As yogis, we’re supposed to remain spiritually focused, even in the face of harsh realities like dressing room lighting and cellulite. We’re taught to be in the world but not of it, and that includes not letting wordly things, like the lonely size 6 jeans in the back of the closet and the rising number on the scale that goes with their banishment, mar our quest for inner peace.
I’m not so sure. I don’t know about you, but when my body is fit and toned, I not only look better, I feel better: more confident, and fierce. I’m not talking about perfection here — like Salvador Dali said, “Have no fear of perfection; you’ll never attain it.” And yogis, in their true mysterious fashion, say both that there is no “perfect” and that we already are, as is.
I say, let’s do what we can to shift our self-esteem into high gear, while slowing down weight gain. Today, you’ll shift your worldview from the outside in by shifting your rearview with this total lower-body toning yoga workout. And yes, that includes getting rid of junk in your trunk. Before long, you’ll be walking with “ginga!” — the Brazilian word for a sassy swing of the hips. And we all know what Brazilians look like in their bikinis.
To sculpt the waist, glutes, thighs, calves and more, simply add the following poses to our regular yoga workout, so we can both walk the mindful path of balance … and look amazing while doing it, from any direction!
How to Do Yoga for Your Rearview!
This sequence can be done as separate poses interspersed within your practice or as a total flow done straight through on one side, then the other, to challenge the lower body and quickly build strength and stamina. Rest in Child’s Pose any time during the flow for a great counter-pose.
DOWN DOG PULSES
Come into Downward-facing Dog. Lift the right leg high and turn the toes, leg and hips down to square. With each inhale, lift the leg straight up through the back of the heel, leg and glutes. After a few pulses with squared hips, try some with the lifted leg and hip opening to target the side body.
Repeat for 15-30 pulses. Switch legs or continue through the entire sequence on this side.
I call this pose “Bootyasana” for its ability to tone the tush. From Down Dog Pulses, exhale to step the right foot forward. Come up into a lunge position with hands at your chest, palms together. Walk the back foot forward a bit and pause to square the hips forward. Lengthen your tailbone as you draw navel towards spine for support, then float forward from a strong leg and core, so your lifted left leg and torso is parallel to the floor. Work on turning the lifted leg and hip to face the floor.
Hold for 3-10 breaths.
This pose was named for a goddess of beauty, since it’s a detoxifying, total body transformer. From your Warrior, bring your fingertips to the floor and draw the lifted knee into your chest. Your standing leg can be bent or straight. Inhale here, and with your exhales, kick your free leg into the air. Try some with the hips square, and some with the leg turned out.
Repeat kicks 5-10 times.
EAGLE POSE TO FIERCE POSE
From your last Lakshmi Kick, bend both knees and use your core power and standing leg to slowly come up, and cross your lifted leg over the standing knee. Press the foot into the standing leg’s shin, or wrap it around the calf. If your left leg is on top, your right elbow should wrap over your left elbow crease, and press the palms together.
Lift your elbows but lower your shoulders, and begin to sit lower with each exhale to both tone and counter-stretch the lower body.
Take 5-10 breaths in Eagle, then unwind the legs and arms and sit even lower into Fierce Pose, with the navel active, tailbone long for 3-5 breaths.
After the fire of Fierce Pose, cool it down and counter-stretch the back body by straightening the legs and bowing forward with a long spine. If you can’t maintain a long lower back, bend your knees until you can.
Breathe here for one minute then return to Down Dog Pulses and repeat the sequence on the other side!