Thursday, June 24, 2010

P90X - The Basics of Getting Through Yoga X

Yoga is in a class by itself in the P90X program. It's not strength training or cardio. It's not strictly stretching either. Here are some tips for the longest (over 90 minutes!) and in some ways the most challenging and, from what I've heard, the most dreaded of the P90X workouts.

First of all, I can't imagine doing yoga without a yoga or sticky mat. They're often called a "sticky" mat because they help keep your hands and feet from sliding when you're doing poses like downward dog. This yoga routine is hard enough without slipping and sliding all over the place. Use a sticky mat to keep you in place and let you focus on getting the poses right.

Getting the poses right is another issue. If you have some experience with yoga or if you have really good kinesthetic sense you will probably be OK. Otherwise you may want to try and get a mirror that you can place on a wall next to where you'll be doing this routine. Alternatively, enlist a friend to go through it with you and let you know if the positions your body is in look close to what Tony and the kids are doing.

Regardless of how you get your form on track or how long you've been doing yoga, keep checking yourself. When you're holding a pose or going through a vinyasa keep asking yourself if your arms are in the right position, are your hips and shoulders lined up properly, are your legs straight or bent enough, are you leaning too far forward or back, is your head at the right angle, etc.

Balance is an area that is tough for a lot of people when doing yoga because it's often subtle things that throw your balance off which is hard to correct when you don't know what to look for. The first thing to check is your hips. For example in Tree pose, if you are holding one hip higher than the other it will throw you off balance. If you find you're having trouble balancing in the Warrior poses it may be that your stance is too narrow laterally. In other words, if you've got one foot directly in front of the other like you're walking a tight rope that's going to make you unstable. The next thing to check is the shoulders. You generally want your shoulders pulled back and down and as level with each other as possible. You also want to think about where you're holding your shoulders in relation to your hips. Lastly, focus on your gravitational center. This is more of a visualization than a specific physical adjustment. Imagine a line running right through your center and down to the ground. Imagine settling your weight in toward that mid line and toward the ground.

Holding the poses in Yoga X is tough and very different from other types of exercise and you will probably find it very challenging at first. Yoga is valuable in building up your endurance (as well as your balance and flexibility) and you will get stronger over time. Keep pushing yourself to do as much as you can. However, if you need to come out of a pose, straighten your legs, drop your arms just do it. It's OK to allow yourself a break when you really need it and then jump back in when you're ready.

Best Ever Fitness

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