Yoga poses to strengthen your inner thighs
Nearly six years ago, supermodels and preteens alike started talking about the thigh gap as a must-have. The gap divided fitness experts equally, some of them said it was achievable at a healthy weight while others pointed out that it caused unnecessary distress.
To be sure, "fitness goals" like a thigh gap (or concave stomach or big butts) ignore the fact that each one of us has a different body type and composition.
Having said that, our inner thighs don’t get much exercise through daily tasks. Though yoga isn’t about achieving an unhealthy weight to try and look a certain way, it does have poses for every part of the body (there are even asanas to massage the inner organs; but more about those in follow-up articles).
These five asanas for beginners have been hand-picked for their efficacies in isolating the adductor muscles in our inner thighs. As always, it’s best to perform these asanas in the presence of a trained yoga professional who can correct your posture and guide you on the right breathing technique throughout.
Happy baby pose or Ananda Balasana
A simple pose that relaxes the lower back and warms up the buttocks and legs for the workout. Try it like this:
- Lie down on your back on a mat.
- Grab each foot from outside the thighs. Holding the foot in the middle, where the arch is, might be more comfortable for most people.
- Relax your facial muscles and breathe deeply in this pose for up to a minute.
Reclining angle bound pose or Supta Baddha Konasana
Great for opening up the hips, this pose also stretches the inner thigh muscles. Word to the wise: focus on breathing deeply, and over time you will find that you can open up the legs more and hold this pose for longer. Try it like this:
- Lie down on your back on a mat. Place your arms comfortably by your sides, at about a 45-degrees angle from the body. Keep the fingers relaxed.
- Next, bend your legs at the knees and try to join the soles of your feet in a “namaste”.
- Try to bring your heels as close to the groin as possible, without scrunching up your face or tensing up the upper body.
- Make sure your head is straight. Close your eyes if it helps you to relax.
- Stay in this pose for 1 minute. Remember to breathe deeply.
Wide-angle seated forward bend or Upavistha Konasana
Seated poses are a great way to isolate specific muscles of the legs. They are also great preparation for standing poses, which require strength, flexibility as well as balance. Try it like this:
- Sit down on a mat with your legs three to four feet apart.
- Now, place your hands on the mat. Walk forward with your hand as far as you can go.
- Make sure you don’t round the back. Keep the head and neck in line with the back.
- Breathe deeply into this pose. Try to relax and go down farther with each breath. Stay in this position for as long as is comfortable for you, but no longer than 1 minute.
- To come out of this pose, walk the hands back. Roll up, bringing the head up last. Bring your legs together.
Gate pose or Parighasana
Besides giving a lovely stretch to your side waist, this pose opens up the thigh and groin muscles and increases flexibility.
- Kneel on the mat. Keep your ankles together, toes flat on the ground and your spine straight.
- Stretch out your right leg out to your right side - your knee should face the ceiling.
- Keep the sole of the right foot resting on the ground.
- Now raise both your arms overhead. Keep them straight.
- Bend sideways to move your trunk and right arm towards your extended right leg.
- Place your right hand on the right leg. (Try to rest your right wrist on your right ankle, if possible.) Keep your palm facing upward.
- Next, move your left arm over your head to the right side. Advanced practitioners can try to place their left palm on to the right palm - in this position, your left ear should touch your left upper arm and right ear should be in contact with the right upper arm.
- Remain in this position for a few breaths (up to 45 seconds) before coming back to the starting position.
- Relax and then repeat on the left side.
Extended triangle pose or Utthita Trikonasana
Finally, a standing pose that also challenges the smaller muscles in the legs and works on your balance. Try it like this:
- Stand on the mat with your feet wide apart.
- Turn the right foot out to face the wall to your right. Turn the left foot in slightly towards the right for balance.
- Raise the arms by your sides. Bring them to shoulder height, till they are parallel to the floor.
- Bend to the right from your hip, and place your right palm on the side of your leg or on the floor, whichever is comfortable.
- Raise your left arm overhead. Turn your head gently to look up at the left hand.
- Hold this pose for 30-45 seconds.
- Retrace your steps to return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
Always end your yoga practice with five minutes of savasana. Lie back, close your eyes, relax your body. Make sure your head is straight. Release the tension from every muscle, starting from your toes up to your arms, shoulders, neck, and head. Keep your eyes closed as you turn to one side and gently sit up in a cross-legged position. Rub your palms together to generate heat and cup them over your eyes. Gently open your eyes with your hands still over them. Lower your hands from your face, and start each day in a positive frame of mind.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more yogasanas for the thighs, please read our articles on the Butterfly Pose and Seated Bound Angle Pose.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Updated Date: Oct 23, 2019 15:58:10 IST
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