I have been practising Ashtanga yoga under my guru for the last two years and trust me had you told me a few years back that I will be embracing yoga as a lifestyle, I would have laughed aloud. Yoga found me and it clicked so well that it’s a part of me now. Performing yoga not only helps tighten your muscles, but it also increases your energy levels, strengthens your body, increases your flexibility but also changes something within you, making you a calmer person. I am no expert, no guru, just a student and this post is based on my practice and what I have learned from my guru. I have compiled a collection of different yoga poses to tone your tummy, thighs, sculpt your arms and legs and detox your body. You will see that while I am strong and even flexible in certain poses, there are poses that need a lot of work. I am sharing my best and my shortcomings both, trying to keep it real. Trust me, you’ll be feeling the burn while finding a fun new way to tone and tighten. The best thing? You can do this anywhere and at home also, you just need to grab your mat and go for it.
Lots of girls struggle with a hunched over posture and this is a perfect cure. Seriously, this pose feels AMAZING after spending so much time hovering over a computer. Hold for 30 seconds + when starting.
- Wide Squat
This hold is GREAT for strengthening your legs and getting more flexibility to your hips. If you can’t get all the way down, that’s ok! Just try to push yourself a little lower each time and let gravity do the work. Hold for 30 seconds+ when starting!
- Wide Legged Forward Bend
If you need a little bump in hamstring flexibility, this is the best pose! Just make sure to keep your lower back locked in and not to round. Hold for 20 seconds + and do 2 sets.
- Warrior 3
This is a great workout and vital to your yoga practice. The key to any balancing pose is to focus your eyes on one point of your yoga mat and keep them locked on that point. Hold for 15 seconds your first try. Just to be clear, the posture that I am holding can be straighter.
- Downward Dog
This is the most important pose in yoga and the first inversion on this list. The best way to get good at this one is to simply practice. Use a mirror as well so you can make adjustments when working on it!
Another awesome benefit of yoga is the work it does on your core. We all know that we need to be doing more ab exercises and that it is a BIG part of a good yoga practice. Start with 3 rounds for as long as you can hold it.
- Up Dog
Similar to the camel pose – this will help alleviate the back pain you probably feel from hunching over all day. It also relieves lower back pain if that’s a struggle in your life! Start with tow rounds of a 20-second hold.
- Crescent Lunge
This is a great workout for your butt and your legs! The goal is to push your hips closer to the floor while keeping your balance as best as possible. Start with 3 holds for 15 seconds each.
- Side Plank
It really is amazing for shrinking those obliques. Start with 3 holds on each side for 30 seconds.
- Tree Pose
Yoga is about BALANCE and this is one of the best poses for beginners to get better balance. If you find this is easy you should close your eyes for an added challenge! Start with 3 holds for 1 minute each.
- Reverse Plank
While it can be a little challenging at first, you will find the reverse plank can work WONDERS for opening up your shoulders. Start with 1 hold for 20 seconds. While the posture is correct the gaze should have been towards the ceiling. Minor mistakes like these need to be taken care of to correct the posture.
The correct version is as below;
The sooner you start working on it, the faster you will be able to do it! Ask an instructor to help you work on this one. It’s much easier to master with a partner. I am still working on this posture, so sharing a few pics from the net on how to work on it.
- Bow Pose
This pose stretches your groin and thighs along with your back. Start with 2 holds for 30 seconds. If you can’t reach your feet at first, that’s fine, you can use a yoga strap to assist you. As you can see in my pose there is still a lot left to be desired. The legs need to lift off and the full pose is when your head touches your feet. Everyone’s flexibility and strength are different and we need to embrace it and work on it and while I can do a headstand now, my back is still not flexible enough. I am still sharing this with you to keep it real.
This is what the actual pose should look like;
- Chair Pose
So painful, but so good for those legs. Sit down deep in this move and focus on being STRONG. This is a move about strength and balance. Start with 3 holds for 30 seconds each set.
- Corpse Pose or Shavasana
It takes time to master the ability to lay down after a workout, breathe, and relax. Doing this correctly will make you feel amazing and give you such clarity for your day! Do it after your workout for 5-10 minutes. I have noticed some of us do not give Shavasana it’s due importance and the moment we go into the pose we start thinking baout what next we have to do, maybe even leave it mid way and head out. It’s very important to relax the mind, body and senses after a yoga practice.
Hope this sets you on the path, just remember yoga is not only about the physical practice so if you do not excel in a particular pose just keep going on and one day it will come to you and while on the path you will detox, tone and nurture your body. Namaste.