Workouts

Advanced Yoga Poses

If you read Pilates vs Yoga you would know that more advanced levels of yoga can burn significantly more calories per session. If you want to up your game and move on from Basic Yoga Poses, you will want learn all of these awesome advanced yoga poses.

Camel Pose
Ustrasana (oosh-TRAHS-anna)

Step 1
In order to start this advanced yoga pose, kneel down and separate your knees to about the width of your hips. Then, straighten your thighs so that they are at a 90 degree angle with the floor. Next, twist your thighs so that they are pointed inward a bit and squeeze your butt a little, but not so much that it becomes hard. In your mind, imagine the bones you normally use for sitting coming up into your upper half. Try and maintain a softness in your outer hips and press the shins and tops of your feet steadily into the ground.

Step 2
The next step for the camel pose is to lie your hands onto the back of your pelvis, and let the bases of the palms rest on the top of your bottom with your fingers pointed downward. Utilize your hands to spread your back pelvis and lengthen the bone downward into your tail bone. Next, with a firm motion, move the pelvis forward towards your pubis. Prevent your groin area from puffing out though, by pushing the front thighs backward and then contrasting this motion with the forward movement of your tailbone. Take a deep breath and raise the upper body or chest area by using your shoulder blades to push against your back ribs.

Step 3
At this point in the camel pose you should have a very solid tailbone and shoulder blades. You need to lean against this base, while keeping your head up, chin close to the sternum and hands on the pelvis. It’s most likely that you won’t be able to do this on your first time, due to the difficulty, but keep trying to touch your feet while also maintaining perpendicular thighs against the floor. If necessary, tilt your thighs a little back so that they aren’t perfectly perpendicular and twist a little to a side so that one of your hands can reach a foot. Then, straighten your thighs back to their 90 degree position and rotate your torso back to it’s normal position. Now, try to put your second hand against your foot. If you can’t reach the feet without compressing your lower back, turn your toes under and lift your heels up to make it easier.

Step 4
Make sure your lower front ribs aren’t sticking out towards the sky, because this contracts your core and compresses your lower back. De-contract your front ribs and raise your front pelvis upward into the ribs. Next, raise your lower ribs away from the pelvis in order to lengthen the lower spine. Push solidly into the heels using the bases of your palms and with fingers pointed to the toes. Turn your arms outwardly so that your elbow creases with face forward. Avoid squeezing your shoulder blades together. Go ahead and let your neck remain neutral and do not flex nor extend it. However, above all, do not do anything which would unnecessarily stress your neck or tighten your throat to an uncomfortable level.

Step 5
Maintain this advanced yoga pose for 30-60 seconds or until it becomes uncomfortable. In order to come out of this position, take your hands and place them onto the front pelvis at the hips. Breathe in and raise your head and torso upwards, by pushing the hips downward into the ground. In the case that your head is back, lead your body using your heart, not your chin or brain when coming up.

Table Pose to Boat

As far as advanced yoga poses go, the Table Pose to Boat movement is a great core strengthener and also an amazing sculpter of the shoulder area. You should feel this exercise all throughout the abdominals, stretching the muscles, and also opening up the shoulder area.

Step By Step Instructions:

1. Begin with feet flat on the floor with your hands behind you. Point the fingers right at your back heels, but if this is too hard or uncomfortable, you can assume an easier form with your fingers facing away from you. This is your starting position.

2. Start to lift your chest by rolling the shoulders and when you feel prepared, move onto the next step of this advanced yoga pose. Push down into the floor through your palms and bottoms of your feet into a “bridge” shape. Take a deep breath and try to lift your chest as high as you can. Lean the head back if you want to stretch your neck, but this isn’t necessary.

3. Next, return to table position by lowering the hips and placing your bottom back onto the floor. Take a deep breathe and lean forward, opening your chest. Then drop backwards, leaning onto the arms, while lifting the legs so as to form a right angle. Keep your legs parallel to the floor and reach your arms out to the sides of your legs. For a more intense abdominal workout you can straighten your legs, while maintaining parallel arms, and this will give you a better core workout. Hold this boat position for a second or so.

4. Now, to return to table position, simple drop the legs back down so they are bent and on the floor, and move your chest back so that you are leaning onto your arms again. Lift the chest and then return to table position while inhaling by pushing your hips off the floor. Hold this position for a second, before exhaling again and returning to your starting position on the floor. Continue to switch back and forth between table and boat position until you are ready to move on.

Featured Image Courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/matthewphotography/

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