A 10-Minute Yoga Sequence For Toned Legs
Short on time to practice yoga? This brief, 10-minute sequence will allow you to get your strength building in, during moments of downtime between errands and other responsibilities.
Designed to focus on leg and thigh toning, this practice also includes a short, uplifting meditation. You'll feel energized and invigorated, and are sure to leave your mat with a smile.
For best results, practice this sequence three-to-four days per week.
Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
To enter Warrior 1, step your left foot back to the rear of your mat, and turn your back heel down to the ground. Turn the toes of your back foot forward at 45 degrees, bend through your front leg and stack your front knee directly above your ankle. Square your torso forward and reach your arms upward over your head.
Hold Warrior I for seven full inhales and exhales, and then transition to Warrior II on the same side.
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Rotate your hips and torso to the left and raise both arms outward to the side. Square your hips and chest with the long edge of your mat and stack your front knee directly above the ankle. Gaze out over the tip of your right middle finger and hold the posture for seven full breaths.
Step to the front of your mat and practice Warrior I, followed by Warrior II on the other side.
Once you've completed Warrior I and Warrior II on both sides, step to the front of your mat.
Heel-toe your feet together, bend your knees and raise your arms forward and upward until they are parallel to the floor.
You can stay there with your heels on the ground, or for additional challenge you can rise up to the tips of your toes. Gaze outward over your fingers and hold the posture for seven full breaths.
After completing the Jackhammer, straighten your legs and stand tall with your hands together in a prayer position at your chest.
Standing Side Bend
Step your left foot backward four-to-five feet and turn your body to face the long edge of your mat. Turn your toes outward at roughly 45-degrees, bend your knees and reach your arms upward overhead. Hold for five slow breaths.
Next, bend your torso to the right and rest your right arm on your right thigh. Reach your left arm over your ear to the side of the room and stretch everything from the side of your left waist to your fingertips. Hold for seven full breaths.
Come back to vertical and repeat the same pose on the other side. Afterward, come back to vertical and step to the front of your mat.
Twisted Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
Bring your feet all the way together, bend your knees and sweep your arms upward overhead. Join your hands together in a prayer position at the middle of your chest. Rotate your torso to the right, cross your left elbow over your thigh and slide your hands backward until your wrists align with your elbows.
Focus on lengthening your spine with your inhales, by stretching outward through the top of your head. Twist deeper with your exhales. Hold the posture for seven full breaths and the repeat on the other side.
Step to the front of your mat after completing the posture on both sides.
Single-Leg Forward Fold (Parsvottanasana)
This pose is a great hamstring stretch. Lunge your left foot back to the rear of your mat and come to Warrior I.
Place your hands on your hips, straighten your front leg and square your pelvis and chest with the front of your mat.
To enter the pose, take a gentle backbend with a slow inhale and fold forward over your leg with an exhale. Rest your hands on the floor near either side of your foot, or place your hands on blocks. Hold the posture for seven full breaths.
To exit, raise to your fingertips on an inhale and take your hands to your waist with an exhale. Inhale upward to a gentle standing backbend. Come up to vertical with your exhale, step to the front of your mat and repeat the same pose on the other side.
Lord Of The Dance Pose (Natarajasana)
Stand at the front of your mat with your feet slightly separated and your torso forward. Extend your left arm forward, parallel to the floor. Bend your right leg and reach your right hand backward to grab your right ankle or foot.
Lock your eyes on a steady focal point as you begin to kick your right foot upward into your hand, but be sure to keep your gaze soft. To deepen, hinge from your hips and lean forward slowly while continuing to press your right foot upward into your hand. Hold for seven full breaths.
Use an inhale to come up and repeat the same pose on the second side.
Dedicating The Merit Meditation
Once you've completed the sequence, come to a standing position at the front of your mat and close your eyes. Take ten full inhales and exhales.
At the end of the breathing exercise, take a moment to think of someone in your life who could use some positive energy. Mentally send them any positive energy from your practice and imagine them receiving happiness and healing.
Model: Meg Scannell
Photos: Ian MacLellan