Yoga is a good tool for body toning. Some international eye-candy who've adopted these techniques include Gwyneth Palthrow, Posh Spice, Madonna and Christy Turlington. The men arenít far behind either, sports star Barry Zito, actor Toby Mcguire, singer Bruce Springsteen also advocate yoga.
For yoga to be an effective body toner, each pose needs to be held for quite a long duration. This may not be possible or advised for those using yoga as a therapeutic tool, to control physical disorders. They must first control their problem and aim at weight loss before planning to build muscle.
However, for others on the lookout for a holistic substitute to aggressive physical exercise, yoga is ideal because it spruces up the entire musculoskeletal system. In other forms, toning involves selectively working on individual body parts. This is time-consuming and impractical for busy people.
Also, only yoga works out the subtle muscle mass sheathing the entire body part, called fascia. Plus, the quality of muscle fibres yoga provides is vastly different. It encourages the formation of red muscle fibres. These are elastic, rubbery and supple as opposed to the white muscle fibres that are rigid and injury-prone.
Start with doing each pose in a dynamic fashion, several times in the first two weeks. As the body acclimatises to the pose, do it thrice, holding it each time for 15 seconds over the next two weeks. After that, you may do the pose only once, holding it for half minute or more, depending on your stamina.
Shameem Akthar, yoga acharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, instructs you on five yogic toners.
Text: Shameem Akthar
Also read: 5 yoga poses to build stamina
Photographs: Jahnavi Sheriff Saisuresh
Catch more of Shameem's yoga writings and about her upcoming workshops at jaisivananda.blogspot.com