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!
Benefits Of Yoga For Men
Bro-ga: Why All Men Should Be Doing Yoga
The woman on the other side has wrapped herself up into what seems like an inhuman position — while you are sweating bucket-loads just trying to touch your toes.
For whatever reason, yoga has been typecast as a modern health and fitness discipline that belongs in a “woman’s world”. Most classes and studios are geared towards the female population, and a recent study conducted in the US showed that 4 out of 5 people who practiced yoga regularly were women. If you do see a man in a yoga class, more likely than not he has been dragged there by his partner.
An interesting note however, is that yoga was originally devised by men, for men — yet somehow this got lost in translation when it migrated to western culture from its roots in India, as far back as 500 BC. It has only been around in the Western world for the past 80 years or so, yet its popularity has really skyrocketed in the last 15-20 years.
Now, it’s big business. Classes, studios, DVDs and yoga retreats are popping up everywhere, and it seems that every second woman these days is covered head to toe in Lululemon clothing. At its core, however, yoga remains one of the true classical forms of exercise. My favourite part of yoga is that it’s a deeply personal workout. It allows you to connect with yourself, focusing on your own breath and movement whilst ignoring the distractions and constant chatter going on inside your head.
What else is yoga good for? I’m glad you asked. Let’s find out.
1- Yoga will compliment your training schedule
The benefits of yoga are many, from improving flexibility and range of motion in major joints (particularly your hips and shoulders) to improving balance, control and core stability. This supplements your efforts in the gym by building control in your stabilising and synergistic muscles — not to mention awakening some deeper muscles that you will never work in a typical gym workout.
Yoga can be used as a substitute for your core workouts, or even strategically placed as an active recovery session, during times in your program where you feel a little over-trained.
2- Yoga isn’t all just Chants and Meditation
Yoga is practiced in many forms these days, from a traditional, beginner’s Hatha to free-flowing Vinyasa and the powerful form of Ashtanga. There’s also Bikram (otherwise known as “hot yoga”) and Lyengar (using props such as blocks, bolsters and straps and focusing on alignment). Don’t get discouraged if you didn’t like it the first time — you just haven’t found your preferred style yet.
… to read more
ILUKA Lifestyle Blog
Ways to Keep Warm This Winter
Fire up the heater, put on those ugg boots and fill up your hot water bottle – the weather outside has taken a turn for the seriously chilly, with temperatures dropping dramatically on a daily basis, it seems. Winter really is here! But how can we stay in shape while simultaneously keeping our internal body systems warm and fully-functional this winter?
Boys love yoga
UK-based “Boys of Yoga” is an urban yogi movement spearheaded by six males, all hellbent on uplifting the male yogi’s status in the global community of yoga folks.
To them, yoga is a solid, hardcore, and centering practice that’s as perfect for spandex-clad women, granola-munching hippies, and raw vegan activists as it is for the average guy.
In this video, MJ, Charlie, Marc II, Lord Veda, Carl, and Adam each speak their truth on their passion for yoga and how it’s changed their life for the better, despite common beliefs of yoga as a “females only” zone.
“Some guys think that yoga makes you less of a man,” says their website’s ‘About’ statement. “The truth is, it makes you a better one.”
… to read more <boysofyoga.com>
ILUKA Lifestyle Blog
HOW TO SHINE IN EVERY WAY
Charlotte is an internationally renowned yoga life coach and motivational speaker. She has taken the world by storm, London born and based in Sydney, teaches clients such as Miranda Kerr, Orlando Bloom, Gerard Butler, Basil Iwanyk, Phoebe Tonkin, Stephanie Rice, Lara Bingle and Leah Wood.
After a 15-year love affair with yoga in four different continents, Charlotte is a go-to source for the latest and greatest creative practices. A true advocate for the benefits of yoga and a holistic, healthy lifestyle, Charlotte is determined to empower others to make yoga and being positive a part of their life.
Charlotte Dodson provides bespoke regimes to people of ages, levels & medical backgrounds. Charlotte is a qualified yoga teacher who has been practicing & teaching yoga for over 15 years in UK, India, US and Australia.
Charlotte brings a wealth of experience to every class having practiced, hatha, ashtanga & kundalini yoga with teachers across four continents. She has completed a 3 year International Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching at Nature Care Sydney & Charlotte travels regularly to update her knowledge.
“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 & nurturing, it has become a part of my life,” says Miranda Kerr.
How to shine in every way
By practicing a flowing dynamic yoga sequence on a regular basis (for 20 minutes, performed two-to-three times a week), an individual will soon find themselves benefiting – on many levels – from that hours-into-weeks consistency; please feel free to explore the following physique-enhancing yoga workout that will make you shine and feel fabulous, from root to crown. So try not to brush a short practice (guided by these simple tips, below) aside – with just a little bit of effort, performed with a steady intention of commitment and belief, you will keep building strength, massaging your organs and toning your whole being. It’ll also give you a bright inner glow that everyone around you sees as it shines out into the world!
How we feel on the inside, simply shows up on the outside. By starting your day with a positive intention (and returning to it whenever times are challenging) can be a great way to stay level headed, giving yourself permission to shine in every way. You can be open with your intention, you just need to believe in whatever your affirmation happens to hold in that moment.
The power of your breathing keeps you anchored into the present moment, as well as massaging and oxygenating your body. Sit cross legged with your spine upright and chin tucked into your throat. Close your eyes and breathe deeply through both nostrils (with lips closed) and notice your breath as it breathes you, gently beneath your skin. Count to 1-2-3 (perhaps even to 4-5) on both inhale and exhalations. This will create an inner heat, and an inner spark.
Salute to the sun (Surya Namaskar)
This sequence can work for every-and-anyone, wherever your age, level or experience happen to reside. The sun salutations build strength and flexibility. Complete the following cycle to feel revitalized, and brighten up your whole day through these patterns. It works to warm up your whole body, keeping your mind focused on your breathing while also providing a feel-good body “depth” as you create shapes perfectly for yourself. There are various steps to this movement, with each flowing gracefully from one movement into the next; hold each pose for one breath (except in downward facing dog).
… to read more
Yoga And The Great Outdoors
For those of us who enjoy the combination of fitness and outdoor activities, how can we stay in shape while simultaneously keeping our internal body systems warm and fully-functional as the winter season approaches?
During wellness weeks for Pinetrees Lodge on Lord Howe Island, I teach the last class of the week near the base of Mount Gower mountain – a majestic area with ocean views – at a spot called Little Island. Situated a short walk along a disused road, this is a rewarding trek for anyone. The track passes in and out of the palm forest, and at the end of the path, the vegetation forms a tunnel to walk through-and-under. At Little Island, I have spectacular views, both of the cliff walls above, and the ocean beyond. As I look up at the cliffs and mountain top, the epic scenery reminds me – much like the ‘mountain-top’ pose in yoga – to stand tall and proud, and to hold my ground. The glimmering ocean water views teach me to flow with my practice (and with life itself); and as the birds float in the air-streams – which mirror the ebb and flow of the ‘crow pose’ – I’m reminded of the importance of my freedom to make choices and adjust with every up and down of my individual journey. As a turtle swims by, I see the connection to the ‘turtle pose’, which teaches me to turn inwardly and accept “what is”, without judgment. It’s during these moments when I truly come to appreciate how the combination of yoga and the outdoors assists an individual in reflecting the beauty that exists everywhere, both within and without.