body.  This increase in circulation improves your body’s ability to flush out toxins. With so many benefits of yoga there is no reason not to give some of them a try.  Here are some moves to do on your own, or add to your existing workout that will help improve strength, stability and flexibility.

Downward Dog:

The Crow

    * With fingers spread wide, slowly move body forward until your weight is balanced over your hands.

* Draw abs inward (as if pulling belly button to spine) to lift your hips up higher, keeping your face forward. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.

The Lunge

* Straighten back leg, place heel down on floor, and turn foot out a few inches. Lift arms toward ceiling (Warrior I). Spread your fingers, turn palms in, and open up chest. Hold for 10 breaths.

* Switch legs; repeat

As I have said many times before, adding new things to a workout will make it more fun and help to prevent an injury due to overuse. Increasing flexibility will help improve posture by releasing some of the tension caused by stress.  If yoga is not exactly your style, try taking a look at what your fitness club has to offer.  Give some of these moves or a new class a try. You may just start incorporating a yoga or “Body Flow” class into your regular workout!