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Fitness & Yoga

Yoga positions to help you tone up

People take up yoga for different reasons, with some looking to improve their flexibility and others looking for a low impact form of exercise.

The relaxation benefits of yoga are well documented, but while it is certainly great for the mind it can really help improve the physical condition of participants.

While getting to grips with your yoga mats you could also be toning up your body, working on those notoriously difficult areas such as legs, bums and tums.

If legs and bums are your problem parts and you're keen to help tighten up then there are plenty of effective routines you can try out.

Yoga teacher Lisa Sanfilippo from lisayogalondon.com recommends yoga moves that tone the bum and legs such as hamstring and thigh stretches, which can lengthen the muscles "giving an elongated and firmer quality - while also keeping the lower back and hips in good health".

Useful poses to have a go at include the half hanumanasana, also known as the half splits pose, which Ms Sanfilippo says is an "excellent hamstring stretch to get circulation to the back of the thighs and calves".

The Anusara-inspired yoga teacher also suggests that lunging thigh stretches help open up the quadriceps muscles, with postures such as the parsvakonasana, or side angle pose, strengthening the thighs and hips.

Moving upwards the ardha chandrasana (half moon pose) requires you to engage the bum to "hold yourself up in this one-legged, one-armed balance", a move great for concentrating the lower body.

For all-over body toning, focusing particularly on the stomach muscles the set bandha or bridge pose is another top choice for stretching out your core muscles and improving all-over strength and focus - key skills as you become more experienced at yoga.

While there are certainly designated poses for different muscle groups, to best tackle individual issues yoga practitioners can work one-on-one to assess how to get the most from your routine and to keep your work-outs on track.

Posted by Freya Harper

 
 
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