How to Do the Yoga-with-Weights Pearl Exercise - dummies

How to Do the Yoga-with-Weights Pearl Exercise

By Sherri Baptiste, Megan Scott

The Pearl works your abdominal muscles and stretches out your spine while making your legs and arms stronger. To perfect this yoga-with-weights exercise, you have to concentrate and stay in the moment, which strengthens your mind as well as the muscles of your body.

The Pearl is also a squeeze-and-soak exercise that massages your intestines and other internal organs. You start by opening up like an oyster, and then you pull tight like a pearl; the treasure is within you!

You need both hand and ankle weights for this exercise. When you’re ready, follow these steps:

  1. Lie on your back with your arms extended above your head, your palms facing upward while holding the hand weights, and your legs straight.

    This is the starting position.

  2. Exhaling to a count of four, slowly move your arms toward the ceiling and back down toward your sides in a half-circle while you bend your knees into your chest and lift your forehead toward your knees.

    Curl your back one vertebra at a time so your head and neck lift last. Feel your belly squeezing and burning.

    Your arms should be in a position beside your hips a few inches above the floor as you pull them forward like a round pearl.

    Instead of raising your legs to your chest from an extended position, you can try this exercise with bent knees and your feet on the floor. It still poses a challenge, but because you don’t lift as much body weight, it isn’t as hard.

  3. Inhaling to a count of four, slowly return to the starting position.

    Feel your abdominal muscles working and burning as you uncrunch.

Controlled action is the key to success in this exercise. Move slowly and consciously — especially when you lower your arms behind your head.

Repeat this exercise six to eight times, pause to rest, and then do six to eight more repetitions.