One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. For me, the excitement is for all the delicious food that will be on my plate, including sweet potato casserole and pumpkin torte. As we all know, calories don't count on holidays (if only our bodies knew as much as our minds do). Jokes aside, I do encourage you to indulge: take the extra scoop of mashed potatoes covered in gravy...put that whip cream on the pumpkin dessert...and fill up on that delicious bird. You always have the next day to burn it off, right? Speaking of which, what would be the best pose/exercise for such a burn?
MY ANSWER: Plank (aka phalakasana aka kumbhakasana)
*Holding plank pose makes your core stronger (more belly toning). This pose works your entire center body, from your back to your abs!
*You rev up your metabolism when you hold plank, helping to burn more calories.
*Plank pose helps to strengthen the muscles around your spine which in turn leads to better posture.
*Planks make you focus inward. You will focus on your breath and feel all your muscles building strength. Plank pose will help you become a little more mindful of your body.
(For extra tips, check out this article)
To keep my mind at ease and to promote more mindfulness in my Hot HIIT (and vinyasa) classes, I like to link breath with movement in my forearm planks. I start in forearm plank (phalakasana) and I use my entire inhale to bring myself into dolphin pose where I hold my breath at the top. I then use my entire exhale to bring myself back into forearm plank, holding my breath at the bottom. The entire time, I’m thinking of my muscles contracting, as well as steadying my body. This is such an amazing, strong sensation. Try it!
While any version of plank is good for you, here are my steps for forearm plank:
Start on your belly, with your legs long behind you.
Place your elbows underneath your shoulders.
Let your forearms be parallel with one another. Your hands can be flat or fingers interlaced with palms touching.
Keeping your elbows underneath your shoulders, begin to press your forearms into your mat.
With your legs long, tuck your toes and lift your legs off your mat. Your feet can be hips width or wider for more stability.
Lift your kneecaps to engage your quadricep muscles.
Pull your low belly in and tuck your tailbone to promote a flat low back. If you have a mirror, check to make sure your hips and shoulders are the same height.
Hold for 30 seconds. REMEMBER to breath! Challenge yourself with longer holds :)
If you want to rev up your metabolism before the big feast, stop by JTown Hot Yoga on Thanksgiving for my one hour Planksgiving class at 8am :)