You only have to look at the various yoga experts on Instagram to see toned bodies in various poses. But what about more low key yoga, can that help you get toned too?
The good news is that even incorporating simple yoga stretches into a daily routine can give you a more toned body within a relatively short space of time.
So what stops people giving yoga a go and getting the benefits? Well, beginners can find themselves thinking yoga’s not for them, that they are not flexible enough or that their body will not go into yoga positions no matter how much they try.
Here are a few very basic stretches that may help you become more toned, especially around the waist and core middle area. The key is doing them regularly each day, even if only for 10-15 minutes.
- In a standing position with feet slightly spaced apart, stretch arms up to the ceiling and then bend backwards slightly, only to where it is comfortable.
- Stretch forward and lean against a couch or chair, so that your back is flat as if you are trying to be a table.
- Reach down to your toes and then walk your hands towards each foot and round towards each of your outer ankles.
- Sit on the floor and try to touch your toes. Let your muscles and body relax into the stretch. See if your hands can reach around your feet.
- Lie on your back and lift your legs, pointing them upright towards the ceiling. Try to lift your shoulders and upper body towards your legs and hold onto the back of your calves. Try and hold this position for a short time.
- Sit in a position similar to cross legs but with the soles of your feet touching each other. Gently let your knees fall apart. Relax into this position.
- Sit on the floor with one leg stretched out slightly to the side and the other leg bent inwards. Stretch your body towards the straight leg and feel the muscles stretch out over your hips.
If you are not currently doing any stretching exercise these kinds of simple stretches will be more than your body is used to in its day to day routines. Therefore, if done regularly, they can help tone your abdominal area, back, arms and legs.
As your strength develops then other yoga moves can be added in such as downward dog and various lunges.
What I want to emphasis here is that you don’t need to be doing some of the amazing poses that you see on Instagram to begin getting the physical benefits from yoga stretches.
When you start to see positive signs that your body is responding well to the stretches this encourages you to keep going. As you become more aware of your body and how it is feeling, your mindset often changes and you have a more positive relationship with exercise and the food you consume.
Heidi Kristoffer sums this up well in her article 8 reasons yoga beats the gym:
“Yoga shows you how to appreciate your body for all of the amazing things that it can do for you and points you in the direction of wanting to fill your body with the best possible fuel rather than processed junk food. And changing your mind about your body and the foods you feed it will be a much more effective weight-loss tool than burning a bunch of calories in an aggressive kickboxing class and then mindlessly ploughing through equal or more calories later that day.”
Let us know in the comments whether yoga has helped you to become more toned and what moves have given the best results. In the meantime here is a video with some more moves and stretches that will strengthen your core and tone you up.
Photo by Avrielle Suleiman on Unsplash