Practicing yoga is a great way to get strong, sexy, and svelte during summer. Get ready to feel the burn! These three moves will help you tackle your body’s problem areas and, most importantly, improve your overall body confidence. KRISTIN MCGEE is a leading yoga and Pilates instructor and healthy lifestyle expert based in New York City. She is an ACE certified personal trainer who regularly trains celebrity clients in New York and Los Angeles. She serves as Health’s contributing fitness editor and is frequently seen on national TV.
Why it works: The Eagle is a great pose to strengthen and stretch the ankles, calves, thighs, hips, shoulders, and upper back. This one pose works on many areas of the body to make it stronger and sexier.
How it works: Bend your knees enough to wrap one thigh over the other at the top of the thigh. See if you can double cross the foot behind the standing leg’s calf. If this is too challenging, just keep the foot out or tap it to the floor. Wrap your arms high at the shoulders and double cross at the forearms to bring the palms together. If you can’t press the palms, press the backs of the hands. Hollow out your abdominals and bow forward as you gaze down the hands. Pick a spot on the floor to rest your gaze and hold for 8 to 10 breaths. When you come up and unwind, notice how less anxious you feel and note the sensation of spaciousness in your thoughts and your body. Repeat on the other side.
Why it works: This pose strengthens and stretches the shoulders. It strengthens the arms, upper back, legs, glutes, and wrists and stretches the chest, abdomen, feet, and ankles.
How it works: Start seated with your legs out in front of you, place your hands about 10 inches behind your hips with fingers facing forward. Press in to your hands and feet and lift your entire body off the floor. Hold for 5 breaths then lower down and notice the opening in your heart center.
Why it works: Warrior I is another great yoga pose to strengthen and stretch the shoulders, arms, thighs, calves and ankles. And you just can’t help but feel like a warrior in this pose!
How it works: Start standing with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms at your sides. Turn your front foot 90 degrees. Turn your back foot to 75 degrees. Step your foot a little to the left if needed. Your back heel should be dropped and back leg should be straight. Your hips and ribs should be facing forward. If your knee is bothered, you can always open that hip up a bit. Lunge the right knee, but do not let the knee go past the ankle. Lift your arms alongside your ears. Either keep the arms parallel or press the palms together. Tilt the head back and gaze up at the thumbs. Hold up for one minute. To release, press your weight through the back heel and straighten the front foot. Lower the arms and turn to the left. Repeat on the opposite side.