I moved to Manhattan from Pocatello, Idaho 18 years ago to pursue my dream of becoming an actress. In the early 90’s at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, I discovered yoga and soon my career path was heading a very different direction. I started teaching yoga
after I graduated to support my acting career.
I was booking more teaching gigs than acting jobs. I also found myself wanting to spend more time in the yoga and fitness community. Eventually, teaching yoga and Pilates became my full time job and I decided to let my acting pursuits go.
Then an awesome opportunity came along to audition for a role on 30 Rock.
I went in to read my lines and sure enough, I booked the role. I was to play opposite Jason Sudekis as his fiancée, Katilin, a ‘yogarobics’ instructor and ab-model. Every outfit I wore (even my wedding dress!) showed my abs. In order to prepare for the filming, I just amped up my yoga and Pilates practice and concentrated on these key exercises
Seated Spinal Twist
Sit tall and fold your right leg underneath you placing your left foot outside your right knee. Wrap your right elbow outside your left knee and use your abdominals to twist to the left. With every inhalation, imagine growing taller, with every exhalation imagine twisting deeper. Twists are great for detoxification and toning the abdominal region.
Finish with a seated forward bend, inversion or final relaxation and concentrate on the power from your center and feel your abs getting stronger and more toned.
When it came time to shoot my episodes, I relied on my ujayii breathing and the support of my inner girdle Pilates muscles to feel relaxed and confident.
Sit tall with your feet flat on the floor knees bent and back straight. Lift your legs out in front you as you hinge your upper body back creating a V shape. Hold for 5 breaths, release hugging your knees in lifting your back tall then lift up again. Repeat 3 to 5 times holding boat for 5 breaths each time. Similar to a Pilates Teaser. Great for the lower abdominals, pelvic floor, arms, hips and waist.
From Boat lower down half way forming a canoe shape with your body. Engage your lower abdominals and pelvic floor region. Hold here 5 to 8 breaths. Lower to the floor and rest before lifting back up, or lift up to Boat pose and lower back to canoe 5 to 8 times. Tones entire core region and back and thighs.
Double Leg Straight Leg
Lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air heels together toes slightly apart. Place your hands behind your head, elbows wide and lift your head, neck and shoulders up off the mat. Keep your head lifted and core tight (lower back pressing in to the mat) as you lower and lift your legs 8 to 10 times. Make sure the ribs stay pressing in to the mat and your scooping in the lower abs to protect the lower back. Great for the entire core region especially lower pooch area.
Single Leg Stretch
Lower all the way down to your back hug your knees in to your chest then lift your head and neck up so you are just off the lower rims of your shoulder blades. Hug your right knee in as you extend your left leg straight out at 45 degrees, catch the knee with the opposite hand and use the same hand on the foot. Switch legs grabbing the left leg as you extend the right. Keep switching until youâ??ve completed 10 reps. Tones abdominals and gets the heart rate up.
Lie on your belly with your elbows under your shoulders and your forearms and hands pressing straight forward. Tuck under your toes, engage your core muscles and lift your body up off the floor. Try and create one straight line from the top of your head out through your heels. Engage your entire abdominal region, draw in your front bottom ribs, tighten a seat belt across your hip rims and contract your pelvic floor. Hold for 45 seconds to 2 minutes. Rest and repeat 3-5 times. Warms up the entire core region and strengthens and tones the entire body. If you are short on time, this is the one ab move you should add to your workout every day.
Side Forearm Plank with a Twist
Lie down on your left side with your left forearm pressing in to the mat and lift up to a side forearm plank pose. Engage your oblique and transverse abdominals and lift your right arm straight up to the ceiling. Hold for 5 breaths then twist your right arm underneath you squeezing the waist and abdominal region and lift the arm straight back up. Twist under and up 5 to 8 more times. Lower down and repeat on the other side. Works the oblique muscles and entire core region as well as the arms, shoulders, triceps, back and waist.
Single Leg Straight Leg Kick
Lie down on your back extend both legs straight up to the ceiling. Lift your head and neck up and catch your right ankle or calf with both hands and gently pull the leg twice towards your forehead as you extend the left leg long towards the floor. Switch and kick the left leg with the double pulse and continue switching until youâ??ve completed 10 reps. Tones the abdominals, hips and thighs.