The Battle of the Bulge: Yoga to Get Rid of a Muffin Top

The Battle of the Bulge: Yoga to Get Rid of a Muffin Top

Excess fat around the glutes| lower back| and abs all contribute to the muffin-top effect. Fight the appearance of bulge by strengthening and lengthening these muscles| helping to tighten the body along its sides. Prepare to twist| sweat| and feel the burn with this powerful sequence.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography

| Downward Facing Dog

  • Begin on your hands and knees. Your wrists should be underneath your shoulders| and your knees should be underneath your hips.
  • Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips| coming into an upside-down “”V”” shape called Downward Facing Dog.
  • Spread your fingers wide| and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Relax your head between your arms| and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Hold for five breaths.

| Three-Legged Dog

  • From Downward Facing Dog| step both feet together so your big toes are touching.
  • Shift your weight onto your hands and your feet equally| and raise your left leg into the air. Try to keep your shoulders parallel with the ground| and gaze at your right thigh or up toward your belly to help you stay balanced.
  • Stay here for five breaths| then lower your left leg down and switch sides. Once you’ve finished on the right| lower your leg down back to Downward Facing Dog.

| Warrior 1

  • From Downward Dog| pop your right leg back up for a quick Three-Legged Dog| and step your right foot forward between your hands. Turn your left heel in| press into your feet| and lift your torso up.
  • Lift your arms up| and press your palms together. Draw your shoulder blades down toward your hips| and gaze up at your hands.
  • Stay here for five breaths. Then come back to Downward Facing Dog| lift up into Three-Legged Dog on the left| and step your left foot forward to do Warrior 1 on the other side.

| Warrior 3

  • From Warrior 1 with your left knee forward| lower your torso and lift your right leg| bringing your body parallel with the ground.
  • Extend your hands out in front of you| pressing your palms together firmly. If it bothers your shoulders to press your hands together| separate your arms so they’re shoulder-width apart. If extending your arms creates pain or pressure in your lower back| rest your hands on your hips.
  • Engage your abs| holding this position for five deep breaths. Then lower your right leg| returning to Warrior 1. Release your hands to the mat and come into Downward Dog. Step your right leg forward| coming back into Warrior 1. Repeat Warrior 3 on the right side| stepping back to Warrior 1 once you’ve finished| then releasing to Downward Facing Dog.

| Warrior 2

  • From Downward Facing Dog| step your right foot forward between your palms and come back to Warrior 1.
  • Extend your arms out in T position as you rotate your torso to the left| coming into Warrior 2. Ideally| your front thigh should be parallel to the ground and your right knee directly over your right ankle. Make sure your shoulders are stacked directly above your pelvis.
  • Gaze past your right fingertips| holding for five breaths. Then return to Downward Facing Dog. Step your left foot forward| and do this pose on the other side.

| Half-Moon Pose

  • From Downward Facing Dog| step your right foot forward between your hands| and rise up into Warrior 1. Open your hips| arms| and chest into Warrior 2.
  • Place your left hand on your left hip| and stretch your right arm straight out| creating length through the right side of your body. Shift weight onto your right foot| and lift your left foot up. Plant your right palm flat on the ground under your shoulder.
  • Distribute your weight evenly between your right hand and foot. Lift your left arm up| and gaze toward your left hand. Hold for five breaths and then release the pose| coming into Downward Dog. Then try Half Moon on the left side| then come back to Downward Dog.

| Open Triangle Pose

  • From Downward Facing Dog| step your left foot forward for Warrior 1| and open up into Warrior 2.
  • Straighten your left leg and turn your right toes slightly to the front of your mat| making a 45-degree angle. Lower your left hand| resting it on your left shin or a block| or place your palm flat on the floor. Extend your right arm straight up| and gaze at your right fingertips.
  • Stay like this for five deep breaths. Then lift your torso up| and switch sides. Step your right foot forward between your hands| and repeat this pose on the right side.

| Revolved Side Angle Pose

  • After Triangle Pose| on your right side| slowly lift your torso up| and bend your right knee| coming into Warrior 1.
  • Lower your elbows toward your chest and rotate your torso to the right| crossing your left elbow over your right thigh. Actively press your right triceps into your left quad to lift your chest as high as you can.
  • Gaze over your right shoulder| and hold for five breaths. Then release your hands to the mat| step your right foot back| and come back into Down Dog. Then repeat this pose on the left side. Once you’re finished| step your right foot back for Downward Dog.

| Sage Pose

  • From Downward Facing Dog| step both feet together so your big toes are touching.
  • Move your left hand over to the right so it’s at the center of your mat (still at the top of your mat). Roll over to your left side and plant your left heel down so you are balancing on the outside edge of your left foot| stacking your flexed feet. Reach your right arm up above you| and| if you can| gaze up at your palm.
  • If this feels easy| play around with grabbing hold of your left big toe. Lift your left leg up bending your left knee and hold on to your big toe with the first two fingers and thumb of your left hand.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths| trying to keep your core strong and the pose steady.
  • Lower your upper hand to the mat. Repeat this pose on the other side.

| Boat Pose

  • Once you’ve finished Sage Pose| sit on your mat. Bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor| balancing on your tush.
  • Keep the spine long| and straighten the legs as much as you can without rounding the back. If this is too hard| keep the knees bent u2014 you’re still working your core.
  • Hold for five complete breaths.

| Head-to-Knee Pose A

  • From Boat Pose| bend your right knee and place the sole of your foot against your inner thigh| pulling your heel as close to your body as you can.
  • Inhale to sit up tall| and exhale as you fold your torso over your left leg. Rest your hands on the floor on either side of your leg| on your shin| or wrapped around your left foot.
  • Stay here for five breaths| sit up| and repeat this pose on the right side.