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Yoga for hip openers

hello friends! ever since these photos of me started making the rounds on tumblr, the most common question i get asked is “what are hip openers?” so i thought i would make my next guide focused on that. hip openers are poses that help to loosen the muscles that connect to the hip joints. remember that these muscles are often very tight and be careful not to overstretch yourself. loosening the hips happens very very gradually. incorporating some of these poses into your yoga practice can help to achieve both front and side splits!

ps. i tried to put these in a coherent order so that you can flow through them with one leg, then go back and repeat the flow using the opposite leg! 

  • standing wide-legged forward fold - put your feet wider than shoulder width and bend forward while keeping the back as straight and flat as possible. you should feel the stretch in your hamstrings - hold for a few breaths, then rotate around to downward facing dog.
  • lizard pose - start in downward facing dog and raise one leg up behind you, then swing it through to place your foot next to your hand, on the outside. keep your front knee at a 90 degree angle and sink into a deep lunge, with your back knee on the floor and leg extended. you’ll feel this one in your back leg’s hip flexor (along your hip crease) and also deep in your front leg’s hip joint. 
  • pigeon pose - from lizard pose, move your hand to the outside of your front foot, keep the knee bent, and pull your foot across so it’s near the opposite hand. bend the knee as generously as you want - the closer it is to being parallel with your body, the deeper the stretch. rest here, or go down to your elbows, or even lay forward as you advance in the pose. hold for 5 breaths.
  • seated wide-legged forward fold - extend both legs wide as far as is comfortable. rest here, and then bend forward with a straight back. i also like to stretch by reaching toward one foot and then the other.
  • head-to-knee forward bend - extend one leg and bend the other at the knee. gently bring your head to your knee while keeping your back straight and your core engaged. if you can’t get down far, just keep your back straight and hold for 3-5 breaths.
  • wind relieving pose - come on to your back, bend one knee and interlace your fingers on your shin bone, about two inches below the knee. pull gently toward your body, keeping your back flush with the ground and engaging your core. you can also rotate your knee gently here.
  • happy baby pose - bend legs and grab for the inside of your heels, and try to keep your back completely flush with the mat - this will give you the deepest stretch in this pose! you can also roll a bit to massage your lower back. 
  • reclining goddess pose - release legs from happy baby and let them fall open to the floor. try to keep your lower back close to the ground and put arms wherever is comfortable. relax here and appreciate your fantastic body! 

hopefully this helps to answer some questions about hip openers! these the poses i focused on when i was trying to achieve the splits, but having loose hips can help with all kinds of other yoga poses and can also release a lot of tension from your lower back. happy hip-opening! :)

mat: Manduka Pro Black Sage

clothes: sports bra - lululemon flow Y IV, shorts - nike, hoodie - lululemon scuba, socks - smartwool

Great for dancers and anyone with tight hips!


My latest blog post - SAFETY TIPS as part of the #train safe #pole safe #teach safe campaign.


My latest blog post - SAFETY TIPS as part of the #train safe #pole safe #teach safe campaign.


I am a huge proponent of body-weight based exercise. It’s convenient because you can exercise completely on your own schedule right from home. It’s cost efficient because, well, all you really need is yourself (although I also recommend a pen & paper to jot down how many reps you do!). Most importantly though, it’s effective. Machines are fantastic tools and the atmosphere in many gyms is often inspiring, but personally, I’ve gained all my strength completely through my yoga practice (which actually uses most of these regularly!).

I hope these explanations not only help you navigate the world of at home workouts, but also inspire you to try a few and maybe even design a workout of your own!

There’s tons of at home, equipment free workout plans here too! :)


Just remember, the scale can’t measure all of your progress


Just remember, the scale can’t measure all of your progress

(via getfitandsweat)

“I have started doing 30 minutes of cardio and 60 min of muscle training since January 3-5days a week. When can I expect to see definition in my muscles. I have noticed improvements in strength and endurance, but not appearence.”


All of this depends on how your body looked before, how much fat you’re carrying, where that fat is distributed, what your health is currently like, what your genetic history is like, what sort of training you’re doing, how much that training challenges you, what you’re eating, what you define as “definition” in terms of your own body, how you hold your posture, what sort of lighting you’re viewing your body in…..oh god, and so many more variables!

The point is that there’s no way to accurately estimate these things. Without knowing anything about you, your body, your training or your lifestyle, it’s downright impossible for me to guess. But even an informed professional would have a hard time pinpointing a period of time where you would be guaranteed to see visible definition. Your body is different than any other body and, even if you follow the same diet and exercise regime as a hundred other people, your lifestyle and genetics will impact the way that the routine affects you.

In the end - Try not to dwell on it too much. If visible change happens and you like the way that it makes you look, then great! If not, then enjoy exercising just for the sake of it. The process itself should be rewarding.  


With the Spring sunshine around us, there’s no better time to do a little yoga! Here are 5 easy ways to integrate yoga into your life this season.

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