Summer is here and I am ready to spend my time outdoors, soaking up the sun and enjoying the pool! Here are some fun yoga poses that give your legs a workout (an added benefit for bathing suit season) and get you sweaty before you take that dip.
*Try and do these poses in a sequence, moving from one pose directly into the next. Move through this entire sequence on one side, then switch and try the other side. Use your inhale and exhales to dictate when you move from pose to pose.
Begin in a high lunge by bending your left leg so your knee is directly over your ankle. Step your right leg back and keep it straight, your toes are pointing forward and your heel is off the ground. Keep your hips square.
On an inhale, raise your arms up, keeping them straight with your palms turning inward (they should be facing one another). Think about creating space between your pelvis and your rib cage while keeping your shoulder blades moving down your back (i.e. don't hunch those shoulders!). Gaze upwards as you move into a slight back bend. Inhale and exhale for three breaths.
SPOT CHECK: As you find your mini back bend think about lifting your sternum up and then leaning back. This will prevent you from crunching the discs in your lower back.
Revolved Side Angle
Return to your high lunge and bring your hands into prayer position in front of your sternum. Inhale as you tip your upper body forward (while keeping your spine straight) over your bent knee (the left knee in this case) and exhale as you revolve your upper body to the left. Your right elbow moves to the outside of your left knee.
SPOT CHECK: As you rotate to the left, keep your spine long; think about extending through the crown of your head and the heel of your right foot to help you do this. On the left side, your left hip will try to move forward but don't let it! See if you can encourage your left hip to move back in line with your right hip. Inhale and exhale for three breaths.
Inhale and return to your high lunge, exhale while holding your lunge position. On your next inhale, press your weight onto your left foot and lift your right leg up as you come to stand on one foot.
Place the sole of your right foot against the inside of your left ankle or against the inside of your left thigh (just don't place your foot on the inside of your left knee, you could hurt that delicate knee joint). Balance in tree pose. You can lift your arms up toward the sky or keep them in prayer position. Breathe.
Still standing solely on your left leg, turn your right leg in so your knee is facing forward. Extend your right leg out behind you and flex your right foot. As you raise your right leg up, lower your upper body. You are trying to move your upper body and your lifted leg onto the same plane.
You can keep your arms in prayer position in front of you, extend them out to a "T" or extend them straight out in front of you. Play around and see how the different arm positions make the pose easier or harder for you.
Warrior III is one of my favorite and, in my opinion, one of the more challenging yoga poses. Think about using the action of pressing your standing leg into the ground to help you find lift and balance. Engage your abdominals to help you hold this pose. Try and find a straight spine; including the vertebrae in your neck! Make sure your hips are square. Smile and relax – it's just yoga!
Now go for that dip and enjoy the summer sun!