Each day we are bombarded with information, technology, social situations and so much more that we forget to “stop and smell the roses” so to speak. If you think you have 20 seconds to 2 1/2 minutes to spare for the next 150 days I have a Canada Day challenge for you.
Starting Wednesday, February 1st there are 150 days until July 1st when Canada Celebrates 150 Years.
As with so many physical activities in life walking requires a very strong core so that we have good posture, protect our lower back and build flexibility.
The Plank and the Tree Pose both help to improve balance, co-ordination and good posture. The Plank targets mainly your core, specifically your abdominal muscles, key to protecting your lower back/spine. The plank also helps to strengthen your quads, glutes, back, shoulders and chest. The Tree Pose focuses mainly on your leg muscles, and glutes to help you strengthen your thighs, calves, ankles and spine. These poses may look easy but holding them takes strength and endurance.
My challenge to you is to start with holding the pose for 20 sec on February 1st and for each of the next 150 days until July 1st. When doing the pose take a moment for some deep breaths and to think about something you are grateful for in our beautiful country.
If you are looking for an additional challenge you can try to build up to do a Plank or Tree Pose for 150 seconds by July 1st 2017. (Generally holding a plank for 2 minutes is considered a great feat!). I’ve included a schedule (below) for any who are super enthusiast to reach this goal.
Be very careful doing planks if you have back pain or injury. When you are beginning start by holding the plank position for several seconds only and slowly work your way up to more.
The key to getting benefits from a pose is to keep good form. Have a look at the images and suggestions for choices on how to choose a pose that will work best for you. If you are in my classes I will demonstrate the plank and tree pose.
How to perform a plank
- Place your hands directly under your shoulders
- Bend your elbows and rest your weight on to your forearms
- Toes should be pointing down (if you are wearing running shoes ground your feet)
- Squeeze the glutes to stabilize your body
- Engage your core by pulling your belly button into your spine
- Your head should be in line with your neck. Neutralize your neck and spine by focusing on a spot on the floor in front of you
- Don’t forget to BREATH, enjoy the moment and check your timer
Variations of the plank
The lower you are to the floor the harder it will be.
- Against a wall/tree trunk – easiest on the lower back
- Elbows/forearm on a kitchen counter/dining table
- Elbows/forearm on a chair seat/outdoor bench
- On the floor – hardest
How to perform the Tree Pose
- Stand in Mountain Pose (feet slightly apart, arms at your side)
- Distribute your weight evenly between both feet, grounding yourself
- Shift your weight to your left foot. Bend your right knee then use your hand to drawyour right foot along side your left leg. Make sure your foot rests either above or below your knee
- Check that your right and left hip are aligned
- Rest your hands on your hips then lift your hands and press your palms together in prayer position at your chest
Variations of the Tree Pose
- If you are unable to bring your foot to your thigh rest your foot alongside your calf or ankle of your standing leg
- For more support to balance you can stand close to a wall and lean against it if needed
- Alternatively you can place a chair next to the standing leg side of your body and hold on to it with your hand
As mentioned above doing a 2 minute plank is considered a feat, but…….if your goal is to try and reach 150 sec then each Wednesday you will add to the time of the previous week.
Here’s what the Plank / Tree Schedule will look like: