Last updated: May 08, 2012

Want to know what I do every day to look five pounds thinner and give my confidence an instant boost? It's this posture-improving yoga series: Staff to Twist to Side Bend to Forward Bend (go through it three to five times, holding each pose for a full breath). The poses open up the shoulders, scoop in the lower abs, and straighten the lower back so you are able to breathe more deeply. Plus, you get all the other benefits of terrific posture, including stronger abs and backómeaning less pressure on your joints. If there's a better payoff for five minutes of moving, I'd love to know what it is!



How to do it:

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Jay Sullivan
1. Sit tall with legs straight, feet flexed. Engage thighs and lower abs. Place hands by hips (fingers forward); imagine pressing the floor away while squeezing shoulder blades.



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2. Inhale, hugging right knee in to chest. Exhale, opening right knee out to side and bringing it to floor (as shown). Place right foot against inner left thigh.



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3. Inhale, twisting torso to the right. Place left hand on right thigh and right hand on floor behind you. Lengthen spine, growing taller as you twist.



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4. Exhale, lifting right arm overhead and forward. Lengthen waist as you side-bend over left leg, left forearm coming to floor alongside inner calf, palm up. Keep gaze forward or look up at right arm.



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5. Inhale; return to sitting. Exhale; turn to left leg and fold over it. Imagine lengthening your sides. Inhale; come back up. Exhale and extend right leg. Repeat on opposite side.