Flexy Plexy: 10 Crazy Yoga Poses That Will Tone Your Body [SLIDESHOW]By Sarah Stevenson
Photographs by LuLu Lam
Contrary to what you might think, yogis don't contort themselves just to impress people. The poses—or asanas—we twist into keep us healthy because they massage and stretch the organs and help build lean muscle.
That said, it's National Yoga Month, so Beachbody® has asked me to celebrate with a little aspirational eye candy. I encourage you to try these 10 outlandish asanas, but you might want to do them with your favorite yoga master's help.
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Stretch out and open up 14 of your largest joints, strengthen your quadriceps, calf muscles, and improve your balance all with this one pose. You also increase your ability to balance and supply a fresh flow of blood to your kidneys and reproductive organs, making you one hot, sexy, balanced pretzel.
In this pose, you're not pushing the plow, you are the plow. But imitating a piece of farm machinery has its advantages. This asana can help reset your organs, activate your thyroid gland, and stretch out the spine, shoulders, and neck. Inverted (upside-down) poses also help keep your insides young and vital, so use this pose to turn more than your frown upside down.
The ideal way to do this jaw-dropper is with the hips aligned, as you can see in the photo on the left. It really stretches out the thighs, hamstrings, and groin area. Athletes and those who suffer from sciatica greatly benefit from this stretch that doubles as a fun party trick.
You may be able to sit with your feet on top of your knees, but can you do it upside down? This inversion offers a great stretch for the shoulders and neck and stimulates the thyroid gland. And as an added bonus, it tones the abs, as you'll have to keep your core tight to hold yourself steady.
Need to get away from it all? This bizarre-looking asana stretches the shoulders and the muscles that support the spine and neck, and offers a welcome respite from the noise of the outside world. Ah, silence.
Though you balance on your arms and wrap your legs around them in this pose, it's your core and pelvis that do most of the work in this asana that opens the hips, tones the abs, and helps you not take yourself quite so seriously.
This heart-opening asana stretches out the neck, chest, lungs, and quads and strengthens the spine, legs, glutes, abs, and arms. It also wakes up your thyroid and pituitary glands. Think of it as a yogic espresso shot!
This pose is great for stretching the groin, arms, and legs. It also provides a wonderful grounding effect to your heart when you're bendy enough for your chest to touch the earth.
On those days when you just can't concentrate, help get more blood to your head with this asana that calms the brain, relieves stress, stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands, and improves digestion.
Like most of us, your posture could use some help. This asana can help by drawing your shoulders back and keeping your spine in the proper position. It also strengthens your lungs by opening up the rib cage, allowing you to take fuller, deeper breaths.
It could take a little work, but keep at it and you'll be reaping the bendy benefits before you know it.
Got a favorite bendy position? Snap a photo and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org! If we love it, we'll feature it in an upcoming newsletter.
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"6 Reasons Why Yoga Is a Great Way to Start the Day!"
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