Inspired by Black Swan? Use our back-stretching workout to help you achieve elegant poise in 5 steps, no pirouette required
'Become mindful of your body's alignment,' says ballet-tone teacher Alexandra Wood (www.ballet-tone. co.uk). 'Stand tall, shoulders back, with your chest open. Focus on lengthening your torso by pulling up from your pubic bone through your abs, towards the crown of your head and right up to the ceiling. Imagine you're creating more space between each bone in your spine.'
We've all wobbled, one-legged, in a yoga class, but you'll never see a ballerina hopping around the stage trying to get her balance. Firm up your core and you'll stand fi rm, too. Once your muscles are warm, stand straight and hold on to something sturdy. Slowly lift your outside leg in front of you, then swing it back so it's just behind you with your toes pointed. Keep your upper body still and your shoulders back.
Remember fi rst position in your ballet classes? Stand upright with your heels together and your feet angled at 45°. Slide your left leg out in front, then out to the side before sliding it back to the centre, then repeat on your right side. Remember to engage your abs throughout - all your weight will be on one leg, so your core muscles will help you balance.
'You're likely to crunch up your lower back muscles if you sit at a desk all day,' says Melissa, 'but this move will really stretch out them out.' Sit on the fl oor with your feet fl exed against a wall and bend your upper body over them. Now ask someone to gently press down on your upper back - you'll get a good pull in your lower back, too. Follow this by kneeling down, leaning over your thighs and reaching forward with your arms for a lovely full back stretch.'
On the train, at the dinner table or at a desk - we're all guilty of slouching. Fight the slump with this Royal Ballet approved move. 'Hold a resistance band or a broom handle above your head, lean your arms right back and stretch them out wide', says Melissa Hamilton, soloist with the Royal Ballet. 'It's a super simple stretch and a great way to mobilise your joints and banish round shoulders.'
Like us on facebook
Follow us on twitter
Other Hearst Magazines UK sites