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Now that we’re officially on the other side of Memorial Day, it’s time to start planning for summer fun. And that means you’ll likely be getting into a swimsuit for the first time since last summer. Do you feel awesome about your long, lean muscles, after sweating it out in flow class all winter? Great! If, however, you’d like to feel even more gratitude for the body that enables your practice, here are three poses from Boulder, Colorado, teacher Amy Ippoliti that will help you accept (and even flaunt) your figure:
“Boat Pose helps stimulate your abs and core,” says Ippoliti, the co-founder of 90 Monkeys, an online professional development school for yoga teachers. “Any time you engage your abdominal muscles, you help wake up this part of the body and get reminded of how your abdomen (no matter the strength or percentage of body fat that’s there) holds you together, is a symbol of your inner resolve, and where you ‘feel things in your gut,’ therefore helping you make key decisions in life. The key is not to focus on how much you need to slim your abs—just enjoy and revel in your tummy’s prowess as it holds you up.”
“Utkatasana is one of the most effective poses to tone, engage and strengthen the glutes and hamstring muscles,” explains Ippoliti. “Besides the obvious physical benefits of this, there is a deeper merit to engaging and toning the butt. In fact, I once taught a workshop called, ‘Toning Your Butt Can Be Spiritual.’ It’s the feeling of empowerment that comes when you 1. Heat the muscles of the lower core and extremities and, 2. Reap the benefits of strong hamstrings and glutes. Strong hamstrings and glutes contribute to deeper flexibility and stamina in yoga, which leads to a feeling of accomplishment and possibility, which leads to greater happiness. I even recommend giving your butt a little touch afterward just to acknowledge its hard work and gloriousness! After all, it’s your seat, day in and day out.”
“There is something so nurturing about Child’s Pose,” says Ippoliti. “It seats the thigh bones into the hip sockets and brings you back to the feeling of being a kid, when body image wasn’t even a thought. Focus on the simplicity of the shape, your breath, and connect with the childlike part of your self that simply feels alive and part of something far bigger than any limited beliefs about your figure.”
—Jennifer D’Angelo Friedman