12 Yoga Exercises To Get Your Thighs And Hips In Shape

Reviewed by Anirudh Gupta, Certified Yoga Instructor
by Shirin Mehdi

Due to our sedentary lifestyles and lack of exercise, we tend to accumulate fat in the hips and thighs. But, worry not! Here are a few basic asanas in yoga to reduce hips and thighs. A proper combination of diet and yoga can address the issues of heaviness and fat in these problem areas.

Yoga For Hips And Thighs

  1. Utkatasana
  2. Virabhadrasana II
  3. Natarajasana
  4. Ustrasana
  5. Upavistha Konasana
  6. Janu Sirsasana
  7. Baddha Konasana
  8. Malasana
  9. Navasana
  10. Salabhasana
  11. Setu Bandhasana
  12. Ananda Balasana

1. Utkatasana

Image: iStock

Also Known As – Chair Pose

Benefits – This asana stimulates the muscles in your legs, especially the hips and thighs. Sitting on a chair is easy, but when you sit on an imaginary chair, your muscles are exerted as they hold the fort for your body. Your body weight rests upon your legs, especially on the muscles of the hips and thighs. This not only tones your legs and builds muscle but strengthens the area too.

How To Do It – Stand erect in Tadasana. Gently bend your knees and lower your buttocks as if you are seated on an imaginary chair. Inhale and extend your arms over your head. Hold the pose for a few seconds as you keep the flow of your breath going. Release.

Curing Tip – Listen to your body. If you are a beginner, lower your hips only as much as you can, but increase gradually. Once you feel comfortable in the pose, you could pulse a bit to increase the intensity and the stretch in the muscle.

A Word Of Caution: You should not feel too much strain on the knees. Make sure the load of this pose does not translate into the knees.

To know more about this asana, click here: Utkatasana

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2. Virabhadrasana II

Image: iStock

Also Known As – Warrior Pose II

Benefits – This asana works on the legs for sure, but specifically on the inner thighs. At the outset, this pose might look simple, but it works on the muscles that do not get attention when we run our daily chores. The best part is that both the legs get a different workout at the same time, so more muscle groups are targeted with this asana.

How To Do It – Widen your legs such that they are substantially more than hip-width apart. Turn your right heel with the toes pointing outwards, and use your left heel to ground yourself. The arch of your left heel must be in line with the right foot. Lower your hips and then radiate your energy out as you stretch out your arms such that they are in line with your shoulders. Turn your gaze forward and hold the pose with integrity. Breathe slow and strong as you hold the pose and then release. Repeat on the other side.

Curing Tip – For best results, widen the stretch of your legs and lower your pelvis, but make a mental note to pull the abdominal organs upward. Make sure you maintain balance on both legs equally.

To know more about this asana, click here: Virabhadrasana II

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3. Natarajasana

Image: iStock

Also Known As – Lord Of The Dance Pose

Benefits – The hip flexors are stimulated and stretched in this very graceful posture. Both the inner and outer thigh muscles are worked upon. This asana strengthens the legs as the body balances on one leg. Right from your pelvis to your feet, every muscle in your leg is toned and stretched. Your hips are opened up, and all the energy blocks in the legs are released. The blood circulation in your legs is enhanced, which gives a fresh flow of oxygen and nutrients to them.

How To Do It – Stand in Tadasana. Lift your right foot and swing it behind such that your right leg is parallel to the ground. Bend your knee, reaching your right arm to the right foot/big toe, and stretch. Once you grasp the right foot, stretch your left arm forward. You could keep the palms stretched out or assume the Gyan Mudra. Look at your left fingers. Hold the pose for a few seconds as you take long, deep breaths. Release and repeat on the other side.

To know more about this asana, click here: Natarajasana

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4. Ustrasana

Image: iStock

Also Known As – Camel Pose

Benefits – This asana brilliantly opens your pectoral muscles and gives strenght to the hip flexors. It also tones all the limbs, especially the thighs. This asana works on the front part of your body, so the muscles in the frontal thighs get thoroughly toned and stimulated.

How To Do It – Sit in Vajrasana. Lift your hips and raise your body such that the hip muscles and calf muscles are perpendicular. Open up your chest and lean back. Reach your arms for the soles, making sure your arms are stretched out. Gently hang your head as you gaze at the back. Esnure that there is no adverse feeling at the lumbar spine area. Hold the pose as you take long, deep breaths. Release.

To know more about this asana, click here: Ustrasana

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5. Upavistha Konasana

Image: iStock

Also Known As – Seated Wide Legged Forward Fold

Benefits – This asana works amazingly well on the posterior part of your legs. Apart from giving them a good stretch, it works on the much-ignored inner thighs. It builds strength and flexibility, besides being wonderfully adapted to women’s needs

How To Do It – Sit in Dandasana. Stretch your legs as wide apart as you can. Then, bring your palms to the center. If you are flexible enough, direct your body and reach out ahead, attempting to rest your upper torso on the ground with your chin and head being the last to rest on the ground. If not, bend your elbows and let your head hang. Breathe a few times, then slowly come back up and bring your feet together.

To know more about this asana, click here: Upavistha Konasana

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6. Janu Sirsasana

Image: iStock

Also Known As – Head To Knee Pose

Benefits – The Janu Sirsasana works towards increasing the flexibility in the hamstrings and its subsets whilst toning the thighs and hip joints. Besides that, the leg muscles are stretched, there is a greater stretch on the back and spine, which contributes to an increase in the circulation of blood in these regions. This nourishes the muscles and keeps the area healthy. This asana helps to strengthen the legs too, and if done for a prolonged period, calms the mind as well.

How To Do It – Assume the Dandasana. Fold your left knee such that the left foot is touching the right thigh. Stretch your arms up, lengthen your torso, and reach out for your foot with your arms. Breathe into your abdomen. Hold and release, and repeat with the other leg. Although you are meant to touch your head to your knee in this asana, what is more important in this pose is keeping your back straight.

To know more about this asana, click here: Janu Sirsasana

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7. Baddha Konasana

Image: iStock

Also Known As – Cobbler Pose, Butterfly Pose, Bound Angle Pose

Benefits – This asana is an amazing hip opener. It also increases the range of motion in your hips. Your inner thighs are stretched and toned, and lean mass is built. This asana basically works on your hips and thighs and does wonders for them.

How To Do It – Sit on the mat with your legs stretched out. Fold your knees, and bring your feet to the center. Join your feet, and straighten your back. Hold your feet with your palms. Now, push your knees down to the ground, as much as you possibly can. Hold the pose for a few minutes and release.

To know more about this asana, click here: Baddha Konasana

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8. Malasana

Image: iStock

Also Known As – Garland Pose

Benefits – The Malasana is another pose that works mainly on the legs, especially on the hips and thighs. It enhances the circulation of blood and ensures a good stretch in your hips and thighs. It widens your hips and gives your leg muscles great strength and flexibility.

How To Do It – Squat on the floor, making sure your feet are together, and your buttocks are off the floor. Join your palms at the center, and dig your elbows heavily on the inner side of the knees. Push your knees with your elbows as wide as possible. Hold the pose for at least 10 breaths. Release.

To know more about this asana, click here: Malasana

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Image: iStock

Also Known As – Naukasana, Boat Pose

Benefits – When you practice this asana regularly, it moves beyond your body, i.e., the organs, nerves, bones, and muscles, and penetrates into the very core of your being. As you balance your body weight on your buttocks, your being trembles initially. But, a whole lot of strength and determination is built within the few seconds of suspension. There is a great improvement in blood circulation, and your legs get a good stretch.

How To Do It – Sit in Dandasana. Then, lift your legs off the ground with knees bent. When you manage to balance, lift your hands off the floor, and stretch them out in front of you. Work towards creating a ‘V’ with your upper and lower body. Breathe long and deep. Release.

To know more about this asana, click here: Navasana

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10. Salabhasana

Image: iStock

Also Known As – Locust Pose, Grasshopper Pose

Benefits – This is an effective yoga exercise that addresses the posterior spine while adding ‘lifting’ capabilities in the legs and to tone or shape up the glutes. It also works on many other parts of your body. It strengthens your legs and enhances the flow of blood. Your hips and thighs (legs, in general) remain strong, flexible, and in good health.

How To Do It – Lie on your abdomen, and lift your legs off the mat, right from the hips. Stretch your arms behind you and lift your chest off the floor. Lift your chin up and set your gaze forward. Hold the pose and breathe a few times before you release.

To know more about this asana, click here: Salabhasana

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11. Setu Bandhasana

Image: iStock

Also Known As – Bridge Pose

Benefits – This asana enhances the circulation of blood. The raised hips enforce a good stretch. The muscles are stimulated and toned, and any energy is broken and released.

How To Do It – Lie flat on your back, with the legs bent at the knees. Gently lift your hips and back off the floor. Roll the shoulders inward and stretch out your arms so that they reach your feet. Breathe long and deep. Hold the pose for a few seconds and release.

To know more about this asana, click here: Setu Bandhasana

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12. Ananda Balasana

Image: Shutterstock

Also Known As – Happy Baby Pose, Dead Bug Pose

Benefits – This asana is one of the best pose in yoga for hips and thighs. This works on opening up your hip joint as well as hamstrings. Your flexors are flexed, and all the inner thigh muscles are stretched and stimulated. This asana works on the back muscles too, which are usually not worked upon. The best part about this pose is that while you are in it, you can guide the stretching and find what feels good.

How To Do It – Lie flat on your back. Lift your legs off the floor, bending them at the knees. Stretch your arms out and hold the arches of your feet. Stretch your legs out using the support of your hands. Keep the knees bent, but you can flex them while you are in the pose. Hold the pose as you move and flex for a few seconds. Release and relax.

To know more about this asana, click here: Ananda Balasana

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Have you ever tried any of these yoga asanas to reduce hips and thighs? Keeping the legs stretched and flexed is extremely important. You might complain about those hips being fat, but when the muscles are not worked upon, it can lead to more serious problems. Don’t wait that long! Indulge in yoga. Have fun as you strengthen your thighs and hips and build that lean muscle.

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Shirin Mehdi

A jack of many trades and a master of some, Shirin is a writer, a fashion designer, and a chef by her own acclaim. She loves food, and though she might want to call herself a great cook, she just falls short of seasoning. She also loves Yoga, and has extensive knowledge about the postures of the asanas. Always muddled up between traditions and modernism, she thinks she would have been a better fit in the vintage era. She loves life and believes in living it up to the fullest.
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