I just got a request for a brief and brisk sculpting routine that should provide clear muscle definition, similar to the relief of the World Atlas. Oh. Boy, it’s hard to design an interval training type of sequence that would help you, carve, tone, drench, limber up, align and flow in less than 10 minutes.
On second though, you actually don’t have to jump, grunt, strain, and punish your body to get amazing results from your workout. Not if you combine the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of yoga. The key is to crank up the speed to deliver a true fat-burning, low-impact workout that leaves your body looking long, lean, and incredibly defined.
With more than 20 years of designing yoga sequences up my sleeve, I have now realized that you don’t need to hold long intense poses or take your body through dozens of repetitive, microscopic core movements to shape up. The secret is to introduce dynamic, flowing sequences that can burn serious calories at the same time as they lengthen and tone your muscles and increase your flexibility. And you will minimize the aches and pains that can come along with high-impact workouts. And the age and body type doesn’t matter. And there are no shortcuts to getting fit and staying fit. You just have to work smarter, not harder. Working out takes perseverance, consistency and well, work!
The best way to achieve the optimal muscle definition for your body type is to combine isometric retention and pulsing with proper breath and swift speed. You need to spend 4-5 count in the concentric phase of the retention, and then you need to pulse while exhaling sharply, letting the inhalation arise on its own. In the eccentric, and then try to extend the breath pattern to 6-8 counts. Lowering down in this slow, controlled manner helps you gain twice the strength as just dropping out of the pose.
The other discovery that I made was that besides altering the tempo and rhythm of your breath, you can also play with the levels, planes and axis. That has to do with the way you sequence the poses. The most efficient way is based on pose-counter-pose that allows you to engage the core and to activate the push and pull resistance mechanism of the body. In anatomical terms this entails alternating between isotonic and isometric contractions and moving fluidly from a pose through the transition into the next pose.
I also find that doing the same practice every day is counter-productive to your shaping goals. Once you know the routine you zone out on autopilot – you are not working the muscles, ligaments and tendons anymore. You are still doing your mojo, but in reality you are wrecking your joints. If you really want to achieve results in less time you have to stick to an interval yoga training that combines short bursts of intense repetition and moments of winding down through breath exercises and mindfulness. Obviously, several short bursts improve fitness and burn fat more quickly than working out at one steady moderate pace.
Also, I am now convinced that the more time you spend on the mat, the more the intensity of the workout diminishes. But if you mix in some interval training, you will boost your calorie burn. And it will give you exactly the same effect as if you are doing supersets in the gym. When you do a superset, you actually pick a muscle group and then do three or more different exercises for that muscle group, back to back, without resting. If you apply this to yoga, you will be in a pose, twisting, forward and back-bending at the same time. This will not only guarantee quicker calorie burn, it will also facilitate myofascial release throughout.
In addition, when you add adequate breath-work, meditation and creative visualization, you will get fit while keeping calm and relaxed. The relaxation will help relieve physical and mental stress. Finally, the meditation will ground you in the present moment and remind you that you don’t need to worry about your body image, but rather as you change your mindset and make the necessary adjustments to your life-style, you will reinforce the body, and calm the mind. A healthy mind is the reflection of a beautiful silhouette and radiant gaze.
Weight Loss Yoga: Body Carve (open)
This weight loss Yoga routine combines the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of yoga. Core toning swirls in forearm plank zip up the core, shrink the waistline and carve the silhouette. A combination of reclining poses, forward and back bends increase the flexibility, strength and mobility of muscles and joints. Supine bridge variations tone the pelvic floor and the gluteus. Gentle inversions promote blood circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system. Forward-leaning hip and shoulder openers relieve effects associated with insomnia, depression, nervousness and stress. The brief relaxation helps gain focus and clarity, while the closing meditation elicits emotional stability and peace of mind. The sequence encourages you to burn fat through a low-impact workout that leaves your body looking long, lean, and incredibly defined.