Strengthening abdominal muscles

To strengthen the abdominal muscles is important for stabilizing the pelvis and providing a solid base for the rest of the spine to sit on. The following movement works on strengthening the abdominal muscles and it is also known as a heat inducing movement (so it is good for warming up the body).

  • Start by lying on the floor on your back. Have your feet in semi supine – feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart; hands interlaced at the back of the head. Breathing out, lift your head and direct one elbow towards opposite knee. Breathing in rest everything down and swap sides. A few times like this, coordinating breath and movement…  Feel the twist through the upper body….

Strengthening abdominal muscles

  • Stay with this movement but start to bring the knee towards the elbow, breathing out as you come up and breathing in as you come down, alternating sides….

Strengthing tummy muscles

  • If it is easy, slowly piston the legs – instead of coming back to semi supine each time, keep the legs long and off the floor. It is more difficult to breathe while doing this, so make sure you are breathing, consciously using the lower back muscles. To work more strongly with the abdominals keep the belly pulled in for the whole movement, while breathing. This is a Pilates movement. It is much stronger on the abdominals and lower back, so rest any time you need to rest.

Pilates movementSemi supine pistoning (2)

  • Finish by briefly circling the knees over the chest to release the lower back.

Lion pose (Simhasana) to release rhomboids

Ideally sit kneeling with knees apart, but if that is not comfortable, you can sit cross legged.

  • Have the knees apart. Bring the palms of the hands flat on the floor in front as close to you as possible, with the fingers pointing towards you, arms straight. Look up, arch the spine and hold this posture as you breathe into your belly.

Simhasana

  • To perform this posture classically, look in between the eye brows, extend the tongue as far out as it would go to the chin and make the sound “Ahhhhh” (like a lion roaring) on exhalation.
  • When you come out of the pose, lift the hands off the ground and rotate the wrists a few times….

Benefits:

This posture stimulates the pituitary gland in the centre of the head – the master gland, which controls all other glads in the body. This posture also works on stretching into the tendons through the wrists  and releasing the rhomboids – the muscles in between the shoulder blades.