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How to Do the Yoga-with-Weights Rag Doll Exercise

The Rag Doll is a yoga-with-weights exercise that releases tension in the parts of your body where most people carry tension — your neck and spine. It helps you relax and also works your abdominal muscles and the core muscles of your torso for a total upper-body workout.

Pick up your hand weights and follow these steps:

  1. Standing with your feet directly below your hips and your toes pointing forward, let your hand weights dangle at your sides with your palms facing inward.

    This is the starting position. Don’t let your belly collapse in this exercise — sculpt your belly in and up. Let your abdominal muscles support your spine. You should feel an “energetic girdle” around your abdomen.

    Throughout this exercise, keep your feet parallel to one another, both pointing straight ahead. Don’t turn them out.

  2. Inhaling to a count of four, slowly roll your shoulders up and forward.

    Pause your breath momentarily when you reach the top of the shoulder roll.

  3. Exhaling to a count of four, bend your knees and roll your torso forward with your shoulders leading the way.

    Now you’re in the rag doll position, with your neck, head, and shoulders feeling loose and relaxed. Don’t shrug your shoulders — roll them forward, using the weights to help extend your body forward and lengthen your spine.

    You should feel your spine stretching as the weights hang. Keep your knees slightly bent and move your hips back.

  4. Inhaling to a count of four and pressing through your legs, roll your shoulders up, back, and down as you return to the starting position.

    Feel the breath filling your lungs during this part of the exercise.

  5. Exhale to a count of four as you rest in the starting position.

Do this exercise six to eight times, pause to rest, and then repeat the exercise another six to eight times.

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