Yoga is a good exercise form to tone and lengthen your body. There are specific yoga exercises can tone and tighten your muscles, resulting in slimmer thighs. Many exercises work the large leg muscles, such as the quadriceps on the front of the thighs and the hamstrings in the back. But bulging inner thighs or saddlebags on the outside of your thighs can add girth, even when your weight is within normal limits. Target inner and outer thighs with yoga exercises for a slimmer, sleeker look.
Exercises that abduct — move your leg away from the midline of your body — tighten and slim your outer thighs. The cow face , dolphin pose and a number of other poses works the outer thighs.
Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)
- Start seated with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Cross your right leg underneath your left leg bringing your foot to the outside of the left hip. Your left leg moves over top, so that the thighs cross tightly and your knees are close to stacking one on top of the other, in the center of your body.
- Flex both feet, and position your ankles an equal distance away from the thighs to allow both of your sitting bones to meet the mat.
- Press the outside edges of your feet into the earth, keeping them flexed.
- Bring your right arm out to your side at shoulder height, and rotate the palm up so that the shoulder blade melts down your back.
- Inhale and raise your right arm overhead until it is beside your ear. Keep your neck relaxed and in neutral.
- Exhale as you bend your right elbow, placing the palm of the hand onto your back, towards the middle of the shoulder blades. You may gently use your left hand on your right elbow to encourage the elbow to move more towards the midline.
- As you inhale, bring your left arm out to your side at shoulder height, rotate your palm down noticing the opposite motion of the shoulder blade slightly up.
- Bend your elbow, exhale and lower your arm to your side with the back of the hand on your lower back.
- Slide your hand across your low back until your upper arm is beside the torso, then reach your hand up the back towards the middle of your shoulder blades.
If your hands touch, curl the finger to link your two hands.
- Keeping your spine tall, neck in neutral and relaxed, imagine reaching the elbows away from each other, while they hug towards the midline.
- If the head is able to touch the right arm, gently press the head back into the arm, lengthening the back of the skull.
- Breathe for five or more long breaths.
Parivrtta Hasta Padangustasana (Revolved Big Toe Hold)
- Stand in mountain pose (tadasana).
- Place your hands on your hips. Bend your right leg, raise your right foot, and grab your right big toe with the first two fingers and thumb of your right hand.
- Straighten your right leg and arm out in front of you until your leg is parallel to the floor. Reach through your foot. Keep your hips facing forward.
- Reach your left hand for the outside edge of your right foot. Then extend your right arm out behind you at shoulder height. Hold the twist for two breaths.
- Reach your right hand back around to the front, crossing it over your left wrist to hold the inside edge of your right foot. Bend your right leg 90 degrees, keeping it raised.
- Release your foot from your hands, place your hands on your hips, and lower your foot to floor, returning to mountain pose.
- Switch sides.
Makarasana (Dolphin Pose)
- Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your forearms on the floor with your shoulders directly above your wrists. Firmly press your palms together and your forearms into the floor.
- Curl your toes under, then exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis. Against this resistance, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, and from your inner ankles draw the inner legs up into the groins.
- Continue to press the forearms actively into the floor. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them away from the spine and draw them toward the tailbone. Hold your head between the upper arms; don’t let it hang or press heavily against the floor.
- You can straighten your knees if you like, but if your upper back rounds it’s best to keep them bent. Continue to lengthen your tailbone away from the pelvis and lift the top of your sternum away from the floor.
- Stay between 30 seconds to one minute. Then release your knees to the floor with an exhale.
Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
- Stand in Tadasana against a wall, with your heels and your buttocks touching it. Place the block on the floor behind your right foot. Inhale, and spread your feet 1m (3.5 ft) apart. Turn your right foot out to the right, until it is parallel to the wall.
- Turn your left foot in slightly to the right. Press the outer edge of your left foot firmly on the floor, and bend the right knee, pushing your thigh down until your calf is at right angles to the floor. Stretch your left arm away from your left shoulder.
- Bend to the right, and place your right palm on the block. Stretch the left arm up, with the palm facing forward. Now rotate the arm and bring it toward your left ear. Your left thumb should touch the wall. Turn your head and look at your left arm. Maintain a continuous stretch from the left ankle to the left wrist. Press your outer left foot into the floor.
- Move your shoulder blades into your body, and extend your spine toward your head. Hold the pose for 30 seconds. Repeat the pose on the other side.
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon)
- Begin on all fours, with your knees directly below your hips, and your hands slightly ahead of your shoulders. Slide your right knee forward to the back of your right wrist; at the same time angle your right shin under your torso and bring your right foot to the front of your left knee. The outside of your right shin will now rest on the floor. Slowly slide your left leg back, straightening the knee and descending the front of the thigh to the floor. Lower the outside of your right buttock to the floor. Position the right heel just in front of the left hip.
- The right knee can angle slightly to the right, outside the line of the hip. Look back at your left leg. It should extend straight out of the hip (and not be angled off to the left), and rotated slightly inwardly, so its midline presses against the floor. Exhale and lay your torso down on the inner right thigh for a few breaths. Stretch your arms forward.
- Then slide your hands back toward the front shin and push your fingertips firmly to the floor. Lift your torso away from the thigh. Lengthen the lower back by pressing your tailbone down and forward; at the same time, and lift your pubis toward the navel. Roll your left hip point toward the right heel, and lengthen the left front groin.
- If you can maintain the upright position of your pelvis without the support of your hands on the floor, bring your hands to the top rim of your pelvis. Push heavily down. Against this pressure, lift the lower rim of your rib cage. The back ribs should lift a little faster than the front. Without shortening the back of your neck, drop your head back. To lift your chest, push the top of your sternum (at the manubrium) straight up toward the ceiling.
- Stay in this position for a minute. Then, with your hands back on the floor, carefully slide the left knee forward, then exhale and lift up and back into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose). Take a few breaths, drop the knees to all-fours on another exhalation, and repeat with the legs reversed for the same length of time.
Supta Matsyendrasana (Reclining Side Twist)
- Lying on the floor, inhale. Then pull your right knee into your chest. Leave the other leg straight. Take the knee in the opposite hand.
- As you exhale, turn your entire body to the left. Stretch your right arm out to the right and if possible, look to the right. Breathe.
- Repeat the yoga posture on the other side of the body.
Parsvottanasana (Single-Leg Forward Bend)
- Begin standing in mountain pose (tadasana) with your feet together.
- Bring your hands to your hips. Step your right foot forward about 2 feet. Then inhale and lengthen your spine. Keep it straight as you bend forward from your hips and reach your torso over your right leg, leading with your sternum.
- Extend your arms out and down, bringing your fingertips to the floor on either side of your right foot. Hold for three to five breaths. (Tip: The outer hip of the front leg tends to creep forward in this posture, but by reaching it back, you’ll square your hip points forward and get a better stretch in your legs.)
- To go deeper, lower your palms to the floor and reach your forehead toward your right shin. Hold for three to five breaths.
- To come up, lift your forehead and bring your hands to your hips. Keep your spine straight and return to standing.
- Step your legs back together into mountain pose.
- Switch sides and repeat.
Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
- Lie on your front. Rest your chin on the ground, then move it forward as much as you can, so that your throat lies almost flat. Put your arms by your sides (you can even clasp at the back), then push your hands under your body, and make them into fists or clasp them together. Bring your elbows as close together as possible.
- Inhale as you lift one leg. Hold this position for at least 10 seconds, then exhale while lowering your leg and repeat the pose with your other leg. Practice it 3 times on each side. Chin position: The further forward you push your chin, the more your spine can stretch and the more you will gain from this asana.
- Lie with your chin out, as in the Half Locust, then take 3 deep breaths. On the third, lift both legs off the ground. They may not come up far at first, but with practice you may be able to lift them much higher. Hold for as long as you can, then lower your feet. Repeat twice and then relax.
- With practice, you will be able to raise your legs higher. Eventually, you may even be able to lift your body vertically.
These yoga asanas are designed with your thighs in mind, to tone and slim down this area so you’ll feel confident slipping into your bikini.