Yoga offers a chance to zero in on your body’s intrinsic need to slow down and move more harmoniously. But these days, even your yoga practice may need to multitask between calming the mind and building strength.
That is exactly why yoga instructor and author of 21-Day Yoga Body, Sadie Nardini, created Yoga Shred. This mix of power moves and release poses, pulled from Nardini’s new Shred program, will wake up both larger and stabilizing muscle groups alike. So, while you find your center, you also tap your greatest strengths. Do this sequence in order, or pick your favorite moves from here to add to your regular routine.
FISTS OF FIRE CHAIR
Works: Core, Posterior Chain, Cardio
- Stand with feet hip-distance apart. Bend your knees and raise your arms up until biceps are next to ears. Come into Chair pose, like sitting into an invisible chair in the air. Make sure you slide your hips and knees back so you’re firmly on your feet and not pressuring your knees. Draw your low belly in and up so you don’t over curve your low back. Inhale (Left).
- Exhale and jump into the air as you draw fists down by your hips (Right). Land softly in Chair pose, arms up, hips back, knees forward over toes.
- Continue for one minute.
TWISTS OF FIRE CHAIR
Works: Core, Posterior Chain
- Begin in the same position as the Fists of Fire Chair pose, feet hip width, hips back as if sitting in a chair, raising arms until they are in line with your torso. Inhale.
- As you exhale, bring palms together into prayer position, elbows down and out as you twist torso to the left, until right elbow rests on outside of your left thigh, staying in squat.
- Inhale and return torso to top of Chair pose while remaining in squat. Perform twist to right; continue for one minute.
FORWARD FOLD WAVES
WORKS: BACK, DETOX
- Stand with feet hip-distance apart. Bend your knees and fold forward over your thighs. Let your hands relax to the floor; since your heart rate will be high, keep moving. Straighten your legs just until you feel a stretch down the back of your legs. Don’t overdo it. While folding forward, sway your torso from side to side. Lean into one foot (Left) and then the other (Right). Continue for one minute.
Works: Glutes, Inner Thighs, Quads
- Stand with feet wider than shoulder width in a sumo squat stance, toes turned out slightly, arms straight out to sides (hold light weights for an extra challenge).
- Bring left foot next to right as you exhale and bring hands into prayer pose (or weights together), staying low in squat.
- Step back to sumo with arms out, then repeat to other side. Continue for one minute.
FISTS OF FIRE LUNGE
Works: Glutes, Quads, Arms, Cardio
- Stand with right foot forward about four feet in front of your left, hips facing forward. Right foot should be flat and left should have your weight only on the ball of the foot.
- Inhale and raise arms up toward ceiling. As you exhale, bend your front knee into a lunge while back knee also bends 90 degrees. Bring arms down as hands form fists and elbows push behind you until arms are bent 90 degrees.
- Continue stretching up as you inhale and then lowering into a lunge while exhaling, for one minute.
- Switch sides and repeat for one minute.
Works: Shoulders, Triceps, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings; Inversion
- Plant your hands on the floor shoulder distance apart. Walk your feet back into Downward Dog until your body is in an upside-down V shape. Pull your chest and belly up enough so you’re not hanging out in your lower back or shoulder joints. Press all 10 fingertips into the floor and stretch your heels toward the floor, even if they don’t touch (Left).
DOWN DOG SPLITS
- Lift your right leg into the air. Turn your toes to face the floor, not out to the right. Breathe here for 5-10 breaths (Right). (If you need a break here, bring your knees to the floor, sit up on your shins with feet pointed and breathe.)
- Return to Down Dog and repeat the Splits on your left side with your left leg in the air.
Trainer: Sadie Nardini, Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, Founder; 21-Day Yoga Body, author
Model: Alexandra Ellis, C.P.T., Alex Ellis Fitness founder; City Row instructor, Equinox trainer. Favorite quote: “There’s nothing more gratifying than breaking a sweat and knowing you’re becoming a fitter, stronger, healthier, and happier you.”