Yoga for Toning

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Yoga has many benefits and one of these is the ability to tone the body to a high degree. Two things are happening when you tone the body with yoga. You are gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time. Here are some great yoga poses to help you improve your tone along with some important advice. Having a great body tone should be seen as one of the many benefits of yoga and it can do a lot to improve your self-esteem as well. Remember as well that you need a good diet to complement all the good work that you put in on the mat in order to get a great body.

By toning the body through yoga we are going through moderate muscle training. This is just as effective as other forms of exercise when you’re over 60 years of age. Ideally, if you practice these poses for an hour at a time three times a week you should see some notable improvements within 3 months. But make sure that you do them properly by which I mean to do them slowly.

The Bridge Pose which is known in Hindi as Setu Banda Sarvangasana is a pose that tones your tummy and legs as well. It’s appropriate for the beginner and you begin by lying on your back with your knees. The palms of your hands should be facing downwards. Make sure your legs are about shoulder-width apart. You then push your hips upwards and inhale deeply as you push up. Perhaps for the extra difficulty, you can push your shoulders together and interlace your fingers from each hand together which by this stage will be directly underneath your buttocks. You can maintain the pose for 3 deeply controlled breaths and then repeat.

The Plank Pose has become popular as an exercise in the mainstream fitness industry and it is easy to see why. All that you’re doing is maintain the push-up position at full extension. Such areas as the abductors, glutes, shoulders, and obliques will all come under tension and thus grow stronger and it will develop a strong abdominal section as well. When you set up for the pose make sure that you have your fingers spread apart and your wrists are directly underneath your shoulders. The leg should be shoulder-width apart. Maintain good form by keeping your legs straight and rest your body on your toes with the soles of your feet facing backward.

Another variation of the same exercise is the Four-Limbed Staff Pose which is also known as Chaturanga Dandasana. However, it is a lot harder as you are holding the pose but with your elbows instead of having your arms locked. Your elbows should form a right-angle to the ground with them tucked in by your sides. Make sure not to rush and to always concentrate on quality over quantity. And always remember to keep your legs straight.

For those looking for an easier option, the Chair Pose or Utkatasana is a viable alternative. Your quadriceps will benefit as it impacts this area the most as well as the gluteal muscle. Start by standing with your feet about a hand-width apart. Just as the name implies, lower yourself into a chair position but with your arms reaching upwards to maintain balance. Move into the position slowly. This pose should be maintained for a minimum of 5 breaths and by that time you should well and truly feel the burn. Be careful to look after your knees by making the pose in a slow and deliberate fashion.

The Crescent Lunge (Anjaneysana) is a yoga pose that brings to mind the word dynamic.

This will impact almost all of your body including your legs, core as well as most of your upper body. Begin by moving one of your legs so that it supports your weight in front of you with your knee making a 90-degree bend. Holding your balance, slowly move your arms straight up into the vertical position. You can exert some added pressure by pressing your back heel slightly lower and deepening your body by bending the front knee. This position can be held for 10 breaths and then you change onto the other leg.

The Side Plank Pose or Vasisthasana is another challenging pose for you but only if you feel that you’re up for it. The arms, back, shoulder, and core will be most affected. From the push-up position, you raise one of your arms off the floor and then raise it as high as you can. Keep the legs together and then transfer your body into a side-on position with your supporting arm being kept straight. This takes considerable strength and balance in order to execute the pose properly so maybe it is a matter of practice that makes perfect. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail to perfect it the first time you try it. Make sure that your body is straight through your legs and torso. You can hold the position for 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side. This is definitely a position for an advanced yoga practitioner.

Remember to conduct your own research so that you’re in a position where you can execute these poses safely and correctly. The correct attitude is a safe attitude and is humble enough to undertake the easier poses first so that you can build up your confidence. 

Another mental attribute that is very important is patience. Patience is free and yet it is the most valuable thing in the world. By consistently trying these poses for at least 3 months you should expect to see some good results start to come in. Once you start to see results then your enthusiasm will increase and the lack of momentum which all beginners have will start to increase dramatically. Nothing is better than having a good body because your health is your wealth. Yoga is not the only tool available to help you achieve this goal but it is one of the most important.

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Confidence is the feeling that you know that you’ve done something before and you know you can do it again. This will only increase as you see the benefits of yoga. Set aside some time for yourself every day and your mind and body will love you for it. It’s time to roll out the mat and to go to do something about it.

Nick Hanlon

I'm an Aussie interested in topical issues.

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