Nina Marchione is the program director of Sculpt by SOLACE at SOLACE New York, a professional-level athletic studio in the heart of Manhattan. She trains people to help them sculpt their physiques, and is sharing some of her best exercises in this three-part series to help you sculpt your own.
“I’ve always been a people person, so it brings a lot to my life to meet so many different people and teach them. Even if it just helps one person, it’s totally worth it.” –Nina Marchione
In the first part of the series with Nina Marchione, we learned how to tighten and tone up the glutes with three simple (yet surprisingly difficult) exercises. In part two, Nina led us through a handstand progression. In part three, Nina shares her short daily routine that helps diminish physical, mental and emotional stress.
FitnessRx: Why is it important to do a routine like this to de-stress?
Nina: Stress has many negative impacts.
It can cause:
• Cortisol to build up, which can cause people to gain or lose weight
• Sleep problems – insomnia and oversleeping
• Lack of focus
• Lack of motivation
• Muscle tension
• Stress headaches
FitnessRx: How does it help to have a daily routine like the one you share below?
Nina: It will help relieve stress, bring yourself into the present moment so you’re not worried about everything in the future/past, and help you release any tension in the body and loosen up.
FitnessRx: Awesome! How often do you recommend doing this routine?
Nina: The series of poses can be done in 20-30 minutes. You can do them every day, or as often as you want.
Repeat this sequence three times
Start in Child’s Pose
Knees apart and feet together, resting forehead on the floor, tailbone to the heels, arms reaching (hold for seven deep breaths, try to let go of your mind and focus on breathe and body awareness, become present).
Move into Cat on your exhale
Come up to all fours Table Top position and scoop tailbone under, rounding your spine, puffing shoulder blades up to the sky and dropping your head down (exhale all your air out and draw navel to the spine hollowing through your center).
Move into Cow on your inhale
Lift tailbone and chin up to the sky, arching your back and dropping chest down, feeling a stretch through the front of your body (take a deep inhale through the nose; you should feel this stretch through your abdominals and the front of your throat).
REPEAT CAT AND COW SEVEN TIMES, ALTERNATING WITH CAT ON EVERY EXHALE AND COW ON EVERY INHALE
Twisted Child’s Pose Variation
From Table Top position, thread your left arm under your right and drop your left ear and shoulder to the floor, reach behind your lower back with your right arm and grab your inner left thigh (if you can’t grab the inner thigh, leave your arm to rest on your lower back and focus on opening the right shoulder to the sky). Hold for seven breathes and switch sides, twisting to the opposite direction and holding again for seven deep breaths.
Downward Facing Dog
Out of Table Top, tuck your toes and lift your hips up and back, sending your head through your arms and your chest toward your thighs, try to draw your heels down to the floor, and lift navel to the sky. Keep fingers spread wide, arms straight with biceps hugging in toward your ears, shoulder blades draw down your back away from your ears, and neck and face stay relaxed (hold for seven deep breaths).
Down Dog Split
Out of your Downward Dog, raise your right leg into the air and open your right hip to lift higher than your left hip. Stretch your right leg high and then bend it and let the weight of your leg gently open and stretch the hip. You can shake the leg gently or do what feels good, just try to keep your shoulders squared to the floor (hold for seven deep breaths and repeat on the other leg).
Out of Down Dog, split sweep your lifted left leg forward, drawing your left knee to your left wrist as you come down to the floor. Keep your back right knee facing the floor with back leg outstretched and your hips squared to the ground. Drop your chest down over your left leg and reach arms to the top of your mat, letting your torso rest on your left leg. You should feel a deep stretch in your left outer hip and glute (hold for seven deep breaths then return to Downward Dog, from here you can repeat Pigeon on the right leg). After your second Pigeon, return back to Downward Facing Dog and hold for seven breaths before returning to Child’s Pose and finishing with seven deep breaths.
Remember to breathe through your nose throughout the series and try to stay focused on your body while letting go of your mind. Stress less!!
FitnessRx: Thank you, Nina!
Photos by: Lisa Haefner