30-Minute Total-Body-Toning Yoga Sequence

30-Minute Total-Body-Toning Yoga Sequence

If doing more yoga is a goal of yours| but you’re a little nervous to take a class| this sequence is designed with you in mind. Dedicated to toning every part of your body| these basic poses may look simple| but they offer an amazing and effective burn| especially in your legs| tush| and arms.

Unroll your mat and complete two Sun Salutation A’s and two Sun Salutation B’s to warm up. This should take about eight to 10 minutes; take your time moving slowly and holding Down Dog for five full breaths. Then move on to this 20-pose sequence| following through on the right side| then on the left| and end in a well-deserved Savasana. Within 30 minutes you’ll feel strong| open| and calm.

| Side Fierce

  • Begin standing at the front of your mat with feet together.
  • As you inhale| bend the knees and squat down| raising the arms into the air.
  • Exhale to cross your left elbow over to your outer right knee. Press your palms together| and actively push your bottom elbow against your thigh to lift and rotate your chest up| increasing the twist. Pull your left hip back slightly| making sure both knees are parallel.
  • Stay in Side Fierce for five breaths.

| Rotated Side Angle Prayer

  • From Side Fierce| keep your arms and torso where they are as you carefully step the left leg back into a lunge position.
  • Continue to press your palms together firmly| pushing into your bottom arm to lengthen the spine and increase the twist.
  • Gaze over your right shoulder| breathing for five full breaths.

| Downward Facing Dog

  • From Rotated Side Angle Prayer| release the twist and bring the palms to the floor.
  • Step the right leg back coming into plank position.
  • Now you’re ready to do a vinyasa. Exhale to bend the elbows behind you| lowering the body until your elbows are at 90 degrees| called Chaturanga.
  • Inhale as you swoop the chest forward coming into Upward Facing Dog| resting on the feet| and exhale to lift the hips coming into the upside-down V-shape shown above known as Down Dog.
  • Try to keep equal weight in the hands and feet as you breathe deeply| enjoying this pose for five breaths.

| Three-Legged Dog

  • From Downward Dog| step the feet together so your big toes are touching. Keep the left heel on the mat and inhale to raise your right leg in the air| coming into Three-Legged Dog.
  • Hold here for five breaths with the shoulders parallel to the floor| keeping the belly still and breathing into the chest.

| Knee-Up Plank

  • From Three-Legged Dog| shift your weight forward| bringing your shoulders over the wrists| as you bend the right knee into the chest.
  • Hold here in Knee-Up Plank for five breaths.

| Arching Three-Legged Dog

  • From Knee-Up Plank| shift your weight back| raising the right leg into the air.
  • Actively bend the right knee| lift your head up| and turn to look over your left shoulder| arching the spine. Think about drawing your head and foot toward each other.
  • Stay here for five breaths| keeping the core strong.

| Warrior 2

  • From Arching Three-Legged Dog| step the right foot forward between the hands and lift the torso up.
  • Open the hips| arms| and chest to the left side of your mat| gazing over the right fingertips.
  • Hold here with the right thigh parallel to the floor for five breaths.

| Goddess

  • From Warrior 2| straighten the right leg| and turn the toes so both heels are pointing in (photo above shows the front view of the pose).
  • Bend your knees coming into a wide squat until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Your knees should be directly over your ankles| so adjust your feet if you need to.
  • Lift your arms up| bending your elbows so they are at 90-degree angles| opening the palms away from you.
  • Hold here for five deep breaths.

| Warrior 3

  • From Goddess| straighten your legs| and step your right foot to the front of your mat so the feet are together.
  • Shift weight into your right foot| and extend your arms overhead. As you lift your left leg behind you| lower your chest so your torso and left leg are parallel to the floor.
  • Draw your belly in to protect your lower back. If your lower back hurts| place your hands on your hips.
  • Balance in Warrior 3 for five deep breaths.

| Burning Low Lunge

  • From Warrior 3| release the left foot back| coming into Warrior 2 position. Bring your right arm to the inside of your right leg.
  • Lower your torso and reach your right arm underneath your bent right knee. Interlace both hands in front of your right ankle.
  • Keep all the weight in your legs| resisting the urge to lean into your hands. If this is too intense for your thigh muscle to hold (it’s an intense move!)| then rest one or both hands on the floor.
  • Breathe deeply in this low lunge for five breaths.

| Beginner’s Sage

  • From Burning Low Lunge| release the left hand to the top of the mat.
  • Step your right foot back| stacking the legs and heels| balancing on the outside edge of the left foot.
  • Extend your right arm above you| keeping the core strong for five breaths.

| Quarter Dog

  • From Beginner’s Sage| lower both forearms to the mat.
  • Either relax your head between your arms or gaze between the hands.
  • Hold Quarter Dog for five breaths.

| Extended Locust

  • From Quarter Dog lower your belly onto the mat.
  • Extend the arms and legs| lifting your feet and hands as high as you can| breathing deeply for five breaths.

| Up Dog

  • From Extended Locust| release the palms to the mat directly underneath the shoulders.
  • Press into the palms to lift the chest and legs off the mat| scooping the chest forward| balancing on the hands and the tops of the feet.
  • Gaze up toward the ceiling| keeping the thighs strong and the shoulders relaxed.
  • Hold like this for five deep breaths.

| Intense East

  • From Up Dog| lift the hips| and come into Down Dog.
  • Step or hop the feet forward| and sit down extending both legs out in front of you.
  • With big toes touching| place your hands six to eight inches behind you so your fingertips are pointing toward your hips.
  • As you inhale| press into your hands and feet| lifting your hips as high as you can so your spine is in a long line. Lower your head behind you| pressing into the outside edges of your feet to engage your inner thighs.
  • Hold Intense East for five deep breaths.

| Half Wheel

  • From Intense East| exhale to lie on your back.
  • Bend your knees| and place your feet flat on the floor. Walk your heels as close as you can to your tush| and turn your heels out slightly| so the outside edges of your feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat.
  • Lift your hips up| and place your hands on either side of your lower back. Rock your weight from side to side| so you can pull your shoulder blades closer together.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths| actively pressing your feet into the floor to lift your hips up and increase the stretch in your torso and neck.

| Wide Boat

  • From Half Wheel| lower your back to the mat.
  • Kick your feet overhead and use the momentum to rock yourself up to balance on the butt with the legs out wide. Extend the arms in front of you.
  • Keep lifting through the chest| holding for five breaths.

| Standing Forward Bend

  • From Wide Boat| bend the knees and release the feet to the mat.
  • Bring one hand behind you and push into the floor to help rock your weight into your feet. Straighten the legs and fold the torso over the thighs.
  • With the feet hip-distance apart| hold the big toes with the first two fingers and thumbs of each hand. Pull the elbows out wide. If you can’t reach the toes| hold opposite elbows.
  • Actively draw the shoulders away from the ears| using the abs to draw the torso closer to the legs rather than using your upper body strength.
  • Stay like this for five deep breaths| nodding the head up and down and side to side to release the neck.

| Low Squat

  • From Standing Forward Bend| release hold of the big toes| bend the knees| and squat down deeply so the thighs are parallel with the floor.
  • Extend the arms in front of you to help you stay balanced.
  • Breathe deeply for five breaths.
  • If this is your first side| come to stand and start the sequence from the beginning| repeating through on the left side. If this is your second side| move on to the last pose below| Savasana (yay!).

| Savasana

  • Lie on your back| and close your eyes. In order to relax and open your body fully| extend your arms a few inches away from the body| with your palms facing up.
  • Bring about 15 to 20 inches between your feet| allowing your feet to fall open with your toes pointing out. Actively shrug your shoulders and shoulder blades down toward your hips. Lengthen through your spine as much as possible| and try to press the small of your back into the floor.
  • After you’ve found a comfortable position| enjoy the stillness for five to 10 minutes.