Tuesday, August 6, 2013

P90X Tips and Tricks - Be Kind to Your Spine in YogaX

Yoga is a discipline that many people are not all that familiar with. Tony Horton does a great job giving instructions in P90X's Yoga X but, there were a few things that he doesn't really explain that took me a little while to figure out. Maybe my experience will help out some of you who are newer to yoga.
Shoulder stand and especially Plow are yoga poses that is well known for being risky. Tony does advise caution here but, I just wanted to say it again here for emphasis. You really can hurt your neck. So, be careful. Listen to your body and don't push yourself with plow if something does not feel right.

Boat is for me one of the hardest poses because it focuses so much on the hip flexors which have always been a weak point for me, though getting stronger with P90X. It is better in boat to bend your knees than to round your back. Your first priority is a straight spine, chest lifted, abs engaged. From a stable spine position you can then focus on getting your legs as straight as you can. If you extend the knees and the back starts to round then flex the knees until the back is straight again. You'll see your strength improving over time as you are able to get the legs out straighter and straighter while maintaining proper spinal alignment.

Getting into and out of wheel is a challenge. You need flexibility down the front of your body from your shoulders to your knees. Then, you need the strength to hold yourself up there. You also need the strength to lower yourself to the floor gently and not crash. One thing that I did to get up at first, before I had built up the strength to just pop right up, was to lift up onto the top of my head and then push to the top. This is probably not the safest move and I'm not really recommending it. However, the reality is that it's a natural progression that you may find yourself doing without really thinking about it. If this is a strategy you use, just be very careful when you do. Don't try to get up too quickly. Keep it controlled. Make sure your neck feels OK.

Same goes for lowering down. Until you really have the strength to lower all the way down smoothly you my find that you use the top of your head to help at the half way point. Be careful and keep in mind that your goal is to move beyond doing that. Ideally, on the way down, lift your head up slightly and try to touch the floor first at the base of the neck/top of the shoulders.

Yoga is a tough discipline, especially P90X style. Stay with it and you will see a host of benefits that yoga delivers better than anything else. Namaste!

Best Ever Fitness

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