Creating a Curvaceous Body
Don't Like Your Curves? Blame it on Math!
Do you know why you want to stare at a well-shaped body? It’s because your subconscious is mathematically inclined even if you are not. It gets attracted to symmetry and immediately recognizes the ideal ratios. The chest to waist and waist to hips ratios are good examples.
Your body form is a combination of arcs of different diameters. Let us refresh your geometry studies real quick if you don’t mind. An arc of a circle is a portion of the circumference of the circle. When referring to the human body we use a sexier term for these arcs: “curves.”
You never get tired looking at a beautiful curvaceous body. This is because your subconscious has already figured out that the ratio of the diameters of the connected arcs (or curves) is optimal. But you get disinterested the moment the geometry of the most prevailing genetic shape found within natural life forms is violated. Don’t like your curves? Blame it on math!
Yoga for Shaping the Seven Major Curves
The seven major curves are: The Waist Curve, the Hip Curve, the Bun Curve, the Hamstring Curve, the Lumbar Curve, the Chest Curve and the Calf Curve.
I believe Bikram yoga is the best method available for toning and shaping all the major curves of your body. In my new book Raw Food and Hot Yoga I marry the raw food diet together with the practice of hot yoga into one lifestyle that has the potential to transform your body beyond your wildest expectations.
Additional Exercises Helpful for Developing Your Curves
Besides yoga, there are additional simple exercises that are effective for developing your curves. The benefit of these exercises is that many of them can be performed anywhere and do not require the aid of an instructor. If you are not yet attending a Bikram yoga class or must miss classes for a period of time, these exercises can keep your major body curves engaged.
The Stomach Vacuum
An exercise called the “stomach vacuum” will strengthen the inner abdominal muscles. It can effectively reduce the waist by two inches in about four weeks. Below are the basic instructions. Once you get used to it, you can practice it anytime and anywhere you like …
Stand straight, hands on hips. Exhale as completely as you can. Pull your tummy in as tightly as you possibly can while simultaneously expanding your chest. It will feel as if you are trying to touch your navel to your backbone. Hold this for a few seconds … release … and breathe. This is one repetition. Start, indeed, with just one, if that’s all you can manage at first. Work up gradually, increasing time, repetitions, and intensity. That’s it!
If you practice hot yoga (Bikram yoga) you will be applying the “stomach vacuum” technique throughout the entire 90 minute class.
Exercises for the Bun Curve
What can you do about getting that Bun Curve in gear? Here are some exercises for strengthening the buttock muscles:
- Sit on the floor and move about the room on your buttocks without the aid of hands and feet.
- Lie on your stomach, extend your feet and raise them a few inches from the floor. Hold for 20 seconds.
- While sitting, strain and slacken your left and right buttocks alternating between them, ten times each. Try this one several times daily—at home, behind your desk, in your car or on the subway.
For a terrific non-yoga aid to boosting your bun curves, try the following exercise for which you will only need a simple rubber ball:
- Crouch down on all fours.
- Put your forearms on the floor, resting on your elbows.
- Place a light large rubber ball behind your right knee (you can also use a volleyball or football/soccer ball) and bend your right leg so you are squeezing the ball in place behind your knee.
- Flex your toes back toward your body. Now bring the foot up toward the ceiling, squeezing the ball behind the knee to keep it in place until it’s level with your hip.
- Slowly lower back down. Do five repetitions on each side and gradually build up to 15 reps on each side. Breathe slowly and evenly throughout each exercise. Don’t arch your back, and be sure to keep your stomach from sagging by holding in your abdominal muscles.
If you are a multi-tasker—who isn’t these days?—you’ll appreciate that this exercise is also exactly what you need for developing and strengthening another important curve muscle: Hamstring curve.
Hamstring Curve Exercise
There is also another simple and effective exercise that takes only a few minutes to do, yet it will deliver surprising results in shaping your hamstring curve. It’s called, among other names, the Bridge.
- Lie on your back to the floor, your arms at your sides, knees comfortably bent, feet flat.
- Inhale and lift your hips up toward the ceiling, squeezing your buttocks for extra effect.
- Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, then exhale and lower your bottom to the floor.
- Repeat several times.
You can intensify this exercise by flexing your toes toward the ceiling and digging your heels toward the floor as you lift. You should feel your hamstring muscles contracting. This exercise is another multi-tasker because it also helps develop another vital muscle group and corresponding curve: the Lumbar curve.
My Lumbar curve was compromised. The cause: during my childhood, I spent many months in a cast that covered my hips all the way to my chest. To address this problem, I’ve made it a habit to lay in the Saddle pose for 15 to 20 minutes before Bikram class starts.
The Saddle Pose for the Lumbar Curve
The Saddle is very similar to the Fixed Firm pose in the Bikram series, with one exception: When you start it you do not sit between your feet, but on your feet.
I never thought I’d learn how to relax in this pose for 10-15 minutes! It provides a deep opening in the sacral-lumbar arch. It also stretches hips flexors and quadriceps. And it works. I intentionally and methodically created this curve on my body and what a difference! The flat butt look is gone.
Calf Raises for Good Calves
If you’d like to develop good calves, try calf raises. Pretty self-explanatory?
- Stand on a dictionary or other thick book with your toes on the book and your heels hanging off towards the floor.
- Rise up onto your tiptoes by flexing the balls of your feet up, then lower your heels slowly back down to the floor.
- An up-and-down is one repetition.
- Do five repetitions at first and work up to twenty.
Climbing stairs is another good method for developing your calf muscles. So whenever you have a choice about whether or not to take an elevator for 1-2 flights, make the choice to walk up instead. To make climbing stairs particularly effective, be sure to raise up your heel with each step to where you are momentarily standing on your tip toes.