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At first glance, yoga and weight training appear to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. Incense and iron? Chanting and chiseling? Stretching and strength training? Yes — it’s true: Opposites do attract, and in this case, they also complement.
Related: Yoga For Athletes
You see, if you only do resistance training without incorporating yoga, you’re missing out on one of the best mind-body practices around. Likewise, if you shun dumbbells and barbells for downdogs and updogs, you probably won’t achieve the level of strength and muscle definition you’re looking for. The Oxygen solution? We asked seven-time WWE Women’s Champion turned yoga entrepreneur Trish Stratus to put power and peace together to create this Yoga Warrior Goddess routine that she says will “help you get your sweat on and your Zen on.”
Modern-day science is proving what the ancient sages knew all along: Yoga is beneficial for mind, body and soul. This 5,000-year-old practice has endured to the present for one simple reason: It works. Numerous studies point to yoga’s beneficial impact on physical and mental health – including exciting evidence from researchers at Loma Linda University who have shown that yoga is even better at activating abdominal muscles than traditional crunches! If that isn’t compelling enough, Trish offers up a few more reasons as to what this total mind-body workout can bring to your weight-training workouts.
• According to Trish, by increasing the flexibility of your muscle tendons and “lubricating” your joints you will experience reduced muscle soreness, help prevent future injuries and speed up recovery between workouts.
• In yoga, your body provides the resistance, says Trish; with this isometric training, you will increase your muscle strength, allowing you to train harder in the gym.
• The mental focus that is cultivated from practicing regularly will let you hit the weights with a whole new level of intensity, Trish explains.
• Turning your focus inward, will help develop a sense of well-being and peace of mind.
As you flow through this sequence designed by Trish, she urges you to “never force a movement and remember — there is no right or wrong in yoga. This is your practice and every day is different, so do what your body will allow you to do – tomorrow is another day to conquer as only a warrior can.” Do this routine at least three times per week for optimal results.
Standing Forward Fold
Start with your feet close together, arms at your sides. Inhale as you lift your arms up so your hands meet in prayer position above your head. As you exhale, hinge at your waist, bringing your hands down to either side of your feet, keeping your knees slightly bent or straight depending on your level of flexibility. Hold for five deep, rhythmic breaths.
Tip: Go as far as you can comfortably go with a flat back – palms can rest on knees, shins or ankles.
Inhale as you step your feet back into plank pose. Exhale as you settle into the plank, making sure your shoulders are over your wrists and your body is in a straight line (people have a tendency to pop their butt up — avoid this by lowering your hips and keeping your back straight and shoulders wide). Keep your gaze forward to maintain a long neck. Hold for five breaths.
Tip: Try to keep your toes under your ankles. Firm your core to keep your lower back from dipping.
Downward Facing Dog
Exhale as you push your hips up to bring your body into downward dog, dropping your heels as close to the ground as your flexibility allows. Press your palms down firmly, fingers spread wide. Keep your neck long, head relaxed and your gaze towards your navel. Hold for five breaths before moving on to the next pose.
Tip: Maintain a straight back.
Inhale as you bring your left foot between your hands, keeping your knee bent and staying on the ball of your right foot, assuming a high lunge position while you swing your arms straight up, bringing your torso upright. You can keep your arms shoulder-width apart or bring your hands into prayer position. Exhale as you settle into the pose, keeping your torso upright with your back straight and as you sink deeper, making sure your knee does not go past your toes and that your weight is evenly distributed between both feet. Gaze forward, or if your hands are in prayer position you can activate a slight backbend and gaze up toward your thumbs. Hold for five breaths.
Tip: Staying on the ball of the foot in order to transition into warrior III more easily. Plus, it fires up the hams and quads more.
Inhale as you interlace the fingers of your hands and release your index fingers, pointing them to the sky as you press your palms together. Exhale as you shift your weight to your left foot and begin to lift your right foot off the mat with your toes pointed. Synchronize the lifting of your right leg with the straightening of your left leg as you tilt your body forward, bringing your arms parallel to the ground. Your body should be in a straight line from the tips of your fingers to your pointed toes. Tilt your head slightly up to bring your gaze forward. Hold for five breaths.
Tip: gradually work towards coming parallel with the floor.
Inhale as you bring your right leg down, landing on the ball of your foot. Pivot your foot to the right and drop your heel to the ground, keeping your arms straight in front of you. Exhale as you bend your left knee to 90 degrees and open up your arms on either side of your body, bringing them parallel to the ground. Keep your torso centered as you sink deeper into the pose, focusing your gaze just over your left fingertips. Hold for five breaths.
Tip: watch that your knee doesn’t go past your toes.
Inhale as you tilt your body to bring your left elbow on your left knee. Your right arm will stay extended and end up perpendicular to the ground. Turn your head so your gaze is toward your right thumb. You can stay here or turn it into a hip-opener by taking your left elbow and placing it along the inside of your left knee, straightening your arm down so they both end up in one line as shown. Hold for five deep breaths.
Inhale as you bring your right leg to meet your bent left leg and sweep your arms straight up. You can keep your arms shoulder-width apart or press your hands into prayer position, as shown. Exhale as you settle into the pose, bringing your tailbone closer toward the ground, keeping the weight in your heels. Gaze toward your thumbs and make sure you don’t overarch your back. Hold for five deep breaths.
After chair pose, repeat entire series in reverse to target the other side of your body. step out with your right foot into side angle, and continue until you end with standing forward fold.
Keep Calm, Stay Strong
With a full work schedule and umpteen family demands, it can seem like an impossible task to fully surrender yourself to your yoga routine, especially if you are used to high-intensity training with an upbeat iTunes-powered soundtrack. One way to center yourself prior to your routine is to clear the environment around you. Set your mat up in a room without distractions, including clocks and telephones, and dress youself in clothes that bend and stretch easily along with your body. Keep a bottle of water handy and style your hair in a way that won’t annoy you as you move from pose to pose. Breathe rhythmically and deeply, and you’ll be a relaxed, confident yogini in no time!