Get your body swimsuit-ready with these yoga moves.
Swimsuit season is almost here and, for many of us, that means putting on last year’s swimsuit and realizing you may have gained a few lumps and bumps since last summer. Shopping for a new swimsuit can also be an eye-opener with all those mirrors showing your flaws from every angle! If this sounds like you, you’re definitely not alone!
Luckily, you can get your body ready for that bikini once again by practicing yoga. Focus on yoga poses that target your core and balance, as well as your shoulders and back. The sequence below has all the moves you need.
By Rachel Brathen
Boat Pose to Half Boat Pose
Come into a seated position with the soles of the feet touching the floor. Walk the toes in toward the sit bones as much as you can, and then lift both legs, extending them up and hugging to the midline while engaging the inner thighs. Shift your weight toward the front of the sit bones, away from the tailbone, and keep the spine long while lifting from the heart. Make sure you’re not rounding the lower back!
Lower the body from Navasana to Ardha Navasana. Keep the lower edge of the shoulder blades lifted off the floor and let the legs hover above the mat. Keep the arms reaching forward and activate the core by pulling the lower ribs in toward the center line of the body. Exhale and make your way back to Navasana. Inhale and lower to Ardha Navasana. Exhale and come back to Navasana. Repeat together with the breath 5 to 10 times or as many times as you can without lifting from or rounding the lower back.
Eagle Legs Core Move
Lie down. Cross the right leg over the left, hooking the right foot around the left ankle. Extend your arms out to the sides, perpendicular to the body, and then cross the left elbow over the right in front of you. You can either press the backs of the hands together here, or bring the palms all the way together. Keep the toes pressing into the mat, inhale, and reach your arms over your head until your fingertips can touch the mat above you.
Exhale and lift the legs and arms off the mat so that your knees and elbows connect, pulling the navel into the spine, feeling the abdominals engage. Inhale to lower, touching the fingertips and the toes to the mat. Exhale to connect elbows and knees. Repeat 10 times and then switch sides with both arms and legs to do the other side.
Seated Neck Stretch
Come into a comfortable seated position. If you have a sensitive lower back, place a folded blanket beneath your sit bones. Sit up tall and extend your arms out to the sides, keeping your fingertips connected to the floor. Walk the fingers as far away from the hips as you can without letting them lift off the ground. Drop your head down and gaze toward your feet, keeping your chin to your chest.
Gently tilt your head toward the right so that the right ear draws toward the right shoulder. Move your head slowly, keeping a slight tuck of the chin. Breathe deeply.
Bring your chin to your chest again and then gently move your head to the left. Use the breath to draw some space into the parts of your neck that feel tight. Move your head left to right, right to left, without tilting your head back.
Seated Shoulder Stretch
In a seated position with legs crossed, interlace your fingers behind you. Extend the arms straight back behind you while keeping the spine long. Lift the arms as high off the floor as you can while keeping the shoulders drawn down away from the ears.
Engage your core and fold forward. If you can, rest your forehead on the mat and keep pressing the knuckles toward the back of your head. Stay for 5 breaths and then come back up. Switch legs so the opposite leg is to the front and then interlace the fingers with the opposite thumb on top and fold forward again.
Cow Face Arms
Reach the right arm straight up toward the sky and let the left arm come from below. Bend the elbows and start reaching your fingertips toward each other until your hands meet, if possible. Try to keep one elbow pointing upward and the other one pointing down. Stay for 5 to 10 breaths and then switch arms.
Come into a standing position. Move your weight to the right foot and lift the left leg off the ground, placing the left heel toward the inner right thigh. Reach your arms up and bring the palms together. Let the left knee point outward but keep drawing the frontal point of the left hip forward. Find your balance here for 10 breaths and then switch sides.
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All images courtesy of Ben Kane.