Courtesy of Google images

Courtesy of Google images

Improve your push up!

Fear set into my body as my yoga instructor said that’s what we’d be doing today. ‘Great,’ I thought, as I begrudingly geared up for a class of arm workouts — push-ups, pull-ups, and anything arm related always have been my least favorite exercises.

Today we moved from plank (or a push-up position you hold) to a lower push-up pose to upward facing dog (where your body is held by bent arms to downward dog).

Usually we do danda, or a pose that allows us to rest our knees on the ground. Not today though, we were challenging ourselves to the next level.

That’s the thing about yoga — you push yourself to a level of comfort, striking the perfect balance of reaching your limit and not going overboard. Many mistake the practice for not physically exerting the body work out, but anyone who practices right will attest that it’s a total body workout — the mind’s workout being the hardest part.

Try the flow we did today and see for yourselves:

1. Start in mountain pose — or standing pose with legs shoulder width apart, spine straight, hands by your side — inhale, arms overhead, exhale swoop down, and touch your toes — bending your legs as needed. You want your stomach on your knees.

2. Stretch your spine forward on the inhale and on the exhale bend back down, sending one foot back and then the other into plank pose. Make sure your butt is not too far in the air or sagging too low to the ground. You want your body in perfect alignment. Inhale.

3. Exhale. Bend your arms down, tucked into your sides, shoulders rolled back until you are about 4 inches from the floor.This is where the intense push-up comes in — and you have to hold it. Make sure the shoulders are rolled back, so you don’t harm them and your elbows are tucked in. If you don’t do these things, then you aren’t doing the pose right and aren’t receiving optimal benefits.

Again, yoga is about not how far you can go, but that you are doing the pose correctly.

4. Inhaling, scoop up to upward facing dog — legs off the ground.

5. Exhale, downward facing dog.

6. Step one foot forward in front of the other. Bend the knees, straighten the spine, and then fall back into hanging near your toes. Relax the head and neck.

7. On the inhale raise your arms, do a small back-bend, and return to standing pose.

After five reps of these, you’ll feel a yoga high. My mind felt tingly and my body ultra relaxed — like that jello feeling after a massage.

I don’t know if it was a long weekend away from practice, a much needed yoga sess, or a long day at Untied, but today my mind was the clearest it’s been in a while and girl, did it feel good.

Yoga high: 3