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These 14 Yoga Poses Can Help You Gain Lean And Firm Thighs

These 14 Yoga Poses Can Help You Gain Lean And Firm Thighs

Wide-Squat

    1. Wide Squat

    • Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Bend your knees and lower your hips toward the ground.
    • Bring your palms together at your heart centre, and firmly press your elbows against the inside of your knees, helping to open the hips even further.
    • Shift weight into the heels, lengthening the crown of the head up toward the ceiling, holding for five deep breaths.

    Extended-Wide-Squat

      2. Extended Wide Squat

      • Release your hands to the floor, walk them away from you as you press your belly toward the floor.
      • Relax your head, staying here for five breaths.

      Half-Bound-Wide-Squat

        3. Half Bound Wide Squat

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        • Walk your hands back to the feet, and lower your right shoulder in front of your right knee. Wrap your armpit around the knee as you reach your right forearm around your lower back with your palm facing away.
        • Reach your left arm toward the ceiling, bend your elbow, and bring the back of your left hand to your lower back.
        • Touch your fingers together if you can, hold your left wrist with your right hand, with the left palm facing behind you.
        • Hold for five deep breaths, looking over the left shoulder.

        Balancing-Bound-Wide-Squat

          4. Balancing Bound Wide Squat

          • Bring your gaze forward, and rock your weight from side to side to gain enough momentum to rise up while holding your knee in the bound position. Rock right, left, right, and as you rock left, push into the left foot to straighten the leg and rise to stand. If you lose hold of your right leg, wrap your right arm around it again once you feel stable. If this is too difficult, just clasp both hands around your right knee.
          • Look over the left shoulder for five breaths.

          Flamingo

            5. Flamingo

            • With your arms holding the bind around your right knee, slowly hinge at the hips, folding forward as far as you can. If this is too difficult, release your hands to the floor, keeping the knee bent.
            • Hold still, breathing for five breaths.

            Extended-Hand-Big-Toe

              6. Extended Hand to Big Toe

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              • Pressing into the left foot, rise up with your bent right knee, and release your arms. Hold the right big toe with the first two fingers and thumb of your right hand, and bring the left hand to your left hip.
              • With the left leg straight and the torso stacked over the pelvis, straighten the right leg out in front of you as much as you can.
              • Enjoy this stretch for five breaths.

              Dancer

                7. Dancer

                • Bend the right knee, swing it behind and kick it away as you lean the torso forward, holding onto the arch of your right foot.
                • Draw the belly toward the spine, staying here for five deep breaths.

                Eagle

                  8. Eagle

                  • Release hold of your foot, lift the torso as you swing your right knee forward. Wrap it around your left thigh, and tuck the right toes around your lower left leg.
                  • Cross the left elbow over the right then bring your palms together.
                  • Hold like this for five breaths, lifting the elbows as high as you can, look at the hands.

                  Crouching-Eagle

                    9. Crouching Eagle

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                    • Keeping the legs and arms crossed, bend the knees to squat down and lower the torso, resting your right elbow on your right knee.
                    • Hold for five breaths.

                    Eagle-Warrior-3

                      10. Eagle Warrior 3

                      • Keeping the elbows crossed, uncross the knees, and kick your right leg behind you, bringing the torso parallel with the floor.
                      • Actively extend the arms away from you, and engage the abs for five breaths.

                      Bent-Standing-Split

                        11. Bent Standing Split

                        • Bend the right knee and fold forward. Lower the right hand to the floor and hold the right toes with your left hand.
                        • Pull the knee as high as you can to intensify the quad stretch, holding for five breaths.

                        Lunge

                          12. Lunge

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                          • Kick the right foot behind you, bending the left knee, and releasing the hands to the floor.
                          • Hold this lunge position for five breaths.

                          Burning-Lunge

                            13. Burning Lunge

                            • Lower your torso, and reach your left arm underneath your bent left knee. Interlace both hands in front of your left ankle. Keep all the weight in your legs, resist the urge to lean into your hands. If this is too hard for your thigh muscle to hold (it’s an intense move!), then rest one or both hands on the floor.
                            • Breathe deeply in this low lunge for five breaths.

                            Kneeling-Quad-Stretch

                              14. Kneeling Quad Stretch

                              • Lower the back knee to the floor.
                              • Pull the foot in toward your right hip, holding the top of the foot with your right hand.
                              • Rest your left forearm on your left thigh, staying here for five breaths.
                              • Release the back leg, and step your right foot forward to meet the left, coming into a Wide Squat. Now repeat this sequence on the left side.

                              yoga1
                                Reference: popsugar.com

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                                Published on March 8, 2019

                                How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

                                How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

                                When we fall into a workout routine, our moves become automatic, and the body quickly adapts. This is called muscle memory.[1] While teaching your body how to properly execute squats, push-ups, or crunches is a benefit, overly relying on these moves to consistently grow gains won’t yield the kind of results you want. That’s because the muscles work in the same way every time.

                                Simply put, they’re not being “surprised,” so they get lazy.

                                Supplementing your routine with flow yoga is one way of surprising your muscles, especially if you are new to the yoga practice and have never tried the postures. It’s like taking a new road home when you drive, deviating from your usual route. Science has found that by doing so, you’re creating new neuropathways in your brain.[2] The same is done in your muscles when you try a new routine.

                                How is this done? Let’s dive right into it.

                                How Flow Yoga Boost Your Gains in Your Workout Routine

                                Think about your current workouts:

                                If you lift weights, you rely on external tools to engage your various muscle groups. Over time, your shoulders, legs, or biceps will come to expect the weighted plates or dumbbells, in the repetitive sequences that you remember.

                                In flow yoga, we use the body as the weight. Add gravity and hundreds of different postures and combinations, and you have a workout that uses the same muscle groups, but in many different ways.

                                A pose such as plank is a full-body workout, with every muscle engaged to keep the body in one long line. While it’s a stationary pose, it requires muscle control and activation, with no room for passivity.

                                  A Flow sequence, on the other hand, requires your muscle to switch from one pose to another swiftly, providing you with a more balanced and wholesome use of your major muscle groups.

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                                  Not only do these poses and routines re-energize the body in a refreshing way, they also allow you to learn something new, which is powerful for the mind.

                                  Bottom line? Complementing your exercise regimen with flow yoga is like hitting the shuffle button on your workouts, using your muscles in ways that “surprise” them, which in turn boost their growth and performance.

                                  Energizing Flow Yoga with Added Cardio

                                  Flow yoga is also known as “Vinyasa.”[3] In Sanskrit – the sacred language of the practice and its Indian roots – Vinyasa is roughly translated to “one breath, one movement.”

                                  This guideline, first and foremost, enhances your breathing, and teaches you how to go from our typical shallow, chest-only breathing, to a more deeper, belly-chest breath that uses the entire lung system.

                                  Not only is this beneficial for a myriad of healthcare reasons (combat allergies, eliminate toxins, reduce stress, ease anxiety), it also greatly impacts our muscles,[4] and therefore our workout.

                                  Flooding your muscles with rich oxygen will only keep them healthy, while the cardio benefit will get you warmed up to take on the more challenging postures in a flow yoga class. This prevents injuries and cramping.

                                  The best example of energizing cardio in flow yoga is the Sun Salutation sequence. Each pose is completed on an inhale or an exhale, until the sequence is finished. One full sequence may be repeated several times, encouraging you to take fuller and deeper breaths. The cycles warm up and loosen the body and prepare the muscles for stationary poses that are held longer.

                                  Here’s how to do a Sun Salutation Flow:

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                                  Due to the Sun Salutations, the muscles are not thrown into a challenging workout, but rather primed and prepared with energizing breath.

                                  Why is this important, you ask? Because happy muscles are warmed-up muscles.

                                  The Best Thing About Flow Yoga

                                  The best thing about practicing flow yoga? You’re building strength and flexibility.

                                  Strength and flexibility are like the Mecca of a wholesome workout routine. Before we get into why this is important, let’s break these two down individually to see how they stand up on their own:

                                  Meet Strong Stan

                                  Strong Stan is at the gym, doing bicep curls with massive dumbbells. His muscles have peaked in size, and he proudly displays them.

                                  While he loves to lift weights, Strong Stan often skips stretching or warm-ups. He just doesn’t see how that could help him continue his muscle gains, so he jumps right into a heavy workout.

                                  While it’s not evident to a passerby, Stan’s muscles are hurting. Without sufficient flexibility or deliberate stretching, Stan’s muscles are shortening and getting tighter. This eventually leads to joint injuries,[5] because un-stretched muscles have limited range of motion.

                                  Big muscles are a sure indicator of strength, but here’s the kicker – choosing not to prioritize flexibility will keep them inherently at risk.

                                  Meet Flexible Fiona

                                  Flexible Fiona is in a flow yoga class, easing herself into a backbend.[6] She effortlessly gets into the pose, and “hangs” out there for a few breaths while the teacher cues the class.

                                  Even though the teacher instructs the students to engage their glutes and be mindful that this is an active pose, Flexible Fiona opts otherwise, and relaxes into the posture by sacrificing the strength she ought to be building.

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                                  To many in the class, Fiona’s execution of the backbend would be a success – maybe even something to envy. However, what Fiona doesn’t realize is that her excessive flexibility is actually a detriment to her joints.[7]

                                  Flexibility has been defined as the “absolute range of motion” by Tony Gummerson, Martial Arts instructor. For people who are naturally flexible, that line of absolute range is often blurry and, in practice, overlooked.

                                  It’s very easy for Fiona to go above and beyond her range of motion, since her flexibility parameters are much wider than what Strong Stan may experience in a similar pose.

                                  Because she doesn’t feel the stretch in the same degree of motion as other students in class, Fiona has to push the envelope of her flexibility. This puts too much pressure on the joints that are already overworked, and it overstretches the muscles that are now prone to tearing.

                                  Your goal is to create muscle and joint balance and wholeness.

                                  What Strong Stan and Flexible Fiona have in common is that they’re both missing vital pieces of muscle awareness.

                                  In Stan’s case, heavy and tight muscles crave flexibility. Without it, not only would Stan hit a plateau in his gains because of a sure injury, but he would miss out on having the lean and toned muscles that we all want to have.

                                  In Fiona’s case, her overstretched muscles are not getting a workout at all. Rather, her excessive flexibility is resting on her joints, which leads to definite injury.

                                  So what can you do? It’s quite simple.

                                  You have to give your muscles the opposite of what they’re used to.

                                  If you’re a Stan and hate stretching, focusing on your flexibility is key. You will lengthen your tight muscles, and you’ll create new muscle memory by practicing routines that are new to you and your muscle groups.

                                  If you’re a Fiona and hate strengthening, focusing on this priority is vital. Your muscles are used to being passive as you stretch, so shaking up the usual and putting them to work will not only keep you injury-free, but that much closer to the muscle gains you’ve been looking for.

                                  Fortunately, flow yoga is the whole package, and can be the one-stop-shop for both Stan and Fiona.

                                    Final Thoughts

                                    If you’re serious about using flow yoga to supplement your workout routine to boost gains, sign up for a class at your local gym or yoga studio. There are a number of styles of yoga to try, but as we’ve discussed in this article, the Vinyasa style is your best bet to complement a moderate exercise regimen.

                                    Many studios offer beginner-style Vinyasa classes, where the instructor will explain the basics, and break down the sequences in a pace that is suitable for entry-level students. From here, the student can build upon their practice, and opt for more challenging, fast-paced classes, such as Power Flow or Ashtanga.

                                    Working out is a lesson in teaching your muscles. The gains that we grow are the result of that experience, and it all comes down to conditioning our body in a way that is healthy, efficient, and balanced.

                                    With a practice like flow yoga, we can offer supplemental training to our current regimen that will work our muscles in ways that are new, refreshing, and “surprising.” This method will keep our muscles toned and lean, as long as we prioritize the balance between strength and flexibility to ensure that we’re meeting both of these needs. Our muscle gains and body health depend on it.

                                    More Resources About Yoga and Fitness

                                    Featured photo credit: Edit Sztazics via unsplash.com

                                    Reference

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