Hello, sunshine. It’s almost officially June and although the excitement of summer is just around the corner, it also means bathing suit season is among us once again. No need to panic! Our second For The Love of Yoga installment focuses on “Beach Body Yoga” – an easy, dynamic series designed to help you build a stronger core and tone your overall physique. Practice this series to strengthen your bathing suit game and boost your confidence – for the beach and beyond.
5 Beach Body Poses
Start in a standing position at the end of your mat. Take a big step forward with one leg, bending that knee so you are in a lunge position. Gently raise your arms up over your head so your hands touch in prayer position. Make sure your arms are up by your ears. Lift the heal of your back foot up off the mat to engage your toes. Slowly arch your back and begin to let your head and arms fall back. Try to visualize the shape of a crescent moon as you steady your gaze. Hold the pose for 8 breaths before releasing your arch and coming back to a standing position. Switch your feet and repeat the pose.
From a standing position, keep one foot rooted to the mat, bringing the opposite foot up to your inner thigh. Find your balance and then begin to lift your arms up. Visualize yourself as a tree, extending your rooted foot down and blossoming your arms up towards the sky. Steady your gaze forward. Hold the pose for 10 breaths before releasing your arms followed by both feet to the mat. Switch your feet and repeat the pose.
Start in a wide legged squat with your toes pointing out in opposite directions, not facing forward. Bring your hands together in prayer position, centered at your chest. Rise up onto the balls of your feet, reaching as high up on your toes as comfortable. Gently pulse up and down, lowering your heels to hover above the mat and then pushing back up to your toes. Pulse 10 – 15 times before returning to a standing position.
Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose
Coming from a standing position, keep your left leg firmly rooted to the mat, placing your left arm at your waist. Raise your right leg up, catching your big toe with the fingers of your right hand. Ensure your hips are square towards the front. Slowly straighten your leg and torso, opening the leg to one side. Steady your gaze as you find balance. Hold the pose for 3 – 5 breaths before releasing your arms and lowering your feet to the mat. Switch your feet and repeat.
* To modify – simply hold onto the knee of your raised leg rather than performing a full extension or use the assistance of a yoga strap. You can also ease into the pose by supporting your raised leg on the top edge of a chair back. This is a challenging pose so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t come easy. Practice makes perfect!
Starting in a standing position, rest your body weight on one foot. Release the opposite heel back, lifting up towards your buttocks with a bent knee. Using your arm on the same side as your raised leg, catch the outside of the foot or ankle, securing this leg. Using this added resistance, kick your raised foot up and back, creating a bow-like shape. Raise the opposite arm up, steadying your gaze at the palm of your hand. Hold the pose for 10 breaths. Switch your feet and repeat.
We hope this series leaves your mind and body stimulated and energized, setting up your day for success both on and off the mat. For increased intensity, repeat this series several times in a row to build on your practice.
* If you experience any pain or discomfort during the practice, stop immediately. Never push yourself past the point of gentle tension. It is advised to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
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