Yoga Poses for Toned Thighs & Hips
These yoga poses will get your thighs and hips in shape for summer.
Now that swimsuit season is upon us, you may be noticing some extra lumps and bumps in your hip and thigh area for the first time. Unfortunately for many of us, extra weight is easily gained in this area due to our largely sedentary lifestyles. Sitting for the majority of the day does nothing to help keep your thighs and hips strong and toned.
Doing yoga daily can be extremely beneficial and effective in reducing the amount of fat carried on your hips and thighs. Try the poses outlined below, combined with a well-balanced diet, and watch the fat melt away just in time to break out those short shorts or bikini bottoms this summer!
By Shirin Mehdi
This asana stimulates the muscles in your legs, especially the hips and thighs. Sitting on a chair is easy, but when you sit on an imaginary chair, your muscles are exerted as they hold the fort for your body. Your body weight rests upon your legs, especially on the muscles of the hips and thighs. This not only tones your legs and builds muscle but strengthens the area too.
Stand erect in Tadasana. Gently bend your knees and lower your buttocks as if you are seated on an imaginary chair. Inhale and extend your arms over your head. Hold the pose for a few seconds as you keep the flow of your breath going. Release.
This asana works on the legs for sure, but specifically on the inner thighs. At the outset, this pose might look simple, but it works on the muscles that do not get attention when we run our daily chores. The best part is that both the legs get a different workout at the same time, so more muscle groups are targeted with this asana.
Widen your legs such that they are a little more than hip-width apart. Twist your right heel with the toes pointing outwards, and use your left heel to ground yourself. The arch of your left heel must be in line with your right foot. Lower your hips and then radiate your energy out as you stretch out your arms such that they are in line with your shoulders. Turn your gaze forward and hold the pose with integrity. Breathe slow and strong as you hold the pose and then release. Repeat on the other side.
Lord of the Dance Pose
The hip flexors are stimulated and stretched in this very graceful posture. Both the inner and outer thigh muscles are worked upon. This asana strengthens the legs as the body balances on one leg. Right from your pelvis to your feet, every muscle in your leg is toned and stretched. Your hips are opened up, and all the energy blocks in the legs are released. The blood circulation in your legs is enhanced, which gives a fresh flow of oxygen and nutrients to them.
Stand in Tadasana. Lift your right foot and swing it behind such that your right leg is parallel to the ground. Bend your knee, reach your right arm to the right foot and stretch. Once you settle down, stretch your left arm forward. You could keep the palms stretched out or assume the Gyan Mudra. Look at your left fingers. Hold the pose for a few seconds as you take long, deep breaths. Release and repeat on the other side.
This asana brilliantly opens your pectoral muscles and hip flexors. It also tones all the limbs, especially the thighs. This asana works on the front part of your body, so the muscles in the frontal thighs get thoroughly toned and stimulated.
Sit in Vajrasana. Lift your hips and raise your body such that the hip muscles and calf muscles are perpendicular. Open up your chest and lean back. Reach your arms for your feet, making sure your arms are stretched out. Gently hang your head as you gaze at the back. Hold the pose as you take long, deep breaths. Release.
Seated Wide-Legged Forward Fold
This asana works amazingly well on the upper part of your legs. Apart from giving them a good stretch, it works on the much-ignored inner thighs. It builds strength and flexibility.
Sit in Dandasana. Stretch your legs as wide as you can. Then, bring your palms to the center. If you are flexible enough, bend your body and reach your head to the ground. If not, bend your elbows and let your head hang. Breathe a few times, then slowly come back up and bring your feet together.
Head to Knee Pose
The Janu Sirsasana works towards increasing the flexibility in the thighs and hip joints. The muscles are stretched, and there is an increase in the circulation of blood. This nourishes the muscles and keeps the area healthy. This asana helps to strengthen the legs too.
Assume the Dandasana. Fold your left knee such that the left foot is placed on the right thigh. Stretch your arms up, fold your torso, and reach out for your foot with your arms. Breathe into your right abdomen. Hold and release, and repeat with the other leg. Although you are meant to touch your head to your knee in this asana, what is more important in this pose is keeping your back straight.
Bound Angle Pose
This asana is an amazing hip opener. It also increases the range of motion in your hips. Your inner thighs are stretched and toned, and lean mass is built. This asana basically works on your hips and thighs and does wonders for them.
Sit on the mat with your legs stretched out. Fold your knees, and bring your feet to the center. Join your feet, and straighten your back. Hold your feet with your palms. Now, push your knees down to the ground, as much as you possibly can. Hold the pose for a few seconds and release.
All images courtesy of iStock.