Stress-Busting Sequence

Yoga teacher to Britney Spears shares a sequence to stay calm + centered, no matter how busy life gets.
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Yoga teacher to Britney Spears shares a sequence to stay calm + centered, no matter how busy life gets.
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by Dana Meltzer Zepeda

You not might think "yoga" and "Britney Spears" is a natural pairing, but the superstar singer and pop phenom has been a fan of the practice since 2010. Spears, who is wowing audiences with her residency show at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, turned to Los Angeles yoga teacher Liz Iacuzzi to help her manage the stress that comes with, well, being Britney. Celebrity or not, Iacuzzi says managing stress often comes down to making the time for yourself to get centered.

"When you make that small commitment to yourself, it's remarkable how the rest of your life starts to feel more manageable," she says.

Feeling a little stressed yourself? Try this sequence Iacuzzi recommends for staying calm, no matter what.

1) Sun Salutations"This is great to get the blood flowing, heart racing and muscles stimulated," promises Iacuzzi. "Remember to hold your Downward-Facing Dog for 5 breaths between each sequence."

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2) Forearm Plank

Here's a tougher version of regular Plank Pose: Keep your palms flat on the mat and forearms parallel directly under your shoulders. Start by holding 20-second increments and work your way up to a minute hold. For an extra challenge, raise one foot two inches off the mat for 10 seconds, then alternate. "You center dictates the rest of your life so a strong core is extremely important," says Iacuzzi.

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3) Reverse Crunch

For more core work, try adding a reverse crunch. Lay on your back making a figure 4 with your legs as if you were doing Thread-the-Needle. Put your hands behind your head then extend the leg of the 4 straight out about a foot above the mat. Crunch your lower body to meet your elbows. Extend your leg back out and place your head back on the floor. Repeat 15 times on each side. Repeat 2-3 times.

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4) Warrior III

Begin in a High Lunge. Hold for 3 to 5 Ujjayi breaths then shift your weight onto your front leg and tip into Warrior III. Square the hips and lengthen from the crown of your head down through the tailbone all the way through the heel of the lifted leg. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths. For an added challenge, use a block to transition to Half Moon Pose. Focus on opening up your hip on the exhalation. Lengthen across your chest from fingertip to fingertip. Gaze at the floor, wall, or your top fingertips. Slowly come out into a Standing Forward Bend and then up to Mountain Pose. Repeat on the other side.

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5) One-Legged Pigeon 

Starting in Down Dog, lift the right leg up into the air, and bring the knee toward right wrist to come into a One-Legged King Pigeon Pose. For the first minute or so, prop yourself up on your fingertips and lift your chest up out of your waist. Keeping the spine long, slowly come down to Sleeping Pigeon. Rest your forehead on a block, your folded hands, or on the mat, and breathe deeply into your hips. Hold for a minute or so, then roll to the right side and find your back to Down Dog to repeat on the left.

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6) Pranayama

End the session with alternate-nostril breathing. "This breath calms the mind, balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain and de-stresses the nervous system," Iacuzzi says. Continue for three minutes, eventually working your way up to 10 minutes.

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See also:

5 Poses Fit for a Supermodel

Allison Williams' Fitness Tricks

Meditation Made for a Rockstar