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    8 Easy Core Yoga Poses That’ll Fire Up Your Abs

    Amy Dixon, an exercise physiologist and group fitness manager, has created this workout that builds muscle, improves flexibility, and melts away stress. Big bonus: these core yoga poses will fire up your abs.

    These moves roll yoga and strength into one neat package. They’re so effective because each exercise calls on your entire core and requires balance (thanks to the yoga moves), so your whole body, not just the targeted muscle, works through its full range of motion. Tackle the moves two non-consecutive days a week and you’ll notice sleeker definition – and a calmer mindset – within four weeks.

    Lateral Bend And Reach

    This core yoga pose works the core, shoulders, hamstrings and inner thighs.

    Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet about 1.2 metres apart. Turn your left foot out 90 degrees. Raise your right arm straight up above your shoulder, palm facing in (A). Brace your abs and bend to the left, lowering the left dumbbell to your left ankle (B). Rise back up, keeping your right arm overhead. Do 12 to 15 reps, then repeat on the other side. Do three sets, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.

    READ MORE: These Pilates-Fusion Moves Strengthen, Lengthen And Tone

    Dog Press

    This core yoga pose works the core, shoulders, pecs, lats, back and hamstrings.

    Stand a bit behind a Bosu. Bend into down­ward dog, placing your palms about 12 centimetres apart on the dome and lifting your hips towards the ceiling (A). Place your right hand a metre in front of the Bosu and place your right knee on it. Follow with your left hand and left knee (B). Do a push-up (C). Step back into downward dog. That’s one rep. Do two sets of 8 to 10, resting for 30 seconds between sets.

    Rock The Boat

    Works entire core.

    Draw your knees towards your chest, lift your head and grab your legs below the knees (A). Rock up and balance on your glutes (B). Keeping your back long and chest lifted, straighten your legs and extend your arms (C). Hold for three seconds, then tuck in and roll back to start. That’s one rep. Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.

    READ MORE: Feel Strong And Powerful With This Explosive 15-Minute Workout

    Dive & Roll

    Works back and glutes.

    Place a weighted bar half a metre in front of a Bosu. Lie face down with your hips and belly on the Bosu, feet hip-width apart on the floor. Place your palms on the bar and lift your legs as high as possible (A). Slowly roll the bar towards the Bosu as you lower your legs towards the floor (B). Roll back to start. That’s one rep. Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.

    Trainer TipKeep your neck in line with your spine throughout the move.

    Crescent Lunge and Row

    Works back, glutes, hamstrings and quads.

    Grab a three-to-five kilogram dumbbell in your right hand and stand with your feet together, arms at your sides. Lunge forwards with your left leg until your left knee is bent at 90 degrees. Lower your torso as close as possible to your left knee, as you raise your left arm out to the side to shoulder height, palm down. Allow the dumbbell to hang naturally (A). Row the dumbbell straight up until your right elbow passes your torso (B). That’s one rep. Continue rowing, without standing up, for 12 to 15 reps. Return to start and repeat on the other side. That’s one set. Do three sets, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.

    Trainer TipKeep your rowing arm close to your side.

    READ MORE: This 4-Week Bodyweight Challenge Is The Ultimate New Year Workout Plan

    Tricep Warrior

    Works core, triceps, glutes, hamstrings and quads.

    Grab a pair of two-to-four kilogram dumbbells and stand with your feet together, arms at your sides. Rest your right toe on the floor about half a metre behind you (A). Bend forwards from the hips and raise your right leg until your body forms a T. Bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells directly under your shoulders, palms facing in (B). Keeping your upper arms still, extend the dumbbells straight back (C). Curl them back to your shoulders. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20 without lowering your leg. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

    Bicep Warrior

    Works shoulders, biceps, glutes, hamstrings, and inner and outer thighs.

    Grab a pair of two-to-four kilogram dumbbells and stand with your feet about a metre apart. Turn your left foot out 90 degrees and, hips and shoulders facing forward, bend your left knee at 90 degrees. Extend your arms to shoulder height (A). With your upper arms parallel to the floor, do a bicep curl, bringing the dumbbells to your shoulders (B). Slowly re-extend your arms. Do 15 to 20 reps; rest for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. More

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    Yoga Moves That Bonnie Mbuli Swears By

    “The quickest way to bring my mind and my soul into alignment is to discipline my body. If I discipline my body, I’m more likely to choose the right meal after I’ve worked out. I’m more likely to go and pray because I feel good. I’m more likely to make a better decision about something I need to do concerning work. I’m highly likely to have more energy to do the things I’m supposed to do. I’m more likely to look at the world in a positive way. So I use exercise as a tool for mastering myself,” enthuses the 42-year-old actress and author. The mom of two boys, who covers our Jan/Feb 2022 issue shares that she’s learnt that mind, body, soul and spirit are all aligned. She adds, “When one is out of whack, all of them get scattered!”
    Here are Bonnie’s go-to yoga moves. Get ready to feel calm, strong, and bendy.
    Downward Dog

    Bonnie’s Take: “It’s a superb hamstring stretcher – and mine are always tight! There’s also something about this position that forces me to fully face myself.” 
    Master It: Start in a high plank. Lift hips up and back, sinking heels toward floor, until body forms an upside down “V” shape. Press shoulders away from ears and relax neck. Spread fingers wide on mat, with palms pressed against the floor. Hold for five slow breaths.


    Bonnie: “It improves circulation and challenges my fears. I used to pull off headstands effortlessly as a child. Now, I can only master them against a wall! I think it’s fear though.”
    Master It: Begin by interlacing your fingers and placing your forearms on the mat, parallel, palms facing each other. Cup the back of your head in your hands, the top of your head on the floor. Take five breaths here. Then, pushing down through shoulders and forearms, lift one foot up into the air, knee bent. Using your core, lift the other to meet it. Brace abs and squeeze glutes and leg muscles, as you slowly straighten legs upwards, pointing toes. Your body should feel like a solid, secure cylinder, with minimal weight on head and neck. Hold for three breaths, then slowly lower legs back down.

    Humble Warrior 

    Bonnie’s Take: “It reminds me to strike a balance between being strong and vulnerable.”
    Master It: Start with legs almost as wide as mat, right foot forward, toes facing straight ahead, left foot back, outside of foot parallel to back of mat (right heel lined up with middle of left inner arch), torse facing left side, and arms at sides. Keep left leg straight while deeply bending right knee until thigh is parallel to mat, then extend arms out to the sides at shoulder height. Gaze should be over front fingers. Hold for three to five breaths.

    Any Hip Openers 
    Bonnie’s Take: “Hips are where we house our trapped emotions and trauma. Hip stretchers remind me to keep my heart open.”
    Master It: Happy baby is a beginner-friendly pose. Start lying on back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms at sides. Draw knees toward chest outside of ribs with legs bent and soles facing ceiling. Bring arms inside of legs and grab big toes with first two fingers and thumb of same hand. Gently pull knees toward floor. Hold for five to eight breaths.

    READ MORE ON: Bonnie Mbuli Downward Dog Headstand Humble Warrior Yoga Yoga Workouts More