Hi all! One of my favorite classes is BodyBalance by Les Mills. It is a combination of yoga and pilates set to great music. I created this workout, complete with a playlist for you to try at home!
Tai Chi Warm-Up
Each class starts with a tai chi warm up to get the body moving and start to warm the muscles. The fluidity of tai chi actually helps loosen the muscles and is the perfect compliment to more rigorous pilates and yoga moves. Try to envision yourself dancing through these poses and never coming to a complete stop but rather continuously moving through space.
Tai Chi Lunge with Arm Circle
Start with legs in a wide second position with toes turned out. Lunge to one side wrapping arms around waist. Lunge to other side and wrap arms the other way. Clasp hands together and circle arms overhead straightening legs. Complete overhead circle by bring arms down in front and pushing hands to side and lunging onto that same leg. Begin lunge on other leg. Repeat 20x.
Stand with feet hip width apart toes pointing forward. Bring arms up overhead and let them swing down dropping head towards feet and allowing arms to swing up behind hips. Bring arms back up overhead and straighten the body. Repeat 15x.
Start with legs in a wide second position with toes turned out. Lunge to one side while sweeping opposite hand down towards ground and drawing it across the body like swishing fingers through water. Come up to stand and repeat on opposite leg. Repeat 20x.
Sun salutations help warm the body even further and get the heart pumping add some cardio benefit. The arms, core and leg muscles begin to work and some light stretching helps elongate the body. Try to add one breath per movement.
Stand with feet together at the top of the mat. Bring arms up overhead and look up. Sweep arms out and down to sides while bending forward at the waist to a standing forward bend allowing the head to drop. Inhale, flatten the back and look out in front. Drop the head and step one leg back into a lunge. Step the other leg back into a plank. Bend elbows in to ribs and chatarunga (or lower into a pushup). Push the upper body through the hands into a cobra or upward facing dog (start with cobra and progress to upward facing dog). Push the hips to the ceiling and drop the heels to the mat for a downward facing dog. Step one leg though to a lunge. Step the other leg through. Draw arms up and out lifting chest returning to the beginning pose. Repeat stepping the opposite leg back to a lunge this time. Repeat 3x on each side.
Standing strength uses yoga poses to help build muscular endurance in the lower body. Hold each pose for 30 seconds (or 4 counts of 8 in the music).
Stand with feet wide apart one foot facing the top of the mat and the other foot turned towards the side of the mat. Bend the front knee and keep the back leg straight. Keep hips facing forward and bring arms up overhead. Try to bend as low as you can in the front knee while keeping the knee in line with the ankle.
Stand with feet wide apart one foot facing the top of the mat and the other foot turned towards the side of the mat. Bend the front knee and keep the back leg straight. Open hips to the side and bring arms straight out to the side like in a T shape. Try to bend as low as you can in the front knee while keeping the knee in line with the ankle.
Stand with feet wide apart one foot facing the top of the mat and the other foot turned towards the side of the mat. Keep both legs straight and arms out in a T position. Hinge forward at the waist leaning over the front leg keeping the torso facing side. Drop on hand down towards the feet while bringing the other hand up towards the sky. Engage the obliques and try to keep the bottom hand off the floor for an added core challenge.
Stand with feet wide apart one foot facing the top of the mat and the other foot turned towards the side of the mat. Bend the front knee and keep the back leg straight. Drop one hand behind the front foot while bringing the other hand up over the ear pointing above the head. Keep rotating the torso to the side.
Stand with feet in a wide second position toes pointing out. Bend knees keeping them in line with the ankles and bring arms overhead. Try to bring the thighs parallel to the floor. Drop as low into the pie as possible and hold.
Bring feet together at the top of the mat. Drop the seat as if sitting into a chair and draw arms overhead. Keep knees together and back flat.
Balancing poses build strength and improve balance and coordination. Try to hold each pose for 30 seconds (or 4 counts of 8 in the music). To help maintain balance, pull the core in and pick a spot in front of you to focus your eyes on.
Stand with feet together. Lift right foot off ground and bring right foot to ankle, calf or thigh with right knee turned out to the side. Bring hands together in front in a prayer. Repeat on opposite side.
Stand facing the front of the mat with feet together. Lift right toes to buttocks and grab foot with right hand, as in a quad stretch. Reach left arm out straight in front of you. Slowly lower chest forward while lifting right leg back behind you. Repeat on opposite leg.
Side Leg Extension
Stand with feet together. Lift left knee to side with kneecap turned facing out. Hold left hamstring with left hand and keep right hand on hip. Extend right hand out to side and look to the right. Start to lean the body to the right. Slowly extend left leg straight. Repeat on opposite leg.
Abdominal Core Work
This section focuses on the front of the core or the abdominals. Strengthening the abdominals helps improve balance and posture.
Lie on back with feet flat on floor and hands by sides. Lift feet off the mat and bring to tabletop position keeping knees, thighs and ankles together. Lift head, neck and shoulders off the mat. Start pumping the arms up and down breathing in for 5 and exhaling for 5. Repeat 9 more times.
Single Leg Drop
Lie on back with feet flat on floor and hands by sides. Lift feet off the mat and bring to tabletop position keeping knees, thighs and ankles together. Drop one toe to the floor and repeat on the other leg. Do not touch toe to floor but hover just above the mat. Continue alternating drops 30x. For an added challenge, lift head, neck and shoulders off the mat.
Single Leg Drop Extended
Lie on back with feet flat on floor and hands by sides. Lift toes up the ceiling keeping legs straight. Slowly drop one leg down to hover just above the floor and then bring back up to start. Repeat on the other leg. Continue alternating legs for 30x. For an added challenge, lift head, neck and shoulders off the mat.
Wide Leg Crunch
Lie on back with feet flat on floor and hands by sides. Bring toes together into a butterfly position with knees pointing out. Lift head, neck and shoulders off mat. Extend legs out to a straddle and pulse abs with arms reaching through the legs 3x. Bring head back down and toes back in. Repeat 10x.
Back Core Work
This section focuses on strengthening the back of the core to help improve posture and balance.
Start on hands and knees. Lift right leg behind to hip height keeping leg straight. At the same time extend left arm out in front. Pull abs in and keep weight evenly distributed between both sides. Repeat 15x then switch sides and repeat.
Start on hands and knees. Drop down to forearms. Straighten legs lifting knees off the mat. Draw abs up and in and keep head in line with spine. Hold for 30 seconds or 4 counts of 8 in the music.
Start in a plank. Twist to the right side extending right arm up in the air. Hold for 30 seconds or 4 counts of 8 in the music. Switch sides and repeat.
Start lying on stomach with arms stretched out overhead and legs straight. Keeping head in line with neck and spine, lift arms and legs off the mat. Bend elbows 90 degrees. Straighten arms out again and return to starting position. Repeat 15x.
We hold a lot of tightness in our hips due to the amount of sitting, walking and cardio we do. Stretching out the hips will open the body and can help prevent pain in other parts of the body. Hold each pose for 30 seconds or 4 count of 8 in the music.
Half Lord of the Fishes
Sit on the mat and bend one leg drawing the foot in towards your body. Take the other leg and place it over the bottom leg so the foot is resting next to the knee. Take the opposite arm and wrap it around the knee twisting towards that knee.
Fire Log Pose
Sit on the mat and draw one leg so the shin is parallel to the front edge of the mat. Place the ankle of the other leg on top of the bottom knee so both shins are aligned and parallel with the mat.
Fire Log Variation A
From Fire Log Pose, lift right hand overhead and lean towards left side. Repeat with other arm.
Fire Log Variation B
Lean forward stretching both arms in front of body and allowing chest to drop towards legs.
Bring one leg in front of body lining up shin parallel to the front of the mat and flex foot. Bring other leg straight back behind. Place hands on both sides of hips. Lean forward down onto hands. Repeat on other leg.
Lying Hamstring Stretch
Lie prone and lift one leg to the ceiling holding behind the leg. Stretch leg to the ceiling.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Sit with one leg extended and one leg drawn in to inner thigh. Reach over and stretch towards extended leg.
Extend both legs and stretch through the center.
Draw feet together and stretch knees down towards mat.
Seated Forward Bend
Extend both legs and reach forward to the feet.