Nimble Insider | Charlotte Dodson
We first met Charlotte Dodson on a relaxing wellness week on Lord Howe Island (read more about that here). As keen yogis, we jumped at the opportunity to spend a whole week practicing yoga with Charlotte. Since then, Charlotte has become a friend, yoga mentor and a lover of Nimble Activewear.
Charlotte is an internationally renowned yoga life coach and motivational speaker. London born and based in Sydney, she has taken the world by storm and teaches clients such as Miranda Kerr, Orlando Bloom, Gerard Butler, Basil Iwanyk, Phoebe Tonkin, Stephanie Rice, Lara Bingle and Leah Wood.
Please share with us a little more insight into how you came to be on this path?
Yoga actually found me — it was a blessing in disguise! It became a huge part of my healing after I broke my arm surfing. It was my awakening to the life-altering benefits of this practice — after a decade of studying, participating and teaching across four continents, yoga is now my full-time focus. I realized there was much more I could offer to others in life, more ways I could serve the greater good. Yoga is my pure passion and it will stay with me for the rest of my days.
What type of yoga do you practise? Is this a different style to what you teach?
I personally practice Ashtanga yoga every morning with my incredible teacher, Eileen Hall. She has aided me immensely in deepening my knowledge and appreciation for yoga. I meet my clients wherever they’re at – whether they are new to yoga, or have practiced for years. Every class may differ, depending on their emotional, mental and spiritual state, as well as the physical side of things. I pride myself on progressing (and adjusting) my clients to ensure they get the most out of their practice.
What does your typical day look like?
I’m an early riser and practice yoga everyday, even if it means getting up at 3am! Whether I’m hosting wellness weeks, media events or filming – my day is jam packed with spreading good vibes, loving the people around me and enjoying the moment!
What motto or mantra do you live by?
LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start yoga?
Any yoga practice is a great place to start, whether it’s at your local gym or yoga school – you’ll always take something home from the experience. You can always join my Yoga TV site – charlottedodson.tv – and ask me any questions along the way via the Live Chat option. With your teacher and yoga style, it’s a personal choice – so if you haven’t yet found a yoga you resonate with, please keep trying! Yoga is for every shape, size and background, and once you find your ultimate yoga space, you’ll be forever grateful.
What are you up to next?
I’m so blessed to have so many exciting projects on the horizon! As well as featuring in a new branded entertainment TV show as the resident ‘Yoga Life Coach’ (airing early next year)… I’ve recently been approached to develop a specialized entertainment program as the Content provider and Global Brand Ambassador for a new health related channel which will be available world-wide… stay tuned, more details to follow!
Lastly, what are your favourite Nimble Activewear pieces and why?
I love the pastel range because they’re so pretty, light, refreshing with a feminine yet sporty touch!
Wellness Retreat with Charlotte Dodson
Join celebrity yoga instructor Charlotte Dodson for a four day wellness retreat at Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa.
- Four nights accommodation in a Garden View Studio
- Two group yoga sessions daily with Charlotte Dodson
- One group fitness session daily
- Chahoya Spa by L’Occitane 2 hour treatment package
- Chahoya Spa by L’Occitane 1 hour treatment
- Breakfast, lunch and healthy treats daily (Meal plan designed by Nikki Heyder of NOOD)
- Dinner at each signature restaurant
- Cooking classes
- Return Broome Airport transfers
This is a great opportunity to rejuvenate and revitalise your body and mind under the guidance of Charlotte, whose clients include Miranda Kerr, Orlando Bloom, Gerard Butler, Lara Bingle, Stephanie Rice, Kit Willow, Camilla Franks and Leah Wood.
Born in London, Charlotte studied and practiced yoga for over 15 years in London, India, New York and Sydney. Her sessions are described as “dynamic yet elegant and simplistic with a unique focus on bold creativity and grounded energy.”
The wellness retreat is limited to just 12 people and bookings are subject to availability. For more information please email email@example.com or call (08) 9426 8865.
If there’s one woman out there we would all happily take workout cues from, it’s Miranda Kerr (those legs… those abs), and her trainer Charlotte Dodson is spilling some of her secrets!
When it comes to fine tuning the art of moving meditation, Dodson is the go-to guru for celebrities around the world.”I prefer Yoga and Pilates to running, for Yoga I like a mix of Hatha and kundalini, I see Charlotte in Australia and she is wonderful” Kerr said. Our leading lady Lorna Jane Clarkson even put Charlotte’s method to the test during her My Active Life series, with an everyday Yoga routine you can start with every day. Whether you’re needing to de-stress, or gain energy, Charlotte guides you through the right poses to target ailments and promote ultimate relaxation.
How to Get Lean and Shapely Legs
By The Upside · On May 13, 2015
By Celebrity Trainer Charlotte Dodson
You want to have the opportunity of choice – the freedom to wear whatever it is you feel like in order to look and feel A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! So, here’s a series of simple poses that you can use to tone up those upper thighs and lift your butt whilst simultaneously lengthening and toning your lower body. You’ll find and awaken muscles you didn’t realise you had, all in a good way, of course!
Before I go into this easy-to-adopt routine, please remember that yoga is your own holistic practice. This means that yoga works on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. How you view the world, see your day, and interact with others is a reflection of your own inner self. Let me give you an example: as you strengthen your body, both lower and upper, you become stronger in all situations and relationships – this balance and energy feeds into every area of your daily life. You are able to speak your true innermost thoughts with compassion, and see the world with gratitude and joyfulness. It is a calm and nourishing strength, from the inside-out.
With yoga, you are working your muscles to lift themselves out of your joints; if you feel you’re sitting in your joints or locking them up, bend them slightly, and that way you activate your muscles and allow them to flow into the pose. Keep your belly active at all times when doing the movements – in other words, tight and tucked-in.
Always be conscious of how you are breathing during these poses, as this will ensure you are getting the most out of your yoga practice.
Follow this step by step guide to keep your legs looking shapely, and keep you feeling on top of the world.
Warrior II pose (Virabhadrasana II)
Strong legs give you foundation and keep you grounded – literally! This pose works to build and develop muscle tone, especially in the lower half of your body. It’s a strong pose, so hang in there, breathe slowly and release to standing at any time. This pose give you strength and determination to follow your dreams. It builds strength in the legs, belly and upper body.
Stand at the long edge of your mat and feet one leg distant apart. Turn your right foot out to face the top of the mat and bend your right knee, making sure your right knee is directly above your ankle. Angle the back foot at 45 degrees and keep it flat on the floor. Inhale your arms overhead and out to the side, shoulder height. Stay looking forward at your front middle finger. Hold and breathe deeply for 5 breaths or longer. Repeat on the other side.
Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
This standing warrior pose builds strength in the legs, belly and upper body whilst giving you boost of energy as you open up your lungs. Stretches hips, inner legs and groin.
From Warrior 1 – inhale to raise your right arm overhead, and exhale to slowly slide your left arm down your back leg. Keep your legs active, belly strong. Either look up at your top hand, or down to your back foot if you find your neck feels sore. Hold for 5-10 breaths. To release, inhale back to an upright position, and turn both feet inwards facing the wide edge of your mat.
Extended side angle pose (Utthita Parshvakonasana)
This can be a challenging pose, working through the different variations, and you’ll always discover and learn a new ‘feeling’ within your body on how to get deeper into the pose.
From ‘reverse warrior pose’ inhale your right arm up and over to your right thigh and raise top arm up. Keep legs and belly strong and active. As you continue to ground your left heel to the floor, exhale and lay the right side of your torso down onto (or bring it as close as possible to) the top of the right thigh. Press your right fingertips (or palm) on the floor just inside your right foot. Actively press your right arm into the inner right knee; counter this by drawing your tail bone down into the back of your pelvis, toward the pubis. The inside of your right thigh should be parallel with the long edge of your mat.
Hold and breathe deeply for 5 breaths and use your inhale to come up to lift up lightly. Repeat to the other side for the same breath lengths.
High lunge twist
Twist, turn and unravel any those problems! This pose gets into all those knots and tight areas, helping to alleviate the strain. Turn back to the top of the mat with your right foot forward and left leg back one leg distant, keeping right leg bent and left leg straight. Bring your left hand to the inside foot and raise your right arm high, and turn from your belly, chest and shoulder. Keep your chin tucked in as you look up to your top raised arm. If your neck’s tender, please look down to your base foot. Hold and breathe deeply for 10 breaths before repeating to the other side. To add a greater strength dimension to the pose, twist a little more on every exhalation to squeeze, and massage your digestive organs and activate your belly muscles. Hold this for 5-10 breaths. Remember to be kind, and not to over stay in any pose or throw yourself into any movement – use your breath and true inner strength, which builds in power the more you practice the poses.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Strongly press your hands, arms active as your lift up onto your knees, toes tuck under and lift your hips up into downward facing dog. This is like a triangle shape, with feet, hands and hips working actively. Feet are hip distant, your outer foot is inline with the outer part of the mat, and your hands are shoulder distant apart (your middle finger facing forward). Look to your navel as you keep your ears inline with your upper arms. This pose fully energises you and gives you vitality. Hold and breathe deeply into the pose for 5-10 long, mindful breaths. If this feels too strong, you can drop to your knees at any time.
Relaxation (Corpse) Pose (Savasana)
We can be so busy with life – thinking (and doing) too much at all hours of the day. Yoga is a tool to help us keep our mind still and quiet. Lay back, let go and see if you can ‘be’ in the moment by giving time for your body to relax for 5-10 minutes. This corpse pose allows your body to absorb the sequence you’ve just completed. You’ll feel rested and it will provide your whole body with an overall sense of well-being and harmony. After Savasana, roll out to the right side and come up to a cross-legged sitting posture; now you’ll feel a energetic boost as you embrace your whole day with kindness – fully alert, revitalised with lean shapely legs!
Photography | atdusk.com.au
ILUKA Lifestyle Blog
How to Energize and Feel ‘Alive’!
By Charlotte Dodson | charlottedodson.tv
Photography | atdusk.com.au
Wearing | theupsidesport.com
Feel like you’re dragging your feet, and need a second wind? Had a tiring day, and yet still have a long night ahead of you? By focusing your goals and practicing a few simple yoga moves – for about 15 minutes on a daily basis – you’ll easily boost up your energy levels, and thus be ready to take on the full evening that lays ahead of you.
Complete this sequence in this particular order, and if you’re feeling a need for an extra energy boost, practice these poses a few times throughout the day, either when you’re on the ‘go’ or at your desk!
By working your large muscles groups in order to get the energy flowing through your organs and limbs, and by oxygenating your lungs at the same time, you’ll be set for the day. Always remember to breathe fully and mindfully throughout your practice – that way, you’ll give yourself that boost of long-lasting energy you need. During your practice, keep your belly active, chin tucked into your throat and ribs drawn into your spine.
Inhale to oxygenate
Every time you inhale, you oxygenate your blood and fill your lungs with life-giving air. This is a great way to wake you up, especially in the morning. By giving yourself a few moments out of a busy work schedule to consciously breathe, you will keep yourself both alert and calm throughout the whole day. Lets breathe deeply into our lungs, and increase that lung capacity as you work with breath counts. Come into a cross legged sit with your hands on your knees, to keep your spine elongated. Keep your chin tucked into your throat to protect your neck. Take a long deep inhale, counting from 1-2-3-4 (maybe to 5-6) breath lengths, and naturally release on a long exhale. Repeat 3-5 times. Always come back to a natural flowing breath if it feels uncomfortable at any time.
Open chest and lungs
This pose (‘prasarita padottanasana c’) opens up your lungs, chest, shoulders and heart. It makes you feel truly ‘alive’. It really gives you that ‘zing’ to open up your day, and lengthens your spine as you bend forward.
Start by placing your feet one leg distant apart, toes inward slightly. Press firmly into your feet and strongly activate your legs. Interlock your hands with your palms facing inward behind your back body and open your chest as you roll your shoulders outward. Bend your knees slightly and if you can, lift your arms up and over your head. Don’t push this movement and only go as far as you feel comfortable. An option is to bring one hand onto each elbow behind your back. Keep your chin tucked down in towards your throat. You’ll feel your front body open as gravity naturally draws the hands towards the floor. Breathe deeply and naturally for 5-10 breaths. To release, slowly roll back up to standing keeping your knees soft.
Release and centre
Twist, turn and unravel any of those emotional problems! This pose gets into all those knots and tight areas, helping to alleviate the strain. Bring your feet one leg distant apart, with your toes turning inwards and heels out slightly. Keep your knees soft to protect your lower back. Place one hand into the middle of your legs and as your inhale, raise the other arm up over your head. Lengthen your fingers up towards the ceiling. Keep your legs strong and active. Look up to your top hand, if your neck feels sore, look down to the base hand. Roll your shoulders outward and breathe fully into the whole length of your spine. Breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths. To release the pose, exhale your lifting arm back down to the floor and repeat to the other side.
Expand into your ribcage
As you create more space in your body, you do the same within your mind. When was the last time you emphasized movements that involved the side of your body? In our exercise routines, we tend to go forwards or back, but not often from side to side. As we shift and move the body, we shift and move our mind – expansion in our movement and our thoughts is the goal.
Either start in a cross legged seat (easy version), or alternatively, come to the top of your mat, feet hip distant apart, feet firmly pressed down into the floor. As you inhale, interlock your hands and raise your arms up to the ceiling, reaching high. On your next exhale, keep your legs active, press your palms towards the right side, lengthening through your left side as you ’tilt’ in that direction. If you’re seated, release your right hand or forearm gently down onto the floor, with your left reaching up and over your head. Bend your knees if your lower back is tender and keep your tailbone tucked under. Breath deeply for 5 breath lengths before coming back to neutral on your inhale. Repeat to the other side.
Backbends opens up the front body and strengthens the back. This half upside down bow pose gives you an energetic boost as you turn yourself inside out, like a rainbow shape.
Start by laying down with your back body on the floor. Bend both knees up into about a 45 degree angle, press the soles of your feet into the earth, keeping your feet hip distant apart. Place your forearms onto the floor with your palms facing down. On your exhale, ground your feet and roll your buttocks, lower, middle and upper back away from the floor. Roll your shoulders down and if it feels comfortable interlock your hands together, under your back body. Keep lifting your chest towards your chin and your chin towards your chest. You’re developing muscle strength in your legs. Hold the body shape and breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths before rolling back to the floor on your exhalation. Every time you exhale, feel your belly tightly tuck in and see if you can soften your buttocks. As you move on the exhale, your belly is protecting your lower back. An option is to lift up onto your tip toes to release your lower back, or roll back down to the floor if it feels uncomfortable. When you come back to the floor make sure you hug your knees into your belly and give yourself a squeeze. Keep your lower back pressed down into the floor, before repeating the pose a few more times.
We can be so busy with life – thinking and doing too much! Yoga is a tool to help us keep our mind still and quiet. Lay back, let go and see if you can ‘be’ in the moment by giving time for your body to relax for 5-10 minutes. This corpse pose allows your body to absorb the sequence you’ve just completed. You’ll feel rested and it will provide your whole body with an overall sense of well-being and harmony. It’s similar to a powernap, allowing all your organs to breathe as you lay flat on your back.
After savasana, roll out to the right side and come up to a cross legged sitting posture; now you’ll feel ready to embrace your whole day – alert, energised and with a regained second wind.
Australia’s hottest yogi serves up some inspiration on what getting that model glow is really all about…
5.7.15 | Katie Horwitch, Photo Credit: At Dusk
All Things YogaFitness + Well Being
AUSSIE CHARLOTTE DODSON‘S sun-drenched, dreamy Insta-feed and aspirational yet totally approachable style of yoga, a mix of gorgeous poses, quick demo videos, and inspirational quotes on fleek had us at hello. And then we realized something. This wasn’t just any yogi – this was Miranda Kerr’s yogi.
If like attracts like, Charlotte’s extensive celeb clientele is just proof of her own radiant star power. Miranda said it best: “With yoga I believe it’s really important who you have as a teacher, to me Charlotte is the best – her energy is really grounding and nurturing. It has become a part of my life.”
This yoga life coach is Australia’s go-to gal for the latest and greatest in the holistic world, and her sweetness and enthusiasm are more than refreshing amidst the slew of harsh, pseudo-fitspirational personalities and approaches out there in the wellness world (you know, where it’s all about beating you down to build you up).
Read our interview with Charlotte below and catch a few more in our Yoga Matters series here. Sign up for a free month of this yoga star’s online classes below and you’ll be girl-crushing right along with us: this is a woman who’s all about smiling, staying enthusiastic, and being kind to others. Sure, the poses matter – but to us, that kind of attitude is what yoga is really about.
YOGA MATTERS WITH CHARLOTTE DODSON
NAME: Charlotte Dodson
STUDIO: Charlotte Dodson Yoga
WHAT ORIGINALLY DREW ME TO YOGA:
I love being active and it has always been an important part of my life. Yoga actually found me; it was a blessing in disguise. I moved from advertising into teaching yoga, and now it’s my full time passion. I got into yoga by accident (literally), and it completely changed my life …It started when, on a weekend away, I broke my arm surfing. It meant my daily boxing and soft-sand running schedule came to a stand still. I had loved the adrenaline of being fit and healthy, and then suddenly I had to stop everything that was important to me in my world – I got thrown onto another path. Ultimately, the practice and teaching of yoga has shown me that as I follow what I truly wish for in my life, my path will lead me the right way and I won’t need to question the journey I’m on.
My incredible teacher Eileen Hall has aided me immensely in deepening my knowledge and appreciation for yoga. I’ve also had magical insights and deep wisdom from Richard Freeman, David Swenson and Mark Robberds – it’s important to keep growing and evolving every day through the art of being open and receptive to a wide variety of perspectives.
WHEN I’M NOT ON THE MAT, I’M:
Walking my doggies along the coast, dipping into the ocean and soaking up the great outdoors. Nature teaches us that beauty exists everywhere – both inside and outside of ourselves.
I love the dancers pose (Natrajasana). It teaches us that “life is a dancer and you are the dance.” (Eckhart Tolle)
I WISH THAT MORE PEOPLE REALIZED THAT YOGA…
Is a positive lifestyle; it’s far more than trying to touch your toes! Yoga is a great place to start to create a healthy body and state of mind. We all need to build strength and confidence, gain flexibility and maintain our postural alignment, remain grounded and find balance in our journey. Practicing yoga (in combination with a meditation practice) can also give everyone time to rest, rejuvenate and ‘be’ true to themselves.
PROJECT OR CAUSE I AM MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT:
I love animals! We’re closely linked to the animal world. Just watching an animal closely can take you out of your mind-distractions and bring you into the present moment, which is where animals live all the time. This is what yoga teaches us: to live in the now.
BIGGEST LESSON YOGA HAS TAUGHT ME:
To slow down (big ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh on the exhale!). To truly live and cherish every single moment and every breath, rather than hurrying and rushing through life – otherwise we miss out on what’s right in front of us. Yoga has taught me to b-r-e-a-t-h-e, one breath at a time, and to live each moment, one blessing at a time.For me, in this current moment, yoga is life – it’s a calm positive state of mind, to simply sit comfortably and be, without artifice or pretense. That’s the challenge for most of us, to train our busy minds to become stiller and to follow our intuition, our heart. To come back to the essence of who we really are, by listening to ourselves. It might sound hard, and it’s something I’m always working on, but it sure makes life a lot easier!
BIGGEST LESSON I HOPE TO TEACH THROUGH YOGA:
Stay enthusiastic. Sometimes life can have its challenges but the key is to keep moving forward, fearlessly. The challenges soon fade away and evolve into learning opportunities for expansion. The yoga class is a perfect life metaphor – as we build strength and openness, and as the poses become easier to safely perform, the exertion and concentration eventually disappears, transforming the practice into a moving meditation.Everything you do with your body can affect your thoughts and attitude. Sometimes, something as subtle as a shift in a yoga posture can lighten a dark mood. When someone stands tall, with dignity – opening and broadening their chest – and walks with confidence, they announce to the world (and, most importantly, to themselves) that they are grounded, happy and in tune with their surroundings.
MOST REWARDING YOGA-RELATED EXPERIENCE:
My teacher, Eileen Hall, once said to me, “you don’t need to try anymore.” She said, “let go and your world will open up.” For years I was wondering what I should be letting go of. And then it hit home one day. It was to let go of everything, no more predicting the future or holding on to the past. Yoga, for me, was actually the opportunity to drop everything – fears, expectations, and even thoughts. I learned, finally, that our breath is the anchor for us all to live in the present moment. This is the ultimate gift: to live in the now.
5 THINGS ON MY BUCKET LIST:
- Write my book
- Grow my herbal garden
- Start my charity foundation
- Spread positive vibes through an in-development TV Show (resident ‘yoga life coach’)
- Travel the world and touch someone’s heart wherever I go!
ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY 16 YEAR-OLD SELF:
S-m-i-l-e. It’s contagious! And give yourself a hug of gratitude – everyday! Laughter really is the best medicine.
Live, love, laugh.
ELLE tests: personal trainers
Pro-grade workouts don’t just kick your butt, they’re capable of actually changing it. Four ELLE staffers attempt to tone, chisel and lift their trouble spots with the help of a little personal attention.
Best for legs
Sarah Lakos enlists a yogi master to help her achieve Miranda Kerr-grade limbs
Overview: Charlotte Dodson works with people of all fitness levels: models (including Miranda Kerr), pro-swimmers and the odd business executive. Each one-hour session is tailored to how you’re feeling that day, meaning no two are the same. The leg-focused poses during this session are designed to lengthen and strengthen.
Verdict: “First Charlotte takes me through the chair pose and warrior 1 and 2, holding each for a couple of minutes. After 30 seconds, Dodson makes adjustments and suggestions: ribs in, arms higher, knee bent. The technical focus is a bonus for this yogi, who has long been lost at the back of the studio. As I move through the poses, my legs shake: ‘It’s just your nervous system adjusting,’ she explains. The last two poses are airplane and tree – one of Miranda Kerr’s favourites as it keeps her grounded and her quads and calves in fine form. Charlotte’s mantra is ‘little and often’: an achievable concept for the time-poor. Since my session I’ve practised every day, holding tree pose a little longer than the rest, hoping for a Victoria’s Secret-worthy result.”
SUMMER IN THE USA !
It’s time to get your body out of those warm, tightly-wrapped clothes and out into the summer sun’s embrace! So let’s do it.. let’s lose any extra pounds that are just ‘hanging around’, and get toned up and strengthened, too,in order to feel lighter and build excitement in anticipation of summer’s arrival. Practicing any type of yoga will build strength and tighten the body’s shape, but some forms of the practice may not raise your heart rate enough to make them the only form of exercise you need to include in your weight loss regime. It depends on what type of yoga you choose to participate in, and how frequently you practice it. In order to lose weight, you must eat healthily, and burn calories by doing exercises that raises your heart rate on a regular basis (ie., 3 to 4 times per week).
Maintaining a routine, and employing a flowing dynamic practice, are two good places to start. Even 20 minutes of a ‘powerful’ practice, performed daily, will soon add up to hours and weeks of physique-enhancing workouts that will make you look and feel fabulous. So try not to brush a short practice aside – with just a little bit of effort, done with regularity, you will keep building strength, massaging your organs and toning your whole being.
Yoga is a well-being investment that your body will be truly thankful to experience – but how can yoga help you lose weight and tone up? Yoga can help reduce weight because it has no ‘break-down’ side effects on your body. It ensures that you will become proportionate to your own body weight in accordance to your height and lifestyle. Yoga acts on the metabolic systems of your body as well as on your fat cells. As you breathe deeply while assuming every pose and movement, it increases the oxygen intake to the cells of your body, including the fat cells – which are ‘consumed’ in the presence of so much oxygen. Also, the practice of yoga can de-stress your mind-body connections, and help you to overcome anxiety – a major cause of overeating. Some of the yoga poses can help control your weight through stimulating your lethargic thyroid glands, thus increasing their hormonal secretions, which leads to weight reduction.
Remember, also, that yoga is a practice that encompasses your whole being, not just the physical side. It’ll feed positivity into all areas of your mental, emotional and spiritual life, and you’ll reap the rewards of a toned and sculpted body shape as an added bonus. Now it’s all in place – there’s no time better time to do it than RIGHT NOW!
Go go go!
You’ve just got to decide and commit to the next few weeks (which will naturally lead into months!) of a regular yoga practice. There’s a fine line with ‘working your edge’ and it’s important to put your full awareness, effort and heart into everything you do, including your yoga practice. The key element to yoga (and your every day living) is your BREATH. It’s your anchor to the present moment. Start in a cross legged position, hands folded into prayer. Keep your chin tucked into your throat and take a few (deeper than normal) breaths. Your lips are closed as you breathe through both nostrils, tongue resting on the top palate of your mouth. As you breathe, there’s a slight rasping sound, this is called the ‘ocean’ breath. This subtle sound is something you can hear throughout your whole practice. It keeps you focused and mentally aware of every movement and pose you make, taking you deeper within. Take a round of approx. 20 long deep breaths with this ‘ocean’ sound and to release, come back to your normal breathing rhythm.
Bounce through summer by being a few kilos lighter! As we twist and turn, it empties and releases your belly, creating lightness and allowing you to get deeper into your practice. Stand at the top of your mat. Bend your knees if your back is tender. Bring one hand to the opposite foot, and turn from your belly, chest and shoulder. Keep your chin tucked in as you look up to your top raised arm. If your neck’s tender, please look down to your base foot. Hold and breathe deeply for 10 breaths before repeating to the other side. To really empty you can repeat both sides again. To add a greater strength dimension to the pose, twist a little more on every exhalation to squeeze, and massage your digestive organs and activate your belly muscles.
Ready for a slender and trim body shape? Yoga is a muscular practice, and we use our muscles to ‘lift’ out of our joints. The best way to tone your muscles is to lengthen and strengthen them at the same time. But how do we know if we’re ‘sitting’ in our joints? Usually, if you’re locking your joints, you’ll find that your knees are locked back; or, seeing your elbows jarred further inward than your arm is a good indication. Best way out of this situation is to bend them all. Begin in ‘downward facing dog’ with your arms and legs bent. This way you can’t ‘sit’ in your joints, you have to use your muscular strength. As you bend your elbows, keep them in towards your side waist and as you bend your knees, keep your hips lifting up and back. Press firmly into your palms and the balls of your feet. Keep your chin tucked into your throat and breathe deeply. Hold this for 5-20 breaths before resting into child pose. Repeat another 2-3 times as you feel appropriate. If your body starts to shake, it’s an indication that your body is catching up with your nervous system – breathe through it for a few breaths and rest, before continuing as you feel comfortable.
Remember to be kind, and not to over stay in any pose or throw yourself into any movement – use your true inner strength, which builds in power the more you practice the poses.
Shift and move! Now we’re going to incorporate the power of your breathing and ‘downward facing dog’ into this next sequence. As we work to move constantly, it’ll get your heart rate up and will build stamina and endurance. Follow this next mini sequence with determination (no force) and you’ll be amazed with your results. This powerful movement will increase your heart rate and allow you to start shedding pounds.
*From ‘downard facing dog’ (as above)
*Inhale forward to the ‘high plank’ and hold for 5 breaths. Make sure you don’t dip your hips or your lower back; keep your chin into your throat and lift up slightly inbetween your shoulder blades. Keep your wrists and shoulders aligned and heels working towards the back of your mat. *Exhale to lower down to ‘chatturanga’ (option, drop to your knees) and squeeze your elbows by your sides – hold and take 5 breaths
*Inhale back up to the ‘high plank’ – hold for 5 breaths
*Exhale back into into downward facing dog – hold and breathe for 5 breaths.
Repeat this 5 times or more and move powerfully with your breath. Breathe fully and deeply into every part of this sequence to get your blood flowing and muscles activating.
Want to look trim in your summer swimwear? Something that we all strive for: a flat, toned belly. As you follow the essential good health food rules, a taut, muscular abdominal wall will become visible. ‘Boat Pose’ – come onto your sit bones and hold onto your legs out in front of you. Slowly draw your toes away from the floor, hovering onto your sit bones and with your legs up, straight if you can; otherwise keep your knees bent if your lower back is sore. Release your arms from your legs and bring them parallel to the floor, keeping your biceps strong and legs together. Take your gaze to your pointed toes. Belly, legs and upper body active and fully alert. Hold and breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths, release your toes to the floor to rest for a few breaths before repeating another 2-3 times. For a additional variation, drop your finger tips down to one side, twisting from your belly in your boat pose. Hold and breathe for 5-10 breaths and repeat to the other side.
Ensure that, after any short practice, you lay in ‘savasana’. It lets your body absorb everything you have done, and digest all the wisdom of the practice into the wholeness of your being. As you feel energised and glowing from your yoga practice, not only will you look and feel bikini ready, you’ll notice that your food decisions and daily emotional choices start to improve, and this (in turn) feeds positively into the rest of your daily life. So the next time you go to your supermarket, choose wisely, and you’ll bounce through your practice being lighter and meet the challenges of your everyday life with added confidence – in no time at all!