All of us, at some point, need to challenge our bodies to beat boredom and avoid hitting plateaus. An element of surprise can help you gain more definition, flexibility, strength and agility. Resistance bands do that and much more, while helping you achieve a toned appearance.

You can swap your light weights with the bands to control the level of intensity, and improve stamina and flexibility while you strike that yoga pose. They also help you explore a host of variations that work the same muscles, but in very different ways.

Here is a combination of select yoga poses that have been married with resistance band exercises to work your arms, legs, core, back and hips.

Warrior One, Or Virabhadrasana + Arm Extension
Target: Toned Arms

Step 1: Start with your feet together, heels and toes touching. Step your right leg forward (take a big step). Place resistance band under your right foot.
Step 2: Exhale as you bend your right knee, make sure knee and toes are in one line, hips square and core tight.
Step 3: Keep your left leg straight, toes turned out, and heel planted on the floor.
Step 4: Inhale as you raise your arms up in line with your shoulders and then to the sky, keep your gaze up and hold for 5 breaths. Do 8 reps and then switch sides.

Bridge Pose, Or Setu Bandhasana + Kick Press
Target: Toned legs, hips and butt

Step 1: Lie down on your back, bend your knees and grab your heels. Bring them in to the sides of your glutes.
Step 2: Now keep both your feet flexed so that the heels touch the floor. Place your resistance band around the bottom of your right foot first.
Step 3: Hold from both ends evenly, keep your arms bent, and palms facing inwards. Contract your abs.
Step 4: Raise your hips off the floor and exhale as you extend your right leg up at a 45 degree angle. Both knees must be in one line.
Step 5: Press both arms over your head, inhale as you gently lower your hips and simultaneously bring your arms down into the starting position. Do 8 reps, and then change sides.

Side Intense Stretch, Or Parsvottanasana + Forward Raises
Target: Core

Step 1: Keep your feet together, heels and toes touching. Take a big step forward with your right leg. Keep both legs locked, back foot turned out.
Step 2: Place your resistance band under your right foot, holding the ends evenly with your hands. Inhale.
Step 3: Exhale, contract your belly as you raise your arms straight out and behind you, while you lower your body, getting your chest in line with your knee.
Step 4: Now depending on your flexibility, aim to touch your forehead to your knee. Bend the knee if it is difficult. If you are very flexible, aim to touch your chin to your shin, gazing at your big toe. Hold for 5 breaths. Do 8 reps and then switch over to the left side.

Chaturanga + Resisted-Push Up
Target: Back

Step 1: Grab your resistance band, each end in one hand.
Step 2: Now stretch it across the top portion of your back so it spans your shoulders, right under your armpits.
Step 3: Keep your feet together in plank position. Make sure you are still holding the band ends in each hand.
Step 4: Now lower your body into chaturanga or a lowered plank. If that’s too difficult rest your knees to the ground and continue. Do 10 reps in the push-ups stance.

Just by doing these asanas, you will be surprised at the number of inches you lose all around, and the way your body shapes up as you gain muscle tone.

PS: Here’s your one-stop guide to Yoga Asanas For Weight Loss.
Celebrate International Yoga Day 2015 With Z Living!

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