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Day 17: Tamara’s yoga challenge

posted on Tuesday, 16th September 2014 | find under Fitness
Sweaty Betty Founder and Creative Director Tamara tells how she fell in love with yoga and challenges you to flow from Crow to Tripod Headstand to Crow.

I started yoga 15 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. At the time I was told couldn’t do cardio exercise because my heart rate was getting too high, so yoga helped to keep me fit. The breathing methods I learnt from practising yoga helped me in child birth, and now I still use the breathing techniques in stressful situations, to help in my swimming technique, and during times when I struggle to sleep.

I was already quite flexible before I started yoga, but yoga practice has definitely helped me to develop strength, which helps a lot in the other sports I do, such as triathlon. One of the aspects I love about yoga is that you can practice it wherever you go and you can only keep improving.

Crow - Tripod Headstead - Crow
The Crow - Tripod Headstead - Crow is a series of poses I often do with my kids – it’s fun to play around with and get the kids involved in yoga. The Crow is a great pose to build strength in the core and upper body, particularly the arm and shoulder muscles. Adding in the Tripod Headstand increases the difficulty and helps to boost circulation and blood flow. It takes strength to flow into the headstand and then back into the Crow, but the beauty of this 3-step series is that you can take it as far as you can and keep developing. As your strength builds you’ll see real progress.

1. The Crow
Start in a wide squat and place your palms on the floor. Bend your elbows back and rest the inside of your bent knees on the back of your upper arms. Bring your knees high up towards your triceps - imagine that you’re trying to get your knees into your armpits! Looking forward to ensure you stay balanced, slowly shift your weight gradually towards your hands and lift your feet slowly off the floor. Try to straighten your arms as much as possible and draw your abdominal muscles inwards and upwards.

2. Crow to Tripod Headstand
To flow into a Tripod Headstand, tuck your chin into your chest and lean forward slowly until the top of your head lightly touches the mat. Form a triangle position, with your head at the top of a triangle and your hands at the bottom. Pushing through the abdominals, slowly lift your legs straight up towards the ceiling, pointing your toes.

3. Tripod Headstand back into Crow
To flow back into the Crow, soften your knees and remember where they were by your triceps. Using your abdominals, slowly curl your knees into your upper arms, shifting the weight back slowly back to your hands and lifting your head into a forward gaze to assume the Crow pose once again.

Time to move onto day 18.
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