Balancing act builds strength, flexibility

If you're familiar with the classic yoga pose called "downward facing dog," try this variation for more of a challenge. It develops flexibility in your legs while strengthening your core and upper-body muscles.

-- Karen Voight

Step 1 Begin on your hands and knees, then curl your toes under and lift your hips to straighten your knees, pushing your heels toward the floor. Shift your weight to your left leg and raise your right leg off the floor. Keep your right foot flexed, with your toes and knee pointed down.

Step 2 Focus on keeping your shoulders and hips facing the floor as you shift your upper-body weight to your right hand. Slowly raise your left arm off the floor while you use your core muscles to stabilize your shoulders and pelvis. Find your balance and hold for three complete breaths. Slowly lower your arm and leg, then switch sides and repeat the exercise on the other side.

Karen Voight can be reached at kvoightla@aol.com.

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