Get BEACH ready with 5 key Yoga positions


We asked Cheryl MacDonald, founder of her top 5 positions on getting toned for summer. Cheryl has been practicing yoga for seventeen years and now has 105 successful franchises across the world, she certainly knows all the best positions to target our 'wobble' areas!

The beauty of yoga is that you donít even have to leave the house to practice and you donít need any fancy equipment. Unlike running thereís no need to brave the wind and rain outside and you can practise your breathing techniques (pranayama) and postures (Asana) in a way that will help you emotionally unwind while simultaneously strengthening and toning your body.

 There are five key positions that you can learn and use by yourself at home to really work and tone those abdominal muscles ready for the pool.

Bidalasana  also known as cat curls helps relieve lower back pain and lengthen your spine. To start with get down on your hands and knees with hands placed directly under shoulders and knees under the hips. Inhale and lift your heart, stretch the back through your tail and concave your spine. Exhale and roll your spine, lowering the head, pressing through the hands and return to straight back. Inhale as you curl the spine up and exhale back to flat back.



Paripurna Navasana  This is one of the most effective positions to build core strength and endurance. Sit on the mat with both legs in front of you. Place your hands behind your hips and keep your back long as you lean back slightly and lift your legs off the floor, holding your belly in and up the entire time. Reach both arms out to the sides of your thighs. Lower your legs about 45 degrees, until your body resembles a wide 'V'. Hold this position for 10 long, deep breaths and feel the results!



Ustrasana Or in English, Ďcamel pose.í This active pose works your abs, back and thighs. Kneel on the floor with your knees hip-width apart, toes tucked under. Extend your arms out straight in front of your chest, palms facing down. Lift your chest and press your pelvis forward as you hinge backwards, arching slightly through your lower back (this pose isnít advised for anyone with lower back pain already!) Pause and focus on opening up your chest while also keeping your ribcage down and your belly button drawn into your spine. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat up to 10 times.



Vrksasana  Also known as the tree pose, this position will have your abdominals working overtime as you will be balancing on one leg. Shift your weight onto your left leg. Draw your right knee into your chest, grab your ankle, and press the bottom of your right foot onto your left thigh. If you're finding balancing very easy then press your palms together in front of your chest. Brace your abdominals in tight to your spine, making sure you can still breathe easily. Hold this pose for 10 long, deep breaths and repeat with the other leg.

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Malasana These are effectively yoga squats and are great for building strength and stamina. When practising the squats focus on relaxing and letting your breath drop deeply into your belly. Stand facing the back of a chair with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed outward. Squat toward the floor as though you were going to sit down in a chair. Contract the abdominal muscles, lift your chest, and draw the shoulders back and down. Most of your weight should be directed toward your heels. This can be practised against a wall for support.

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If you havenít practised yoga before then there are plenty of classes available where you can learnthe positions before you attempt them at home. To find out more on Cherly's classes you please visit Yoga Bellies.




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