Dr. Phil Shares: Does Yoga Work for Shedding the Pounds?

Does Yoga Work for Weight Loss?

While there are some styles of yoga that can help one burn more than 500 calories per hour — such as Vinyasa (see below) — overall, yoga doesn’t top the list of calorie-torching weight loss workouts one can do to see relatively quick results. But research shows that practicing yoga may work for weight loss when combined with a healthy diet. And the more often you practice yoga, the greater the results you’re likely to see on the scale.

In a massive study of more than 15,000 adults, those who had been practicing yoga for at least four years clocked in at a lower weight than those who went without a regular session. But you don’t have to have do yoga for years to see results. A small study from South Korean researchers found obese women who practiced yoga for 16 weeks saw significant improvements in body weight, body fat percentage, BMI, waist circumference, and visceral fat compared to those who didn’t exercise. In addition, one study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that a short-term yoga program could reduce weight in overweight and obese men.

So how can yoga help you lose weight? Read on.

What Type of Yoga is Best for Weight Loss?

yoga for weight loss

“If you’re looking to burn the most calories, you want to find a class that incorporates a lot of strength positions and sun salutations, particularly chaturanga dandasanas [essentially, yoga push-ups],” says yoga instructor Seth Kaufmann, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Iron Lion Fitness Studio in Florida. “In order to burn calories efficiently, you need to be moving and using the most amount of mass and muscles.”

You’ve probably heard about people sweating like crazy in heated yoga classes like Bikram, which has to translate to a ton of weight lost — right? Kaufmann says, “In theory a hot yoga class would burn more calories than a non-heated room because anytime the external temperature is extreme (hot or cold), your body has to work harder to maintain your core temperature homeostasis, thus burning calories.”

However, a small study from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse found that yoga students in a non-heated yoga class showed the same increase in core temperature and heart rate than in a hot yoga class. Researchers found that the students’ perceived effort was higher than what their vital signs revealed, leading scientists to wonder whether students didn’t end up pushing themselves as hard during some poses to compensate for the added heat and humidity in the room.

Another study from the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies found 30 minutes of just sun salutations is invigorating enough to qualify as cardiorespiratory training, and helps a 130-pound person burn an average of 230 calories. These studies point to the idea that your final caloric burn is tied more closely to how hard you’re working than how hot the room is.

Calculating Your Caloric Burn

As mentioned previously, the style of yoga you perform can play a significant role in the amount of calories you burn. But other factors such as your weight, gender, body composition, and effort level are also important. What follows are averages based on the Health Status calories burned calculator.

A 165-pound woman will burn the resulting number of calories during an hour of yoga:

  • Hatha Yoga: 207 calories
  • Ashtanga/Power Yoga: 386 calories
  • Bikram Yoga: 524 calories
  • Vinyasa: 653 calories

A 190-pound man will burn the resulting number of calories during an hour of yoga:

  • Hatha Yoga: 239 calories
  • Ashtanga/Power Yoga: 445 calories
  • Bikram Yoga: 604 calories
  • Vinyasa: 752 calories

How Slow Yoga Helps Burn Fat

OK, so should you do the most intense yoga possible if you want to lose weight? Not so fast. Even super mellow methods have their weight-loss perks. A small study at the University of California, San Diego, found that overweight women who practiced restorative yoga, which focuses less on increased heart rate and more on relaxation and stress reduction, lost around three pounds and about five inches of subcutaneous fat after six months.

This may surprise you, but it makes sense to the experts. “If you’re super stressed, your body may actually respond better to yoga than [high intensity] cardio,” says Pete McCall, C.S.C.S., personal trainer and adjunct faculty of exercise science at San Diego Mesa College.

Physical stress (as triggered by high intensity exercise) and psychological stress (caused by work, family, etc.) both activate the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the “fight or flight” response. When you go into “fight or flight” mode, your body increases its production of the hormone cortisol. In the short term, that’s a good thing; cortisol is a performance enhancer, increasing the concentration of glucose (your body’s primary fuel source) in the blood. But if levels never return to normal (e.g., because of chronic stress), cortisol can also promote weight gain. That’s why doing high intensity workouts might hamper weight loss efforts if you’re already (and chronically) “super stressed”—you’re layering stress on top of stress, and cortisol on top of cortisol.

To counteract that, you need to activate your parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) nervous system. “By going to a gentle yoga class during a stressful time, you’ll be surprised that you’ll come out of it calmer — and actually lose weight,” says

Kaufmann agrees, “There are many physiological benefits to yoga, including stabilizing our nervous systems, improving respiratory efficiency, stomach function, hormone production, and, of course, increased strength and energy levels. These benefits in turn lower stress, improve sleep, and help the body recover and run more efficiently.”

Plus, more than half of people who do yoga report that it helps them sleep better, according to a survey from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Scoring less than five hours a night is directly related to more abdominal fat and an increase in body mass index, according to a study performed over five years on adults younger than 40 and published in the journal SLEEP. It’s hard to deny the importance of sleep — not just for your quality of life but also for weight loss.

How the Psychological Benefits of Yoga Can Aid Weight Loss

yoga for weight loss

“The greatest benefit of yoga for weight loss is learning how to love and care for yourself more, which helps you make better lifestyle decisions when it comes to caring for your body,” says Kaufmann.

And the research agrees: A study in Qualitative Health Research found that practicing yoga helped people develop physical self-empowerment, and better awareness of the self and the present moment. The women who participated in the 12-week yoga treatment program for binge eating (in the study mentioned above) reported an overall reduction in the quantity of food consumed, decreased eating speed, and an improvement in food choices.

“The core essence of yoga is to teach us to live fully present in the moment, accepting what is, and letting go of anything that doesn’t serve us,” says Kaufmann. “When we can live our lives with more mindfulness we will make better decisions when it comes to what we do for our health.”

To most Westerners, yoga is more often associated with trendy fitness studios. But the practice originally began as a philosophy in India roughly 5,000 years ago, and incorporates so much more than merely the postures and poses it’s famous for today.

The true practice of yoga encompasses eight limbs: the yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), and samadhi (absorption). It’s the combination of all eight of those limbs (not just the one that stretches the limbs) that can lead to weight loss for men and women.

“There are many studies that suggest that stress and the hyper-palatable food supply filled with refined carbohydrates create an internal biochemistry that activates the amygdala of the brain and make us less thoughtful choice-makers,” explains Annie B. Kay, RDN, E-RYT 500 registered yoga instructor, and lead nutritionist at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. “Yoga helps reduce stress as well as provides movement, which helps change that internal biochemistry to one that supports a more balanced brain activation (the cerebral cortex or executive function), which makes us better choice makers.

“From my experience, the primary way yoga helps with weight management is through stress management, and with its philosophy of compassion and cultivation of contentment,” continues Kay. “With yoga, there is an entire philosophical guide for living in balance with yourself and with others that can be helpful from an emotional standpoint. It provides a framework through which to look at life issues.”

Yoga is a path toward a deep self-discovery, and the practice not only helps unearth the difference between physical and emotional hunger for those who practice, but it also stretches the mind and body in new ways to open students up for more active lifestyles. Because yoga operates on so many levels (physical, mental, emotional), it has a way of making following an overall healthful lifestyle more easily attainable.

If you’d like to give yoga a try, check out the 5-Day Yoga Body Challenge to burn calories while you stretch, or try 3 Week Yoga Retreat to learn the fundamentals of yoga.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @Forward Health

Thank you to Beachbody.

Dr. Phil Shares: Why The Tight Hamstrings, and What Can We Do About Them

 

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Why Do our Hamstring muscles tend to tighten up  And more importantly, exactly how do you plan to loosen them up?

Well, you may be able to sprint 100 meters in under 12 seconds, or stay on cadence in 22 Minute Hard Corps without missing a beat, but there’s one movement that will humble even the fittest of fanatics: bending at the waist and reaching for the ground.

You want your fingers to reach the floor, but frustratingly, they probably stop short around your ankles, your shins, or even your knees. One reason for this may be tight hamstrings.

First things first. “Hamstrings” refers to the three muscles on the back of your thigh: the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris. Physiologically speaking, tight hamstrings refers to the anatomical shortening of the muscle belly — the center or “meat” of the muscle, explains physical therapist Rob Ziegelbaum, D.P.T., clinical director of Wall Street Physical Therapy in Manhattan.

Because the muscle belly has been shortened, there’s increased tension on the tendons, he says. This leads to less flexibility in your hamstrings, and less range of motion in the surrounding joints — the hip and the knee.

How Do Your Muscles and Tendons Shorten?

Think of them like rubber bands. Like rubber bands, tendons and muscles come with different levels of elasticity, and this is mainly thanks to genetics. “Some people are born with limited elasticity in their muscles and are, therefore, naturally less flexible,” says Ziegelbaum.

Women, incidentally, tend to be more flexible in general than men, and young children are more flexible than most adults, he says. But everyone can train to improve their flexibility as part of a well-balanced training regimen, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

Genetically speaking, muscle length, tendon length, relative muscle and tendon length, tendon attachment points, and skeletal segment length all can play a role [in how flexible you are], says exercise physiologist Janet Hamilton, C.S.C.S., owner of Running Strong Professional Coaching in Atlanta.

All muscles and tendons have the potential to become more elastic and supple. The key to any stretching program is regularity. “For example, a gymnast who constantly does splits on a balance beam will adapt in such a way as to have relatively more flexibility than a long distance runner who works at a desk for a living,” says Hamilton.

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How Can Running Cause So Much Muscular Tension?

One of the most common culprits for tightening those hamstrings? Running. “I often see long-distance runners who gradually lose flexibility in hamstrings and calves,” says Hamilton.

Why is running so rough? Well, researchers aren’t actually entirely sure. Hamilton’s guess is that it stems from weak gluteal muscles, since the glutes and hamstrings work in synergy to propel you forward over the ground. “If one member of the team isn’t contributing as much as they should, then the other member of that team has to contribute more,” she adds. “This potentially leads to overuse and might be to blame for what we interpret as tightness.”

However, tight hamstrings and their attachments are not limited to runners. Pretty much every athlete (amateur or elite) that trains for athletic performance but doesn’t stretch thoroughly and effectively post-workout probably has tight hamstrings. “During and after a workout, our muscles tighten up in part to protect our joints and in part because of the depletion of water since dehydration tightens muscles,” Ziegelbaum says.

It’s not just the type of physical activity you do that determines how tight or loose your hamstrings will be; it’s also what you do throughout the day. “Tight hamstrings are a result of this adaptive shortening. If someone sits at a desk for prolonged periods, knees bent, hamstrings contracted, the muscle effectively changes to the required length, which is shorter than that of a person who is standing or stretching regularly,” Ziegelbaum explains.

Tight Hamstrings Often Lead to Lower Back Pain

Well, the obvious scaremongering answer is that it increases your risk of an incredibly painful partial or full tear of the hamstrings. But the bigger problem, Ziegelbaum says, isn’t actually in your hamstrings, but in those surrounding muscles.

Hamilton agrees. “Things in the human body are intricately related to one another. Movement at one segment often depends on something happening at another segment. If your hamstrings are tight, that’s going to affect the biomechanics of the two connecting joints, the knee and the hip (knee pain and tight hips). Tight hamstrings are often associated with a whole host of injuries, including various low back pain syndromes, knee injuries, and even plantar fasciitis,” Hamilton says.

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In fact, a study published in the journal Foot & Ankle Specialist, researchers found found that having tight hamstrings makes you nearly nine times as likely to suffer from plantar fasciitis. Yikes!

Plus, tight hammies can actually hurt your athletic performance. “Muscles that are ‘tight’ are often weak as well,” Hamilton says. “If a muscle is weak, you’ll have to recruit more motor units to accomplish a task, which may increase fatigue… and a fatigued muscle cannot produce force as well as one that is not,” she adds.

How to Tend to Your Tight Hamstrings

You can increase your flexibility by standing up and stretching more often. Even better, upgrade to a standing desk if possible — but make sure it’s set up ergonomically or you risk adding posture problems and neck pain to your ailments, Ziegelbaum warns.

Exploring more formal and lengthy mobility work like yoga or Pilates classes is always a good idea. At the very least, though, you need to be stretching pre- and post-workout, say these experts. A dynamic (moving) stretch routine before you start sweating can help maintain muscle elasticity during the workout, and a longer stretch afterward can help counteract the activity-induced tightening, Ziegelbaum explains.

“I often encourage my athletes to do a variety of drills in their warm ups, similar to what you might see the Olympic track and field athletes doing prior to competitions: skips, hops, high-knees — anything that mimics the motion you’re about to do — but at lower intensity,” Hamilton says.

The most effective stretches otherwise? Studies from the National Institutes of Health found that active stretches (long-held postures through full range of motion) can help increase hamstring length in just 6-8 weeks.

There are dozens of safe, do-anywhere hamstring stretches in many Beachbody programs. Try them after every workout or before bedtime. Try a few after your next big workout!

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Thanks For Sharing the article Beachbody.com

Dr. Phil Shares: 5 Standing Poses for Core Strength

5 Standing Poses for Core Strength

Believe it or not, the health and fitness industry is beginning to recognize yoga as much more than just an esoteric set of stretches. In fact, yoga is now considered one of the best ways to get strong while also increasing flexibility. A solid yoga practice will address every muscle group, but two of the benefits of yoga are the improvement of core strength and stability.

Living a pain-free, active lifestyle starts from our center. The core is not just the abdominals — the “six pack” — instead, it is a complex weave of muscles that connect the upper and lower body.

When people think about getting a strong midsection, often times they imagine lying on their back and doing crunches, bicycles, leg lifts, etc. Those help strengthen the core, but the cool thing about standing core-strength poses is they not only strengthen the core, they also strengthen the lower body. In doing so, they create a synergy between the core and lower body that is much more functional than exercises that isolate just one area of the body (like crunches).

Here are five standing yoga poses that will help build core strength:

1) Half Forward Fold

Although this pose is often overlooked as a strength builder in yoga, it is one of the most important. While folded over reaching for your toes, you’re not just hanging there like a rag doll — you are attempting to take the hunch out of your back using your abdominals. Place your fingertips on the floor directly underneath your shoulders or press your hands into your shins and try to imagine the entire length of your spine extending out as you flatten your back. Don’t forget to breathe deeply while you stretch!

For this pose, many yoga teachers will say things like “flatten your back” or “come to your fingertips and glance forward,” but those are simply tools to help guide you to the main purpose of the pose — to lengthen your spine.

5 Standing Poses for Core Strength - Half Forward Fold

2) Triangle

This classic yoga pose is a great way to strengthen your sides. The obliques are an important muscle group that wrap along the sides of your waist and help provide torso stability. Be sure to use your legs to support most of the body weight in this pose. The bottom arm should be light on your front leg or on the ground so the obliques and quadratus lumborum (another important postural muscle group located on both sides of the spine) can grow stronger.

5 Standing Poses for Core Strength - Triangle

3) Chair

The ultimate back strengthening pose. I love chair pose because it awakens the muscles supporting the spinal column and helps to get that backside strong! A six-pack by itself isn’t healthy unless the buttocks muscles are just as strong. This pose is also a great way to strengthen the legs. Just make sure not to strain your neck as you reach up and lengthen the spine.

5 Standing Poses for Core Strength - Chair

4) Warrior 3

This pose takes more than just good balance. Balancing on one leg demands core engagement. While in this pose, it is of utmost importance to lengthen the spine and core muscles are critical to this. It’s good to remember that in this pose, you shouldn’t completely lock the standing leg and you should keep your lower abdomen drawn and up to support the lower back.

5 Standing Poses for Core Strength - Warrior 3

5) Twisting Half Moon

This pose has many of the same setup as Warrior 3 but adds a twist that engages the deeper abdominal muscles. This spinal twist fires up all the muscles in the core.

That said, this is an intermediate-level pose and it is helpful for many people to put a block on the ground next to your front foot. With your hand on the block, take a deep breath and elongate the spine, then slowly twist, reaching your top hand toward the ceiling.

5 Standing Poses for Core Strength - Twisting Half Moon

If you are new to yoga, check out Beachbody’s yoga program, 3 Week Yoga Retreat, where I, along with three other yoga experts, will guide you through the foundations of yoga.

Feeling Stuck?

If we miss or get stuck at a point in our life, there is potential for emotional buildup that may present as sickness in the body.

When a person is “stuck” at a certain level, a homeopathic remedy, acupuncture, a Chakra clearing, yoga exercises, focused breathing, or other therapeutic efforts may “lift” the person and help them better perceive and move on from their current situation.

Understanding the Stages of Life

Whether we look at Erikson’s Stages of development, Scholten’s Homeopathic Table of Elements, Maslow’s Hierarchy, the Chinese Five Elements or the Chakra system, we can see the natural progression of development we embark on through our journey of life.

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Often, it is a combination of acupuncture, a Chakra clearing, yoga exercises, focused breathing, massage homeopathy or talk therapies that gets us on our way and eventually to the top of the mountain. What is most important is to enjoy some sights on the path along your journey.

Chakras

The common thread of our personal development is woven from ancient yogis, Chinese Medicine, psychologists and psychotherapists. We all need to have our basic needs of life met before we can develop an element of safety. We need to know who we are as individuals and how we belong into our society before we can further develop the area of our heart and be able to share it interdependently with others.

It is when we can be comfortable with ourselves, we can then withstand the swell of the tide of outside influences.

Keeping the mind steady and calm while the world swells around us, is the first stage of actualization.

Once we have mastered the space of a calm and equitable mind, we can then practice the ability to let all the world go and connect with and allow our spiritual self to unfold.

Balancing the “fight or flight” (sympathetic) and the “rest and digest” (parasympathetic) nervous systems helps gain access to this blissful balanced state of what Heart Math people call “coherence”. It is not only reserved for yogis, meditation artists, super-energetic or “smart” people. It is for us all to climb mountain, at our own pace, with our own challenges and with our own set of earthly and heavenly guides.

The fact is we are all able to achieve this pinnacle of self-actualization, however we are all also susceptible to fall and crumble back down to the basic needs of life. We may actually experience many rises and falls over the course of a lifetime. In each rise and fall, it is like a breath in and out, so long as we live, our breath will rise and we will too again. Hopefully, overall, we are making steady progression up the mountain.

Sometimes it takes intense focus in one area of our life, while the others lay dormant for some time. That is, we can invest heavily in school or career while putting family life or personal relationships on hold. If we excel strongly in one area of our life, without giving time for balance in others, we miss out on the cross-training type of personal development that we need in order to rise to our greatest potential. It is important to loop back and catch ourselves to keep a steady progress in all areas of our life. Sometimes we need the chance to develop one aspect of our being before we are ready and hold the wisdom to get on to the next.
Wisdom is more precious than gold, as we learn from Soloman in the Book of Proverbs and if we do not learn from our mistakes and move forward, then this is the greatest crime.

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In Chinese Medicine the circles of life go on a 7 year cycle for women and an 8 year cycle for men. At age 7 the vitality of the young girl is vibrant, 14 she begins to menstruate and the governing and conception vessel are primed. Age 21, a woman’s essence peaks, she has reached her physical limit of growth and the wisdom teeth come in. Age 28 the tendons and bones of a woman are strongest and the hair flourishes. Age 35 the Yang channels weaken and the woman’s complexion withers and hair begins to fall. This progresses and the hair grays at age 42. Age 49 the conception and governing vessels are empty and the uterus closes and infertility sets in. This is a time now for more creativity and personal embarkment of growth as the energy is no longer needed to tend the womb. Menopause offers a later life fire that is more than just about hot flushes!

Later Life Fire

™Time to get moving on what you have put off:
–Careers
–Fitness goals
–Relationships
–Talents
–Travel
–Personal development

For males, the Chinese Medicine 8 year cycle begins similarly with abundance of energy at age 8, mounting at age 16 when the sperm arrives and Yin and Yang are harmonized in the male making him capable of producing a child. At age 24, the male’s physical energy peaks and the wisdom teeth arrive. At age 32 his  tendons and bones are strongest and by age 40 the hair begins to fall and teeth become loose. At 48 year old man’s Yang Qi is exhausted and his face darkens as his hair turns gray. At age 56 the male’s liver energy (testosterone) is weakened and tendons stiffen and the sperm dries up. At age 64, from the ancient Chinese circles of life, the hair and teeth are gone.

We can calm the storm within and age more gracefully

Eat well
Sleep well
Control stress
Limit excessive sexual activity.
Thai Qi, Qi Gong and Yoga and HeartMath incorporate breathing exercises that help increase the vitality and essence of our aging being.

From the heart and mind of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND. Dr. Laura offers personalize lifestyle coaching and professional means to help you Move Forward in Your Health.

Picture credits: pinterest.com, healingtherapist.com

9 Yoga Stretches to Help Relieve Hip and Lower Back Pain

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 Tight hips can be debilitating. When things aren’t working right down there, even sitting or walking can cause pain. Luckily, a little (proper) stretching can ward off this pain, increase the fluidity of mobility, and decrease chances of serious injury in the lower region of your body. It can also take pressure off the lower back, decreasing chances of pain in that area.

These 8 simple poses can help both stretch and strengthen your hips, but keep in mind when moving through them to listen to that internal voice of your body that tells you if you are in pain or just feeling a stretch. A stretch may feel a little sore but inevitably it feels like a release of tension. When you feel sharp pain, back out of the pose and consider using a prop or moving on to another stretch.

Lizard-Lower Lunge
Apparently, lizards have loose hips and this hip opener’s moniker is testament to that. Step your left foot forward several feet in front of the right foot. Bend the left knee until it lines up perfectly with the ankle. Drop the right knee to the ground and keep the toes curled under on that foot to stretch the calf muscle. Walk the left foot out to the side and place both elbows on top of blocks on the inside edge of the left foot. Keep hips lined up parallel to each other. You are opening the right psoas muscle and the left inner thigh. To get deeper into the right psoas, lift the right knee into a high lunge.

 

Bound Ankle Pose
This pose requires that you bind your ankles—and by doing so you’ll unbind your hips. Bring the soles of your feet together, pulling the heels close to your groin, bending the knees, and butterfly flare the legs open. If you notice your knees are set too high to relax, simply place a blanket right under the sit bones to prop the hips up. You can also take the feet out further from the pelvic cavity to create a diamond shape with the legs. Keeping your spine straight, lead with the chest, pull your shoulders back, and fold toward your feet. This pose will open and relax the inner thighs and groin.

 

Cow Face Pose
Begin by threading the left leg under your right leg. Work toward stacking the knees, while keeping both sit bones on the ground. Tuck the toes in to protect the knees. Sit in the pose for several minutes. When the muscles start to loosen and you no longer feel a stretch, fold forward with a straight spine. If this stretch is too intense, you can situate both sit bones on a blanket and place a block or blanket between the knees.

 

Pigeon Pose
Starting in downward facing dog, lift the right leg and step it forward between the hands. Drop the left knee down and untuck the toes. Slide the right foot over toward your left pelvic bone placing the outside edge of the right leg on the floor. Tuck the right toes in (flexing the foot). Line up hips parallel to each other, continually pressing the left hip toward the floor. If this position is too difficult, place a blanket under your bottom. To intensify the stretch, move the right foot away from the left side of your body and drop to the elbows or chest. To make this pose less intense, move the right foot closer to your right leg and stay on the hands instead of folding. This is a profound stretch to the psoas, shin, glutes, and outer hips.

 

Happy Baby
It’s not likely you will ever hear a baby complaining about hip pain. So, make like a baby and lie flat on your back, grab hold of both feet with each hand, bend the knees and pull them toward your armpits. Once in the proper position rock side to side, keeping your head on the floor. This will externally rotate and stretch the hips, loosen the inner groin muscles, and help realign the spine.

Beachbody Blog Happy Baby Pose Hips

 

Fire Log Pose
This pose should put the fire out in your hips. Sit on the floor with a straight spine, both sit bones pressing against the ground. Take the left leg out in front of you and bend it until it is in a straight line and parallel with your body, knee, and ankle. Stack the right leg on top of the left, lining up the right ankle to the left knee and the right knee to the left ankle. If you find the final position too difficult, you can use blocks as support to lighten the pose. This is a deep stretch to loosen the outer hips and glutes. It also stretches and strengthens the groin, calves, thighs, and abdominal muscles.

Beachbody Blog Fire Log Pose Hips

 

Goddess Pose
Gentlemen, do not be deterred by the name of this pose. It will help you open your hips regardless of your gender. Step your feet out very wide, turn the toes outward, bend the knees so they line up with your ankles, and tuck your butt in to engage the core. The further the toes are pointed outward, the deeper the stretch. This will give your groin, inner thighs, and hips a deep stretch. Note: Avoid this pose if you have a knee or hip injury.

 

Half Lord of The Fish Pose
Sitting on the floor, extend both legs out in front of you. Keep the left leg straight and bend and pull the right leg in. Line the right heel up approximately 2 inches away from the back of the right leg and 2 inches away from the left thigh. Sit up very tall, avoiding sinking in the lower back. Wrap the left arm around the right leg, creating a spinal twist. Move the left shoulder forward as you move the right shoulder back, attempting to line the shoulders up. Take your gaze over the right shoulder. This pose stretches out the hips, glutes, lower back, spine, chest, shoulders, and neck.

Beachbody Blog Lord of the Fish Pose Hips

 

Garland Pose
This pose is so effective for opening the hips that it’s the position most women use to give birth. Turn your heels so they line up with your hips, turn your toes outward. Bend the knees until you reach a squatted position. Place a blanket under the heels if they have to be lifted while squatting. You can also stack two blocks to sit on to work up to the full integrity of the pose. The Garland Pose increases fluidity in the hips, and stretches the ankles, knees, and lower back. It also strengthens the core muscles.

Beachbody Blog Garland Pose Hips

All photos by Lulu Lam.

Thanks to Beachbody.com

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph