Most women have the same problem area when it comes to losing weight – hips and thighs, says Delna Mistry Anand! (And might I add – it is usually the last place where we lose weight!) While spot reduction kind of goes against the main principal of yoga, there are some yoga asanas that are directed to toning these areas.
Yoga, in Sanskrit, means “to unite, join or add”, from the root ‘yuj’. Yoga is not just physical, it is a mental and spiritual practice, that aims to unify and transform body and mind. So while giving you the benefits of exercise, you also get a deeper understanding and love for your body the way it is right now, with the extra weight on it. So basically yoga helps you to accept your body, while toning it at the same time!
This sequence is aimed at toning the thighs. Start with a few deep breaths, as you’d do at the start of any yoga practice. Close your eyes and inhale for 10 counts, exhale for 10 counts. At this time, state your intention,mentally. Then do a warm up of your choice or even better if you could do 2-4 rounds of Sun Salutations to warm the body and then start these asanas.
Begin standing with your feet together. Bend your knees and drop your hips, bringing your weight into your heels. Remember that your knees must be over your toes. Drop your tailbone, firm your front ribs in and lift your arms up shoulder-width apart. Keep your shoulders relaxed in their sockets, and rotate the outer edges of your arms inward to broaden your upper back. Gaze upwards. Hold for 8-10 breaths.
You need to be on your hands and knees for this pose, making sure your ankles are exactly under your hips and your wrists, under your shoulders. Stretch your left leg straight towards your side, and as you inhale lift your leg without bending the knee. Exhale and bring it down. Repeat this 6-8 times and change sides.
Start on all fours, placing your hands directly below your shoulders, and your knees below your hips. Bring your right knee forward until it touches your right wrist, keeping your right thigh parallel to the sides of your mat. Slowly inch your right shin and foot (or “front leg”) toward the midline of your body until your foot is directly below your left hip. Now straighten your left leg (your “back” leg) toward the back of your mat.
Instead of leaning forward, walk your hands back and lower both sides of your pelvis toward the floor. As your pelvis releases, be sure your hips don’t lean to the right. You’ll know this is happening if your left hip lifts higher than your right. You need to keep your hips as level as possible to get the full effects of the pose and to keep your lower back safely aligned. If you’re not able to lower the hips evenly, sit on a folded blanket or a block before starting the pose.
As your hips continue to settle, press your fingertips firmly into the floor and lengthen the sides of your waist to help keep your lower back long and free from strain. Using your arms this way allows you to modify the intensity of the stretch. Hold for a few breaths. And repeat with the other leg.
Once again, come onto your hands and knees. Extend your right foot in front of you balancing on your heel (If you are too high to support yourself with your hands on the ground place blocks beside your hips and rest your hands on them). Pull your toes back towards your body. If you can maintain a long spine, begin to hinge at your right hip to fold over your right leg, aiming your face to your shin. After holding for 1-2 minutes, repeat on the left side.
Stand with your feet more than hip distance apart, feet facing forward. Inhale deeply raising your arms up on either side of your face and then with your hip pushed outwards reach your arms forward slowly till you touch the floor in front of you. Keep your back straight and stay in this pose for 6-8 breaths.
To come out of this pose, keep your tailbone pushed out, feet firmly on the ground, inhale and rise. Gently lie down on your back for Shavasana. Spend 5-10 minutes lying down, focusing on your breath.
Doing this routine everyday will knock a few inches off the hips. In my next column, we’ll talk about slimmer thighs and how to achieve them! Till then, be regular with your practice and even if it’s just a ten-minute routine, do it with love and faith!
Photo credits : Name: Hemaxi Jariwala; Email : firstname.lastname@example.org, FB : Hemaxi Jariwala