The cottage cheese appearance or dimpling skin caused by excessive fat bulging out of the connective tissues is referred as cellulite . The upper leg is one of the most common areas where cellulite occurs because it is where many women store excess fat. This can be caused by several factors which include unhealthy diet, dehydration and slow metabolism. Appearance of cellulite can be considerably reduced by regular practice of yoga because of its ability to increase lymph circulation. The best yoga asanas to reduce cellulite are inverted poses like the modified shoulder stand and plow pose. For best results, you should do these yoga poses every other day.
More benefits of yoga include improved muscular definition and strength, better skin elasticity, greater flexibility and less stress. All these factors can reduce cellulite.
- To start with, lie flat on the floor. The arms should rest along the sides, palms downwards. Exhale once, bend the knees, and bring them up towards the chin till the thighs press the stomach. Breathe normally.
- Now, exhale and supporting the buttocks with the hands, raise the trunk till it becomes perpendicular to the floor. Now, your body will be supported by the back of the head, the neck, the shoulders and the backs of the arms up to the elbows. To push the trunk into the vertical position, you will need to gradually move the hands towards the waist. The head continues to rest on the floor, so that the trunk also becomes perpendicular to the head. Once it is correctly perpendicular, the chin will touch the chest.
- Now, raise the legs and make them vertical, in line with the trunk, with the toes pointing upwards. Breathe evenly, calmly and easily. Stay in the pose for a few minutes and feel the good it is doing you.
- To release the pose, gently move the legs downwards, release the hands and let the body become flat again. You may also bring the legs down so that the knees approach the ears, and then gradually bring the legs down. Be gentle on your body. Never apply excessive stress. To start with, practice the initial position, drawing the knees towards the chin.
- Release the pose gently.
Halasana (Plow Pose)
- Lie down with your back on a Mat.
- Your shoulders should lie on the edge and your head rests on the mat. Your legs are drawn in and still stand on the mat.
- Lift your hips off the floor and bring your legs up, over and beyond your head.
- At this point, lift your back and move your legs further beyond your head.
- Straighten your spine and keep your back straight. Move your hands toward your back.
- Place your arms against your upper back and try to place your hands as near as possible to the shoulder blades. Try to place your elbows at shoulder-width. If you cannot do this, put them at a somewhat wider distance from each other.
Kapotasana ( Pigeon Pose)
- From Downward Facing Dog, step both feet together and bring your right knee forward between your hands, such that your outer right leg is resting on the mat.
- Drop your back leg to the ground. Keep the back leg turned under.
- Keeping your front leg bent, place it shin down on floor behind your right wrist.
- Align your right knee straight in front of your right hip and your right shin parallel to the front of your mat.
- Lower your hips, bringing your left knee to the floor and walk your left foot back a few inches to straighten your left leg directly behind your left hip. Rest the top of your left foot on the floor.
- Walk your fingertips out to 18 inches in front of your right shin and bring your elbows to the floor, forearms parallel to each other.
- Draw your right hip back, and your left hip forward
- Take quite a few breaths in Pigeon (3-7 breath) . Make sure your front foot is well flexed. You may feel this pose in your hips as they open up.
Utkatasana (chair pose)
- Begin in Tadasana, arms down by your sides, sternum lifted.
- Squat deeply with your weight back onto your heels, squeezing your inner thighs together.
- Stretch your arms overhead, placing palms together. Keeping your palms together, inhale and bring your arms down to the middle of your chest in Prayer Pose.
- On an exhale, twist your torso to the right. This will place your left elbow at the outside of your right knee. Keep your arms in Prayer Pose. Inhale, then exhale while deepening the twist. Turn your eyes upward and hold the pose for three-to-five breaths. Slowly unwind your upper body to face forward as you exhale.
- Straighten your legs, bring your palms back to Prayer Position, and return to Tadasana. Repeat on the other side.
Trikonasana (lateral bending pose)
- Stand straight, feet apart and arms on the sides, palms facing and touching the thighs.
- While inhaling, raise your right arm slowly up to shoulder level, palm facing down with the elbow straight.
- Now turn the palm upwards and raise the hand so that it is in a straight line, touching the ear.
- While exhaling, bend as far as possible to the left. This is the final position of Trikonasana.
- Maintain the stretch for a few seconds and return to normal position gradually.
- The same is to be done on the other side. This completes the process. The lateral stretch should be felt.
Finally, strengthening the skin fibres, plumping the skin’s surfaces and breaking down the stubborn fat and toxins deposits, can help minimize the look of cellulite.