Science Health & Medicine

Build strength and balance

This exercise is designed to build strength and balance in your core and leg muscles. In the beginning, to help with balance, use a yoga block under your hands. With time and practice, you'll be able to let go, moving your arms out to the sides.

Position a yoga block in front of you, and start by standing upright with your feet together. With straight legs, hinge forward at the hips, rest your hands on the block and raise your left leg behind you. Make sure your left knee is straight, knee and toes facing the floor. Pull your abdominals inward to support the spine. Focus your eyes at one spot on the floor for better balance. Hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds.

While maintaining your balance, slowly raise your hands off the block and move them straight out to the sides until they're at shoulder level. Continue to keep both knees straight and your abdominals pulled in toward the spine. To come out of the pose, lower your hands to the block and your leg to the floor. Stand up slowly and repeat on the other side. Note: This is a difficult pose, so be patient and focus on your breath if you start feeling frustrated.

Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including "Sleek Essentials."

karen@karenvoight.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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