Ginger Daniels Movement Specialist
Everyone is always asking me, "How do I get YOUR body?"
I usually laugh it off and reply, "All our bodies are different and I can tell you what I do personally to work out, but the best thing is to let me help you to find what works best for YOU." However, executing ANY movement, mine or yours is definitely a good thing.
With this in mind, I decided to share a 15 minute dance/Pilates combo, since that is where I come from, that works your entire body, and yes, it is a part of what I do daily. Naturally, I have included a video below...
Plies--These are a great way to warm up your legs and open your hips. A plie is like a squat, but you should allow a natural external rotation, without forcing your hips to turn out. Hips, knees and ankles should be in alignment, and try to keep your heels planted on the ground while performing plies. Breathe in and bring your arms up through your center and as you exhale, semi circle your arms down and open them to your sides, while plie-ing, or bending the knees. Repeat this 5 times, allowing your plie to deepen and your breath to warm your body. Make sure you are not sticking your butt out and arching your back as you do this. You want to align your bones on top of each other. Ears, shoulders, ribs, and hips should all be in alignment. Your tailbone drops to the floor like an anchor. Do not tuck under in the hips.
Turn your feet parallel and circle your arms up over your head. Reach out in front of you, hinging at the waist for a flat back reach forward. You should be looking at the floor and NOT locking your knees. Now plie and open your arms to the side while you remain in a flat back position. Then return to straight legs with arms over head, still in a flat back. Repeat this movement just 3 times, and then let your arms drop down and curl your spine to roll up. Repeat one time.
Bring your feet parallel under your hips and roll down to the floor. Walk your arms out until you are in a plank position. Tailbone in line with your head, pressing through your feet. Now lower to your forearms so that your elbows are directly under your shoulders. Imagine you are dragging your chest forward and keep your body as flat as a board. You want to breathe and with every exhale, think of engaging your abdominal wall. Hold this for 30-60 seconds.
Come down onto your knees and sit in a balanced position on your "sitz" bones. Practice holding your shins and lifting your feet. You do this by engaging your core, so keep that abdominal wall lifting while at the same time lifting the lower spine. Try not to collapse the low back. Hold for about 30seconds and then keeping control, roll yourself down to the floor keeping your feet flat and knees bent at a 45 degree angle. Heels in line with your hips.
Check out your back and make sure you maintain a neutral spine position: no tucking, no arching. Try to feel your tailbone relaxed on the floor, as well as your back ribs (much harder to do this) on the floor. Now reach the legs out in space, feet together, legs extended, while at the same time reaching the arms opposite over your head behind you. Take a breath here and then as you exhale, sweep your arms around, lift your head and look at your legs, and hug your legs into your chest. Repeat this 5 times, ending with your legs extended up to the ceiling and your palms flat on the floor by your hips.
Take your hands behind your head, elbows wide, curl up to the edges of your shoulder blades and with the legs straight and feet together, lower lift your legs, while maintaining the curl up of the head and chest. Make sure you are not swinging your legs or arching your back. Repeat this leg lift 5 times. Ending with your legs into your chest, rock yourself until your are sitting.
From your seated position, bring yourself to standing with the feet under the shoulders, feet parallel. Reach the left arm overhead, stretching to your right briefly and then pull the elbow to meet the thigh, lifting your left leg with a bent knee, and turning out from the left hip. This engages your oblique muscles as well as your supporting leg muscles. As your leg comes down, reach that arm back up overhead, arching to the right, and let the body half circle around towards the floor down to the left foot, following the movement back up. Then repeat the whole thing on the other side. Alternating sides, you will do this 4 times on each side. It's great for coordination, balance, and core engagement.
With the feet and legs still parallel, reach the arms overhead and rise up onto the toes, finding your balance. Align your bones, zip your belly button up toward your ribcage, and feel your tailbone drop like an anchor to the floor. Hold this balance for 60 seconds! If you're feeling up to it, add a port de bra, or arm movement illustrated in the video below. If you fall, get right back up there and finally, end in a little plie.
This is a great total body tone, with special attention to the core. I love creating movement that challenges those who are not used to thinking about more than one body part at a time to do so, because keeping your brain active is so important. When your brain says to your body, "hey there, I'd like you to circle your arms overhead while at the same time bending your knees without sticking your butt out, and keeping a lift in your abdominal wall," the synergy of your mind and body keeps both parts active and healthy. Coordination exercises create more balance and strength within your body and mind.
NUTRITION TIP OF THE WEEK: BRAIN FOOD
What are some good foods for your brain? Curry cauliflower and walnuts.
Curry powder tastes great and has natural properties that help your brain to function better. Walnuts and cauliflower are also great brain foods, so try some! By the way, cauliflower has choline which has Vitamin B and boosts brain health.
Move Well, Eat Well, Be Well,
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