Activate Your Core: get strong abs and arms 18 mins

hi I'm Cathy Madeo I'm in the middle of teaching my activate your course series at my studio on our Yoga Princeton and this is a set of exercises we worked on this week when we were working on core stabilization and doing things to challenge that stabilization to make the muscles activate in the core a little bit more intensely so I'm going to show you some of that stuff today make sure you have a pair of socks and some blocks and let's get started tabletop position take a few rounds of cat-cow just to wake your spine up shift the gaze up belly a little soft or stretching and then on the exhale push the floor away from you Freight here start to pull those low ribs up towards the ceiling and do two more so inhale and then exhale again right off the bat activating those core muscles pushing the belly towards the spine one more here pelvis tilts forward gazes up front abs are stretching on the exhale push the floor away from you and then come back to a neutral spine curl your toes under lift from the sit bones downward-facing dog just stretch the backs of the legs the back body lift the sit bones up good on an inhale sweep the right leg up and so even right here we have an opportunity to stabilize our core so the tendency is to just swing the leg up and open up the hip but we want to lift the leg using our core muscles and our soaz muscle so you're lifting the heel but the pelvis is staying nice and stable and so when you can stabilize your pelvis in this way all of those core muscles have to work even harder so take a breath hold now point the foot knee to nose pose inhale again straighten the leg so minimize the movement in the pelvis as you shift forward knee to nose push the floor away from you one more inhale and exhale fold here and place the foot in between the hands drop the back knee down just warming the body up a little bit here stretching the psoas and the hip flexors which we want to keep nice and long when we do a lot of ab work or else they will shorten take a breath here and then exhale release the hand step it back downward facing dog we'll switch side so get a nice strong down dog inhale lift the left leg up again being careful not to move the pelvis hold push the floor away from you pull the low ribs back take an inhale on the exhale point the foot draw a knee to nose so the it's a high plank position you're pushing the floor away from you inhale leg up exhale when you exhale always pulling the belly in towards the spine activating transverse abdominis muscle inhale leg up exhale hold good push and place the foot drop the back knee down big sweep of the arms up legs are scissoring in towards each other stretching your front deep psoas muscle here good and then release the hands inhale forward to plank pose on an exhale come down chaturanga inhale sweep it up cobra pose good and just stretch the front ab muscles here curl your toes lift from the sit bones downward facing dog good right off the bat we're going to come into plank pose and hold plank pose so feet hips distance apart shoulders stack right over wrists tailbone in line with your head so don't let the hips sag keep the hips a little lifted you want to feel like a plank of wood with your back low ribs lift up towards the ceiling belly pressing towards the spine good so we're holding here use your pelvic floor muscles draw them in and up and then start to use your legs is the quads you can always come down to your knees we're gonna keep holding here so this is a core stabilization exercise all of the muscles that surround the spine have to work here to keep your pelvis stable and your spine stable good holding holding and then press back downward facing dog okay come on to your knees take a quick stretch of the shoulders roll the shoulders up and back clasp the hands good so now we're gonna challenge ourselves by destabilizing our pose so here's what you'll do come back to your plank pose feet hips distance apart you'll need that stability lift the left leg off of the mat and make sure when you do that again you're not moving the pelvis around so it's just the leg that lifts and we're gonna hold for five four three two one set it down and switch left leg up again pelvis doesn't move so all the muscles working so hard to keep that pelvis nice and level and neutral three two one press it back downward facing dog again you can come down to your knees real quick if you like so the second exercise I'm going to roll my wrists out here is to roll lift the arms a few different options here any neck or shoulder injury you'll do one of the first two so feet hips distance apart shift your weight over to your right hand just a little bit again don't let that pelvis move so first stage is try to come up to your fingertips whoa second stage try to lift the arm and move it behind you good third stage lift it straight out in front of you good set it down so do one of those and we'll hold one two three four five set it down switch so just a little shift keep that pelvis neutral come up to fingertips or arm behind or I'm out front front five four three two one release the hand stretch it back in the downward facing dog feel free to take a little flow in between sides just to keep things moving and stretching okay so now we're going to take all of that and go a little quicker so on an inhale lift the left leg up set it down keep breathing as you lift and change left right left right so the name of the game is stabilization so don't let the pelvis move and now we'll do arms switching arms shift the weight over lift lift lift lift minimize any movements and set it down stretch it out we're going to take all that and go opposite foot opposite hand you heard me don't even think about it here we go feet hips distance apart so lift your right leg up and left arm up one two whoa three four belly to the spine five six seven eight nine ten oh boy stretch it back I feel free to take a child's pose or a downward facing dog I like to stretch my wrists between exercises this next one we're going to kind of put it all together here and we're going to crawl so here we go again one of those things you don't want to think about you're just going to do it so I'm actually going to get off my mat a little bit here and crawl around the studio press the belly to the spine feet hips distance apart go opposite foot opposite hand here we go nice stable pelvis spines not moving I might be crawling out of frame but I'm going to come back because we're gonna go backwards now so you can actually do this kind of stuff all around your house if you have kids they'll love it it's all good if you don't have kids you'll love it and press back downward facing dog okay whoo so take a quick break and the next thing we're going to do is put our sock son good so moving a little bit away from this idea of core stabilization we're going to shift gears and do some work on our rectus abdominus transverse abdominis strengthening shoulders and arms 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