6 yoga poses to tone the butt and thighs
- Yoga is often associated with being a mind balancing activity, but the physical benefits are an underrated perk.
Aly Clarke, yoga instructor at Body Mind Life in Sydney, estimates half of their students come for the toning but are often surprised by the hard work involved.
“Our strong vinyasa class is fairly vigorous, so often people come wanting physical benefits and expect it to be mellow and new agey but it’s hard. And sweaty!” says Clarke.
Clarke says while yoga is great for a whole body workout, if the right areas are targeted, it can also be a great toning tool.
“There are a number of poses that focus on toning the thighs and sculpting strong, lean legs. For example, in Goddess Pose you stand with feet out wide, and bend knees, sinking towards the floor so it’s very much like a squat,” says Clarke. “Basically each time you square the hips and hug thighs together you access those inner thigh muscles.”
- Workout with Aly for free on Bodypass
And the same goes for achieving a sculpted booty too.
“If practiced correctly, yoga not only tones and firms your glutes, it gives you a butt that is round, defined and lifted,” says Clarke. “Often over-exertion (too much running) and under-exertion (too much sitting) can lead to discrepancies in buttocks strength – leading to a flat or non-existent butt.”
And there’s a trick to making sure it’s done right (because we want that peach perky!)
“To see if your butt muscles are switched on push your fingers into them to see if they are firing. A activated butt (not clenched) while practising standing and balancing yoga postures takes the pressure off your hip flexors, psoas and lower back.”
Ready to get buns of steel and toned thighs? Read on for Clarke’s top postures below. Hold each for five breaths, or 10 if you want to up the intensity!
1. Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Lie on your belly, legs stretching out behind you.
Bend your arms, bringing the palms of your hands back to frame your ribs and hug your elbows in.
Press into your palms to lift your chest off the floor and straighten your arms.
Press into the tops of your feet to switch on the thighs and firm the buttocks.
What it targets: Wrists, shoulders, legs and buttocks.
How it works: Pressing into the feet will tone the whole of your legs and glutes (and stop you from crunching into your lower back).
2. Low lunge (Anjaneyasana)
From downward facing dog, step your right foot forward between your hands.
Press your fingertips into the ground to draw your shoulder down away from your ears, and puff your sternum up.
Press firmly into your back heel and hug your inner thighs together.
Inhale to broaden across the upper back, exhale to suck the belly in and up.
What it targets: Core, buttocks and thighs.
How it works: Anjaneyasana lengthens the quads and hamstrings and strengthens the core. Note – Make sure to hug the inner thighs together to get the full benefit of the pose.
3. Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)
Stand with your feet wide apart with your big toes turned out.
Draw your knee caps up your thighs, and engage your pelvic floor.
Inhale to hug your belly button towards your spine, and then exhale to bend your knees and sink your sitting bones towards the floor.
Hands can rest on the thighs or press fingertips to touch in front of the heart. Stay for five breaths.
What it targets: Core and thighs.
How it works: Goddess Pose is both energising and grounding. It connects us to the earth through the soles of our feet, activates our thighs and brings fire to the belly.
4. Side Plank (Visisthasana)
Begin in plank pose, with shoulders stacked over wrists and the crown of your head drawing away from your tail.
Press strongly through your heels and transfer your weight to your left hand.
Shift onto the outside edge of your left foot, stacking your right foot on top.
Draw your tummy in to stabilise your core and inhale your right fingertips up towards the sky.
Press your inner thighs together and banana your hips up.
What it targets: Wrists, arms, shoulders, belly, buttocks and thighs
How it works: Balancing on one hand encourages activation in the core area. Also by pressing the blade edge of your feet into the ground and lifting the hips up it switches on the muscles in the legs.
5. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Stand with your feet together, big toes touching.
Inhale your arms up into the sky and spiral your armpits towards one another.
Exhale and bend your knees, sinking your sitting bones down towards the ground.
Inhale to hug your thighs together and lengthen the tailbone down, exhale to scoop the belly in.
What it targets: Feet, legs, buttocks and core.
How will works: Grounding into your feet and hugging your knees and thighs together tones the muscles in the legs and glutes.
6. Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana III)
Stand with both feet together, big toes touching.
Transfer your weight to the right foot, pressing down through the big toe mound to lift the crown of the head up towards the sky.
Draw the belly in and lean forward, taking the left leg out behind you.
Flex the left foot and turn the pinky toe down to internally rotate the thigh and square the hips.
Reach your arms out in front of you in line with your ears, and keep the back of your neck long.
What it targets: Ankles, legs, core and back.
How it works: Pressing down through your standing leg switches on all the muscles in your legs while balancing activates your core.
- Workout with Aly for free on Bodypass
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