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WOMEN’S FITNESS

Shape Up with

By Caroline Sandry Photos: Shot on location in Antibes courtesy of JPP pics

■ Exhale and as you inhale circle your


Yoga has been practised for centuries, and is arms out to the side and up overhead,
then bring the palms together and
known for its many health benefits. Its appeal is stretch up and slightly back, extending
your chest upwards towards the sun.
timeless and stretches across the universe, from ■ Exhale and fold forward from your hips
into ‘Forward Bend’, bending your
its humble beginnings in India, to the larger knees in order to place your hands on
the floor.
than life celebrity followers in the 21st century ■ Inhale and step the right leg back into
a lunge position, and then hold the
western world. breath as you step the left leg back to
form a ‘Plank’.
■ Exhale and lower yourself into the
oga appeals to many women Sun Salutation ‘Crocodile’.

Y as although it can be seen as a


gentle form of exercise it can
deliver powerful results – think
of Madonna or Geri Haliwell’s
amazing physiques. The Yogi or Yogini’s
body is generally slim, flexible and well
toned. Arms can become defined, but never
The following dynamic sequence is called a
‘sun salutation series’. It will stretch,
strengthen and energise the entire body. Try
to focus on coordinating your breath with
the movement, keeping the sequence fluid
and continuously moving. The sun salutation
is also a fantastic wake up in the morning, or


Inhale up into the ‘Cobra’.
Exhale and push hips back and up into
– ‘Downward Dog’.
From Downward Dog, look up and
inhale as you step your right leg
forward to lunge again.
Exhale and step both feet together into
‘Forward Bend’.
■ Inhale and reach and stretch the arms
Yoga appeals to many women as although it back overhead.
■ Exhale back to Mountain Pose.
can be seen as a gentle form of exercise it can
deliver powerful results – think of Madonna Take a couple of deep, steady breaths and
start the sequence again, stepping back on
or Geri Haliwell’s amazing physiques the left leg this time.

Start out with three repetitions of the


bulky, and according to what type of yoga a good warm up for most sports… sequence, and build up to six.
you prefer you can build amazing strength Each posture is explained in detail. If
and stamina throughout your entire body. you are new to yoga, take the time to The following postures can be practised
The following Hatha yoga postures are practice each posture individually before individually. I recommend practising the
chosen to condition the entire body from top doing the sequence – detailed exercise sun salutation series, and then holding
to toe. If you are new to yoga then take your descriptions follow. each of the following postures for 3 to 4
time getting comfortable in each position. breaths – unless otherwise indicated. Use
Never push yourself beyond comfortable – ■ Stand up straight with your feet ‘child pose’ to rest when needed, and
there should be no competition. And always together and arms reaching down always work with a calm mindset. Never
practice yoga on an empty stomach, as the towards the floor in ‘Mountain rush your yoga, and try to stay fully aware
postures work on your internal organs as pose’. Gaze straight ahead, stand very in each posture, listening to your breath
well as your outer physical structure. tall, straight and centred. Inhale… and listening to your body.

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WOMEN’S FITNESS

exhale to bend your elbows and lower


your chest between your hands. Stop
when your upper body is just above the
floor with your elbows in tight by your
sides. Tuck your toes under and lift your
knees to straighten your legs, lowering
your body until you are parallel to the floor.
Exhale, rest for a couple of breaths before
returning to all fours and repeating.
(Beginners can keep knees on the floor
until they develop the strength to practice
the full posture)

Lunge
This stretches and opens the front
of the hips and builds strength in
the legs and back
From an all fours kneeling position with
your palms pressed into the floor and arms
Mountain Pose long, exhale and bring your right leg
good for focus and postural forward between your hands so that your
awareness right knee is directly above your ankle. Cobra
Stand straight with feet together or hip- Sink your hips towards the floor stretching great for countering rounded
width apart. Your weight should be in the out the front of the left hip. Come up onto shoulders and strengthening the
centre of your feet with toes resting lightly your fingertips if this is more comfortable. upper back and shoulders
on the floor. Shoulders should be open and As you advance, you can tuck your left Lie on the floor with face down and legs
wide, with arms relaxed but extended foot’s toes under and step the foot back together. Place your hands under your
toward the floor. Lift the chest and a little to deepen the stretch. Lifting the shoulders with your fingers in line with
elongate the abdomen. Eyes gaze softly back knee from the floor and placing the collar bones and spread wide. Keep your
forward and breath is long and focused. hands gently on the thigh will advance elbows tight against your sides. Inhale and
this further. lift upwards from the sternum and chest,
keeping the neck long. Exhale to slowly
come back down.

Plank
a great core strength exercise –
popular in general sports and
conditioning. Strengthens abs, back
and shoulders
From an all fours position with knees, hip- Downward dog
width apart and palms pressed into the a calming inversion which
floor, straighten the legs supporting your strengthens the arms, shoulders
Forward bend weight on your hands and toes. Tuck your and back whilst lengthening the
stretches the entire spine and tailbone under slightly and keep your entire back of the body
hamstrings, a calming inversion abdomen drawn in flat toward your spine. From all fours with knees hip-width
From mountain pose inhale and stretch Hold the body dead straight like a plank apart and palms pressed into the floor,
arms up overhead. Exhale and fold forward and breathe steadily. exhale and lift your hips up and back.
from the hips, reaching arms forward as Keep knees bent to begin with, and
you fold down. Try to keep your back as then gently straighten the legs,
straight as is comfortable and bend your extending the heels towards the floor.
knees to accommodate hamstring Keep lifting the hips high and slide the
length/tightness. Allow your upper body to shoulder blades down the spine, away
rest on your thighs and keep the back from your ears. Breathe evenly as you
long. Breathe steady. As you progress, lift hold the posture, and exhale to bend
you sitting bones upwards - lengthening Crocodile knees and return to the floor. Rest in
through the back of the legs – exhaling to a challenging static posture which child’s pose afterwards.
take the stretch deeper. strengthens the arms, back and (Beginners or those with high blood
(Beginners or anyone with high blood abdomen pressure can rest their hands on a chair,
pressure can do a half-forward bend – Start on all fours with knees under your in a ‘half downward dog’. If you have a
resting the hands on the back of a chair, hips and your hands slightly in front of back problem, keep knees bent
keeping their back parallel to the floor.) your shoulders. Inhale to prepare, and throughout.)

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WOMEN’S FITNESS

One leg bridge


a strong backbend and gentle
Warrior 11 inversion, opens the chest and
opens hips, strengthens back, spine, strengthens thighs, buttocks
thighs and hips, stretches and spine
adductors. Great for stamina Lie on your back on the floor, knees hip-
From mountain pose, step the feet wide width apart. Exhale and push hips up to
apart. Turn the right foot forwards and the form a straight line form knee to hip to
left foot slightly forwards. Inhale and lift shoulder. Beginners rest here. Place hands
arms to shoulder height, exhale and bend under the lower back and pelvis – fingers
the right knee until the knee is above the outwards and gently lift hips higher into a
ankle. Lift the chest and reach to make backbend (beyond a straight line). Exhale,
the arms long. Turn the head to gaze engage abs and raise the right leg high
along the right arm and continue to above the right hip. Hold and breathe. Lower
breathe steadily Keep the left leg strong the leg, find your balance and exhale to lift
and straight. Inhale as you straighten the the left leg. When you return the hips back to
right knee and turn feet back to parallel. the floor, hug your knees to your chest and
Repeat on the left leg. gently rock form side to side for 10 breaths.

Dolphin
strengthens the shoulder girdle, upper
back, arms, core and abs
On all fours, lower down onto elbows.
Ensure elbows are shoulder-width apart by
wrapping your fingers around each
opposite elbow, and then clasping your

If you are new to


yoga, take the time
to practice each
Warrior 1 posture individually
strengthens entire lower body,
builds stamina and balance
before doing the
From lunge position, inhale and engage sequence
abs as you rise into standing lunge. Lift the
arms up alongside the ears. Squeeze your
bottom and keep your abs tight as you hands together in front of you. Raise your Boat
hold and breathe steady. Keep the legs hips toward the ceiling so your body forms strengthens abs, back and hip
active – tensing the thighs and drawing up an inverted ‘V’. flexors
through the pelvic floor. Inhale to rock your body forwards, so Sit up tall, with legs out straight. Place
Or from mountain pose, step one foot that your chin comes over and in front of your hands behind you on the floor and lift
forward, stretch the arms out at shoulder your hands, exhale to push back to your chest. Exhale to bend your knees and
height, and bend your front leg until the starting ‘V’ position and repeat 8 to 10 lift your feet from the floor. Inhale to
knee is above and in line with the ankle as times in time with your breath. balance, and exhale to bring your arms
you lift your arms up beside your ears. (Beginners can start on the knees and forward – parallel to the floor. Hold here
Hold steady and keep your legs strong and build up to full position. This is not and balance keeping your navel drawn
grounded, pressing the back heel into the suitable for anyone with a neck or into your spine. To advance - straighten
floor and squeezing the buttocks. shoulder injury) the legs and hold.

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WOMEN’S FITNESS

Cat series
great for spine mobility,
strengthens core and
arms
On all fours like a cat place
your hands under your
shoulders with your palms
pressed into the floor and
shoulders away from your
ears. Engage navel to spine
and straighten one leg behind
you, inhale to bend elbows
and lower chest between your
hands. Keep your elbows in
tight to work triceps. Repeat 8
to 10 times and the come back
to all fours. Exhale to extend
your other leg, and take your
hands slightly wider, with
fingertips pointing slightly
inwards. This time lower chest
between hands with elbows
wide, to work the chest.
Repeat 8 to 10 times.

Child Pose
stretches the spine, relaxes the body. Perfect counter
posture to any backbends or as a rest between postures
Sit your bottom on your heels, and rest your forehead on the floor. Let
your shoulders, neck and arms completely relax and breathe deeply.

After each yoga session, rest in ‘Sivasana’ (Corpse pose)


for around 5 minutes: lie flat on your back with legs shoulder-
width apart, arms out stretched and palms turned up to the
ceiling. Consciously relax each part of your body and breathe
slowly into your abdomen. Yoga can be practised every day.

If you have any form of back, neck or shoulder injury, then


please consult a doctor or specialist before attempting this
yoga series. UF

Caroline wears - top by No Balls, shorts by USA pro &


trainers by Asics.
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WOMEN’S FITNESS

extra!

Gaiam have a great selection of Yoga DVD’s to try at
home. We love Ashtanga Yoga for beginners with
instructor Nicki Doane.

The DVD features great extras such as a pose guide,


advanced Ashtanga demo and an interview with Nicki.

Ashtanga Yoga is a challenging form of yoga that will help


yo strengthen and tone whilst increasing the heart rate.
Available from - www.clearvision.co.uk


Yamarama is mix & match yoga/active wear. Designed and
tested by an experienced Bikram yoga teacher.
Designed with technical fabrics such as SUPPLEX™
they are stylish, comfortable and ready to cope
with the heat of Bikram!

I am loving the outfit - it is really flattering,


supportive and moves well with your body.

All garments are flat - seamed and have heat transfer


labels to prevent skin irritation, inbuilt waist panels
and bras for support and pre-shrunk fabric for a
length that lasts. Pictured are the Give Me Strength
Vest in Violet, £40 and the Karma Capris, in
Violet/Black £55.00.

Prices range from Bras at £30 to Capri trousers


from £50 to £60
➣ Available at www.yamarama.com

The Organic Pharmacy has wonderful pure


products that reflect the Yogi ethos - Rose
Face Mist is a wonderful calming spray to
freshen up during or after your yoga
session, (it is heavenly after Bikram yoga!)
and the peppermint and manuka honey
foot cream will keep your feet in great
condition for the mat. Also available are
some beautiful scented candles to create
your own ‘zen’ atmosphere at home.

www.theorganicpharmacy.com

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WOMEN’S FITNESS

Top Sports

Tops
Whether running, working out in the gym or at home,
you want clothing that is stylish, practical, easy to care
for and competitively priced. ultraFIT has cast its eagle
eye over the market and has come up with four great
workout tops.
Asics Inner hirt
scle Tee s mu
under review

Inner muscle is a highly innovative range of garments from Asics. It's


designed to provide support for your skeleton. The kit help train your
own inner muscles (the smaller, stabilising postural muscles) and stabilises
scapula movement. It supposedly also increases breathing volume by
using a diamond shaped panel which subtly pulls the shoulder blades
together and helps straighten the spine, thus opening up your lungs.
I can’t promise you this, but wearing the top definitely gave a feeling of
support and during longer training runs when your posture might suffer, this
will remind you to stay tall and straight. It also looks great on.
www.innermuscle.co.uk
The bran
d name
most ult its
raFIT gir elf is great, alth
Our hot ls do ha ough
favourite ve balls!
top - £3 is the Fit
9, made ness Cro
perform in luxuri ssover
ance fab ously so
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st drying breathe
. The sh sa
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and is g ape is su nd is
(Caroline reat for per
wears th larg
see pag is for the er busts.
e 22) Yoga wo
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balls.co.u
k

elliegray

elliegray have a lovely


feminine range of workout
wear suitable for the gym,
Yoga or Pilates. They also have
great every day wear. We have
chosen this cool yellow cross-
over vest because it looks great
on, is very comfortable and
No Ball comes at a great price of £6 at
s present (sale price)
www.elliegray.com

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WOMEN’S FITNESS

Always associated with performance and


style, Adidas have created a real winner.
This Supernova Graphic Racer top is a great
colour, has a superb fit and is made from
great fabric – it is peachy soft and stretchy.
The built in support actually has a bra style
fastener for a close fit, and the cut of the
shoulder is incredibly flattering. Perfect for
any sport or workout.
£27 from www.adidas.com

adidas