Please tell me I’m not the only one who thinks they should create blinders to make it impossible for me to look at the person next to me at the gym. I know I shouldn’t be worried about what someone else is doing because we all have different needs/wants/goals, but really, how tempting is it to see what the is speed that the person next to you is doing? I’m sorry, but ugh… I just to focus on me and not worry about others.
I am a huge proponent of body-weight based exercise. It’s convenient because you can exercise completely on your own schedule right from home. It’s cost efficient because, well, all you really need is yourself (although I also recommend a pen & paper to jot down how many reps you do!). Most importantly though, it’s effective. Machines are fantastic tools and the atmosphere in many gyms is often inspiring, but personally, I’ve gained all my strength completely through my yoga practice (which actually uses most of these regularly!).
I hope these explanations not only help you navigate the world of at home workouts, but also inspire you to try a few and maybe even design a workout of your own!
Yoga for hip openers
hello friends! ever since these photos of me started making the rounds on tumblr, the most common question i get asked is “what are hip openers?” so i thought i would make my next guide focused on that. hip openers are poses that help to loosen the muscles that connect to the hip joints. remember that these muscles are often very tight and be careful not to overstretch yourself. loosening the hips happens very very gradually. incorporating some of these poses into your yoga practice can help to achieve both front and side splits!
ps. i tried to put these in a coherent order so that you can flow through them with one leg, then go back and repeat the flow using the opposite leg!
- standing wide-legged forward fold - put your feet wider than shoulder width and bend forward while keeping the back as straight and flat as possible. you should feel the stretch in your hamstrings - hold for a few breaths, then rotate around to downward facing dog.
- lizard pose - start in downward facing dog and raise one leg up behind you, then swing it through to place your foot next to your hand, on the outside. keep your front knee at a 90 degree angle and sink into a deep lunge, with your back knee on the floor and leg extended. you’ll feel this one in your back leg’s hip flexor (along your hip crease) and also deep in your front leg’s hip joint.
- pigeon pose - from lizard pose, move your hand to the outside of your front foot, keep the knee bent, and pull your foot across so it’s near the opposite hand. bend the knee as generously as you want - the closer it is to being parallel with your body, the deeper the stretch. rest here, or go down to your elbows, or even lay forward as you advance in the pose. hold for 5 breaths.
- seated wide-legged forward fold - extend both legs wide as far as is comfortable. rest here, and then bend forward with a straight back. i also like to stretch by reaching toward one foot and then the other.
- head-to-knee forward bend - extend one leg and bend the other at the knee. gently bring your head to your knee while keeping your back straight and your core engaged. if you can’t get down far, just keep your back straight and hold for 3-5 breaths.
- wind relieving pose - come on to your back, bend one knee and interlace your fingers on your shin bone, about two inches below the knee. pull gently toward your body, keeping your back flush with the ground and engaging your core. you can also rotate your knee gently here.
- happy baby pose - bend legs and grab for the inside of your heels, and try to keep your back completely flush with the mat - this will give you the deepest stretch in this pose! you can also roll a bit to massage your lower back.
- reclining goddess pose - release legs from happy baby and let them fall open to the floor. try to keep your lower back close to the ground and put arms wherever is comfortable. relax here and appreciate your fantastic body!
hopefully this helps to answer some questions about hip openers! these the poses i focused on when i was trying to achieve the splits, but having loose hips can help with all kinds of other yoga poses and can also release a lot of tension from your lower back. happy hip-opening! :)
mat: Manduka Pro Black Sage
clothes: sports bra - lululemon flow Y IV, shorts - nike, hoodie - lululemon scuba, socks - smartwool
Great for dancers and anyone with tight hips!
Superman w/ Fitness Ball
- Lie on your belly, and hold an exercise ball between your feet.
- Engage your abs, and extend your arms straight out in front of you.
- As you inhale, squeeze the ball and lift your knees, arms, and chest off the floor. Hold for a count of 10, and then slowly release your body back to the floor.
Opposite Limb Extensions
- Lay your belly on a ball. Stabilize yourself by placing your hands underneath your shoulders and your feet hip-distance apart.
- Simultaneously lift your right arm and your left leg straight out. Hold for two seconds and then release back to the ground.
- Now lift your left arm and your right leg. Hold for two seconds and slowly release. Try to move slowly and with control. Try to keep the ball as steady as possible. Use your deep abs to help stabilize. Come back the starting position.
- This completes one rep. Repeat this move for a total of 15 to 20 reps, alternating between lifting your left arm and right leg, and then your right arm and left leg.
You just walked into the gym. You locked up your bag, pulled up your playlist, plugged in your headphones, and you’re ready to go.
Only, you’re not sure which section of the gym to hit first. Should you start off with a quick bit of cardio; work up a sweat on the stair master, pound out a mile or two on the treadmill? Or hit up the weights for a strength training session before you pump up your heart rate?
So this is me.
Me being fat.
Me doing sports in public.
Me in a beginner, modified, flawed pose.
Me restraining myself from pointing my flaws to prove I am a good beginner.
Me not doing my “best” pose, the one I really can do greatly, because I don’t have anything to prove. Me not saying which pose I can do well.
Because this pose is the first one in which I felt good and strong and beautiful and worlthy and alive.
Because being a begginer is OK.
Because doing flawed poses is OK.
Because I don’t have to be ultra-strong, ultra-flexible, and with ultra-stamina to redeem my fatness.
Me. Exercising. Happily.
- Start in a plank position with your left hand on a five- to 10-pound medicine ball.
- Keeping your torso square to the floor, perform a push-up by bending and straightening both arms. This completes one rep. Remember to duplicate this move with the medicine ball on your right side.
- If a traditional push-up is too challenging, then lower your knees to the floor.