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Katherine Roberts is founder and president of the FlexFit program that promotes flexibility, fitness, performance and life balance. For more than two decades, shes been teaching all levels of yoga around the world. Shes also a motivational speaker, author and producer of 9 DVDs.

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Yoga For Weight Loss

 
by Katherine Roberts, Yoga Expert

 
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In the past, I shared with you the fundamental sequence of yoga postures called Sun Salutations. This sequence of yoga postures can be practiced five times, holding each position for five breaths. This sequence warms up the muscles and allows you time to connect your movements with your breath.

Many days I do not have time to complete a full yoga practice so I go into a quiet room and practice my five sun salutations. One section of the sun salutation is when we move from the "plank position" to "hovering plank pose" to "upward facing dog" to "downward facing dog."

This section of the sun salutations builds upper body strength, core strength and stretches front body (anterior muscles) as well as the hamstrings and shoulders. I love the plank sequence because it builds upper body strength, something most women can improve upon. Let's take a closer look at this sequence of the sun salutation:

Downward dog, yoga positionsDownward facing dog
Begin on all fours, hands placed slightly wider than shoulder width apart, fingers spread wide and your entire hand on the mat.

Curl your toes under and lift your hips off the floor. Feel as if you are pressing the yoga mat towards the front of the room. Try to straighten your legs and press your heels towards the floor.

Note: Relax your neck and focus your eyes towards your quads. Hold for five deep inhalations and exhalations.

Plank pose

Note: until you have the core and upper body strength to maintain a stable plank position (without the low back sinking towards the floor, modify the pose by placing your knees on the floor).

Shift your shoulders over your hands. Pull your navel towards your spine and imagine that your legs and arms are "hugging" the mid line of your body. Your body should be in a solid plank position.

Hold for one to three breaths.

Plank pose, yoga positions

Hovering plank pose

Maintain the plank position and lower your body towards the floor.

Note: Until you feel strong enough to control this movement place your knees on the floor. Keep the arms hugging the side of your body like a cricket. It is very important that you do not allow your upper arm to dip towards the floor. Keep the upper arm parallel to the floor.

On your exhale, lower the body slowly to the floor if you are going into the cobra pose. If you are moving into upward facing dog, hover over the floor for two deep breaths.

Hovering lank pose, yoga positions

Cobra pose (modification)

On your inhale, engage your glutes and lift your chest off the floor. Feel free to hold this pose for three deep breaths. Do not scrunch in your shoulders but roll your shoulders away from your ears. Keep the elbows hugging the side of your body.

Cobra pose, yoga poses

Upward facing dog

On your inhale, engage your glutes, press the tops of your feet on the floor and lift your legs off the floor. Roll your shoulders together and down in your back. Your chest is slightly in front of your hands.

Upward facing dog, yoga positions

Push back to downward facing dog.

Remember these poses ramp up your metabolism by increasing your heart rate! Breathe deeply in and out through your nose and repeat the entire sequence five times.

Namaste,
Katherine

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