Release Your Inner Warrior
27June/2014

Release Your Inner Warrior

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Release Your Inner Warrior


De-Stress and Discard Fat Forever

By Skye Cushway | Images Dallas Olsen | Make-Up Sue McLaurin

My name is Skye Cushway and I’m not just your average trainer. I believe a trainer’s job should be HOLISTIC (looking at the whole lifestyle) as we are helping to change someone’s LIFE. So I take on the role as a body transformation coach, counsellor, nutritional coach and friend. I have been a personal trainer for almost 10 years and I believe you must always listen to your body. I find yoga helps you to find that mind-body connection and helps you in all aspects of your life and training. Yoga has kept my body strong, supple and injury-free. I have also balanced my body with my love of intense weight training.
I have been practising yoga for almost 20 years and have been a yoga Instructor for almost nine. It is part of my daily life and if I hadn’t been introduced to it as an 18-year-old going through depression and anxiety, I really think my life would be different. As corny as it sounds, yoga saved me.



Yoga is the physical, mental and spiritual practice or discipline that originated in ancient India with a view to attaining a state of permanent peace of mind in order to experience one’s true self. The amazing thing about yoga is you can do it at any age or level, as it is an individual practice that caters to every body type. This yoga sequence is great to do first thing in the morning to awaken and energise the body.

We start off the workout with Sun Salutations and then three strong-standing postures followed by a balance pose. Performing this sequence will set you up for a fabulous day. Yoga will help to clear your mind and prepare you to face the day with vitality and self-love (something we need
more of) and, of course, realign the body. If your energy gets low in the afternoon, try doing this on your lunch break in the park or in a quiet room in the office to give you a pick-me-up instead of reaching for a sugar fix or caffeine. The strong-standing poses help to bring calmness to the mind, soothe the soul and keep the body tight and strong, and will also lengthen muscles and keep you supple and light.

The beauty about practising yoga is that you can do it almost anywhere – all you need is your mat and you are set! Yoga can be done at any time of the day, but you should allow about three hours after a meal as it can make you feel nauseas if you eat too close to your practice. You are working on the internal organs so you want to make the most of this detoxification process. If you must eat, keep it light; a piece of fruit or veggies are ideal.

This sequence will focus on building a strong body and mind, and strengthen and tone your legs, core and arms. It will also help to bring out the warrior in you, as all warrior poses are great for bringing strength and determination into your life and body! The balance pose will help to open your chakras and strengthen your ankles, knees and spine, and a strong spine equals a long life.

You should try to do yoga at least 2-3 times per week but if you can do some kind of yoga every day your body and life will be a better place to live emotionally, physically and mentally. Before you start this workout, sit cross-legged or lie down on your mat. Close your eyes and start to connect to your breath. Your breath is the most important thing – it keeps you alive. So sit and honour the breath and just BE for a few minutes, practising deep belly breaths in through the nose out through the nose!

Namaste

 

Sun Salutations


TADASANA - Mountain pose

Tadasana is the foundation of all yoga poses. It brings the body into alignment.

BENEFITS: Improves posture, strengthens thighs and can help relieve back pain.

• Ground the feet into the floor with big toes touching
• Draw the belly in slightly
• Stand tall, engage the quadriceps and draw them upward, keeping shoulders away from the ears. Your neck is long as the head rises toward the ceiling
• Bring your hands to heart-centre
• Reach hands up over the head
• Then bring them in to pray
• Keep drawing your body up while grounding your feet into the floor
• Swan dive and fold forward, pushing your backside out
• Lengthen the legs (unless you have back issues or tight hamstrings, then you can bend the knees




UTTANASANA - Forward fold

BENEFITS: Forward folds help to calm the mind - they are great for stress and anxiety. They are also perfect for stretching and lengthening out the hamstrings, glutes and lower back.

• Keep your feet flat and allow your body to soften over (never force the body as it can cause injury). Fold from the hips
• Bring fingertips to the ground near your toes and press palms flat
• Engage the quadriceps so the hamstrings open up
• Bring the weight of your body forward
• Make sure the head and neck are relaxed





ARDHA UTTANASANA – Half-forward bends

BENEFITS: Stretches the hamstrings and encourages good spinal alignment.

• From Uttanasana, come up onto your fingertips, raise your head and draw your shoulders back. Flatten out your back
• Avoid locking the knees, keep them soft

BEGINNERS - Getting your spine flat is important here, so you may need to bring the hands up mid-shin or all the way up to your thighs to ensure this.
ADVANCED- A flat back puts you in a good position to jump or step

   


ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA – Downward-facing dog

Downward-facing dog is often done many times in a yoga class as it’s a transitional pose. We will come back to this after each of the standing poses in this workout.

BENEFITS: Stretches and strengthens the whole body; can help relieve back pain.

• Come to your hands and knees with the wrists underneath the shoulders and the knees directly below the hips
• Spread the fingers and ground down from the forearms into the fingertips. Outwardly rotate the upper arms broadening the collarbones. Let the head hang. Move the shoulder blades away from the ears toward the hips
• Engage the quadriceps strongly to take the weight off the arms, making this a resting pose. Rotate the thighs inward, keep the tail high and sink your heels toward the floor
• Check that the distance between your hands and feet is correct by coming forward to a plank position. The distance between the hands and feet should be the same in these two poses. Do not step the feet toward the hands in downward-facing dog in order the get the heels to the floor. This will happen eventually as the muscles lengthen


CHATURANGA DANDASANA – Plank transition into up-dog

Chaturanga is like a push-up and is a great arm strengthener. It’s part of this sun salutation sequence that connects the vinyasa sequence together.

BENEFITS: Strengthens arms, wrists and core. Great preparation for arm balances. Weight-bearing exercises are also great for keeping bones strong.

From plank, come forward a little on your toes
• Bend your arms straight back, keeping the upper arms close to your sides as you lower to the ground and keeping your body stiff and strong
• Roll toes over into up-facing dog

BEGINNERS - Drop your knees to the floor until you have enough strength to support the body with the arms.
ADVANCED - Hold the pose before coming into up-facing dog.

URDHVA MUKHA SVANASANA – Upward-facing dog



BENEFITS: Strengthens the arms, wrists and core. It will also increase flexibility in the spine in preparation for backbends.

• Come out of the previous pose and roll over onto the tops of your toes without letting your thighs touch the floor
• Keep your legs engaged and off the floor while pressing the tops of the feet down and dropping the hips
• Make sure your shoulders stay over the wrists and away from the ears

BEGINNERS - Bring your thighs to the floor, turn the feet over one at a time and come into cobra if this is not possible.





Warrior II - Virabhadrasana II

Downward-facing dog is often done many times in a yoga class as it’s a transitional pose. We will come back to this after each of the standing poses in this workout.

BENEFITS: Strengthens the legs and arms, opens the chest and shoulders and tones the abdomen.

• Keep the right knee bent and the right thigh parallel to the floor
• Draw the belly in slightly
• Find the shoulders directly over the hips
• Reach out through both fingertips
• The gaze is forward over the right hand
• Engage the triceps to support the arms and the quadriceps to support the legs

Repeat on the left side.

Beginners: Make sure the right knee stays tracked over the middle toe of the right foot. Don’t allow the knee to drift over to the left.
Advanced: Hold the pose for 10 breaths.



Dancing warrior
 
BENEFITS: Strengthens and stretches the legs, side waist and arms.

• Turn front palm up to the celling and then reach back with the back arm towards the back ankle
• Keep feet grounded and stay in the deep lunge
• Your front thigh stays parallel to the floor
• Stretch and lengthen through your side waist, reaching your front arm to the ceiling with palm facing in. Make sure your front knee stays pushing forward







IKONASANA - Triangle pose

BENEFITS: Strengthens the legs, stretches the groins, hamstrings and hips, and opens the chest. It also helps to improve your digestive system and works on eliminating waste from the body.

• From Dancing Warrior, straighten your front leg (the right leg in this case)
• Reach the right arm towards the front of the room, engaging your right thigh as you go. Draw the quad away from the knee
• Drop your right hand down onto your shin or ankle. If you are more open, bring your right hand to the floor on the inside or outside the right foot
• The left shoulder stacks on top of the right one as you open your chest, reaching the left fingertips towards the ceiling while keeping your left
shoulder rooted in its socket. Look up toward your left fingertips
• Draw the right thigh muscles upwards, keep your knee soft
• Repeat with your left leg forward
Beginners: Bring your right hand higher up on your leg or place a block on the floor under your hand. It is more important to keep your right leg
straight than to bring your right hand to the floor. Do not rest your hand directly on your knee,though, as this creates too much pressure on the
knee.
Advanced: Line up the right heel with the arch of the left foot. For a variation, try dropping the left arm over the left ear so it comes parallel to the floor, while keeping the shoulder rooted in its socket. Take the weight out of of your right hand, hovering it above the floor.


NATARAJASANA - King dancer pose

Balance poses help to balance our body, mind and life.

BENEFITS: Strengthens legs, knees and ankles. Improves balance and stretches the shoulders and chest.
• From Tadasana, shift your weight onto the right leg
• Bend the left knee and grasp the inside of the left foot with the left hand
• Start to bring the left foot and the right arm up toward the ceiling as you bring your torso forward
• Hold for 5-10 breaths
• Repeat on the other side

Beginners: Fix your gaze on something that doesn't move so that you don’t lose balance.
Advanced: Go for the full version of this pose.

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