Welcome to 2019. The first few articles this year will look at new trends and ideas in health and fitness. We kick the New Year off with an introduction to core power Yoga.
Imagine combining the deep stretching action of a yoga class with muscle-burning, heart pumping cardio work and an intense weights session. It’s the sort of workout that has fitness bunnies drooling and the rest of us collapsing in a heap on the floor at the end of a workout.
Taking Yoga to new heights
Souped-up Yoga is all set to be the fitness trend for 2019. Branded as CorePower Yoga in the USA, it a clever mix of Yogic stretching and hard core HITT-type exercises. The result is tired but cared-for muscles.
While classes in the US are all the rage, you can create your own core power Yoga session in the gym at Kelsey Kerridge or in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a mat, some dumbbells and a little space to get active.
A simple core power Yoga session
Here is one variation of core power Yoga that you can try. Over time, you can add or change to suit your own fitness goals.
Start your session calmly with some breathing exercises. Inhale deeply through the nose and exhale through the mouth with a long slow out-breath. Once you have sorted the breathing pattern out, start to incorporate some simple Yoga moves. Start with cat/cow (on all fours, bending and arching your back in time to your breathing). Continue for two minutes. Progress to three minutes of continuous, slow-paced sun salutation (forward bend, pushup, up dog and down dog).
Let’s get physical
Now for the core power bit of the core power Yoga session. Pick up your dumbbells – these should be of a weight where you can do 15 bicep curls comfortably but not easily.
In chair pose (feet together, knees bent, abdomen close to thighs) do 30 tricep kickbacks, followed by 30 seconds of holding the weights at the highest point of the tricep kickback. By the time the seconds have counted down, you will have an incredible burn in our triceps.
Put the weights to one side and start a yoga flow. From mountain pose, move into forward bend, half rise, then drop to forward bend. Step back into plank, up dog, plank and then down dog. Repeat this flow for two minutes.
Finding your inner Warrior
Grab the weights again and move into Warrior Two position. This is a total body power pose and can put immense strain on your leg muscles as you hold the pose. Your front leg is bent at a 90 degree angle, your back leg and gluten engaged as they are straight out behind you. Your torso is braced and your arms extended front of you, holding the weights. Now alternate pulling each arm back as if you are drawing a bow. Do six repetitions, then hold the pose with both arms extended.
Drop the weights, change the leading leg and repeat the move. Do this high-octane Warrior Two move twice on each side.
Time to raise your heart rate
Now it is time to free-style with some cardio. Do five minutes of high knees, mountain climbers, burpees, jumping jacks, deep squats, shadows boxing – whatever you feel works for you to get the oxygen racing around your body.
The final high intensity part of the session takes place with your backs on the mat. In a prone position, raise one leg until it creates a 90 degree angle with your body, hold for a three second count and then slowly lower and repeat with your other leg. Continue this slow scissor movement for 30 reps. Now move into a glute-bridge position and hold, so you can feel your glutes really engaging. Take a dumbbell in each hand and while you are holding the bridge pose, push the dumbbells straight up and slowly lower. Repeat until both biceps and glutes can take no more. If you can bear it, hold the pose for a few seconds longer.
To finish, its back to the Yoga. Repeat the sun salutation from the beginning of the session, slowing the entire movement down so you can feel your muscles benefitting from the extended stretching. After five minutes of stretching, lay flat on your back and allow your arms to fall by your side and your legs to relax. Stay like this for a few minutes to allow your heart-rate to fall and your muscles to relax fully.