Summer is almost here and many of us are hoping to look our best in our swimsuits. What can you do to whip your body into shape over the next month? Try my May boot camp, which incorporates a finely balanced combination of fitness, yoga, and diet. The idea is that you incorporate the following tips with discipline and focus for one entire month.
Posture. Pay attention to your posture and make corrections to it so that you can assume proper alignment. Your stature determines your shape and body tone as well as how you present yourself in a swimsuit. The body aligns itself from the ground up. Make sure that you stand, sit, walk, and run correctly. How? Check to see that your feet are parallel with one another, pelvic bowl is in a neutral position, tailbone is long, abdominal muscles are drawing back towards your spine and up towards your chin, ribs are sitting over your core, collarbones are wide, neck is centered between your shoulders, head is on top of your neck neither jutting backwards nor forwards in space nor twisting to one side, and that the crown of your head is rising. An easy way to think about your posture is to envision your body as divided into seven sections:
The 7 Sections That Determine Postural Alignment
Section 1: Feet to the base of the pelvic floor
Section 2: Pelvic bowl
Section 3: Core
Section 4: Rib cage, Collarbone, Arms
Section 5: Neck
Section 6: Head
Section 7: Crown of Head
If your feet are pigeon-toed or duck-footed, your pelvis will move into an excessive anterior or posterior tilt. If the pelvis tips backwards, then you lose the length of your abs and oblique muscles, resulting in collapsed shoulders as well as a rounded back. If you tip your pelvis too far forward, which causes the tailbone (and bootie) to fly up behind you, your ribs and chest will puff out, which disengages and over-stretches your core muscles. These are not ideal stances for swimsuits. Wouldn’t you rather appear tall, long, open, lean and solid?
Core Yoga. Practice core yoga 3-4 times a week, at least 45-minutes to 1-hour each session. Some poses to do in your practice with extra attention to aspects of Moola and Uddiyana Bandhas (contraction of the pelvic floor and abdominal wall) include: (View my Yoga Glossary for images of these core yoga poses.)