Just when you think you're tough enough

Cross Train

Bend back time with youthful yoga exercises

Back to yoga basics to build a better foundation. Image from Les Mills.

A recent Penn State University study found that people who committed to three BODYBALANCE classes a week (for 12 weeks) significantly improved their body composition, core strength, balance, and flexibility; all markers for someone’s biological age.

While not a complete surprise, since yoga and youthfulness have gone hand in hand for decades, it’s always nice to be reminded that there’s more staying young than anti-aging creams.

So bring some yoga into your life and try a few of the poses below. Or, find a BODYBALANCE class near you, and see how far you can really push back your clock.

Downward Dog
The shape you ultimately want to achieve when you do the downward dog is an A-frame structure. Your wrists and your heels should be the lowest point, and your tailbone should be the highest point. Start with your feet as wide as the mat, or roughly hip-width apart. Your wrists should be shoulder distance apart and your head should be between your arms. Push your body up and back.

Spread your fingers to create a nice long line from the fingertips up the arms, along the spine and down the legs.

Warrior 2
Face the front and step feet wide into this position by turning your toes on your left foot to the left wall. Your right foot should still face the front and you need to square your hips to the front. Bend your right knee and make sure it is stacked over your ankle but keep your left leg straight. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, and palms down. Suck your belly in tightly and tuck your tailbone under. Turn the head to the left and look out over your fingers.

Half Cow-Faced Pose
Start in a seated position, pick up your right leg and cross it over your left leg. Try to have your knees perfectly stacked which means one directly on top of the other, keeping your heels at equal distance from each hip. Reach your left arm up to the sky and then bend the left elbow down so the palm of your hand rests on your upper back. Take a deep breath in and lean forward with your chest. Make sure your eye line is gazing downwards. You should start to feel the depth of the stretch through the side of your legs and across your back.

Eagle Pose Twist Setup
Start in a standing pose with both knees slightly bent. Lift up your left foot and while balancing solely on your right foot, cross it over: left thigh over the right. Point your left toe towards the floor and then try and tuck the top of the foot behind the lower right calf. Cross your arms in front of your body so your right arm is above your left and then bend both elbows. Your right elbow should fit snuggly into the left. The backs of your hands should be facing each other at this stage. Twist the right hand to the right, and the left hand to the left so that the palms face each other, and lift your elbows up. Breathe to sink deeper into legs.

BODYBALANCE is a great way to get a regular dose of yoga. Find a class near you and see how far you can push back your clock. You can also try BODYBALANCE in the comfort of your own home with LES MILLS On Demand.