A Yogic Summer Shape Up by Sue Fuller

Yoga is the perfect way to tone and shape the body.  Postures help to strengthen and lengthen all of the major muscles groups producing long lean muscles.

As muscle mass increases the body naturally burns more calories.  During yoga tension is released from the body and muscles are encouraged to soften during activity this makes it possible to hold postures for longer and produce strong muscles without fatigue or tension. 

Yoga will help to balance body and mind and promote a healthy sleep pattern these positive changes will help to lower stress.  By reducing stress, cravings for high calorie snacks begin to subside.   

Yoga postures will speed up a sluggish digestive system and enhance the elimination process.  

Yoga improves posture, standing and sitting correctly can instantly change your shape. 

Yoga breathing techniques (pranayamas) will increase oxygen levels which will enhance all bodily functions (including metabolism), promote a sharp mind and a youthful glow. 

The following yoga postures will help tone and shape the body ready for summer.

Jathara Parivartanasana (Lying Down Spinal Twist)

Lying Down Spinal TwsitThis simple spinal twist will help tone and shape your abdominal muscles, whilst relieving tension in the lower back. 

Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.  The arms are stretched out to the side level with your shoulders and the palms facing up.

Inhale and as you exhale allow the knees to fall to the right whilst turning your head to the left.  As you inhale return to your starting position and when you next exhale allow your knees to fall to the left whilst turning the head to the right.  Continue like this for ten complete breaths breathing slowly in and out through the nose. 

Setu Bandasana (Half Bridge) 

Half Bridge - Sue FullerThis posture will help strengthen and tone the bottom and upper thighs whilst increasing spinal flexibility.

Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet firmly fixed on the floor.  Breathe slowly in and out through your nose.  When you feel ready lift your hips as high as you can.

Remain here for ten complete breaths breathing slowly in and out through the nose and repeat two more times. 

 

 

 

 Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) Santolasana (Plank)

Downward Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana

Moving between downward facing dog and plank will strengthen all of the muscles in the arms, shoulders, chest and core.

Begin on your hands and knees, curl under your toes and unfold your legs to create a triangular shape with your body and the floor.  Push the floor away with your hands and draw up your lower stomach muscles.  This is downward facing dog. 

Breathe slowly in and out through your nose, when you feel ready.  Inhale and move the shoulders forward and create a straight line between your shoulders and your heels.  This is plank.  As you exhale return to downward facing dog.

Repeat for ten complete breath cycles breathing in and out through your nose. 

 

Santolasana - The Plank - Yoga Posture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virabhadrasana I (Warrior 1) 

Warrior 1 - Sue FullerThis posture will help tone and strengthen the torso, upper arms, bottom and outer thighs.  It will also lengthen the inner thighs and gently massage the digestive organs.

Stand with your feet leg length apart.  Imagine a clock face on the floor in front of you.  The left foot is facing 12 0'clock and your right foot facing 2 or 3 0’clock. Your hips and torso are facing forward and your arms are level with your shoulders, keep the arms level with the shoulders and work to soften the shoulders maintaining a long neck.  Bend your right knee and turn your torso 90 degrees to the right and lift your arms up above your head forming a prayer position with your hands.  Draw up the lower abdominal muscles. Hold for ten slow controlled breaths in and out through the nose and then repeat on the other side

 

 

 

Savasana (The Corpse)

Savasana - The Corpse - Yoga PostureTo help the body and mind relax always finish your yoga practice by spending a little time in Savasana.

Lay on your back with your arms along side your body and your palms facing up.  Breathe slowly in and out through your nose for up to ten minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of these postures can be found on classes from the Beginners or Improvers ranges of Yoga 2 Hear audio yoga sessions.

Yoga for Weight Loss

2 in 1 Yoga for Weight Loss or More 2 in 1 Yoga for Weight Loss are the perfect classes to fit into even the busiest of days to help strengthen and tone the body.  The classes can be followed as one long class or a short variation for those days when you are pushed for time.

Sue Fuller is a leading yoga teacher, columnist and course author.  She is the creator of the Yoga 2 Hear range of audio yoga classes.  There are over 60 yoga classes suitable for different abilities all available from www.yoga2hear.co.uk.