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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Top 5 Yoga Poses for Slim toned stomach and legs

There's not just one formula for a flat belly. And since few people truly enjoy traditional abs exercises, the best way to sculpt a sexy midsection is to incorporate more core work into the workouts you already know and love.

Yoga not only helps improve flexibility and relieve stress (which studies show helps reduce belly fat), but your practice can also target your abdominal muscles in a much more functional and efficient way than any amount of crunches. 

Top 5 Yoga Poses for Slim toned stomach and legs

Uthkatasana

Also known as the chair pose, this asana has you positioned as if you are sitting on a chair. This asana helps strengthen the muscles of the lower back, exercises the muscles of the spine, hips and chest. Uthkatasana requires concentration and focus on the muscles being used therefore this asana is known to improve your concentration as well.



Steps
  • Stand straight on your yoga mat with your hands in namaste in front of you.
  • Now, bend at the knee such that your thighs are parallel to the floor — as if you are sitting in a chair.
  • Next, raise your hands above your head (you can keep your hands together or separate).
  • Bend your torso slightly forward and breathe. Stay in this position for as long as you can. Try sinking deeper into the position if you can. Remember to breathe normally.
  • To get out of the pose, only straighten your knees and bring your hands down to your chest.
Tip: Do not do this pose if you have a knee or back injury. It should be avoided if you suffer from insomnia or bouts of frequent headaches. You can practice this asana when you have your periods, but be sure not to put too much pressure on your lower back.


Setubandhasana

Also known as the bridge pose, this asana works exclusively on your spine and hip joints. It also helps relieve pain, stiffness and discomfort in these regions and helps resolve any disorders associated with the neck, arms and palms. This pose also helps keep your blood pressure under control, contributes to relaxing the mind, improves digestion, relieves the symptoms of menopause in women reduces respiratory problems.


Steps
  • Lie flat on your yoga mat, with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Now exhale and push up, and off the floor with your feet.
  • Raise your body up such that your neck and head are flat on the mat, and the rest of your body is in the air. You can use your hands to push down for added support.
  • If you are flexible, you can even clasp your fingers just below your raised back for that added stretch. The key here is not to overexert or hurt yourself while doing this pose.
Tip: Avoid doing this pose if you have a neck or back injury.


Rock 'n Roll Lotus

This fun and functional move strengthens your core by using it to help you 'stop' your body (much like it does in everyday life).
Sit with your legs crossed at the ankles. Hold onto the outside of each ankle with your opposite hand, and lift your legs off the floor, balancing on your sitting bones. Pull your abs into your spine and take a deep breath in. As you exhale, begin to round onto your back. Continue rolling until your shoulder blades touch the floor, lifting your hips, still holding onto your ankles. Keeping your abs in tight, rock back up to sitting, finding your balance again on your sitting bones. 

That's one rep. Repeat 10 times.
Imagine you are using your abs as brakes to help you stop at the top and bottom of the rocking motion.


Downward Dog Variation

This version of downward dog keeps your abs firing both during the hold and during the transition.


Begin in downward facing dog. Extend your left leg up to the ceiling, pointing your toes. Shift your weight forward and begin to lower your hips into a plank pose but instead of putting your left toes down, bend your left knee into your chest, lifting your abs into your spine during the entire movement. Press your hips back up and extend your left leg behind you as you return to downward facing dog. Repeat 10 times with the left leg, 10 with the right.

If this is too challenging, practice the transition from downward dog to plank pose until you feel ready to add the leg movement.

Extended Boat Pose

Build core strength and endurance with this challenging, but very effective, pose.


Sit on your hips with both legs extended in front of you. Place your hands behind your hips and keep your back long as you lean back slightly and lift your legs off the floor, holding your belly in and up the entire time. Reach both arms out to the sides of your thighs. Lower your legs about 45 degrees, until your body resembles a wide 'V'. Hold this position for 10 long, deep breaths (or up to 60 seconds).

Too tough? Make it easier by bending your knees 90 degrees so your shins are parallel to the ground.

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