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9 Yoga Sequence For Slimmer yet Stronger Thighs

9 Yoga Sequence For Slimmer yet Stronger Thighs

Warrior-2

    1. Warrior 2

    • From Eagle Warrior 3, lower your left leg into a lunge position.
    • Spread both arms, and extend your arms out wide, gazing over your right fingers.
    • Hold here with the right thigh parallel to the floor for five breaths.

    Warrior-Eagle

      2. Warrior Eagle

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      • Release your clasped hands, and inhale to rise up into Warrior 1 as you cross your right elbow over your left, bringing your palms together. Exhale as you gently arch back, actively lifting your hands away from your shoulders.
      • Stay in this for five breaths, continuing to press the right knee forward over the ankle.

      Arching-Three-Legged-Dog

        3. Arching Three-Legged Dog

        • From Side Fierce, rise back up into Fierce Pose. Fold forward, and take a vinyasa back to Downward Facing Dog.
        • Step both feet together so your big toes are touching. Keeping the left heel on the mat, raise your right leg in the air coming into Three-Legged Dog, and then bend the knee. Actively squeeze your right heel in toward your hip, lifting the knee high. Raise as high as you can. 
        • Lift your head up, turn and look over your left shoulder, arching the spine.
        • Hold here for five breaths, keeping the belly still and breathing into the chest.

        Eagle-Warrior-3

          4. Eagle Warrior 3

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          • From Warrior Eagle, lean forward, raise your back leg into the air, and balance with the body parallel to the floor.
          • Actively extend the arms away from you, and engage the abs for five breaths.

          Burning-Lunge

            5. Burning Lunge

            • Place your left hand back at the front of your mat, and step your right foot forward between your hands.
            • Reach your right arm underneath your bent right knee. Interlace both hands in front of your right ankle. Keep all the weight in your legs, resisting 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.

            Goddess

              6. Goddess

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              • From Warrior 2, straighten the front leg, and turn the left heel in.
              • Bend your knees coming into a wide squat until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Your knees should be directly over your ankles, so adjust your feet if you need to.
              • Lift your arms up, bending your elbows so they are at 90-degree angles, open the palms away from you.
              • Hold here for five deep breaths.

              Side-Fierce

                7. Side Fierce

                • Stand at the top of your mat with both feet together. Bend the knees to squat down into Fierce pose.
                • Rotate your torso, and cross your right elbow over the outside of your right thigh. Actively press into your outer right arm to lift the torso.
                • Pull the right hip back to keep both knees in line and keep weight back into the heels.
                • Hold here for five deep breaths, gazing over the left shoulder.

                Bow

                  8. Bow

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                  • From Goddess, fold forward, lower the hands to the floor, and come onto the stomach.
                  • Bend your knees, and hold onto the outside edge of your right ankle, and then your left.
                  • Once you have a firm hold of each ankle, try to keep your toes together, either pointing or flexing your feet. Lift your feet as high as you can, and shift weight forward so you’re resting on your naval instead of on your pubic bone.
                  • Hold for five deep breaths, then slowly lower, and lie flat. Turn your head to one side, and shake your hips from side to side to release your lower back.

                  Wild-Thing

                    9. Wild Thing

                    • From Arching Three-Legged Dog, keep your left foot and right hand where they are.
                    • Draw your right knee into your chest, raise your left hand up, and simultaneously rotate your torso 180 degrees so your belly is pointing up toward the ceiling as you plant your right foot on the ground about a foot and a half to the right of your left foot.
                    • Deeply arch the spine, and reach your left fingertips toward the floor.
                    • Actively press into your feet and right hand to lift the hips as high as you can, breathing here for five breaths, gazing at your extended hand.
                    • If you are not capable to do this, just keep your hands underneath your waist.
                    yoga a5
                      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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