Yoga Moves for Losing Leg Fat

By Nicole Vulcan

You may have thought of yoga as a relaxing exercise you do to help cope with work deadlines, nagging bosses or those endless domestic chores, but in fact, yoga also has a fiercer side and can be used as aerobic exercise. While simply getting your body off the couch and onto the yoga mat will help you with your quest to blast that fat off your thighs, you'll need to step it up a few notches if you really want to get serious. Try a series of poses that help strengthen the legs, while at the same time keeping a rapid pace that will make your routine more rigorous.

Tree

Step 1

Start in a standing position to move into Tree pose, a key balancing pose that can help strengthen and tone the legs.

Step 2

Lift one foot off the floor and move it to rest on your inner thigh, just above your knee. When you've balanced yourself, position your arms above your head to make the pose more challenging.

Step 3

Hold the pose for two to three breaths, and then release and do it with the opposite leg.

Extended Hand to Big Toe

Step 1

Grab onto the big toe of the elevated foot to move into another key balancing pose, Extended Hand to Big Toe pose.

Step 2

Straighten the leg and extend it outward, so it comes out perpendicular from the rest of the body. As you hold this position, you'll feel a stretch in the inner thigh of the lifted leg, and you'll call on the muscles of the other leg and core to hold your body in place.

Step 3

Hold the pose for two to three breaths.

Step 4

Release your grip on your big toe and allow your leg to come back to standing. Then repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.

Superman

Step 1

Start from standing and then step back with one foot, bend over, touch your hands to the floor, and then step back with the other foot, moving into Plank pose. The pose looks like the "up" position of a pushup.

Step 2

Lift one arm off the floor and extend it forward, while at the same time lifting the opposite leg 6 to 12 inches off the floor. Hold this "superman" pose for two to three breaths.

Step 3

Place the leg and arm back down to the floor and then lift the opposite leg and arm, holding for two to three breaths. This pose calls on the muscles of the arms, core and legs, and is helpful for balancing.

Chair

Step 1

Stand with both feet together in preparation for Chair pose, one of a few key exercises that include a squatting motion. Squats can strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteal muscles.

Step 2

Bend your knees and lower your buttocks toward the floor, working to creating a "sitting" position but without the chair. Extend your arms overhead.

Step 3

Hold the pose for several breaths and then come back to standing.

Garland

Step 1

Step outward so your feet are wider than shoulder-width apart, in preparation for Garland pose -- another deep squatting position.

Step 2

Point your toes outward, bend your knees and lower your buttocks down.

Step 3

Rest your elbows on the inside of your knees and press your hands together.

Step 4

Hold the pose for two to three breaths and then release the position, keeping your legs spread wide.

Warrior II

Step 1

Point one foot to the side in preparation for Warrior II, another squatting position. The various Warrior poses put special emphasis on the quadriceps and hamstrings.

Step 2

Bend the knee that corresponds to the turned foot at approximately a 90-degree angle, turning your chest toward the bent leg. Push the straight leg backward to sink deeper into the pose.

Step 3

Extend your arms outward so they're perpendicular to the rest of the body.

Step 4

Hold the pose for two to three breaths.

Step 5

Step your feet back together and repeat the pose with the opposite leg bent.

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