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Goals & Benefits 1. A breathing exercise to stimulate the heart and lungs and get blood circulating from head to toe. 2. Sets the rhythm of the workout that follows. 3. Gets the mind and body interacting while connecting the legs and arms to the powerhouse. 4. Flushes the vital organs with oxygenated blood. Tips & Cues 1. Relax neck and lower the head to the mat when tense. 2. Focus stays on the abdomen- "hollow and scoop" the abs. 3. If the back is strained, knees may bend until the practitioner can control the position of the spine. 4. Arms beat rapidly to get the heart pumping.
The Roll Up
Goals & Benefits 1. Articulate the entire spine through using the powerhouse. 2. Encourages flexibility of the spine and back of the legs. 3. Massages the spine with your own weight. Tips & Cues 1.May be modified for beginners or practitioners with back or neck problems by using a foot strap or by bending knees. 2. With each repetition, try to stretch the entire body farther forward. 3. Take care to articulate the spine carefully especially through the tightest areas . 4. Try to keep a consistent pace and don't use momentum through the tough spots.
Single Leg Circle
Goals & Benefits 1. Stabilise the core while strengthening the hips. 2. Encourages flexibility in the back of the legs, hips and outer leg (iliotibial band). 3. Encourages length in the spine. 4. Strengthens the connection of the legs to the core by engaging the seat. Tips & Cues 1. Shoulders and head must always remain flat on the mat and neck remains long. 2. Hold the upper leg steady a the end of each circle by deepening the abdominals. Anchor the lower leg. 3. Start with smaller circles until you can stabilise the torso.
Rolling Like A Ball
Goals & Benefits 1. Improves balance and abdominal strength. 2. Increases flexibility of the spine by creating an even curve. 3. Massages the spine. 4. Encourages connection between the arms and the core. Tips & Cues 1. Try to keep hands on ankles to stay as tightly curled as possible and to prevent the legs from moving away from the seat. 2. Try to feel each vertebra while rolling back to and up off of the mat. 3. Keep abdominals engaged and scooped through the entire movement. 4. Avoid rolling onto the neck. 5. Massages the spine bringing circulation to the muscles and discs of the spine.
Single Leg Stretch
Goals & Benefits 1. Strengthen the abdominal muscles. 2. Stabilize the spine while encouraging mobility in the hips. 3. Massages internal organs and digestive system. 4. Keeps the rhythm and flow of the workout. Tips & Cues 1. Hold the head up with the abdominal muscles, not the neck. If the neck is strained, put the head down on the mat. 2. Legs may go higher if the practitioner can not stabilise the spine with the abdominals. 3. Base of the shoulder blades should remain on the mat. 4. Abdominals must stay scooped.
Double Leg Stretch
Goals & Benefits 1. Strengthens the abdominal muscles while providing a full-body stretch from toes to crown. 2. This is a breathing exercise. 3. Strengthens the legs- especially inner thighs and seat muscles. 4. Keeps the rhythm of the work while increasing stamina. Tips & Cues 1. As the legs hug the body they compress the lungs to wring out every last bit of exhale. 2. If you can keep your back from arching and the abdominals scooped, you may extend your legs lower to the mat for a greater challenge. 3. Squeeze the inner thighs and glutes as the legs extend. 4. Hold the weight of your head with your abdominal muscles rather than your neck.
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